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even in a treatise. His philosophy is more a religion, an enthusiasm, than an organised scheme of speculation. This gives it a peculiar value at the present time, when so-called materialism has abundantly declared itself in systems, which ignore as insoluble the problems offered by the greatest fact apparent to us, the soul. Such thought too lends itself better to poetical than to prose utterance; and by right of this, then, Mr. Noel ranks as the first philosophical poet of our times in England.

In artistic quality Mr. Noel's work steadily improved, until it culminated in "A Modern Faust." His blank verse strengthened; his lyrics grew in sweetness and fluidity; his command of metre developed in various directions. To a great extent also, he got rid of those awkward grammatical constructions and uncouth phrases, which are a stumbling-block to educated sensibilities. He tried many species of composition, but not with equal success. He does not seem to me to have possessed the dramatic gift, and for this reason "The House of Ravensburg" must be considered a comparative failure. Satire, in the strict sense of that word, was not his forte, although there are powerful passages of satirical description in "The Red Flag," "A Song of Civilisation," and "A Modern Faust." His real strength consists in the combination of full sensuous feeling for the material world with an ever-present sense of the spirit informing it and bringing all its products into vital harmony. This enabled him to paint such pictures of voluptuous beauty and concrete form as 66 Ganymede," "The Nymph and the Boy," or "The Triumph of Bacchus"; and at the same time to chant the mysteries of life and the universe

in "Pan," "The Dweller in Two Worlds," "A Vision of the Desert," and "A Modern Faust."

In my anxiety to present a tolerably complete image of Mr. Noel's genius in its scope and compass, I have left myself no room for minute criticism. Those who care to study my expressed opinions, will find them in three reviews of "Beatrice," "The Red Flag," and "A Modern Faust" (Pall Mall Gazette, Feb. 9, 1869; Academy, Jan. 1, 1873, and Jan. 19, 1889). But, what is far more important, Mr. Noel's books lie open to the public, and deserve attentive study. He is not a poet who can be appreciated in specimens and extracts. It is the volume, matter, variety of his work not merely its finish, its occasional beauties, or its verbal felicities— which give him a considerable place in English literature.


Mr. John Addington Symonds died at Rome on the 19th of April, 1893, and the Hon. Roden Noel died at Mayence, in Germany, on the 26th of May, 1894. The above article was written in 1890, during the lifetime of the poet. A few changes of tense have been made.-ED.



METHOUGHT I saw the morning bloom

A solemn wilderness illume,

Desert sand and empty air:

Yet in a moment I was aware

Of One who grew from forth the East,
Mounted upon a vasty Beast.

It swung with silent, equal stride,
With a mighty shadow by the side :
The tawny, tufted hair was frayed;
The long, protruding snout was laid
Level before it; looking calm away
From that imperial rising of the Day.
Methought a very awful One
Towered speechless thereupon:
All the figure like a cloud
An ample mantle did enshroud,
Folding heavily dark and white,
Concealing all the face from sight,

Save where through stormlike rifts there came
A terrible gleam of eyes like flame.

Then I beheld how on his arm
A child was lying without alarm,
With innocent rest it lay asleep;
Awakening soon to laugh and leap;
Yet well I knew, whatever passed,
The arm that held would hold it fast.
Nor ever then it sought to know
Whose tender strength encircled so,

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Living incuriously wise

Under the terrible flame of eyes.

In those sweet early morning hours
It played with dewy, wreathing flowers,
Drinking oft from a little flask

Under the mantle: I heard it ask :
Yea, and at other times the cooling cup
Gentle and merciful He tilted up.

But when the sun began to burn,
I saw the child more restless turn,
Seeking to view the silent One:
Then, growing graver thereupon,

It whispered, "Father!" but I never heard
If any lips in answer stirred.

Yet if no answer reached the child,

I know not why he lay and smiled,
Raising his little arms on high
In a solemn rapture quietly!

The shadow moved, and growing less,
A blue blaze ruled the wilderness.
The child, alert with life and fire,
Gazed all around with infinite desire.

Erect he sat, contented now no more

To nestle, and feed upon the homely store:

He searched the lessening distance whence they came, He peered into the clear cærulean flame;

His hand would mingle with the shaggy hair

Of that enormous Living Thing which bare,
Whose feet were planted in the powdery ground
With ne'er a pause, with ne'er a sound.
Yon fascinating, wondrous Infinite

His clear young eyes explored with keen delight:

He gazed into the muffled Countenance,
Undazzled with the rifted radiance:
Then, giving names to all that he espied,
He murmured with a bright triumphant pride,
"I hold their secret: lo! I am satisfied."
Oh! it was rare to see the lovely child,
As with a gaze ecstatical he smiled,

Following with eager, splendour-beaming eyes
A bird magnificent, who sailed the skies
On vast expanded plumes of sanguine white,
Enamoured of transcendent azure light,
Higher and higher soaring to the sun;
Claiming a share in his dominion;

Elate with ardour, like unwearying youth,
Imperially at home in awful realms of Truth!

But ah! the sun beat fierce and merciless
Upon the boundless, barren wilderness.
Then soon, responsive to a slakeless thirst,
Behold upon his ravished sight there burst
A vision of a far-off lake most fair,

Where many a palm was dallying with air,
And soft mimosa: how alluringly

Smiled the sweet water in a blinding sky!
Can he not hear a gentle turtle coo
Among light leaves, yea, very wavelets blue
Lapping among green reeds upon the shore,
Calling him to abide for evermore?
Ah! how doth he impetuous entreat,
And chide the silent, never-lingering feet!
Yet was it strange-for as the feet advanced,
The lake receded, and the waters danced
An eerie dance with all the belts of trees,
And mingled with them, till the sand with these

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