Page images
PDF
EPUB

- no, it

“The antique symmetry was the one carried in his nature, also, a necessity thing wanting to me," said Leonardo da for Greek. Vinci; and he was an Italian. I will not And therefore, to say the truth, I cannot presume to speak for the Americans, but really think that humane letters are in I am sure that, in the Englishman, the much actual danger of being thrust out want of this admirable symmetry of the from their leading place in education, in Greeks is a thousand times more great spite of the array of authorities against and crying than in any Italian. The re- them at this moment. So long as human sults of the want show themselves most nature is what it is, their attractions will glaringly, perhaps, in our architecture, remain irresistible. As with Greek, so but they show themselves, also, in all our with letters generally: they will some art. Fit details strictly combined, in view day come, we may hope, to be studied of a large general result nobly conceived; more rationally, but they will not lose that is just the beautiful symmetria prisca their place. What will happen will rather of the Greeks, and it is just where we be that there will be crowded into educaEnglish fail, where all our art fails. Strik- tion other matters besides, far too many; ing ideas we have, and well-executed there will be, perhaps, a period of unsettledetails we have; but that high sym- ment and confusion and false tendency; metry which, with satisfying and delight- but letters will not in the end lose their ful effect, combines them, we seldom or leading place. If they lose it for a time, never have. The glorious beauty of the they will get it back again. We shall be Acropolis at Athens did not come from brought back to them by our wants and single fine things stuck about on that hill, aspirations. And a poor humanist may a statue here, gateway there;

possess his soul in patience, neither strive arose from all things being perfectly com- nor cry, admit the energy and brilliancy bined for a supreme total effect. What of the partisans of physical science, and must not an Englishman feel about our their present favour with the public, to deficiencies in this respect, as the sense be far greater than his own, and still have for beauty, whereof this symmetry is an a happy faith that the nature of things essential element, awakens and strength- works silently on behalf of the studies ens within him! what will not one day which he loves, and that, while we shall be his respect and desire for Greece and all have to acquaint ourselves with the its symmetria prisca, when the scales drop great results reached by modern science, from his eyes as he walks the London and to give ourselves as much training streets, and he sees such a lesson in mean- in its disciplines as we can conveniently ness as the

for instance, in its true carry, yet the majority of men will always deformity! But here we are coming to require humane letters; and so much our friend Mr. Ruskin's province, and I the more, as they have the more and the will not intrude upon it, for he is its very greater results of science to relate to the sufficient guardian.

need in man for conduct, and to the need And so we at last find, it seems, we find in him for beauty. flowing in favour of the humanities the natural and necessary stream of things, which seemed against them when we

SHAKESPEARE started. The "hairy quadruped furnished with a tail and pointed ears, probably OTHERS abide our question. Thou art arboreal in his habits,” this good fellow

free. carried hidden in his nature, apparently, We ask and ask Thou smilest and art something destined to develop into a

still, necessity for humane letters. Nay, more; Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiwe seem finally to be even led to the fur

est hill, ther conclusion that our hairy ancestor Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty, Planting his steadfast footsteps in the Children dear, was it yesterday sea,

We heard the sweet bells over the bay? Making the heaven of heavens his dwell- In the caverns where we lay, ing-place,

Through the surf and through the swell, Spares but the cloudy border of his base The far-off sound of a silver bell? To the foil'd searching of mortality; Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep, And thou, who didst the stars and sun- Where the winds are all asleep; beams know,

Where the spent lights quiver and gleam, Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, Where the salt weed sways in the stream, self-secure,

Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round, Didst tread on earth unguess'd at. Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground; Better so!

Where the sea-snakes coil and twine, All pains the immortal spirit must endure, Dry their mail and bask in the brine; All weakness which impairs, all griefs Where great whales come sailing by, which bow,

Sail and sail, with unshut eye, Find their sole speech in that victorious Round the world for ever and aye? brow.

When did music come this way?

Children dear, was it yesterday? THE FORSAKEN MERMAN

Children dear, was it yesterday COME, dear children, let us away;

(Call yet once) that she went away? Down and away below!

Once she sate with

you
and

me,
Now my brothers call from the bay, On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
Now the great winds shoreward blow, And the youngest sate on her knee.
Now the salt tides seaward flow;

She comb'd its bright hair, and she Now the wild white horses play,

tended it well, Champ and chafe and toss in the spray. When down swung the sound of a far-off Children dear, let us away!

bell. This way, this way!

She sigh’d, she look'd up through the Call her once before you go

clear green sea; Call once yet!

She said: “I must go, for my kinsfolk In a voice that she will know:

pray "Margaret ! Margaret!”

In the little gray church on the shore toChildren's voices should be dear

day. (Call once more) to a mother's ear;

'Twill be Easter-time in the world—ah me! Children's voices, wild with pain - And I lose my poor soul, Merman! here Surely she will come again!

with thee." Call her once and come away ;

I said : “Go up, dear heart, through the This way, this way!

waves ; “Mother dear, we cannot stay!

Say thy prayer, and come back to the The wild white horses foam and fret."

kind sea-caves!” Margaret! Margaret !

She smiled, she went up through the surf

in the bay. Come, dear children, come away down; Children dear, was it yesterday? Call no more! One last look at the white-wall'd town, Children dear, were we long alone? And the little gray church on the windy “The sea grows stormy, the little ones shore,

moan; Then come down!

Long prayers," I said, “in the world they She will not come though you call all

say; day;

Come!” I said; and we rose through the Come away, come away!

surf in the bay.

[ocr errors]

a

ing airs.

We went up the beach, by the sandy down Come away, away children; Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the Come children, come down ! white-wall’d town;

The hoarse wind blows coldly; Through the narrow paved streets, where Lights shine in the town. all was still,

She will start from her slumber To the little gray church on the windy hill. When gusts shake the door; From the church came murmur of She will hear the winds howling, folk at their prayers,

Will hear the waves roar. But we stood without in the cold blow- We shall see, while above us

The waves roar and whirl, We climb'd on the graves, on the stones A ceiling of amber, worn with rains,

A pavement of pearl, And we gazed up the aisle through the Singing : “Here came a mortal, small leaded panes.

But faithless was she!
She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear: And alone dwell for ever
"Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here! The kings of the sea.
Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;
The sea grows stormy, the little ones But, children, at midnight,
moan.”

When soft the winds blow,
But, ah, she gave me never a look, When clear falls the moonlight,
For her eyes were seal'd to the holy book !

When spring tides are low;
Loud prays the priest ; shut stands the door.

When sweet airs come seaward Come away, children, call no more!

From heaths starr'd with broom, Come away, come down, call no more ! And high rocks throw mildly

On the blanch'd sands a gloom ; Down, down, down!

Up the still, glistening beaches, Down to the depths of the sea !

Up the creeks we will hie, She sits at her wheel in the humming town,

Over banks of bright seaweed
Singing most joyfully.

The ebb-tide leaves dry.
Hark what she sings : "O joy, O joy, We will gaze, from the sand-hills,
For the humming street, and the child At the white, sleeping town;
with its toy!

At the church on the hill-side For the priest and the bell, and the holy And then come back down, well;

Singing: “There dwells a loved one, For the wheel where I spun,

But cruel is she! And the blessed light of the sun!”

She left lonely for ever
And so she sings her fill,

The kings of the sea."
Singing most joyfully,
Till the spindle drops from her hand,
And the whizzing wheel stands still.

SELF-DEPENDENCE
She steals to the window, and looks at
the sand,

WEARY of myself, and sick of asking And over the sand at the sea ;

What I am, and what I ought to be, And her eyes are set in a stare;

At this vessel's prow I stand, which bears And anon there breaks a sigh, And anon there drops a tear,

Forwards, forwards, o'er the starlit sea. From a sorrow-clouded eye, And a heart sorrow-laden,

And a look of passionate desire A long, long sigh;

O'er the sea and to the stars I send : For the cold strange eyes of a little Mer- Ye who from my childhood up have

maiden And the gleam of her golden hair.

Calm me, ah, compose me to the end !

me

a

a

calm’d me,

“Ah, once more," I cried, “ye stars, ye

waters, On my heart your mighty charm renew; Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you, Feel my soul becoming vast like you!"

And from the sign is gone Sibylla's

name, And from the roofs the twisted chim

ney-stacks

Are ye too changed, ye hills ? See, 'tis no foot of unfamiliar men To-night from Oxford up your path

way strays! Here came I often, often, in old days Thyrsis and I; we still had Thyrsis then.

From the intense, clear, star-sown vault

of heaven, Over the lit sea's unquiet way, In the rustling night-air came the answer : “Wouldst thou be as these are? Live as

they.

“Unaffrighted by the silence round them, Undistracted by the sights they see, These demand not that the things with

out them Yield them love, amusement, sympathy.

“And with joy the stars perform their

shining, And the sea its long moon-silver'd roll; For self-poised they live, nor pine with

noting All the fever of some differing soul.

Runs it not here, the track by Childs

worth Farm, Past the high wood, to where the elm

tree crowns The hill behind whose ridge the sun

set flames? The signal-elm, that looks on Ilsley

Downs,
The Vale, the three lone weirs, the

youthful Thames? —

This winter-eve is warm, Humid the air! leafless, yet soft as

spring, The tender purple spray on copse

and briars ! And that sweet city with her dream

ing spires, She needs not June for beauty's height

ening.

“Bounded by themselves, and unregard

ful In what state God's other works may be, In their own tasks all their powers pour

ing, These attain the mighty life you see.”

O air-born voice! long since, severely

clear, A cry like thine in mine own heart I hear: "Resolve to be thyself; and know that he, Who finds himself, loses his misery !”

THYRSIS A MONODY, to commemorate the author's

friend ARTHUR Hugh CLOUGH, who died at

Florence, 1861 How changed is here each spot man

makes or fills ! In the two Hinkseys nothing keeps the

same; The village street its haunted man

sion lacks,

Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night! Only, methinks, some loss of habit's

power Befalls me wandering through this

upland dim. Once pass'd I blindfold here, at any

hour; Now seldom come I, since I came with

him.

That single elm-tree bright
Against the west — I miss it! is it gone?

- I
We prized it dearly; while it stood,

we said, Our friend, the Gipsy-Scholar, was

not dead; While the tree lived, he in these fields

lived on.

Too rare, too rare, grow now my visits here, But once I knew each field, each flower,

each stick;

And with the country-folk acquain- Too quick despairer, wherefore wilt thou tance made

go? By barn in threshing-time, by new

Soon will the high Midsummer pomps built rick.

come on, Here, too, our shepherd-pipes we Soon will the musk carnations break first assay'd.

and swell, Ah me! this many a year

Soon shall we have gold-dusted snapMy pipe is lost, my shepherd's holiday! dragon, Needs must I lose them, needs with Sweet-William with his homely cotheavy heart

tage-smell, Into the world and wave of men de

And stocks in fragrant blow; part;

Roses that down the alleys shine afar, But Thyrsis of his own will went away. And open, jasmine-muffled lattices,

And groups under the dreaming

garden trees, It irk'd him to be here, he could not rest.

And the full moon, and the white evenHe loved each simple joy the country

ing-star. yields, He loved his mates; but yet he could

He harkens not! light comer, he is flown! not keep,

What matters it? next year he will For that a shadow lour'd on the fields,

return, Here with the shepherds and the

And we shall have him in the sweet silly sheep.

spring-days, Some life of men unblest

With whitening hedges, and uncrumHe knew, which made him droop, and fill'd his head.

pling fern,

And blue-bells trembling by the He went; his piping took a troubled

forest-ways, sound

And scent of hay new-mown. Of storms that rage outside our

But Thyrsis never

we swains happy ground; He could not wait their passing, he is

See . him come back, and cut a dead.

smoother reed,

And blow a strain the world at last So, some tempestuous morn in early

shall heed June,

For Time, not Corydon, hath conquer'd When the year's primal burst of bloom

thee! is o'er, Before the roses and the longest Alack, for Corydon no rival now! day

But when Sicilian shepherds lost a mate, When garden-walks and all the grassy Some good survivor with his flute

floor With blossoms red and white of Piping a ditty sad for Bion's fate; fallen May

And cross the unpermitted ferry's flow, And chestnut-flowers are strewn

And relax Pluto's brow, So have I heard the cuckoo's parting And make leap up with joy the beautecry,

ous head From the wet field, through the vext Of Proserpine, among whose crowned garden-trees,

hair Come with the volleying rain and Are flowers first open'd on Sicilian tossing breeze:

more

shall see ;

would go,

air, The bloom is gone, and with the bloom And flute his friend, like Orpheus,

from the dead.

80 I!

« EelmineJätka »