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Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd
Out of the world!
In she plunged boldly,
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran,
Over the brink of it,
Picture it,-think of it,
Lave in it, drink of it
Then, if you can!
Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!
Stiffen too rigidly,
Smooth, and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!
Through muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Fixed on futurity.
Spurred by contumely,
Into her rest,—
Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!
Owning her weakness,
Her evil behaviour,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!
The vigour of this poem is no less remarkable than its pathos. The versification, although carrying the fanciful to the very verge of the fantastic, is nevertheless admirably adapted to the wild insanity which is the thesis of the
Among the minor poems of Lord Byron, is one which has never received from the critics the praise which it undoubtedly deserves:
Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined,
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find;
It never hath found but in thee.
Then when nature around me is smiling,
I do not believe it beguiling,
Because it reminds me of thine;
And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,
If their billows excite an emotion,
It is that they bear me from thee.
Though the rock of my last hope is shivered,
They may crush, but they shall not contemnThey may torture, but shall not subdue me"T is of thee that I think-not of them.
Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though slandered, thou never couldst shake,
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me,
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 't was not to defame me,
Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it,
I have found that whatever it lost me,
It could not deprive me of thee.
From the wreck of the past, which hath perished,
Thus much I at least may recall,
It hath taught me that which I most cherished
Deserved to be dearest of all:
In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.
Although the rhythm, here, is one of the most difficult, the versification could scarcely be improved. No nobler theme ever engaged the pen of poet. It is the soul-elevating idea, that no man can consider himself entitled to complain of Fate while, in his adversity, he still retains the unwavering love of
From Alfred Tennyson—although in perfect sincerity I regard him as the noblest poet that ever lived—I have left myself time to cite only a very brief specimen. I call him, and think him the noblest of poets-not because the impressions he produces are, at all times, the most profound-not because the poetical excitement which he induces is, at all times, the most intense—but because it is, at all times, the most ethereal-in other words, the most elevating and the most pure. No poet is so little of the earth, earthy. What I am about to read is from his last long poem, "The Princess: "
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
Thus, although in a very cursory and imperfect manner, I have endeavoured to convey to you my conception of the Poetic Principle. It has been my purpose to suggest that, while this Principle itself is, strictly and simply, the Human Aspiration for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of the Principle is always found in an elevating excitement of the Soul-quite independent of that passion which is the intoxication of the Heart-or of that Truth which is the satisfaction of the Reason. For, in regard to Passion, alas! its tendency is to degrade, rather than to elevate the Soul. Love, on the contrary-Love-the true, the divine Eros-the Uranian, as distinguished from the Dionæan Venus-is unquestionably the purest and truest of all poetical themes. And in regard to Truth-if, to be sure, through the attain