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“He turneth from the bridal hall;
Then follows six stanzas of sickly description of the moon and stars—we give one stanza to justify our remark:
“The weak stars swoon: the jagged moon
It is a perilous thing for a young poet to mimic Coleridge: let us show the reader the passage, which, from the force of contrast, seems to have suggested the “swooning stars,” &c.
“Amid the jagged shadows
To return to Mr. Patmore. He says again, in the next stanza,
“Some figure stands beside the bridge; you see
The pale cheeks in the dark.”
“A plunge—a thin hand through the froth.”
“The turmoils o'er—the waves once more
It is Witchaire and not the faithless lady who has tried the Water Cure” for sorrow.
A year after the lady walks out in spring to enjoy her park; she is reconciled to her lot, and has forgotten her suicide lover. It does not appear, however, that she was ever aware of his rashness, for, alas ! there was no “ Humane Society” to drag for the body, and it doubtless was never found.
The poem concludes in the following singular manner, after describing the spring, &c.
“In this sweet time the lady walks,
The word “the,” would have amazingly strengthened this line, but young poets like ellipses.
“Her pulses throb more palpably,
She passeth on, how still the earth,
Here where of late the screechowl shrieked
And the river, through the ivy’d bridge,
The faults in the construction and execution of this poem are too apparent to need pointing out; still we hold there is a promise, and we hope Mr. Patmore will give us an opportunity of judging his performance in another and riper volume. The first book of a young poet is generally the trying of his pen—the mere tuning of his
instrument; and as he has given notes of beauty in this rehearsal, we trust, he will not lay his harp down after having strung it. The “Woodman's Daughter” is better in execution, but the subject is unpleasant: it turns upon the seduction of a poor girl by the squire's son, who had known her from a child. These themes are better left alone: poetry is meant to delight all; not to read in holes and corners. The old dramatists and poets have dealt in the disagreeable and revolting; let modern writers select those which elevate as well as stir; the painful matter is not redeemed by the manner in which it is treated; and at times there are asterisks placed which means either that the poet was not equal to the theme, and so broke down or skipped it, or else that the thing to be described being improper and indelicate, he left it to the reader's imagination.
“But Berton's thoughts were less confused;
Then follow Mr. Patmore's mysterious but very significant “asterisks.”
Her shame is soon apparent. She drowns the evidence of her
guilt and goes mad! * From this let us turn to a very pretty little bit of musical affectation.
TO A FLIRT.
“”Tis fine, I vow, to see you now,
To some, it will be finer still,
But finer much 'twill be to such,
The poem of “Lilian" is a female counterpart to “Lockesley Hall,” we shall pass it over with the quotation of a few stanzas—
“O Heaven, then can I no where
The bad taste and coarseness of this are perfect!—To take the unpleasant flavor off the readers mind we shall give him one of the last verses in the poem.
“She loved: words, all things told it: eye to eye, and palm to palm:
# # # # # # * This still and saintlike beauty, and a difference between
Our years, she remembered twenty, mine were scarcely then eighteen, Made my love the blind idolatry which it could not else have been.”
The son of an old friend of her father's comes on a visit to Lilian, the “Saintlike beauty”—He comes: his name is Winton : when they met the lover felt a horror run through him, a psesentiment of evil. He is thus described by his rival:
“He had learnt in well taught boyhood, under quick and wary eyes,
Without entering into the philosophy of this line, which is a kind of .
“A little learning is a dangerous thing,”
there is a boldness in Patmore's expression, which convinces us
there is material in him worthy of cultivation. His attractive manners attach the lover as well as Lilian. The
next stanza I quote for the critical investigation of the ladies.
“For when he uttered common things, and clear to sight,
Being ten years older than the lover (and two years older than the lady) the youthful admirer was flattered by his friendship.
The “Saintlike Lilian’” begins to love the Infidel Winton, corrupted by that mighty brothel France.
“O friend, if you had seen her, heard her speaking, felt her grace,
When serious looks seemed filling with the smiles, which in a space
The next verse is funny:-it comes in the midst of a great thunderstorm of indignation against his “Saintlike Lilian.”
“Remember states of living ended ere we left the womb,
A tremendous dash truly.
Winton and his youthful lover are riding out—they meet an acquaintance of Winton's : they stop—
“So I've heard your suit's successful? truly stuff for a romance