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Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward, let us range. Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change. Thro’ the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day: Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay. Mother-Age, (for mine I know not) help me as when life begun: Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the sunOh, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set. Ancient founts of inspiration well thro' all my fancy yet. Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall! Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall. Comes a vapor from the margin, blackening over heath and holt, Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt. Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail or fire or snow; For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.
LESSON 66. MORRIS AND OTHERS. “Within the last ten years, the impulse given in '32 has died away. The vital interest in theological and social questions, in human questions of the present has decayed; and the same thing which we find in the case of Keats has again taken place. A new class of literary poets has arisen, who have no care for a present they think dull, for religious questions to which they see no end. They too have gone back to Greek and mediæval and old Norse life for their subjects. They find much of their inspiration in Italy and in Chaucer; but they continue to love poetry and the poetry of natural description. No English poetry exceeds SWINBURNE's in varied melody; and the poems of ROSSETTI, within their limited range, are instinct with passion at once subtle and intense.
Of them all WILLIAM MORRIS is the greatest, and of him much more is to be expected. At present he is our most delightful story-teller. He loses much by being too long, but we pardon the length for the ideal charm. The Death of Jason and the stories told month by month in the Earthly Paradise, a Greek and mediæval story alternately, will long live to give pleasure to the holiday times of men.
It is some pity that it is foreign and not English story, but we can bear to hear alien tales, for Tennyson has always kept us close to the scenery, the traditions, the daily life, and the history of England; and his last poem, the drama of Queen Mary, 1875, is written almost exactly twelve hundred years since the date of our first poem, Cædmon's Paraphrase. To think of one and then of the other, and of the great and continuous stream of literature that has flowed between them, is more than enough to make us all proud of the name of Englishmen.”
BIBLIOGRAPHY. ROSSETTI.—Stedman's Vic. Poets; Cath. World, May, 1874; Fras. Mag., May, 1870; Fort. Rev., v. 13, 1870; West. Rev., v. 95, 1871; Contem. Rev., v. 18,
MORRIS. -Ed. Rev., v. 133, 1871; Fort. Rev., July, 1867; Contem. Rev., Dec., 1874; Fras. Mag., v. 79, 1869; New Englander, v. 30, 1871; Scrib. Mo., Feb., 1875; West. Rev., v. 90, 1868
SWINBURNE.—Lowell's My Study Windows, Stedman's Vic. Poets; Lond. Quar. Rev., Jan., 1869; Cath. World, Dec., 1874; Fras. Mag., v.71, 1865; and 74, 1868; Galaxy, Dec., 1866; Nat. Quar. Rev., v. 14, 1867; West. Rev., v. 87, 1867.
From Morris's Life and Death of Jason.*
O love, turn round, and note the goodlihead
O love,” he said, “ by what thing shall I swear
“Nay, sweet,” she said, “let be;
* Pelias dethroned his brother Æson, King of Tolchos, and sought the life of Jason, Æson's son. The boy was concealed, and, reaching maturity, demanded the crown.
Pelias promised it to him if he would fetch him a famous golden fleece-that of a ram sacrificed to Jupiter and given to Æëtes, King of Colchis. Jason organized an expedition, and set sail in the ship Argo. Arriving at Colchis, Jason wins the love of Medea, daughter of Æëtes, and is helped by her to perform the hard tasks imposed by her father as a condition of receiving the fleece. The tasks performed, Æëtes refuses the reward. The going of Jason and Medea to the temple where the treasure was kept, the charming of the monster that guarded it, the capture of the fleece, and their escape are described in the į assage quoted.
Of Fortune's hand when she beholds our bliss,
But now be ready, for I long full sore
Then toward the brazen temple-door she went, Wherefrom, half-open, a faint gleam was sent; For little need of lock it had forsooth, Because its sleepless guardian knew no ruth, And had no lust for precious things or gold. Whom, drawing near, Jason could now behold, As back Medea thrust the heavy door, For
prone he lay upon the gleaming floor, Not moving, though his restless, glittering eyes Gave unto them no least hope of surprise. Hideous he was, where all things else were fair; Dull-skinned, foul-spotted, with lank, rusty hair About his neck; and hooked yellow claws Just showed from 'neath his belly and huge jaws, Closed in the hideous semblance of a smile. Then Jason shuddered, wondering with what wile That fair king's daughter such a beast could tame, And of his sheathed sword had but little shame.
But being within the doors, both mantle grey And heavy gown Medea cast away, And in thin clinging silk alone was clad, And round her neck a golden chain she had, Whereto was hung a harp of silver white. Then the great dragon, at that glittering sight, Raised himself up upon his loathly feet, As if to meet her, while her fingers sweet Already moved amongst the golden strings,
Preluding nameless and delicious things.
So murmured she, while ceaselessly she drew
“O evil thing, what brought thee here
Or rather, thy dull, waveless lake