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LA BELLA DONNA DELLA MIA MENTE
My limbs are wasted with a flame,
My feet are sore with traveling, For calling on my Lady's name
My lips have now forgot to sing.
O Linnet in the wild-rose brake
Strain for my Love thy melody,
My gentle Lady passeth by.
She is too fair for any man
To see or hold his heart's delight, Fairer than Queen or courtezan
Or moon-lit water in the night.
Her hair is bound with myrtle leaves,
(Green leaves upon her golden hair!) Green grasses through the yellow sheaves
Of autumn corn are not more fair.
Her little lips, more made to kiss
Than to cry bitterly for pain, Are tremulous as brook-water is,
Or roses after evening rain.
Her neck is like white melilote
Flushing for pleasure of the sun, The throbbing of the linnet's throat
Is not so sweet to look upon.
As a pomegranate, cut in twain,
White-seeded, is her crimson mouth, Her cheeks are as the fading stain
Where the peach reddens to the south.
O twining hands! O delicate
White body made for love and pain!
O House of love! O desolate
Pale flower beaten by the rain!
ILKINSON, WILLIAM CLEAVER, an Amer
ican essayist and critic; born at Westford,
Vt., October 19, 1833. He was graduated from the University of Vermont in 1857, and at the Rochester, N. Y., Theological School in 1859, when he entered the Baptist ministry. In 1872 he became Professor of Homiletics in the theological department of Rochester University. His published volumes are, besides Greek and Latin text-books, The Dance of Modern Society (1869); A Free Lance in the Field of Life and Letters (1874), containing admirable critiques on George Eliot, Bryant, Erasmus, etc., and trenchant reviews of Lowell's prose and poetry; Webster: an Ode (1882); Edwin Arnold as Poetiser and Paganiser (1885); The Baptist Principle, an examination of The Light of Asia (1886); The Epic of Saul (1891); The Epic of Paul (1898); and The Epic of Moses (1903), and several text-books on Greek, Latin, and German literature for the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.
THE BUSINESS OF POETRY.
Mr. Longfellow comes nearest, among our American literary men, to being exclusively a poet. But Mr. Longfellow gave twenty years of his prime to the duties of an arduous college professorship, and we have good testimony that he did not shirk those duties as is the privilege of genius and of fame. The fact remains, that in the United States division of labor has not yet reached the point of allowing our poets to devote themselves exclusively to poetry. The newness of our civilization continues to exact of us all a roundabout savoir faire hostile to the highest perfection of those exclusive and meditative habits which alone enable the poet to secrete, in fruitful tranquillity, the precious substance of his verse, and silently and slowly crystallize it into supreme and ideal forms. We remember, some years ago, meeting a solid English tradesman, as he looked, driving his solid English horse, before a two-wheeled wagon, at a ringing trot around and down a sloping curve of the solid English road, on the Isle of Wight, in the neighborhood of Mr. Tennyson's residence. The ruddy roast beef of the man's complexion, his brown-stout corpulence, and the perfect worldliness of his whole appearance, whimsically suggested Mr. Tennyson's poetry to us under the circumstances. We could not resist the temptation to stop him, and enjoy the sensation of inquiring the way to Mr. Tennyson's house of such a man. “If, now, you could tell me his business?” responded he. Tennyson's business! We were well-nigh dumfounded. We came near being in the case of Mr. John Smith, that absent-minded man who could not recall his own name on challenge at the post-office window. We recovered our presence of mind, however, and told our friend he “made verses,” we believed. Ah, yes; the Queen's poet - Tennyson - that's the name. Yes; he makes verses — you're right — that's his business; and very clever at it he is, too, they say.” This was the Old World. It could hardly have been the New.
And yet poetry, certainly as much as any other vocation of genius, is jealous of a divided devotion. Nothing short of the whole man, for his whole life, will satisfy her extortionate claim. It will not even do, generally, for the poet to indulge himself in coquetting with prose. The “poet's garland and singing-robes" are not an investiture to be lightly donned and doffed at will. To wear them most gracefully one must wear them habitually.
The difference between poetry and prose is an essential difference. It can harily be defineri, ut it may be
illustrated. Poetry differs from prose, in part, as running differs from walking. There is motion in both running and walking; but in running the motion is continuous, while in walking the motion is a series of advances, separated by intervals, less or more appreciable, of rest. Poetry runs prose walks. Again, poetry differs from prose as singing differs from talking. The difference between singing and talking is not that singing is musical and talking noť musical. The difference is that singing is musical in one way, and talking musical, if musical, in another. Poetry sings — prose talks. Each has a rhythm; but the rhythm of each is its own.
But there is yet a finer distinction between poetry and prose than has thus been illustrated — a finer one, we mean, this side of the finest one of all, which is far too fine to be expressed in any “matter-moulded forms of speech.” There is a certain curiously subtle idiom of expression belonging to poetry, and another equally subtle idiom of expression belonging to prose. These two idioms of expression are as palpably distinct from each other as are the several idioms of different languages. They defy definition; they elude analysis. They do not depend on choice of words, they do not depend on collocation of words, although they depend partly on both these things. A man whose talent was that of prose-writer might make faultless verse from a vocabulary chosen out of the purest poetry of the language, and there should not be one poetical line in his work from beginning to end. On the other hand, there is hardly an intractable word in the language that a true poeť could not weave into his verse without harm to the poetic effect. In the main, the diction of a true poet and the diction of a good prose writer will be identical. The order of the poet will not vary violently from the order of the prose-writer. Their subject may be the same, and even the mode of conception, and the figures of speech. All these points of coincidence between poetry and prose may exist; they generally do exist, and, notwithstanding them all, the inviolate idiom of poetic expression and the inviolate idiom of prose expression remain uninterchangeably distinct.- A Free Lance.
ILLARD, EMMA Hart, an American edu
cator, historian and poet; born at New Ber
lin, Conn., February 23, 1787; died at Troy, N. Y., April 15, 1870. She was educated in the Academy in Hartford, Conn., and at sixteen began to teach. She was principal of various schools in Vermont and New York until 1821, at which time she founded the Troy Female Seminary. In 1809, while in charge of a school in Middlebury, she was married to Dr. John Willard, United States Marshal for Vermont. She wrote many popular school books and lectured extensively on questions of educational interest. She was an active advocate of the improved education of women, and succeeded in securing grants from the State of New York for the furtherance of her aims; the city of Troy also gave her a building in which to found a girls' school. She was the author of Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep, and much other verse. Among her educational works are History of the United States (1828); Universal History in Perspective (1837); Chronographer of English History (1845), and Astronomography, or Astronomical Geography. In 1825 her husband died, and in 1838 she was married to Dr. Christopher C. Yates, from whom she was divorced in 1843. In 1846 she made an 8.000-mile tour of the West and South, lecturing to teachers. Mrs. Willard was the pioneer in the movement in
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