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Asleep, yet lending half an ear
To travellers on the Portsmouth road ;-
Mark'd with a stone, thy last abode !
Arnold would seem to have been a second Walter Scott in his love of dogs. What can be finer than his picture of the lost collie, who has come on market-day to town with his master, but has parted company with him in the crowded streets, and wears himself out running hither and thither looking for his owner? It is a touching passage, and graphically true to life.
Like as a farmer who hath lost his dog
But home his master comes to his own farm,
Besides Geist's Grave Arnold has another poem devoted to praise of a dog-Kaiser Dead. This is in a more facetious vein, "a plain stave," as suiting the subject, for Kaiser was a deception, notwithstanding his imperial cognomen. Bought as a
Dachshund, which his mother certainly was, this dog, as he grew up from puppyhood, began to disclose a collie ancestry, evidenced by his restless eye and his curling tail, but he was a faithful and affectionate friend for all his mongrel blood, and the poet's delineation of him is very effective, although it does not move to tears as the recital of Geist's virtues does.
Soon, soon the days conviction bring:
The tail's indomitable ring,
The eye's unrest
The case was clear; a mongrel thing
Thine eye was bright, thy coat it shone ;
A fit! all's over;
And thou art gone where Geist hath gone,
Such is Nature in Matthew Arnold. her well, and the contemplation of her ways brightened his life, and partly reconciled him to face the pessimism which he found in man's earthly lot. He hesitated as to the certainty of a future life; he therefore strove to take as much real joy from the present as he could. What he put into
the mouth of Empedocles, just before the final plunge into Etna's crater, might have been his own personal utterance.
Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;
To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes
That we must feign a bliss
Of doubtful future date,
And while we dream on this,
Lose all our present state,
And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose ?
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL AS NATURALIST
APART from his Biglow Papers, the caustic wit and keen satire of which are well known to English readers, this American author's poetry has not received the recognition it deserves. Although a poet of genuine quality, and one who gave utterance to many felicitous and original lines, he suffers from a general verbosity and diffuseness and lack of proportion. Perhaps he wrote too much; at all events it is certain that when he hit upon a good subject he often marred his treatment of it by over-elaborate introduction. He dallied too long in the entry. He had not learned that in poetry the half is greater than the whole. He once wrote: "One word with blood in't 's twice ez good ez two," but he sometimes forgets his own dictum. Endowed with phenomenal fluency and great skill in rhyming, he could spin verses by the yard. He is therefore apt to go on spinning long
after he has exhausted the patience of the reader. His fatal facility costs him many admirers. An Indian Summer Reverie is a fine subject and contains fine thoughts and striking expressions, but he does not know when to stop. It is overdone. This is the sort of defect that comes to a man who has no sense of humour, but that cannot be said of Lowell, and the cause of the weakness must be found elsewhere. Yet he wrote much that is delightful and charming, full of healthy, breezy optimism, wholesome and ennobling. He needs a Matthew Arnold of to-day to edit him and make a good selection of his verse. It is the only way to preserve his poetry as such from oblivion. We must always except The Biglow Papers, which stand by themselves unrivalled as a piquant and telling exposure of humbug" in politics.
We are here concerned only with Lowell as a Nature poet, and we have chosen him to conclude the present series because he is particularly rich in the kind of lore for which we have been searching the poetry of the nineteenth century; moreover, the fact that he is an American will give a certain variety to the subject, since plant and bird life on the other side of the Atlantic are in some respects different from what we are accustomed to in our