Obrazy na stronie

From Chambers' Journal. And it remembers its august abodes,

And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there. POETRY OF WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.

Readers of Wordsworth will remember the lines We suspect that the poetry of Mr. Landor beginning, “I have seen a curious child," is very little known to general readers; and &c., and notice their resemblance to the that, even among the studious and most cul-above. Among other striking and extractable tivated classes of his countrymen, there are passages, the following has seemed to us few who can be said to be thoroughly ac- deserving of quotation. It will be seen that quainted with it. We remember De Quincey it expresses a pagan sentiment on the holiness saying, that for many years he believed he and efficacy of prayer :was the only man in England who had read Gebir; and that, after some inquiry among For earth contains no nation where abounds his friends, he found Southey to be the only The generous horse and not the warlike man. other person who had accomplished the same But neither soldier now nor steed avails, feat. "To say the truth, it is not an easy Nor steed nor soldier can oppose the gods, matter to get through Gebir ; and perhaps it Nor is there aught above like Jove himself, is still more difficule, even after a deliberate Nor weighs against his purpose, when once fixed, perusal, to give an intelligible account of its Aught but, with supplicating knee, the prayers.

Swifter than light are they, and every face, meaning and intention. A dim and misty Though different, glows with beauty; at the fable, wherein the supernatural is incongru

throne ously mingled with the natural, and brief of mercy, when clouds shut it from mankind, gliinmerings of poetry alternate with heavy They fail bare-bosomed, and indignant Jove passages of vague description and turgidity Drops at the soothing sweetness of their voice -- the work presents next to no attractions The thunder from his hand. on the surface, and, with the most laborious efforts to understand it, yields at the utmost

Stray lines of pithy sense and wisdom are but inadequate results. We cannot recom- frequently occurring in the poem. Thus, of mend Gelir to anybody as a pleasant enter- brave men it is said :tainment, but we are still prepared to say,

The brave, that none but a man of genius could have When they no longer doubt, no longer fear. written it. It has an undoubted originality, which, while it gives no attraction to the Again, in regard to the lessons of experience, poem, proves the author to be at least a man we have this — of power. The great defect is a certain crude- From our own wisdom less is to be reaped ness of the judgment, implied in the selection Than from the barest folly of our friend. of the subject-inatter, and a futher want of skill and perspicuity in the treatment. Gebir In the way of description, in which Mr. possesses some interest as a poetical curiosity, Landor is sometimes, but not always happy, but, except in a few passages, it has none of the following representation of an Eastern those peculiar graces of style and sentiment morning displays a rich and pleasing fancy :which render the writings of our more prominent modern authors so generally delightful. Now to Aurora, borne by dappled steeds, Such passages as we speak of can never con- The sacred gate of Orient pearl and gold, lustrations of the poetic faculty of the writer, The waves beneath, in purpling rows, like doves vey any accurate notion of a poem, but, as il- Smitten with Lucifer's light silver wand,

Expanded slow to strains of harmony ; they may, in such a case as Mr. Landor's, he Glancing with wanton coyness tow'rd their queen, easily detached and cited, without occasion- Heaved softly; thus the damsels bosom heaves ing either misapprehension of his genius or When from her sleepy lover's downy cheek, injury to his reputation. One or two we shall To which so warily her own she brings here accordingly present, by way of showing Ench moment nearer, she perceives the warmth the kind of gems which, at wide intervals, Of coming kisses fanued by playful dreams. are imbedded in the otherwise dark and dreary Ocean and earth and heaven was jubilee, caves of Gebir. Let us begin with soine lines For 't was the morning pointed out by Fate, containing an image which Wordsworth When an immortal maid and mortal man afterwards expanded, in a famous passage Should share each other's nature knit in bliss. of the Excursion. A river-nymph is described Gebir is a sort of epic, in seven books, and as saying to a shepherd :

is luckily the only long poem which Mr. I have sinuous shells of pearly hue

Landor seems to have attempted. Without Within, and they that lustre have imbibed offence to him, or to anybody else, we think In the sun's palace-porch, where, when unyoked, it may be said, that there is no description of His chariot wheel stands midway in the wave : poetry for which his talent is so unsuited. Shake one and it awakens, then apply

In dramatic writing, he has succeeded better, Its polished lips to your attentive ear, though he has given us nothing that can be

properly styled a drama ; indeed, he calls | majestically-attired Evening moving, slowly his pieces of this sort simply “ acts and over the landscape, and covering all things scenes ;" and informs us, that although in a as she advances with the folds of her icisty dramatic form, they “ were never offered to drapery : – the stage, being no better than Imaginary from yonder wood mark blue-eyed Eve proConversations in metre.”

As such they are ceed : not by any means uninteresting, though they First through the deep and warm and secret mostly refer to scenes and circumstances so

glens, remote from the studies of the general reader as Through the pale-glimmering privet scented lane, to offer few attractions to him; and, except And through those alders by the river-side : here and there in pointed thoughts and fine Now the soft dust impedes her, which the sheep expressions, they, manifest no extraordinary Have hollowed out beneath their hawthorn shade. ability. It is chiefly in his collection of Mis- But, ah ! look yonder! see a misty tide cellaneous Pieces — short occasional poems, Rise up the hill, lay low the frowning grove, written to express some flitting thought or Enwrap the gay white mansion, sap its sides, pensive fancy - that Mr. Landor is likely to Until they sing and melt away like chalk ; find any considerable body of readers. Many Covers its base, floats o'er its arches, tears

Now it comes down against our village-tower, of these pieces are purely personal, but are The clinging ivy from the battlements, not on that account deficient either in grace Mingles in broad embrace the obdurate stone or sterling excellence. As it is the vocation (All one vast ocean), and goes swelling on of the poet to reflect the mental states of In slow and silent, dim and deepening waves. other men, and be the interpreter of their aspirations and emotions, whatsoever affects, We quote next a somewhat longer poem, interests, or perplexes him, will serve in the wherein the influences of wrath and gentleness representation to excite the sympathies, and are very beautifully contrasted : more perfectly express the sense of all who

Look thou yonder, look and tremble, any way partake of kindred thoughts and feel

Thou whose passions swell so high ; ings. So considered, these brief and unpre See those ruins that resemble tending poems of Mr. Landor seem to be cal

Flocks of camels as they lie. culated to impart a fine intellectual pleasure, ’T was a fair but froward city, and yield matter for meditation in moments Bidding tribes and chiefs obey, when the heart is inclined to be still and Till he came who, deaf to pity, commune with itself. The merit of this Tost the inploring arm away. poetry lies mainly in its tone of calin reflect Spoiled and prostrate, she lamented iveness, in a certain suggestive power which

What her pride and folly wrought : sets the mind of the reader thinking, and en

But was ever Pride contented, gages him for the time in the serious con

Or would Folly e'er be taught ? templation of some striking and peculiar

Strong are cities ; Rage o’erthrows 'em ;

Rage o'erswells the gallant ship ; view of human life. Such pieces as we have

Stains it not the cloud-white bosom, selected for quotation may be not unsuitably Flaws it not the ruby lip? introduced by the following lines on the out All that shields us, all that charms us, looks of middle-age : –

Brow of ivory, tower of stone,

Yield to Wrath ; another's harins us, When we have panted past life's middle space,

But we perish by our own. And stand and breathe a moment from the race,

Night may send to rave and ravage These graver thoughts the heaving breast

Panther and hyæna fell ; annoy :

But their manners, harsh and savage, Of all our fields, how very few are green !

Little suit the mild gazelle. And ah! what brakes, moors, quagmires, lie

When the waves of life surround thee, between Tired age and childhood ramping wild with joy.

Quenching oft the light of love

When the clouds of doubt confound thee, It will be seen that, in this little

Drive not from thy breast the dove. is nothing gorgeous or particularly felicitous The following, as the reader will perceive, in the language — not a word of imagery or contains a consoling and excellent suggestion sentimental softness — yet the thought is in regard to the transitoriness of earthly eminently poetical, and, simply as it is set sorrows :forth, suggests a great deal more than is ex

The wisest of us all, when woe pressed – the whole throng of cares and pent

Darkens our narrow path below, up sadness which the tried and weary soul

Are childish to the last degree, conceals, even while they press on him as

And think what is must always be. the inner burden of his life. Our next ex

It rains, and there is gloom around, tract is of a more imaginative aspect, and Slippery and sullen is the ground, shows how admirable a picture the author And slow the step ; within our sight can delineate in words. One seems to see the Nothing is cheerful, nothing bright.

poem, there

Meanwhile the sun on high, although | Than this untrue one, fitter for the weak.
We will not think it can be so,

Who by the lightest breezes are borne up,
Is shining at this very hour

And with the dust and straws are swept away ;
In all his glory, all his power,

Who fancy they are carried far aloft,
And when the cloud is past, again When nothing quite distinctly they descry,
Will dry up every drop of rain.

Having lost all self-guidance. But strong men From another point of view it is shown Light bodied-Fancy – Fancy plover-winged,

Are strongest with their feet upon the ground. how the most brilliant spirits are the most Draws some away from culture to dry downs, susceptible of suffering and depression : Where none but insects find their nútriment; The brightest mind, when sorrow sweeps across, There let us leave them to their sleep and dreams. Becomes the gloomiest ; so the stream, that ran

Great is that poet - great is he alone, Clear as the light of heaven ere autumn closed,

Who rises o'er the creatures of the earth, When wintry storm and snow and sleet descend

Yet only where his eye may well discern Is darker than the mountain or the moor.

The various movements of the human heart,

And how each mortal differs from the rest. In the next quotation, the reader will get Although he struggled hard with poverty, a glimpse of Mr. Landor's views concerning He dares assert his just prerogative the poetic art:

To stand above all perishable things,

Proclaiming this shall live, and this shall die. Pleasant it is to wink and sniff the fumes The little dainty poet blows for us,

From these extracts, the character of Mr. Kneeling in his soft cushion at the hearth, Landor's minor poems will be partially perAnd patted on the head by passing maids. ceived ; readers hitherto unacquainted with Who would discourage him ? who bid him off, them must now consider for themselves, Invidious or morose? Enough, to say

whether they possess attractions of a kind (Perhaps too much, unless 't is mildly said)

likely to be acceptable to their particular That slender twigs send forth the fiercest flame,

tastes and temperaments. It will be seen Not without noise, but ashes soon succeed ; While the broad chump leans back against the that the poetry is mostly of a contemplative

cast; not remarkably imaginative, nor imstones, Strong with internal fire, sedately breathed,

bued to any great degree with the graces or And heats the chamber round from morn till charms of fancy ; nowise stately or magnifinight.

cent in diction, or particularly polished or

exquisite in style ; but, in modest and simple Some further ideas on this subject are pre- guise, wisely thoughtful and reflective; full sented to us in some lines addressed to of hints and intimations of a peculiar exSouthey, between whom and Mr. Landor, perience, and rich in that quiet wisdom notwithstanding the widest difference in their which a man of fine gifts and extensive political and social views, there existed a close knowledge has constantly in store, and the and uninterrupted friendship. A good deal utterance of which is to him as natural and of sound criticism is here condensed into a easy as is the delivery of commonplaces to small compass. Pope's celebrated Essay con- ordinary persons. No one can read these tains nothing of equal merit, either in point poems without observing their unelaborate of judgment or in the graces of expression : and simple structure. They have all the air There are who teach us that the depths of thought the little sparks of light which the revolving

of spontaneous effusions. They seem to be Engulf the poet ; that irregular

mind casts off in token of a latent heat which Is every greater one. Go, Southey, mount Up to these teachers ; ask, submissively,

cannot be contained or all concentrated in Who so proportioned as the lord of day?

that subtile and vast activity, whose product Yet mortals see his steadfast, stately course,

in other forms of literature has been so adAnd lower their eyes before him. Fools gaze up mirable and magnificent. They have taken Amazed at daring flights. Does Homer soar shape without premeditation, and without As hawks and kites and weaker swallows do? labor, and have the appearance of being almost He knows the swineheard ; he plants apple-trees involuntary utterances. Indeed, they might Amid Alcinous' cypresses;

have been in some instances improved by a He covers with his aged, black-veined hand, little more care and manual painstaking in The plumy crest that frightened and made cling the versification ; but for this mechanical To its fond mother the ill-fated child ;

excellence_Mr. Landor appears to have no He walks along Olympus with the gods, Complacently and calmly, as along

regard. He says once, in addressing Words

worth : The sands where Simoïs glides into the sea. They who step high and swing their arms soon That other men should work for me tire.

In the rich mines of Poesie, The glorious Theban then ?

Pleases me better than the toil The sage from Thebes, Of smoothing under hardened hand Who sang his wisdom when the strife of cars With attic emery and oil And combatants had paused, deserves more praise The shining point for wisdom's wand.

Accordingly, what poetry he is in the habit | while he saw others on every side who had got of writing, he throws off from him with an very near the bottom of it, and were still workeasy carelessness, satisfied if the words and ing away when he left the dinner-table, so full images he uses be such as will just serve as a

that he could hardly stand or walk. He had a body to the thought which it is his purpose touch of the cholera the second day, and was to express. It is always rather the substance threatened with apoplexy, so he had to quit the than the form which constitutes the merit of house, where he only ate what he called and paid

Astor abruptly, and to take board at a chopthese productions; and though they cannot be said to present any very lofty views of maker would have taken his measure before this

for, plate by plate. Had he stayed, the coffinhuman life and destiny, any grand conceptions time. Then there was your cousin, John Z. of man's relations and vocation in the Smith, who came down and bought a ticket to universe, they yet contain many excellent and Barnum's Museum, and found it a regular gouge. consolatory reflections, many just and pure He thought he was going to see every curious obsentiments, much of that solemn and pensive ject in the world, and perhaps he might hare beauty which, like the rays of moonlight done so ; but, after looking his eyes almost out about ruins and lonely places, gives a charm of his head for nine or ten hours, and giving hinand a quiet glory to the sobered sadness self a torturing headache, he had to give up, that haunts the chambers of a soul deeply leaving half the objects unseen, because the atlearned in manifold experiences. One sug: him it was time to shut up and go home. And

tendants began to blow out the lights, and told gestion may be given as to what seeing the

there your nephew, John Wilkins Smith, who proper way of reading them ; they yield most pleasure when perused deliberately, one at a them satisfactorily, and thereupon resolved to

came down with a sloop-load of turnips, sold time, following out the thought with its treat himself to a salt-water bath, which he did ; various suggestiveness, until its full meaning but staying in two hours, in order to get the full is gathered up and taken in. They will, worth of his money, he came out with an ague, most of them, be found to have a wonderful and is now suffering severely from rheumatic completeness, and each of them a separate debility. His case is even harder than yours ; and definite signification. They are not for you can stop the “ Tribune,' and he has been endless repetitions of a few fixed ideas and trying to stop the ague, and can't. There are feelings, but they express a multitude of more such cases, but let them pass. We will intellectual and emotional conditions ; they stop your paper very cheerfully, but we can't are records of all the moods and phases which stop putting in more than any one patron will the author's mind has undergone, in the be likely to peruse. In fact, we can't give each course of a life now considerably advanced, without giving his neighbor a great deal that he

reader what he wants of the news of the day, and bear witness to his large devotion to the

don't want. interests of truth and beauty. For all men he needs to-day, without inserting many things

Nor can we give any one just what anyway like-minded, they cannot fail to that he probably would nol want to-morrow. prove pleasant and congenial reading; and So we must try to present a bill of fare from to such of these as may not yet have been which various appetites may be satisfied, though attracted to them, we here take the opportu- each may leave a good deal untouched.”—Hogg's nity of recommending them. We hold them instructor. to be worthy of careful and deliberate study, and can testify that a prolonged acquaintance

HARMONIC RAPPING. - If spirits can rap upon with them increases the gratification which

a table, it stands to reason that they are also they are calculated to afford.

able to strike the keys of a piano. The rappists

should therefore extend the range of their enterTOO MUCH READING. - The following letter of tainments by adding a Broadwood to their mathe editor of the “ Tribune,” in reply to a sub- hogany, and by combining the harmonic meeting scriber, who complains that he has “ too much with the spiritual séance. Weber, who was such reading” furnished to him in these double sheets, a capital hand at supernatural effects, and whose is too good to be overlooked ; the correspondent amiable character during life renders it probable may be imaginary, but the hit is nevertheless a that his disposition is accommodating after death, palpable one. John H. Smith is the gentleman would doubtless willingly oblige the company who writes, and here is the answer : “ Dear with an air or two from Der Freischülz, or John — Your case is distressing, but it is by no Oberon, or perform the overture to the Ruler means so peculiar as you seem to imagine. It is of the Spirits. The ears of the visitors might not in the Tribune' alone, nor even in reading also be gratified with a genuine “ Ghost Melody ;" generally, that people labor under a difficulty the effect whereof upon those organs would probakin to yours. For instance, your brother Bax- ably be to add, in a preternatural degree, to ter Smith came down here from the country the their natural elongation. — Punch. other day, and stopped at the Astor House, but had to quit — the living was too much for him. The food was very good and abundant -- in fact, The face of the corpse seems as if it suddenly too much so — and that did him up. He did n't knew everything, and was profoundly at peace eat more than half way down the bill of fare, I in consequence.


From Chambers' Journal. the stars has been long finished; but the THE LOST MESSMATE.

bench below, overlooking the broad walk and

the busy river, was the evening resort of my When we lived at Greenwich, long ago, sailor-friend. On that seat, Tom appeared to the scene of my greatest earthly delight was me profoundly edifying, as he described the the park, and my chosen society the superan- bombardment of Copenhagen, drew a parallel nuated seamen who strolled down there from between Nelson and Collingwood (by the way, Greenwich Hospital. Better company than the latter was bis crack-man), or explained some of them might have been found for a boy how Acre was defended; but none of his of thirteen, but in those days the seà filled my historical essays ever made such an impresimagination. Readers, I am a respectable sion on my mind as a story he told me once, draper in the Blackfriars' Road, and the cross- while we sat together in an April sunset. It ing of St. George's Channel, in which I was was the Easter holidays, and Easter had n't terribly sick, has been the utmost limit of come early, that year. The chestnut-trees my voyages ; but the interest now given to were in full blossom, and the park in full water-twist and fast-colors, then hung about green. Half London had come out, ils usual, double-reefed topsails, land on the lee-bow, to trample it down ; but the crowd was growand a strange craft bearing down. Great store ing thin for the sun was setting, and we sat was therefore set by the old mariners, who on our accustomed seat, watching its diminu. would talk and tell stories. Queer tales sometion, when the great attraction of the day of them had to tell, and few were slow to conn- passed by. This was a Chinese - whether municate ; but the most satisfactory acquaint- real or fictitious I know not; but he sold ance I found among them was Tom Patterson. paper-lanterns, wore a loose cotton gown, a Tom said he was the last man that ever lost pair of flannel shoes, and an enormous pig. an arm by Bonaparte. How he came to the tail

. I was admiring that weapon of his warexact knowledge of his own distinction in that fare, and Tom, with the pipe between his respect, I never discovered, but his right arm teeth, watching him with a look of indefinite had been carried off by a cannon-ball, in action suspicion, till he was fairly out of sight, when with a French vessel, almost at the close of the old man turned to me and said, in his what it is to be hoped we shall long continue own sedate fashion, “Master Harry, I don't to call the “ last war.

like them there Chinamen?" It is my belief that Tom had come from Why, Tom?" said I, having by this time Scotland in his day. His education was cer- picked up his prejudices. Are they as bad tainly better than that of foretop-men in gen- as the French ?” eral : he could read and write well; there “They 're worse, Master Harry, by several were even traces of the Latin grammar about chalks," said Tom. - No Christian can ever him; and at times Tom let out recollections be up to them. They ’re as deep as the South of an old manse, which stood somewhere on Sea, and I'll tell you what first made me the Firth of Clyde, and a wild, graceless lad, think so. When I served on board the Ratwho ran away to sea. That part of the past tlesnake, in 1809, our ship was ordered to the was reserved for his memory's private domain. China Sea, where the pirates had grown brisk I cannot tell what ruins might be in it. Tom from the scarcity of cruisers. Our captain spoke little on the subject, and was never ex was a jewel for conduct and consideration, plicit; but if he had been the wild, graceless though maybe too young for such a command. Tad, there was a good work done by Time, the Most of our officers had seen service ; there changer ; for when I knew him he was a grave, wasn't a lubber in the crew, nor a troublequiet man, religious withal, after a discreet, some soul on board but Dick Spanker. We sober fashion, and more thoughtful and intel- gave him that surname unanimously - for ligent than the majority of Greenwhich pen-, Dick had none of his own that ever I knew sioners. Whether Tom patronized me or I' when he threw a somersault in the rigging off him, is still an open question. Half at Formosa. Where he was born appeared to least of my pocket-money (and that fund was be a puzzle to himself. Sometimes he said he not large) went in good-will offerings of thac- was à Yorkshire, and sometimes a Cornish co and pipes for his behoof and benefit; and he man; but one thing was plain to everybody talked with me about ships and sea-adventures Dick was no beauty. Low-set, strong, and under the park's old chestnut-trees on summer square of build, he bad a dark complexion, evenings. Noble trees are they, those said very red hair, and a nose broken out of all chestnuts, with the circular benches round shape by some blow or accident; but the most their roots, on which so many have rested. reinarkable particular about him was an enorThere is one, in particular, said to have been mous right thumb. It was positively half the planted by Henry VII., soon after Bosworth breadth of an ordinary hand; and just below Field had made him King of England. I go the nail was a double x in deep blue. Dick to see it yet soinetimes, though not now to said he put on that inark among the Southsee Tom Patterson. His cruise on this side I sea whalers, with whom such things are in

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