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have deeply tinged the life and works of her gifted friend. Acquaintance with it casts a mournful light on some dark places in the poems where the darkness may be felt. Without knowing an atom of the story of her life it is yet impossible not to
the most interesting persons that I had ever seen. Everybody who then saw her said the same; so that it is not merely the impression of my partiality, or my enthusiasm. Of a slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on either side of a most expressive face, large tender eyes richly fringed with dark eyelashes, a smile like a sunbeam, and such a look of youthfulness that I had some difficulty in persuading a friend, in whose carriage we went together to Chiswick that the translatress of the Prometheus' of Eschylus, the authoress of the Essay on Mind,' was old enough to be introduced into company, in technical language was out. Through the kindness of another invaluable friend, to whom I owe many obligations, but none so great as this, I saw much of her during my stay in town. We met so constantly and so familiarly, that in spite of the difference of age intimacy ripened into friendship, and after my return into the country we corresponded freely and frequently, her letters being just what letters ought to be, her own talk put upon paper. The next year was a painful one to herself, and to all who loved her. She broke a blood-vessel upon the lungs, which did not heal. If there had been consumption in the family that disease would have intervened. There were no seeds of the fatal English malady in her constitution, and she escaped. Still, however, the vessel did not heal, and after attending her for above a twelvemonth at her father's house in Wimpole-street, Dr. Chambers, on the approach of winter, ordered her to a milder climate. Her eldest brother, a brother in heart and talent worthy of such a sister, together with other devoted relatives, accompanied her to Torquay, and there occurred the fatal event which saddened her bloom of youth, and gave a deeper hue of thought and feeling, especially of devotional feeling, to her poetry. I have so often been asked what could be the shadow that had passed over that young heart, that now that time has softened the first agony it seems to me right that the world should hear the story of an accident in which there was much sorrow, but no blame. Nearly a twelvemonth had passed, and the invalid, still attended by her affectionate companions, had derived much benefit from the mild sea-breezes of Devonshire. One fine summer morning her favorite brother, together with two other fine young men, his friends, embarked on board a small sailing vessel for a trip of a few hours. Excellent sailors all, and familiar with the coast, they sent back the boatmen, and undertook themselves the management of the little craft. Danger was not dreamed of by any one; after the catastrophe no one could divine the cause, but in a few minutes after their embarkation, and in sight of their very windows, just as they were crossing the bar, the boat went down, and all who
infer from Mrs. Browning's poetry that hers is no mere luxury of woe; that she is noway liable to the suspicion of willful gloom for very wantonness; that she is no fantastic or professional threnodist, making a special wonder and grief of the
were in her perished. Even the bodies were never found. I was told by a party who were traveling that year in Devonshire and Cornwall that it was most affecting to see on the corner houses of every village street, on every church-door, and almost on every cliff for miles and miles along the coast, handbills, offering large rewards for linen cast ashore marked with the initials of the beloved dead; for it so chanced that all the three were of the dearest and the best. One, I believe, an only son, the other the son of a widow. This tragedy nearly killed Elizabeth Barrett. She was utterly prostrated by the horror and the grief, and by a natural but a most unjust feeling that she had been in some sort the cause of this great misery. It was not until the following year that she could be removed in an invalid carriage, and by journeys of twenty miles a day to her afflicted family and her London home. The house that she occupied at Torquay had been chosen as one of the most sheltered in the place. It stood at the bottom of the cliffs almost close to the sea, and she told me herself that during that whole winter the sound of the waves rang in her ears like the moans of one dying. Still she clung to literature and to Greek; in all probability she would have died without that wholesome diversion to her thoughts. Her medical attendant did not always understand this. To prevent the remonstrances of her friendly physician, Dr. Barry, she caused a small edition of Plato to be so bound as to resemble a novel. He did not know, skillful and kind though he were, that to her such books were not an arduous and painful study, but a consolation and a delight. Returned to London she began the life which she continued for so many years, confined to one large and commodious, but darkened chamber, admitting only her own affectionate family and a few devoted friends; (I myself have often joyfully traveled five-andforty miles to see her, and returned the same evening without entering another house ;) reading almost every book worth reading in almost every language, and giving herself heart and soul to that poetry of which she seemed born to be the priestess. Gradually her health improved. About four years ago she married Mr. Browning, and immediately accompanied him to Pisa. They then settled at Florence; and this summer I have had the exquisite pleasure of seeing her once more in London with a lovely boy at her knee, almost as well as ever, and telling tales of Italian rambles, of losing herself in chestnut forests, and scrambling on mule-back up the sources of extinct volcanoes. May Heaven continue to her such health and such happiness."
Though the concluding prayer was uttered half a decade since, it is not too late-whole decades hence may it not be too late-to renew it with a deep Amen.
o'erpassing of a summer cloud; but one who has learned, as only storm-laden sorrow can teach, the possible anguish that human life can entail and human heart endure. By one overmastering affliction,
.God's shadow on her face is laid
But sighs of heart weariness escape ever and anon from the o'er fraught heart that else would break. In no modern poet are these suspiriosa cogitationes more pregnant with meaning. In none are retrospective reveries shadowed forth in greater depth of solemn sadness. We have never seen the recognition their pathos claims awarded to those self-communings in "Night and the Merry Man," for instance, where memory evokes from the past souvenirs of fancy's golden treasures, and of poems delightedly conned in childhood, ere the chilling discovery was made that life is not a poem too:
What are these? more, more than these!
Of voices, whereof but to speak,
Of clasping hands; ah me! wring
Then, the living took you up
and thence, tracing the shades of the prison-house as they close in upon, and well-nigh darken to despair, well-nigh stifle and slay, the mortal that had yet to learn its mortality:
And the full sense of your mortal
OBERT SOUTH, the son of a London merchant, was born at Hackney, in 1633, and was educated under the famous Dr. Busby at Westminster School. Thence he proceeded to Oxford, and, along with John Locke, became a distinguished student at Christ Church, of which Dr. Owen was at that time the dean. Even then he showed the elements of that character to which subsequent years gave development and emphasis; wit and ill
A yet more moving example, to the humor, petulance toward those whom it same effect, is found in "The Fourfold was safe to offend, and considerable adroitness in taking care of himself. His Aspect," beginning with a time when "the worst recorded change was of apple first publication was a congratulatory ode dropped from bough, when love's sorrow seemed more strange than love's treason can seem now:"
to Cromwell at the conclusion of the war with Holland, but as soon as the power of the Independents began to wane, the young churchman grew valiant, and shewed his heroism by insulting Dr. Owen. While there was a prospect of Presbyterian ascendency he flattered the Presbyterians by his invectives against Independency; and when the Restoration divested Prelacy of its dangers he availed himself of an Episcopal ordination which, in 1658, he had obtained from one of the deprived bishops, and came out an ultra-royalist and a reviler of all the sectaries. In 1660 he was chosen University orator. In this capacity he had occasion to present to
Ay, but soon ye woke up shrieking,
And saluted death and sin.
Since your outward man has rallied,
These are but scant glimpses of one or two phases of the "Fourfold Aspect.” Let the reader survey all four aspects, in the original, with the care and feeling they demand, nay, command, and then ask himself if the poem doe not merit 2 higher rank and wider acceptance than is its lot.
DR. SOUTH, THE WIT OF THE
*"Mortal," a Barrettism for mortality. Syncope is a very summary way of turning an adjective into a substantive, pro ré natá.
The expectations of all being then sadly disappointed, they were contented with the divertisement of an anthem, and so the solemnity of the service for that day was ended. In the meantime great care was taken of Mr. South, and by the use of cordials and other means proper for him in that condition, he quickly recovered his spirits, and was every way as well again as before."
It was not by dint of mere assurance, however, that Mr. South "recovered his spirits." He was not in the predicament of a mere coxcomb, who, having pushed upward from his proper place, has fallen and found his level. His vigor of mind and force of expression were already unrivaled among pulpit orators, and, in all probability, the unfinished sermon was enough to convince the good-humored sagacity of King Charles that he had been listening to no ordinary preacher. At any rate, with his strong sense, with his perpetual sparkle of wit, and with a satirical vein, which seemed inexhaustible in its gibes at republicans and fanatics, he suited the taste of his own sovereign as thoroughly as, with his florid grandeur and purple pomp of language, his cotemporary, Bossuet, delighted Louis XIV., and, notwithstanding his embarrassing introduction, the young Oxonian soon made himself at home in the pulpit of Whitehall. Indeed, like the rest of Charles's favorites, he found his royal master so devoid of all true dignity, that he could jest at the king's expense, and some of his sayings are not so remarkable for their point as for their freeand-easy impudence. One day sleep had overtaken part of his audience, including its most illustrious member. Stopping, and changing his voice, he called three times, "My Lord of Lauderdale!" and when the earl woke up, "My lord," said South, "I am sorry to interrupt your repose, but I must beg that you will not snore quite so loud, lest you should awaken his majesty," and then went on with his sermon. However, it would seem that his majesty was wide awake when Dr. South preached his well-known sermon on "The lot cast into the lap;" for, after giving other examples of a remarkable rise from a lowly position, when he came to the late protector," And who that had beheld such a bankrupt, beggarly fellow as Cromwell, first entering the Parliament House with a threadbare, torn cloak and
the comitia for an honorary degree, an officer of distinction, and began in the usual style," Præsento vobis virum hunc bellicosissimum;" that instant some accident made the great warrior turn round, and in the same tone of voice he proceeded, qui nunquam antea tergiversatus est."
His great talents, and the effect with which he delivered his eloquent discourses, attracted the notice of Lord Clarendon, who was Chancellor of Oxford, as well as Lord High Chancellor of England, and in 1661 South was appointed his chaplain. The avenue to preferment was now open before him, and his ambition and selfreliance were keenly alive to the opportunity. But his first appearance before his majesty was by no means auspicious. A sermon "for the times," which he preached before Clarendon, was so spicy and clever that if it could only be presented to the king his patron was sure it would suit the royal palate. Accordingly he obtained for the brilliant preacher an invitation to give the discourse in the Chapel Royal; and, as Anthony à Wood relates, with a fond minuteness, on the authority of some "fanatic" informant, "every one's expectation was heightened; and happy was he or she, among the greatest wits in the town, that could accommodate their humor in getting convenient room in the chapel at Whitehall, to hang upon the lips of this so great an oracle. The day appointed being come, our author ascends the pulpit, and the eyes of all were immediately fastened upon him. After he had performed his obeisance to his majesty he named his text, which was Eccl. vii, 10, 'Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these?' . . . The prohibition in the text he labored to enforce by an induction of particulars. The first was, that the pagan times were not better than these; then the popish times were not, etc. But the last insisted on was, the times of the late rebellion; and while he was endeavoring to evince that, which was, indeed, the main thing that he intended to handle, it pleased God, as the fanatic observed, that he was suddenly taken with a qualm, drops of sweat standing in his face as big as peas, and immediately he lost the use of his speech, only he uttered some few words to this effect, O Lord, we are all in thy hands; be merciful unto us:' and then came down.
greasy hat, (and, perhaps, neither of them paid for,) could have suspected that, in the space of so few years he should, by the murder of one king and the banishment of another, ascend the throne, be invested in the royal robes, and want nothing of the state of a king but the changing of his hat into a crown?" the king was convulsed with laughter, and turning to Laurence Hyde, Lord Rochester, with one of his peculiar ejaculations, he exelaimed "Lory, your chaplain must be a bishop therefore put me in mind of him at the next death."
But South was never made a bishop. In 1663 he was installed Prebendary of Westminster, and in 1670 Canon of Christ Church, and in 1678 he was presented to the rectory of Islip, in Oxfordshire. At the Revolution he was sorely perplexed. He had so often expatiated on the right Divine, and had been so fulsome in his flattery of the Stuarts, that he could hardly be expected to join the invitation to the Prince of Orange; and, with so little to choose between a loathsome Puritanism and an unlovely Popery, he refused to take an active part on either side, but said that he would go into retirement, and give himself to prayer. When he came out of his retirement the Revolution was effected, and William and Mary were safely seated on the throne. To the sovereign de facto South took the oath of allegiance, and, growling out an occasional regret for the good old times of absolutism, he consented to retain his preferment, and reconciled himself, as well as he could, to the evil days of religious toleration and constitutional monarchy. Living to witness the accession of George I., he died July 8, 1716, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, to which his brilliant satire and fierce invective had so often drawn overflowing audiences, and where an elaborate monument still marks the place of his sepulture.
Like Fuller, the name of South is associated with wit, and almost every sermon gleams with scintillations. Sometimes it is a sly hit, or, as he himself would have called it, a "rub" in the by-going as, when ironically apologizing for the imageworship of the papists, he says, “But the image of a Deity may be a proper object for that which is but the image of a religion" or, when quoting a Romish casuist, who says, "It is a truth but lately
known and received in the world, that a lie is absolutely sinful," he adds, "I suppose he means that part of the world where the Scriptures are not read, and where men care not to know what they are not willing to practice." Sometimes the vein is more decidedly comic, as in the abovementioned sermon on "The lot in the lap," where, after mentioning the fortuitous way in which men have acquired a reputation for wisdom, he proceeds, “And as the repute of wisdom, so that of wit is very casual. Sometimes a lucky saying, or a pertinent reply, has procured an esteem of wit to persons otherwise very shallow, and no ways accustomed to utter such things by any standing ability of mind; so that if such a one should have the ill hap at any time to strike a man dead with a smart saying, it ought, in all reason and conscience, to be judged but a chance-medley; the poor man (God knows) being no way guilty of any design of wit." And, not to quote instances where the drollery degenerates to buffoonery, its most legitimate examples are the more latent, where the keen perception of incongruities does not so much provoke a smile, as point the moral, and make the lesson pithy: "The Gospel does not dictate imprudence: no evangelical precept justles out that of a lawful self-preservation. He, therefore, that thus throws himself upon the sword, runs to heaven before he is sent for; where, though perhaps Christ may in mercy receive the man, yet he will be sure to disown the martyr." Love an ungrateful man, and he shall despise you. Commend him, and, as occasion serves, he shall revile you. Give to him, and he shall but laugh at your easiness. Save his life, but, when you have done, look to your own." Speaking of unqualified teachers: “A blind man sitting in the chimney corner, is pardonable enough; but sitting at the helm, he is intolerable. If men will be ignorant and illiterate, let them be so in private, and to themselves, and not set their defects in a high place, to make them visible and conspicuous. If owls will not be hooted at, let them keep close within the tree, and not perch upon the upper boughs."
But no wit is enduring which has not strong sense for its substratum, and our author was gifted with an uncommon share of homely, vigorous, practical wisdom. It was in virtue of this that he burst
through scholastic trammels, and discarding technical phraseology, addressed his audience in plain but energetic English; and it was this which led him to select such proofs and arguments as were likeliest to carry the popular understanding. And it is this which now renders his discourses such a mine of golden thought and sagacious aphorism. As in a mine, so in these sermons, there is many a sharp stone to graze the knuckles, and there is mud enough to soil the fingers; but even amid the most offensive ribaldry, the explorer is constantly rewarded with gems, from which truth flashes like light from the diamond, or in which it is coyly locked up, and kept curiously undulating like a sunbeam imprisoned in opal.
when the busy tempter shall be more than usually apt to vex and trouble him, and the pains of a dying body to hinder and discompose him, and the settlement of worldly affairs to disturb and confound him, and, in a word, all things conspire to make his sick-bed grievous and uneasy; nothing can then stand up against these ruins, and speak life in the midst of death, but a clear conscience. And the testimony of that shall make the comforts of heaven descend upon his weary head, like a refreshing dew or shower upon a parched ground. It shall give him some lively earnest and secret anticipations of his approaching joy. It shall bid his soul go out of the body undauntedly, and lift up its head with confidence before saints and angels. Surely the comfort which it conveys at this season is something bigger than the capacities of mortality-mighty and unspeakable, and not to be understood till it comes to be felt. And now, who would not quit all the pleasures and trash and trifles which are apt to captivate the heart of man, and pursue the greatest rigors of piety and austerities of a good life, to purchase to himself such a conscience as, at the hour of death, when all the friendships of the world shall bid him adieu, and the whole creation turn its back upon him, shall dismiss his soul and close his eyes with that blessed sentence, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!""
But, although there is little pathos, there is no want of warmth and vigor, and the are few things with which we sympathize more heartily than honest indignation. As, for instance, after quoting from Bellarmine the extraordinary proposition, "That if the Pope should, through error or mistake, command vices and prohibit virtues, the Church would be bound in conscience to believe vice to be good and virtue evil," he exclaims, "Good God! that anything that wears the name of a Christian, or but of a man, should venture to own such a villainous, impudent, and blasphemous assertion in the face of the world as this! What! must murder, adultery, theft, fraud, extortion, perjury, drunkenness, rebellion, and the like, pass for good and commendable actions, and fit to be practiced? and mercy, chastity, justice, truth, temperance, loyalty, and sincere dealing, be accounted things utterly evil, immoral, and not to be followed by men, in case the
For South we cannot claim that he possessed an imagination like Taylor, a power of philosophizing like Cudworth and More, a strategic range of vision and a dialectic fairness and prowess like Barrow, still less an erudition like Lightfoot and Pocock, and, least of all, a fervor like Baxter and the hated Puritans; but of all these desirable attributes, or of others equivalent, he possessed a share so respectable that, turned to the best account by a consummate rhetorician, it secured for him a place of enduring eminence in the ranks of pulpit oratory. Of learning he had enough to preserve him from mistakes and solecisms, and to supply the theme in hand with apposite facts and instructive illustrations; and his usual exemption from pedantry ompels us to forgive an occasional quotation from "the fifty-second book of Dion Cassius," or a scrap of Greek from the fifty-seventh epistle of Synesius. Nor have many preachers made a happier use of the materials supplied by mental science. In his remarks on conscience, on ingratitude, on complacency in the sins of other men, there are passages where for a moment he anticipates the masterly grasp and seer-like intuition of Bishop Butler; while of his sermon on "Man in God's Image," it is hardly too much to affirm that nothing had appeared before it in English prose, at once so beautiful in conception and so exquisite in language.
Of tender or gracious feeling there is little trace in Dr. South's lively and eloquent compositions; but there is much of what is usually understood by "unction" in the following close of his sermon on conscience: "At this disconsolate time,