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most dangerous effect in lessening the power and influence When, for instance, we find that artists come so low in the of all persons in authority.

list, we may suspect that not merely the irregularities to But I will not proceed further in this discussion, as which they are tempted, or their disposition to a town inMilverton said that he was tired. I trust, however, that he stead of a country life, must be accountable for a great will take this remark of mine into consideration when he deal, but also that some effect should be ascribed to the

peculiarities of the artistic temperament. It would be in[I must make an addition to this conversation, and must

teresting from this point of view to compare the average apologize for having to make it. At some point in the

longevity of men who pursue different studies under similar conversation Mr. Milverton became excited with his sub

physical conditions. Thus we might ask whether in uniject, and spoke very rapidly. Moreover, what he said

versities professors of theology are generally found to live particularly interested me; and, while thinking of it, I longer than professors of medicine

or of literature or the failed to make a note of it. He was speaking of the great

fine arts. If so, part of the superiority of the clerical ten

ure of life must be ascribed to the nature of their studies, power which the governing classes of any country still

as well as to the external circumstances of the clergy. possessed — great power for good, as he said. And then he went on to say that whenever in history the governing

We are not prepared with any body of facts bearing upon classes had broken down, as it were, and the State had

these inquiries, and merely throw out the hint for the

benefit of those whom it may concern.
gone into revolution or into ruin, it was because those
governing classes had either been cowardly or unsympa-

There are, however, a few obvious facts which may thetic, or perhaps both combined. He scarcely could

suggest the possible fruitfulness of such investigations. believe, he added, that a nation could drift into these evil

Parents have for a good many centuries been disgusted courses so long as its upper classes were courageous and

when their sons have plunged into metre instead of taking sympathetic. He took care, however, to make an excep

to the counting-house; but they have never, we suspect, tion for those cases where the political disturbance was

made full use of the argument from the deleterious influcreated by foreign war or dynastic quarrels.]

ence of the pursuit upon human life. Poetry, we should be inclined to say, from a cursory inspection of the most

accessible facts, is almost as destructive as those trades LONGEVITY.

which are proposed to be the subjects of parliamentary

interference. It is as bad as razor-grinding. Looking We have often felt a vague wonder at the industry of through any list of English poets, the number of early that anonymous writer who daily adds up the ages of the deaths is startling. Burns, and Byron, and Shelley, and longest-lived persons mentioned in the obituary of the Keats, and Chatterton will occur at once. To the list of Times, and determines their average tenure of existence. those who died before fifty we may add Spenser, Thomson, We confess that we do not share the astonishment by which Collins, and Goldsmith. Shakspeare managed just to get he appears to be periodically seized on the discovery that beyond his fiftieth year, and Pope and Gray got half-way the united ages of half a dozen people recently deceased from fifty to sixty; but an aged poet is an exception of the amount to over five hundred years, and their average age proverbial kind. Milton lived to a respectable age; but to near ninety. We have no particular data by which to then he long refrained from indulgence in this dangerous guide our anticipations, and the phenomenon to which our practice in favor of the superior (we speak from a sanitary attention is invited has now occurred so very often thaț we point of view) pursuit of political life. He did not long have ceased to regard it as bordering on the miraculous. survive the recurrence to his earlier pursuits.

Cowper But if our unknown friend would carry his investigations lived to near seventy; but it drove him mad. Dryden a little further, we fancy that he might provide material for reached the same age without the same penalty; and some really interesting speculation. A German observer, Wordsworth, by dint of a regular country life, survived all for example, has recently calculated the average longevity his contemporaries, and attained the respectable age of attained in different professions. His information, if trust- eighty. The only wonder, in the last case, is that a man worthy, would be very interesting, not merely to insurance- of so sound a constitution, and placed under such favorable offices, but to young men settling the difficult question of circumstances, did not live to confute Sir G. Cornewall their employments for life. If a youth will be content with Lewis; he is really a case of premature death, and we sus56 years, he may become a doctor; if he requires a year pect that the “ Ode on the Intimations of Immortality ” took more, he may be an artist; if he wants 58 years of life, he ten years out of his life, while his other inspired moments may go to the bar; but, in order to have a fair prospect of may account for the remaining period. Besides which, two attaining to 65, he must enter into holy orders. Is it better years in the lakes cannot be counted for more than one in to attend to the physical or to the 'spiritual wants of man, London. Dryden alone remains to confront us; and it when nine additional years of life reward the higher line must be confessed that Dryden's poetry comes very close to of duty ? Does the superior longevity of clergymen spring the borders of prose. By way of contrast, let us suggest from the possession of a good conscience? or from the fact the names of a few speculative philosophers amongst that the responsibility of attending to the soul presses more English writers of reputation. We find that Bacon and lightly than that of attending to the body? or from differ- Hume lived to be 65; Berkeley to be 69 ; Locke, 72; Reid, ences in the physical conditions of the two professions ? or 86; and Hobbes, 91. Amongst the German metaphysicians, from the varying demands which they make upon the Kant died at 80, and Schelling at 79, whilst Hegel was intellect? De Maistre drew an inference in favor of prematurely cut off at 62. In France, Malebranch lived, Catholicism from the supposed fact that the average reigns in spite of a delicate constitution, to be 87, and then had to of kings in countries which had adhered to the old faith be killed by an encounter with his brother metaphysician, were longer than those in countries polluted by heresy. We Berkeley. Descartes, it is true, died about the age of should be sorry to adopt his logic in this case, though we Shakspeare; but Descartes was naturally delicate, whereas do not quite see our way to the opposite conclusion, appar- we can hardly doubt that Shakspeare had a fine constiently adopted by the British Medical Journal (from which tution. If they had exchanged pursuits, no one can say we derive our information), and embodied in the old say- that Shakspeare might not have rivalled Hobbes, and Desing about those whom the gods love. Whatever occult cartes perished as early as Keats. Spinoza, again, died causes may be at work, it is plain that in any case the at 44; but De Quincey very properly argues from this and average longevity in any profession must be affected by a other circumstances that he must have been murdered. Let number of complicated conditions; and to unravel their us hope for the credit of philosophy that such was the case. varying influence it would be necessary to check these At any rate, though the shortest-lived of metaphysicians, simple observations by others bearing upon different sets he would have had a very fair tenure of life for a poet. of causes. We may assume, for example, that the intel- We have not indulged in any profound researches; but we lectual conditions go for something, though they are gen- have had the curiosity to determine the average age of the erally subordinate to others which act more immediately. | English poets contained in a short list at the end of the

Golden Treasury. The result comes out precisely 56,

TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS WITH ESPECIAL which, according to our German authority, is just that of the most unhealthy of all professions. The average, however, REFERENCE TO THE TEXT OF SHAKSPEARE. is materially increased by the admission of such unreasonably long-lived people as Rogers and Mrs. Barbauld, and other D'ISRAELI, in his “Curiosities of Literature,” makes minor poets. A still shorter list of metaphysicians gives mention of a religious work, which, consisting of only one an average of 68 years, or a length of life superior even to hundred and seventy-two pages, had an Errata at the end that of the clergy; but we admit that it would be desirable occupying fifteen pages. This was an unlucky pamphlet, and to base any decided theory on a wider collection of facts. in the preface the author expresses his firm belief that Sa

There is of course nothing surprising in these results. tan himself had tampered with the types, and that the very The true philosophical temperament is precisely that which printers must have worked under the personal influence of is favorable to long life. A man who never irritates him- the same malignant power. But, without going down quite self about any thing, who never subjects his machinery to an so deep for a reason, we may take it for granted that in any unnecessary shock, will go on living when a far stronger book, each page of which contains possibly more than three man, animated by more troublesome passions, will beat thousand separate types, there must, in the nature of things, himself to pieces against the world. The same disposition be certain typographical errors and oversights, some of which fits a man for long processes of patient meditation, which will escape both the eye and the ear of even the most will generally enable him to take life easily; and it is curi- practised reader. Now, these typographical blunders will, ous to observe how such a speculator, for example, as Hume, in the majority of cases, be found to fall into one of three whilst his philosophy tends to upset all established creeds, classes, viz. : errors of the ear, errors of the eye, and ermay be personally a conservative of the strongest kind, and rors from what, in printers' language, is called “ a foul case.” desire the stability of the institutions whose vitality he is The first two classes I will pass in rapid review, the main doing his best to destroy. Just so Gibbon attacked Chris- object of these remarks being to draw attention to the third, tianity in theory, but was utterly disgusted when revolution- which as a source of corruption does not seem hitherto to ists began to reduce his theory to practice. Poetry of a cer- have received that attention from the students of Shaktain class may be comparatively innocuous for similar reasons. speare which it deserves. Chaucer, Wordsworth, and Goethe, were all long-lived poets, 1. Errors of the Ear. — Every compositor when at work because they seldom indulged in violent emotion. Descrip

reads over

few words of his copy, and retains them in his tive poetry generally may be regarded as fairly harmless ; mind until his fingers have picked up the various types beand even graceful song-writers, like Herrick in old days and longing to them. While the memory is thus repeating to Tom Moore in ours, may be a long time in wearing them- itself a phrase, it is by no means unnatural, nor in practice selves out. But a young man who takes to writing revolu- is it uncommon, for some word or words to become unwittionary odes, or who shares the passionate impulses of a By- tingly supplanted in the mind by others which are similar ron or a Shelley, might almost as well take to drinking, so in sound. It was simply a mental transposition of syllables far as his prospects of longevity are concerned. It is the fe- that made the actor exclaim, “ My Lord, stand back, and verish irritability to which all poets are more or less liable let the parson cough," instead of the coffin pass(“ Rich. that is really destructive; though, of course, they may occa- III.," act i. sc. 2.); and by a slight confusion of sound the sionally keep their passion within bounds. Perhaps there word mistake might appear in type as must take (“Hamlet," is an apparent contradiction to this theory in the fact that açt iii. sc. 1). So idle votarist would easily become idol votarist clergymen are said to be long-lived. Mr. Galton as- (" Timon,” act iv. sc. 3), and long delays be transformed to serts, in his work on hereditary genius, that the spiritual longer days (" Titus," act iv. sc. 2). From the time of Gutenheroes of the world have generally been men of sickly con- berg until now, this similarity of sound has been a fruitful stitution ; and one might fancy that a tendency to indulge in source of error among printers. strong religious emotion would be as pernicious as the analo- 2. Errors of the Eye. — The eye often misleads the hand ogous disposition to poetry. But, in the first place, it is of the compositor, especially if he be at work upon a crabprobable that the mass of clergymen are as little inclined bed manuscript or a worn-out reprint. Take away a dot, to undue excitement of any kind as their neighbors. Most and This time goes manly becomes This tune goes manly of the sermons which we hear give very little indication of ("Macb.," act iv. sc. 3). So a clogged letter turns What a fiery soul absorbed by uncontrollable passion, and over- beast was't then, into What boast was't then (" Macb.," act 1. powering its feeble tenement of clay. And, moreover, ex- sc. 7). Examples might be indefinitely multiplied from citement does not appear to be injurious when it is worked many an old book, so I will quote but one more instance. off in action. Politicians and lawyers live long enough, The word preserve spelt with a long s might without much though they go through a constant course of vehement ex- carelessness be misread preferre ("Hen. VI.," pt. 1. act iü. citement. A man of a certain strength of constitution sc. 2), and thus entirely alter the sense. probably finds the stimulus rather healthy than otherwise; 3. Errors from a foul case.” — This class of errors is of and men like Brougham or Palmerston are all the better for an entirely different kind from the two former. They came the ceaseless strain upon their faculties. If they had been from within the man, and were from the brain; this is from excluded from any practical displays of energy, and con- without, mechanical in its origin as well as in its commis demned to be always working themselves up into vehement sion. As many readers may never have seen the inside of emotion, with no better mode of discharge than writing ver- a printing-office, the following short explanation may be ses, it is possible that they would have fretted themselves found useful. A“ ” is a shallow wooden drawer, divided out of the world at an earlier period. We must add, how- into numerous square receptacles called “ boxes," and into ever, that in all such speculations there is always an obvious each box is put one sort of letter only, say all a's or b's or alternative. It may be not that poetry exercises a delete- c's. The compositor works with two of these cases slanting rious influence, but that men of weak constitutions naturally up in front of him, and when from a shake, a slip, or any take to expressing themselves in poetry. The disease may, other accident, the letters become misplaced, the result is in short, be the cause, instead of the effect. It would be im- technically known as a foul case.” A further result is, that possible to pronounce confidently on so large a question, and the fingers of the workman, although going to the proper we can merely commend the subject to statistical inquirers.box, will often pick up a wrong letter, he being entirely unIf they apply themselves to the investigation, we might dis- conscious the while of the fact. cover some useful hints, and even find out in time what par- Now, if we can discover any law which governs this abticular schools of art or theology are most destructive; normal position of the types — if, for instance, we can whether, for example, a Calvinist generally lives as long as predicate that the letter o, when away from its own, will be an Arminian, or a classical as a romantic poet. The field is more frequently found in the box appropriated to letter a, boundless, and we are content to leave the development of than any other; that b has a general tendency to visit the the subject to those who may have time and opportunity to 1 box, and l the v box; and that d, if away from home, work it out.

will be almost certainly found among the n's — if we can show


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this, we shall then lay a good foundation for the re-examina- Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours, tion of many corrupt or disputed readings in the text of We might have met thein darefull, beard to beard. Shakspeare, some of which may receive fresh life from such

(“Macbeth,” act v sc. 5.) a treatment.

To start with, let us obtain a definite idea of the arrange- The word forced should be read farced, the letter o ment of the types in both “upper” and “ lower” case in having evidently dropped down into the a box.

The enethe time of Shakspeare - a time when long s's, with the my's ranks were not forced with Macbeth's followers, but logotypes ct, t, f, fl, fi, fil, sb, sh, si

, sl, ss, ssi, ssl, and others, farced, or filled up. In “Murrell's Cookery," 1632, the very were in daily use. There are several representations of old year of the First Folio, this identical word is used cases in early printed books, but these are all adapted for several times; we there see that a farced leg of mutton was " black-letter," the combinations and logotypes of which when the meat was all taken out of the skin, mixed with varied considerably from those of the Roman letter. The herbs, &c., and then the skin filled up again. earliest representation of Roman cases, as used in England, may be seen in that very rare book “Moxon's Mechanical Exercises,” 1683; and this was undoubtedly the

I come to thee for charitable license, ... to booke our dead.

(“ Henry V.,” act iv. sc. 2.) same as in 1632, the date of the First Folio edition of Shakspeare, and remained without change until the abandonment of the long s and its combinations, which took place So all the copies; but “ to book” is surely a modern comat the commencement of the present century:

mercial phrase, and the herald here asked leave simply to The following design represents a pair of cases us used “ look,” or to examine, the dead, for the purpose of giving by printers in the seventeenth century. The boxes not honorable burial to their men of rank. In the same sense marked, being without a definite appropriation, were filled Sir W. Lucie, in the first part of “ Henry VI.,” says: with accented letters, zodiacal, or other signs, according to the language or nature of the work about to be printed. The only accents used in the First Folio were the long

I come to know what prisoners thon hast ta’en,

And to survey the bodies of the dead. vowels, which served to show contractions: as the most handy position, these would be placed as shown by the diagram.

We cannot imagine an officer with pen, ink-horn, and paper, at a period when very few could write, “ booking” the dead. We may, I think, take it for granted that here

the letter 6 had fallen over into the l box. A B C D E F G

In “ Troilus and Cressida” (act ii. sc. 2.) we find :H I K L M N O PORSTV W

Reason and respect

Make livers pale and lusty hood deject. X Y ZEJU ālē il Ōú


The change of livers to lovers is not very satisfactory; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


nevertheless, an i in the o box would be no unlikely

mischance. 8 9 0 ft ifti in A +*

In “ All's Well that Ends Well” (act iv. sc. 4.)



We must away;
Our Wagon is prepar'd and time revives us.


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For revives read reviles.

“No scope of nature” (“ King John,” act iii. sc. 4.) has been thou zht by many good critics to be a misprint for scape. From a typographical point of view, the change of letter is by no means unlikely to happen. Perhaps from the same cause the word stronils, which is found in “ King Henry IV.” (act i. sc. 1.), should be spelled strands, a form not uncommon in Shakspeare's time.

I think sufficient evidence has now been produced to show the possibility, if not the probability, of erroneous readings having crept into the text through technical accidents, and to others I leave the task of applying the test afforded by the above diagram. Before leaving the subject, however, the reader should be warned to notice the double and treble letters marked in the diagram, and so avoid a wrong deduction. For instance, the change of light into sight must not be considered as a question of a single letter of s in the l box: the diagram shows si in one piece, which could never be taken by mistake from the l box.

And so with the other logotypes.

The chief cause of a “ foul” case was the same in Shakspeare's time as now; and no one interested in the subject should omit visiting a printing-office, where he could personally inspect the operation. Suppose a compositor at work distributing ;” the upper and lower cases, one above the other, slant at a considerable angle towards him, and as the types fall quickly from his fingers they form conical heaps in their respective boxes, spreading out in a manner very similar to the sand in the lower half of an hour-glass. Now, if the compositor allows his case to become too full, the topmost letters in each box will certainly slide down into the box below, and occasionally, though rarely, into one of the side boxes. When such letters escape notice, they necessarily cause erroneous spelling, and sometimes entirely change the whole meaning of a sentence.

But now comes the important question. Are errors of this kind ever discovered, and especially do they occur in Shakspeare? Doubtless, they do; but to what extent a long and careful examination alone can show. As examples merely, and to show the possible change in sense made by a single wrong letter, I will quote one or two



PROF. RESPIGHI, the eminent Italian spectroscopist, succeeded in making a noteworthy advance in our knowledge of solar physics during the progress of the eclipse of last December; and, what is of even greater importance, employed a totally novel method of observing the eclipsed sun, his actual discovery being probably but the first-fruits


own auroras.


our own

of this method. We propose to give a brief account of the who examines and understands Prof. Young's reasonresults obtained by Prof. Respighi, and a description of those ing can doubt that he legitimately established this conclufeatures of the method which constitute its importance. sion. It follows that the ring-formed corona, or a some

It will be in the remembrance of many of our readers what larger region around the sun, is due to a true atmosthat during the eclipse of December, 1870, considerable pheric envelope. The interest of this discovery is enhanced attention was directed to the circumstance that the sun's by the circumstance that the green line of the coronal corona appeared to consist of two distinct portions. Close spectrum is a conspicuous feature of the spectrum of our to the black disc of the moon there was seen a bright ring

Prof. Respighi has confirmed Young's disof pearly light, not uniformly wide, but nowhere extending

In confirming it, however, he has added another to a distance much exceeding a fourth or fifth part (for equally important. accounts differed) of the moon's apparent diameter. Out- Thus far we have been speaking of a green line of the side this ring-formed corona appeared a much more exten

inner corona.

But it occurred to Respighi that he would sive, but much fainter halo, radiated in its general struct- endeavor to see a green image of this solar envelope. There ure, — or rather cloven in places by certain well-marked were two ways in which he might try to effect this. The dark rifts or gaps. There was so sudden a degradation of first is a method devised independently by Huggins and luminosity near the borders of the bright inner corona, as Zollner, and first successfully applied by the former, though to suggest very strongly the idea that the two coronas are occasionally called the Janssen-Lockyer method (being contotally distinct solar envelopes. Indeed, it was proposed founded, apparently, with a perfectly distinct method of to give the inner corona a name specially invented for the observation). The other was proposed by Fraunhofer, in occasion, the name Leucosphere, — which, fortunately, was the very intancy of the science of spectroscopic analysis, not received with favor. Indeed, it presently appeared and has lately been revived by the Italian astronomers that the supposed discovery was no discovery at all, — the Secchi and Respighi. Neither method need be described, two-fold nature of the corona having been recognized 165 but each has this effect, that when the source of light is a years ago, and having since been repeatedly confirmed glowing gas, then, instead of a spectrum of such and such during total eclipses. So far back 1852

colored lines, there is formed a series of correspondingly Astronomer Royal had surgested for the two envelopes the colored images of the source of light. Thus when one of names of the “Ring-formed” and the “ Radiated” coronas. the solar prominences is observed in this way, instead of a It must be added, furthermore, that when favorably seen, red, an orange, a green, and an indigo line (and other faint the inner or ring-formed corona is not pearly-white in hue, lines), the methods referred to show a red image of the but marked by a distinct tinge of rose-color.

prominence, an orange image, a green image, and an indigo Now, astronomers have been endeavoring since the great image (the images corresponding to the fainter lines being eclipse of 1868 to determine the real nature of the light too faint to be discernible under ordinary circumstances). emit ed by the various parts of the corona. They have Now let the reader carefully note the importance of this sought, in fact, to apply the modern method of observation method as applied to the corona. As applied during eclipse called spectrum analysis to the corona, as they had already to the colored prominences, it could teach nothing new, applied it to the prominences; and thus to learn whether for it would merely resolve the prominences, already visible the light of the corona comes from glowing vapor, or from as rose-colored objects, into four several pictures, alike in incandescent particles, or is merely sunlight reflected from figure, but differing in color. The effect might be exceedopaque matter spread in a sort of cosmical dust around the ingly beautiful, - or rather was so, for Respighi has seen solar orb.

such images, — but it taught nothing new. As applied to But important difficulties stood in their way. They did the corona, however, the value of the method was far greater. obtain on turning their spectroscopes towards the

So soon as totality began, Respighi saw, instead of the spectrum which, in itself, indicated that the source of light bright green line which Prof. Young had proved to belong was glowing vapor. A certain green line appeared, which, to the corona, a beautiful green image of the inner ringif it really were the spectrum of the corona, could bear no formed corona. Here, indeed, was proof patent to the other interpretation. But it was not clear that this green- eye that the green light is inherent in the inner corona, and line spectrum belonged to the corona at all, -the doubt not merely due to reflection in our own atmosphere. For arising from the fact that the green line still made its just as our sky in the daytime, when we examine it with a appearance when the spectroscope was turned to parts of spectroscope, is found to give the solar dark lines, but canthe sky to which the corona could not be supposed to not possibly give an image of the sun, so the sky in eclipse extend. This is easily explained. In these days every could give the green line by reflection, but not an image of one knows that the sun's light, when dealt with by a spec- the source whence the green light comes. Only because troscope, presents a rainbow-tinted streak crossed by dark the inner corona.is itself that source, could its image be lines, and that these dark lines indicate the presence, in the rendered visible by applying Respighi’s method. sun, of the vapors of many familiar elements, - as iron, So far, however, Respighi's work only confirms a result copper, zinc, and so forth. But if we turn a spectroscope already established. But another result, and one altogether towards the sky, or even towards a sheet of white paper new, was at the same time obtained. The green image of illuminated by the sun, we see the same dark lines; yet we the inner corona was not alone; two others - one red, and know that there is no glowing iron-vapor in the sky or in the other blue-green made their appearance, in or near the paper. The fact really is, that we receive, from the the places corresponding to the two bright lines of hydrogen sky and from the paper, reflected sunlight, and so naturally called by spectroscopists the C-line (red) and the F-line find in such light the qualities of sunlight. How, if in (blue-green). The three images were not strictly alike, like manner, when the observers of recent eclipses have and we may infer from the brief telegraphic account sent in seen a bright-line spectrum, while examining only reflected the first instance that the hydrogen images were not quite light, and so had still to determine the true source of the so extensive as the green image. But into minutiæ of this light ? Nay, rather it was clear that from some parts of the sort we need not at present enter. The great facts rendered sky they did get this green line from reflected light; how, patent by Respighi's late observation are these, — that surthen, were they to distinguish where the inherent luminosity rounding the sun to a depth of nearly two hundred thousand ceased and the reflected luminosity began ?

miles, reaching, therefore, above the summits of the loftiest The problem seemed intractable; but, as a matter of prominences, there is an atmosphere consisting of glowing fact, Prof. Young, of America, solved it very satisfactorily hydrogen, and of some other vapor, distinct in condition by carefully considering the amount of this green luminosity and composition from the chromatosphere, whose average received under different circumstances. We need not ex- height is but about four thousand miles. This enormous amine his reasoning, but the result may be very simply external atmospheric shell must be of exceeding rarity, or stated. He inferred that in all probability a region some- the pressure on the chromatosphere would enormously what more extensive than the ring-formed corona shines exceed the actual observed pressure. It is outside this with this green-line-forming light. We believe that no one atmosphere that the radiated corona projects into the sun

orona a

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surrounding space to distances often exceeding a million wholly devoid of the realism demanded in such a work. Of miles. We may confidently expect that the news which the Elizabethan dramatists, by the way, few care to describe we have received respecting the inner ring-formed corona with accuracy the varied aspects of nature. Jonson has will be so supplemented by the photographic records now some choice descriptive passages in his lyrical poems (it on their way to Europe, that we shall obtain much clearer was he who called the nightingale" the dear good angel of ideas than we have hitherto had respecting the outer and the spring”); but we recall few in his dramas, and it may radiated corona. Truly, a remark with which the spectro- be questioned whether all the plays of Webster, Massinger, scopist Janssen closes his letter to the Paris Academy re- Middleton, Marlowe, and Shirley could supply a page of specting his own observations seems abundantly justified: | imagery drawn from the simple objects of rural life. Shak

The question whether the corona is due to the earth's speare, great in all ways, is pre-eminent also in what Lord atmosphere is now disposed of (tranchée), and we may look Lytton somewhat thoughtlessly calls “the very lowest degree forward to a series of researches into the matter surround- of poetry, viz., the descriptive.” In perusing dramas like Ben ing the sun which cannot fail to be extremely interesting Jonson's“ Volpone,” or his “ Alchemist,” the reader breathes and fruitful.”

an indoor and somewhat confined atmosphere; in reading Shakspeare, he feels as if every window were thrown open,

or as if he were inhaling the fresh and fragrant air of the ENGLISH RURAL POETRY.

country. And this feeling is often produced by a single line,

occurring in scenes which are far enough removed from the THERE was a time when the term rural poetry would life of nature, as, for instance, when in “Measure for Meashave been regarded as synonymous, or nearly so, with pas- ure,” the Duke, conversing in a business way with the Provost, toral poetry; that is to say, the most artificial verse ever suddenly exclaims, “ Look ! the unfolding star calls up the written, and which, in its legitimate form, was

a slavish shepherd; ”or when, in “ Cymbeline," the dull-witted Cloten mimicry of classical remains," was confounded, as at the be- hires musicians to sing under Imogen's window that most ginning of the last century, with the poetry that describes delicious of Shakspearian songs, “ Hark, hark! the lark at the simple sights, sounds and occupations of country life, — the

heaven's gate sings." Shakspeare's rural descriptions are, changes of the seasons, the color of wayside flowers, the as they should be, incidental; but these incidental touches song of birds, the beauty of woods and meadows, of rivers suffice to make the reader feel the open-air influences to winding through rich pasture-lands, of sunny nooks and which we have alluded. His affection for the violet is as shady lanes, and forest glades lying close to the haunts of noteworthy as Chauceris for the daisy, or Wordsworth's for rustics. Before Pope's time, and after it, a city poet, who the celandine; and in the description of wild flowers, of birds knew nothing about the life of nature, or the ways of coun

and animals, of country pursuits and pastimes, his accuracy try livers, and who had probably never ventured beyond is unrivalled. His “ As You Like It” has been justly Epsom or Bath, would sing, as a matter of course, of shep

called a pastoral comedy. Milton, on the contrary, beautiherds and shepherdesses, and produce conventional pictures ful though many of his descriptive passages are, and notof the country unlike any thing that ever existed outside a withstanding the delicious rural charm that pervades his verse-maker's covers. Edmund Spenser, it is true, following best descriptive poems, — “ L'Allegro" and " Il Penseroso,” the examples of Theocritus and Virgil, had long before in- appears sometimes to have written from book-knowledge troduced this grotesque form of composition; and a still

rather than from actual observation, and his usual imagery is, greater poet had also given a slight sanction to it by the therefore, occasionally defective. There are two writers, publication of his immortal “ Lycidas;” but these poets - both of whom lived a little earlier than Milton, who deserve such is the power of genius - could make their shepherd- a rather prominent place as rural poets. We allude to Wilswains discuss dogmatic theology while tending their sheep liam Browne, of Tavistock, and to Robert Herrick. Some without raising a smile, the incongruity of the position being years ago a folio edition of Browne's “ Britannia's Pasatoned for in these cases by the rare beauty of the song. In torals," with MS. notes by Milton, was sold by Messrs. the splendid English which Dryden knew how to write, we Sotheby and Wilkinson. The notes are not critical, but can enjoy a fable in which the controversy between the Ro they testify at least to the interest with which Milton had inan Catholic Church and the Church of England is discussed read the volume. In Milton's own works, however, we have by a milk-white hind and a spotted panther.

stronger proofs than these notes afford, how carefully The pastorals of Pope, although destitute, as Warton has Browne's poetry was perused. There can be little doubt pointed out, of a single rural image that is new, possesses a

that the Fourth Eclogue of the " Shepherd's Pipe " suggested certain smoothness of versification. They are well-nigh un- to the greater poet his peerless“ Lycidas;” and in “ Comus,” readable now, and the praise they won at the time from as well as “ Paradise Regained,” we find traces of Browne's able critics sounds ridiculous to us. Both the poetry and influence. All his poetry was produced in early life, and it the criticisms upon it are as foreign to modern taste as the won for him instant reputation, and the friendship of such euphuism of Lyly; but that Pope satisfied a want of his men as Drayton, Ben Jonson, and Chapman. Few readers age which was eminently artificial and prosaic — is evi- would have the patience to read pastorals now, in which dent from the mass of so-called pastoral poetry that was is- English shepherds and shepherdesses, English rivers and sued during the first half of the last century. Nevertheless, familiar country places, are curiously associated with riverWordsworth is not far wrong in saying that, with one gods and wood-nymphs; yet the lover of poetry will find or two insignificant exceptions," the poetry of the period

much in them to reward him for his toil. Picturesque deintervening between the publication of the Paradise Lost'

scriptions, luxuriant fancy, and frequent felicity of expresand the Seasons'— that is to say, from 1667 to 1728 — does

sion, are to be found in “Britannia's Pastorals.” The verse not contain a single new image of external nature; and moves sometimes very sweetly, sometimes it is rugged and scarcely presents a familiar one from which it can be inferred impeded, like a stream held in by rocks; but whether


of poet had been steadily fixed upon his rough or smooth, it is rarely without vitality, and you feel object, much less that his feelings had urged him to work that you are in the company of a poet, not of a mere versiupon it in the spirit of genuine imagination.” He might

fier. 'If Keats owed much to Spenser, it is scarcely possible have added — for the coincidence is striking — that the

to doubt that he owed something to Browne. There are year in which Thomson published the “Seasons”in a complete passages in “ Endymion ” which remind us strongly of the form, Allan Ramsay produced his beautiful pastoral of the * Pastorals,” and the wonderful picture of Madeline in the " Gentle Shepherd,” a poem which is remarkable in many

“ Eve of St. Agnes was probably suggested by a descripways, and especially as presenting pictures of rustic life free 'tion of Browne's, which, if marked by conceits, is not wholly from the conventional diction and the allegorical personations

without beauty. which deform other pastorals. Ramsay's poem is written in the Scottish dialect; in English we have no poem of the And as a lovely maiden, pure and chaste, kind at that period that can bear comparison with it, for the With naked iv'ry neck and gown unlaced, " Faithful Shepherdess "of Fletcher, exquisite though it be, is Within her chamber, when the day is fled,

that the

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