· F.S.A., entitled “Recollections of Charles Dickens and his literary friends," with lantern illustrations.

II. November 1. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. The President gave a short account of the celebration held in Oxford, of the completion of the third volume of Dr. Murray's Historical English Dictionary. Paper by Mr. R. H. Case, B.A., entitled “ The Colloquies of Erasmus."

III. November 15. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Mr. Josiah Marples “On some Autographs,” with lantern illustrations. An interesting collection of autograph letters was exhibited on the table.

IV. November 29. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Mr. R. C. Johnson, F.R.A.S., entitled “The Leonids, or November Meteors.”

V. December 13. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Rev. John Sephton, M.A., entitled “What the Sagas tell us of Greenland.”

VI. January 3, 1898. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Mr. John Lea, B.A., entitled “The Passing of Arthur; a Meditation in Social Ideals.”

VII. January 17. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Dr. J. Murray Moore, F.R.G.S., entitled “Studies of Tennyson.-II. Tennyson as a National Poet.”

VIII. January 31. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Mr. Alfred W. Newton, M.A., entitled “The Adversus-Gentes of Arnobius ; & Study in Christian Apologetics."

IX. February 14. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Dr. Oliver Lodge, D.Sc., LL.D, F.R.S., entitled “Electric Oscillations and their Application to Space Telegraphy." Illustrated with numerous experiments.

X. February 28. Mr. Josiah Marples, Vice-President, in the chair. Paper by Mr. R. F. Green, entitled “Fallacies ; with some modern instances.”

XI. March 14. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Paper by Rev. E. A. Wesley, M.A., entitled “The Evolution of the Modern Novel.”

XII. March 28. The President, Dr. R. J. Lloyd, in the chair. Mr. R. C. Johnson read a communication from Mr. Robert A. English, a Corresponding Member of the Society, on his observations of the total eclipse of the Sun in India. Paper by Rev. L. de Beaumont Klein, D.Sc., F.L.S., entitled “Ravenna and its Monuments," with lantern illustrations.

XIII. April 18. Mr. R. C. Johnson, F.R.A.S., VicePresident, in the chair. The election of President for the ensuing session took place, when Dr. R. J. Lloyd was unanimously re-elected. Paper by Rev. E. N. Hoare, M.A., entitled “Truth entangled – Truth triumphant (as illustrated in Robert Browning's Poem, The Ring and the Book)."


Mr. Alfred P. Thomas, LL.D., Mr. J. Hampden Jackson, Mr. T. L. Dodds, J.P., Mr. T. Smythe Hughes, Mr. Roland A. Shelley, Miss M. Bonner, Mr. A. Noel Newling, Prof. John MacCunn, M.A., LL.D., Mr. Alfred W. Gregory, Mr. E. J. Magee, Mrs. Solomon, Mr. K. W. Morrsarrat, M.B., F.R.C.8., Mr. C. P. G. Patterson.

Numbers present at the Annual and the thirteen Ordinary Meetings, 87, 220, 76, 114, 82, 82, 76, 74, 54, 161, 59, 79, 154, 89.

Average attendance, 100.5.


It is no exaggeration to say that the past ten years have swept away nearly all those whom, ten years ago, we regarded as our greatest poets. Swinburne remains, but Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Lowell, Whittier, William Morris, Wendell Holmes, with many lesser names, no longer sing for us; they are inscribed with the immortals. Yet this enormous loss has not been an entire disadvantage. Nature everywhere progresses by a mixed process of loss and reparation : and already in this department we may discern a new freedom and force of growth, which is undoubtedly due in some measure to the losses which we have recently sustained. Under the shadow of great names like these, strong both in native worth and in the prescriptive reverence of a whole generation, it seemed, for a long time, as though our new writers were all diffident either of their powers, or of their mission ; and few of them ever rose beyond the apologetic status of the minor poet. But now our younger poets speak with a new vigour and a new authority, and already we may discern the rise of a new constellation, which will rule the dawning of the twentieth century, as that other one has ruled the evening of the nineteenth. It were premature to-day to attempt to constitute this new group, even approximately ; but of some of its members we are already certain, and no one is more sure of an honourable place among them than our sometime townsman, Mr. William Watson.

The impression, current in this city, that Mr. Watson

is a native of Liverpool, is ill-founded. He was in reality born at Burley-in-Wharfedale, on the 2nd August, 1858, and his full name is John William Watson, though the John has long been dropt. He is therefore now a man in his fortieth year. A good and recent portrait of him is prefixed to the current edition of the Father of the Forest. Of the events of Mr. Watson's career very little shall here be said. Mr. Watson, rightly revolted by the ruthless post-mortem examinations which have been held upon the lives of Shelley and of Keats, has advanced the view that it is a sheer impertinence to enquire farther into the private lives of poets than the poets themselves would have been willing to allow. In the case of dead poets, and especially in that of poets long dead, this view will hardly stand the test of argument. Everyone will admit that a line should be drawn somewhere, but very few will think that Mr. Watson has drawn it in the right place. But we are bound to respect the feelings of the living, even when we think them somewhat overstrained; and since I have understood Mr. Watson's very strong feeling on this point, 1 have not striven to give any particulars of his life which do not already stand prominently recorded elsewhere.

Mr. Watson began early as a poet. One learns this à priori in reading his later poems. No late beginner ever attained to the mastery of form which some of these display. The student knows well that this art, so invisible even to most of those who enjoy it, has cost the labour of a life-time. For labour of this kind can never be done afterwards as it is done in youth, when the ear is still most sensitive, the mind most constructive of acceptable new forms, and the spirit is not yet labouring with thoughts too big and too urgent to wait long upon merely formal considerations.

The earliest recorded poem of Mr. Watson was written

about the age of fifteen; but it was first given to the world only four years ago, by the Daily Chronicle, in an article entitled, “William Watson's Beginnings.” It is well worth quoting for several reasons : its promise is distinctly great; its third couplet is finely phrased ; it is everywhere melodious; it shews how early was the poet's liking for the sonnet; it fails where he very seldom has failed since,-in climax; and it displays the essentially Puritan matrix of his thought, already impregnated with the spirit of agnostic dubiety, and bearing fruit in a sublimated nature-worship.

O ye that seek, but cannot, will not, find

The great I Am of universal things,-
Who, standing face to face with Him, are blind,

Nor hear His voice for your own murmurings,-
Go to the mountains and the choral woods,

Or the upheavèd wilderness of sea,
Or earth's lone wilds and pathless solitudes

If ye would find the Mighty Mystery!
'Tis there, methinks, is God-where'er the breeze

Of Heav'n wafts incense over wood and field,

There is the Great Invisible revealed,
The soul of Nature's mystic harmonies ;-
Great Nature's self, Ruler of earth and sky,
The one Embodiment of Deity.

The writer in the Chronicle says that Mr. Watson subsequently recast this poem into the sonnet entitled “God-seeking.” But “recast” is here decidedly the wrong word; it was in fact re-born, for the two poems have nothing but the spirit in common; they do not possess one single identical phrase.

On Saturday, 21st October, 1876, there appeared in Liverpool the first number of a new weekly called the Argus. It was edited at first by Mr. J. Ashcroft Noble, and afterwards by Mr. J. Hampden Jackson, and during

« ElőzőTovább »