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Of Her who stood in desolation there,
Now I am homeless and alone-alone!” To another interesting aspect of Lord Houghton's verse we can only give a brief notice. It is, indeed, one peculiar and delightful privilege of the Poet that, whether his song be of that Shak. spearian prodigality which seems to embrace every mode of thought and sentiment in its magnificent range, or of that smaller horizon which bounds human faculty in general, he admits the reader to a kind of personal friendship with himself: takes us into his familiarity, and confesses to us those finer and inner feelings which are ordinarily concealed under the reserve and reticent coldness of common life. Yet, whilst speaking of a man (happily), adhuc vivo, it may be best to leave his verse to raise its own more intimate impressions, after the author's own pleasure, on his readers : adding only that amiability and tenderness of nature are not less stamped on this collection than on that which Praed has left us. There is much here of that sympathy with the oppressed and the despised which gives such a peculiar and pathetic colour to Charles Lamb's wonderful •Essays ;' the relations of the poor to the rich are touched in the high spirit which, exhibited as it has been of late years by conspicuous men on both sides in our politics, we decline to identify with any party-name. We string together a few passages, more or less coloured by these sentiments, at random from the volume before us. The first is from the stanzas named 'Simple Sounds.'
• What love we, about those we love the best,
Better than their dear voices ? At what cost
A voice we know, and see a stranger's face!' Next, from a poem on the greatness of what we are apt to call little things :
“A sense of an earnest will
To help the lowly living,
But whose echo is endless.'
• I almost fancy that the more
I am cast out from men,
Made me the more her child.'
• Amid the factions of the field of life
The Poet held his little neutral ground;
And, having spoken, left them hand in hand.' We suppose that these lines express what, in Lord Houghton's idea, is one of the leading functions of poetry: the mission of peace and reconciliation. It is a function to which no writer of our time has been more faithful: nor is there a more truly enviable fame than that of the poet who, so far as Nature has given him power, and Life opportunity, has accomplished it.
We are conscious that little has been done here towards a complete sketch of the curious subject before us. Much more might be said on the poets reviewed; and it would have been interesting to examine the other writers who, during this century, have distinguished themselves in what we have ventured to call Verse: Horace Smith, Thomas Hood, Captain Morris, Luttrell, F. Locker, the Ingleby'authors, the — Collins, whose sadly rare 'Scripsoscrapsologia' is the delight of collectors, and many more good men and true. Lord Macaulay, Byron, and others known in different fields of literature-even the Poet Laureate himself, if rumour has not here indulged in one of her too common and regrettable flights-might be added. But we leave this wider view of verse, vers de société, occasional poetry, or whatever the reader 2 F 2
may may prefer to name it, to the historian of English poetry-if English poetry is ever to find such a benefactor. A few words remain to bind together our brief notice of Praed and Lord Houghton.
By the classification we have followed, and the union of these names in one review, it is not intended, let us finally remind our readers, that the writers before us are of the same initial force and faculty, or that their spheres are precisely similar; still less the mood of mind in which their subjects are treated. Poetry, like every expression of human nature, at once depends on, and forms part of the great general development of the race. We have hitherto viewed it mainly as cause: let us now think of it rather as effect. Each of these poets represents, in fact, a phase in English thought natural to the century : Praed the conservatism of a generous mind under the reaction produced by the Reform movements of the Grey period; Lord Houghton, the liberal thinker, satisfied with the spirit and direction of recent politics. We have here, for the sake of clearness, ranked them according to their political sentiments; although the poems of each rather paint the social side of life, or the moral and religious feelings aroused by the aspect of the age, than give direct expression to politics. Each also-as befits poetry-has that truly liberal tone which England demands from the representatives of all her political sections: a tone which we trace, without hesitation, to the humanising and soul-enlarging influence of the ancient literature upon each. We must have one word more on this subject. Putting religion aside, what are the great intellectual stimulants of man? The sciences are the foundation of all knowledge: the contemplation of Nature consoles and delights; but it is chiefly by the mind of man that man himself is vitally and essentially influenced. However important or impressive, the laws and facts revealed by physical science are external to the soul; the lessons of nature reach us from another sphere of existence; mind only comes into absolute contact with mind. Hence, considering education as a direct process for forming the soul, literature and the fine arts, while humanity remains human, will necessarily form a large proportion of what is valuable in it. And in literature the ancient writers, by whom we here mean those of Greece, with the few Roman who were penetrated by the Hellenic spirit, will have the most bracing, the most elevating, and the most refining influence. Many causes unite in this; of which all that we can now specify are the greater perfection in form which distinguishes the Hellenic literature, the natural gifts in which the Hellenic race surpassed the other sons of men, and (perhaps most important) the fact that (thus
gifted) they approached almost all the problems of modern life from a point of view essentially different from, and independent of ours.
But we are wandering from our poets. To sum up the points in which we trace, or seem to trace, sufficient consanguinity of genius to justify our classification, it may be repeated thatjudging by the results of their work, they chose verse rather as the fittest expression for their sentiments on subjects of the day, or for their thoughts as moulded by the immediate influences of the age, than moved by the more abstract and impersonal “ecstasy' (to use Plato's word) of imaginative poetry ;
-were rather governed by the material of song, than have given it absolute lyrical unity and individuality of form ;-are rather receptive, in a word, than creative. Of the importance of verse in thus linking together prose and poetry by a medium which partakes in the powers of each, we have already spoken; and the specimens quoted will (it is hoped) afford satisfactory proof of our statement. It is of immense value to us that our immediate feelings and aspirations,—that our common social life and the little things which fill the day of almost all,—nay, perhaps, could we look closely into the days of philosophers, saints, and heroes, of all,-should be reflected for us, by these representative men,' in a mode of literature which can embody many of the literal details of prose in the far more brilliant, impressive, and rememberable forms of poetry. Yet we would add once more, as a final word, that the classification attempted, although (we think) not arbitrary, is not meant to be rigid or exclusive. The harsh territorial limitations of the world of “real property' are not found within the garden of the soul.' Line here joins with line; boundary fades into boundary. In the realms of the mind, as in the kingdoms of nature, are no positive demarcations ; no isolated facts. Everything is relative; everything plastic; 'it no sooner comes into being than it forthwith ceases to be,' and transforms itself into new manifestations : for such is the law of life. Within the domains of man, nowhere is this law more perceptibly operative than in the Fine Arts, which are the expression of the freest part of his nature, and exhibit the soul in the best and highest phase of its spiritual or theoretic' existence, giving and receiving pure, lofty, and active pleasure. And, among all the Fine Arts, nowhere do we find such plasticity, such elasticity, such life, in a word, as in poetry. Nowhere, at the same time, are there such definiteness of form, such essential divisions of subject-matter. The critic is hence equally in danger whether, with the school of the last century, he defines,
highest phase of his nature, anats, which
The Poetry of Praed and Lord Houghton.
or whether, after the fashion of our day, he declines altogether the labor improbus' of defining. We wish the reader to apply these remarks to what has been here said upon verse and science, prose and poetry. If he should allow any verisimilitude to the classification, he should remember also that it is but relative and general. As between the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, so even between prose and verse, the line is not absolutely drawn. Much more is this the case between metrical writing in its different kinds. Nor do we think that the readers of Lord Houghton and Mackworth Praed will doubt that each has left more than one specimen of what will be handed down with that literature which is destined, at no very distant date, to be more than any other the world's literature—as genuine and delightful poetry.
ART. V.-1. The Twenty-Second Annual Report of the Penn
sylvania Institution for the Blind. Philadelphia, 1855. 2. Wilson's Biography of the Blind. 1838. Fourth Edition. 3. An Essay on the Instruction, &c., of the Blind. By Dr. Guillié, &c., &c. London, 1819. 4. The Thirty-Second Annual Report of the Pennsylvanian
Schools. Philadelphia, 1865. 5. The Sense Denied and Lost. By Thomas Bull, M.D.
London, 1859. 6. Essays and Historical Sketches. By Viscount Cranborne.
London, 1862. 7. Report of the Bath Blind School. 1865. 8. Diderot's Letter on Blindness. London, 1780. 9. Huber on Ants and Bees. London, 1820. Translated by
R. J. Johnson. 10. The Report of the School for the Indigent Blind, St. George's
Fields. London, 1864. 11. The Census of England and Wales. 1861. TN the year 1712, in one of the Fellows' rooms at Christ's
1 College, Cambridge, sat three learned and famous men discussing a knotty point over the winter fire. Two of them were antiquaries, as well as scholars, and on the table before them lay a small drawer of Roman coins, concerning some of which the battle waxed hot. Over one headless emperor, whose very name and date none but the initiated could guess at from the coin before them, the discussion grew especially fierce. It had been purchased as a rare and matchless gem by the elder of the two