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the extreme of homogeneity and words, a man is good when he is specification in one, and have good. This may appear to a reader attained a perfect self-realization." not initiated into the mysteries of
Even supposing this to be in- German transcendental philosophy telligible, it is scarcely consistent as rather a lame and impotent conwith what we are afterwards told. clusion ; but Mr. Bradley, who is, Here the injunction is, of course, a much better judge, specified in yourself, but not speci- regards it with no small comfied by anything foreign to yourself.” placency, Elsewhere, moral good is said to Though Mr. Bradley's work canbe “the realization of the good will not be said to have settled any which is superior to us." The myste- great question in moral philosophy, rious process of realizing this good. or even to be a very valuable conwill is thus explained :
tribution to philosophical discus.
sion, it is full of suggestive “The good will, then, is the bare
thought and racy writing-hence, form of the will, and this is the end.
it is well worth the attention of This is what I have to realize, and
those who are interested in such realize in myself. But I am not a mere form ; I have an empirical'
inquiries. The author's definitions nature, a series of particular states of
of pleasure as “self-realizedness," the 'this me,' a mass of desires, aver- and pain as “the negatedness of sions, inclinations, passions, pleasures, self,” are curiosities both of literaand pains, what we may call a sensuous ture and philosophy. self. It is in this self that all content, all matter, all possible filling of the form must be sought; for all matter must come from experience,' must be given in and through the perception of the outer
Fanious Women and Heroes. A world or of the series of my own in- poem. Third and cheap edition. ternal states, and is in either case The Poetry of Creation. Fourth sensuous, and the opposite of the in- and cheap edition. By N. Michell. sensible form.
W. Tegg and Co. 1876.– That “The empirical' self, the this me,
Mr. Michell has achieved a certain is, no less than the self which is formal will, an element of the moral subject.
amount of success as a writer of These elements are antithetical the one
verse, is abundantly proved by the to the other; and hence the realization
number of editions his “poetical of the form is possible only through an
works" have reached. But success antagonism, an opposition which has in the sense of having produced to be overcome. It is this conflict and
poetry of a superior order is more this victory in which the essence of than we can honestly concede to morality lies. Morality is the activity him. Such facility in versification of the formal self forcing the sensuous self, and here first can we attach a
as can be acquired by careful study meaning to the words 'ought' and
and practice he may be allowed to “duty.'
His verse is generally
correct in metre, accent, and rhyme, What constitutes the goodness of flowing with a gentle smoothness, " the good will which is superior if not much sweetness. He is to ourselves" is not stated. All we well acquainted with all the usual are told is, that “the good is the artifices employed for poetical good will,” and that a man ornament and effect. But the good when he is moral, and he is highest art of concealing art he moral when his actions are con. does not possess.
His verse is formed to, and embody a good will, artificial rather than artistic, more or when his will is good;" in other rhetorical than poetical, and
deficient in depth of feeling, power
If Cæsar cross thy tide, what woe, of imagination, freshness of thought,
what ill, and force of expression. We have
May burst on men! what blood the
sword must spill! all the machinery of poetry without its moving power, the body without the soul. Walking on stilts is a “The glow-worm twinkles on the banks poor substitute for flying, and plain honest prose is better than prosy
The lily bends her virgin head in verse. Mediocrity and dulness in
sleep: professed poetry are unpardonable
A holy silence wraps the beauteous
scene, sins, of which, unless we are very Save where from stone to stone the much mistaken, Mr. Michell is by
wavelets creep: no means guiltless. It is not pos- They raise their tiny voice as if in sible to read many pages of his prayer, verse without a sense of weariness
To him who treads the shore in and sleepy languor.
musings deep; “Famous Women and Heroes”
They seem to say, 'Thy fellow mortals is simply a series of passages in
Happier the task to bid them smile history put into verse spun out to
then weep; a tedious length, and largely diluted Years, like my waves of crystal, swiftly with milk-and-water moralising. flow, These pictures of the past are
Then grudge not man his fleeting span neither vividly conceived nor effec
below.' tively pourtrayed. The attention is dissipated and wearied by trivial The apostrophe to the Rubicon details which are matters of course. in the first stanza is flat and tedi. Commonplace exaggeration and ous, the descriptive part being just strained metaphor serve only to as suitable for any other small reveal poverty of invention and river, and the reflective portion feebleness of expression. These feebly expressed. The next stanza remarks are especially applicable to
worse. This is the firsi the account of the battle of Water- time we ever heard of the glowloo, which is spread out thin over worm twinkling. We always had no less than six pages. In the the idea, both from the report of account of Cæsar, his crossing the others and our own observation, Rubicon naturally occupies a pro
that it glowed with a steady, unminent place. From this scene we changing light. Nothing can be in extract two stunzas.
worse taste than to talk about the wavelets raising their tiny voice in
prayer, unless it be the prayer it“No land may hold in peace two ruling
self they are supposed to utter
as if Cæsar needed them to teach men ; Ambition's rivals needs must foemen him that it is a happier task to
smile than weep, Pompey would sway the world; is
1 and that years flow swiftly like a Cæsar then
stream. If these talking wavelets Too frail to grasp such lofty destiny ?
could find nothing better than such Thou Rubicon! small, humble, gentle
twaddle as this to say, they might stream, Kissing the wild flowers trembling
as well have held their tongues. on thy shore, JOHAM196
In "The Poetry of Creation" Pure as the sky, a silver-gliding dream,
Mr. Michell ventures on a higher Where peace and love should rest theme, and shrinks not from treadfor evermore
ing on the same ground as Milton.
and provoking comparison with We love thee, and would scarce desire him. The subject is so completely
To see thy languid, placid eye beyond the range of human knows. More brightly lit with golden fire; ledge, that common sense, to say
Some memory in thy breast doth lie,
Silently, slowly, feeding there; nothing of higher considerations,
And thou must move sedate and fair, would seem to dictate silence as
And ofttimes pine and fade away, the only proper course. Certain it
With shrinking orb and lessening ray, is, that even Milton, with all his Through the long cycle of thy years, true, poetical insight, was betrayed A thing of beauty, love, and tears." into abundant absurdity and inpiety through going beyond what is written. And what right has
Mr. Michell's idea of the moon's Mr. Michell to suppose he can
being clad in white vestments to succeed where Milton failed? The
show its stricken heart is decidedly confident coolness with which he original, so far as we know. But presumes to describe the delibera- that it has any poetic truth or tions and reveal the purposes of the
beauty in it, is more than we will Divine mind is revolting to a rightly undertake to say. . Why the moon disposed, thoughtful person. Of the
should be represented as à palevarious objects in creation which
faced young lady, wasting away Mr. Michell undertakes to describe with grief at heart, and a long tale we will select the moon, which he upon her mind which she refuses thus apostrophises :
to tell anybody, is more than we can understand.
Mr. Michell goes much too far in personifying and
apostrophising all sorts of objects “ Thou moon, sweet Ministress of
and abstract ideas on all sorts of ocgood! Soothing, while hallowing solitude,
casions. His similes and metaphors Now rising with new radiance crowned, often egregiously unnatural To walk for ever yon profound,
and jumbled together, and his What unborn millions will on thee exaggeration is beyond all reason. Look from the waste, the pathless sea, The following few lines describing To guide them on their darkening the nightingale's singing in Eden way,
will suffice for illustration:
"Now sinking low, the feeble trill brow, And tenderest dreams in mildest eyes,
Breathes like the gushings of a rill,
A thin-drawn thread of silvery sound, Sorrow to thee will love to bow.
That pulses soft, and faints around, Thy step so still along the blue, Thy beams, if smiles, seem tear-drops
Unutterably sweet the lay,
Each leaf upon the aspen spray too,
Ceases its trembling, as to listen; Shed softly down but coldly bright,
Gemm'd Night her finger lifteth up, Making more mournful
mourning And, as she drinks the nectar'd cup Night:
Of low rich sounds, her pale eyes Yes, in white vestments thou art clad, To show thy stricken heart is sad,
glisten.” Like grieving vestals, who below, When death lays some young sister If poetry consisted of nothing
low, Steal on and weep in weeds of snow,
more than metaphor, however overO Moon! thy tale thou wilt not tell,
strained and confused, and exagBut in thy heart there seems to dwell
geration, however irrational, this A sorrow that makes pale thy cheek, passage might fairly be considered And yet thou look'st so blandly meck, highly poetical; but if good sense
and good taste are essentials of have a high ideal in his own mind poetry, it must be denied the title of at which to aim. This requisite anything more than rhetorical if Mr. Locker seems to possess, if not nonsensical verse.
we may judge from what he says as to the kind of verse he has attempted in this volume:
‘Light lyrical verse should be short, London Lyrics. By F. Locker.
elegant, refined, and fanciful, not selA new edition, enlarged and finally dom distinguished by chastened sentirevised. H. S. King and Co.-It ment, and often playful, and it should was by his “London Lyrics," if have one uniform and simple design.
are not mistaken, that Mr. The tone should not be pitched high, Buchanan, the plaintiff in the re
and the language should be idiomatic, cent literary libel case, won his
the rhythm crisp and sparkling, the
rhyme frequent and never forced, first laurels as an author. Had he
while the entire poem should be always written with the discretion marked by tasteful moderation, high and moderation, as well as poetic finish, and completeness ; for however insight, he there displayed, society trivial the subject matter may be, indeed might have been spared the sorry rather in proportion to its triviality, exhibition which reflected so little
subordination to the rules of composihonour on all persons concerned
tion, and perfection of execution, should in it. Mr. Locker's “London
be strictly enforced. Each piece canLyrics " are of a lighter cast, being characteristics, but the qualities of
not be expected to exhibit all these for the most part in a jocular vein, brevity and buoyancy are essential. and written in a free and easy It should also have the air of being manner, partaking more of the spontaneous; indeed, to write it well is character of occasional jeux d'esprit
a difficult accomplishment, and no one than the higher class of lyrics; they has fully succeeded in it without posare, in fact, rather epigrams than
sessing a certain gift of irony, which is lyrics. Though many of them re
not only a rarer quality than humour,
or even wit, but is altogether less comlate to London life, there are quite monly met with than is sometimes as many, if not more, which were
imagined. The poem may be tinctured neither written in London nor have with a well-bred pbilosophy, it may be any obvious connection with Lon. gay and gallant, it may be playfully don. Most of them are merely
malicious or tenderly ironical, it may playful effusions, with a sparkle of display lively banter, and it may be wit and a pleasant favour of satirically facetious, it may even, conhumour. There is no pretension sidering it as a mere work of art, be to recondite or original thought;
pagan in its philosophy or trifling in
its tone, but it must never be ponderous but if the sentiment be familiar and
or commonplace. It is needless to say bordering on commonplace, it is at that good sense will be found to underleast always healthy and agreeable. lie all the best poetry of whatever Good sense and good feeling are
kind." everywhere present, while there is not the slightest trace of sickly Of course there is all the differ: sentimentalism. The writer takes ence in the world between knowing a cheerful and kindly view of men how a thing should be done, and and things, and is altogether a being able to do it. Probably Mr. merry but no less wise companion. Locker himself would hardly main
The first requisite of a good tain that he has in every case come work of art is that the artist should up to his own standard. But it
may safely be said he has never able. Sometimes he employs it fallen very far below it, and soine- to denote a particular school of times approached it pretty nearly. philosophy, and speaks of Kant as Mr. Locker can be pensive and the first transcendentalist. At other sometimes grave as well as gay.
times he makes it synonymous with Some readers may prefer his occa- idealism, and ascribes it to Plato. sional touches of pathos and tender Then, again, he makes it equivafamily affection to his brightest lent to mysticism in religiou, as flashes of merry wit. The beauty exhibited by Swedenborg, George of his sentiment is its truth. On Fox - the founder of the Society of the whole Mr. Locker is to be con- Friends and others. But the gratulated on having produced a special signification of the term as volume which, though bristling the subject of his present work is with point, wounds no one, and of a local and personal character. when once taken up is reluctantly Transcendentalism here denotes laid aside.
rather a mood than a system of thought, an intellectual movement derived from Germany and France some forty years ago, and shared by
a small clique of thoughtful persons, Transcendentalism in New Eng. mostly Unitarians, at Boston and in land. A history. By O. B. Froth- the neighbourhood, among whom ingham. London: Trübner & Co. Emerson, Theodore Parker, and 1876.-From the above title it may
Margaret Fuller occupied prominent be gathered that the present work positions. is more suited for American than English readers. It is a question
“New England furnished the only whether it will attract or interest
plut of ground on the planet, where the even American readers to any great transcendental philosophy had a chance extent. Transcendentalism is a long, to show what it was and what it prohigh-sounding word, not very easy posed. The forms of life there were, in a to bring within the range of popular measure, plastic. There were no imcomprehension. To most minds movable prejudices, no fixed and un. it is either utterly unintelligible, alterable traditions. Laws and usages
were fluent, malleable at all events. or suggestive of cloudy mysticism The sentiment of individual freedom and unpractical dreaming, than
was active; the truth was practically which nothing could be more at acknowledged, that it takes all sorts of variance with the sort of character people to make a world, and the many ascribed to the cute Yankee. It is ipinds of the many men were respected. hard to imagine that many of that
No orders of men, no aristocracies of pre-eminently practical, hard, mat
intellect, no privileged classes of
thought were established. ier-of-fact people will feel curiosity
world supplied such literature as there enough even to look into a book
- in science, law, philosophy, on such a subject, much less spend ethics, theology: but an astonishing any length of time over its pages. intellectual activity seized upon it.
There is the less reason for them dealt with it in genuine democratic to do this, that the subject, besides fashion, classified it, accepted it, disbeing uninviting in itself, is now missed it, paying no undue regard to obsolete. The transcendentalism
its foreign reputation. Experiments in here described is a thing of the
thought and life, of even audacious
description, were made, not in defiance past, according to the author's own
of precedent-for precedent was hardly confession. Mr. Frothingham's respected enough to be defied—but in use of the term is vague and vari. innocent unconsciousness of precedent.