Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

HE 's deád these long áges, and all his bones mouldered,
And scáttered his dúst to the points of the compass,
But we still have and will have for ever among us
The heart of the Póet embálmed in his vérse.

DALKÈY LODGE, DALKEY, April 10, 1855.

THAT I 'm much praised by men of little sense
Offénds me not; I know it 's mere pretence,
The hóllow echo of what, every day,
They hear men of a better judgment say.,

TOURNAY (BELGIUM), Nov. 16, 1854..

“PAGAN, forsåke your Góds,” the Christian cries,
“And worship mine; your Gods are dirt and lies.”
“Christian," replies the Pagan, “honor 's due
Éven to your Gods; to each his God is true.”

DALKEY LODGE, DALKEY, March 31, 1855.

LETTER

RECEIVED FROM A REVIEWER TO WHOM THE AUTHOR, INTENDING TO SEND THE MS. OF HIS SIX PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE HEROIC TIMES FOR REVIEW, HAD BY MISTAKE SENT, INSTEAD OF IT, A MS. OF

MILTON'S PARADISE REGAINED.

With all the care and attention permitted by my multitudinous And harassing, yet never upon any account to be neglected,

avocátions, I have read over, verse by verse, from near about the begin

ning to the very end, The poem which, some thirteen or fourteen months ago, you

did me the honor to enclóse me; And as I feel for literature in general and especially for literary

men A regard which I make bold to flatter myself is something

more than merely professional, In returning you your work I venture to make these few

hurried observations:

And first, I 'm so far from being of opinion that the work 's

wholly devoid of mérit That I think I can discern here and there an odd half line

or líne in it, Which even Lord Byron himself – for since Lord Byron

became pópular,

Reviewers' opinions concerning that truly great man have under

gone, as you know, a most remárkable change – I think I can discern, I say, here and there in your work

an odd half line or odd line Which even the greatest poet of modern times need not have

been ashámed of. . . And the whole scope and tenor of your work, on whichever

side or in whatever light I exámine it, Whether religiously, esthetically, philosophically, morally or

[ocr errors]

Give me great ground to hope — and I assure you I feel

unfeigned satisfaction in expressing the hope — That, in process of time, and supposing your disposition

amenable to advice and correction, You may by dint of study and perseverance acquire sufficient

poétical skill

English poets.

And now I know I may count upon your good sense and

candor to excuse me If I add to this, you 'll do me the justice to allow, no illiberal

praise of your performance, Some few honest words of dispraise, wrung from me by the

necessity of the case: . Your style, for I will not mince the matter, seems to me very

often to be A little too Bombastes Furioso, or, small things to compare

Its grandiloquence not sufficiently softened down by that

copious admixture of commonplace Which renders Bab Macaulay, James Montgomery and Mrs.

Hemans so delightful;

Whilst on the other hand it exhibits, but too often alas! the

directly opposite and worse fault Of nude and barren simplicity, absence not of adornment

alone but even of décent dress. I'll not worry you with a host of examples ; to a man of

your sense one 's as good as a thousand; “Ex uno disce omnes," as Eneas said, wishing to save Dido

time and troúble; The very last line of your poem, the summing up of your

whole work, Where, if anywhere, there should be dignity and emphasis,

something to make an impréssion And ring in the ear of the reader after he has laid down

the book And be quoted by him to his children and children's children

on his deathbed, As an honored ancestor of mine, one of my predecessors in

this very reviewer's chair, Is said to have died with – no, not with the concluding

verse of Homer's fliad on his lips, For Homer has by some fatality concluded his great poem

much after your meágre fashion But with the magnificent couplet on his lips, which the judicious

translator substitutes for the lame Homeric énding: - "Such honors Ilium to her hero paid,

And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade.” The very last line of your work, I say, the peroration of

your póem, So far from presenting us, like this fine verse, with something

full and round and swelling For ear and memory to take hold of and keep twirling about,

barrel - órgan-wise, That is to say when ear and memory have, as they often

have, nothing better to do,

paid,

Hasn't even sufficient pith in it for an indifferent prose périod,

soul and ethereal spírit, Such a woful dearth of rough stuff and raw material, not to

say of finish and top dressing, That the reader cares but little either to catch a hold or keep

a hold of it, And it drops from between the antennae of his disappointed

expectation Pretty much in the same way as a knotless thread from be

tween a housewife's fingers. And yet when I consider how well adapted your “Home to

his mother's house, private, retúrned” is To take off the edge of the reading appetite, and with what

right good will After reading this verse one lays down the book without

wishing it were longer, I can't help correcting my first judgment and saying, with a

smile, to myself: “Well, after all, that finale 's less injudicious than appears

at first sight.” And now I have only to beg your kind excuse for the freedom

of the observations Which in my double capacity of friend of literature and

literary men, And clerk of the literary market, bound to protect the public Against unsound, unwholesome or fraudulently made-up intel

lectual food, I have felt it my duty to make on your, to me at least, very

new and original work, A work which, crude and imperfect as it is and full of marks

of a beginner's hand, Affords to the practised critic's eye indubitable evidences of

a látent power

« PredošláPokračovať »