To revert to the famous theory, what leads them to exaggerate a little his debt do Messrs. Henley and Henderson make to his “nameless forebears,” and to of “Tam o' Shanter” and “The Jolly minimize, by ever so little, the broad Beggars ?” Do these works of genius distinction between him and the writhelp to prove or disprove that Burns ers of the songs which he “passed was the last expression of the old Scots through the mint of his mind.” It is not world and the outcome of an environ- easy to see how they can prove and ment plus Scots forebears, rather than a they do not attempt it—that the masterpioneer in poetry, a prophet with a dis- qualities of "fresh and taking simtinct point of view from his predeces- plicity, of vigor and directness, and sors ? Well, the “Centenary” edition happy and humorous ease,” came to does not attempt to derive “Tam o' Burns from his nameless forebears, Shanter” at all. Of “The Jolly Beg- along with “much of the thought, the gars” it says frankly: “The Burns of romance, and the sentiment, for which this ‘puissant and splendid production,' we read and love him." But theory as Matthew Arnold calls it—this irresis- apart, students are deeply indebted for tible presentation of humanity caught the study in the origins of Burns's songs in the act, and summarized forever in which is here presented to them. The the terms of art-comes into line with editors have utilized a vast mass of madivers poets of repute, from our own terial which previous editors have but Dekker and John Fletcher to the singer skimmed-broadsides, chap-books, rare of les Gueux (1813) and “Le Vieux Vaga- song-books, the great collections of bond" (1830), and approves himself David Herd, including the British their master in the matter of such qual- Museum manuscripts, even “The Merry ities as humor, vision, lyrical potency, Muses,” an invaluable guide, rightly descriptive style, and the faculty of used. The Lochryan manuscripts, emswift, dramatic presentation, to a pur- bracing unpublished letters of Burns to pose that may not be gainsaid.” Does Mrs. Dunlop, have furnished them with not that give away the whole

case ?

a number of interesting facts, such as The poet of "The Jolly Beggars" was the poet's explicit statement that neither the satirist and singer of a par- “Sweet Afton" was written for Johnish, nor the product of a local or tra- son's Musical Museum as a “compliditionary environment, ever so many ment” to the "small river Afton that forebears aiding. He imitated, copied, flows into the Nith, near New Cumnock, and stole much; that is proved to the which has some charming wild romantic hilt, and never more conclusively or scenery on its banks." Their treatment completely than here. But when an at- of Burns's inheritance from the clandestempt is made to place him in the tine literature of Scotland, and of Enhierarchy of literature, his imitative gland too, is excellent. The poet's rework must be assigned its proper, lations with Johnson and Thomson are recognized value, and that which be carefully and accurately set forth, and invented in the widest sense of the sufficient proof is furnished from his term, including form and point of view) correspondence in the Hastie manumust be taken as the decisive evidence scripts, and from certain manuscript of distinction. But the note on “The material in the possession of Mr. George Jolly Beggars” is in itself a monument Gray, Rutherglen, that he was virtually of knowledge of the literature of men- editor of the Museum from 1787 till his dicancy and knavery, and will be pre- health began to fail. The Thomson cious to all time.

songs are justly placed on a lower level It is in the third volume, recently pub- than those which he passed through the lished, that Messrs. Henley and Hender- mint to Johnson, though one may fairly son are most successful, as they were demur to the sweeping criticism that bound to be, in proving Burns to be the “they are often vapid in sentiment and last expression of the old Scots world, artificial in effect.” although their theory unquestionably A good example of the editing of a song is the note on “M'Pherson's Fare- and invaluable body of contributions to well.” The Herd set is traced to an old the critical appreciation of Burns's broadside "The Last Words of James song-writing. “Under his hand,” say Macpherson, Murderer," with the corol. Messrs. Henley and Henderson, "a lary—“That it is excellent drama that patch-work of catch-words became a livhas bred the ridiculous tradition-de- ing song. He would take you two fragvoutly accepted by certain editors—that ments of different epochs, select the the hero wrote it.” And Peter Buchan's best from each, and treat the matter of copy is declared to be a clumsy vamp his choice in such a style that it is hard from Burns and the original. Take, to know where its components end and again, the note on “Up in the Morning begin; so that nothing is certain about Early." D'Urfey's authorship of the his result except that it is a work of art. original ballad is not assailed, though Or he would capture a wandering old doubt is cast upon it by the existence of refrain, adjust it to his own conditions, a set in a "Collection of Old Ballads" and so renew its lyrical interest and (London, 1723), described as "said to significance that it seems to live its true have been written in the time of life for the first time on his lips." Their James." Hogg and Motherwell's “well own work supplies, for the first time, known song” is said to be a vamp from sufficient detailed evidence of the truth Burns, and Burns's chorus at least is of that scarcely original thesis. There clearly traced to its immediate source in are errors of taste in the “Centenary a hitherto unknown set in the Herd Burns,” but these and some slips in manuscript. We have remarked the accuracy apart, it stands forth as the discovery which settles the ancient con- classical edition of the poetry of Robert troversy about “Afton Water." But Burns. these are mere tastings of an inimitable


A Queer Friendship.-While visiting The wood pigeons have established in Herefordshire last week I noticed a themselves in an oak tree overhanging curious instance of a wild duck having the pond, and are evidently going to nest become on friendly terms with a pair of there. They have been seen to start wood pigeons. As I had never heard of off on a flight from the tree, and the malsuch a thing before, I venture to send lard would at once rise from the pond you an account of the circumstances, and join them, when they would fly A pair of domesticated wild ducks were round and chase one another as if in brought up on a pond last year, and dur- play. The wood pigeons frequently ing the winter the duck was accidentally visit the garden close by, and have shot by some one. The mallard re- lately been observed feeding on some mained on the pond, but seemed very green peas which are growing there. unhappy, and used to fly around repeat. The mallard walks about the garden edly, as if looking for his mate. Some with them. At the bottom of the gartwo months ago the mallard was fre- den is a stone wall about three feet quently seen to be flying around in com- 'high, with a broad, flat top, and the pany with one or two wood pigeons, and wood pigeons frequently fly from the would accompany them to the surround- garden and perch on the wall; the maling fields and walk about with them lard has been seen to do the same, wadwhile they fed. Every now and then it dling about on the wall and seeming on would take a flight with them when the best possible terms with them.-The they rose.


[blocks in formation]

.: 347




[ocr errors]


1. NEWMAN AND RENAN. By William Barry, D. D.,

National Review, II. THE AMULET. From the Italian of

Neera. Translated for The Living Age

by Mrs. Maurice Perkins. Part III. III. A PLEA FOR THE STUDY OF SONNETS. By Emily G. Kemp,

Temple Bar,
GARY By Austriacus,

Contemporary Review,
V. Nelson. By Lieut. Col. Sir George Sy-
denham Clarke,

Nineteenth Century, VI. THE FOURTH Miss GYURKOVICS.

G. B. Stuart.

VII. PARIS IN JUNE, 1871. By A. J. Butler, Cornhill Magazine,


Blackwood's Magazine, XI. JERUSALEM,.

Illustrated London News,


[ocr errors]


388 392 396 403 405 407



[blocks in formation]

TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. FOR SIX DOLLARS remitted directly to the Publishers, THE LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, cr by post-office money order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made fayable to the order of THE LIVING AGE Co.

Single copies of THE LIVING AGE. 15 cents.

[blocks in formation]


When Phyllis frowns, an ugly blight

Descends where all before was light, (Translated from French verses in the July Num

Steals o'er the sunshine of her face, ber of the “ Martians.")

And quite eclipses half the grace

Wherewith the queenly maid is dight. This happy morn I've plucked for thee Hawthorn and violets, jessamine rare

Her fairy guards in very fright Sweet buds of rose and rosemary

Unfold their wings and take to flight: To crown thy lovely golden hair.

Creatures of earth and air give place,

When Phyllis frowns.
O radiant Beauty!-have a care

Lest pride invade that heart of thin?.
The swift hours whisper thee “Beware!" Behold at large the woeful sight.

I may not-would not, if I might,-
They warn thee of thy youth's decline:

Let Nature's healing sleep efface

Unlovely lines in soft embrace: How quickly fade the summer flowers

Sweet Day, adieu! Come, gentle Night, Of life, and beauty, youth and grace;

When Phyllis frowns!
Be humble through these golden hours
While yet they find thee in thy place.




From The National Review. Chateaubriand, George Sand, Victor NEWMAN AND RENAN.1

Hugo—these are the highest modern Plutarch has written "Parallel names—but can we praise them beyond Lives;” and history, no less than the choice, and music-breathing, and drama, delights in contrast and coinci- exquisite, and endlessly cunning artist dence. But seldom, perhaps, did it exe- who, by a secret known to himself and cute in this line a stroke so remarkable none other, has combined the Celtic as when, in the month of October, 1845, and the classic eloquence, stolen the and almost on the same day of the hearts of friends and enemies, hidden month it led John Henry Newman to the charm of his persuasiveness in the door of the Catholic Church while words as simple as they are touching, Ernest Renan was issuing thence, and and given to a phrase or epithet bidding his early faith an everlasting power so strange, that once heard, it farewell. We may figure to ourselves never will be forgotten? What a spethe 9th of October as a famous and a cious miracle is here, and how slight fatal day in that year, shining for a value do we set on Hugo's chaotic Catholicism with brilliant light and splendors when this enchantment has setting in deep shadow. Who can draw taken hold of us! But such was Reup the balance of such loss and such nan. He has wrapped himself in the gain? No one, so far as I am aware, cloak of the wizard Prospero, borrowhas attempted it hitherto; yet if we ing for the nonce his staff and magic knew how the account stood, we might volume, not unsuccessfully. Now, if see our way to resolve many of the we should think of Newman as Ariel, questions which divide and torment us. a spirit most delicate, detached, and For these two men, although never filled with heavenly light, the terms of meeting in the body, acquainted our comparison would not be wanting. with each other's writings, were in fact I propose to draw out briefly some rivals and antagonists—parallel and op- of the resemblances and the contrasts posed; each had fought the battle of which have been brought home to me belief and unbelief in his own bosom; in reading the remains, and especially together they summed up the tenden- what is now published from their corcies of an age. And in variety of gifts, respondence, of these memorable perin personal romance, in the influence sons. But I shall not pretend to do which went forth from them and sub- more than illustrate a large subject. dued more than one generation, who Shall I accomplish even little as shall say that they were greatly that? I cannot tell; but if the keen equal ?

personal feeling which comes over me The most striking resemblance be- when I turn to either Newman or Retween them is their mastery of style. nan be any proof that one has entered Newman has long been recognized as into their thought, their way of looking one of the crowned and sceptred kings at the nature of things, their peculiar of English prose literature, without a and individual spirit; if to be charmed competitor save Ruskin; but as a spir- is the secret of interpretation, and yet itual teacher, a light in the world of to be critical under so mighty a spell religious development, he is by far the is some token of clear-sightedness, then greatest that has risen up during our I would take courage from the omens century. On the other

hand, which vouchsafed me. Perhaps it is imposamong illustrious French writers has sible for those who never knew the excelled Renan? I speak of the Catholic Church by experience to unpreme French achievement, again of derstand how Newman came at last to prose not of poetry; and I call to mind join it, almost in his own despite; and 1 Letters and Correspondence of J. H. Newman, without some rare

still less, I am confident, will they,

dramatic edited by Anne Mozley. London, 1891.

power, Lettres Intimes: 2842-1845, précédées par “Ma comprehend the attraction which . !t Sæur Henriette," par E. Renan. Paris, 1896. ceased not to exercise upon Renan, al

[ocr errors]



« ElőzőTovább »