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it is not poetry, and yet how clever! Why, there is certainly a resemblance to the style of Pope, yet what subjects, what characters, what ordinary phraseology! The country parson, certainly, is a great reader of Pope, but how unlike Pope's is the music of the rhythm—if music there be! What an opening for a poem in four-and-twenty Books !

“ Describe the Borough-though our idle tribe,
May love description, can we so describe,
That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace,
And all that gives distinction to the place?
This can not be; yet moved by your request,
A part I paint-let fancy form the rest.
Cities and towns, the various haunts of men,
Require the pencil; they defy the pen.
Could he, who sung so well the Grecian Fleet,
So well have sung of Alley, Lane, or Street ?
Can measured lines these various buildings show,
The Town-Hall Turning, or the Prospect Row ?
Can I the seats of wealth and want explore,

And lengthen out iny lays from door to door ?" No, good parson! how should you? I exclaimed to myself. You see the absurdity of your subject, and yet you rush into it. He who sung of the Greek Fleet certainly would never have thought of singing of Alley, Lane, or Street! What a difference from

“Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring

Of woes unnumbered, heavenly goddess, sing !" Or

“ The man for wisdom's various arts renowned,

Long exercised in woes, O Muse, resound !" What a difference from

“ Arms and the man I sing, who forced by fate,

And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate!"
Or from the grandeur of that exordium :-

“Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly Muse! that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of chaos; or, if Sion-hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed
Fast by the Oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thine aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit ! that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou knowest: Thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant; what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men."

With this glorious sound in my ears, like the opening hymn of an archangel-language in which more music and more dignity were united than in any composition of mere mortal man, and which heralded in the universe, God and man, perdition and salvation, creation and the great sum total of the human destinies,—what a fall was there to those astounding words

"Describe the Borough!" It was a shock to every thing of the ideal great and poetical in the young and sensitive mind, attuned to the harmonies of a thousand great lays of the by-gone times, that was never to be forgotten. Are we then come to this ? I asked. Is this the scale of topic, and is this the tone to which we are reduced in this generation ? Turning over the heads of the different Books did not much tend to remove this feeling. The Church, Sects, the Election, Law, Physic, Trades, Clubs and Social Meetings, Players, Almshouse and Trustees, Peter Grimes and Prisons! What, in heaven's name, were the whole nine Muses to do with such a set of themes! And then the actors ! See a set of drunken sailors in their ale-house :

“ The Anchor, too, affords the seaman joys,

In small smoked room, all clamor, crowds, and noise ;
Where a curved settle half surrounds the fire,
Where fifty voices purl and punch require;
They come for pleasure in their leisure hour,
And they enjoy it to their utmost power;
Standing they drink, they swearing smoke, while all
Call, or make ready for a second call."

But, spite of all, a book was a book, and therefore it was read. At every page the same struggle went on in the mind between all the old notions of poetry, and the vivid pictures of actual life which it unfolded. When I had read it once, I told the lender that it was the strangest, cleverest, and most absorbing book I had ever read, but that it was no poem. It was only by a second and a third perusal that the first surprise subsided; the first shock gone by, the poem began to rise out of the novel composition. The deep and experienced knowledge of human life, the sound sense, the quiet satire, there was no overlooking from the first; and soon the warm sympathy with poverty and suffering, the boldness to display them as they existed, and to suffer no longer poetry to wrap her golden haze round human life, and to conceal all that ought to be known, because it must be known before it could be removed; the tender pathos, and the true feeling for nature, grew every hour on the mind. It was not long before George Crabbe became as firmly fixed in my bosom as a great and genuine poet, as Rembrandt, or Collins, or Edwin Landseer are as genuine painters.

Crabbe saw plainly what was become the great disease of our literature. It was a departure from actual life and nature. “ I've often marveled, when by night, by day,

I've marked the manners moving in my way,
And heard the language and beheld the lives
Of lass and lover, goddesses and wives,
That books which promise much of life to give
Should show so little how we truly live.

“ To me it seems, their females and their men
Are but the creatures of the author's pen;
Nay, creatures borrowed, and again conveyed
From book to book, the shadows of a shade.
Life, if they'd seek, would show them many a change;
The ruin sudden and the misery strange;
With more of grievous, base, and dreadful things,
Than novelists relate, or poet sings.
But they who ought to look the world around,
Spy out a single spot in fairy ground,
Where all in turns ideal forms behold,
And plots are laid, and histories are told."

To these home-truths, succeeds that admirable satirical description of our novel literature, which introduces the sad story of Ellen Orford. My space is little, but I must give a specimen of the manner in which the Cervantes of England strips away the sublime fooleries of our literary knighterrantry.

“ Time have I lent—I would their debt were less

To flowing pages of sublime distress;
And to the heroine's soul-distracting fears.
I early gave my sixpences and tears ;
Oft have I traveled in these tender tales,
To Darnley Cottages and Maple Vales.

I've watched a wintry night on castle walls,
I've stalked by moonlight through deserted halls;
And when the weary world was sunk to rest,
I've had such sights-as may not be expressed.

“Lo! that chateau, the western tower decayed,
The peasants shun it, they are all afraid ;
For there was done a deed! could walls reveal
Or timbers tell it, how the heart would feel.
Most horrid was it:-for, behold the floor
Has stains of blood, and will be clean no more.

Hark to the winds! which, through the wide saloon,
And the long passage, send a dismal tune,-
Music that ghosts delight in; and now heed
Yon beauteous nymph who must unmask the deed :
See! with majestic sweep sbe swims alone
Through rooms all dreary, guided by a groan.
Though windows rattle, and though tapestries shake,
And the feet falter every step they take,
Mid moans and gibing sprites she silent goes,
To find a something which shall soon expose
The villainies and wiles of her determined foes :
And having thus adventured, thus endured, .
Fame, wealth, and lover, are for life secured.

“Much have I feared, but am no more afraid,
When some chaste beauty, by some wretch betrayed,
Is drawn away with such distracted speed
That she anticipates a dreadful deed.
Not so do I. Let solid walls impound
The captive fair, and dig a moat around :
Let there be brazen locks and bars of steel,
And keepers cruel, such as never feel.
With not a single note the purse supply,
And when she begs let men and maids deny."
Be windows those from which she dare not fall,
And help so distant 'tis in vain to call;
Still means of freedom will some power devise,
And from the baffled ruffian snatch the prize."

From all this false sublime, Crabbe was the first to free us, and to lead us into the true sublime of genuine human life. How novel at that time, and yet how thrilling, was the incident of the sea-side visitors surprised out on the sands by the rise of the tide. Here was real sublimity of distress, real display of human passion. The lady, with her children in her hand, wandering from the tea-table which had been spread on the sands, sees the boatmen asleep, the boat adrift, and the tide advancing :

“She gazed, she trembled, and though faint her call,

It seemed like thunder to confound them all.
Their sailor-guests, the boatman and his mate,
Had drank and slept, regardless of their state ;

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