Imatges de pÓgina
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ness of relation, his rollicking metres, his technical vocabulary, and his trick of repetition are admirably caught.

"Now who's for a bride on the shady

side of up'ards of forty-three?"

It was the woman Sal o' the Dune, and

the men were three to one, Bill the Skipper, and Ned the Nipper,

and Sam that was Son of a Gun; Bill was a Skipper, and Ned was a

Nipper, and Sam was the Son of a

Gun, And the woman was Sal o' the Dune,

as I said, and the men were three to one.

Its author has been called the modern Calverley, and no greater praise could the parodist wish for. “The Battle of the Bays" carries on the best traditions of an art which, for all its apparent worthlessness and triviality, is not to be despised. After all, a parody is generally nothing but a satire with the fierce-looking mask taken off, and it is none the less effective for its levity. After a prolonged diet of favorable reviews a corrective is sometimes necessary to the belauded poet, and to the parodist falls the task of gilding the philosophic pill—which, from the time of Horace to that of W. S. Gilbert, has always been considered a useful and a virtuous office.

Herbert M. Sanders.

There was never a light in the sky

that night of the soft midsummer

gales, But the great man-bloaters snorted

low, and the young 'uns sang like

whales; And out laughed Sal (like a dog

toothed wheel was the laugh that

Sal laughed she), Temple Bar,

THE TRAGEDY OF THE MINOR POET.

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A strange and terrible book might be compiled by choosing, let us say, two hundred of the loveliest of English lyrics, and appending to each a footnote tersely descriptive of its author's fate. The question, Why do Minor Poets exist? is sometimes raised by a newspaper, and settled humorously in its third leading article (the one devoted to culture, railway accidents, police court drolleries, and other social topics). But the absurdity of the Minor Poet, like that of Sir Ellis Ashmead Bartlett, is mainly a journalistic convention. He adds, by hypothesis, to the national stock of gaiety, although we shake our sides at him with as little genuine excuse as the one statesman who, exactly a year ago, was jeered at by Mr. Chamberlain for believing that the wrongs of the Uitlanders justified armed inter

vention. And I say quite seriously that such anthology I suggest would set the question in a new light, and a sufficiently lurid one. We call our best collection of lyrics a "Golden Treasury," and forget in what dreadful matrices the jewels were shaped; we chase the satin slipper or the Grace's naked foot along the pathways without reckoning the concealed fires under the crust of turf; and to be sure we are wise in our carelessness, for the first claim of poetry is to be enjoyed, and if it be Art's business to conceal art, still more is it to conceal Art's Tophet.

At the same time no critic can pursue his calling for long without facing the minor poet-or, for that matter, the major one, as a social problem. If we lacked the sense or the pluck to face key upon the wainscot his magnificent "Song to David": dropsy in the house of a poor shoemaker near Dowgate. During his sickness he called continually upon God. His last act was to pen a letter to his wife imploring her pardon:

Strong is the lion--like a coal
His eyeball-like a bastion's mole

His chest against the foes;
Strong the gier-eagle on his sail;
Strong against tide th' enormous whale

Emerges as he goes.

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that problem on our own motion, that painful and thoughtful book, "The Insanity of Genius"-a work which had the misfortune to be obscured by a showier German tract of less than half its honesty-thrust it fairly and squarely upon us. And the respectable pages of such

collection Chalmers's “British Poets" are evidence all the more convincing, because squeamish and unwilling, that beneath the crust there does lie Tophet; that the question which Blake put to the Tiger-"Did He who made the lamb make thee?”—applies with an equal force of wonder to a great many of our fieriest as well as of our most innocent lyrics, and that Nature is, at least, as cruelly wasteful in producing a gem of song as in producing a diamond. On one student, at any rate, the Lives of the Poets have so worked that the receipt of a brand-new volum of verse gives him, if not a “stunner," a sensation which an companying letter from the author easily and invariably turns into one.

But stronger still, in earth and air,
And in the sea, the man of prayer,

And far beneath the tide;
And in the seat to faith assigned,
Where ask is have, where seek is find,

Where knock is open wide.

It sounds repeatedly the very note of Blake-and is the composition of a madman who, of his sane moments, has scarcely left us one memorable line. Collins and Cowper knew madness, Swift and Southey withered from the top downward; but John Clare knew worse madness than any, and what poetry did he leave?

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knows?

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The noble tragedies of Scott's life and Lamb's justify themselves. So, I think, do those of Hood's, Coleridge's, Shelley's, Byron's, Rossetti's—these, though less admirable, were the tragedies of big men. From the stories of Blake and Keats we may extract, in different ways, consolation. It is in the stories of lesser men that the real pathos resides. Keats, for example, perished young of consumption, but not before he had written “La Belle Dame Sans Merci;" the same malady carried off two young Scotsmen, Michael Bruce and David Gray, with their aspirations quite unfulfilled. Blake suffered, but he lit a new lyric dawn; but the premonitory flash of that dawn came out of the dark middle days of the eighteenth century-a single ray from the brain of a madman. It was in confinement, deprived of pen, ink and paper, that poor Kit Smart scratched with a

He escaped from one asylum, and was found wandering with nothing to eat but the grass of the wayside.

He was taken to another, in Northampton, and there left for twenty-two years alone--un visited by wife, child friend.

Savage and Pattison, Ferguson, Walker, Thom, Dermody and Ashe are other names on the miserable list. Budgell and Chatterton, Beddoes and Adam Lindsay Gordon-these destroyed themselves; Peele and Greene and Butler“died wretchedly in squalid lodgings" is a line to be kept in stereotype for the biographies of lesser poets. Our anthology may add the details, and append (for instance) to the graceful song of “Samela"

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Sweet wife, as ever there was any goodwill or friendship between thee and me, see this bearer, my Host, satisfied of his debt: I owe him £10, and but for him I had perished in the streets. Forget and forgive my wrongs done unto thee, and Almighty God have merer on my soul. Farewell till we meet in Heaven, for on earth thou shalt never see me more. This 2 of September, 1592. Written by thy dying husband.

When his body was laid out the shoemaker's wife laid on his brow a wreath of laurel.

Think of the footnotes to Peele's gay and delightful “Fair and fair" and his noble “His golden locks time hath to silver turned;" to Carew's “Ask me no more;" to Poe's "Helen;" the commentary of dishonor upon Waller's “Go, lovely rose," and Rochester's "Why dost thou shade thy lovely face"-a song of pure passion all but unrivalled in the language. Surrey, Southwell, Montrose went to the scaffold. Chidiock, Tichborne and Raleigh wrote “My prime of life," and the exquisite “Even such is time" on the eve of execution; and the latter his “Go, soul, the body's guest" during captivity and while expecting the end. The singer of “Come live with me and be my love" died in a drunken scuffle; the author of the fine chorus “O wearisome condition of humanity" was stabbed by a serving

most naked and in a rage of hunger, he rushed out from his lodgings, begged a shilling from a gentleman in a coffeehouse, was givenoa guinea, ran off and bought a roll of bread and was choked with the first mouthful. “All this, I hope, is not true," says the Doctor, ... but that indigence and its concomitants, sorrow and despondency, pressed hard upon him has never been denied, whatever immediate cause might bring him to the grave."

The case of Pattison is less known; he died in London in 1727, aged less than twenty-one, and if starvation did not immediately kill him it is certain that he starved. Mangan of the immortal “Rosaleen” and “The Nameless One,” strayed from his hovel in Bride Street, Dublin, during the cholera epidemic of 1849. Sick with hunger and exhausted, he fell into a pit dug for a house foundation, was discovered there after a long while, was taken to the Jeath Hospital and transferred to the cholera sheds. There the attendant physician found him not infected, but merely starving, too far gone for help. Vext to Otway, in Chalmers's collection, comes Pomfret, author of the once famous “Choice." Pomfret had been presented to a living of value, but some malicious fool tried to persuade the Bishop of London that a passage in “The Choice" was immoral. Pomfret went up to London and easily disposed of the falsehood, but at the same time he took the small-pox and died of it, aged thirty-six.

Well, an accident of this sort is not specially incident to Minor Poets; and the reader who comes a whole nebula of disasters in the “Lives" may be tempted to account for it by the conditions of Grub Street, and to add that Grub Street has passed away. But the tragedies of such

men as Boyce, Churchill, Lloyd, Bamfylde, are not to be laid at any door in Grub Street; the seeds of them lay in the men them

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man.

We shall have to record starvationactual death by starvation. There is, of course, Otway's case to tack on to his pretty "I did but look and love a while." "He died,” says Johnson, “in a manner which I am unwilling to mention," and then follows the story of how, al

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selves. To be sure, of all callings In the list I have given Poesy was, and is, the worst paid. You random a dozen disasters may be may write a "Belle Dame Sans Merci” picked out accidental, having tomorrow, and consider yourself ex- no connection with the poetic calltremely fortunate if you make £5 by it. ing, “the sort of ing that might But poverty—though it has to be taken happen to anybody.” But as the list into account-is by no means all the is extended-and it could be extended mischief with the Minor Poet. The im- very far beyond the limits of this arportant mischief lies in the noble and ticle—the mere accumulation of disashopeless business of nursing an ideal ters tells its own tale. The tragedies out of all proportion to your powers, of Hartley Coleridge, James Thompson, in mistaking-to quote Johnson again Laman Blanchard, and Philip Bourke -inclination for ability; in the struggle Marston are different; and the tragedies. between the high dream and the de- of Aphra Behn, “L. E. L.," Charlotte spairing, stammering tongue; in the Smith, and Emily Brontë are different; danger of valuing yourself by the but together they help to make up a aspiration and losing your temper with terrible case. Eastcheap and the Bankmen who prefer to value you by the side may pass, and Grub Street may performance; in the temptation to de- pass; but the poetic temperament respise them for blockheads, to find the mains, self-torturing sensitive, its world no place for you and bid it go sense of perfection unresting; its asto the devil-which means, as often as pirations so seldom winged with power. not, going to the devil yourself.

A. T. Quiller-Couch.

The Speaker.

A PRAYER.

From vain desires, base thoughts, and evil ways,
O blest Redeemer! give my soul release;
Grant that with heart at rest, and mind at peace,
And grateful lips o'erflowing with Thy praise,
It may be mine to serve Thee all my days
In psalms and hymns, and prayers that never cease,
My spirit amplified with such increase
As may my life to like fruition raise.

Yea, lest my daily life should offer less
Of love to Thee than doth my prayer or song,
Let me in acts of merciful redress
Take somewhat from the sum of human wrong:
Use Thou my life some other life to bless,

Then shall I have Thy blessing all day long.
The Sunday Magazine.

IV. Coran.

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I.

works! we purpose to consider at this

time, had a near view of that simultaThe name of Feminism has been giv- neous lifting of the bucklers. “Writing en in France to a strong intellectual women"-these are her words—"came and moral movement, the effects of up like mushrooms under an autumnal which have been felt throughout Eu- rain; then sprouted a certain number rope, in these last years of our agitated of women doctors, and after them folcentury. But we have really no ade- lowed a cloud of teachers and telequate idea of the intensity of some of phone-workers. They all claimed the the manifestations of Feminism in cli- right to study, to practice law, to hold mates less temperate than ours and in local and government office; above all an atmosphere not yet rendered so tepid -to vote. The single right about which and equable by an all-pervading scepti- they said nothing was the right to love. cism as that which we are accustomed Woman became a neuter being, capato breathe. On the signal given by ble of thinking and producing; incapaIbsen's Nora, a complete feministic cam- ble, by the same token, of fulfilling her paign at once took shape in the North, true mission. Every possible variety and was conducted vigorously and with of sex-deterioration-every deformity the most inflexible logic. One of the which may result from the violent supavowed objects of the movement, and pression of the natural instincts was undoubtedly one of its deepest motives, paraded in broad daylight. Every was that "economic independence” of opportunity was afforded for studying women, which an increasingly-keen both temperaments ruined by a precocompetition for the means of livelihood cious development, and others stifled in had rendered an absolute necessity; but the germ,-erotic mania and complete the Scandinavian woman was by no atrophy, the abuse of theory and the means content with the privilege of paralysis of instinct. The highways of earning her bread independently of her the moral world were literally strewn husband's toil; she also desired emanci- with the corpses of these intrepid pation from the chains imposed by the tyranny of marital affection.

1 Das Buch der Frauen: Munich 1894.

Wir Frauen und unsere Dichter: Berlin 1895. One remarkably clever woman, Mrs.

Zur Psychologie der Frau: Berlin 1897. Laura Marholm, the influence of whose Karla Biihring. Drama. Munich 1895,

Zwei Frauenerlebrusse: Munich 1896. *Translated for The Living Age.

Frau Lily: Berlin 1897.

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