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ties. But intelligence is slow to arrive in any part of the world, and intelligence from America painfully so in reaching Europe. You do not seem to be aware that something has happened here during the last four years, something that has made a very painful and lasting impression on the memory of the American people, whose voice on this occasion I have the honor to be. They feel constrained to demand that you shall enter into bonds to keep the peace. They do not, I regret to say, agree with you in looking upon what has happened here of late as only a more emphatic way of settling a Presidential election, the result of which leaves both parties entirely free to try again. They seem to take the matter much more seriously. Nor do they, so far as I can see, agree with you in your estimate of the importance of conserving your several State sovereignties, as you continue to call them, insisting much rather on the conservation of America and of American ideas. They say that the only thing which can individualize or perpetuate a commonwealth is to have a history; and they ask which of the States lately in Rebellion, except Virginia and South Carolina, had anything of the kind? In spite of my natural sympathies, gentlemen, my reason compels me to agree with them. Your strength, such as it was, was due less to the fertility of your brains than to that of your soil and to the invention of the Yankee Whitney which you used and never paid for. You tell me it is hard to put you on a level with your negroes. As a believer in the superiority of the white race, I cannot admit the necessity of enforcing that superiority by law. A Roman emperor once said that gold never retained the unpleasant odor of its source, and I must say to you that loyalty is sweet to me, whether it throb under a black skin or a white. The American people has learned of late to set a greater value on the color of ideas than on shades of complexion. As to the injustice of taxation without representation, that is an idea derived from our English ancestors, and is liable, like all rules, to the exceptions of necessity. I see no reason why a State may not as well be disfranchised as a borough for an illegal abuse of its privileges ; nor do I quite feel the parity of the reason which should enable you to do that with a loyal black which we may not do with a disloyal white. Remember that this government is bound by every obligation, ethical and political, to protect these people because they are weak, and to reward them (if the common privilege of manhood may be called a reward) because they are faithful. We are not fanatics; but a nation that has neither faith in itself nor faith toward others must soon crumble to pieces by moral dry-rot. If we may conquer you, gentlemen, (and you forced the necessity upon us,) we may surely impose terms upon you ; for it is an old principle of law that cui liceat majus, ei licet etiam minus.
“ In your part of the country, gentlemen, that which we should naturally appeal to as the friend of order and stability, - property, - is blindly against us; prejudice is also against us; and we have nothing left to which we can appeal but human nature and the common privilege of manhood. You seem to have entertained some hope that I would gather about myself a President's party,' which should be more friendly to you and those animosities which you mistake for interests. But you grossly deceive yourselves; I have no sympathy but with my whole country, and there is nothing out of which such a party as you dream of could be constructed, except the broken remnant of those who deserted you when for the first time you needed their help and not their subserviency, and those feathery characters who are drawn hither and thither by the chances of office. I need not say to you that I am and can be nothing in this matter but the voice of the nation's deliberate resolve. The recent past is too painful, the immediate future too momentous, to tolerate any personal considerations. You throw yourselves upon our magnanimity, and I must be frank with you. My predecessor, Mr. Buchanan, taught us the impolicy of weakness and concession. The people are magnanimous, but they understand by magnanimity a courageous steadiness in principle. They do not think it possible that a large heart should consist with a narrow brain; and they would consider it pusillanimous in them to consent to the weakness of their country by admitting you to a share in its government before you have given evidence of sincere loyalty to its principles, or, at least, of wholesome fear of its power. They believe, and I heartily agree with them, that a strong nation begets strong citizens, and a weak one weak, – that the powers of the private man are invigorated and enlarged by his confidence in the power of the body politic; and they see no possible means of attaining or securing this needed strength but in that homogeneousness of laws and institutions which breeds unanimity of ideas and sentiments, no way of arriving at that homogeneousness but the straightforward path of perfect confidence in freedom. All nations have a right to security, ours to greatness; and must have the one as an essential preliminary to the other. If your prejudices stand in the way, and you are too weak to rid yourselves of them, it will be for the American people to consider whether the plain duty of conquering them for you will be, after all, so difficult a conquest as some they have already achieved. By yourselves or us they must be conquered. Gentlemen, in bidding you farewell, I ask you to consider whether you have not forgotten that, in order to men's living peacefully together in communities, the idea of government must precede that of liberty, and that the one is as much the child of necessity as the other is a slow concession to civilization and the habit of obedience to something more refined than force.”
ART. X. - CRITICAL NOTICES.
1.-1. Chastelard. A Tragedy. By ALGERNON CAARLES SWIN
New York: Hurd and Houghton. pp. 178. 2. Atalanta in Calydon. A Tragedy. By ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 1866.
ARE we really, then, to believe the newspapers for once, and to doff our critical nightcaps, in which we have comfortably overslept many similar rumors and false alarms, to welcome the advent of a new poet? New poets, to our thinking, are not very common, and the soft columns of the press often make dangerous concessions, for which the marble ones of Horace's day were too stony-hearted. Indeed, we have some wellgrounded doubts whether England is precisely the country from which we have a right to expect that most precious of gifts just now. There is hardly enough fervor of political life there at present to ripen anything but the fruits of the literary forcing-house, so fair outwardly and so flavorless compared with those which grow in the hardier open air of a vigorous popular sentiment. Mere wealth of natural endowment is not enough; there must be also the co-operation of the time, of the public genius roused to a consciousness of itself by the necessity of asserting or defending the vital principle on which that consciousness rests, in order that a poet may rise to the highest level of his vocation. The great names of the last generation - Scott, Wordsworth, Byron represent moods of national thought and feeling, and are therefore more • or less truly British poets; just as Goethe, in whose capacious nature, open to every influence of earth and sky, the spiritual fermentation of the eighteenth century settled and clarified, is a European one. A sceptic might say, we think, with some justice, that poetry in Eng!and was passing now, if it have not already passed, into one of those periods of mere art without any intense convictions to back it, which lead inevitably, and by no long gradation, to the mannered and artificial. Browning, by far the richest nature of the time, becomes more difficult, draws nearer to the all-for-point fashion of the concettisti, with every poem he writes; the dainty trick of Tennyson cloys when caught by a whole generation of versifiers, as the style of a great poet never can be; and we have a foreboding that Clough, imperfect as he was in many respects, and dying before he had subdued his sensitive temperament to the sterner requirements of his art, will be thought a hundred years hence to have been the truest expression in verse of the moral and intellectual tendencies, the doubt and struggle towards settled convictions, of the period in which he lived. To make beautiful conceptions immortal by exquisiteness of phrase, is to be a poet, no doubt; but to be a new poet is to feel and to utter that immanent life of things without which the utmost perfection of mere form is at best only wax or marble. He who can do both is the great poet.
Over “ Chastelard, a Tragedy," we need not spend much time. It is at best but the school exercise of a young poet learning to write, and who reproduces in his copy-book, more or less travestied, the copy that has been set for him at the page's head by the authors he most admires. Grace and even force of expression are not wanting, but there is the obscurity which springs from want of definite intention; the characters are vaguely outlined from memory, not drawn firmly from the living and the nude in actual experience of life; the working of passion is an a priori abstraction from a scheme in the author's mind; and there is no thought, but only a vehement grasping after thought. The hand is the hand of Swinburne, but the voice is the VOL. CII. — No. 211.
voice of Browning. With here and there a pure strain of sentiment, a genuine touch of nature, the effect of the whole is unpleasant with the faults of the worst school of modern poetry,—the physically intense school, as we should be inclined to call it, of which Mrs. Browning's “ Aurora Leigh ” is the worst example, whose muse is a fast young woman with the lavish ornament and somewhat overpowering perfume of the demi-monde, and which pushes expression to the last gasp of sensuous exhaustion. • They forget that convulsion is not energy, and that words, to hold fire, must first catch it from vehement heat of thought, while no artificial fervors of phrase can make the charm work backward to kindle the mind of writer or reader. An overmastering passion no longer entangles the spiritual being of its victim in the burning toils of a retribution foredoomed in its own nature, purifying us with the terror and pity of a soul in its extremity, as the great masters were wont to set it before us; no, it must be fleshly, corporeal, must “ bite with small white teeth” and draw blood, to satisfy the craving of our modern inquisitors, who torture language instead of wooing it to confess the secret of its witchcraft. That books written on this theory should be popular, is one of the worst signs of the times; that they should be praised by the censors of literature shows how seldom criticism goes back to first principles, or is even aware of them, - how utterly it has forgotten its most earnest function of demolishing the high places where the unclean rites of Baal and Ashtaroth usurp on the worship of the one only True and Pure.
“ Atalanta in Calydon” is in every respect better than its forerunner. It is a true poem, and seldom breaks from the maidenly reserve which should characterize the higher forms of poetry, even in the keenest energy of expression. If the blank verse be a little mannered and stiff, reminding one of Landor in his attempts to reproduce the antique, the lyrical parts are lyrical in the highest sense, graceful, flowing, and generally simple in sentiment and phrase. There are some touches of nature in the mother's memories of Althea, so sweetly pathetic that they go as right to the heart as they came from it, and are neither Greek nor English, but broadly human. And yet, when we had read the book through, we felt as if we were leaving a world of shadows, inhabited by less substantial things than that nether realm of Homer where the very eidolon of Achilles is still real to us in its longings and regrets. These are not characters, but outlines after the Elgin marbles in the thinnest manner of Flaxman. There is not so much blood in the whole of them as would warm the little finger of one of Shakespeare's living and breathing conceptions. We could not help thinking of those exquisite verses addressed by Schil