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49-56, he declares in l. 81-88 the divine revelation of these truths to musicians.

The rest of the poem is a real, and at the same time symbolic, return from these exalted thoughts and feelings through the emotional effects of music to the plane and the duties of common human life. 1. 3. Legends of Solomon's skill in magic arose very early out of what the Bible says of his wisdom. The Talmudists inferred from the simple Biblical statement that no sound of a hammer was heard in the building of the Temple, that he must have used supernatural means, and they devised a story of a wonderful animal that cut stone and glass and iron, discovered by Solomon by means of his knowledge of the language of birds (see S. Baring-Gould's Myths of the Middle Ages and Legends of the Patriarchs and Prophets). Later legends, hinted at in the Koran, put him in control of armies of angels and demons, able to execute every command.

1. 5. The demons had or assumed all shapes. 1. 7. The belief that the real name of God was unspeakable goes back to ancient Hebrew times or at least to a time earlier than the Septuagint version of the Old Testament; see any good encyclopædia under Jehovah or Jahveh.

P. 568. 1. 18. If crest here means anything more than "head" or "creature," it is used to imply the different natures or groups represented by different crests or cognizances.

1. 22. The lighting of the lamps around St. Peter's dome (1. 23) used, it is said, to be one of the great sights of Rome on festal occasions.

1. 34. Protoplast is usually taken here to mean "model" or "mold." It seems rather to mean "creator," "first maker," as in Browning's other use of it in Fifine, cxxiv.

1. 42. visibly, as if he had really seen the structure of music. 1. 51. this

= the art of music.

P. 569. ll. 91-96. The symbolism of this passage is clear. The efforts of commentators to indicate the succession of chords are not entirely satisfactory. In 1. 91 the common chord seems to mean the basal chord of the tonality in which he had been improvising, for he would hardly have begun his descent to the C Major of this life from any other tonality. That this was not itself C Major, as some suppose, is probable; for what reason would there then be for sliding into the minor and the ninth before finding the resting place in C Major? What seems clear is that, beginning on the heights of feeling induced by his improvisation, the musician resumes the tonality in which he was improvising and, modulating by semi-tones,


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Pp. 572 f. The volume of which this little poem is the epilogue was published the day of Browning's death, December 12, 1889. It contemplates his own death and the feelings which his friends will have about it, and rejects their imagined pity, declaring that as on earth he was one who never feared or doubted, so after death he will continue his career, asking only that his friends cheer him though unseen and speed him onward. Note the contrast between midnight (1. 1) and noonday (l. 16).


Pp. 573 ff. A typical John Bull among writers, Thackeray is nowhere more Bull-ish than in dealing with his fellow-humorist. The key to all that he has to say about Sterne is found in the last sentence of the selection; his mid-Victorian sense of what is due the conventions will not permit him to discuss Sterne without saying that he prefers Dickens for his children. This personal bias, on moral, not literary, grounds, pervades his presentation of the character. His study is not unsympatheticfar from it; it is appreciative, even kindly, but it never for a moment abandons the position of a paterfamilias in a frock-coat. He is scandalized

and, one may admit, not without reason; all the more scandalized because Sterne was a clergyman. Compare his study with Stevenson's treatment of Villon, pp. 662 ff.

The essay quoted is a good example of Thackeray's vigorous and genial English, his bluffness suffused with sentiment, his happy faculty of choosing the material that will give to his presentation vitality and charm.


Pp. 578 ff. Clough perhaps gave fuller and sincerer expression than any other poet to the religious doubt and unrest characteristic of the middle of the nineteenth century. Others-even at their sincerest give us only the conclusions they have reached and such steps in the progress of their thought as they think profitable for us; Clough allows us to be with him in all his falterings, his waverings, his inconsistencies. In Easter Day, we have, to be sure, first the doubts and then the faith, but in The Questioning Spirit and its sequel, Bethesda, the moods are reversed. In this sincerity lies his great value. He was a poetic thinker but only too seldom a poetic artist. This may have been due in part to his sincerity - his recording at the moment the thoughts of the moment. "All immortal verse," says William Sharp, "is a poetic resurrection," and he quotes Schiller as saying that "to live again in the serene beauty of art, it is needful that things should first die in reality."


The title is a phrase from Vergil's Æneid, III, 269, and means "whithersoever the wind directs the course." The situation in the Eneid bears no resemblance to that set forth in this poem. There Æneas, in relating his adventures, tells how he left the islands called the Strophades; "The winds," he says, "spread wide our sails; over the foaming waves we flee, whither the wind and the helmsman direct our course:".

Tendunt vela Noti; fugimus spumantibus undis, Qua cursum ventusque gubernatorque vocabat.

Our poem presents, under the figure of two ships that sail away into the night and are unintentionally separated, the common experience of friends who unintentionally and unwittingly drift apart in thought and feeling.



Pp. 582 ff. Ruskin was a combination of types rarely combined an artist and a reformer. Fundamentally, he was an artist; but as he was not content to observe and study and love the beautiful things that exist, but wished to see all the world beautiful, he inevitably joined the ranks of those who strive to hasten by human and arti

ficial means the golden age when all hateful and hideous things shall be unknown.

Himself trained as a painter, Ruskin used words as he used pigments, to build up a composition that would convey an impression of objectivity colored by personality, very much as a painting of the same subject would do. For this reason his description of St. Mark's is one of the most wonderful pieces of word-painting ever produced. As he is writing for English readers to whom the word cathedral is rich in associations - and associations altogether foreign to the scene he is about to describe - he prepares the way by summing up the characteristic features of an English cathedral. Having set forth and banished these, he feels still that the reader's mind is not suffciently ready to receive emotionally the impression of a church so unlike any other, and he prepares the way further by a long description of the incongruous scenes crowded into the paved alley leading to the piazza. And when expectation can bear no more, "we forget them all, for between those pillars there opens a great light. . . ."

Observe that the description of the cathedral itself fills only half a page, while almost as much space is devoted to contrasting it with the people who live round about it, and three times as much space is given to preparing for the description. But the word-picture, short as it is, is as vividly colored as any piece of English prose; it gives a clear impression of the general appearance of the church, and of its structure from the ground to the spires, and it bathes the whole scene in an atmosphere of suggestion by means of the words used, much as a painter gets atmospheric effects by combinations of color.


Pp. 584 ff. The selection from The Crown of Wild Olive, though it contains less wonderful descriptive writing, is quite as beautiful in its way, and fully as characteristic of Ruskin. It shows the strength of his bitter hostility to the economic waste that produced nothing but ugliness for the expenditure of labor. It reveals the artist as an economist, a socialist, a lover of his fellow-men, and a wanderer in lonely paths of thought; and it contains a doctrine that he was eager to impress upon the hearts of his readers. The value of Ruskin's work grows with the growing recognition of political economy as the science, not of wealth, but of social well-being.

The meaning of the title is explained in the last paragraph of the selection.


P. 590. Praed (p. 494) and Locker-Lampson 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. With the lines To My Grandmother a curious analogy and contrast are afforded by Oliver Wendell Holmes's The Last Leaf.


P. 591. Sidney Dobell 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 sustained power, in final and perfect utterance.


Neither as poet nor as prose-writer did Arnold catch the ear of the great public, but in both characters he was eminent in his generation as one who taught and guided the teachers and guides of the educated world.

His prose is clear, vivacious, classical in its restraint and its definiteness of aim, and though often careless, its carelessness has always the effect of elegant negligence, not of slipshod ignorance. The importance of the ideas for which he contended and the unwavering and urbane persistence with which he supported a cause that could triumph only in the remote future are among the most admirable of his many admirable qualities.

His verse is more restrained than his prose and it lacks the lightheartedness, the spontaneity, the outward and obvious signs of power necessary for popularity. In his own day it found only a small band of lovers, but its permanent beauty and value

are steadily gaining wider recognition. It now seems probable that he and Browning will in the future be counted the most notable poets of the Victorian period.


Pp. 617 ff. In a note, Arnold gave the following passage from Glanvil's Vanity of Dogmatizing (1661) as the foundation of this poem:

"There was lately a lad in the University of Oxford, who was by his poverty forced to leave his studies there; and at last to join himself to a company of vagabond gipsies. Among these extravagant people, by the insinuating subtility of his carriage, he quickly got so much of their love and esteem as that they discovered to him their mystery. After he had been a pretty while exercised in the trade, there chanced to ride by a couple of scholars, who had formerly been of his acquaintance. They quickly spied out their old friend among the gipsies; and he gave them an account of the necessity which drove him to that kind of life, and told them that the people he went with were not such impostors as they were taken for, but that they had a traditional kind of learning among them, and could do wonders by the power of imagination, their fancy binding that of others: that he himself had learned much of their art, and when he had compassed the whole secret, he intended, he said, to leave their company, and give the world an account of what he had learned."



Pp. 621 ff. Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 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.

Rubáiyát is a Persian word, the plural of rubái, which means a quatrain. Omar, surnamed Al Khayyam (the tent-maker), was a distinguished Persian scholar and poet. He was regarded as a paragon of learning, especially in astronomy. In one of his quatrains he refers whimsically to his surname and in another to his reformation of the calendar. His quatrains circulated very widely in the Orient and produced many imitations

some of which are indistinguishable from his own. He was born at Naishápúr in the second half of the eleventh century and died there in the first half of the twelfth. One of his school-fellows was the famous statesman Nizám-ul-Mulk, and another the infamous Hasan ben Sabbáh, the Old Man of the Mountains, from whose name the word assassin is said by some to be derived.


Pp. 623 f. Coventry Patmore 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 possessing 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 lines that even awaken inextinguishable laughter; but at its best his verse is simple, picturesque, passionate, of exquisite freshness and charm.




Pp. 624 ff. The vigor and intensity of Rossetti's thought is often lost sight of in consequence of the luxuriance and sensuous richness of his imagery and melody. But his poems are not involuntary cries of passion; they are planned and constructed with serious artistic care and wrought out with infinite attention to details. Of The Blessed Damozel, he said: "I saw that Poe had done the utmost it was possible to do with the grief of the lover on earth, and so I determined to reverse the conditions, and give utterance to the yearning of the loved one in heaven." It would be difficult to find two more impressive examples of logical structure and development than are afforded by this poem and Sister Helen.

The intellectual power of his verse may be seen also in the sonnets On the Refusal of Aid between Nations, The Sonnet, The Landmark, The Choice, Vain Virtues - indeed in practically every selection, for even the love-sonnets are as closely reasoned as if they were treatises instead of lyrics.


Pp. 626 ff. The superstition that an enemy's life could be destroyed by making a figure of him

in wax and melting it before a slow fire — the whole process, of course, to be carried out with proper ceremonies of black magic — is a very ancient and almost world-wide belief. The most interesting variants of the belief, in classical literature, are perhaps those in the second Idyl of Theocritus. The whole Idyl is interesting to read in connection with this poem, though the heroine Simaetha is attempting, not to destroy her lover, but to bring back his love; cf. especially the following (11. 2331):

"Delphis troubled me, and I against Delphis am burning this laurel; and even as it crackles loudly when it has caught the flame, and suddenly is burned up, and we see not even the dust thereof, lo, even thus may the flesh of Delphis waste in the burning!

"My magic wheel, draw home to me the man I love!

"Even as I melt this wax, with the god to aid, so speedily may he by love be molten, the Mуndian Delphis! And as whirls this brazen wheel, so restless, under Aphrodite's spell, may he turn and turn about my doors!

"My magic wheel, draw home to me the man I love!"

Instances of the superstition in England and Ireland are discussed in Thomas Wright's introduction to The Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler (Camden Society Publications).

THE BALLAD OF DEAD LADIES P. 629. 1. 2. Lady Flora. The Roman goddess of flowers, or more probably the Roman lady mentioned by Juvenal, Sat. II, 49.

1.3. Hipparchia. Villon has Archipiada, which is probably a distortion of Alcibiades. The beauty of Alcibiades was proverbial, and Villon may have thought he was a woman. Modern editors have substituted the name Hipparchia, but the name of this learned Greek lady of the fourth century B.C. was probably unknown' to Villon. For Thais see Alexander's Feast, p. 224, 1. 9.

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the mother of Charlemagne, heroine of the old French romance Berte aux Grans Pies. Beatrice, apparently Beatrice of Provence, wife of Charles, son of Louis VIII. Alice, perhaps the wife of Louis VII; but many old French songs begin "Belle Aalis" (i.c., Beautiful Alice).

1. 20. Ermengarde married the famous warrior Foulques d'Anjou in 1004.

1. 21. Joan, Jeanne d'Arc.


As Dante, in the Inferno, passed among those whom guilty love had sent to hell, he entreated two to come and speak to him. They were the famous lovers Paolo and Francesca, and this passage is a part of Francesca's account of their love. She was given by her father in marriage to Giovanni Malatesta, a man of extraordinary courage and ability, but deformed. Unfortunately she fell in love with his younger brother, Paolo, and he with her. They were killed by Giovanni. Few love stories have attracted more sympathetic interest. Leigh Hunt wrote a narrative poem on the story, and it has been dramatized in English by G. H. Boker and by Stephen Phillips, and in Italian by Silvio Pellico and by Gabriele D'Annunzio. Pictures illustrating the story have been painted by Ingres, Cabanel, Ary Scheffer, G. F. Watts, and others.


Pp. 633 ff. To no poet of the Victorian period could the term "the idle singer of an empty day" be less appropriately applied than to William Morris. He not only was a chief factor in revolutionizing the general artistic taste of the English people and their house-decorations in particular, but also became a leader in the social reforms which are tending surely though slowly to the reorganization of society and the state. Such a career may seem strange for one whose whole interest as a young man lay apparently in mediæval romance and poetry; yet in reality the art-reformer and the social-reformer were logical and, one may almost say, inevitable developments of the lover of mediævalism, for his love of mediæval art taught him the hideousness of the work produced by modern artisans, and practical experience as a decorator soon brought the recognition that art is not possible under the conditions of modern industrialism, that beauty is the product of the free artist, working with a love of his art.


The Earthly Paradise was written under the influence of Chaucer (cf. Morris's Prologue, II. 1–16) and, like the Canterbury Tales, is a collection of stories told by the members of a group of travelers. The Lady of the Land is a retelling of the story told briefly by Sir John Mandeville in his fourth chapter (see pp. 30 ff).


Pp. 640 ff. From his youth, almost from his boyhood, Swinburne possessed a wealth of sensuously beautiful words and a facility in versification unsurpassed by any other English poet. Unfortunately both these gifts tempted him to verbosity. He always has a meaning but it is often obscured, if not entirely hidden, by the excess of words and the long and elaborate sentences in which it is expressed. His influence upon other English poets - both great and small

was for a time very notable: to the great he taught new lessons and presented new standards of melodious verse; to the small he worked injury, tempting them to produce sound without sense and to indulge in all sorts of hot-house malaise and eroticism. He himself grew steadily in power and seriousness of thought, but he never escaped from the involuted coils of his diction and his syntax. The republican poems written under the influence of Victor Hugo and Mazzini cannot be quoted here, but they should be read by any one who wishes a just idea of his significance in English poetry.


Pp. 644 ff. George Meredith was one of the most richly and variously endowed writers 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 of 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

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