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seventy years are distance enough made his aristocratic Vivians so to lend enchantment to our view of sadly wanting in repose; and which Leolin and Editb.

reached its climax in Maud's broA second and more serious defect ther, the "corld Assyrian ball!") (for it is the business of great poets He calls bis heroine's father to manufacture exceptions to the “Sir Aylmer Aylmer that almighty man, rules of treatises on Poetics) is to the county God." be found in the construction of the story itself. We are well aware

Now what do we gain by this that there are not many tales yet profanation of words which immeunsung so beautiful as that of the morial usage has consecrated to one fair maid of Astolat, which the purpose oply? They overweight Laureate's kind fate 'reserved for by their exaggeration the satire they him to clothe in English verse; were designed to point; and seem and that we have no right to to realise on a small scale the celeexpect him to be always so forta- brated definition of the crime, which nate in his subjects. But still contrived to be not only a crime we cannot help thinking that the but a blunder. incidents in Aylmer's Field' are

Again, nothing can be prettier somewhat trite, and its charac- than the description of Edith and ters more than somewhat improb- Leolin's childhood, and, for our own able. Its heroine is a model of part, we much admire the lines every Christian virtae; yet she de- which tell us that in the romantic ceives her father, and carries on tales with which the boy amused & clandestine correspondence with his playmate her lover. Her pastor is an excel

“A passion yet unborn perhaps lent clergyınan; yet when two of Lay hidden as the music of the moon bis parishioners seek the sanctuary

Sleeps in the plain eggs of the nightingale." for the first time after their daugh- But we do not think such an equiter's death, he seizes the opportun- vocal expression as the “music of ity to preach publicly against them. the moon," so inevitably suggesting An act surely unbefitting the pulpit the music of the spheres," should of any period or of any country; have been employed to designate but simply impossible in that of a that with which Philomel salutes decent rector in the decorous Ohurch the goddess of the night. And we of England of the eighteenth century. This faulty structure some- understand in what sense the Indian

most own we are much puzzled to what mars the pleasure we receive kinsman who presents Edith with from the musical verse and gene. the fatal dagger is called the costly rally vigorous language in which it Sahib.” A man who made such is clothed. Here and there, too, handsome gifts to his relatives was something overstrained in the expression, seems to sympathise with anything but costly to them; and the exaggerations in the construc- large as may have been his pension,

we cannot think the poet meant to tion, of the poem. There is solemn allade to it as a burden on the East beauty in its introductory lines :

India Company. On the other “ Dust are our frames; and, gilded dust, hand, Edith among the poor forms our pride

a very fair picture :Looks only for a moment whole and sound; Like that long-baried body of the king,

" So lowly-lovely and so loving, Found lying with his urns and ornaments, Queenly responsive when the loyal hand Which at a touch of light, an air of heaven, Rose from the clay it work'd in as she past, Slipt into ashes, and was found no more." Not sowing hedgerow texts and passing by,

Nor dealing goodly counsel from a height

That makes the lowest hate it, but a voice Bat in the first line of the story or comfort and an open band of help, Mr. Tennyson's old infelicity in deal. A splendid presence fattering the poor ing with the higher orders surely Revered as theirs, bat kindlier than them. reappears. (That, we mean, which selves VOL. XCVI.

20

men,

past."

scorn,

To ailing wife, or wailing infancy,

“Ranging round to spy Or old bedridden palsy."

The weakness of a people or a house,

Like flies that haunt a wound, or deer, or The lovers' parting after their secret has been discovered by Edith's pa- Sacs Christ as we believe Him-found the

Or almost all that is, hurting the hurtrents is also pretty :

girl,

And Aung her down upon a couch of fire, “The rain of heaven, and their own bitter Where, careless of the household faces near, tears,

And crying upon the name of Leolin, Tears, and the careless rain of heaven, mixt She, and with her the race of Alymer, Upon their faces, as "they kiss'd each other In darkness, and above them roar'd the pine."

A noble passage that. The simile But then comes the secret corres- is at once new and appropriate, and pondence—those letters hidden in the divine beauty of the exception the old oak-tree, that poor cripple stands out in stronger relief from bribed to deceive his lord, — and its dark background. How good, the aggrieved father claims some too, is the description of the day of of our pity; for not all the harsh the funeral Sermon! colours which paint to us his pride

"Darkly that day rose : and bis wife's insipidity can satisfy Autumn's mock sunshine of the faded as that their only child did right to Was all the life of it; for hard on these, slight their wishes.

Edith's father A breathless burden of low-folded Heavens rages over the intercepted letters: Stifled and chill'd at once." "Now chafing at his own great self defied, What day fitter for sorrow than Now striking on buge stumbling-blocks of one which derives its very brightIn babyisms, and dear diminutives," &c. ness from decay! The sermon itself

is fine; too fine in one sense; for and, as we must say, not wholly un- how could the rustios who listened provoked. It is very trying even to it have understood its difficult to a friendly, mind to read other constructions and involved senpeople's love-letters. What must tences ! But there is grandeur in it be to a hostile one ? We can its stern denunciations of the idolaourselves scarcely forgive those tries of worldliness. There is burn“dear diminutives." We may hope ing power in the words which brand that these unlucky epistles contained that worshipper of self, whose flesh nove worse than Leo, Edy, and the like; but the expression reminds "Fares richly, in fine linen, as painfully of the style of certain the deathless ruler of thy dying house

even while letters (rather amusing than in- 18 wounded to the death that cannot dis; structive) which get every now and then published, to the confusion of Thee therefore with His light about thy their writers. In the last century Thee with His message ringing in thine letter-writing was a stately, grave, Thee shall thy brother man, the Lord from and formal thing, even amongst Heaven, near relations. And we have no Born of a village girl, carpenter's son, doubt that a gentleman of ancient Wonderful, Prince of Peace, the Mighty family like Leolin, and the heiress Count the more base idolater of the two." of the good-breeding, though not of the pride, of the Aylmers, could The transition from the severity of write to one another without for these words to the gentle tones of getting the established proprieties lamentation over the dead is very of their day.

beautiful ; eminently so when the Let us pass on to Edith's death, preacher describes her as Her parents are in some degree «Fairer than Rachel by the palmy well, guilty of it, for their unkindness Fairer than Ruth among the fields of .com, has broken the young spirit's elas- Fair as the Angel that said Haill" sbo ticity, which, if happier, might have Who entering filled the house with sudden conquered that low fever, which, light."

With wbat sublime effect, too, does Imbecile; his one word was desolate;" the preacher later on direct the Dead for two years before his death was gaze of his awe-stricken hearers to the horrors overtaking the lovers of We are not told with what feelings this world in a neighbouring country the rector read the funeral-service at that very hour :

over the two parishioners whom he

had insulted in their sorrow.

“O there The red fruit of an old idolatry

We have not quoted by any The heads of chiefs and princes fall 150 fast, means all the passages we admire They cling together in the ghastly back in Aylmer's Field. In point of ex, Flash from the bridge, and ever-murdered ecution, the more we consider this

France, By shores that darken with the gathering timation. Nevertheless we cannot

poem, the higher it rises in our eswolf, Runs in a river of blood to the sick sea" help regarding its conclusion as a

fresh proof that among the LaureAnd there is mournful dignity in the ate's many gifts, strong perceptions sorrow, overpowering anger, which of dramatic fitness are not the denounces the final woe upon the most conspicuous. Averill's Sermon heartless parents :

doubtless contains exactly what & “Will there be children's laughter in their man, situated as he was, could not hall

help thinking; but no less certainFor ever and for ever, or one stone Left on another, or is it a light thing

ly, what a gentleman and a ChrisThat I, their guest, their host, their ancient tian would, when the mischief was friend,

done and the punisbment had fallen, I made by these the last of all my race, Must cry to these the last of theirs, as cried have scrupulously refrained from Christ ere His agony to those that swore publicly expressing. Why pour the Not by the temple but the gold, and made molten lead of those fierce denonTheir own traditions God, and slew the Lord,

ciations ' into wounds yet deeper And left their memories a world's curse than bis own? Why smite those

• Behold, Your house is left unto you desolate ?""

afresh, whom God had smitten so

terribly already! The preacher, The bereaved mother sinks beneath arising from his own desolate hearth, the weight of these words, and is like a Prophet of old, to denounce borne fainting from the church. The the crime which has laid it waste, father, who in the earlier part of the is unquestionably a grandly tragic discourse,

figure. But a deeper sense of the “When it seem'd he saw proprieties of character might have No pale sheet-lightnings from afar, but enabled its possessor to attain this of the rear storm, and aiming at his head, fine effect without that perilous apSat anger-charmed from sorrow, soldier proach to the unreal and to the like,

theatrical, by which, as it appears Erect:"

to us, it has been purchased in the follows her out,

present instance.

It is time to bestow a glance on «Tall and erect, but in the middle aisle Reel'd, as a footsoro ox in crowded ways,

the metrical experiments and preStumbling across the market to his death." cious bit of Homeric translation

which "form a sort of appendix to And then we read that,

the volaine. They will be a suit"In one month, able introduction to our brief notice Thro weary and yet ever wearier hours, of the poem which we reserve as The childless mother went child;

our favourite to the last, the place And when he felt the silence of his house of honour. About him, and the change and not the

The question whether any, and change, And those fixt eyes of painted ancestors if any, which, of the Greek metres, Staring for ever from their gilded walls On him their last descendant, his own being permanently transplanted to

yet unnaturalised, is capable of Began to droop, to fall; the man became the English Parnassus, has engaged

to seek her

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of

our great poets from the days of rhymed lambic, the metre of the Spenser and Milton. It interests greatest English epic. The Spena very considerable section of the serian stanza bas of late been skilreading public at the present time. fully applied to the rendering of the So, too, the lovers of the poets are 'Odyssey.' To others the fire of the inquiring, more and more eagerly, origi: al seems best represented in wbat is the fittest form in whieb to the long ballad-metres of fourteen or present the classical masterpieces to fifteen syllables, which are certainly the modern reader? Now on both in point of length the hexameter's these questions Mr. Tennyson has 8 English equivalents. For each of good right to be heard. A master these views there is a good deal to of the English language, there are be said; and we gladly take this few now living who know its capa- opportunity of wishing all success bilities as he does. Many a passage to the versatile band which has in his poems testifies to his power lately given us a specimen of of entering into the spirit of Homer. a translation of the “Iliad' in His "Enone' and his Lotos-Eaters' the last-ħamed metre (that bear witness that he can suffuse the Locksley Hall).* Let us also demarble forms of classic song with voutly hope that similar good works the warm glow of modern feeling. may continue to employ that hand And therefore his verdict on the so well, that it may bave no leisbest method of reproducing the ure for the political "mischief" beauties of the ancient poets in which a nameless being is only English, deserves our most serious too ready to find it to do when attention. So it is with great plea- "idle !" sure that we find ourselves able to Certainly a complete translation quote the Laureate as an anthority of the Pliad' which should match against the perpetration of English that in the volume before as of hexameters. It is, we suppose, un- the conclusion of its eighth book, questionable that the translation of would leave little to be desired. the poem should always be exeouted We cannot exhibit its excellence in in the same metre as the original, a stronger point of view than by provided that it is a metre which printing a few lines of it side by exists (or is capable of existing) in side with Pope's version of the the language into which the transla- same passage; with an assurance to tion is made. If, then, hexameters the English reader that, except the are a proper form of English verse, omi-sion of one epithet, DaeLVIN into them should Homer undoubt- (sbining, radiant), applied to the edly be translated. If, on the other moon, Mr. Tennyson's is literally hand, the substitation of accent for exact. He will thus, on comparing qnantity in modern languages has the two, bave ocular proof of the made true English hexameters im- strange liberties which Pope took possible, we must fall back on the with his original, and of his want metre we should conceive Homer of feeling for its beauties; whilst would have most likely chosen bad he will admire the precisely opposite he written in English. Mr. Tenny- qualities of the Laureate as a translason imagines him using the un- tor of Homer:РОРЕ.

TENNYSON. "The troops exulting sat in order round, " And these all night upon the bridget of And beaming fires illumined all the ground.

moon, refulgent lamp of Sat glorying; many a fire before them night!

war

blazed: * It is surprising that the writer of an otherwise able artiele in the 'Saturday Review,' should have confounded Mr. Gladstone's Trochaics of fifteen syllables with Chapman's lambics of fourteen. The effect of the two lines is of course much the same to the eye, but to the ear they differ very greatly indeed.

+ We are inclined to accept the alternative offered to us of "ridge." It seems

As when

the

O'er heaven's clear azure spreads her As when in heaven the stars about the sacred light,

moon When not & breath disturbs the deep Look beautiful, when all the winds are serene,

laid, And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn And every height comes out, and jutting scone;

peak Around her throne the vivid planets roll, And Valley, and the immeasurable heavens And stars unnumbered gild the glowing Break open to their highest, and all the stars pole,

Shine, and the shepherd gladdens in his D'er the dark trees & yellower verdure heart: shed,

So many å fire between the ships and
And tip with silver ev'ry mountain's head; stream
Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect of Xanthas blazed before the towers of
rise,

Troy," &c.
A flood of glory bursts from all the skies:
The conscious swains, rejoicing in the

sight,
Eye the blue vanlt and bless the useful

light. so many flames before proud Illon blaze.; And lighten glimmering Xanthus with their

rays," &e.

It will be seen at once that Pope's is hard to say of what, but perkapg theory of the duties of a translator of the fine stage-illamination prois to improve on, Tennyson's to vided for them; and having eyed, preserve, his original. And what

proceed to bless for the useful light shall we say of the sort of tinsel it affords them. A great improvewith which the former gilds the ment, forsooth, on Homer's lonely refined gold, or the somewhat shepherd, unconsciously made glad, coarse colours with which he paints in his rustic simpleness, by the the lily, of Homer's beautiful sim starry heavens, without stopping to plicity? loading each substantive ask of what use they are to him! with an epithet, and piling up ex- It is strange to see more ignorance traneous particulars, till Homer's of the aspects of nature in the nine lines have grown into sixteen; writer of Sir Isaac Newton's epiand till his night-piece (to the taph, than in the oldest of profane great loss of the

reader) has been authors. Assaredly the generation entirely replaced by Pope's? In for whom Pope composed this Pope the fires have become beaming, fancy picture could have cared the heavens azure, the moon the little for natural beauty. Now refulgent lamp of night, without the

turn to Tennyson's version. It is slightest authority. Nonsense is just one line longer than its original.: talked about the planets, which no longer at all, considering the are set rolling round the moon different length of the lines. It after a fashion strange alike to the attempts the insertion of no new peasant and the philosopher. The beauties ; but how felicitously does stars perform functions as unknown it preserve those which exist. How to Homer as to us; apparently little does it spill of the noble darting yellow and silvery rays al- Chian wine in the dangerous transternately, according to unknown ference from goblet to goblet ! chemical affinities with the objects There is one point we feel scarcely on which they fall. But where is satisfied apon: the very unusual the crowning glory of the passage, position of the verb gladden, here the đonetos aionp of Homer? It is turned from an active to an intranshut out from our view by the hard, sitive. It seems to us peculiarly metallic, blue vault which Pope's & translator's business to employ conscious swains eye ; conscious it the English which exists, and not

more really what Homer meant, and to give a grander image. In the two last kines, which our comparison does not require us to quote, we think chariots preferable to cars, but would wish the more literal “ throned morn" (why not fairthroned-morn!) inserted.

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