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a day. You are surprised at the con- that that is rather cold comfort. Even fession. You believe that had I but if there be a paradise, which I doubt, wished I could have run off and worked mind you, would I be a jot better off with my grandfather at the smithy; but than here? If I am to remain as I amyou must bear in mind that you never and that I must if there is any meaning had the pleasure of an acquaintance in the bodily resurrection—the angels in with my mother, nor had a strong heaven will stare at monstrous me with woman for your mother. Can you real. mouths as wide as the peasants at the ize the degradation for a grown up man fairs. And even supposing that matters whose mother—but no, of that I may were made more equal up above, could not speak. At one thing I am surprised, all the heavenly joys make amends for that I bore it, that I did not hang myself the abject life I have led here below ?” to the nearest tree.”

“Ah, I did not mean it that way. You Again he paused, and the little man at are young. How old are you may I his side felt powerless to utter a word ask?” of sympathy in the presence of so deep, “Thirty-two." so bitter a sorrow. It began to snow, “Why, you are three years younger and the dwarf buttoned his overcoat than I. Who can say what life has in closer round his throat.

store for you yet? In good time you “Let her rest,” said the giant at last. may find a wife, buy a smithy and fol“I have forgiven her. Besides, her last low the trade of your forefathers who years were so miserable owing to her leu happy, contented lives." frightful corpulency that her bitterest "A wife!" cried the giant with a boisfoe must have felt pity for her. Butterous laugh. "Where could I find a she whom I have not forgiven is my old decent woman willing to marry a monstep-mother Nature, and if I could but strosity like me? And if one were to be speak to her I would tell her things, found who reached up to my shoulder, things

do you think I have so little conscience He shook his brawny fists impotently that I could make her my wife, perhaps in the air.

to have a son who would reproach me "It is going to snow heavily to-night," with: How could you have the heart, my he said as he rose. “It is of no conse- father, to perpetuate your own misforquence to me even though I have a long tune? Was not life hard enough for you road before me. Such a perambulating to bear? Had you no mercy ?" tower as I am is not so easily covered This outburst reduced the little man to with snow. But you, Mr. Hinze, might silence. His stick struck the stones of find the walking somewhat difficult. the pavement more sharply, he pulled Let me see you home. If you are of my his hat further over his eyes, and gave a mind, this is not the last time we shall rasping cough as one who has to swalmeet."

low a little pill and finds it worse than "It will afford me much pleasure to be expected. During the rest of the continue the acquaintance, Mr. Mag- walk no word was exchanged between nus," returned the little man effusively, the two. Finally Mr. Hinze led the way as he tried to keep step with his com- into a narrow street, that served as coulpanion. “The story you have told me necting link to two of the main thorhas excited my deepest sympathy, and oughfares, and paused before tall yet I am happy to think you have re- house opposite which stretched the wall posed such confidence in me. There is and trees of one of the finest gardens in a similarity about our lives, and yet the town, though the night and the what a profound difference. I almost weather combined to render it, at that fear to tell you of mine, it has run in so moment, a mere blot on the landscape. much happier a channel, and again you "This is where I live," said the maniwill be arraigning Providence for its kin as he drew a key from his pocket unrighteousness and injustice. But let and turned his dark lantern upon the us hope that compensation will come at door. The key-hole was so far above last."

his head that no stretching and strain“In the hereafter? Permit me to say ing would have enabled him to make use


of it, so to suit his Liliputian dimen- said to suffer from a plethora of talent, sions a narrow little doorway had been his work is so unmistakably beyond the contrived in the lower panel, so deftly reach of talent, so far, too, beyond the that it was all but invisible to the casual reach of labor added to ambition and observer.

desire—it is so unmistakably the work I regret very much, Mr. Magnus," of genius. Readers of Mr. Meredith's said the little man, that I cannot invite novels long ago discovered in him the you in; I question whether my separate man with the key to a new garden of entrance would suit you, and it would romance which matched the best loved be hardly the thing to wake my landlord of old, to a new gallery in art whose at this hour. But if you will come this portraits might hang unabashed beside way to-morrow night I will arrange it so those of the old masters. From a little that you can get in through the large clan the readers of his prose have grown door; though, now that I think of it, my into an army; but for the readers of his room is in the mansard, and whether verse, these may even now easily be you can get up there without stooping-- numbered. Yet it is not beyond possiMy landlord is by no means a tall man, bility-though the Meredith of to-day is and he can easily touch the roof with his indisputably the novelist-that the hand. You'll not find it uncomfortable Meredith of the twentieth century may when you are seated, though, and it be the poet. “All novels in every lanwould be very good of you if you would guage,” said De Quincey, “are hurrying pay me a visit. It seems to me that we to decay”—

-a judgment not without a have much to say to each other, and I germ of truth. Posterity, at all events, know I have something to say to you in if one may venture to predict the future answer to that last bitter speech of from the present-posterity will possess yours, but this snow and wind are too a considerable body of literature of its much for me. So may I hope

own, and will be necessarily impatient, "I will come,” interrupted the big man as the present generation is impatient, in a harsh voice, “if you wish it. You of surplusage and bulk in the literature will then have to honor my dwelling-it of the past; will do honor to the works is a short hour from town and not very of justest proportions, and harbor prejucomfortable at this time of year for dices in favor of beauties apparent at spoilt city folk, but I will see that you first sight, and of excellence displayed reach the place without accident. in narrow ground. And in some sense Good night, Mr. Hinze."

poetry is excellence displayed in narrow Good night. Auf wiedersehen." ground, and may be regarded as prose

The dwarf opened the little door, cleared of the superfluous, transfigured nodded a friendly farewell, and disap- prose, the sublimated essence, its prepeared within. The other turned slowly cious sentiment close packed and emaway, the fast-falling snow and his own balmed for a long journey down the mournful thoughts for company.

stream of time. [TO BE CONTINUED.]

It cannot be said of Mr. Meredith that no writer of his century has challenged the like serious attention in the field of poetry as well as of fiction. To leave a

great name—that of Scott-out of acFrom The Church Quarterly.

count, there are other and not inconsidTHE POETRY OF GEORGE MEREDITH.'

11 Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Eartb. By What distinguishes Mr. Meredith-of George Meredith. (London, 1883.) whose works a new and complete edi- 2 Ballads and Poems of Tragic Life.

Ву tion is now appearing-what distin- George Meredith. (London, 1887). guishes Mr. Meredith among living writ- 3 A Reading of Earth. By George Meredith. ers is not so much his possession of this

(London, 1888). or that quality, the intensity and variety

4 Poems. The Empty Purse, with Odes to the

Comic Spirit, To Youth in Memory and Verses. of his sympathies, the power or pecu- By George Meredith. (London, 1892). liarity of his style; it is that in an era

5 Modern Love : a Reprint. By George Mereof talent, in an era in which we may be dith. (London, 1892).

erable rivals. But Mr. Meredith has -the outlook and the inlook of life. To achieved a strikingly uniform success, Mr. Meredith's poetry belongs therefore such a success as makes it difficult to a special, because a near and personal, place his prose above his poetry, or his interest; it supplements his prose, as has poetry above his prose, without misgiv- been said, and stands to it somewhat in ings that the verdict may be reversed the relation of interpretative criticism. by the critical court of the later genera- Not the ignoble curiosity which pries tions. One thing is indisputable and into the private life of an author, but a noteworthy: Mr. Meredith's verse bears legitimate intellectual curiosity is here a very close relationship to his prose- satisfied. One is grateful to possess the it supplements, reinforces, and inter- individual view of so ardent and so prets his prose. Essentially a dramatic brilliant a student of life, especially if, artist, he has none the less experienced as in Mr. Meredith's case, no discord is the lyrical passion for the deliverance introduced into the harmony of the enof his own soul, and in his verse has set tire impression received from his work. free his thought in his own person. It Toe predominant note in Mr. Meredith's is precisely the dramatic artist entering work as a whole, both prose and verse, through his imaginative sympathy into is its invincible fortitude, its cheerful the characters and situations of his acceptance of things as they are. He dramatis persone who presents “the belongs to that company of artists who imaginary utterances of so many imag- have looked the world in the face, and inary persons, not his,” and suppresses expressed neither disappointment nor himself the while; it is precisely the dissatisfaction therewith. In an epoch dramatic artist, we may naturally sup- in which poets are neither few nor insigpose, in whom the impulse toward self- nificant, Mr. Meredith shares with revelation exists most strongly. He is Browning the distinction that he has the wide and clear-eyed spectator of life never for the briefest season dwelt in who sees and pictures it best, but is for the melancholy shade. Here is poetry the most part content to remain un- in which prevails no sense of sadness, known behind his creations. And in no overpowering sentiment of pity for Mr. Meredith's fiction, as in Shake- the vexed human race, no Virgilian cry speare's, a persistent and impenetrable with its sense of tears in mortal things, irony veils the artist himself; the author no wistful regrets, no torturing doubts. lurks undiscovered behind the humorist. Even so interesting and so great a So was it not with Thackeray, who writer as Count Tolstoi suffers at times steps forward ever and anon to speak in a sense of hopelessness to overcome propria persona. So was it not with him, and involves us in his own despair. Scott, whose sympathies there is no mis- But Mr. Meredith's citadel of mind and taking. Shakespeare in his sonnets, the heart is impregnable, and, while he will popular theory has it, laid aside the have us see the naked truth, fortifies us mask of humor, and "with the sonnet- for its reception. In this poetry there is key unlocked his heart.” Let this be so ever scant sympathy dispensed for or not, it is certain that Mr. Meredith weak nerves and apprehensive hearts. lays aside in his verse the mask of Reaa "Earth and Man," or this “Whishumor worn in his novels. His poetry per of Sympathy”: is more essentially serious than his prose; it is grave almost throughout; a

Hawk or shrike has done this deed personal utterance, the expression of Of downy feathers; rueful sight! the individual philosophy of the man. Sweet sentimentalist, invite The reader of the novels is in contact Your bosom's power to intercede, with the dramatic artist, the spectator and student of life; the poems are the

So hard it seems that one must bleed

Because another needs will bite! outspoken utterance of the man who is

All round we see cold nature slight himself one of the dramatis persona in

The feelings of the totter-knee'd. personal relation with the facts of the world. Taken together, this prose and O it were pleasant, with you this verse constitute an autobiography To fly from this tussle of foes,

The shambles, the charnel, the wrinkle! shine in the open sky. But we of tbe To dwell in yon dribble of dew

modern world do not suffer from these On the cheek of your sovereign rose,

illusions, and the happy enthusiasts And live the young life of a twinkle."

among us who put their trust in the “Part of the test of a great literatus," progress of science seem also to suffer said Whitman, "sball be the absence in from disillusion. They are reluctantly him of the idea of the covert, the lurid, the brought to confess that while science maleficent, the devil, the grim estimates has given liberally to humanity with one inherited from the Puritans, hell, natural hand, she has taken away with the depravity, and the like. The great litera

other. While, however, the majority of tus will be known among us by his cheer

the latter-day poets have felt the abful simplicity, his adherence to natural standards, his limitless faith in God, his

sence of inspiring motives in the atmoreverence, and by the absence in him of sphere of the time, Mr. Meredith doubt, ennui, burlesque, persiflage, or any breathes the keen disillusioning air strained or temporary fashion.".

without pain and without discourage

ment, and declares it to be spiritually How luminous a saying-but how shat- bracing. The season is autumn, and tering to the pretensions of the majority the grey mist of our literati! The absence of doubt, ennui, burlesque, persiflage, or any Narrows the world to my neighbor's gate, strained or temporary fashion! Yet it is Paints me life as a wheezy crone. thus Mr. Meredith may be known I, even I, for a zenith of sun among his contemporaries as the great Cry, to fulfil me, nourish my blood; literatus; by his cheerful simplicity, his O for a day of the long light, one! adherence to natural standards, his lim. But here is the last word: itless faith in God, and by the absence in him of doubt and ennui. And this Verily now is our season of seed, though we have passed and are passing Now, in our Autumn; and Earth discerns

Them that have served her in them that through times unfavorable to literature

can read, possessed of these qualities, times Glassing, where under the surface, she whose spiritual winds are chill, and

burns, whose skies grey with the greyness of Quick at her wheel, while the fuel, decay, the sea in winter. Too surely the mod- Brightens the fire of renewal; and we? ern world is not all that it was expected Death is the word of a bovine to-day, to be; it has disappointed expectation, Know you the breast of the springing and we moderns have reaped from it a

To-be?? plentiful crop of discouragement. Since The majority of the poets seek refuge the Renaissance, that birthday of the when the psychological climate of the modern world, brought with it a sense times is unfavorable to poetry, the maof buoyancy, of widening horizons, and jority seek refuge in the limitless incalculable advances, and endless tri

of the past. Not so Mr. umphs for humanity, since then only a Meredith. He is a poet of a sceculum poet here and there has been a minister realisticum, and the only romance for of hope and promised great things in a him is the real romance of the present, day that was not very far off. These the inexhaustible romance of the future. eager spirits on the watch-towers of The poetry with the passion for the thought saw at times, or thought they past, the poetry that would hang its saw, the breaking light of some great richly wrought arabesque in gold and morning of the world-a light that was purple between us and the facts of life, about to fill the heavens and orb into has here given place to the poetry with humanity's perfect day. Wordsworth

an undivided allegiance to the present, and Coleridge had these purple visions and to truth palatable or unpalatable. in youth, but the disillusioning years Goldsmith, that tender, human-hearted dealt hardly with them. Shelley could poet, wrote of his favorite books as benot bring himself to believe that the ing those which, amusing the imaginalight that filled his own soul did not tion, contributed to ease the heart, and 1 Ballads and Poems, p. 63.

2 A Reading of Earth, pp. 2-4.


in another of his exquisite sentences de- ous devotion to reality that Mr. Mere. fined the office of the poet-sage-"Inno- dith's poetry achieves a new poetic cently to amuse the imagination in this triumph. dream of life is wisdom.” The wisdom “I am certain," said Keats of his own of Mr. Meredith's, poetry is made of “Lamia,” “I am certain that there is sterner stuff. If we are to be cradled in that sort of fire in it which must take comfortable philosophies, transcen- hold of people in some way-give them dental or mystical, lapped in soft either pleasant or unpleasant sensaLydian airs, or borne in a car of song by tion.” The poetry of Mr. Meredith, too, the instinct of sweet music driven, we is not negligible; it has that sort of fire must read poetry other than this. And in it which takes hold of one, and gives Mr. Meredith declines, too, the sad task him either a pleasant or unpleasant in which Matthew Arnold engaged, the sensation. This is the verse that will task of "sweeping up the dead leaves not suffer a reader to pass by in peace, fallen from the dying tree of faith.” and, if it makes not music for him, he

will, with Hotspur, prefer to hear the These are our sensual dreams;

dry wheel grate on the axle-tree. Of the yearning to touch, to feel The dark Impalpable sure

Square along the couch, and stark And have the Unveiled appear:1

Like the sea-rejected thing Poetry such as this, devoid of the senti- Sea-sucked white, behold their king ment of regret, devoid of that tender

Attila, my Attila! melancholy so characteristic of Mat

Aim, their lord of day and night,

White, and lifting up his blood thew Arnold; almost devoid, too, of the

Dumb for vengeance. Name us that, sentiment of pathos; poetry which

Huddled in the corner dark, seems to shun the elegiac sentiment in Humped and grinning like a cat, which so much of the world's poetry is Teeth for lips! 'Tis she! She stares steeped, and by which it makes its ap- Glittering through her bristled hairs. peal; poetry like this strikes a strange Rend her! Pierce her to the hilt!3 and original note. The chords to which Mr. Meredith trusts for his effects are

Discriminating readers of Mr. Mere

dith's novels have no doubt felt the chords seldom heard upon the lyre; his is a poetry of almost exclusively intel- presence of the poet even in his garlectual interest—the music from an iron

ment of prose, but probably few suspect string. It is not to be expected that this

that the poet preceded the novelist. poetry should give us the full sense of

His first public appearance was with a vitality as Chaucer gives it, of the mere

volume, published in 1851, simply en

titled “Poems,” and dedicated to his joy of living, or charm us to dreamful

father-in-law, Thomas Love Peacock. ease as Spenser charms.

It was not until some years later that He who has looked upon Earth he took the field with a novel, “The Deeper than flower and fruit

Shaving of Shagpat.” The second volLoses some hue of his mirth.”

ume of poems appeared in 1864 (three But poesy has an infancy, an adoles- years after “Richard Feverel”), “Modimmortality Protean. Mr.

ern Love and Poems of the English Meredith's is not the buoyant spirit of Roadside, with Poems and Ballads”; Chaucer, but the virtue of his poetry the third, “Poems and Lyrics of the Joy resides none the less in its astonishing of Earth,” in 1883; the fourth, "Ballads vitality and in the power to communi- and Poems of Tragic Life,” in 1887; the cate that vitality. To the freshness and fifth, “A Reading of Earth,” in 1888; the buoyancy it possesses is added a flavor sixth, “The Empty Purse and Other of intellectual bitter that springs from Poems,” in 1892. Of these the first volits devotion to reality, and it is by rea

ume is now a rare treasure, more espeson of its rarely mingled elements, its cially as the author has not cared to refreshness and buoyancy, and its strenu- print his “Juvenilia,” and the seconil

contains, besides many verses never re1 A Reading of Earth, p. 89. 2 Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth, p. 30. 3 Ballads and Poems of Tragic Life. p. 93.



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