« ForrigeFortsæt »
That our readers may have an opportunity of trying their band at interpretation, and forming their own judgment as to the merits of this strange production, we will set before then the concluding stanzas of the section entitled "Hers," which, as far as we can make out, is a longwinded address of a loving lady to her lord, who is represented as a sort of modern Messiah ::
"The nearer you, O love, I shrink the more,-
May find no entrance through your heart's dear door.
I cry in my despair's last catching hope!
"Oh what is this? What hands are now so strong
"I'm speechless, frozen dead, stolid as stone!
O Sun, shine out! Come, Summer, come to me,
"O joy! Hold, hold, O heart! for Silence tells—
O God, is this thy world of night and day?
We are at a loss to understand either the grammar or the sense of the line:
"From you who has outdreamed men from my fate;"
and we protest against such expressions as "force me by the waves of Fashion wait;" "spired thought has bells, bells, bells;" and "joy shall into final go." Mr. Sinclair may be as original and profound and subtle as he pleases, but he must at least conform to the laws of the language in which he writes. If he wishes to be thought a second Browning, he should try to imitate him in his best points, not in his faults, and, at any rate, avoid ungraminatical expressions.
Miscellaneous Poems. By FRANCIS M. DEAN, B.A. Dublin: E. Ponsonby. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 1876.-If a taste for poetry necessarily implied the possession of a power to produce it, Mr. Dean might fairly claim a high place among poets, for he tells us, in the language of Edgar Poe, that poetry is with him a "passion, not a purpose." But it is quite possible to be foud, not merely of reading poetry, but also of attempting to write it, without being able to attain to any high degree of excellence in the art, just as many take a great delight in hearing music who are very indifferent performers, or unable to perform at all. Mr. Dean bespeaks indulgent criticism on the ground that most of his little poems were written in his youth from a mere love of poetry. Viewed in this light they may escape severe censure, and some of them may even be pronounced creditable productions. Still, we cannot but question the wisdom of publishing pieces which, according to the author's own confession, "bear the impress of an unripe mind," and "exhibit many crude faults and imperfections." Crudity and extravagance are gladly excused in a youthful writer who shows signs of true poetic inspiration; but it is not the excesses of a too luxuriant imagination stirred by intense feeling that any one will lay to Mr. Dean's charge. His work suffers from the deficiency rather than the excess of moving power. It wants the warmth and flush of healthy life. There is an air of unreality about it. The pieces read more like exercises in composition than the spontaneous outbursts of deep feeling and vivid imagination. The author treats conventional topics in a conventional way. He is very fond of personifying abstract ideas and inanimate objects, and addressing poems to them. One of the best of these is the "Ode to Autumn," which runs thus:
"I hail thee, Crowner of the fruitful year,
And crowned thyself with fair fruit-laden boughs!
My soul grows gladdened at thy presence near,
Our love to warmer joyaunce, and imparts
“Thy season is not one for pining grief;
Fatness and plenty fill the fertile leas,
“Now is the homestead glad, and warm, and gay.
And hearts that lost their freshest flowers from pain,
“ Now is the country given up to pomp.
Of rural glee, and flows the mirth divine ;
While circle round, young children kissing meet,
“Heaven robes thee in all splendours of the clouds,
When wailing winds, and moaning streams and rills
“Like thee may come the autumn of our love
Let us lie down in beauty, hope, and power,
Mr. Dean's subjects are not all of a conventional character. He has "On Mr. Pickwick," and another entitled "The Potatoe" (sic). To extract poetry from a potato may not be so impossible a feat as extracting sunbeams from a cucumber, but it is no easy matter, and the idea of apostrophizing the homely vegetable in ambitious verse verges on the ridiculous. However, we must do Mr. Dean the justice to say he has done as much as could be expected towards investing the familiar object with poetic interest.
Sport in Abyssinia; or, The Mareb and Tackazzee. By the Earl of Mayo, Lieutenant Grenadier Guards. London, John Murray. 1876. This is an unpretending volume, but not the less interesting on that account. It professes to be simply a compilation from a diary kept by the author during a sporting tour in Abyssinia. What he saw and did, and the impressions made on his mind by the different events and scenes are related in a frank and easy style, without any affectation of authorship; and this gives a natural and pleasing freshness to his pages.
On the 29th of December, 1874, the author and his party landed at Alassowah, and on the 29th of March, 1875, he sailed from that port on his return home. Thus his tour extended only over a period of three months, and is not represented as having been prolific either in adventure or in game, though the novelty of the expedition and the delightful scenery afforded ample enjoyment. The mode of travelling in the country is rather primitive. Parties travelling "in the king's name" are passed on from one chief to another by a system of compulsory service :
"After the chief's soldiers and followers had hunted up the villagers, and dragged them, kicked them, and beat them, they were made to carry our baggage. We started about one hour before sunset, the coolies having gone
in front. The reason that the soldiers treated the villagers in this way was, that the king, who was far away, had heard there were some Englishmen coming into the country, and had given orders to the chiefs or governors that we were to be treated with respect, and everything that we wanted done for us. We travelled across a large tableland with not a vestige of foliage to be seen, and no sound to be heard but now and then the bleating of the sheep as they were driven to their pens near the villages for the night. The moon rose, and we very soon found ourselves near a village called Adouguada. All our coolies had stopped; the lazy fellows had scarcely been travelling for two hours; they had handed our baggage over to the headman of the village. This is a usual mode of proceeding in Abyssinia; one is passed on from village to village, and if the villages happened to be close together the day is spent in quarrelling and in looking over and counting the baggage. When I rode up they were all talking at once and making a horrid noise, as is usual on such occasions. I villagers of Adouguada that if they did asked for a hearing, and informed the not carry our baggage I should take two cows and two sheep from the village, and stop there all that night with my servants; under these circumstances they would have to provide us with bread, &c. Brou, the interpreter, advised me to do this; he said, It is the only way to get on, and you are travelling in the king's name, and can have what you want. H. then came up with K., and we procured something to eat and some coffee. The villagers made much noise and gesticulation, and then at last picked up half our things and went off.
"We then started for Sellaadarou,
the place we were going to camp at no traces of them again; and I think that night. It was bright moonlight, it is a great chance, in a large rapid and the moon in the east, as some of river of this sort, if their carcases are my readers probably know, appears
found at all. I sent servants during very different from our moon at home. the following days up and down the It was a beautiful ride, but a little cold. river, but they were quite unsuccessful We arrived at Sellaadarou about nine in finding any trace of the beasts." p.m., or perhaps a little later. K., like an old soldier as he was, pitched the Hunting the elephant and lion camp just outside the village, in a sort
was not more successful than the of little garden that the villagers had made to grow their capsicums in ; it
attempts made to bag the hippowas surrounded by a thick thorn hedge, potami :made of boughs cut from the thorny acacia. This hedge provided us with "We had arranged with Barrakee wood without any trouble ; so we made to go for three days and sleep out, or two large bonfires to warm ourselves, bivouac, and hunt elephants ; we acate some supper, and turned in after a cordingly started straight inland tolong worrying day. The other half of wards the mountain of Walkait. After the baggage had not come up when we we had crossed the hills, under which retired to our tents.”
the Tackazzee ran, we came upon a
sort of open plain with little hills Lord Mayo does not appear to
cropping up here and there, and we had have bad much success as a sports
been following fresh elephant tracks the man. Ho has the candour to con
whole time. I must not forget to mention
that during the night a larye herd of elefess, “I am, indeed, an unlucky phants had passed close to our camp, sportsman, and I always was. and that all the jungle round was Certainly, bis ill-luck clung to him trampled and broken in every direction. in Abyssinia, for where lions, ele- I just remember, in a half-sleepy state, phants, buffaloes, and hippopotami hearing strange noises, but I thought abounded, bis chief exploits and
at the time it was only the "hippos successes were among sand-grouse,
disporting themselves in the pool below.
At last Barrakee, who was going in snipe, quail, guinea-fowl, pigs, and
front, said that we were getting very such “ sinall deer":
close to the elephants, and that we
must leave our mules behind us, and “I heard, in a pool below the ford follow them up the rest of the way on where we had crossed, some animals foot. Not long afterwards we saw two making an unusual noise, grunting and elephants in the distance movivg slowly blowing. I went down with my gun. along. We tried to stalk them, but we bearers to the edge of the river, and, did not succeed. Barrakee took us to behold! there were eight fine hippopo- some water, where we drank, and close tami disporting themselves in the river, by which, as we came up to it, were much in the same way as the old river- some pigs lying asleep under a tree. horse at the Zoo may be seen swim- An Abyssinian tried to knock one over ming about his tank. They reared with the butt of his gun, for we did themselves out of the water and ex- not like to fire, being so close to the posed their heads and part of their elephants. necks, sometimes opening their enor- “ After we had halted for a little time mous jaws so that I could see their and rested ourselves, Barrakee said we white tusks. I fired at the nearest of should move on, and he took us to the the herd, and hit him behind the ear; he top of a steep little hill, where he said began bleeding profusely, and waltzed we were to pass the night, and fronı round and round in the water, causing whence could sec
the whole tremendous waves. At last in about country round us. Brou, and a couple half an hour he sank, and we saw him of men that Barrakee had with him, no more. I shot at several more, and built
We ate I believe, killed another, but we luncheon, and then we sat down to