« НазадПродовжити »
gone from his brow ; his deep eyes were lit with a new and strange light ; his face was wreathed with smiles.
· Daddy Graveairs,' said his father, after gazing furtively at him, is refecting that he is well-rid of the dairy maid. I think we shall not see much more of the smock-frock. Gad ! the fellow is only five-and-twenty or 89 yet. What an age ! And what a rollicking youngster he will be at fifty!'
It was Lcrd Alwyne who proposed the health of the bride and bride. groom. He surpassed himself.
Then came Desdemona's turn. It seemed as if nobody could be so happy as Desdemona looked. Her portly form as well as her comely face seemed, to use a bold figure, wreathed in smiles. In fact she had a communi. cation to make of such uncommon interest that she might be excused for feeling happy.
She arose, when the time came, and begged to be allowed to say something
She had long felt an inward satisfaction, she said, in marking the rise, progress, and development, of those Warmer feelings which such an atmosphere as that of the Abbey was certain to generate. In this case, she had observed with peculiar gratification that the interests she was watching advanced with a smoothness only possible in the calm retirement of a monastery. Also that there were no discords, no hareh notes to clash with the general harmony; no one was jealous or envious of another; each with each, damoiseau with damoiselle, was free, unhindered, to advance his own suit. “And now,' said Desde mona expansively, these suits have all been advanced, they have all prospered'-here there a general sensation — and I am enabled to announce that this Abbey of Thelema will before long cease to exist because the end proposed by its original Founder has been already attained.
• My friends, Brother Bayard is engaged to Sister Cecilia.'
Here there was great cheering:
• Brother Benedict is engaged to Sister Audrey.'
At each name there was a loud burst of applause.
They were all engaged, every one. And though there was
one Sister beside Desdemona for whom there would be no Munk of the Order in consequence of the expulsion of Brother Peregrine and the defection of Paul Rondelet, yet even that loss, which might have caused a discord, was met by an engagement with one of the outer world. There yet remained, however, Miranda.
And lastly, dear Sisters and friends,' said Desdemona, before I make my final announcement, let us drop a tear together over the Abbey we have loved so well. The highest happiness, as our Founder thought, is to be bound by no rules but those of gentlehood; to own no obligations but those which spring of culture, good breeding and sweet dispositions ; to do what we will for a space within these walls; to be an example to one another of sympathy, thought for others, and good temper. Alas! my friends, the Abbey is no more. have held our last Function ; we must now dissolve. • " Brief as the lightning in the collyed night,
And ere a man hath power to say, Behold!
So quick bright things come to conclusion." But now for my last announcement. Brother Hamlet, my Brothers and Sisters '--everybody looked at Alan
-is Brother Hamlet no more ; that Brother whom we loved, but whose erratic courses we deplored, must have changed his name had the Abbey continued. What name could he bave taken but-Brother Ferdinand ?'
- here Miranda blushed very sweetly. * But he is Alan still, and he has found, O my Sisters, he has found the only woman in the world who is fit to mate with him.
"For several virtues
the bride and bridegroom. They Have I liked several women : nerer any With so full soul, but some defect in her were to ride to the quiet place, fifDid quarrel with the noblest grace she owed, And put it to the foil : but she- she !
teen miles away, where they were So perfect and so peerless, is created
to spend their honeymoon. Tom of every creature's best
lifts his bride into the saddle, springs The actress ceased to act; she into his own, and with a storm of loved all the Sisters, but she loved cheers and good wishes, they clatter Miranda most; her voice broke, and together down the avenue of the Abshe sat down burying her face in her bey, two black figures against the hands.
bright moonlight, and disappear in It was at eleven o'clock that they the dark shadows of the trees. all sallied forth to bid godspeed to
BY R. MARVIN SEATON.
That caught the sweet pearls of the gem-dropping dew
Oh, say was it pity, alone, in your heart,
Forgive me the hope that I cherish, for what
best known magazines has permitted his enthusiasm to quite blind bis critical sense regarding the amount of honour due even so charming and dulcet-voiced a singer as John Keats. To declare that the Eve of St. Agnes is the most perfect poem in the world,' must be called a somewhat extraordinary way of putting things. The place which Keats holds in the literature of his land is one distinctly settled and widely admitted. To suddenly inform the world that its admiration has thus far been set altogether in a wrong key is a species of imagebreaking that will not rouse very general sympathy. A few sceptics might obstinately put in an objecting word or two if it were affirmed that Milton was after all, an idyllic poet, or that Coleridge possessed no turn for weird
English feel, in this age of spiritualism, like consulting the classic shade of Addison, and requesting it to say what epoch of luxurious vitiation threatens the language.
Meanwhile there exists a class of writers who possess this mastery of mere words, who constantly treat them as the artist treats colours, and yet who never degrade their gift by falsity and extravagance of method. Perhaps the father of this literary school was none other than John Keats, a poet whose tomb near the Porta San Paolo in Rome, when it claims to rise above one whose name was writ in water,' conforms with the proverbial untrustworthiness of epitaphs; for it is a certainty that since the death of Keats in 1821, there has been steadily growing up toward him that kind of reverential regard which, sooner or later, generally is attained by one who has originated a new poetic school.
That Keats accomplished this great work—or rather that his genius, following its own delightful intuitions, achieved much absolutely new in the world of letters-there can now be no question. And yet, looking at these poems to-day, and considering how thoroughly their beauties were interspersed with youthful faults, while much that was most charming required a critic untrammelled by conventionalism and prompt to recognize genius in its newest guise, one cannot but feel that considerable vituperative injustice has been heaped upon the murderers of Keats' immediate reputation. The subsequent attack upon Endymion appears far less
There can be slight doubt that what we have grown to term wordpainting' has been mercilessly abused of past years. The most ambitious reporter for the public press aspires to furnish our breakfast-tables with something in this way, at least creditably forcible if not notably new. Prose is disfigured with ill-timed attempts in such direction ; the average magazine story is often a weariness because of it; perspicuity is often dulled and perspicacity fatally amplified; it would seem as if a spade were thought to suffer injustice by being called one; sometimes hideous words are formed, awful to philology, hy desperate delineators of the commonplace; maltreated lovers of chaste
pardonable ; and yet it is easy to ima- Hide in deep herbage ; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas, gine that a taste which had fed upon I must be near the middle of my story. the fiery diet of that poetical day
O may no wintry season, bare and boary,
See it half finish'd : but let autumn bold, must have been surprised and dis- With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end. turbed, if not innately ill-pleased, by And now at once, adventuresome, I send the calm childishness and unique pre
My herald thought into a wilderness :
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress raphaelitism of this novel poetry.
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed." was a poem in which the forgotten rhythms of Chaucer were constantly Charmingly naïf as now seems to suggested; in which quaintness of us this gentle exultation on the part rhyme sometimes assumed forms of of the young poet, this innocent statethe wildest affectation; in which de. ment of how he means to pass the licate originality of fancy now and coming summer, this juvenile candour then lapsed among realms of unpar- with which he shows his own blithedonable grotesqueness, and in which some self-satisfaction to the reader, it laborious ornamentation sometimes is not difficult, on the other hand, to appeared to such weighty excess that conceive that a critic trained in schools its presence became mere cloying un- of resonant rhetoric and polished pleasantness. We are told that Shel- classicism, should have found among ley and Byron and Leigh Hunt were these and similar passages the excuse early and warm admirers of Keats' for witty raillery and merciless dispoetry, and nothing can seem more dain. It was an age when a kind of probable than that men of their acute smart sententiousness and verboseness literary discernment should have easily was the usualorder of things in poetry. separated, with such a poem as Endy- Byron's and Shelley's faults in this mion, the gold from the glitter. At
respect are now seen to be only too the same time, it must be conceded obvious, and even Coleridge, much that to an ordinary eye Endymion is more restrained, occasionally shows a work in which the glitter has a trick how sentimentality and pomposity of rather frequently blinding us to the were in the literary air of that pargold. It is, moreover, a poem of con- ticular epoch. But what were only siderable narrative tediousness; this faults more or less grave among these the most devout admirer of Keats can men of genius, constituted the stockscarcely deny. It is in four rather in-trade of ordinary writers. The pure bulky books, and it tells a simply voice of Keats, amid such a self-satisfied mythologic, woodland story that might clamour, must have sounded strangebe told with much more artistic effect ly enough. Had it been stronger and in perhaps fifty lines. Exquisitely more aware of its own strength, the enough, and in verses some of which effect might have proved far different will probably last as long as the lan- It is Victor Hugo who somewhere guage, Keats himself says, at the be
says that a Lycurgus misunderstood ginning of the poem :
appears a Tiberius; and if this be
true, equally probable is it that mis* Therefore 'tis with full happiness that I
understood simplicity very often apWill trace the story of Endymion. The very music of the name has gone
pears like the most abject triviality. Into my being, and each pleasant scene Is growing fresh before me as the green
For that simplicity was the absolute Of our own valleys : so I will begin,
bone and sinew of Keats' poetry, and Now while the early budders are just new And run in mazes of the youngest hue
that its charming tricks of colour and About old forests; while the willow trails
adornment would ultimately have beIts delicate amber; and the dairy pails Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year come spiritualized, so to speak, into a Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer My little boat, for many quiet hours,
delicious discrimination between difWith streams that deepen freshly into bowers. ferent words, such as all the surging Many and many a verse I hope to write Before the daisies, vermell-rimmed and white, power of Childe Harold and the Re
colt of Islam never gave us, there is of Pope's stilted pastorals had not now hardly reason to doubt. Lacking passed away; maudlin swains and that airier intellectuality which be- simpering shepherdesses, about as nalongs to Wordsworth's best lines, the tural and living as their Dresden china poetry of Keats is sensuous only from similitudes, yet lorded it over the proa supreme innate perception of what
vince of idyllic song. It might allovely kaleidoscopic changes might be most be said of Keats that he came wrought with mere language alone. like a bare-footed Greek shepherd Language was at first a kind of beau- among a bevy of operatic rustics with tiful bugbear to him. He was divine- red heels and quilted petticoats, with ly plagued by its picturesque possi- silk tights and beribboned crooks. bilities. He was like a child who has . It is rarely the fate of one who lost his way amid a garden teeming founds a new school of poetry to gain with the most tropic luxuriance of more than a brief glimpse, at best, of blooms ; it was not enough that he had his own laurels. Wordsworth was, it already gathered an armful of roses ; is true, a marked exception in this rehe must yet reach out insatiably spect, to the general rule of greatly among the tiger-lilies and peonies. original singers. Tennyson may hardly
Perpetually, when considering the be called such ; for the genius of the attitude of young Keats toward the present English Laureate, shining as poetry and criticism of his time, are it now does like a large limpid star, we reminded of a child dealing with rose slowly before an expectant body its elders. True, he was a child of of gazers. The literary heir of a glorious precociousness, but his step grand poetic past was needed in Engfell feebly where others walked firmly land, and the hour produced the man. -and sometimes strutted, by the way, Tennyson broke through traditions, more than they themselves suspected. suited himself with a marvellous tact The very meekness of the rôle which to the spirit of the age for which he he played had a certain irritating auda- sang; and wears with a most majestic city, no doubt, to many minds of that dignity the purple worn by immortal epoch. It was a time, let us remem- predecessors. He is like a great actor ber, when passionate gentlemen, pre
with a certain family-resemblance to ferring to wear their collars very low others, near of kin, who have also in the throat, had morbid tendencies been great actors in their time, and to leave posterity a name linked with whose noble teachings have sunk one virtue and a thousand crimes ; deeply within his soul. In the case when to believe a woman or an epi- of Keats all this was wholly different. taph were marks of pitiable folly He had, so to speak, no immediate among the youth of England, and poetic predecessor; he sprang, a new when, throughout this same import- bloom, from an old soil. There is ant body of citizens, existed a secret something Chaucerian about his way yearning that some sort of amateur of telling a story ; he is Spencerian in piracy could be reputably included his love for luscious language ; but had among the elegant accomplishments. he possessed no positive and dominatIt was an age of great literary bigotry, ing element of originality outside of of insufferable social snobbery, and of these mere resemblances, the fact of a morality in London circles by no having attempted to revive the manmeans laudable. Surely, then, it was ner of such remote poets would in ittoo late for this new Theocritus, with self have scemed, at a time like that his simple reed-pipe and thyme-crown- time, remarkably audacious. As it ed locks, to leave his native fields, no was, he united an intense strangeness matter how sweet was the fragrance in the way of method with an intense that he bore with him. The influence novelty of thought. The great popu