Puslapio vaizdai

the beauty and interest of all the surrounding heroic James Lord Douglas, who was slain at the features of nature, and the silent grandeur battle of Otterburn, 5th August, 1388. The of the holy pile of ruin, are such that even Monastery itself was founded by King David in the unsuccessful angler must find pleasure in the year 1136, and the architect was supposed to wandering by the river side, quite enough to be John Murdo or Morveau, as would seem to be counterbalance the disappointment of empty bas- implied by these inscriptions. The first is over kets. The scenery of this country has become a doorway, where there is the representation of a much more rich since we first knew it, by the incompass. crease of plantation, and the quick growth of the

Sa gayes the compass er'n about, trees. The whole of this district and neighbour

So truth and laute do but doubt, hood abounds with antiquities, in the shape of

Behold to the end.-JOHN MURDO." camps and stations, &c., British, Roman, and And on the south side of this door there are Romanized-British. A well-marked Roman


these lines. occupies one of the tops of the Eildon hills. But “John Murdo sum tym callit was I, we must refer our reader, if he be devoted to And born in Parysse certainly; such inquiries, to the learned author of " Cale

And had in kepring all mason werk

Of Sant Androys, the hye kyrk donia,” for such information as he may want Of Glasga, Meiros and Pasly, in this way; for, were we to go fully into this Of Nyddysdayl, and of Galway,

Pray to God and Mari baith, interesting subject, we should very soon find ma

And sweet St. John, keep this haly kirk frae skaith.” terials to Swell this article to the size of that ponderous publication itself.

For John Murdo in these lines we ought It would be equally vain, as it would be useless, unquestionably to read John Morveau, for suchi for us to attempt to give any history or descrip- was the name of the Frenchman. Perhaps we tion of the noble pile of Melrose Abbey, which is may be forgiven for mentioning here that Mr. certainly one of the most sublime and beautiful Kemp, the architect of the grand Scott monuruins of this description that Great Britain can

ment at Edinburgh, who took his dimensions and boast of, whether it be looked upon as a mass, general plan from the great arches of the nave and or whether it be examined with that degree of transept which supported the Tower of Melrose, detail which is necessary in order duly to appre- gave in his design among the others with the name ciate the wonderful and exquisite delicacy of the of John Morveau attached to it. After his design carving. Sir Walter Scott says, that

had been picked out as the best, the great diffi

culty arose as to where its author was to be found, “ If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight;

and many weeks elapsed before John Morveaucould For the gay beams of light some day

be ferreted out. At last he was discovered, and Gild, but to flout, the ruins grey.

his beautiful design was finally adopted, although When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafied oriel glimmers white;

its author was an humble man altogether unknown; When the cold light's uncertain shower

and certainly the matchless beauty and grandeur Streams on the ruined central tower ;

of the structure, which has excited the admiration When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seemed framed of ebon and ivory;

of every one who has beheld it, including stranWhen silver edges the imagery,

gers and foreigners of all ranks, have borne testiAnd the scrolls that teach thce to live and die; When the distant Tweed is heard to rave,

mony in favour of the taste of the committee who And the howlet to hoot o'er the dead mau's grave;

made the selection. Then go-but go alone the while

The burial-ground which surrounds the Abbey Then view St. David's ruined pile;

has some curious monumental inscriptions in it. And, home returning, soothly swear Was never scene so sad aud fair."

One of these has always appeared to us to be exAnd again

tremely quaint and curious.

The earth builds on the earth castles and towers, “ The moon on the east oriel shone, Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

The earth says to the earth, all shall be ours,

The earth goes on the earth glistening like gold, By foliage tracery combined; Thou would'st have thought some fairy's hand,

The earth goes to the earth sooner than it would.” 'Twixt poplars straight, the osier wand

Although not to be found in the Abbey buryingIn many a freakish knot had twined,

ground, and hardly now to be discovered any Then framed a spell, when the work was done, And changed the willow wreaths to stone."

where, we may be permitted to notice the monuIt is soinewhat remarkable, that notwithstand mental stone which once covered the remains of ing this strikingly vivid description, we have Fair Maiden Lilliard, who fought so gallantly reason to believe, from a conversation we had against the English at the battle of Ancrum

Moor, with the author himself, that he never during his

“ Fair Maiden Lilliard lies under this stane, whole life visited the ruins of Melrose Abbey by

Little was her stature, but mickle her fame, moonlight, and yet, if one did go there under such

Upon the English lads she laid many thumps, witching circumstances, we have little doubt that And when her legs were off she fought upon her stumps.” the picture he has drawn here would be found Many of the buildings both in the village of strictly true to nature in all its parts.

Melrose and in that of Darnwick are curious, Within the holy precincts of these ruined walls antique, and picturesque, and the old cross of repose the remains of many distinguished indi. Melrose, situated in the open market-place, viduals—amongst others, King Alexander II., which formed nearly all the village when we many of the Earls of Douglas, and especially the first knew it, has a singularly venerable appear


Before leaving this section of the Tweed, I was one among the first seats in the kingdom of we must not forget to mention that the Knights the religious Keledei or Culdei, or, as Fordun erTemplars had a house and establishment on the plains the name, Cultores Dei, worshippers of east side of the village of Newstead. It was God. This monastery was supposed to have called the Red Abbey ; the extensive founda- been founded by Columbus, or by Aidan, probations of houses were discovered here, and some bly about the end of the sixth century. It would curious seals were found in digging. Before appear that it was built of oak wood, thatched concluding this part of our subject, it appears with reeds, the neck of land being enclosed with to us to be very important, if not essential, a stone wall. It is supposed to have been burned to call our readers' especial attention to the by the Danes. The name given to it was decidsingular promontory of Old Melrose, on the right edly Celtic, and quite descriptive of its situationbank of the river. It is a high bare head, | Maol-Ros, signifying the Bare Promontory—and around which the river runs in such a way as to from this the more recent Abbey and the whole convert it into a peninsula. Here it was that of the more modern parish of lielrose have dethe first religious settlement was made, indeed it rived their name.

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In selecting Mrs. Hemans as our first specimen derstand which it cannot equal. Fourthly, let of Female Authors, we did so avowedly, because us never forget that women, as to intellectual she seemed to us the most feminine writer of the progress, is in a state of infancy. Changed as day. We now select Mrs. Browning for the op- by malignant magic, now into an article of furposite reason, that she is, or at least is said by niture, and now into the toy of pleasure, she is many to be, the most masculine of our female only as yet undergoing a better transmigration, writers.

and “timidly expanding into life.” To settle the respective spheres and calibres Almost all that is valuable in Female Authorof the male and the female mind is one of the ship has been produced within the last halfmost difficult of philosophical problems. To century, that is, since the female was generally argue, merely, that because the mind of woman has recognised to be an intellectualcreature; and if she never hitherto produced a “ Paradise Lost," or a has, in such a short period, so progressed, what “ Principia," it is therefore for ever incapable of demi-Mahometan shall ventureto set bounds to her producing similar masterpieces, seems to us unfair, future advancement? Even though we should for various reasons. In the first place, how grant that woman, more from her bodily constimany ages elapsed e'er the male mind realised tution than her mental, is inferior to man, and such prodigies of intellectual achievement ? And that man, having got, shall probably keep, his do not they still stand unparalleled and almost start of centuries, we see nothing to prevent unapproached? And were it not as reasonable woman overtaking, and outstripping with ease, to assert that man as that woman can renew them his present farthest point of intellectual progress. no moro ? Secondly, because the premise is We do not look on such productions as“Lear," and granted--that woman has not-does the con- the “Prometheus Vinctus,” with the despair whereclusion follow, that woman cannot excogitate an with the boy who has leaped up in vain to seize, argument as great as the “Principia," or build up regards ever after the moon and the stars ; they a rhyme as lofty as the “Paradise Lost?” Would are, after all, the masonry of men, and not the it not have been as wise for one who knew Milton architecture of the gods ; and if man may suronly as the Milton of “ Lycidas” and “ Arcades," | pass,why may not woman, “taken out of his side," to have contended that he was incapable of a great his gentle alias, equal them? epic poem ? And is there nothing in Madame Of woman, we may say, at least, that there are De Stael, in Rahel the Germaness, in Mary already provinces where her power is incontested Somerville, and even in Mary Wollstonecraft, to and supreme. And in proportion as civilization suggest the idea of heights, fronting the very advances, and as the darker and fiercer passions peaks of the Principia and the Paradise, to which which constitute the fera natura subside, in the woman may yet attain? Thirdly, has not wo- lull of that milder day, the voice of woman will man understood and appreciated the greatest become more audible, exert a wider magic, and works of genius as fully as man? Then may she be as the voice of spring to the opening year. in time equal them ; for what is true appreciation We stay not to prove that the sex of genius is but the sowing of a germ in the mind, which feminine, and that those poets who are most proshall ultimately bear similar fruit? There is foundly impressing our young British minds, are nothing, says Godwin, which the human mind those who, in tenderness and sensibility - in can conceive, which it cannot execute ; we may reculiar power, and in peculiar weakness, are add, there is nothing the human mind can un- all but females. And whatever may be said of

the effects of culture, in deadening the genius of Pope's wrong (a scratch from a thorn hedge!) is in man, we are mistaken if it has not always had his “Dunciad,” notin his “Rape of the Lock.” The the contrary effect upon that of woman (where do poetry of Wordsworth’s wrong is in his “Prefaces,” we find a female Bloomfield or Burns ?) so that, not in his “ Excursion." The poetry of Byron's on entering on the far more highly civilised pe- wrong is in those deep curses which sometimes riods which are manifestly approaching, she will disturb the harmony of his poems; and that of but be breathing the atmosphere calculated to Shelley's in the maniacal scream which occasionnourish and invigorate, instead of weakening and ally interrupts the pæans of his song. But all chilling her mental life. Our admirable friend, these had probably been as great, or greater poets, Mr. De Quincey, has, we think, conceded even had no wrong befallen them, or had it taught more than we require, in granting (see his paper them another lesson, than either peevishly to on Joan of Arc) that woman can die more nobly proclaim, or furiously to resent it. than man.

For whether is the writing or the Mrs. Browning has suffered, so far as we are doing of a great tragedy the higher achievement ? aware, no wrong from the age. She might, inPoor the attitude even of Shakespere, penning the deed, for some time have spoken of neglect. But fire-syllables of Macbeth, to that of Joan of Arc, people of genius should now learn the truth, that entering into the flames as into her wedding suit. neglect is not wrong; or if it be, it is a wrong in What comparison between the face inflamed of a which they often set the example. Neglecting Mirabeau or a Chalmers, as they thundered; the tastes of the majority, the majority avenges and the blush on the cheek of Charlotte Corday, itself by neglecting them. Standing and singing still extant, as her head was presented to the in a congregation of the deaf, they are senseless people? And who shall name the depicter of the enough to complain that they are not heard. Or death of Beatrice Cenci; or with Madame Roland, should they address the multitude, and should the whose conduct on the scaffold might make one in multitude not listen, it never strikes them that « love with death?” If to die nobly demand the the fault is their own ; they ought to have comhighest concentration of the moral, intellectual, pelled attention. Orpheus was listened to : the and even artistic powers—and if woman has par

thunder is : even tho gentlest spring shower excellence exemplified such a concentration, there commands its audience. If neglect means wilfu! follows a conclusion to which we should be ir- winking at claims which are felt, it is indeed a resistibly led, were it not that we question the wrong ; but a wrong seldom if ever committed, minor proposition in the argument—we hold that and which complaint will not cure-if it means, man has often as fully as woman risen to the merely, ignorance of claims which have never dignity of death, and met him, not as a vassal, ) been presented or enforced, where and whose is but as a superior.

the criminality ? To say that Mrs. Browning has more of the To do Mrs. Browning justice, she has not comman than any female writer of the period, may plained of neglect nor of injury at all. But she appear rather an equivocal compliment; and its has acknowledged herself inspired by the genius truth even may be questioned. We may, however, of suffering. And this seems to have exerted be permitted to say, that she has more of the divers influences upon her poetry. It has, in heroine than her compeers. Hlers is a high the first place, taught her to rear for herself a heroic nature, which adopts for the motto at once spot of transcendental retreat, a city of refuge of its life and of its poetry, “ Perfect through in the clouds. Scared away from her own heart, suffering.” Shelley says :

she has soared upwards, and found a rest else"Most wretched men

where. To those flights of idealism in which she Are cradled into poetry by wrong;

indulges, to those distant and daring themes They learn in suffering what they teach in song." which she selects, she is urged less, we think, But wrong is not always the stern school through native tendency of mind, than to fill mistress of song. There are sufferings springing the vast vacuity of a sick and craving spirit. from other sources—from intense sensibility- This is not peculiar to her. It may be called, infrom bodily ailment-from the loss of cherished deed, the Retreat of the Ten Thousand; though objects, which also find in poetry their natural strong and daring must be those that can successvent. And we do think that such poetry, if not fully accomplish it. Only the steps of sorrowso powerful, is infinitely more pleasing and more we had almost said only the steps of despair-car instructive than that which is inspired by real or climb such dizzy heights. The healthy and the imaginary grievance. The turbid torrent is not happy mind selects subjects of a healthy and a the proper mirror for reflecting the face of nature; happy sort, and which lie within the sphere of and none but the moody and the discontented every-day life and every-day thought. But for will seek to see in it an aggravated and distorted minds which have been wrung and riven, there edition of their own gloomy brows. The poetry is a similar attraction in gloomy themes, as that of wrong is not the best and most permanent. which leads them to the side of dark rivers, to It was not wrong alone that excited, though it the heart of deep forests, or into the centre of unquestionably directed, the course of Dante's and waste glens. Step forth, ye giant children of Milton's vein. The poetry of Shakespere's wrong Sorrow and Genius, that we may tell your names, is condensed in his sonnets--the poetry of his and compute your multitudes. First, there is the forbearance and forgiveness, of his gratitude and proud thundershod Æschylean family, all conhis happiness, is in his dramas. The poetry of ceived in the "eclipse" of that most powerful


of Grecian spirits. Then follows the vast skeleton | taste of turning the sweet open garden of Eden of “ De Rerum natura," the massive product of into a maze-we do not approve of the daring the grief of Lucretius

precedent of trying conclusions with Milton on “Who cast his plummet down the broad his own high field of victory--and we are, we must Deep universe, and said, No God;

say, jealous of all encroachments upon that fair Finding no bottom, he denied

Paradise which has so long painted itself upor
Divinely the divine, and died,
Chief poet upon Tiber side.”

our imaginations—where all the luxuries of earth

Mrs. Browning. mingled in the feast with all the dainties of the There stalk forward, next in the procession, heavens—where celestial plants grew under the

saine sun with terrestrial blossoms, and where the kings, priests, popes, prelates, and the yet guiltier and mightier shapes of Dante's hell. the cadences of seraphic music filled up the

Far different, indeed, Next, the Satan of Milton advances, champing pauses in the voice of God. the curb, and regarding even Prometheus as no

is Mrs. Browning's from Dryden's disgusting inmate for his proud and lonely misery. Then

road into Eden-as different, almost, as the advent comes, cowering and shvering on, the timid of Raphael from the encroachment of Satan. Castaway of Cowper. lle is followed by Byron's

But the poem professed to stand in the lustre of heroes, a haughty yet melancholy troop, with the fiery sword, and this should have burnt up conscious madness animating their gestures and

some of its conceits, and silenced some of its glaring in their eyes. The Anciente Marenere

meaner minstrelsies. And all such attempts we succeeds, now fearfully reverting his looks, and regard precisely as we do the beauties of the Aponow fixing his glittering eye forward on

crypha, when compared to the beauties of the

Bible, peopled and terrible vacancy. And, lastly, a

They are as certainly beauties, but frail shadowy and shifting shape, looking now

beauties of an inferior order—they are flowers, but Laon, now like Lionel, and now like Prometheus, not the roses which grew along the banks of the proclaims that Alastor himself is here, the Four Rivers, “or caught in their crimson cups Benjamin in this family of tears.

the first sad drops wept at committing of the “ Whither shall I wander,” seems Mrs.

mortal sin." Browning to have said to herself, “to-day to escape

"One blossom of Eden outblooms them all." from my own sad thoughts, and to lose, to noble Having accepted from Mrs. Browning's own purpose, the sense of my own identity? I will go hand sadness, or at least seriousness, as the key eastward to Eden, where perfection and happiness to her nature and genius, let us continue to ap. once dwelt. I will pass, secure in virtue, the far ply it in our future remarks. This at once impels flashing sword of the cherubim; I will knock at her to, and fits her for, the high position she the door and enter. I will lie down in the has assumed, uttering the “ Cry of the Human.” forsaken garden ; I will pillow my head where And whom would the human race prefer as their Milton pillowed his, on the grass cool with the earthly advocate, to a high-souled and gifted shadow of the Tree of Life ; and I will dream a woman? What voice but the female voice could vision of my own, of what this place once was, so softly and strongly, so eloquently and meltingly, and of what it was to leave it for the wilderness.” interpret to the ear of him whose name is Lore, And she has passed the waving sword, and she the deep woes, and deeper wants of “poor has entered the awful garden, and she has dreamed humanity's afflicted will, struggling in vain with a dream, and she has, awaking, told it as a ruthless destiny?” Some may quarrel with the “ Drama of Exile.” It were vain to deny that title, “ The Human," as an affectation ; but, in the dream is one full of genius—that it is entirely the first place, if it be, it is a very small one, and a original; and that it never once, except by an- small affectation can neverfurnish matter for a great tithesis, suggests a thought of Milton's more mas. quarrel. Secondly, we are not disposed to make sive and palpable vision, Her paradise is not a a man, and still less a woman, an offender for a garden, it is a flush on a summer evening sky. word, and thirdly, we fancy we can discern a Her Adam is not the fair large-fronted man, good reason for her use of the term. What is it with all manlike qualities meeting unconsciously that is crying aloud through her voice to Heaven? in his full clear nature--he is a German meta- It is not the feral or fiendish element in human physician. Her Eve is herself, an amiable and nature ? That has found an organ in Byron-an gifted blue-stocking, not the mere meck motherly ccho in his bellowing verse. It is the human elewoman, with what Aird beautifully calls the ment in man—bruised, bleeding, all but dead un“ broad, ripe, serene, and gracious composure der the pressure of evil-circumstances, under the of love about her.” Her spirits are neither cheru- ten thousand tyrannies, mistakes, and delusions bim nor seraphim-neither knowing nor burning of the world, that has here ceased any longer to be ones—they are fairies, not, however, of the Puck silent, and is speaking in a sister's voice to Time or Ariel species, but of a new metaphysical breed ; and to Eternity—to Earth and Heaven. The they do not ride on, but split hairs; they do not poem may truly be called a prayer for the times, dance, but reason; or if they dance, it is on the and no collect in the English liturgy surpasses it point of a needle, in cycles and epicycles of mystic in truth and tenderness, though some may think and mazy motion. There is much beauty and its tone daring to the brink of blasphemy, and power in passages of the poem, and a sweet in- piercing almost to anguish. articulate infinite melody, like the fabled cry of Gracefully from this proud and giddy pinnacle, mandrakes in the lyrics. Still we do not see the where she had stood as the conscious and com

missioned representative of the human race, she is always hazardous, and often deceptive. 2dly, descends to the door of the factory, and pleads for After you have selected the prominent characthe children inclosed in that crowded and busy teristic of your author, it is no easy task to express hell. The “cry of the factory children” moves it in a word, or in a line. To compress thus an you, because it is no poem at all—it is just a long Iliad in a nutshell, to imprison a Giant genie in sob, veiled and stifled as it ascends through the an iron pot, is more a feat of magic than an act hoarse voices of the poor beings themselves. of criticism. 3dly, It is especially difficult to Since we read it we can scarcely pass a factory express the differentia of a writer in a manner at without seeming to hear this psalın issuing from once easy and natural, and picturesque, and poetithe machinery, as if it were protesting against its cal. In the very terms of such an attempt as own abused powers. But, to use the language of Mrs. Browning makes, it is implied that she a writer quoted a little before, “ The Fairy Queen not only defines, but describes the particular is dead, shrouded in a yard of cotton stuff made writer. But to curdle up a character into one by the spinning-jenny, and by that other piece of noble word, to describe Shakespore, forinstance, in new improved machinery, the souls and bodies of such compass, what sun-syllable shall suffice; or British children, for which death alone holds the must we renew Byron's wish ?-patent." From Mrs. Browning, perhaps the Could I unbogom and embody now most imaginative and intellectual of British That which is most within me ; could I wreak females, down to a pale-faced, thick-voiced, de- My thought upon expression ! graded, hardly human, factory girl, what a long and precipitous descent. But though hardly, she

And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;

But as it is, I live and die unheard, is human; and availing herself of the small, trem- With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword." bling, but eternally indestructiblelink of connexion

Accordingly, this style of portraiture (shall wo implied in a common nature, our authoress can

call it, as generally pursued, the thumb-nail style?) identify herself with the cause, and incarnate her has seldom been prosecuted with much success. genius in the person of the poor perishing child. Ebenezer Elliott has a copy of verses after this How unspeakably more affecting is a pleading in fashion, not quite worthy of him. What, for exbehalf of a particular portion of the race, than in ample, does the following line tell us of Shelly? behalf of the entire family! Mrs. Browning might have uttered a hundred “cries of the

“ Ill-fated Shelly, vainly great and brave." human,” and proved herself only a sentimental The same words might have been used about artist, and awakened little save an echo dying Sir John Moore, or Pompey. Mrs. Browning's away in distant ellin laughter ; but the cry of a verses are far superior. Sometimes, indeed, wo factory child, coming through a woman's, has gone see her clipping at a character, in order to fit it to a nation's heart of hearts.

better into the place she has prepared for it. Although occupied thus with the sterner wants Sometimes she crains the half of an author into and sorrows of society, she is not devoid of inte a verse, and has to leave out the rest for want of rest in its minor miseries and disappointments. room. Sometimes over a familiar face she throws She can sit down beside little Ella (the miniature a veil of words and darkness. But often her one of Alnaschar) and watch the history of her day- glance sees, and her one word shows, the very dream beside the swan's nest among the reeds, heart of an author's genius and character. Our and see in her disappointment a type of human readers may recur to the lines already quoted in hopes in general, even when towering and radiant reference to Lucretius, as one of her best portraias summer clouds. Ella's dream among the tures. Altogether this style, as generally prosoreeds ! What else Godwin's Political cuted, is a small one, not much better than anaJustice ? What else was St. Simonianism? grams and acrostics-ranks, indeed, not much What else is Young Englandisin? And what higher than the ingenuity of the persons who else are the hopes built by many now upon transcribe the “Pleasures of Hope" on the breadth certain perfected schemes of education, which, of a crown-piece, and should be resigned to such freely translated, just mean the farther sharpen-praiseworthy personages. By far the best speciing and furnishing of knaves and fools; and now men of it we remember, is the very clever list upon a “Coming Man," who is to supply every involving a running commentary of the works of deficiency, reconcile every contradiction, and right Lord Byron, by Dr. M'Ginn; unless, indeed, it be every wrong. Yes, he will come mounted on the Gay's Catalogue Raisonné of the portentous red-roan horse of sweet Ella's vision !

poems of Sir Richard Blackmore. Who shall Shadowed by the same uniform seriousness einbalm, in a similar way, the endless writings of are the only two poems of hers which we shall James, Cooper, and Dickens ? farther at present mention—we mean her “ Vision “ Lady Geraldine's Courtship,” as a transcript of Poets,” and her “Geraldine's Courtship.” from the “red-leaved tablets of the heart”—25 The aim of the first is to present, in short com- a tale of love, set to the richest music—as a picpass, and almost in single lines, the characture of the subtle workings, the stern reasonings, teristics of the greater poets of past and present and the terrible bursts of passion-is above praise. times. This undertaking involved in it very con- How like a volcano does the poet's heart at length siderable difficulties. For, in the first place, most explode! How first all power is given him in great poets possess more than one distinguishing the dreadful trance of silence, and then in the peculiarity. To select a single differential point loosened tempest of speech! What a wild, fierce VOL. XIV._YO. OLIV,

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