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BURNS AND MOORE.

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"One touch of nature," as Shakespeare says, "makes the whole world kin," and what that national music and that national poetry are to the Scots, that national poetry and that national music are to the Irish. Burns and Moore have, therefore, a double guarantee of immortality; for they have wedded undying lays to undying notes, and thus not only driven the nail of security to the head, but have riveted it on the other side.

LECTURE V.

New phases of the poetic mind.-Leigh Hunt; Story of Rimini and Miscellanies. Specimens, Funeral Procession, and The Glove.-Characteristics of the new school.-John Keats, Endymion, Lamia; his untutored fancy. -Extracts from Eve of St Agnes, and Ode to Nightingale: opening of Hyperion.-Percy Bysshe Shelley.-Alastor, Revolt of Islam, the Cenci, Queen Mab, and Miscellanies.-Extracts from Sensitive Plant, A Ravine. -His quasi-philosophy condemned.-Barry Cornwall, Dramatic Scenes, Sicilian Story.-Marcian Colonna, and Songs.-The Bereaved Lover; a Secluded Dell; The Pauper's Funeral.-Robert Pollok and Thomas Aird. -The Course of Time; extracts, Autumn Eve, Hill Prospect.-Aird's imaginative poetry, The Devil's Dream.-William Motherwell; William Kennedy; Ebenezer Elliot, Village Patriarch, and Miscellanies.-Thomas Hood.-Eugene Aram, opening of it; I remember; Flight of Miss Kilmansegg; Young Ben, a punning ballad.

THE great original English school of poetry-English in its language, sentiments, style, and subjects—was that commencing with the graphic "Canterbury Tales" of Chaucer; and including Shakespeare, with the constellation of dramatists immediately before and after him— Webster, Marlow, Massinger, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, and Shirley. The second was that of Dryden, Prior, Swift, and Pope, by which the canons of French criticism were acknowledged; where art superseded nature; where, even in dramatic compositions, rhyme took the place of blank verse; and in whose subjects the conventionalities of society held a place superior to the great originating principles of human action. The third great school was that whose merits I have just imperfectly discussed; and which,

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finding our literature at the lowest ebb, succeeded in raising it to a pitch of splendour, whether we look to grace or originality, power or variety-at least nearly equalling the first. Its primal seeds, especially in the writings of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Scott, seem traceable to Germany: not so in Crabbe, Moore, Southey, Wilson, or Byron; and it ripened into a harvest, whose garnered-up riches are destined for the intellectual provender of many succeeding ages. Fostered in the shadow of its noonday brilliance, and for a time attracting only secondary notice, a fourth school began to exhibit itself about thirty years ago, and since then has been gradually gaining an ascendancy. Somewhat modified since its commencement it may be said to be, that at present existing-we dare not say flourishing,-seeing what we have seen in that which immediately preceded it, when, verily, there were giants in the land; not influencing merely a class or a coterie, but stirring popular feeling even to its profoundest depths, and enthroning poetry for a season above every other branch of literature. The source of this new composite school was at first very distinctly Italian; next blending itself with the literature of France; and, lastly, with that of Germany. Such has been its influence that, sad it is to say, but little of the flavour of the original British stock is now perceptible among our risen or rising poets.

I do not think we can trace an origin to this school -which soon comprehended among its disciples Keats, Shelley, and Barry Cornwall, with others of less notefarther back than 1816, when it showed itself in fullblown perfection in the "Story of Rimini," by Leigh Hunt-a poem which to this day remains probably the very best exemplar alike of its peculiar beauties and its peculiar faults.

LEIGH HUNT:

Although previously well known as an acute dramatic critic, and a clever writer of occasional verses, it was by

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the production of the "Story of Rimini" that Leigh Hunt put in his successful claim to a place among British poets. That he is himself truly a poet, a man of original and peculiar genius, there can be no possible doubt; but the fountains of inspiration from which his urn drew much light, were Boccaccio, "he of the hundred tales of love ;" Dante, in whose "Inferno" is to be found the exquisite episode of "Francesca," which he expanded; and Ariosto, from whose sparkling and sprightly pictures he took many of the gay, bright colours with which he emblazoned his own.

HIS CHARACTERISTICS AS A POET.

With acute powers of conception, a sparkling and lively fancy, and a quaintly curious felicity of diction, the grand characteristic of Leigh Hunt's poetry is wordpainting; and in this he is probably without a rival, save in the last and best productions of Keats, who contended, not vainly, with his master on that ground. In this respect, nothing can be more remarkable than some passages in "Rimini," and in his collection entitled "Foliage," much of which he has since capriciously cancelled; and he also exercised this peculiar faculty most felicitously in translations from the French and Italian, although, in some instances, he carried it to the amount of grotesqueness or affectation. His heroic couplet has much of the life, strength, and flexibility of Dryden-of whom he often reminds us; and in it he follows glorious John, even to his love for triplets and Alexandrines. Hunt's taste, however, is very capricious; and in his most charming descriptions, some fantastic or incongruous epithet is ever and anon thrust provokingly forward to destroy the unity of illusion, or to mar the metrical harmony. His landscapes are alike vividly coloured and sharply outlined; and his figures, like the quaint antiques of Giotto and Cimabue, are ever placed in attitudes sharp and angular-where striking effect is preferred to natural repose. The finest passages in the "Story of Rimini" are the descriptions of the April

"

STORY OF RIMINI."

morning with which canto first opens; of the Ravenna pine-forest, with its "immemorial trees," in canto second; and of the garden and summer-house in canto third. Indeed, the whole of the third canto overflows alike with classic elegance and natural feeling; and it would be difficult anywhere to find, in an English poet, an equal number of consecutive lines so thoroughly excellent. The account of the funeral procession of the lovers, at the conclusion of the poem, is also conceived in a spirit of picturesque beauty, as well as of solemn and deep-toned tenderness :

"The days were then at close of autumn-still,

A little rainy, and towards nightfall chill;

But now there was a moaning air abroad;

And ever and anon, over the road,

The last few leaves came fluttering from the trees,
Whose trunks, bare, wet, and cold, seemed ill at ease.
The people who, from reverence, kept at home,
Listened till afternoon to hear them come;

And hour on hour went by, and naught was heard
But some chance horseman or the wind that stirred,
Till towards the vesper hour; and then, 'twas said,
Some heard a voice that seemed as if it read;
And others said, that they could hear a sound
Of many horses trampling the moist ground.
Still nothing came: till, on a sudden, just
As the wind opened with a rising gust,
A voice of chanting rose, and, as it spread,
They plainly heard the anthem for the dead.
It was the choristers, who went to meet

The train, and now were entering the first street.
Then turned aside that city young and old,
And in their lifted hands the gushing sorrow rolled."

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Of Leigh Hunt's other narrative poems-which are all immeasurably inferior to "Rimini"-it is not necessary to say much. "Hero and Leander" is a version of the old classic legend, in his own simple,

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