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spirit-may repine for a week or two, but when once she is married to the baron, she will settle down contentedly enough."

"You may

"You are killing her," exclaimed St. John, excitedly. not see it, but I tell you true. The painful suspense and agitation she has been exposed to lately, if continued, would kill her."

"Then if such be your opinion, Mr. St. John," returned the signor, sarcastically, "you should put an end to it by withdrawing yourself.” "I will not withdraw; I will not give up Ådeline. I am more worthy of her than he is."

"You have been highly reprehensible throughout the affair. You knew that Adeline was promised to another, and it was your duty to fly, or at least absent yourself from her, when you found an attachment was arising."

"I don't know that I was awake to it in time. But if I had been, most likely I should not have flown. Had I been needy, as that man called me, or one whose rank was inferior to hers, then my duty would have been plain; but the heir to Castle-Wafer has no need to fly like a


"Not on that score-not on that score. Had Adeline been but a peasant and engaged to another, you should have respected that engagement, and left her free."

"I did not set myself out to gain her love. I assure you, M. de Castella, that the passion which grew up between us was unsought on either side. It was the result of companionship, of similar tastes and sympathies; and it was firmly seated, I am convinced, in both our hearts, before I ever uttered a word, or gave way to an action that could be construed into a wooing one. And you will forgive me for reminding you, that had Adeline regarded M. de la Chasse with the feelings essential to render a marriage with him happy, she would have remained indifferent to me."

"Our conference is at an end," observed M. de Castella, rising," and I beg to state that I can never suffer it to be renewed. Finally, I feel obliged, flattered, by the honour you would have done Adeline, but I have no alternative but to decline it."

66 'You have an alternative, M. de Castella."

"I have none. I have none, on my honour. Will you be the bearer of my despatch to Castle-Wafer ?"

"No. I shall remain where I am for the present."

"I cannot pretend to control your movements, Mr. St. John, but it will be well that you absent yourself until after my daughter's marriage. Were you to come in contact with the baron, much unpleasantness might


"He is not here," interrupted Mr. St. John, "therefore the question cannot arise."

"I have no wish that our friendship should be interrupted," returned M. de Castella, "for I have always enjoyed your society much. If you will but be reasonable, and drop all recollection of this unpleasant


Mr. St. John made no reply. As he left the cabinet, he nearly ran over Father Marc, who seemed to be leaning against the door. Could the priest have been listening? The thought occurred to Mr. St. John.




HERE, if not a full-fledged poet, is at least no mere unfledged poetaster. If not already great in performance, the poetry of Owen Meredith is great in promise. Young he evidently is, and his verses are not exempt from the liabilities of youth: but that is a kind of fault which every day will, or ought to, mend; and if the present minstrel's strains show in no scant measure the unripeness of youth, its lack of restraint, of discipline, of chastened judgment, so do they its energy, its glow, the large hope which belongs to life's dawn, the rich fancy which to itself a kingdom is. He is thoughtful, and gives to his thoughts a serious, earnest expression; a tender pathos frequently marks his lines, of ample power to soften and subdue; vigour is not wanting, on occasion, even of a dramatic order; he is a close and loving student of Nature and her works, her landscapes, her sea-changes, her skyey influences; and he has an ear for the music of rhythm and metrical variations, something over-fond perhaps of the free and adventurous in this line of things.

"Clytemnestra" may be pronounced a dashingly "grand junction" of the Classical and the Romantic in tragic art. In much keeping pretty close to Eschylus, it is suffused with the glow and colouring of postShakspearian times. It has choruses, dialogues, and phrases that in form may be thought almost too literally Grecian, but in spirit they belong to an age which has been sung to by Keats and Shelley, Tennyson and the Brownings. "Clytemnestra" is incomparably more spirited, powerful, and impressive an imitation of the old Attic type-more free in movement, striking in situation, and rich in composition-than we remember to have seen this many a day in any production of the kind. Clytemnestra herself, a gorgeous tragedy queen, in sceptred pall comes sweeping by, majestic, strong of will, and hot of passion;-the Clytemnestra of Eschylus, it has been said by Schlegel, could not with propriety have been portrayed as a frail seduced woman, but must appear with the features of the heroic age, so rife with bloody catastrophes, in which all passions were vehement, and men, both the good and the bad, surpassed the ordinary standard of later and un-heroic ages and after this Eschylean type is moulded this new impersonation of the royal regicide. Ægisthus, beside her, is a very foil to set off her energies to the utmost-a puny sinner, whose ambitions, purposes, resolves, passions, beside hers,

Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine. He cringes before her as she wooes him, aghast at her power over his fluttering, abject soul, and sees in her a godlike fiend, in whose eyes heaven and hell seem meeting, and who owns and plies a spell to sway the inmost courses of his soul. She can reproach the gods for fashioning

Clytemnestra, The Earl's Return, The Artist, and other Poems. By Owen Meredith. London: Chapman and Hall. 1855.

her in woman's soft mould, giving her those lengths of silky hair, those
hands too delicately dimpled, and those arms too white, too weak, the
while they left the man's heart in her, to mar their masterpiece—
That I should perish,

Who else had won renown among my peers,
A man, with men-perchance a god with you,
Had you but better sex'd me, you blind Gods!

Her pathetic recal of the days when Iphigenia nestled in her bosom, comes in with similar effect to Lady Macbeth's* remembrance of her father, so like the sleeping Duncan. The description of the sacrifice in Aulis by the Chorus is vivid and forcible, though it reads like an expansion of the terse stanzas by Tennyson,† with which the Quarterly Review saw fit to make merry, twenty years since. Of Mr. Meredith's choruses in general we should be glad to quote one or two specimens; but strophes and antistrophes take up such a deal of room, and we have so little to spare, that we must content ourselves with commending them to the attention of the reader, whether learned in Greek plays or notif the former, he will appreciate something of the English playwright's plastic art and sympathetic genius-if the latter, he (or, being by hypothesis "no scholard" in the Greek, she) has an opportunity of forming a more lively notion of what the Greek chorus was like, and in a style vastly more readable, enjoyable, and rememberable, than in a vast majority of similar adaptations.

Mr. Meredith is possibly a little too fond of dealing with connubial difficulties. Leaving "Clytemnestra," the most powerful thing in the volume is "The Wife's Tragedy"-but its power is of the same objectionable cast as that which marks Kotzebue's Menschenhass und Reue ("The Stranger" of our stage), and its finale is pitched in the same (may we call it falsetto?) key. "Good Night in the Porch" is free from

such exception, and is an affecting transcript of household love, in spirit and manner not without affinity to "Bertha in the Lane" by Mrs. Browning, whom indeed our young poet has clearly studied, and admired to the point of imitation, that gifted lady's husband, and the poetlaureate being also, repeatedly and emphatically, among the models after whom he has formed himself, though with a sufficient accompaniment of independence, and original character, to warrant the belief that, in

*The Thane's wife must have been often in our poet's eye, while working out his ideal of the wife of the Grecian generalissimo. At times there is an almost plagiarism, however unconscious, from the very language of Shakspeare. The famous "If we should fail,"—" We fail!" &c., may seem to have suggested the point in the following, where Clytemnestra is striving to determine the indeterminate nature of her feebler accomplice:

Clyt. His lips comprest-his eye dilates-he is saved!

O, when strong natures into frailer ones

Have struck deep root, if one exalt not both,

Both must drag down and perish!


Clyt. And we shall live.

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If we should live

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future efforts, he will approve himself capable of a "self-supporting system," that shall defy allusion to "Sordello," or to " Lady Geraldine's Courtship," or to "A Dream of Fair Women." The singular poem entitled "The Earl's Return" is a medley of all his manners and moods -alternately wild, dreamy, tender, rugged, stormy, subtle, and grimly humorous. "A Soul's Loss" is a forcible but melodious record of stifled passion-some of the stanzas breathe deepest thoughts in words that burn into the soul, and compel sympathy with that other soul's "Loss." "The Artist," again, is rich in meditative passages, and evidences an artist-author in the smoothness and sweetness of its metrical flow, while it implies a pledge of his inspiration to eschew all second-hand trading in authorship, and to speak out for himself the poetry that may be in him, and beat out music of his own, nor be

Degenerate copyist of copies.

The enthusiasm with which the sights and sounds of Mother Earth are observed in these poems, and the fulness with which their charms, or imposing pomps, or lurking mysteries, are chronicled, form one of the most note-worthy characteristics of this new poet. He delights to depict the stagnant levels, burning in the distant marsh-the garden-bowers dim with dew-the white-rose thorns twinkling with sparkling dropsto bid us list the bittern's parting call, and the harsh murmurs of the frogs among the low reeds, or watch the coming and going overhead of winnowing bats, and the snails' dull march adown shining trails,

With slow pink cones, and soft wet horns.

We meet by the score with descriptive fragments such as this:

From the warm upland comes a gust made fragrant with the brown hay there. The meek cows with their white horns thrust above the hedge, stand still and


The steaming horses from the wains droop o'er the tank their plaited manes. Or this sea-side sketch :

And when the dull sky darken'd down to the edges,

And the keen frost kindled in star and spar,

The sea might be known by a noise on the ledges
Of the long crags, gathering power from afar
Thro' his roaring bays, and crawling back
Hissing, as o'er the wet pebbles he dragg'd
His skirt of foam fray'd, dripping, and jagg'd.

Every sea-shore roamer will own the graphic effect of the next extract:

But when the swallow, that sweet new-comer,

Floated over the sea in the front of the summer,
The salt dry sands burn'd white, and sicken'd
Men's sight in the glaring horn of the bay;
And all things that fasten, or float at ease

In the silvery light of the leprous seas

With the pulse of a hideous life were quicken'd,

Fell loose from the rocks, and crawl'd crosswise away.

Slippery sidelong crabs, half-strangled

By the white sea-grasses in which they were tangled,

And those half-living creatures, orb'd, ray'd, and sharp-angled,
Fan-fish, and star-fish, and polypous lumps,

Hueless and boneless, that languidly thicken'd,
Or flat-faced, or spiked, or ridged with humps,
Melting off from their clotted clusters and clumps,
Sprawled over the shore in the heat of the day.

Stanzas abound, too, of pictorial power like the following:
The ozier'd, oozy water, ruffled

By fluttering swifts that dip and wink:
Deep cattle in the cowslips muffled,
Or lazy-eyed upon the brink, &c.

Several of the minor poems in this collection are as fully stored with similar descriptive details; one in particular, whose only title is "Song," riots in wealth of illustration from garden-ground-each allusion betokening a habit of observation on the part of the songster, who testifies what he has seen with his eyes, and heard with his ears, and his hands have handled, feelingly, in the world of nature, not merely in the echo of books-the purple iris hanging its head on its lean stalk, the spider spilling his silver thread between the columbines' bells, the drunken beetle, that, -roused ere night,

Breaks blundering from the rotten rose,—

the jasmin dropping her yellow stars

In mildew'd mosses one by one,—

the hollyhocks falling off their tops, the lotus-blooms that "ail white i' the sun," the freckled foxglove fainting and grieving, while

The smooth-paced slumbrous slug devours

The dewy leaves of gorgeous flowers,

And smears the glistering leaves.

Meanwhile, all to the burden of the song, decay," we mark how

<< suns sink

away, sweet things

From brazen sunflowers, orb and fringe,
The burning burnish dulls and dies:
Sad Autumn sets a sullen tinge

Upon the scornful peonies:

The dewy frog limps out, and heaves
A speckled lump in speckled bowers:
A reeking moisture clings, and lowers
The lips of lapping leaves.

Specimens of Mr. Meredith's imagery it were easier to collect than to select, at least so as to do him justice. His similitudes are often striking, sometimes a little overstrained. The forlorn Lady in "The Earl's Return," weary with watching, and wasted with pining regrets, is described at night as putting by

-the coil and care

Of the day that lay furl'd like an idle weft*

Of heaped spots which a bright snake hath left,

Or that dark house, the blind worm's lair,

When the star-winged moth from the windows hath crept.

"Weft" is a favourite word with Mr. Meredith, who is fond of reiterating a pet phrase. We have noted various instances: here is one, of the recurring use of the word "ripple" in reference to music:

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