His ideal of what a poet is called to be is given in his picture of a Contemporary

“I only knew one poet in my life,

And this or something like it was his way.”
And then we read of one who walked about in the haunts of men,

“ Scenting the world, looking it full in face,

Trying the mortar's temper 'tween the chinks." Watching common sights and common people, and seeing, not the outside shows, but the real thing behind, and thus awakening the conscience, and exercising a kingship by right Divine. Judging not according to the appearance, but righteous judgment.

“My father, like the man of sense he was,
Would point him out to me a dozen times.
'St, St,' he'd whisper, the Corregidor.'”
“ If any beat a horse, you felt he saw ;
If any cursed a woman, he took note,
Yet stared at nobody—you stared at him,
And found, less to your pleasure than surprise,
He seemed to know you, and expect as much."

(How it strikes a Contemporary.) His reward was to know he was

“Doing the king's work all the dim day long," whilst the tongue of scandal was busy with his life—a life which the low and sensual cannot believe in. At last dying on

6 The neat low truckle bed”; alone haply, as far as man could see, but waited on by unseen hosts.

And mark, though no audible voice spoke to the poet, though no vision of glory appeared, yet he knew, he felt the king's approval.

“But never word or sign that I could hear
Notified to this man about the street
The king's approval of those letters.


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Was some such understanding 'twixt the two ?Hereby we know that we know Him, because we love Him and keep His commandments.”

The consciousness of the priesthood of the true poet breathes through the whole of Sordello; his sin was that he was unfaithful almost unto the end to the spirit within him, that he was content to enjoy, to receive, when he was heir to the kingship over humanity, the crown of which is a crown of thorns. His claim to the throne had to be made good by the power of self-sacrifice, by dying to self, that he might find a larger life in those for whom he lived, and this at last redeems the erring one. What grander picture can be drawn of a poet than that of the ideal Sordello,

“ the complete Sordello, Man and Bard,
John's cloud-girt angel, this foot on the land,
That on the sea, with, open in his hand,

A bitter-sweetling of a book.” In the consciousness of an unseen presence then, in the faith that there is a reality behind the shows of earth, a meaning in this wondrous kosmos, and that each lives and dies nobly who faces the sphinx and gives an answer to the riddle of life; in the faith that though here we know in part, we shall one day truly know, Browning addresses himself to his task.

And what is it which calls ont first in us the sense of poetry? Ask the great poets of the world. It is the sight of suffering. The real must be unsatisfying ere we seek for the ideal. The great epics and dramas have all been tragic; each has his own vision of Prometheus, agonizing humanity. If there is one poem into which Browning has thrown all his artistic power,

I think it is Saul. How grand is the stage on which we see the suffering Titan ! the black tent in the midst of the sand “ burnt to powder”; the blinding glare without, darkness within. There he endures in the desert, through which flow no refreshing streams to quench the thirst of his soul; he who once had “heard the words of God, had seen the vision of the Almighty,” is now blinded by the glory, and he knows not the love which his own heart has cast out. There he hangs, upon his cross. “ He stood, as erect as the tent-prop, both arms stretched out wide, On the great cross-support in the centre that goes to each side. He relaxed not a muscle, but hung there, as caught in his pangs, And waiting his change, the king-serpent all heavily hangs Far away from his kind, in the pine, till deliverance come With the spring-time ;-so agonized Saul, drear and stark, blind and dumb.”

To him, doubly shut out from the light of heaven, comes youth and beauty and innocence personified in David. He comes like a ministering angel, the dew of heaven in his "gracious gold hair," with bright lilies telling of life and hope

“Just broken to twine round thy harp-strings, as if no wild heat

Were now raging to torture the desert." Then he sings the simple songs of the shepherd lad, the beauty and peace of nature, the felt harmony and love in all things.

“God made all the creatures, and gave them our love and our fear,

To give sign we and they are His children, one family here." Next he passes on to the tale of human joys and sorrows; but there is no response till he comes to that which gives to man's life a meaning, the consciousness of a glory beyond.


“Then here in the darkness Saul groaned,
And I paused, held my breath in such silence, and listened apart;
And the tent shook, for mighty Saul shuddered, and sparkles 'gan dart
From the jewels that woke in his turban at once with a start
All its lordly male-sapphires and rubies, courageous at heart;

So the head; but the body still moved not, still hung there erect.” He tries another theme. He tells of the joyous sense of life and vigour, once felt by the warrior king; bids him follow again the story of the past, and thence believe in the love of God.

“Let one more attest I have lived, seen God's hand thro' a lifetime, and all was for best." Then he shows him in the lives of others the ennobling of the soul through suffering.

“Such result as, from seething grape-bundles, the spirit-strained true.”

From the vantage-ground of the past he would have him contemplate the present suffering; through sorrow he had been crowned.

“ Then Saul, who hung propped
By the tent's cross-support in the centre, was struck by his name.

One long shudder thrilled
All the tent till the very air tingled, then sank, and was stilled

At the king's self, left standing before me, released and aware." But this only awakens the king to consciousness, it cannot restore him. Can he live by the thought that his life may enter into the being of humanity, that though he perish he may pour out palm wine for the life of posterity ; can he be sustained by the enthusiasm of humanity? No! the wretched despise themselves; only in the consciousness of a larger life and love, sustaining, fulfilling them, can they hope to bless others. They must be conscious of a love, not small enough for them to possess, but large enough to possess them; of an ocean in which they and all may be baptized, of a boundless love in which we may all live and move; a spiritual presence, which, brooding over the dead soul, awakens it to a responsive life. And it is upon the revelation of the Divine love first revealed within the soul that our poet rests the salvation of humanity. The love which David feels kindling, glowing, burning in himself towards this sufferer, what is it but the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit to the deeper depths of the Divine love?

“Shall the creature surpass the Creator,—the end, what began ?
Would I fain, in my impotent yearning, do all for this man,

And dare doubt, He alone shall not do it, who yet alone can."
As man's love yearns to utter itself, though it cannot, so must the
Divine love, and God can. Man cannot utter through the feeble body,
in the bonds of time, the infinite love which he yet feels within, but the
Infinite, the Eternal, God is uttering it in all creation, in every soul of

unlimited in capability for joy, as this is in desire for joy. But no ! Zeus has not yet revealed such a state; and alas ! he must have done so were it possible!

He concludes, “Live long and happy, and in that thought die, glad for what was! Farewell.” And then, as a matter of minor importance, he informs the King, in a postscript, that he cannot tell his messenger aright where to deliver what he bears to one called Paulus. Protos, it must be understood, having heard of the fame of Paul, and being perplexed in the extreme, has written the great apostle to know of his doctrine. But Cleon writes that it is vain to suppose that a mere barbarian Jew, one circumcised, hath access to a secret which is shut from them, and that the King wrongs their philosophy in stooping to inquire of such an one. “Oh, he finds adherents, who does not. Certain slaves who touched on this same isle, preached him and Christ, and, as he gathered from a bystander, their doctrines could be held by no sane man."

There is a quiet beauty about this poem which must insinuate itself into the feelings of every reader. In tone it resembles the Epistle of Karshish, the Arab physician. The verse of both poems is very beautiful. No one can read these two poems, and Bishop Blougram's Apology, and The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church, and not admit that Browning is a master of blank verse in its most difficult forma form far more difficult than that of the epic blank verse of Milton, or the Idyllic blank verse of Tennyson, argumentative and freighted with thought, and, at the same time, almost chatty, as it is, and bearing in its course exquisitely poetical conceptions. The same may be said of much of the verse of The Ring and the Book, especially that of the monologues of the Canon Caponsacchi, Pompilia, the Pope, and Count Guido Franceschini. But this by the way.

Cleun belongs to a grand group of poems, in which Browning shows himself to be, as I've said, the most essentially Christian of living poets -the poet who, more emphatically than any of his contemporaries have done, has enforced the importance, the indispensableness of a new birth, the being born from above (orwev) as the condition not only of soul vitality and progress, but also of intellectual rectitude. In this group of poems are embodied the profoundest principles of education-principles which it behoves the present generation of educators to look well to. The acquisition of knowledge is a good thing, the sharpening of the intellect is a good thing, the cultivation of philosophy is a good thing; but there's something of infinitely more importance than all these-it is, the rectification, the adjustment, through that mysterious operation

of the unconscious personality, the hidden soul, which

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co-operates with the active powers, with the conscious intellect, and, as this unconscious personality is rectified or unrectified, determines the active powers, the conscious intellect, for righteousness or unrighteousness.

The attentive reader of Browniny's poetry must soon discover how remarkably homogeneous it is in spirit. There are many authors, and great authors too, the reading of whose collected works gives the impression of their having " tried their hand" at many things. No such impression is derivable from the voluminous poetry of Browning. Wide as is its range, one great and homogeneous spirit pervades and animates it all, from the earliest to the latest. No other living poet gives so decided an assurance of having a burden to deliver. An appropriate general title to his works would be, “The Burden of Robert Browning to the 19th century." His earliest poems are the least articulate, but there can be no question about their attitude. We know in what direction the poet has set his face—what his philosophy of life is, what soul-life means with him, what regeneration means, what edification means in its deepest sense of building up within us the spiritual temple. And if he had left this world after writing no more than those poems of his youth, Pauline and Paracelsus, a very fair ex-pede-Herculem estimate might have been made of the possibilities which he has since so grandly realized.

SCRAPS. Bibliography. Personal Notice. 1845-57. “Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson... by her niece Gerardine Macpherson ... Longmans, 1878.' After notices of Mrs. Jameson's making the acquaintance of Miss Barrett in 1842,Mrs. J. was staying at 51, Wimpole St., next door to the house in which Miss Barrett resided,' p. 190,—and mentions of E. B. B. on p. 191, 194, 205, 217, 219, Mrs. Macpherson notes, on p. 229, the ripening of her aunt's friendship with E. B. B. and her offer to take the poetess abroad with her in the autumn of 1844; but the offer was gratefully and gracefully declined, and “when the moment of departure came, another little note of farewell arrived, deploring the writer's inability to come in person and bid her friend good-bye, as she was forced to be satisfied with the sofa and silence' [and R. B.] .. With these communications so fresh in her mind, having newly parted indeed from this invalid 'satisfied with the sofa and silence, it may be supposed what was Mrs. Jameson's astonishment when, shortly after we reached Paris, she received another little letter, telling her that Robert Browning had just arrived from London, en route for Italy with his wife—the same E. B. B. who had so recently taken farewell of her. My aunt's surprise was something almost comical, so startling and entirely unexpected was the news. But it was as delightful as unexpected, and gave an excitement the more to our journey, which, to one of us at least [Mrs. M.], was already like a journey into the old world of enchantmenta revival of fairyland.

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