Imágenes de páginas

unengaging husband, being already smitten with Francesca dies on hearing of Paulo's end. Achis engaging brother. She sees all the affections cording to his last request, they are both buried and attentions, with which she endeavors to con- together at Ravenna, and the poem concludes thus, quer the unlawful love, thrown back upon her, and yet still she strives.

“They say that when Duke Guido saw them come

He clasped his hands, and, looking round the room, " And did she chance at times like these to hear

Lost his old wits forever. From the morrow Her husband's footsteps, she would haste the more,

None saw bim after. But no more of sorrow. And with a double smile open the door,

On that same night, those lovers silently And ask him, after all his morning's doing,

Were buried in one grave, under a tree. How his new soldiers pleased him in reviewing,

There, hand in hand, and side by side they lay, Or if the boar was slain which he had been pursuing," &c. In the green ground;-and on fine nights in May

Young hearts betrothed used to go there to pray." In the meanwhile, the situation of Paulo was scarcely more to be envied. For some time he

The faults and beauties of the poem can easily was unconscious of his love, and the description of be seen from the above extracts. The story is his self deceit is admirably true to nature, with the well developed and well told, and some of the same faults of language and expression. Thus scenes and characters are described with a elity they remain for a while, each hour attaching them which shows Hunt to be a man of some observamore strongly to cach other, and opening their eyes tion in his own small sphere, though they are all to their true state, till, one fatal afternoon, they were so common-place, that they prove him to have had reading the old tale of Launcelot

no conception of a character beyond the most ordi

nary kind. But all the good points of the poem "And Paulo, by degrees gently embraced, With one permitted arm her lovely waist,

are more than overbalanced by the low poverty of And both their cheeks, like peaches on a tree,

the language, the occasional vulgarity of the ideas Leaned with a touch together thrillingly ;

and the extreme harshness of the versification. And o'er the book they hung, and nothing said, As respects language, he observes in his preface, And every lingering page grew longer as they read.

the proper language of poetry is, in fact, nothing As thus they sat, and felt with leaps of heart

different from that of real life, and depends for its Their color change, they came upon the part Where fond Geneura, with her flame long nursed,

dignity upon the strength and sentiment of what it Smiled upon Launcelot when he kissed her first. speaks. It is only adding a musical modulation to That touch at last through every fibre slid;

what a fine understanding might really utter in the And Paulo turned, scarce knowing what he did, midst of its griefs or enjoyments.” We do not Only he felt he could no more dissemble,

intend to dispute this point, which has been so often And kissed her lovely lips, all in a tremble. Sad were those hearts, and sweet was that long kiss. debated, or to repeat the arguments in favor of it, Sacred be love from sight whate'er it is.

which have been already urged ad nauseam, and The world was all forgot, the struggle o'er,

refuted ad misericordiam, but will only say that, Desperate the joy. That day they read no more." granting the truth of Mr. Hunt's proposition, he

will still be convicted. There is so much that is beautiful in the fore

He not only uses comgoing passage, that we have not the heart to criti- mon but vulgar language, which certainly no " fine

understanding" would use under any circumstances; cize its faults as they deserve, even the wall in a tremble," and we have only to regret the slight

and he commits the glaring error of not varying or vulgarity of the concluding lines. Hunt had bet- rising with his subject. A man under the influter have kept still closer to Dante.

ence of his passions of course speaks in a more Giovanni soon discovers the intercourse between elevated manner than when his mind is in a state his brother and wife by her talking in a dream. of repose; but Hunt, writing in a forced style, is He immediately rises and forces Paulo to follow unable to catch even these common distinctions, bim to the vilt-yard, where they fight; when Paulo and describes a fine spring morning in language as throws himself on his brother's sword and expires. good, or better, than the scene of high wrought His death is beautifully told, but Giovaoni mourns

interest where Paulo over him in stuff like this,

“could no more dissemble, "I trust we reap at last as well as plough ;

But kissed her lovely lips all in a tremble."
But there, meantime, my brother, liest thou ;
And Paulo, thou wert the completest knight,

It is really pitiable to be so completely brought That ever rode with banner to the figbt;

down by the folly of the author as one must be by And thou wert the most beautisul to see, That ever came in press of chivalry;

such expressions; and they are frequent, occurAnd, for a sinful man, thou wert the best,

ring on almost every page. Thus, what can we That ever for his friend put spear in rest;

say, when told that Duke Guido on hearing of his And thou wert the most meek and cordial,

daughter's death, That ever among ladies eat in hall; And thou wert still, for all that bosom gored,

“ looking round the room The kindest man that ever struck with sword."

Lost his old wits for ever,"


or the information that the Princess Francesca Another favorite crutch to assist the gouty feet

of his measure is the termination “ness ;" * leafi“had stout notions on the marrying score ?"

ness” and “lightsomeness," he is very partial to, and the lament of Giovanni over the dead body of and uses them continually, with “supniness," his brother comes like a cold shower-baih upon

"floweriness," “ beamingness," " gladsomeness," one's feelings, really moved by his untimely fate." rosiness," "surfy massiveness," &c., &c. Then It tempts us to throw down the book in disgust at we are constantly meeting with a sidelong," as the man who has so lessened himself.

“sidelong deck," “ sidelong eye," "sidelong hips," But it is not only in using low and vulgar phrases (these we can partially understand, but what does that his language is bad. As Wilson says, he is “re he mean by “sidelong meekness !"--and "sleek," del Cocknio Parnaso,"and Bow-bell is heard through



,” “the mane hung sleekly," or, all the notes of his hand-organ. The passages

· For as the rack came sleeking on, one fell that we have quoted above bear ample evidence of With rain, into a dell, this. If more is wanted, his use of the words Breaking with scatter of a thousand notes, “ neat," " pice," and "fine” would be sufficient to Like twangling pearl; and I perceived how she, convict him in any court in Christendom. Nearly

Who loosed it with her band, pressed kneadingly,

As though it had been wine in grapy coats, every thing of which he approves has one of these

And out it gushed with that enchanting sound, adjectives liberally bestowed on it, and frequently

Like a wet shower to the ground." in places where none but a cockney would use

Nyaphs. them ; but “fine" is his chief favorite,-we meet with it on almost every page.

Pray, did Mr. Hunt ever see a dry shower of

rain ? “ Some of the finest warriors of the court."

Sometimes these conceited and outrè words pro

duce a most ludicrous effect. A long poem called “Never was nobler finish of fine sight."

“ The Nymphs,” in “Foliage,” is full of them. “Reaching, with stately step, at the fine air."

Thus, “With orange, whose warm leaves so finely suit,” &c. “ There lie they lulled by little whiffling tones

Os rills among the stones, and in the “Descent of Liberty,” he dignifies a Or by the rounder murmur, glib and flush, good old man with the title of “fine old Eunomus!' Of the escaping gush," &c.

But, as if all this were not sufficient to destroy the Or, effect of any language ever written, his style has

“ And there the Hamadryads are, their sisters, to suffer still further degradation from his use of

Simpler crown-twisters, old and obsolete words, manufactured phrases, and Who of some favorite tree, in some sweet spot, out of the way terminations. This arises in a Make home, and leave it not, great measure from his admiration of the Eliza- Until the ignorant axe downs its fine head,

And then the nymph is fled." bethan poets and his scorn of Pope and his school. Spenser is his great favorite, and, in adopting the Or, faults of his versification, without its beauties, and" And now I find whose are the laughs and stirrings in catching up an occasional word from him, Hunt That make the delicate birds dart so in whisks and wbirno doubt, in the inmost recesses of his little heart,

rings." imagined that he was becoming, not a parodist, but Or, a rival.

“And hey! what's this? The walls, look, Thus, we are continually meeting passages like Are wrinkling as a skin does, the following from Rimini

And now they're bent

To a silken tent, “And the far ships, listing their veils of light

And there are crystal windows; Like joyful hands, come up with scattery light,

And look! there's a balloon above Come gleaming up, true to the wished-for day,

Round and bright as the moon above !" And chase the whistling brine, and swirl into the bay.”

But it is not only in expressions that we have to These adjectives like "scattery" he is very fond find fault with him, but frequently also in ideas. of, and is continually manufacturing them when There is nothing, in any of his poetical works. there is a halt in the metre to be filled up. Thus really immoral or licentious, * but there is frequently we have “shiny peace,' a sphery strain,” “ sprin

* We have frequently been amused by the straightlaczy gy-strengthed," " winy globes,” “pillowy fields,” | morality of the tory critics who abused Hunt as the defenclumpy bays," " knify way,'

," " pillowy place,” | der of evil passions in "Rimini," while they praised to the grapy coats," pinky lashes,”

sweepy shape," utmost“ Parasina," a story very similar in general outline &c., and one of his sonnets commences

Not that we would for a moment institute a comparson

between them, but surely, if the former is caleulated to do “A steeple issuing from a leafy rise

harm, the infinite beauty of the latter would only beigilea With farmy fields in front and sloping green." its powers of evil.

a cockneyish vulgarity about him, especially when sense of both rhythm and harmony, and they are speaking of women, which is truly disgusting. such as may be found on every page without

For instance, how appropriate such passages as searching : the following are, in a serious poem !

" A little rainy, and towards night-fall chill.” " And for the poet, when he goes to hide him, From the town's sight, and for the lass beside him."

Society her sense, reading her books,

Music her voice, every sweet thing her looks." But, when he gets among the nymphs, he lets his fancy ron riot,

Each by a blooming hoy lightsomely led." “some upward cyed

"Some with a drag, dangling from the cap's crest." Feeling the sky, and some with sidelong hips O'er which the surface of the water slips."

“Some turning a trim waist, or o'er the flow

Of crimson cloths hanging an arm of snow.” It is not easy to understand the size of these

“Of snortings proud, and clinking furniture.” ladies who were engaged in “ feeling the sky” while reclining on the surface of the ocean.

" As to a friend appreciated at sight.” Again

My master bade me say then,' resumed he, “some in the water sporting

• That he spoke firmly when he told it me.'” With sides half swelling out, and looks of courting.”

“Firmly to speak, and you firmly to frear."


“That he was forced this day, whether or no." “another only shewed On the far side a foot and leg that glowed,

These three last examples, by the way, occur Under the cloud; a sweeping back another,

within the space of five lines ! Turning her from us, like a suckling mother ;

These lines might be considered as very indifThe next a side, lifting her arms to tie

ferent prose, but being presented to us as poetry, Her locks into a flowing knot; and she That followed her, a sípooth down-arching thigh

they could scarcely be excused in a poelaster with Tapering with tremulous mass internally," &c., &c.

six months' practice. In an old rhymer like Hunt,

who is continually enlightening the world on the But enough and too much of this; we might subject, and abusing his superiors for being better pardon the downright vulgarity of these descrip- than he, they are ludicrously unpardonable. But tions if they were in the least degree necessary to it is part of his “system,” and he therefore perthe conduct of a poem, and there are things fifty severes in it to the destruction of the little pleatimes worse in nearly all of our “classics,” but sure left his reader by his style and manner; though these are entirely gratuitous—merely introduced he modestly informs us in his preface that in wrifor their own sweet sakes, and to gratify the sus- ting thus, he is inerely doing what Chaucer and ceptible feelings of the author.

Shakspeare did! It is time now that we should turn to Mr. Hunt's One of Hunt's most remarkable productions is versification and harmony, a point on which he pro- his little collection of poems entitled “Foliage.” fesses to have bestowed great attention, and to be the said “ Foliage” is, with the true diffidence of able to teach like a master. He holds in utter ab- genius, divided into “Greenwoods," or original horrence Pope and all subsequent poets, down to poems, and “ Evergreens," or translations. Byron Rogers and Crabbe; he allows some credit to Dry- once pronounced the volume " the most monstrous den, but he evidently and conscientiously believes centaur ever begotten by Self-Esteem upon a Nightthat, since the days of Shakspeare and Spenser, mare ;" but this, we presume, was in one of those no one has in reality been able to write an heroic fits of morosity during which he used to abuse line, with the exception of little Leigh Hunt. The every one for the pleasure of saying the hardest fault he finds with Pope is the cant of the time in things he could. The main features of the work which he wrote--that of too much saneness, and in question, according to the author, (see preface,) a melody loo unvaried. This, and the modest opi. are“ a love of sociality, of the country, and of the nion of his own powers are not advanced in one fine imagination of the Greeks.” The latter is place, or in two, but they are fixed ideas and as evinced in the translations, of which more anon. immutable in his mind as his system and style. As to love of the country, with a man like Hunt, On reference to the copious extracts made from that means a place like his favorite Hampstead, Rimini," (entirely at random with respect to the where you have brick and mortar round you, and versification,) the reader will see what kind of ir- all the delights and conveniences of a suburb to a regular jangling metre he would substitute for the great city, but in reality no country. He does smooth and easy flow of Pope's lines. We sub- not understand the country, as passages already mit a few more specimens, taken almost without quoted will abundantly testify, though he is conexamination from the same poem, as proofs of his 'tinually prattling about it, and occasionally break.

Vol. X-79

ing out into fits of enthusiasm, such as evinced in

My tricksome Puck, my Robin,

Who in and out come bobbing, the following charming couplet

As full of seints and frolic as
“ The two divinest things this world has got,

That fibbing rogue Autolycus,
A lovely wornan in a rural spot !!"

And play the graceless robber on

Your graver brother Oberon,With regard to the “love of sociality,” his claims

Ah Dick, ah Dolce-riso,

How can you, can you be so? to that are chiefly founded on his epistles to various friends. A few lines from one to Hazlitt will be

And when we home must jog, you quite sufficient as a sample. He is describing a

Shall ride my back, you rogue, you, visit in anticipation.

Your bat adorned with fine leaves,

Horse-chesnut, oak, and vine-leares, “Then have Mozart touched on our bottle's completion,

And so, with green o'er head, Jobn,
Or one of your fav’rite trim ballads venetian :-

Shall whistle home to bed, John."
Then up for a walk, before tea, down a valley,
And so to come back through a leafy walled alley,

This is certainly a very pleasing exhibition of
In which the sun peeping, as into a chamher,
Looks gold on the leaves, turning some to sheer amber;

paternal fondness and partiality, and proves the Then tea made by one, who, although my wife she be, author to be a very respectable and affectionate If Jove were to drink it, would soon be his Hebe, papa, though he does complain of his offspring's Then silence a little,-a creeping twilight,Then an egg for your supper, with lettuces white,

" getting me expenses And a moon and friend's arm to go home with at night."

By losing balls o'er fences," Now this exactly fulfils a cockneys idea of " love yet we can not, in our moral blindness, see the proof sociality” in which the “ bottle," the "tea,” the priety of publishing three pages of such balder“egg” and “ lettuces white” are a necessary ingre- dash to prove it. dient, and if Hazlitt was able to resist an invita- In a very different strain are some lines to a son tion containing so glowing a picture of dinner and on a sick bed. Simple description of natural feelsupper, not to forget the tea, he must have been ing is sure to please, and on reading these verses made of as stern stuff as Jeremy Bentham him- we are ready to excuse the numerous faults of erself, who never stirred out of his house. At all pression, and to regret the “system" which has events, Hunt appears to relish it very much, for he induced him to incur them. We had intended to gives us twelve or fifteen pages of similar non- have extracted the whole piece, but are already sense, of which the above is a rather favorable spe- exceeding our limits, and must be content with a cimen, revealing a number of secrets in the house- few stanzas. hold economy of Mrs. Hunt and himself. But

“Sleep breathes at last from out thee, whenever he attempts to be light and sportive, he

My little, patient Boy, misses it sadly. Take for instance the opening And balmy rest about thee lines of a long address to a musical box.

Smoothes off the day's annoy.

I sit me down and think “Hallo!-what!-where?- what can it be

or all thy winning ways, That strikes up so deliciously?

Yet almost wish, with sudden shrink
I never in my life-what, no!

That I had less to praise.
That little tin-box playing so?
It really seemed as if a sprite

Thy sidelong pillowed meekness,
Had struck among us swist as light,

Thy thanks to all that aid,

Thy heart, in pain and weakness, Touching out, smooth, clear and small,

or fancied faults afraid, Harmony, and shake and all,

The little gentle hand Now upon the treble lingering,

That wipes thy quiet tears, Dancing now as if 'l were fingering,

These, these are things that may demand
And at last, upon the close,

Dread memories for years.
Coming with genteel repose."
And here is a part of a long ode upon his son.

To say he has departed,"
It should have entitled him to the laureateship.

“His voice"_“ his face"--"is gone;"

To feel impatient-hearted
"Ah! little ranting Johnny,

Yet feel we must bear on;
For ever blithe and bonny,

Ah! I could not endure
And singing nonny, nonny,

The whisper of such woe
With hat just thrown upon ye;-

Unless I felt this sleep ensure

That it will not be so."
Sir Richard, too, you rattler,
So christened from the Tatler,
My Bacchus in his glory,.

With respect to Mr. Hunt's appreciation of "ibe
My little cor-di-fiori,

fine imagination of the Greeks," we think it out

impossible that he may do so, in himself, but, most phor given above, we might truly say that his certainly, nothing that he has ever written would Hampstead lathe manufactures it all into Tunbridge tempt one for a moment to believe it.

kitchen ware. Take for instance the following passage from His love of the fine imagination of the Greeks Homer. He says, in his preface, that his transla- has led him to parody several idylls of Theocritus, tions from the Iliad are an experiment to render some of the odes of Anacreon, &c., and we can the Mæonian with as much energy as possible. only say that they are worthy of the passage above As usual, he makes his favorite mistake of adopt- quoted. He then descends to the Latin, and favors ing vulgarity for vigor.

us with some translations from Catullus, and we Priam, in lamenting the death of Hector, ad- can see that he evidently thinks well of his powers dresses his surviving sons thus,

as a translator, from his attempting the two most

difficult pieces in that not easy author—the “ Atys" “Of with a plague, you scandalous multitude,

and the inimitably beautiful Epithalamium of Julia Convicted knaves, have you not groans enough At home that thus you come oppressing me?

and Manlius (Hunt terms it "refreshing"!!!) As Or am I mocked, because Saturnian Jove

might be expected, these are complete failures. Has smitten me aud taken my best boy ?

The opening lines of the latter will serve as an amBut ye shall feel yourselves, for ye will be

ple specimen. Much easier for the Greeks to rage among Now he is gone ; but I, before I see

“ O Divine Urania's son, That time, and Troy laid waste and trampled on

Haunter of Mount Helicon, Shall have gone down into the darksome house."

Thou that mak'st the virgin go So saying, with his stick he drove them off

To the man, for all her no, And they went out, the old man urged them so.

Hymen Hymenæus 0);

Slip ihy snowy feet in socks,” &c. " — Be quicker, do, and help me, evil children, Down-looking set! Would ye had all been killed,

What would Catullus think of himself if he Instead of Hector at the ships! oh me!

could see his most charming poem so vilified ? If Cursed creature that I am! I had brave sons, he and Hunt should happen to meet in the Elysian Here in wide Troy, and now I can not say

fields, we fear it may go hard with the latter. CerThat one is left me. Mestor like a God,

tainly, in the whole range of English poetry, from And Troilus my fine-hearted charioteer, And Hector, who, for mortal, was a god,

Chaucer to Tennyson, there is no couplet any where For he seemed born, not of a mortal man,

which can be compared for mingled force and eleBut of a god; yet Mars has swept them all;

gance, to And none but these convicted knaves are left me, Liars and dancers, excellent time-beaters,

“thou who mak'st the virgin go Notorious pilferers of lambs and goats !

To the man, for all her no,"
Why don't ye get the chariot ready and set
The things upon it here, that we may go ?"

to say nothing of its melodiousness; or to the tavern

direction of It is really difficult to understand the mental obliquity which could so degrade this noble pas

“Slip thy snowy feet in socks." sage, and then flatter itself for its “vigor." Yet, Hunt must have imagined Manlius to have been an after such an attempt he has the audacity to turn round and remark that “ Pope, in that elegant of getting to bed.

inn-keeper, and that Hymen was a guest desirous mistake of his, in two volumes octavo, called

He is also a “trim sonnetteer.” We have sonHomer's Iliad, turns the Dodonean oak of his original into smooth little toys.” We are no great and other such small deer, and sonnets descriptive,

nets to his wife, and to his friends, to grasshoppers admirers of Pope’s Homer, yet we would not de- and meditative, and two on being crowned with grade it by naming it in the same day with Hunt's travesties of some of the finest passages in the ivy by Keals, and three on receiving a lock of

Milton's hair from “

M. D.” We exIliad. If we were to follow out his elegant meta

tract one of these to show how he succeeds in this * We suspect that while Mr. Hunt was cogitating upon most difficult of all species of writing. this last couplet, during a rural walk near Hampstead, he overheard some retired cheesmonger, about to take a jaunt,

“I felt my spirit leap, and look on thee, rating his servants for laziness, and using the same words

Through my changed color with glad grateful stare,

When, after showing us this glorious hair, * Why don't ye get the buggy ready and set

Thou didst turn short, and bending pleasantly, These here things upon it, that we may go ?”

With gracious hand gav'st the great lock to me,

An honoring gist, indeed! which I will wear This being what “a fine understanding might utter in the About me, while I breathe this strenuous air, midst of its griefs and enjoyments,” the happy inspiration Which nursed his Apollonian fresses free, seized him, he added "musical modulation" 10 it, and the I'll wear it, not as my inherited due, cooplet now stands out in bold relief,-a miracle of art hap- (For there is one, who, had he kept his art, pily combined with nature.

For freedom still, nor lest her for the crew

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