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soul is
, as it were, a river

. "Browning re- Browning is not, of course, popular.

about fashion. Then, the life they describe the stream without an effort, there is Byron; is conventional: Browning's should be real. if you would drive along a smooth road, The motives and springs of action which and admire the hedges on either hand, there they describe are simple: those of life are is Pope. But if you are not afraid of hard really complex, manifold, various, and over- work, rough work, tough work, go with lapping each other. In Browning, we find Browning, and follow him while he clears the psychologist trying to show us, in his the jungle of thoughts, aims, motives, and analysis, some of the many influences under passions, and shows you a human heart as . With the .

, , . cognizes the fact that it is a mighty ocean. Popularity he flung to the winds years ago, Currents flow backwards and forwards: there when he first began to write. We suppose that are depths and shallows: there are storms on he must long since have ceased even to desire the surface and stillness below, or there are that really worthless thing—the admiration whirlpools below and calm on the surface. of the million. True, he aimed at theatrical The sun shines on it, and the clouds rain success; but though his play of “Strafford" upon it: perpetual change is going on, but was put on the stage with every possible it remains the same. It has infinite possibi- care, and the principal part taken by Kemble lities: it contains infinite treasure. It is ever himself, it was a complete failure. His in unrest, ever flowing and ebbing: ever dramas have vigour, clearness of plot, strong disturbed, uncertain, and wayward. To de accentuation of character, and rapid action. scribe, to dissect, to observe these currents But one feels, on reading one after the and moods is the hardest task that poet other, that they are utterly unsuited for actever set himself; and it is Browning's self-im- ing. The reason we believe to be their posed task. If he has failed, he has failed deficiency in tenderness. It is Browning's splendidly. It is a defeat which is a great chief failing. Sympathy he must have, bevictory.

cause he sees so deeply; but it is sympathy All' his works, from the earliest, have of a sort all his own. It does not lead him been in the same direction. The “Dramatic to be tender. It is the sympathy which comes Lyrics” were the natural predecessors of from knowledge, and not that which springs "The Ring and the Book,” and “Hohen- from the feeling of possible partnership in stiel Schwangau.” The dramas themselves, misfortune or remorse. It is the pity of a so rugged and uncouth, are necessary studies strong man for the weak, mingled with a before the later works could be produced. little contempt. But this is fatal to dramatic For Browning is an impersonal poet. Like success. On the stage, above all, we must Homer and Shakspeare, his dramatic power be human. is so great that we lose sight of him alto- The comparatively few who read Browngether. He does not describe: he creates. ing regard him with an admiration and intenHe does not act before us; but he erects his sity of affection almost unequalled in modern stage, and presently his puppets perform times. When, twenty years ago, Tennyson's upon it. His verse is rough and harsh, be-“In Memoriam" burst into popularity, it cause he will be the master of it. He drags gained no such enthusiastic admirers as and forces the language to do his bidding. those who hang upon the lips of Browning. He presses verbs and adjectives to do ser- When Byron awoke and found himself vice which have never before worked for famous, his fame was like brass beside gold mortal bard. He wants a word, and scorn-compared with the reputation of Browning the customary hack who has worked so ing among his admirers. These seem few long and worked for so many, he looks in number, when we count up those who about to find a better, and having found read Tupper; but they are strong in quality. him, he makes him come along and do his To begin with, it requires a certain amount work. Thus it is that, even in his best --we may say, a high amount-of culture pieces, we are conscious from time to time before we can appreciate the poet at all; of a jolt. He is like a driver who drives and no small effort of the intellect is needed furiously over rough ground: driving not for to follow him through all the mazy windings pleasure, but because work has to be done. and involutions of his thought. The story If you want to float lazily on a summer sea, is well known how Douglas Jerrold, rethere is Tennyson; if you would glide down covering from an illness, took up “Sordello,"

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(February 17, 1872.


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and began to read it. Presently he burst Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
into tears, and threw the book away.

Families by tens and dozens,

Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, “Good God!” he cried, “I have lost

Followed the piper for their lives.” my intellect!”

To him who begins the study of Brown- He leads them to the river, when all are ing, a profound irritation takes possession of drowned except one, who describes the him against the obscurity of his style. He is effect of the piping :obscure, he is involved, he is difficult, he “At the first shrill notes of the pipe is even at times unintelligible;- and this

I heard a sound as of scraping tripe, not wilfully, but because there are times

And putting apples, wondrous ripe,

Into a cider press's gripe : when even he is not able to make language

And a moving away of pickle-tub boards, adequate. Words are poor, weak things, And a leaving ajar of conserve cupboards, after all. They are overworked: we expect And a drawing the corks of train oil flasks, too much of them. They are too few in

And a breaking the hoops of butter casks;

And it seemed as if a voice number. Doubtless, in a better world, our

(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery vocabulary will be more copious, and equal Is breathed) called out 'Oh! rats, rejoice? to expressing all our thoughts. And then The world is grown to one vast dry saltery!'" every man will be a poet. But with the

Is he pathetic? Read "Count Gismond," reading of Browning grows one's love for where his wife recalls that day when he saved him. L'appetit vient en mangeant. And when her name at the peril of his life, and slew the taste is once formed, there can be for the foul slanderer. She tells it to herself his admirer but one living poet.

with love-soft heart: one can see her eyes It must be confessed that, in his anxiety swollen with the tears of happiness, tears to get the full grasp of a subject, he is not that do not drop while she tells itonly complex, which may be pardoned, but he is also long, which may not be pardoned

"Our eldest boy has got the clear

Great brow: tho' when his brother's black in any poet. Who, for instance, has read

Full eye shows scorn, it- Gismond here? throughout that most extraordinary collec- And have you brought my tercel back? tion of metaphysical speculations, analytical I just was telling Adela discussions, and attempts to penetrate and

How many birds it struck since May." understand the workings of the soul, “The Is he dramatic? Read the “Soliloquy in Ring and the Book"? And why, for the the Spanish Cloister," when the monk who sake of his own reputation, was not Brown- has nourished a foolish hatred, born of idleing persuaded to compress all he had to say ness and seclusion, gives vent to his thoughts, into the space of one volume?

watching his enemy at his gardening We do not want to criticize his poems,

“ There's a great text in Galatians, or to give any complete list of them. Let

Once you trip on it, entails us only consider him as he appears to the Twenty-nine distinct damnations, impatient class of readers—those who refuse One sure, if another fails. to read "Hohenstiel Schwangau” and “Sor

If I trip him just a-dying,

Sure of Heaven as sure can be, dello," but are capable of delighting in the

Spin him round, and send him flying shorter pieces.

Off to hell-a Manichee." Has he humour? The “Pied Piper" of

Can he stir the heart? Read the “Good our cartoon is an answer. Everybody knows News from Ghent," and the Cavalier songs. it. The Piper

Can he stoop to simple love? Read these “His queer long coat from heel to head

lines:Was half of yellow and half of red; And he himself was tall and thin,

Nay, but you, who do not love her, With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin;

Is she not pure gold, my mistress? And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,

Holds earth aught-speak truth--above her? No tuft on cheek, nor beard on chin.'

Aught like this tress-see, and this tress

And this fairest tress of all, rids the town of the rats that infest it.

So fair, see, ere I let it fall? As he pipes, they come out of the houses and follow him down the street.

Because, you spend your lives in praising;

To praise, you search the wide world over: "Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats, So why not witness, calmly gazing, Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,

If earth holds aught--speak truth-above her? Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,

Above this tress, and this I touch, Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,

But cannot praise- I love so much."

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Is he simple? Read "Pippa Passes.” Is to the black of her interesting children who he strong, and rough, and sinewy? Read bask in Afric's sunny climes. We are subevery line which he has written.

ject not only to intense cold, but also to We have, besides the usual throng of verse heat, and to rapid and extreme changes. writers common to every age, one or two The human flesh when frozen, say at a leading poets besides Browning. But there temperature of 20°, turns white; when is not one who has a better chance of that thawed again, say at a temperature of 40°, best kind of posthumous fame: not one it turns first red, and then blue; and after who will so certainly be remembered as the this operation has been repeated sufficiently highest product of his time.

often, it assumes an uniform azure hue.

Now, the only prominent part of the human A PERILOUS VOYAGE.

form which is not well wrapped up is the (POEM ON A RECENT EVENT.)

nose. This is hard lines for the noses. They

ought to have nose-caps, but they haven't; so "HE one was taken, the other left;

Jack Frost lays hold of them with his icy Hot with sun-rays, and wonderful :

fingers; and instead of the white, pink, or Unlike all other paths before.

red noses which ornament the open counteAnd with the night more heated air,

nances of the Anglo-Saxon in other climes, From stars that seemed to touch the sand, in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia the proOppressed their breath; and voices near bosces of the natives, from exposure to the Spoke what they did not understand

chilly blasts, wear a bluish hue; and hence Which, when they challenged, said no more; the cognomen. And so they went upon the shore alone

The medical statistics of the British

army The prince and peasant on their voyage,

show that our climate, though severe, is Their perilous voyage--to lands unknown.

exceedingly healthy; the mortality in the One morn they parted on the sand, And one the other saw no inore;

different stations on this continent being And one awoke to faces seen before,

less than in any other part of the world And one to angel faces evermore.

where English troops are quartered. Cape And royal hands upon this sand,

Breton, Nova Scotia, and that part of New Where they had parted, wreaths have laid;

Brunswick which borders on the Bay of And sweet white flowers gently spread, Fundy, have a more variable and damper And the lone shore immortal made.

climate than the interior of New Brunswick

and Lower Canada. Hence, tourists who WINTER AMONG THE BLUE

do not get beyond the Atlantic seaboard NOSES.

carry away with them an unfavourable idea of our climate. A stranger, having penetrated

the fogs of the bay, finds himself, in St. ‘LOSE to the northern borders of the John, a victim to the wind. When it blows

United States dwell a race of men who from the north or north-west, the weather is delight in the peculiar name of Blue Noses. dry and cold in winter, dry and warm in As the Flatheads of the Prairies take their summer. East wind brings rain, west wind name from a self-imposed deformity of the fog, and south wind both rain and fog. cranium, it might naturally be supposed him now travel a few miles inland, and he that we take ours from a habit of tattooing will escape all these vicissitudes. Fredericour nasal organs with the indigo plant. But, ton, sixty miles from St. John as the crow no-although we live in a wild and forest flies, enjoys as much sunshine as any place clad land, we are pale-faced "men and I know of—a still, cold winter, and a warm brothers ;” partially civilized also, to say the summer, with a bright sun five days out of least of it-certainly, so far as to be above seven all the year round. the use of the tattooing iron. · How, then, The thermometer in winter has been comes it that our noses are blue? For an known to fall as low as o‘35 Fahrenheit, answer to this question I must refer my and oʻ15 or o'20 is not by any means an unreaders to nature, which has so ordained it usual degree of cold; but actual cold, as inthat the complexion of man varies according dicated by the mercury, is scarcely felt. A to the conditions of climate under which he much less degree of frost, accompanied by lives, and has made so many shades of a high wind and poudre of drifting snow, colour, from the red and white of the Saxon | penetrates the warmest clothing, and chills


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the wretched traveller to the marrow. These The weather continued wintry for a few days; days are fortunately few and far between in but then snow and ice vanished, and were the interior, owing to the friendly shelter of succeeded by a short summer of a fortnight's the forest, but of frequent occurrence on the duration. This Indian summer

r-so-called more exposed seaboard, where changes of-cannot be relied upon; but when it does temperature of 70° or 80° in one twenty- occur it is a great boon to us. Having expefour hours are not unknown. The extremes rienced just a taste of winter, we appreciate of cold, as of heat, occur in cycles of three it all the more. Still, mild, hazy weather—it days' duration. I have rarely if ever known seems as if old winter's first attacks had been more than three very cold nights in succes- repulsed and driven back; and, baffled by sion, and these “cold spells," as we call the latent heat of the earth, he had been them, are almost invariably followed by a compelled to retire for awhile to get fresh fall of snow

wind for a second and final assault. In a country where the farming season is Another curious and, as seen in the woods, short, an open fall—i.e., a late winter-is, of very beautiful phenomenon sometimes folcourse, desired by every one. Nature allows or precedes the Indian summer; we ways gives timely warning of the approach call it silver frost. This is a fine thick rain of winter; and the close observer is rarely in Scotland called a mist), which freezes the mistaken in his prognostications. Savage instant it falls. Once, after a frost of this winter can never lay hands on the migratory description, I happened to visit a tract of birds, nor does he ever find Bruin unpre-country thickly clothed with a young second pared with a den, or the beaver without a growth of timber. For acres and acres the full store of provisions and a new and frost- young birch and maple trees, from fifteen to proof roof to his house. Come soon or twenty feet in height, were bowed down till come late, he will find the rabbit disguised their tops kissed the ground; tiny branches, in a snow-white suit, and the fur-bearing no thicker than a pocket pencil

, were swelled animals arrayed in warm winter jackets. to the size of a man's finger, and larger ones The best human judges of the seasons are in like proportion. Further advance

was imthe Indians; they are as much wiser than possible, so I was constrained to stop and the white man in this respect as the wild admire. The sun just then peeping out from animals are wiser than the domestic ones. under a cloud, everything that met the eye When tame geese become restless, and take seemed to be plated with silver and festooned prolonged and noisy flights, we all know with diamonds. what to expect. When cattle and sheep The winter nights in Lower Canada and come into the farmyard for shelter, we know New Brunswick are almost Arctic in chathat bad weather is at hand. Butchers pre- racter. A still, intensely cold night, at the tend to judge of the severity of the ap- full of the moon, is one of the things to be proaching winter from a part of the pig's seen in the country; and to see it to perfecintestines. Indians look inside the slaugh. tion, one must be in the woods. The moon tered moose for the same information, and and stars then appear little higher than the foretell the depth of snow by the wild ber- tree tops, and the flashes of the aurora in the ries in the woods: when they are plentiful north seem like spectres flitting about among it is a sign that the snow will be deep, the pine trees; the smooth surface of the and vice versâ.

snow reflects the light, so that it is possible For the greater part of two years I led a to read small print; and the silence is prohunter's life in the backwoods of New Bruns- found. A dreamy, drowsy feeling creeps wick, and on reverting to my log-book of over the watcher—that feeling which causes that period, I see the following entry the lost Arctic traveller to lie down quietly,

" 5th Nov., 1865.--Winter, to all appear and sleep to death! But, hark! a sharp reance. Three inches ice on small lakes and port close to his ear, which rudely wakes ponds; ground white. But animals say that him from his reverie. What is it-a rifleit is a false alarm. Cariboo, hares, and shot? No; simply a tree cracking with the weasels still in summer colours; bears ram- frost. bling about; geese not flown westward; and The ice commences to make in the rivers beavers not done cutting wood and plaster- about the first week in December. First ing their houses."

of all, shore ice forms along the banks, and And sure enough the animals were right. I in the still waters this gets broken off piece

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