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Basse Terre in October, 1794; and it is of melancholy significance that such heroism gave place to despondent apathy and worse, when Grey relinquished the command. Grey, too, on his side, no sooner arrived in England than he employed all his energy to extort from the Government the rights due to his men, flinging back in their faces the offer of a new command with which they tried to placate him. Whatever his differences with the Government of the day, he enjoyed to the end of his life the confidence, which no misfortune could shake, and the affection, which no carping could destroy, of the officers and men who had served him in the field.
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ART. VI.-The Victorian Anthology. Edited by Sir M. E.
GRANT DUFF. London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co. 1902. THOUGH it be a truism to say that chronological divisions
have no natural relation to the human events which take place in them, it is remarkable how often an epoch of thought or art appears to us as contained within a century. The coincidence is accidental and the accident takes accent from our temptation to show the feet of human change keeping step with the beats of time. But even if there were less of truth than there is in the suggested unison, it would still be convenient to shut off within the circumscription of a cycle the events contained in it, just as we are content to let a window make a framework to a section of landscape, even if the outline of a hillside may be curtailed, one stretch of woodland severed from another, or some reach of a river made to lose its continuity with the stream. Occasionally the severance works for fragment, but as often as not it involves a composition. So it is with history, and especially perhaps with the history of art; and at all events it is certain that in isolating thus the nineteenth century for the purpose of presenting the aspect of a cycle of English poetry, we do succeed in getting something like a complete picture. It may be said, not unfairly, that the birth of the century was contemporaneous with that of a new poetic era, and that its close saw the exhaustion of the movement which its opening happened to inaugurate; and, with this assumption, we may hope that it will not be uninteresting to pass in review, partly for the sake of chronicle, but partly also for appreciation, the names of those who have made the chief show in verse from 1801 to 1900. We may well begin with a reflection with which we might appropriately end: the work of the period has been a redemption; from slovenliness we have risen to style; from vagueness to precision; from levity to earnestness; from triviality to high purpose; from convention to reality in feeling and thought. And, without venturing upon what would be a wide disquisition, we will content ourselves with ascribingas to two great parent causes—the birth of so happy and so vast a change to the impulse of scientific discovery, and to the purifying fires kindled by the French Revolution.
The great poetic outburst which illumined our Elizabethan era, and has continued without a lull, though with much variation in volume and quality of light, ever since, came at 80 mature a point in the literary developement of Europe that it has been marked by two apparently contradictory characteristics. It has been at once derivative and indivi. dual. Derivative, because with Homer and such of his followers as have come down either in fragment or tradition, the Attic Tragedians, the Lyrists, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Dante, and Petrarch, all soliciting imitation and supplying models, it was impossible not to accept and digest the grand result of time. Individual, because with such a wilderness of choice before him, a poet was almost bound to follow his own bent, and to become epic, dramatic, lyric, classic, medieval, romantic, mystic, or a compound of some or all of these, as Nature made and bade him. And a capricious diversity was made all the easier because there was no academic and conservative public audience with its powerful traditions to coerce him, as at Athens, and no Imperial coterie to dictate his taste and subject-matter, as in Augustan Rome. Leaving out Shakespeare, who stands alone, as incapable of imitation as of approach, Marlowe, Jonson, Ford, Milton, Marvell, Denham, Congreve, Addison, Dryden, Swift, Pope, Goldsmith, to say less of Prior, Beattie, Collins, and the rest, had by the close of the eighteenth century provided their successors with a variety of native type and model, both in motive and treatment, unparalleled in the literature of any country. As it was with Adam and Eve on leaving Paradise, when
The world was all before them where to choose
Their place of rest,' so it was with the poetical aspirants of the nineteenth century, and they accordingly scattered themselves over the whole domain. From the start onwards we have had satire, unalloyed, or as sauce to didactics; we have had tragedy, melodrama, comedy, lyrics, one epic at least, a pretty natural daughter of the middle ages, in classic name and fancy dress, and thinking to dance her steps under the tuition of Apollonius Rhodius; we have also had a most remarkable series of epical cameos, most properly named Idylls, but esteemed by some as an Arthurian cycle; besides scores of truncated narrative, that sometimes recall the limits, and occasionally the topics, of Theocritus ; and, lastly, we have had didactic gossip by the square yard, and introspective stanzas by the cartload.
For the multitudinous and no less multifarious poetic production of the last hundred years the spread of education has been largely responsible; and this through one of its thousand consequences, good and bad, that self-esteem which is apt to mistake taste for power, and the desire of achievement, which is so common a possession, for creative instinct, with which so few are dowered. The repeal of the paper duties, and the mechanical appliances which have cheapened production, have been contributory and facilitating causes. Something also must be laid to the charge of the many forms and devices of unscrupulous advertisement, to the recklessness, the lack of sense, and occasionally of conscience, in inferior criticism, not to do more than mention the pernicious habit of a group of authors reviewing one another in turn. But, just as true merit was never permanently obscured either by hostility or neglect, so no mediocrity has ever been made illustrious in the long run by unmerited laudation. It is certain, however, that after we have swept away the piles of rubbish which vanity has produced, and incompetence or dishonesty has recommended, the poetic work of the nineteenth century remains very splendid. A mere review of it, even without anything like an attempt to classify it or to account for it, is of supreme interest. Crabbe, Campbell, Rogers, Southey, and Wordsworth may be said to have led off the procession. Two out of these five, Crabbe and Wordsworth, were something more than considerable,' and both of them may, one certainly will, prove to be immortal. It is a few of his small pieces such as · Hohenlinden,' The Mariners of
England, Lord Ullin's Daughter,' O'Connor's Child,' and The Battle of the Baltic, which give Campbell his chief title to renown. Of these · Hohenlinden' approaches nearest to greatness. Of Lord Ullin's Daughter' it may almost be said that it is saved by its theme in spite of its treatment. O'Connor's Child' is fantastic and secondary, and little better than a vamped-up reproduction of rags and tags from the store closets of the old ballads. As to the * Pleasures of Hope,' what are they? Blameless no doubt, with a strong smack of the school exercise, and such a prophetic forecast of the Prize Poem as illustrates his own well-repeated dictum that
Coming events cast their shadows before.' Patches they have, and many, which are hardly purple, and filled they are with facile generalities, touches of conventional landscape and morality; they abound in platitudes most remotely connected with the pleasures of hope ; and
Englathe Battle wh. of the ord Ullins. eme in spite ndary,
lastly they are interspersed with occasional flashes of outrageous hyperbole, of which one specimen is enough:
"On Erie's banks where Tigers steal along,
And bathe in brains the murderous tomahawk.'
The chief merit of Campbell is his blamelessness, and the literary modesty which saved him from such disastrous failures of over-vaulting ambition as made Southey the laughing-stock of every good judge from Porson and Byron until now. Of Rogers it is unnecessary to say more than that he was a cultivated gentleman who chose to employ a strenuous leisure in writing tolerable verse.
Crabbe, as he was infinitely superior to Campbell, so he more vividly recalls their common poetic ancestry. He is of the race of Pope, Dryden, Swift, Goldsmith, and Cowper. He may lack the philosophic insight, the neatness, the antithesis of the first, the rollick and burliness of the second, the causticity, wit, and political grasp of the third, the grace of the fourth ; but then, to make up for these deficiencies, he has been spared the matchless dreariness of the fifth, and there are moments when he shares the qualities of all. But he poured new wine into their old bottles, and he has a characteristic which differentiates him : his purpose was his own. It was at once sad and solemn; he was the first of our moderns to take seriously to heart, and consciously to write about, the suffering, temptations, difficulties, and degradation of the poor, urban and rural, as he knew them. This he did in no vague or reflective fashion, but in narratives drawn from concrete experience. The population of the Eastern Counties among whom he was bred, half agricultural and half seafaring, perhaps also in an especial degree the victims of material poverty and spiritual neglect, were eminently likely to awaken his sympathy and rouse his sense of wrong; while his opportunities of knowledge as he went among them, first as doctor and afterwards as clergyman, accentuated the influence of their condition upon his heart and brain. The outcome was such a string of poems as "The Village,'The * Parish Register,' and 'The Borough. These may not have added much to the graces of English poetry, any more than the pictures of Teniers did to the æsthetic beauty of painting. But they have directness of incident, firmness of touch, and
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