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things, and such as these, be secondary. The primary power lies in idea. Thought makes us godlike, sense earthlike. The man who has once thought a great thought might be content if his existence were at once cut short: it is felicitous that existence is, on the other hand, lengthened for the men who think. But I am not just now sanguine of a crowded
Yes, we await it, but it still delays,
Who most has suffered, takes dejectedly
Lays bare of wretched days;
And how the dying spark of hope was fed,
THE reference here, I assume, is to the In Memoriam of Tennyson—a work which certainly appears to me by no means as healthy as the grief of a great poet ought to be. The whole passage in The Scholar Gipsy is worth study as showing the evil influence of diseased literature. Mr. Arnold catches the exact spirit of Tennyson when he proceeds thus :
This for our wisest: and we others pine,
And waive all claim to bliss.
. Our wisest!' What wisdom is there in this maudlin moaning over the events of life? That the highest wisdom pertains to the supreme poet is my firm creed: but the supreme poet is not the man to ululate interminably about the death of a friend. He knows too well the significance of death. He knows too well the goodness of God and the greatness of man. To him life is not by any means a 'long unhappy dream’ idea worthy of a Frenchman or a focl. It is, on the contrary, a noble reality, only too brief for the great deeds that should be achieved in it, for the immortal ideas that pervade it.
The Greeks knew better. Their type of the
poet was Apollo, the divinity of sunshine and strength and youth and love. Fancy Apollo in need of hourly varied anodynes . . one
i day the melancholy verse of Tennyson, and another the distraught prose of Carlyle one day Holloway's pills, and another old Dr. Jacob Townsend's sarsaparilla ! Not precisely the poetic lord of the arrows of light:
Nunquam humeris positurus arcum,
Delius et Patareus Apollo.
It is no wonder that the lower classes of minds among us are afflicted with a morbid disgust of life, when men of such intellectual power as the authors of In Memoriam and The Scholar Gipsy show the bad example. Both are poets of no common order ; but both have wholly mistaken the life of man on this planet if they really imagine it to be
nothing more than a 'long unhappy dream.' It is a great reality, and very full of happiness.
Wordsworth (who lived without anodynes, having faith in God) thus admirably defined the qualifications of a poet
The vision and the faculty divine.
suppose some amount of the divine faculty must be admitted to belong to the morbid modern poet : but no glimpse of the divine
: vision has he, or he would not mope and moan, like an idiot who cannot apprehend the meaning of life-like an owl blinking painfully at the sunshine. To the true poet is given in the highest mortal measure that divine vision which all men in their degree may attain : and no amount of high culture, of musical and literary faculty, will make a man a poet unless he is also a seër. To see God and man and life and death as they are —not through spectacles of blue or yellow glass—is a poet's first necessity. If he cannot