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to coin new English for his own man wishes; but none more impurposes. But otherwise we have pressive than this one. Tithonus not a fault to find. We especially has prayed for endless life: he has admire the words in italics. How forgotten to ask at the same time admirably they succeed in setting for unending happiness. His bliss open (like their original) those has ended, but his life continues. heavens of heavens, which a clear Change has done her worst upon night shows us, to our raptured him, and is forbidden to compengazes !
sate his injuries by her last boon, As to Mr Tennyson's other “ex- death. His latest prayers are unperiments," we feel they deserve a heard, through the fatal success friendly reception, by the very fact of his earlier. When the last of their owning themselves to be great poet of Rome has completed such. Some of our poets feel no his survey of prayers, granted in compunction in showering similar like manner to their offerer's decompositions on the unsuspecting struction, he pauses, and bids men public, without the faintest hint cease from their vain supplications, that they are not established forms since the gods love us better than of English verse. Still we cannot we love ourselves. But this noble say that ‘Boadicea' is an experiment sentiment belongs to those latter which we should like to see repeat days of the ancient world, when the ed; as, to our ear, its somewhat reflected beams of the true Sun loose Trochees stand much in need were beginning to enlighten its of rhyme, to distinguish them from darkness. Greek legend teaches awkward prose. Nor do we much the direct contrary. Its gods are mind whether the Laureate “floun- either too careless or too ignorant der” with or “without a tumble to secure the happiness of those through his metrification of Catul- whom they favour most.
Eos can lus.” But his ‘Ode to Milton,' with but lament the fatal effects of ber its graceful alliterations and stately gift; she cannot recall it. Even march, is surely as fine a specimen by making her weep, as he does, of English Alcaics as can be ima- over her husband's anguish, Mr gined ; though its author is perhaps Tennyson may seem to some to right in relegating a form of com- have incorrectly imported modern position which only scholars can feeling into the ancient story he is fully appreciate, to his appendix. treating of. The well-known words It is worthy of a place near Milton's which pass between Artemis and own Pyrrha. Both grand ; neither the dying Hippolytus in Euripides,* quite English, yet each majestic in might seem to forbid the represenits exotic beauty.
tation of a god in tears, as opposed If, however, Mr Tennyson does to the Hellenic conception of deity. not encourage poets to try to trans- Such, in truth, was the conclusion plant classic metres into English, which the Greek mind arrived at, except as an occasional pastime, he when it set itself to reason on the gives us in this volume a noble in- traditions which it had at first restance of the true use to which a ceived without inquiry. Man's poet should put his knowledge of strong disposition to worship Power the ancients, by his 'Tithonus. Its rather than Love, made the Greek subject is profoundly pathetic. It (while" with his own worse self he is the supplication of Tithonus to clothed his god")deprive the objects Eos to remove from him the burden of his adoration of what even the of an iinmortality, embittered by fierce satirist has styled "nostri pars the infirmities of age. Ancient optima sensus. But Tennyson's legend contains many similar ex- Tithonus' belongs to an earlier emplifications of the vanity of hu- epoch — to the day when the
* “ Hip. Queen, seest thou me, the wretched, how I suffer?
Art. Yes: but with eyes from which no tear may fall.
Hellenic eye gazed fondly, but as his prayer for death, thrill us by yet uncritically, on the beauteous their tones of hopeless anguish; as forms which stood around it; when they contrast the goddess in her Homer sang the loves and hates of immortal beauty with the man who gods and goddesses, without troub- shrinks even from her loved preling himself, like Pindar and Euri- sence that he may hide his sorrows pides, to make their doings agree in that grave, which he yet loves to with
ideal standard. The tears think she will visit with regretful of Zeus for Sarpedon in the 'Iliad' looks. How they paint in their justify these which Eos sheds for Homeric simplicity that weary spiTithonus. (Not to mention that rit which finds all its former joys no god has a better right to tears turned to wormwood, and now can than dewy Morn.) For the Eos of only long for death :Tennyson is the Homeric Eos seen closer. In the “Iliad' we view her “Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold from afar; her rosy fingers un
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled
feet barring the eastern portals ; her Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the saffron garments brightening the
steam sky. Tennyson admits us into
Floats up from those dim fields about the
homes “ The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Of happy men that have the power to die, Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of And grassy barrows of the happier dead. morn,”
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seëst all things, thou wilt see my to paint her nearer in those ex- grave: quisite lines in which Tithonus Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by
morn ; says :
I earth in earth forget these empty “ Once more the old mysterious glimmer
And thee returning on thy silver wheels." From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
We are inclined to give a very And bosom beating with a heart renew'd. high place indeed to this beautiful Thy cheek begins to redden thro’ the
poem (shall we say the highest ?) gloom, Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to
among the Laureate's compositions mine,
on classical subjects. Not that we Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild are insensible to the deep thought
in his «Ulysses,' to the rich loveliarise,
ness of his ‘Enone,' or to the varied And shake the darkness from their loosen'd melody of his ‘Lotos-Eaters ;' but
that his Tithonus' seems to us to And beat the twilight into flakes of fire."
exclude the intrusion of alien ideas There is a Titianesque beauty even more perfectly than they do, here, as well as in the passage a
and to reach, if possible, a greater few lines farther on, in which, find- height of poetic beauty. ing his “sorrow's crown of sorrow
There are several standards by in remembering bappier things," which the later poems of an author Tithonus paints Eos as his eyes saw may be tried, who occupies
the posiher before age dimmed them :
tion held by Mr Tennyson. They may
be regarded as materials for formAy me! ay me! with what another ing the judgment which is to assign
similar styles to themselves of many my blood
ages and of many lands. But such Glow with the glow that slowly crimson'd a proceeding would be premature. all
For the verdicts of contemporaries Thy presence and thy portals.”
on the poets of their era are always And the concluding words, in very liable to be reversed by poswhich the hapless Tithonus renews terity. Like those who dwell at
the foot of high mountains, our verent admiration as do the finest nearness to men of very great genius parts of ‘Guinevere;' but neither hinders us, while they live among is there anything in it puerile and us, from estimating their full height. spasmodic, like the worst parts of On the other hand, the same cause * Maud;' or weak, as certain pasadds to the stature of genius of an
sages in ‘Enid.' inferior order. These things are The simple pathos and freedom set right to succeeding genera- from straining after effect of ‘Enoch tions. The farther off they grow, Arden;' the solemn seriousness of the more they lose sight of all the conclusion of ' Aylmer's Field;' greatness which is not superemi- the sweet music to which the ‘Seanent, and the higher what really Dreams' are set, no less than the unis so towers to their view. Again, expected might of satire developed at most periods a comparison may in that short poem, leave a sense of be instituted between the works of great satisfaction in the mind. Still one great poet and those of others (may we confess it?) we could bear living like himself, and an attempt the loss of all these better than we made to fix, not his place among could that of several we might menthe poets of all times, but amongst tion among Mr Tennyson's earlier those who adorn his own. For the poems — infinitely better than we reason just given, such an under- could endure to lose the two last of taking is always apt to be as un- the ‘Idylls of the King. For we satisfactory as it is invidious; and, should not feel in the former, as we after our own opening remarks, it should in the latter case, that unique will certainly not be expected from types of beauty had been taken
We must, therefore, have re- from us. Not such is the feeling course to another and a very na- with which we regard Tithonus. tural standard of comparison; that, It inspires us with a deeper sense namely, with which the expecta- of admiring love than do its fellows. tions raised by previous works of In its perfection alike of form and the same author furnish us. And colouring, it affects us as do the then the subject for our considera- mournful glories of the autumn tion narrows into the following woods, or the setting sunbeams of question : Is this volume equal to a day at whose dying we are moved those which have gone before it? to weep. It is of poems like “Ti-: Is it worthy of its author ? To the thonus that the words are emphatilast of these two queries we answer cally true—“A thing of beauty is with little hesitation, Yes. Not that a joy for ever.” It, at least, may the subjects of these latest poems its author bequeath to succeeding are so grand as some of those which generations with little fear that inspired the Laureate informerdays. they will regard it with less admirNot that we should not vastly have ation than that with which his conpreferred (what we hope yet to re- temporaries behold it now—an adceive from his pen) a fresh series miration filled by which we close of pictures from the legends of King this volume, saying (not for the Arthur; but that these later themes first time) that, whether we conare treated with unabated force, sider the gifts bestowed on its auand that the power displayed in thor, or the use to which he puts handling them is more equal in its them, we have reason to render exercise than of old. We dare not thanks that we have lived to hear say that there is anything in the such a poet sing, and that we may book we are closing which impresses hope to live to hear him sing yet the mind with such a sense of re- again.
THE HISTORY OF OUR LORD.
RELIGION has in all ages been world was made ready for the comthe noblest inspiration of Art. The ing of Christ. And so, in like man
truths which came from God and ner, was the earth tempered and * led to God, which served as a guide moulded for Christian art. The
upon earth, and spake of a glory in Roman Empire, where the fury of . 2 heaven, quickened the soul of the the north mingled with the fire of 7. artist to lofty conception. And the south and the light of the east,
thus, if the highest forms of art gave first to pagan, and then to have risen around all religions, so Christian art, the wide diffusion of
far as in them dwelt the universal universal dominion. The Greeks, * light, we can easily understand how with whom beauty had grown into
much more glorious were those religion, in like manner imparted e manifestations which sprang from to the successive arts of the pagan
a revelation perfect in truth, pure and Christian world a subtle symin beauty, and untainted in good- metry of form. And then, coming
The nations of the heathen to Judea, not to be forgotten are world reached, perhaps, the utmost the grand revelations which neither civilisation compatible with the sculptor nor painter had ventured holding of dogmas corrupt and to touch—the inheritance handed malevolent. And so their national down from patriarchs, traditions arts received even mighty develop- stretching through the dim disment, and then stopped short, ar- tance from out the times when God rested, as humanity itself, in the spake with man; then, too, must path towards ultimate perfection. be remembered the cloud of witThus in Egypt the arts were stayed nesses, who spake of the glory in icy petrifaction; in Assyria, which should be revealed; then, sculpture did not rise above rude likewise, must live in memory naturalism ; and even in Greece, Moses, who stood face to face beunsurpassed to this day at least in fore Jéhovah in the mount—Isaiah, plastic art, the sculptor was content whose torch of prophecy still burns Co rest in the ideal of physical form. through the far-off ages—and the It was reserved, then, for a more Psalmist King whose harp reverperfect religion to give to art, even berates in every land,all these as it extended to the human race, must be remembered when we rethe possibility of a higher and a count the heritage showered so richwider development. And just as ly upon Christian art. And thus it history in divers nations had pre- was, when the Roman Empire had pared for the advent of the new broken down, when the Greek phirevelation, so did the arts known losophy had confessed to foolishness, to the Old World stand around the that there came from the cradle of cradle and watch the growth of the Bethlehem, there arose from the se. new-born art of Christendom. It pulchre of the Catacombs, a power, has been said that the Jews pre- a wisdom, and a matchless beauty served the knowledge of the true to crown the art of Christendom. God, that the Greeks sowed the We have said that art has ever seeds of a divine philosophy, that taken its noblest inspiration from the Romans laid the foundations of religion. The reason of this is obuniversal empire, and that thus the vious. Religion is itself an inspira
• The History of our Lord, as exemplified in Works of Art: with that of his Types ; St John the Baptist; and other Persons of the Old and New Testament.' Commenced by the late Mrs Jameson, continued and completed by Lady Eastlake. In two volumes. London : Longman.
tion, and therefore becomes in manity yet divinity of Christ himturn the source of inspiration. self. And this revelation, which But a
cause more specific and transcended in its brightness all perhaps scarcely so obvious, is the scattered rays of light whence worthy of a moment's further medi- genius had before caught lustre, tation. Religion seeks to satisfy was henceforth to shine in the face the craving of the heart for perfec- of that Christian art which, like its tion, it brings the Divine Being great Master, became both human into communion with his creatures, and divine. The import of this it raises man into fellowship with consummation for the world of art his Maker. Thus even the false throughout all time it is not easy religions of the earth have ofttimes sufficiently to extol. Until humangiven to the truth-seeking mind ity had this seal of divinity set unwonted power and elevation. upon the forehead, we find artists There is indeed the best authority of all nations committed to ignofor the belief that men reverently ble motives ; and even when an seeking after the highest good, ideal had to be sought, vice but too have in all times found access to a often was magnified into heroism. power above themselves, and that But the Christian artist, taking, as thus, in a way they know not, the Christian believer, Christ for the labour of their hands has the great example, had at once grown and exalted itself beyond placed before his imagination an the measure of their feeble strength. unerring type of absolute perfection. Plato in his philosophy caught glim- Henceforth unrighteous actions, merings of the coming light; nor unworthy motives, and unholy were it reasonable to suppose that thoughts, were to find no shelter the fountains open to the sage be- within that fold of art which should came dry to the poet and the artist, gather the faithful into a heavenly thirsting_after a beauty not of flock. The floodgates of inspiration earth. The history of pagan art were now verily thrown open for indeed abundantly shows that from Christian art, which became bapage to age there was present the tised into the fellowship of apostles
, one common desire to clothe hu- martyrs, saints, and angels, Christ manity in lineaments divine. Hence himself being the shepherd and
were fashioned into heroes, bishop of every soul, the cornerand heroes became moulded intó stone of that church which, in sculpgods, and thus Olympus and Par- tured aisle and in painted arch, was nassus were peopled with beings to tell of the mystery of God maninatural yet supernatural; thus on fest in the flesh, and the glory of the brow sat an intellect that might Christ risen to the heavens. Here
, rule the world, and the arm was of then, is the supremacy of Christian giant strength to wield the thun- art over and above every art that der. Yet though there were here had gone before—an art which, like present thoughts which carried the the Christian disciple, may be comwork of man upwards and onwards, passed with infirmity, but which still, as we have before said, it was yet seeks to walk the earth as Christ reserved for the religion of Christ walked; and so the will is ofttimes to bring to the world's art a accepted for the deed, the intenmore blessed fruition. The di- tion is valued even more than the vine in the human, which the act; and thus Christian art, conGreek sculptor had 'striven, and fessing Christ before men, has been not in vain, to inscribe in lines of confessed before God and the angels. beauty and of grandeur, was no It will be seen that “the hislonger the mere guess of a philo- tory of our Lord” lies at the very sopher, or the dream of a poet; centre of Christian art, as it is the it stood forth as an actual verity crowning point to all religion. And known in the experience of each
even as we find that the world's believer, and manifest in the hu- philosophy wanted