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ness in treatment of many pieces among his “Poems and • Ballads' were condoned far more handsomely than he should have hoped. If some of us felt a first fine shade of disappointment creep over us with · Chastelard,' which deepened with Bothwell' and Mary Stuart,' it was not that what was done was not well done—for it was all wondrously well done but it was that a writer so splendidly endowed should not have cared to treat something nobler, to do something still better worth his doing. Had not the world had already a little too much of the frivolity, intrigue, levity, moral squalor, cruelty, and crime of Mary Stuart and her Court? We grieved that one who might have been among the most picturesque of teachers, as the “Songs • before Sunrise' testified, should tend towards subsidence into a raker of dead rose-leaves from the bowers of light ladies, a chronicler of their frailties, and of their sufferings at the hands of paramours whose deeds and natures were even more unsavoury than their own. Such feelings were not relieved by the appearance of 'Tristram and Isealt.' It was now too clear that Mr. Swinburne had become by habitual preference a treater of such themes, and that the world must make up its mind to suffer by his choice. One exception we are bound to admit: “Marino Faliero' is & great subject grandly handled. Since those days he has done little more than disport himself with his powers. He has tossed metre about as a Japanese juggler spins plates or keeps sham butterflies upon the wing. He has loved to elaborate an idea through a score of complicated stanzas very much as an over-ingenious musical composer tortures a theme through endless variations. And all these things he dous with an exuberance and a faultless dexterity which bewilder and charm us for the moment, but upon which he must panlon us if we reflect with a genuine regret. He has suderval, like most great people, much from epithets. He has been called comet-like, erratic, meteoric; but these handlr supply a befitting image. He does not strike us as hatlass, or out of the way, except in having been very bruilent He is rather represented, to our thinking, by a ter that hoats suddenly into the astronomer's ken, shows for while #s of the first magnitude, arousing a wild Nurmi k ope, a prophecy, but slowly dies back to a power the though still considerable splendour, and leaves the disappointed observer saddened as well as silent, like
sailor's upon their peak in Darien. With Mr Swinburne the roll of the masters is closed.
But there are many names, early and late, which deserve record. There is Bishop Heber, whose · Bluebeard' is, with the exception of “The Ingoldsby Legends,' the best comic poem ever written by a clergyman. There is Bailey, of wbose death at a ripe age we have lately heard, and in whose Festus' and The Age' the display of his own literary ambition is perhaps, after all, in spite of their momentary acceptance, the chief effect. Fitzgerald, the translator of Omar Khayyam's 'Rubaiyát,' must not be forgotten, though his original work may have passed out of remembrance. There is, too, the late T. E. Brown, the Manxman, a great scholar and tutor, whom a long generation of Clifton schoolboys remember with affection and reverence, and whom a grateful group of readers still thank for his · Fo'c's'le Yarns,' Manx Witch,' and 'The Doctor'; genuine pictures, all, of the homely island life and scenery amid which he was born and nurtured. There is Sir Alfred Lyall, whose masculine · Verses written in India'make us wish that there were more of them. There is Professor Courthope, whose ‘Paradise of Birds' might well have been followed by something simile aut secundum. Sir Lewis Morris has been a voluminous writer, and a careful and conscientious worker. He is, perhaps, the most fruitful and successful of the Tennysonians. His · Epic of Hades,' which introduced him, and his "Gwen,' a very charming poem, have won him a title to respectful mention among Victorian poets. Prominent among all such in gentle grace of idyllic work is Mr. Robert Bridges. His shorter poems seem to us far his best. In spite of the superiority of his . Return of Ulysses' to another much-praised poem on the same subject, the verdict upon him must be that he falls back beaten from effort upon a large scale. But if anybody who does not yet know him should wish to try the flavour of his smaller fruits let him take the first taste of them in the delightful, but unnamed, poem which begins
There is a hill beside the silver Thames.' We shall be surprised if he does not devour the basketful.
Lord De Tabley's half-dozen volumes are, unfortunately for the many, known only to the few. He had not those qualities which provoke general acceptance. One is tempted to associate him with Arnold, though it is not difficult to differentiate the two. De Tabley could not have written • Thyrsis,' perhaps, nor ‘Empedocles on Etna,' though neither subject would have been alien to his genius; but
Gus. Hike most careful an Lewig been for our
Arnold, on the other hand, would have been incapable of
Orestes,' and still more certainly so of Jaël,' that strangest and most original of monologues. Seldom has a sequel to a long-accepted myth been so completely justified. We feel that the lonely woman who in a momentary flush of resistless patriotism dared to slay the sleeping Sisera, whom she had for pity entertained, must have repented of her deed ; and seldom has there been a nobler study of passion than De Tabley's of the remorse with which he has dowered her. His volumes are full of fine things, and we could only wish, not so much for his fame's sake, as for that of the general spread of enjoyment, that the number of those qualified to judge of them were larger than it is.
Three men have been conspicuous during the nineteenth century as writers of sacred' poetry-Cardinal Newman, Father Faber, and Mr. Keble. There would be an obvious risk in an attempt to judge them by what is after all bound to be a secular standard. They are all eminently sectarian. Let those who prefer either of them to George Herbert do so. For ourselves, we are content with the elder poet. Their piety is their enticement, and Herbert's has an element of universality which theirs lacks. Once we recollect catching in Mr. Keble the true lyric ring. It is in the opening stanzas of the lines written for one of the later Sundays after Trinity, and which begin
Red o'er the forest peers the setting sun.' But even these are but a sweet echo, which would hardly have taken shape but for Gray's 'Elegy.
A word or two must be said for those whose mission has been to relax the strung bow for us, who have had no lesson to teach beyond the pleasant one that life need not be all labour, and who in teaching this have laughed with us out of working hours. James and Horace Smith were poets. 'A Tale of Drury Lane,' that epic of the Fire Hose, is as much a poem outside ‘Marmion' as Pope's 'Iliad' is one apart from that of Homer. Aytoun and Theodore Martin created a new Campeador in Don Fernando Gomersalez, and added a startling sequel to the deeds of St. George in the exploit of Mr. Philip Slingsby. Those who have simmered over the neatness and classic smartness of Calverley have owed a like and not inferior pleasure to Seaman, Graves, and Godley. And as we and our fathers enjoyed in company the extravaganzas of Planché, so have we sat and laughed with our sons over the libretti of Gilbert
wedded to the music of Sullivan. In this, as in other matters, we of the nineteenth century have had much to be thankful for.
Two or three stand out among the younger group of living poets whom we have deliberately forborne to estimate. Let us now name them-Mr. Watson, Mr. Phillips, and Mr. Kipling. Their genius is undoubted, and each will take the rank found due to him, as time developes his powers and accumulates his productions. That we do not attempt to appraise them comes not of failure to appreciate or reluctance to acknowledge. But we think that they more properly belong to the twentieth century, and we hope and believe that when the chronicler of the new epoch makes up his treasures their names will each have an honoured place upon the roll.
And now, what is the sum of the matter? Is it not that at the dawn of the last century, after a brief period of slightness and estrangement from high purpose, Poetry did rouse herself, shake her plumes, remember her mission, and set herself anew to the serious problems of life; to this end touching the lips, and not in vain, of Crabbe, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Tennyson, and Browning? Have not all these great men caught fire from their epoch, illumi. nating it in turn with the coruscations of their own uncommunicated genius? And has there not been beside them a long and still brilliant company of lesser lights, grouped in easy gradation of achievement, from the high level of Swinburne, Arnold, and Patmore, down to that of some of those who are at work to-day ? Mankind may hereafter shake their heads when they read some of the more unmeasured of contemporary eulogies, but it will always be conceded to the nineteenth century that, while it was an age in which eternal questions and issues had become more complex and more difficult than they had been or seemed to be during its predecessors, it produced poets able and zealous to attack them, and who, while they laid bare their own doubts and self-conflicts, were still fit to register every pulse and stereotype every phase of the moral, social, and intellectual movement that surged around them.
ART. VII.-1. Lord Grey's Letters on the Colonial Policy of
Lord John Russell, 1846–52. 2 vols. Bentley. 1853. 2. The Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald. By JOSEPH POPE.
London : Edward Arnold. 1894. 3. The Commonwealth of Australia. By Professor W. HARRI
son MOORE. London: John Murray. 1902. 4. Federal Government in Canada. By Sir John BOURINOT.
Johns Hopkins University Series. 5. British Rule and Jurisdiction Beyond the Seas. By Sir
HENRY JENKYNS. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1902. 6. A Short History of British Colonial Policy. By H. E.
EGERTON. London: Methuen. 1897. 7. Parliamentary Government in the Colonies. By ALPHEUS
TODD. Boston: Little & Brown. 1880. The Colonial Conference is at an end, and the premiers
are returning to their own countries. The Government have decided that they will not publish a report of the discussions, and we shall, therefore, not possess any full record of debates which must have teemed with episodes to throw light on the internal relations of the British Empire. The reticence is discreet, but disappointing. For the resolutions passed by this Conference-if ever they should be published during our lives—will give us very little help in estimating the general tendencies of colonial feeling. Such resolutions express little more than pious wishes. It would be very much more interesting to know what was the attitude of the colonial premiers towards the original proposals put forward by Mr. Chamberlain. The Colonial Secretary, it is generally believed, suggested certain schemes of combined Imperial defence. He presumed, we imagine, that it would be possible to build some durable structure on the basis of the combined effort made by the Empire to close the South African war. But if so, it seems clear that his proposal met with little favour from the colonies. The modest resolution which is officially stated to have been passed in favour of increased colonial subventions to the Imperial navy carries us, indeed, little beyond the point that we have reached already. Australia, as everyone knows, already contributes 126,0001., and South Africa gives an ironclad. The very slight additions to these grants, rumoured to be about 200,0001., which have been sanctioned by the Conference are satisfactory, but do not open up any new policy.