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eighteenth-century English and ought to be so represented. This sounds logical, but really is not. He may have thought thus, but we may be sure that he felt and imagined in these pseudo-archaic forms which made the antique world live again for him. Chatterton's method of old spelling is so simple also that it will give hardly any trouble. His first principle is to double letters as often as possible ; his second is not to be too regular even in doing this; his third, to use any genuine old spellings that he happened to remember. No difficulty exists in The Bristowe Tragedie. The Accounte of W. Canynges Feast is harder. In line i han sounde is intended to mean has sounded. The meaning of line 2 is a fair welcome does befit persons of dignity, — Byelecoyle being a bad spelling of the name of one of the characters in the old Chaucerian translation of the Roman de la Rose. Ealdermenne, line 3, is of course aldermen; cheorte, line 4, really means dearness or scarcity, but Chatterton thought it could mean delicious ; swotelye, line 6, means sweetly (= sweet) and doe is for does. Syche coyne, line 7, means such food. Professor Skeat thinks coyne means daintily, but Chatterton probably got the word from Spenser's View of the Present State of Ireland, where Spenser says, “ by the woord of Coygnye is understood mans-meat,” as opposed to horse-meat. Coygnye is also spelled coyn and coyne. In line 8 dynne is noise. In line 9 Heie stylle means they (the minstrels) cease playing. In line 11 echone is of course every (each one), and deene is dine. Line 12 means if Rowley, Iscamm, or Tyb Gorges (three of his friends) be not seen.
The Minor SCOTTISH Poets represented in pages 304-309 are mainly interesting as a background to Burns. In methods and ideals he was not an isolated phenomenon; freedom and individuality had not perished entirely. In London literary circles and throughout Great Britain wherever people tried to write or to criticise as they thought all“ up-to-date" people were writing and criticising, the prevailing fashion of “ classicism” was omnipotent. But wherever people wrote for the pleasure of saying a thing as they wished to say it, life, with its old joys and hopes and sorrows and fears and desires, ran fresh and strong, as it always has run and always will.
PRAED (p. 428) and LOCKER-LAMPSON (p. 504) are the advance guard of a host of writers of vers de société of exquisite delicacy and refinement. The ideal of such verse is elegant and ingenious trifling with only occasional touches of more serious sentiment,
as a swallow circles bright and swift through the air, dips its wing for a moment in the water, and like a flash is off again in its careless flight. Some of the lighter verse of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries bears a close resemblance to the work of these later writers, but there is a difference in tone, in attitude, in personal concern with the sentiments expressed. Locker (or Locker-Lampson, to use the name he assumed upon his marriage to Miss Lampson) was far superior to Praed in tenderness, in reserve, in genuine poetic feeling, and in technique. His range of sentiments, of ideas, and of rhythms was greater; and he has had the greater influence upon later writers.
Fitzgerald's translation of The RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM (p. 438) has long had a place in the hearts of lovers of high and serious poetry. Although a translation, it is in the truest sense an original poem and expresses as scarcely any other does the strange combination of doubt and defiance and sensuousness and religious yearning characteristic of much of the thought and feeling of the Victorian Age.
Bailey's FESTUS (p. 498) was one of the most successful poems of any age. Published in 1839, it passed through many editions in England, besides thirty in America. In addition to this popular success, it gained the extravagant praises of many critics and poets, even such men as Walter Savage Landor ranking it with the great poems of the world. But it is dead and will never be read again except as a literary curiosity. Three quotations from it still survive as the sum total of its claims upon the future. The poet and dramatist, Westland Marston, said, “I know no poem in any language that can be compared with it in copiousness and variety of imagery." This is true; but the imagery of the poem is the result of intellectual ingenuity, not of poetic imagination, and the movement of it, both in general and in detail, is the movement of machinery, not of life.
COVENTRY PATMORE (p. 521) has been the subject of the most widely divergent judgments. One contemporary critic says, “It may be affirmed that no poet of the present age is more certain of immortality than he.” Another regards him as possessor of no spark of the divine fire. The selections here presented seem to justify his claim to a unique and high position among the poets of his time, but his range was narrow — his vocal register had scarcely a tone that does not find utterance in these selections — and his voice obviously lacked resonance and power. Being incapable of selfcriticism, he wrote much that is prosaic some lines that even awaken inextinguishable laughter; but at its best his verse is simple, picturesque, passionate, of exquisite freshness and charm.
SIDNEY DOBELL (p. 523) is a notable example of the rather large class of poets in the nineteenth century who gave evidence of true and even great poetic ability, but who failed in unity, in consistency, in power of final and perfect utterance.
GEORGE MEREDITH (p. 537) is perhaps the most richly and variously endowed writer of the nineteenth century. He is best known as a novelist, but to many of his admirers he seems equally great as a poet. All of his work is notable for its combination of significance and beauty. In depth of insight, in subtle apprehension of life and the problems which it presents to try the hearts of intelligent men and women, even such great writers as Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, and George Eliot are hardly his equals; and his sensitiveness to the beauties of nature and of the soul of man has a wider range and a finer delicacy. The same qualities are manifest in much of his poetry. But the gods gave him also the fatal gift of excessive intellectual ingenuity and a delight in the exercise of it; while the sole gift they denied him was self-restraint. Like his own Bellerophon, he had the winged horse and the golden bridle, and he, too,
Could mount and sit
Flying, and up Olympus midway speed; but instead of riding straight and hard for the summit he too often, in mere exuberance of power and of delight in his steed, executes difficult feats of horsemanship on the lower slopes of the mountain.
ROBERT BULWER LYTTON, “Owen Meredith” (p. 544), is notable only as an example of the worthlessness of contemporary popularity, however great, as a test of merit. No one can now read his verses without seeing clearly and at once that he had not a single quality of greatness. He had no power of thought, no sensitiveness to beauty, no real charm of manner. His success was a triumph of the commonplace and of cheap and tawdry sensationalism. That we are all now able to see this does not mean that we are wiser than the preceding generation or endowed with better taste, but only that this particular kind of commonplace and sensationalism does not appeal to us. Most of us are still equally ready to praise work different in badness, but just as bad.
SIR LEWIS MORRIS (p. 547) is not a great poet, but he occupies an honorable place among poets of the second rank. Though lacking in originality and strength he has sincerity and sensitiveness to beauty and truth; and often his verse has the simple, noble charm of genuine poetry.
JAMES THOMSON (p. 548) is one of the most curious and interesting figures of the Victorian period. No one has been more successful in catching the true poetic aspect of the pleasures of the lower middle classes of a great city. His “idyls of the London mob,” as he calls them, are not echoes of Theocritus or Virgil, of the pastoral of the Italian Renaissance, or of the genuine bucolic poetry of Scotland and England; they are original and independent treatments of the material that he saw actually about him in the holiday excursions of the young people of cockneydom. In striking contrast with these simple and charming pictures is the dark melancholy which finds expression in The City of Dreadful Night and other poems of his later years. These poems have often been admired, or condemned, as the ultimate expression of philosophical pessimism, and often the form and the ideas seem to justify such an interpretation; but there can be little doubt that they are in reality devoid of philosophical significance, though full of power and of far-reaching suggestion. The ideas and the imagery have the horrible fascination of a hideous dream. They are indeed the utterance of a poet of splendid original power and infinite aspiration for life and strength and beauty, whose vigor has been sapped by folly and misfortune, who with shattered nerves and strengthless hands strives vainly to clutch some good that has durability and three dimensions. The City of Dreadful Night is, as the poet explains, the city of darkness, peopled with sad forms by the insomnia which night after night tortures and weakens him and restores him to the day empty of strength and hope.
Of the extraordinarily high qualities of William Morris (p. 550) and ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE (p. 558) it is hardly necessary to speak, as these poets usually find a place in the histories of English literature, though seldom so high a place as they deserve.
ALFRED AUSTIN (p. 557) has had the misfortune as poet laureate to be compared with Tennyson and Wordsworth, and has of course suffered greatly thereby. The selection here given — and there are many other poems as good as this — proves that, though not great, Mr. Austin is nevertheless a true poet and by no means the contemptible versifier he has too often been represented as being.
EARLY MIDDLE ENGLISH
FROM THE POEMA MORALE, OR MORAL ODE (c. 1170)
Nu ic wolde, ac' ic ne mei? for elde: ne for un
helthe; * Ylde 3 me is bistolen on, ær ic hit awyste; 5 Ne mihte ic iseon before me for smeche? ne for
miste. Ærwe 8 we beoth to done god, and to yfele 10 al
to thriste; More æie 12 stent man of manne thanne him do
of Criste. The " wel ne deth 15 the hwile he mei,? wel oft hit
hym scæl ruwen," Thænne 17 hy 18 mowen sculen 19 and ripen, ther 20
hi ar seowen. Don ec 22 to Gode wet ye muye, 24 the hwile ye
buth' a life; Ne hopie no man 25 to muchel to childe ne to wyfe; The 14 him selve foryut 26 for wife other for childe, He sceal cume an uvele stede,22 bute 28 hym God
beo milde. Sende æch 20 sum god biforen hym, the hwile he
mei, to heovene; Betere is an elmesse 30 bifore thenne beon æfter
seovene. Ne beo the leovre 31 thene the sulf thi mei 32 ne thi
maye.33 Sot 34 is the 14 is othres mannes freond betre thene his aye.36
30 Ne hopie 36 wif to hire were,37 ne wer 37 to his wife; Beo 38 for him sulve ævrich
man, the hwyle he beo 40 alive. Wis " is the him sulfne bithencth, the hwile he
mote libbe, 45 For sone
4 wulleth 7 him foryite 48 the fremde 40 and the sibbe.50
Ich æm elder then ich 'wes a wintre and a lore; ? Ic' wældemore thanne ic dude," mi wit ah to
ben more. Wel lange ic' habbe child ibeon ? a weorde and
ech a dede; Theho ic beo 10 a wintre eald,“ to ying I eom
rede. 12 Unnut 13 lyf ic habb ilæd," and yiet, me-thincth,
ic lede; Thanne ic me bethenche,16 wel sore ic me
adrede.16 Mest" al thæt ic habbe ydon 18 ys
idelnesse and chilche; 10 Wel late ic habbe me bithoht, bute
me God do milce.21 Fele” ydele word ic habbe iqueden 23 syththen *
ic speke cuthe, 25 And fale 22 yunge 2 dede ido, thet me of-thinchet 27
nuthe.28 Al to lome 29 ic habbe agult 30 a weorche 31 and ec 8
a worde; Al to muchel ic habbe ispend, to litel yleid
horde. Mest ?? al thet me licede 33 ær,34 nu hit me mis
licheth ; 35 The 36 mychel 37 folyeth 38 his ywil, him sulfne he
biswiketh.39 Ich mihte habbe bet 40 idon, hadde ic tho 41
The' wel ne deth ’ the hwile he mei, ne sceal he
hwenne he wolde. Manies mannes sare iswinch habbeth oft unholde.* Ne scolde nan man don a furst, ne sclawen wel
to done; For mani man bihateth? wel, the hit foryiteth
man the 1 siker 8 wule beon to habbe Godes
blisse, Do wel him sulf the hwile he mei, then haveth he
pa Goddspelless nehalle,
30 þatt sinndenn'o the messeboc :
Inn all the zer“ att messe. & azzs affterr the Goddspell stannt patt tatt' te Goddspell menebb,8
7 þatt mann birrb spellenn' to the follc
Off thezzre 10 sawle nede; & gét tr tekenn mare inoh 1
þu shallt tæronne 12 findenn, Off þatt tatt ’ Cristess hallzhe bed 13 Birrb wel & follzhenn.18
40 Icc hafe sett her o 17 biss boc
Amang Goddspelless wordess,
Ezzwhær þær 21 itt iss ekedd,22 Ma33 hellpenn tha 23 þatt redenn itt
To sen & tunnderrstanndenn 24 All þess te bettre hu þezzm birrb 25
Þe Goddspell unnderrstanndenn; 50 & forrbi trowwe icc batt te birrb
Wel þolenn 28 mine wordess,
Amang Godspelless wordess.
ORRM (Al. 1200)
FROM THE ORMULUM Nu,10 broberr Wallterr, broßerr min
Affterr be flæshess kinde; & broßerr min i 12 Crisstenndom
þurrh fulluhht 13 & þurrh trowwbe; " & broberr min i 12 Godess hus,
3ết on the bride 18 wise, þurrh þatt witt 18 hafenn '' tăkenn ba 20
An 21 rezhellboc 22 to follzhenn,23 Unnderr kanunnkess 24 had 25 & lif,
Swa summ Sannt Awwstin sette; Icc hafe 28 don swa summ 28 bu badd, 20
& forbedd 30 te 31 bin wille, Icc hafe 28 wennd 32 inntill 33 Ennglissh
Goddspelless hallzhe lare, 34 Affterr þatt little witt tatt
Min Drihhtin hafebb lenedd.37 þu bohhtesst tatt 30 itt mihhte wel
Till 39 mikell frame turrnenn, Ziff 41 Ennglissh follk, forr lufe off Crist,
Itt wo" - 3erne 42 lernenn, & follzhenn 23 itt, & fillenn 43 itt
Wibb bohht,“ wibb word, wibb dede. & forrbi 45 zerrndesst
tu þatt icc piss werrc be shollde wirrkenn; & icc itt hafe forbedd te,
Acc 48 all þurrh Cristess hellpe; & unnc birrb 18
babe þannkenn Crist þatt itt iss brohht till 30 ende. Icc hafe sammnedd 51 biss boc
1 nigh, near are 3 mass-book 'year always o stands 7 that that, that which means that it behooves one tell 10 of their 11 and besides that enough more 12 therein 18 holy people
14 behooves 18 believe 18 follow 17 here in 18 by myself 18 rhythm, measure 20 so 21 everywhere where 22 added 23 those 24 to understand 25 all the better for this how it behooves them 26 therefore 27 thee 28 endure, permit 29 them 30 went 31 with a numberless army 32 heard 33 and went against him 34 numberless 35 there were many fey (fated to die) upon the Tamar (a river)
39 the place was called 40 evermore shall last that same word (name)
was gathered 42 and more thousands besides
who ? doth 3 may many a man's sore labor hath often misfortune no man should postpone delay
promises 8 sure 9 then he hath it certainly 11 nature
12 in 13 through baptism 16 third 17 way, degree 18 we two 19 have 20 both one 23 rule-book
24 canon's just as 27 commanded 28 I have 29 badest 80 accomplished
34 holy lore
37 35 wit, intelligence 30 that
has lent 88 thoughtest
42 eagerly 44 with thought 15 therefore 46 desiredst 47 work 48 but 49 us two it behooves 60 both b1 collected 62 in