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VARIOUS POETS OF THE PERIOD.
marred by improbability of incident and fantastical views of life; to Bowring, whose "many-languaged lore" culled poetical delights for us from all the corners of Europe, and whose own original verses were ever spirited and fine; to Winthrop Mackworth Praed, the coadjutor of Macaulay in "The Etonian," whose seriocomic legends were coloured with fresh and flowing fancy, and who, in a great degree, anticipated both Hood and Ingoldsby in a peculiar comic vein; to Charles Chalklin, whose "Ghost of the Oratory," and lyrical themes, overflow with poetic suggestion, and are often of high speculative beauty, sadly defective though they are rendered by redundance of imagery and want of keeping to Abraham Heraud, whose "Judgment of the Flood," and "Descent into Hell," although overambitious in style and language, display power and imagination; to R. W. Jameson, whose "Nimrod" is a daring conception, worked out in many passages with vigour and effect; and to Edwin Atherstone, whose "Last Days of Herculaneum," and "Fall of Nineveh," although poems of amazing copiousness and considerable invention, are not great poems. In them we have intellectual pomp rather than intellectual strength-a prodigality of blossoms, but a scarcity of fruit. Many of Atherstone's pictures, however, taken by themselves, more especially his battle-scenes, are striking and animated; but he lacks the ideal the intuitive touch which alone can give strict individuality, and which great masters only possess.
Ballad-historic poetry.-J. G. Lockhart: Spanish ballads: his Napoleon.T. B. Macaulay; Lays of Ancient Rome, Lake Regillus.-Professor Aytoun; Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, Battle of Killiecrankie. - Mrs Stuart Menteath, Mrs Ogilvy, Miss Agnes Strickland.-Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer: his poems and translations.-Rev. John Moultrie ; stanzas, "My Scottish Lassie."-Scottish and Irish poets of the period.— Dirge by Mrs Downing.-The Metaphysic-romantic school.-Alfred Tennyson; Ballads, Princess, and In Memoriam.-Specimens, Oriana and Stanzas.-R. M. Milnes and Dr Charles Mackay.-Robert Browning; Paracelsus, Sordello, Bells and Pomegranates.-John Sterling.- Philip James Bayley; Festus, The Angel World: extract, Dream of Decay.Mysticism and obscurity the pervading faults of our recent poetry.Concluding remarks.
IN some brief introductory remarks on the poetry of Scott, I referred to the earliest forms of national versethe song and ballad; the former more particularly relating to sentiment, the latter to action. Indeed, a ballad may be defined to be the simplest shape of narrative verse; nor does it detract much from the perfect strictness of this definition, that the characters should be made occasionally to moralise and reflect. The ballads of one nation necessarily differ widely from those of another in scenery and manners, as well as in prevailing local or natural associations: but, withal, simplicity of style and feeling is a requisite as well as a uniform characteristic.
JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART.
In 1823, John Gibson Lockhart, previously distinguished as the author of "Valerius," "Adam Blair," "Reginald Dalton," and "Matthew Wald," published his translations from the ancient Spanish; and although most of these medieval ballads were wonderfully fine in themselves, they certainly lost nothing-as the shield of Martinus Scriblerus is said to have done-from being subjected to the tact and skill of modern furbishing. On the contrary, what was tame he inspired; what was lofty gained additional grandeur; and even the tender
-as in the lay of "Count Alarços"-grew still more pathetic beneath his touch. The translations consisted of three classes—the Historical, the Romantic, and the Moorish; and among the most striking are "The Avenging Childe," "The Seven Heads," "The Bull-fight of Granada," "Zara's Ear-rings," and, beyond all, "Count Alarços and the Infanta Soliza," than which, as rendered by Mr Lockhart, no finer ballad of its kind -more gushingly natural, or more profoundly pathetic -probably exists in the poetry of any nation.
These translations derive, as I have said, not a little of their excellence from Mr Lockhart's being himself a poet of fine genius-clear in his conceptions, and masculine in execution. His pictures have all the distinctness of an autumn landscape, outlined on the horizon by an unclouded morning sun. What he might have done had he continued scaling the heights of Parnassus, there could have been little difficulty in predicating; and most assuredly the poetical literature of our age lost much by his desertion of the lyre, who might have been one of its great masters-whether he had chosen to tread in the steps of " Dan Chaucer" or of "Glorious John ;" for he could wield at will the graphic brush of the painter of "Palamon and Arcite," as well as etch with the needle that outlined "Absalom and Achitophel." Many of Lockhart's scattered verses are exquisitely fine, and range from the genially humorous of "Captain
Paton's Lament," to the majestically solemn of his "Napoleon"-which latter alone would have for ever stamped their author a poet of a high order :
"The mighty sun had just gone down
Each in his cave to sleep;
And breathless all the broad red sea,
Our solitary tree.
Our only tree, our ancient palm,
Whose shadow sleeps our door beside,
When Buonaparte died.
An ancient man, a stately man,
Came forth beneath the spreading tree,
A trembling hand had partly covered
The old man's weeping countenance,
That spake of war and France;
When trumpets pierced the kindling air,
Through battle's crimson glare.
When life beat high, and hope was young,
By Lodi's wave, or Syria's sand,
The bolt of death hath flung.
Young Buonaparte's battle-cry
Perchance hath kindled this old cheek;
It is no shame that he should sigh-
He hath been with him young and old:
Along the river Po.
But calm, most calm, was all his face,
His eyes were closed in pensive grace-
Ye would have said, some sainted sprite
Some man, whose prayer at morn and night
What thoughts had calmed his dying breast
(For calm he died) cannot be known;
Nor would I wound a warrior's rest,-
Mr Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome" differed initially from Mr Lockhart's Spanish translations in this, that the latter worked from the native materials,