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days of Raphael, his chance of being a painter is infinitely less from the prosaic tendency of everything around us. Why, Raphael created painters not less than pictures!
Amico. Did he create them by exciting their enthusiasm, or by giving them some part of himself?
Pictor. Of course, by calling out what was in them. Amico. Then it was in them. That is all I want. Now if many men have the power, what we want is to call it out. Which, think you, is the nobler way, and most likely to lead to great results, to wait if perchance some one may come along sufficient to excite your enthusiasm, or to take the matter in your own hands and wait for no man? Nay, is not the history of the great a sufficient answer? They all went alone.
Pictor. This is fine theory, Amico; but you demand the impossible. Your great men made painting, and that is their title to glory. But for us the field is filled. There remain no such conquests in art for us, as Raphael and Giotto made.
Amico. O man of little faith! Is there nothing for Columbus to do now, because America has been discovered? We stand all upon a Western shore, with a whole unknown world awaiting our discovery. To believe it is there, is faith. To know it, is given to no man. Where would have been the merit of the great Cristoval, if some messenger had revealed all to him?
Be a new Ulysses. Do you remember the old Florentine's verses! Tennyson has hammered them out very skilfully, but here is the gold itself.
"Nè dolcezza del figlio, nè la pieta Del vecchio padre, nè 'l debito amore Lo qual dovea Penelope far lieta,
Vincer potero dentro a me l'ardore
Ma misi me per l'alto mare aperto
O frati, dissi, che per cento milia
De' vostri sensi, ch' è di rimanente,
Considerate la vostra semenza:
Inferno, Canto XXVI.
RECORD OF THE MONTHS.
Poems. By ALFRED TENNYSON. Two Volumes. Boston: W. D. Ticknor.
TENNYSON is more simply the songster than any poet of our time. With him the delight of musical expression is first, the thought second. It was well observed by one of our companions, that he has described just what we should suppose to be his method of composition in this verse from "The Miller's Daughter."
"A love-song I had somewhere read,
Beat time to nothing in my head
It haunted me, the morning long,
So large a proportion of even the good poetry of our time is either over-ethical or over-passionate, and the stock poetry is so deeply tainted with a sentimental egotism, that this, whose chief merits lay in its melody and picturesque power, was most refreshing. What a relief, after sermonizing and wailing had dulled the sense with such a weight of cold abstraction, to be soothed by this ivory lute!
Not that he wanted nobleness and individuality in his thoughts, or a due sense of the poet's vocation; but he won us to truths, not forced them upon us; as we listened, the cope
"Of the self-attained futurity Was cloven with the million stars which tremble O'er the deep mind of dauntless infamy."
And he seemed worthy thus to address his friend,
"Weak truth a-leaning on her crutch,
Unless thus sustained, the luxurious sweetness of his verse must have wearied. Yet it was not of aim or meaning we thought most, but of his exquisite sense for sounds and melodies, as marked by himself in the description of Cleopatra.
"Her warbling voice, a lyre of widest range,
VOL. III. -NO. II.
Or in the fine passage in the Vision of Sin, where
"Then the music touched the gates and died;
Or where the Talking Oak composes its serenade for the pretty Alice; but indeed his descriptions of melody are almost as abundant as his melodies, though the central music of the poet's mind is, he says, as that of the
Like sheet lightning,
With a low melodious thunder;
Next to his music, his delicate, various, gorgeous music, stands his power of picturesque representation. And his, unlike those of most poets, are eye-pictures, not mind-pictures. And yet there is no hard or tame fidelity, but a simplicity and ease at representation (which is quite another thing from reproduction) rarely to be paralleled. How, in the Palace of Art, for instance, they are unrolled slowly and gracefully, as if painted one after another on the same canvass. The touch is calm and masterly, though the result is looked at with a sweet, selfpleasing eye. Who can forget such as this, and of such there are many, painted with as few strokes and with as complete a
"A still salt pool, locked in with bars of sand;
The plunging seas draw backward from the land
Their moon-led waters white."
Tennyson delights in a garden. Its groups, and walks, and mingled bloom intoxicate him, and us through him. So high is his organization, and so powerfully stimulated by color and perfume, that it heightens all our senses too, and the rose is glorious, not from detecting its ideal beauty, but from a perfection of hue and scent, we never felt before. All the earlier poems are flower-like, and this tendency is so strong in him, that a friend observed, he could not keep up the character of the tree in his Oak of Summer Chase, but made it talk like an enormous flower." The song,
"A spirit haunts the year's last hours,"
is not to be surpassed for its picture of the autumnal garden.
The new poems, found in the present edition, show us our friend of ten years since much altered, yet the same. The light he sheds on the world is mellowed and tempered. If the charm he threw around us before was somewhat too sensuous, it is not so now; he is deeply thoughtful; the dignified and graceful man has displaced the Antinous beauty of the youth. His melody is less rich, less intoxicating, but deeper; a sweetness from the soul, sweetness as of the hived honey of fine experiences, replaces the sweetness which captivated the ear only, in many of his earlier verses. His range of subjects was great before, and is now such that he would seem too merely the amateur, but for the success in each, which says that the same fluent and apprehensive nature, which threw itself with such ease into the forms of outward beauty, has now been intent rather on the secrets of the shaping spirit. In 'Locksley Hall,' 'St. Simeon Stylites,' 'Ulysses,' 'Love and Duty,' 'The Two Voices,' are deep tones, that bespeak that acquaintance with realities, of which, in the Palace of Art,' he had expressed his need. The keen sense of outward beauty, the ready shaping fancy, had not been suffered to degrade the poet into that basest of beings, an intellectual voluptuary, and a pensive but serene wisdom hallows all his song.
His opinions on subjects, that now divide the world, are stated in two or three of these pieces, with that temperance and candor of thought, now more rare even than usual, and with a simplicity bordering on homeliness of diction, which is peculiarly pleasing, from the sense of plastic power and refined good sense it imparts.
A gentle and gradual style of narration, without prolixity or tameness, is seldom to be found in the degree in which such pieces as Dora' and 'Godiva' display it. The grace of the light ballad pieces is as remarkable in its way, as was his grasp and force in 'Oriana.' 'The Lord of Burleigh,'' Edward Gray,' and Lady Clare,' are distinguished for different shades of this light grace, tender, and speaking more to the soul than the sense, like the different hues in the landscape, when the sun is hid in clouds, so gently shaded that they seem but the echoes of themselves.
I know not whether most to admire the bursts of passion in 'Locksley Hall,' the playful sweetness of the Talking Oak,' or the mere catching of a cadence in such slight things as
"Break, break, break
On thy cold gray stones, O sea," &c.
Nothing is more uncommon than the lightness of touch, which gives a charm to such little pieces as the 'Skipping Rope.'
We regret much to miss from this edition 'The Mystic,' "The Deserted House,' and 'Elegiacs,' all favorites for years past, and not to be disparaged in favor of any in the present collection. England, we believe, has not shown a due sense of the merits of this poet, and to us is given the honor of rendering homage more readily to an accurate and elegant intellect, a musical reception of nature, a high tendency in thought, and a talent of singular fineness, flexibility, and scope.
A Letter to Rev. Wm. E. Channing, D. D. By O. A. BROWNSON. Boston Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1842.
THAT there is no knowledge of God possible to man but a subjective knowledge, no revelation but the development of the individual within himself, and to himself, · are prevalent statements, which Mr. Brownson opposes by a single formula, that life is relative in its very nature. God alone is; all creatures live by virtue of what is not themselves, no less than by virtue of what is themselves, the prerogative of man being to do consciously, that is, more or less intelligently. Mr. Brownson carefully discriminates between Essence and Life. Essence, being object to itself, alone has freedom, which is what the old theologians named sovereignty;- - a noble word for the thing intende were it not desecrated in our associations, in being usurped by creatures that are slaves to time and circumstance. But life implies a causative object, as well as causative subject; wherefore creatures are only free by Grace of God.
That men should live, with God for predominating object, is the Ideal of Humanity, or the Law of Holiness, in the highest sense; for this object alone can emancipate them from what is below themselves. But a nice discrimination must be made here. The Ideal of Humanity, as used by Mr. Brownson, does not mean the highest idea of himself, which a man can form by induction on himself as an individual; it means God's idea of man, which shines into every man from the beginning; "Enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world," though his darkness comprehendeth it not, until it is "made flesh." It is by virtue of that freedom which is God's alone, and which is the issue of absolute love, that is, "because God so loved the world," he takes up the subject, Jesus, and makes himself objective to him without measure, thereby rendering his life as divine as it is human, though it remains also as human, - strictly speaking, as it is divine.
To all men's consciousness it is true that God is objective in a degree, or they were not distinctively human. His glory is refracted, as it were, to their eyes, through the universe. But