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And Bobby shovelled himself over the grass nearer to Bogy, and sat on his feet, thinking and looking up at him.
'I suppose,' he said at last, 'I suppose any person in the world could do it. Only he must try hard enough.'
• With all his might,' answered Bogy. Then he could do it.'
* And suppose if he were trying as hard as he could,' said Bobby, “how would he know what it was to be quite, quite gentle ?'
• Because,' said Bogy slowly, “because there was Pattern of gentleness shown to the world . . and that Pattern was perfect.'
BOOK NOTICES. The Dance of the Hours, by the author of 'Vera' (Methuen), attacks many of the modern evils. It is a curious book, with excellent bits in it, but oddly put together, since the lady. we begin with, in the midst of all the surroundings of a heroine, turns out to be only the sympathetic friend of the musician, whose composition gives expression to an analogy between the twenty-four hours of the day and human life. The experiences which result in such an utterance are the subject of the story, entirely one of the last and present decade, a strange one, but true to nature, and worth perusal.
Timothy's Quest is a charming American story, full of quaint sayings. A Splendid Cousin (Pseudonym Series) is a clever study of the intense selfishness to which self-development may lead. But it would be more useful if we did not feel all through that Theodora was more or less crazy.
A set of letters by S. T. Coleridge, edited by his grandson, Ernest Hartley Coleridge, are being published in the Illustrated London News. A volume will probably follow in the autumn.
A FINE FEBRUARY DAY.
BORNE by the south-west wind, in gentlest mood,
I know the flower-girl in that Roman street,
Of that old garden . . . for this day awakes
VOL. 85 (V.-NEW SERIES).
NO. 507. FIVE ENGLISH POETS.
Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O sea !
Can never come back to me.'
I WONDER if there is any time in our lives when those words fail entirely to appeal to us : save in those moments-rare moments-of supreme happiness when the past and the future are forgotten in a present that seems an eternity of bliss. In childhood, I suppose, when the infinite possibilities of being 'grown up' are so impressive, we did not think much about the past; but as the cares of life thicken round us, there is generally a kind of fictitious glow about the halcyon days before this or that particular trouble began to vex our souls. Is it that
'The past will always win
A glory from its being far;
And orb into the perfect star
The very griefs we suffered in the days that are no more are invested with a tender halo-haec olim meminisse juvabit: some day we shall enjoy the memory of these things' said the stormtossed Æneas. There are plenty of men who honestly believe that their school days were the happiest time of their lives though the schoolboy to whom they make the airy and timehonoured statement for the most part puts it down as 'rot. He refuses to believe that his predecessors who sat on the same hard benches, and carved their unseemly initials on the same desk, had the positive preference for frequent canings which their words seem to imply. His own impression is that he found life much jollier when he was controlled only by a governess sufficiently anxious for her own peace of mind to be disinclined to challenge contests which might be avoided. Still I am bound to say that if you described that reminiscence to the young gentleman as 'the tender grace of a day that is dead,' he would probably repeat the above vulgar but expressive monosyllable, with increased energy.
But schoolboys, as is well known, share Hotspur's views on poetry, save such as is of a martial order. If you quote to them
'Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
they will regard you with a scornful pity. I will not be responsible for the views of the average school-girl on the subject, but I should rather expect her to say, 'How lovely!' and then depart to read ‘King Solomon's Mines' privily. I don't believe she dwells upon the days that are no more, as a rule ; at least, in the sense of the song. Still, I was recently informed by a lady who ought to know, that there never was a time in her own life when she didn't regret that the last section of it had come to an end. Coming to the end of anything is rather melancholy.
But even when the actual school days are over, it may be doubted whether the poetry of retrospection finds very much favour with young and healthy minds. Time was when it was the correct thing to be occupied in fading away, and the tear of sensibility was ever ready to flow. Brooding over the past was quite en règle ; and if you hadn't a past to brood over, you could manufacture one which did very nearly as well. The fashion has changed, and with the development of outdoor life and physical exercise, activity is the order of the day. There is so much to do, and a mere indulgence in the luxury of woeespecially imaginary woe—is waste of time. Besides which, when you are still young enough to be hurt at being considered young, the future-unless in exceptional cases--is really ever so much more interesting than the past.
All the same, there are times when the past comes back upon our minds with an irresistible attraction ; even for those who are most persistently engaged on thoughts of the future. When the maiden sang. Tears, idle tears' in the Princess,' Ida commented