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was written in 1843, when only a very lopsis of such an Essay would occupy special class had made similar discover- several pages, and, so far, interrupt the ies, and that the writer had never seen course of the Letters, it has been considthe poet; so that we may fairly regard ered advisable to postpone the discussion this as a striking proof of her genius in till the close of these papers. We will discerning, and her generosity in the full therefore do no more at present than admission of what she recognized. Miss touch upon the question of Versification Barrett thus continues:
with reference chiefly to Miss Barrett,
and incidentally to the Laureate and one His passion burns the paper. But I will guess or two other poets, commencing, of neat the worst fault – at least, I will tell you what Icessity, with Chaucer. has always seemed to me the worst fault -a want of harmony. I mean in the two senses —
| It has been seen that Miss Barrett was spiritual and physical. There is a want of a true admirer and student of the Father softening power in thoughts and in'feelings, as of English Poetry ; but from the induwell as words; everything is trenchant - black ence of early habit, it seems probable and white, without intermediate colours - that his admirable variations of the eunothing is tender ; there is little room in all phony of heroic couplets, so as to correct this passion, for pathos. And the verse – the monotony of their ten-syllable reguthe lyrics — where is the ear? Inspired spirits larity, and systematic pauses, were not should not speak so harshly; and, in good especially noticed by her, unless, in some sooth, they seldom do. What ? - from “Paracelsus" down to the “ Bells and Pome
cases, as objectionable. The method granates” – a whole band of angels — white
adopted by Chaucer to obtain variety of robed and crowned angel-thoughts, with palms
harmony in this measure was not, howin their hands — and no music!
ever, so much with respect to the position
of pauses and accents in the line, as in The too sweeping assertion of the last the rhythmical embodiment of an eleventh words I distinctly remember contesting syllable. He also, on special occasions, in my next note. Admitting all the fair breaks up the couplet-system, by ending critic had said as to the frequent obscuri- a poetical paragraph with the first word of ties of meaning, and involutions, or the rhyme and a full stop. And then harshness of style, I reminded her that takes it up again, with its proper rhyme almost any schoolboy - without select- in the first line of the next poetical diviing Lord Macaulay's model one — whosion or paragraph. Two or three examhad some natural faculty and a good ples of the former will make the princischolastic drilling, could write “smooth ple clear enough :verses," and where this was not done by
O He mote be dedde — a king as well as a page, those who were evidently masters of the Art of Poetry, there was a reason for it.
&c.- The Knight's Tale. Nobody should regard it as attributable I speake of many an hundred year ago, &c. to carelessness, or even indifference.
Wife of Bath's Tale. On the other hand, the lady was referred Thy temple in Delphos wol I barfote seke, &c. to several striking instances of rhythmic
The Frankelin's Tale. music, and particularly among the “ Bells At Orliaunce in studie a booke he seie, &c. and Pomegranates.” It was difficult to
Ibid. resist a dancing emotion as one read how all the children and townspeople"
Where was your pitie, 0 people mercilesse,
&c. — Lamentation of Mary Magdaleine. went dancing after the “ Pied Piper of Hamelin," while every horseman must
Her nose directed straight, and even as line, have accompanied the riders in the ride &c. — The Court of Love. with “ the good news” to Ghent. I was with these, and similar variations, the so impressed with this at the time — and poems of Chaucer abound, Read in acnever having known what could be done cordance with the early training of most in that way, as I subsequently experi- of us, the reader will exclaim - It won't enced in the Australian bush — that I come in !" Of course it will not ; but the remember asking the poet if he could foregoing lines will all be found perfectly “ tighten his girths while at full speed," harmonious if the words which cause the as I had felt while doing this, with his difficulty are treated like a turn in music, poem, that I had more than once just lost so that they come “trippingly” off the my balance. In short, I only partially tongue. Thus, “as well as,” being read agreed with the fair critic about the mu- as well's “many an,” man'y'n, -"temsic. And this question directly brings ple in," templ’in, -- "siudie a,” studi'a, us to Versification ; but, as the mere syn- |-"pitie, 0 people,” piti-’o-'-peopl", –
( even as,' ev'nas, &c. For such expla-, of her future Letters), I yet feel sure she nations, to all those who do not in the would have been highly gratified had she least need them, the writer begs to ten- known that her views on the Art of Eng. der every proper apology. The desire to lish Poetry had been so specially conmake this matter perfectly clear must be served for so many years, even in literary his excuse. These harmonious varia- entombment, with one of the most actions * were dropped by nearly all the complished and elegant of the illuminati poets during many years after Chaucer. |(using the term in its best sense) of his
In lyrical verse, and more especially in time. the octo-syllabic measure, the first great
Kensington, November 24. innovator — not precisely the discoverer, My DEAR HORNE. I should have written but certainly the first great master — was by return of póst, but had something to finish Coleridge. In the “Vision of Pierce by tea-time which I could not delay. Ploughman,” in Lidgate's and several "The English prosodists have generally proother old English and Scottish Ballads, ceeded, I believe, upon the assumption that similar musical variations occur, but ap- their heroic measure is a particular mode of parently without intention, and by happy iambics, with a variation of spondees, troinspiration, though not with the numer- chees, &c. I therefore, if I distinctly see the ous forms of variety introduced by Cole
bv Cole. I drift of it, doubt whether your paragraph can ridge. It is said that he once exclaimed
īstand exactly as it does; but it is impossible
for us now to exchange talk on this subject by with glee — “ They all think they are
letter, and as I am coming to Montague Street, reading eight syllables, and every now to-morrow (Wednesday), would it not be as and then they read nine, eleven, and thir- well for us to have our Bosterisms out at once teen, without being aware of it."
vivå voce? For then, you see, we can have as But to take a general and broad view of many as we please in a good long chat, and so English versification, I find the following do what we can with this perplexing matter Letters from Leigh Hunt carefully fas- finally ; for in truth, it is a very perplexing tened to the Letter from Miss Barrett one, and has scratched the fingers of everybody upon the same subjeet. Although they
that has approached it. I will also bring you bear no date of the year upon them, the
another book, expressly on the subject — at
least comprising it. allusions show that they were written
The “Ancient Mariner" did much, no mainly in comment, with a mild infusion doubt, in the poetical circles in which it was of controversy, on a certain paragraph in almost exclusively known (How sad is this my Introduction to the volume of “ Chau- record of neglect of living genius, which thus cer Modernized," and also in reply to incidentally drops from the pen of one of the some comments I had made upon the poet's contemporaries ! ], and Coleridge, I versification of his “ Legend of Fiorence.”' | should say, is unquestionably the great modDiffering with Mr. Leigh Hunt so widelyern master of lyrical harmony. But what the on certain points of theology and social Percy Reliques achieved in the gross, was a ethics as did Miss Barrett (which will be
general simplification of the poetic style, and
the return to faith in nature and passion. displayed fully and "argued out” in one We will have a good set-to upon these mat.
ters to-morrow, if you think fit; and you shall * As a somewhat extreme illustration, I hope the have, in the course of a good plump half-hour, following anecdote will be pardoned. “I notice," said all I have to say about them. Tennyson (this was long before he became Poet Lau
Ever heartily, reate)," that you have a number of lines in ' Orion' which are not amenable to the usual scanning."
LEIGH HUNT. " True ; but they can all be scanned by the same number of beats of time.” “Well; how then do you scan Unfortunately, something prevented - mind, I don't object to it - but how do you scan — I the proposed conversation, but here is The long, grey, horizontal wall of the dead-calm sea?”
another note on the same subject writNow, as this was the only instance of such a line, the ten during the same month :engineer fancied he was about to be “hoist with his own petard;" however, he proposed to do it thus
Kensington, November. Ine | long I grey | hori | zont'l | wall | o' the deadl MY DEAR HORNE. - This is merely one or calm sea.
two more marginalia which, on recollection, I It could easily be put into an Alexandrine line: and,
intended to have scribbled. The fact is, that by a different arrangement of the beats of time, the line might even be brought into eight beats :
as to “spectacle” (to which, apparently, I Thě | long I grey | hõri | zontl | wāll-o' the deād-calm
had demurred, as being too harsh a word in a | sēa.
certain line) it is “harsh,” uttered by a harsh The poet smiled, and apparently accepted the scanning man; but what if Chaucer had said it, thou - at any rate, the first one. Some of the variations, Horne! To this I suppose you will say, “Imhowever, subsequently introduced by Leigh Hunt in his
la possible." Well, but suppose you find it in beautiful play of “The Legend of Florence," would bave to be tried, like those of Beaumont and Fletcher, him some day? or something equivalent ? by yet more unorthodox principles oí harmony. [The logic of this is exquisite, and so like
like's he was the dust under their feet. speak to him about your lad. Speak up Ain't we their fellow-creatures all the and don't be frightened. He ain't at all a same? It ain't much you makes at the bad sort, and if you tell him as the rafts, missis, even if you gains a lot in boy's spry and handy, and don't mind a the season. For after all, look how short hard day's work — speak up ! only don't the season is — you may say just the say I told you.” And the benevolent adsummer half. It's too cold in March, viser disappeared hastily, and began to and it's too cold in October – nothing pull about some old gigs which were to speak of but the summer half. You ranged on the rafts, as if much too busily makes a good deal while it lasts, I don't occupied to spare a word. The woman say nothing to the contrary — but what's went up to the master with a heart beatthat to good steady work all round the ing so strongly that she could scarcely year?"
hear her own voice. On any other occa“Maybe her lad isn't one for steady sion she would have been shy and relucwork,” said another. “It is work, I can tant. Asking favours was not in her tell you is this, as long as it lasts; from way — she did not know how to do it. early morning to lockup, never a moment She could not feign or compliment, or do to draw your breath, but school-hours, anything to ingratiate herself with a and holidays, and half-holidays without patron. But her internal agitation was so end. Then there's the regular boating strong that she was quite uplifted beyond gents as come and go, not constant like all sense of the effort which would have the Eton gentlemen. They give a deal been so trying to her on any other occaof trouble — they do; and as particular sion. She went up to him sustained by with their boats as if they were babies, her excitement, which at the same time I tell you what, missis, if you want him to blunted her feelings, and made her almost have an easy place, I wouldn't send him unaware of the very words she uttered. here."
“Master,” she said, going straight to “He's not one that's afraid of work," the point, as the excited mind naturally said the woman, “and it's what he's set does — “I have a boy that is very anxious his heart on. I wonder if you could tell for work. He is a good lad, and very me now where this Mr. Ross comes from ? kind to me. We've been tramping about
- if he's west-country now, down Devon- the country - nothing better, for all my shire way ?”
folks was in that way; but he don't take “Bless you, no," said the older man, after me and my folks. He thinks steady who was great in genealogies ; “ he's from work is better, and to stay still in one the north, he is — Scotland or there- place.” abouts. His grandfather came with him “He is in the right of it there,” was when he first came to college - Lord the reply. something or other. About as like a lord “Maybe he is in the right,” she said ; as I am. But the nobility ain't much to " I'm not the one to say, for I'm fond of look at," added this functionary, with my freedom and moving about. But, whom familiarity had bred contempt. master, you'll have one in your place that “ They're a poor lot them Scotch and is not afraid of hard work if you'll have Irish lords. Give ine a good railway my son." man, or that sort ; they're the ones for “Who is your son ? do I know him ?" spending their money. Lord - I can't said the master, who was a man with a think on the old un's name.”
mobile and clean-shaven countenance, “ Was it - Eskside ?”
like an actor, with a twinkling eye and a “ You're a nice sort of body to know suave manner, the father of an athletic about the haristocracy,” said the man ; band of river worthies who were regarded “in course it was Eskside. Now, mis- generally with much admiration by “the sis, if you knowed, what was the good of college gentlemen,” to whom their prowcoming asking me, taking a fellow in ?" ess was well known, — “who is your
“I didn't know,' said the woman, hum- son ?” bly; " I only wanted to know. In my The woman grew sick and giddy with young days, long ago, I knew — a family the tumult of feeling in her. The words of that name.”
were simple enough in straightforward “Ay, ay, in your young days. You meaning; but they bore another sense, were a handsome lass then, I'll be which made her heart Autter, and took bound,” said the old man, with a grin. the very light from her eyes. “Who was
" Look here," said one of the others – her son ?! It was all she could do to “here's old Harry coming, if you like to keep from betraying herself, from claim
ing some one else as her son, very differ-, wooden railing, and held herself upright ent from Dick. If she had done so, she by it, shutting her eyes to concentrate would have been simply treated as a mad her strength. And by-and-by the bewilwoman: as it was, the bystanders, used dering sick emotion passed; was it him to tramps of a very different class, looked whom she had seen? at her with instant suspicion, half dis- After this she crossed the river again in posed to attribute her giddiness and fal- the ferry-boat, though it was a halfpenny tering to a common enough cause. She each time, and she felt the expenditure to mastered herself without fully knowing be extravagant, and walked about on the either the risk she had run or the look other bank till she found Dick, who natudirected to her. “ You don't know him,” rally adopted the same means of finding she said. “We came here but last night. her, neither of them thinking of any reOne of the college gentlemen was to turn “home," -a place which did not speak for him. He's a good hard-working exist in their consciousness. Then they lad, if you'll take my word for it, that went and bought something in an eatingknows him best."
shop, and brought it out to a quiet corner “ Well, missis, it's true as you know opposite the “ Brocas clump, and there him best ; but I don't know as we can ate their dinner, with the river flowing at take his mother's word for it. Mothers their feet, and the skiffs of “the gentleain't always to be trusted to tell what they men” darting by. It was, or rather know," said the master, good-humouredly. I looked, a poetic meal, and few people “I'll speak to you another time, for here passed in sight without a momentary envy they are coming. Look sharp, lads.” of the humble picnic ; but to Dick Brown “ All right, sir; here you are.”
and his mother there was nothing out of The tide was coming in - a tide of the way in it, and she tied up the frag. boys — who immediately flooded the ments for supper in a spotted cotton place, pouring up-stairs into the dressing. handkerchief when they had finished. rooms to change their school garments It was natural for them to eat out of for boating dress, and gradually occupy-doors, as well as to do everything else ing the rafts in a moving restless crowd.out of doors. Dick told her of his good The woman stood, jostled by the living luck, how kind Valentine had been, and stream, watching wistfully, while boat gave her the half-crown he had received, after boat shot out into the water, -gigs, and an account of all that was to be done with a laughing, restless crew - out for him. “If they don't mind him, riggers, each with a silent inmate, bent they're sure to mind the other gentle, on work and practice ; for all the school man," said devout Dick, who believed in races had yet to be rowed. She stood | Val's power with a fervent and unques, gazing, with a heart that fluttered wildly, tioned faith. After a while he went upon all those unknown young faces and across to the rafts, and hung about there animated moving figures. One of them ready for any odd job, and making himwas bound to her by the closest tie that self conspicuous in eager anxiety to can unite two human creatures, and yet, please the master. His mother stayed poor soul, she did not know him, nor had still, with the fragments of their meal he the slightest clue to find her out — to tied up in the handkerchief, on the same think of her as anyhow connected with grassy bank where they dined, watching himself. Her heart grew sick as she the boats as they came and went, She gazed and gazed, pausing now upon one did not understand how it was that they face, now upon another. There was one all dropped off one by one, and as sudof whom she caught a passing glimpse, denly reappeared again when the hour as he pushed off into the stream in one for dinner and the hour of “three o'clock of the long-winged dragon-fly boats, who school” passed. But she had nothing to excited her most of all. She could not do to call her from that musing and sisee him clearly, only a glimpse of him be- lence to which she had become habitutween the crowding figures about; -anated, and remained there the entire after, oval face, with dark clouds of curling noon doing nothing but gaze, At last, hair pushed from his forehead. There however, she made a great effort, and came a ringing in her ears, a dimness in roused herself. The unknown boy after her eyes. Women in her class do not whom she yearned could not be identified faint except at the most tremendous among all these strange faces; and there emergencies. If they did, they would was something which could be done for probably be set down as intoxicated, and good Dick, the boy who had always been summarily dealt with. She caught at the good to her. She did for Dick what no
one could have expected her to do ; she shown in the previous instalinent of these went and looked for a lodging where papers. Provoking as some of the stricthey could establish themselves. After tures must have been to one who had not a while she found two small rooms in a accidentally fallen into what would be house facing the river,- one in which commonly regarded as lyrical heresies, Dick could sleep, the other a room with but who had systematically intended, and a fire-place, where his hot meals, which laboured to do, the very things most dehe no doubt would insist upon, could be murred to - she passes them over in the cooked, and where, in a corner, she her- note about to be given, with only a reself could sleep when the day was over. mote reference ; playfully speaking of her She had a little stock of reserve money dog“ Flush," then touching upon the on her person, a few shillings saved, and “ Dead Pan," then turning to other obsomething more, which was the remnant (jects of literary interest, with a nobly exof a sum she had carried about with her pressed admiration of Miss Martineau :for years, and which I believe she in
Saturday night (no other date). tended “to bury her,” according to the curious pride which is common among
Never in the world was another such a dog the poor. But as for the moment there
8 as my Flush! Just now, because after reading
your note, I laid it down thoughtfully without was no question of burying her, she felt
taking anything else up, he threw himself into justified in breaking in upon this little
upon s e my arms, as much as to say “Now it's my hoard to please her boy by such forlorn turn. You're not busy at all now." He unattempts at comfort as were in her power.derstands everything, and would not disturb She ventured to buy a few necessaries, me for the world. Do not tell Miss Mitford and to make provision as well as she — but her Flush (whom she brought to see knew how for the night — the first night me) is not to be compared to mine ! - quite which she would have passed for years
animal and dog-natural, and incapable of my under a roof which she could call her
Flushie's hypercynical refinements. There is own. One of the chief reasons that rec
not such a dog in the world as he is, I must
say again - and never was, except the one onciled her to this step was, that the
Plato swore by. I talk to him just as I should room faced the river, and that not Dick
do to the “reasoning animal ontwo legs" – the alone, but the other whom she did not only difference being that he has four superknow, could be watched from the win-erogatorily. dow. Should she get to know him, per 1 I am very glad to hear of Miss Martineau haps to speak to him, that other? – to and “Orion." She has a fine enthusiasm and watch him every summer evening in his
understanding, or rather understanding and boat, floating up and down — to distin
enthusiasm, for poetry, - which shows a wonguish his voice in the crowd, and his
derful and beautiful proportion of faculties,
considering what she is otherwise. I do not step? But for this hope she could not, I
say so because she fancied my “ Pan" think, have made so great a sacrifice
which you may not think worthy of such for Dick alone - a sacrifice she had praise — and which she very probably was not been able to make when the doing pleased with on account of its association of it would have been still more im- with her favourite poet Schiller - such portant than now. Perhaps it was be- associations affecting the mind beyond its cause she was growing older and the incognizance. My “Pan" takes the reverse dividual had faded somewhat from her of Schiller's argument in his famous “Gods of consciousness; but the change bewil-IG
Greece,” and argues it out. dered even herself. She did it notwith
No, nobody has said that "the paper was
the work of a private friend,” [alluding, prob. standing, and of her free will.
ably, to some critique I had written about her
E. B. B.
Oh- do not put me in despair about "times BROWNING
and seasons." The book must and shall come
out this season. TO THE AUTHOR OF “ORION" ON LITERARY AND GENERAL TOPICS.
The next is a fragment found in the IV.
same envelope, the first leaf having gone With how fine a temper, and how gen
ne a temper and how gen. astray : erous a spirit Miss E. B. Barrett bore all
Fragment. the objections made to her new theory of Think of my stupidity about Leigh Hunt's English Rhymes, has only been slightly 'poem of “Godiva”! 'The volume I lent has