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the battle, dreading to see his occupation gone, and himself thrown aside:
"Peace follows it!
Florence at peace; and the calm, studious heads
As if a spell broke, all's resumed; each art
'Gainst the glad heaven, o'er the white palace-front
The walls are peopled by the painter's brush;
The present's noise and trouble have retired,
You speak its speech and read its records plain,
Greece lives with you, each Roman breathes your friend,
Domizia thinks that he should have been one of them; he
66 Oh, no!
Not one of you, and so escape the thrill
'Neath those strange banks, those unimagined skies!"
Luria contrasts his untutored instincts with the calm sagacity of Europe; the lines are fine, though we doubt Luria's right to them, unless he really has the faith which he describes so well:
"For on their calm sagacity I lean,
Their sense of right, deliberate choice of good.-
Sure that, when slow the whirling wreck subsides,
Husain says a fine thing for a pugnacious Moor :
"They called our thirst of war a transient thing;
From life, they said, and leave a tranquil world:
The remaining volume which heads our article is Mr. Browning's latest production. It is divided into two parts, which are headed respectively "Christmas-Eve" and "EasterDay." Its commencement reminds us of the "Flight of the Duchess," with the same rich vein of humor, and the same preternatural rhymes. But these rhymes, as in the former piece, have such a sensible air of necessity, that it seems difficult to imagine how the story could be told without them. We acquire a respect for riot which is so useful and unaffected. Here we have "Manchester" rhyming with the surprising, but extremely sensible combination of "haunches stir." There is nothing like having a respectable "connection!" "Joseph couples amicably with "knows if"-"Gallio" leads off a "tally ho!"—"İketides" has "indebted ease" "Frankfort" has "thank for 't;" "Scriptures" do not quarrel with " equipt yours," nor "statue" with "that, you."
"Christmas-Eve" is rainy, but the poet has taken it into his head to attend the service in "Zion Chapel Meeting." We find him shivering in a very moist and uncomfortable porch, rather daunted by the scowls and drippings of the saints, who brush past him, astonished at seeing the scoffer waiting at the gate of their tabernacle :
"From the road, the lanes, or the common,
Each arrival is hit off in admirable style, with his usual eye for individualities and latent humor:
"Then a tall, yellow man, like the penitent thief,
With his jaw bound up in a handkerchief,
And eyelids screwed together tight,
Led himself in by some inner light."
Finally, with the stimulus of a little indignant excursus upon exclusiveness, he screws up his courage to the point of entering:
"Accordingly, as a shoemaker's lad
With wizened face in want of soap,
And wet apron wound round his waist like a rope,
After stopping outside, for his cough was bad,
To get the fit over, poor gentle creature,
And so avoid disturbing the preacher,
Passed in, I sent my elbow spikewise
At the shutting door, and entered likewise."
He says that he very soon had enough of it; there was a dreadful smell; he sat next a man with a greasy coat. But all other perceptions were crushed by
"the pig-of-lead-like pressure
Of the preaching-man's immense stupidity."
He had sufficient presence of mind, however, to notice its the audience:
"My old fat woman purred with pleasure,
And thumb round thumb went twirling faster,
While she, to his periods keeping measure,
Maternally devoured the pastor,
The man with the handkerchief untied it,
Gave his eyelids yet another screwing,
And rocked himself as the woman was doing."
Concluding quite soon that he had "seen the elephant," he pursued the usual course of extempore naturalists, and left the place. Here the humor deserts the poem, save an occasional
glimmer or two, chiefly in a subsequent visit to a Straussian professor at Göttingen. The thought and verse become serious and lofty, while the metre does not change: for Mr. Browning has a very serious object in writing the poem, nothing less than to develop his views of Christian Faith and of Life. We pursue the current, quoting freely without the least remorse, as the book has not yet become frequent here. The same enterprising firm from whom we have received the two handsome volumes above noticed will soon place this also within our reach; and we hope that readers will liberally endorse the taste of those gentlemen.
There was a lull in the rain as he left the chapel, and, as he walks along, he contrasts the serenity of nature with the mephitic atmosphere around the preacher's tripod. There is an analysis of the general sermonic style of Zion Chapel meetings: following which we have a metaphysical discussion of Love and Power. With proper labor, it will be found to contain thoughts worth pondering, and we gain a definite impression of the true, healthy religion of Mr. Browning's nature. His soul rises to God, earnest for the future time when it shall be satiated with His Love. The wind and rain now cease; "the black cloud-barricade was riven," and we have a glorious description of a lunar rainbow, with a fainter one as its counterfoil above it.
"For me, I think I said, 'Appear!
If Thou wilt, let me build to Thee,
Far alike from thriftless learning
Omitting a few lines, the poem continues thus:
"All at once I looked up with terror.
He was there.
He Himself with his human air,
Of a sweepy garment, vast and white,
He presses, hastening, "to the salvation of the Vest," and pours out his heart in longing that the Presence may continue with him :
"When-have mercy, Lord, on us!
The whole Face turned upon me full,
As when the bleacher spreads, to seethe it
Steeps in the flood of noontide whiteness
So lay I, saturate with brightness."
He is caught up and borne along "in the whirl and drift of the Vesture's amplitude," across the world. It is ChristmasEve at Rome; how beautiful every line is now! The Dome -the multitude clustered round every "coigne of vantage" in the great Basilica, waiting to see blaze forth "the mainaltar's consummation," the aspiration of the "taper-fires,"the organ's personality, who
"Holds his breath, and grovels latent,
As if God's hushing finger grazed him,
He prefers the clue of his reason to the possible truth that "shines athwart the lies" of Rome, but he extols the obedient love of the worshippers, keeping them fast to God, through the night of error:
"As a babe can find its mother's breast,
As well in darkness as in light,
Love shut our eyes, and all seemed right."
With his whole verse, in a fine enthusiasm, he sums up his perception that "too much love there can never be." Out again, borne along in the Vesture's eddy, bound for a visit to a Göttingen professor: so the Christmas lecture of a Straussian is the contrast to the uncritical devotion of the Roman spectacle. A few masterly touches give us the room, the audience, and the professor :
"He pushed back higher his spectacles,
Let the eyes stream out like lamps from cells,
Of undressed tow, for color and quantity —
(As our own young England adjusts a jaunty tie