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plain of the want of rhyme, there being in On this subject of versification it may be the first part of each verse no less than four worth while to observe that it is evidently lines jingling together. A refrain of this the tendency of our best modern writers to description may have its appropriate place adopt in verse the same manner of proin a song of two or three verses; but when nouncing and spelling all words as is usual persevered in throughout a poem of some in prose; and, as it seems to us, with very length, it becomes intolerable. The atten- good reason. As the termination (ed) of tion is perpetually called off from the poem our participle is never, or rarely, proitself, to watch how the writer brings in his nounced, we cannot understand why it invariable endings of Camelot,' and 'La- should be thought necessary, in metrical dy of Shalott.' It is as if in travelling along compositions, to spell it with the mark of some highway, whatever might be the in- elision. In the first line, for instance, of terest of the scene over which the broad the above extract, why should it not be day was pouring, we were compelled by written hushed, as well as hush'd? No one some ridiculous fascination to watch the would ever think of pronouncing this as a recurrence, at stated intervals, of the tall, word of two syllables, unless constrained to empty lamp-posts that stand beside the do so by some caprice of the versifier. So, road, and so journey on from post to post, too, if ihe final vowel in the article the, incessantly on the look out for what we when followed by a word commencing also feel to be the absurd object of an involun- with a vowel, is so faintly pronounced as tary curiosity. We would as willingly be not to constitute a separate syllable, we sent back to read acrostics, or study ana- may safely leave it standing; there is no grams, or peruse those pretty little poems necessity to write it thus, th', in order to that were written in long and short lines, put us in mind of a rapid pronunciation, so dexterously arranged as to imitate the which we should naturally adopt. Neither wings of Cupid, either folded or outspread, does this orthography truly represent the as best accorded with the sentiment. pronunciation it would intimate, for the
Having alluded to this subject of versi-vowel, though faintly and rapidly sounded, fication, we may as well insert here a re- is not entirely dropped. In such a line as mark which Mr. Tennyson must have pro- this of Milton's, voked from every one who has an ear for
“Whom thus the angelic Virtue answered mild," the music of verse. He is fond of making experiments in versification, and in order no one feels the least redundancy, yet no to obtain a novel measure, he occasionally one would pronounce it, sacrifices that melody which is the very essence of all metre, and which, even in
“Whom thus th' angelic," &c. prose, is found to be the natural compan. A verse is not a verse because it is made to ion of all pathetic language. No prose, we are sure, could be produced more rough that without any torturing of the language.
count; it must be a verse to the ear, and and more jarring to the ear than some of Mr. Tennyson's experimental verse. We
Still less can we approve of such an abbre
viation as the followingventure to say that, even in the language of conversation, no one ever puts together “ Over its grave i' the earth so chilly." such jerking, jolting, unmodulated diction as may be found in the following example. No one living leaves out the consonant in It is the second verse of a piece entitled the monosyllable in. Examples cited from ' A Song,' a very plain misnomer, since the older poets, in whose time, no doubt, there is scarcely a musical line in the whole the word was occasionally pronounced in composition :
this manner, cannot justify a recurrence to • The air is damp, and hush'd, and close,
the practice now, when such a pronunciaAs a sick man's room when he taketh repose
tion would be considered either a vulgarity An hour before death ;
or an affectation. Poetry should surely My very heart faints, and my whole soul grieves employ the best English that is spoken, and Ai the moist rich smell of the rotting leaves, And the breath
not, in the exigencies of metre, have reOf the fading edges of box beneath, course to what, out of verse, would be cenAnd the year's last rose.
sured as a vicious, slovenly, or pedantic Heavily hangs the broad sunflower
pronunciation. Usage may, in some in-
dinary orthography and pronunciation of
prose; but these instances should be re-nursery rhymes. They have the requisite stricted, and not multiplied. Common freedom from meaning, but the phrase is sense tells us that a poet can gain nothing, too learned; they lack that coaxing simand may sacrifice much, by calling our at- plicity of language which wins the immor. tention to petty singularities of language, tality of the nursery. Is it enough to say or by manufacturing his line out of what, of such verses that they are imitations at best, are the admitted artifices of the of certain antique specimens, found predistressed versifier.
served, perhaps, in Shakspeare and others We perceive that we have veered round of the elder dramatists, which themselves imperceptibly to the cold and windy side have no possible interest apart from their of the hill, and must now proceed with our antiquity, or the use made of them by these strictures and censures upon our author. poets? Is it very wise or profitable to be This is a part of our critical function, to manufacturing modern antiques, whose best us by no means the most agreeable. We recommendation is a very indifferent imitawould rather occupy the remaining space tion of rust? Or is this a specimen of that we can devote to Mr. Tennyson, in culling rejuvenescence of our literature, which, out the admirable passages of his works. according to some, took place on the reBut it is a review, an estimate of the poet, vived study of the Percy Ballads ? we have undertaken, and not the more So much has been written on this matpleasing and easy task of selecting elegant ter of abused simplicity in the various reextracts.' We have already intimated that views of the poetry of Wordsworth, who Mr. Tennyson shares in the two prevalent chose to veil his genius occasionally under and very different failings of modern poet- a very peculiar affectation; and the subject ry; on the one hand, trifling with its read- appears to be now so generally understood, er by its negligence, caprice, and puerility; that we shall not here enlarge upon it. We and, on the other, losing itself in obscurity shall content ourselves with relating a little by rain efforts at philosophical profundity, German fairy tale, which may not inaptly or over subtle imaginations.
illustrate this species of literary rejuvenesWhat could Mr. Tennyson propose to cence. himself when he presented to adult readers In those olden times, when the marvels two such songs, for instance, as these to of witchcraft and alchemy put to the blush the owl? We quote them down below in the wonders of our modern chemistry, a a note.* They are unavailing, even as certain mysterious damsel had concocted
for herself the elixir of youth. Whenever **When cats run home, and light is come, she detected the least inroad of time upon
And dew is cold upon the ground, And the far-off stream is dumb,
her beauty, she had recourse to this liquid, And the whirring sail goes round, and a few drops immediately repaired the And the wbirring sail goes round; damage. A handmaid who waited on her, Alone, and warming his five wits,
at length discovered the secret of her perThe white owl in the belfry sits.
petual freshness. She, too, had a few • When merry milkmaids click the latch, years, or a few wrinkles, that she would
And rarely smells the new-mown hay, gladly lay aside. One day, in the absence And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch of her mistress, she stole into her chamber, Twice or thrice his roundelay,
and seized the precious liquid; but in her Twice or thrice his roundelay;
Alone, and warming his five wits, eagerness to be again restored to perfect
found herself suddenly dwindled-to a lit· Thy tuwhits are lull’d, I wot,
tle child! She had drunk herself back to Thy tuwhoos of yesternight, Which upon the dark afloat,
infancy, and stood there-like some of our So took ucho with delight,
modern poets—in lamentable conviction, So took echo with delight,
at once, and punishment, of her fault. That her voice untuneful grown, But it is in the somewhat contradictory Wears all day a fainter tone.
error of a profound obscurity that Mr. "I would mock thy chaunt anew;
Tennyson more frequently offends. To But I cannot inimic it;
metaphysics, in metaphysical garb, we wilNot a wbit of thy tuwhoo.
lingly address ourselves with all becoming Thee to woo to thy tuwhit,
patience. We are prepared for difficulties, Thee to woo to thy tuwhit, With a lengthen'd loud halloo,
and do not shrink from their encounter. Tuwhoo, tuwhit, tuwhit, tuwhoo-o-o.'|But here, in poetry, in what should be the
luxury of letters, to be confounded by ob-Cleaving-took root-
for the purpose of producing discord, of balkto analyze, to apply as many tests as a
ing the ear, and adding as much as possible chemisi in order to discover some meaning
to the confusion and obscurity of the sense. in it—this, we say, is a grievance of which the whole of which might be quoted as a
There is an ambitious Ode to Memory, we have just right to complain. Perhaps, lamentable instance of a vain and painful at length, we detect some glimpse of mean- lamentable instance of a vain and painful ing, some vague general idea, which when affectation of profundity. Every reader we attempt to express in our own humble of English poetry is acquainted with the prose, looks very like an old acquaintance,
ode of Wordsworth, where he traces in whom there was no necessity to dis- childhood the intimations of an ante-natal guise in so much mummery:
And be the state of existence. In this ode a philoidea new or old, what is to be said of that sophical fancy is pushed, we feel to its utexposition of a truth which first presents
Childhood is no longer the most you something as a riddle to be guessed at, simple and innocent period of existence, so and when that something is divined, leaves full of free, fresh, uncareful life ; it comes you without a shred of appropriate lan-trailing clouds of glory' from the heavens. guage to invest it with leaves you, in fact, sitive to all impressions, kindles at the no
It is not enough that its young eye, so sento huddle it up, after all, in whatever coarse vesture of your own may first come to hand ? velty of this world; it is not indeed the
To show the dark, perplexed, absurd novelty of this world, but the reminiscence manner in which our poet, elsewhere so ad
of a brighter, that calls the light into its mirable, can write, we will quote some
quick, inconstant gaze. F our own part, verses of a piece entitled The Poet. It nothing short of the beauty of that poet's
verse could reconcile us to a strain of senopens boldly and well.
timent so forced and unnatural, and which
robs childhood of its true and genuine • The poet in a golden clime was born, With golden stars above ;
charm-greater far, we think, than any Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, which a Platonic philosophy can supply. The love of love,'
Mr. Tennyson, falling into the same strain
of thought, swells into still greater exagAfter this, the whole poem is one dim and
geration, and speaks of preposterous rant.
• The deep mind of dauntless infancy!' • He saw thro' life and death, thro' good and ill,
He saw thro' his own soul.
We presume, at least, that he is here
following in the same track of Platonic Before him lay.'
contemplation, but our readers shall judge
for themselves; we will give them an opThe poet was manifestly something other portunity of trying their own acuteness and than mere mortal man.
perspicacity on the verse of our poet. with echoing feet he threaded The secret'st walk of fame :
• In sweet dreams, soster than unbroken rest The rieless arrows of his thoughts were headed
Thou leadest by the hand thine infant hope,
The eddying of her garments caught from thee
of the half-attained futurity, They must have been visible at least at both
Though deep, not fathomless, ends.
Was cloven with the million stars which tremble
O'er the deep mind of dauntless nfancy. · Like Indian reeds blown from his silver tongue, Small thought was there of life's distress; And of so fierce a flight,
For sure she deem'd no mist of earth could dull From Calpe and Caucasus they sung,
Those spirit-thrilling eyes so keen and beautiful; Filling with light,
Sure she was niglier to heaven's spheres,
Listening the lordly music flowing from And vagrant melodies the wind which bore
years. Them earth ward till they lit;
Oh, strengthen me, enlighten me! Then like the arrow-seeds of the field flower,
I saint in this obscurity, The fruitful wit
Thou dewy dawn of meinory.'
There are probably two, and only two ing verses from a poem addressed To J.S., of these lines, (they occur several times in on the occasion, as we learn froin the poem the course of the poem, and are repeated itself, of the loss of a dear brother. as if for our relief, as a sort of refrain,) which the reader follows with a consenting
"God give us love. Something to love
He lends us; but, when love is grown mind
To ripeness, that on which it throve
Falls off, and love is left alone.
This is the curse of time. Alas !
In grief I am not all unlearned ;
Once thro' mine own doors death did pass ; express to our author; for we assure him
One went who never hath return'd. that throughout the whole piece there is not a single fragment a wbit more intelligible "He will not smilo-nor speak to me
Once more. or more likely to enlighten him, than what
Two years his chair is seen
Empty before us. That was he we have quoted.
Without whose life I had not been. In The Palace of Art one gathers something of the intention of the poet-one • I knew your brother : his mute dust catches at a certain general idea—but one
I honor and his living worth :
A man more pure, and bold, and just gathers, at the same time, that he has fail
Was never born into the earth. ed in any forcible exposition of it. To borrow an expression from a sister art, • I have not looked upon you nigh, nothing is made out.'
The Two Voices,
Since that dear soul bath fall'n asleep.
Great nature is more wise than I : again, is a very long and tedious dialogue
I will not tell you not to weep. between the better and worse parts of our own nature; if not so obscure as some others, it is, owing to its greater length, full as wearisome.
• Let grief be her own mistress still.
She loveth her own anguish deep In this last poem, however, there is a
More than much pleasure.
Let her will brief passage so excellent that we cannot Be done-to weep or not to weep. resist the pleasure of quoting it. And this we do the more readily, because it fairly il
• Words weaker than your grief would make
Grief more. "Twere better I should cease; lustrates the current strain of Mr. Tenny
Altho' myself could almost take son's poetry, which, to its praise be it said, The place of him that sleeps in peace. is quite free from that Byronic gloom and sullenness which infected many of the Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace : minor poets of our age.
Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul,
While the stars burn, the moons increase, • Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
And the great ages onward roll.
Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet.
Nothing comes to thee new or strange,' ''Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant,
Sleep full of rest from head to feet ; Oh, life, not death, for which we pant;
Lie still, dry dust, secure of change. More life, and fuller, that we want.'
Here we must part company with Mr. Tennyson. We have been very sparing of quotations brought forward to justify our MODERN FRENCH PHILOSOPHY. critical charges against him ; for what can
From the British Quarterly Review. be more tedious and distressing to our read. ers than to have the dark spots selected Nouveaux Mélanges Philosophiques, par from an author, and brought together in
THEODORE JOUFFROY, Membre de l'Ingloomy contiguity? We are confident we stitut, Professeur de Philosophie à la are far more obliging them, as we are grati
Faculté des Lettres, précédés d'une nofying ourselves far more, when we cull out
tice et publies par Ph. DAMIRON. what is beautiful and worthy of admiration. Paris, 1842. As we have exercised this forbearance in This is a posthumous and incomplete adverse quotation, we may still have space work of the lamented Jouffroy, the disciple to conclude with one more extract of a and succcessor of Cousin. Its chief article pleasing description. We take the follow- is a long and elaborate " Treatise on the
Organization of the Philosophical Sci-| alarm they gave me-perhaps, because of ences," in which he has expanded the that alarm—these objections had forcibly views which he had published in his life
seized on my understanding: time, as a preface to his “ Translation of
“In vain ny infancy and its poetic impresReid.” Its interest, however, mainly de- the majesty, the antiquity, the authority of
sions—my youth and its religious memoriespends, if we mistake not, upon an episode, that faith in which I had been taught,-my in which, in language of great pathos and every recollection, my whole imagination, my beauty, he describes the progress of his whole soul, revolted at an invasion of unbelief mind from his early views of religion to that wounded them so deeply; my heart could philosophy. We have never before read not defend my reason. such affecting philosophico-religious expe- in doubt before its eyes, my reason felt all its
“ The authority of Christianity once placed rience. It has not yet been given to the old convictions tremble at their base; it was British public; and as we propose to sub-bound in order to re-confirm them, to examine mit a few remarks to our readers upon the the value of their claims: and notwithstanding general character of that eclectic school the bias with which it entered on that examiof which he was so eminent a professor, we nation, it came forth sceptical. But this meshall proceed to translate an extract of some
lancholy revolution was not wrought in the length from its pages.
open light of my consciousness : too many
scruples,--too many vivid and sacred affec“At the age of twenty years, I'began to de- tions made it an awful task to avow to myself vote myself to the study of Philosophy. I was its progress. It took place silently, by an inthen in the normal school; and although phi- voluntary effort, in which I was not an accomlosophy was of the number of those sciences plice, and for many a day I was no longer in which we were instructed, I was induced a Christian, except that, in innocence of into cultivate it-not by the peculiar facilities of tention, I should have shuddered at being susmy position, nor by any personal predilection pected to the contrary—I should have thought for any studies of the kind. Born of pious pa- the charge a calumny. But I was too sincere rents, in a district where the Catholic faith with myself
, and I attached too much moment was still in its vigor, at the commencement to religious questions, now that age was of this century, I had been accustomed to con
strengthening my reason, and the studious and sider man's fúlure existence and the care of solitary life of the university was confirming his soul as the great concerns of my life, and the meditative tendencies of my spirit, to allow the whole course of my education had con
this uncertainty as to my own opinions any tributed to strengthen these serious dispo- longer to continue. sitions. For a long time the dogmas of Chris
“I shall never forget the December evening, tianity had fully responded to the cares and in- when the veil which had concealed my own quietudes which such dispositions awakened (scepticism from myself was rent in twain. To those questions which in my opin
I still hear my footsteps in that narrow and ion, were the only ones deserving our attention, scanty chamber, where, long after the hour of the religion of my fathers gave replies,-and sleep, I was wont to pace: 1 still see that moon, in those replies I believed, and, thanks to that half veiled in clouds, which at intervals illubelief
, my present existence was bright and mined the cold panes. The hours of night clear, and the future seemed to unroll itself passed away and I perceived it not. Anxwithout a cloud. Content with the path I had iously I followed my thought as from step to to follow in this world—Content with the point step it descended to the ground of my conto which it must conduct me in the next, the illusions which had hitherto concealed
sciousness, and, dissipating one after another viewing lise under these two phases, and death which unites them; knowing myself—know-them from my view, made my errors every ing the designs of God concerning me, and
moment the more obvious. loving him for the goodness of his designs,
"In vain I clung to these last convictions, I rejoiced with the joy which springs from a as a shipwrecked sailor to the ruins of his vivid and certain faith, in a doctrine that ship; in vain, in terror at the unknown waresolves all the great questions which can inte ters in which I should have to float, I threw rest humanity. Butat the time when I was born, myself back for the last time upon my infancy, it was impossible for such happiness to be my family, the scenes of my youth, all that was lasting. The day was come when from the dear and sacred to me; the pitiless current of bosom of that peaceful temple, which had re my thought was too strong; parents, family, ceived me at my birth, and under the shade of reminiscences, convictions, it tore me from them which my earliest youth had flowed along, I all; the inquiry became more obstinate and heard the storm of doubt which, from every more severe; as it approached its term, it quarter, burst upon ils walls and shook it to stopped not until it had attained it. its base. My curiosity could not blind itself to “ That was a frightful moment, and when, those powerful objections-scattered like dust, towards morning, I threw myself exhausted in the atmosphere I breathed, by the spirit of upon my bed, my early life, so joyous and so two centuries of scepticism. Despite the rich, seemed to expire, and behind me, there