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Black Prince (5): of Richard II, with the wars of York and Lancaster, the murder of Henry VI (the meek usurper), and of Edward V and his brother (6). He turns to the glory and prosperity following the accession of the Tudors (7), through Elizabeth's reign (8): and concludes with a vision of the poetry of
Shakespeare and Milton. 136 cxxi 1. 13 Glo'ster: Gilbert de Clare, con-in-law to Edward.
Mortimer, one of the Lords Marchers of Wales. 137 1. 21 Arvon : the shores of Carnarvonshire opposite
1. 9 She-wolf: Isabel of France, adulterous Queen of
Edward II. 139
Towers of Julius: the Tower of London, built in part, according to tradition, by Julius Caesar. L. 13 bristled boar: the badge cf Richard III. L. 19 Half of thy heart : Queen Eleanor died soon after the conquest of Wales. L.
29 Arthur: Henry VII named his eldest son thus, in deference to British
feeling and legend. 141 CXXV The Highlanders called the battle of Culloden, Dru
mossie. 142 cxxvi lilting, singing blithely: loaning, broad lane : bughts,
pens : scorning, rallying : dowie, dreary: daffin' and gabbin', joking and chatting : leglin, milkpail : shearing, reaping : bandsters, sheaf-binders : lyart, grizzled : runkled, wrinkled : fleeching, coaxing: gloam
ing, twilight: bogle, ghost : dool, sorrow. 144 cxxvIII The Editor has found no authoritative text of this
poem, in his judgment superior to any other of its class in melody and pathos. Part is probably not later than the seventeenth century : in other stanzas a more modern hand, much resembling Scott's, is traceable. Logan's poem (cxxvii) exhibits a knowledge rather of the old legend than of the old verses. —- Hecht, promised : the obsolete hight: mavis, thrush : ilka, every : lav'rock, lark : haughs, valley-meadows: twined, part
ed from : marrow, mate : syne, then. 146 cxxix The Royal George, of 108 guns, whilst undergoing a
partial careening in Portsmouth Harbour, was overset about 10 A.M. Aug. 29, 1782. The total loss was believed to be near 1000 souls.
Page No. 147 cxxxi A little masterpiece in a very difficult style : Catullus
himself could hardly have bettered it. In grace, tenderness, simplicity, and humour it is worthy of the Ancients; and even more so, fro:n the completeness
and unity of the picture presented. 154 cxxxvi Perhaps no writer who has given such strong proo's
of the poetic nature has left less satisfactory poetry than Thomson. Yet he touched little which he did not beautify: and this song, with “Rule Britannia and a few others, must make us regret that he did not more
seriously apply himself to lyrical writing. 156 cxl 1. 1 A eolian lyre : the Greeks ascribed the origin of
their Lyrical Poetry to the colonies of Aeolis in Asia
Minor. 157 1. 15 Thracia's hills: supposed a favourite resort of
Mars. Feather'd king (l. 19) the Eagle of Jupiter,
Rome and of England. 160
15 Theban Eagle: Pindar. 163 cxli 1. i chaste-eyed Queen: Diana. 164 cxlii Attic warbler: the nightingale. 167 cxliv sleekit, sleek : bickering brattle, flittering flight : Page No.
laith, loth : pattle, ploughstaff: whyles, at times : a daimen icker, a corn-ear now and then: thrave, shock : lave, rest : foggage, aftergrass : snell, biting : but hald, without dwelling-place: thole, bear: cranreuch, hoarsrost: thy lane, alone : a-gley, off the right
line, awry. 171 cxlvii Perhaps the noblest stanzas in our language. 176 cxlviii stoure, dust-storm : braw, smart. 177 cxlix scaith, hurt: tent, guard : steer, molest. 179 CLI
drumlie, muddy : birk, birch. 181 CLII greet, cry: daurna, dare nol. - There can hardly
exist a poem more truly tragic in the highest sense than this : nor, except Sappho, has any Poetess known
to the Editor equalled it in excellence. CLIII fou, merry with drink : coost, carried : unco skeigh,
very proud : gart, forced : abeigh, aside : Ailsa Craig,
a rock in the Firth of Clyde : grat his een bleert, cried till his eyes were bleared : lowpin, leaping : linn, waterfall : sair, sore : smoor'd, smothered : crouse and
canty, blythe and gay. 182 CLIV Burns justly named this 'one of the most beautiful
songs in the Scots or any other language.' One verse, interpolated by Beattie, is here omitted :-- it contains two good lines, but is quite out of harmony with the original poem. Bigonet, little cap: probably altered
from beguinette : thraw, twist : caller, fresh. 184 CLV airts, quarters : row, roll: shaw, small wood in a
hollow, spinney: knowes, knolls. 185 CLvi jo, sweetheart : brent, smooth : pow, head. 136 clvii leal, faithful : fain, happy. 187 clviii Henry VI founded Eton. 194 CLXI The Editor knows no Sonnet more remarkable than
this, which, with clxii, records Cowper's gratitude to the Lady whose affectionate care sor many years gave what sweetness he could enjoy to a life radically wretched. Petarch's sonnets have a more ethereal grace and a more perfect finish ; Shakespeare's more passion; Milton's stand supreme in stateliness, Wordsworth's in depth and delicacy. But Cowper's unites with an exquisiteness in the turn of thought which the ancients would have called Irony, an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature. — There is much mannerism, much that is unimportant or of now exhausted interest in hi; poems : but where he is great, it is with that elementary greatness which rests on the most universal human feelings. Cowper is our highest master in
simple pathos. 197 clxii fancied green: cherished garden. 198 CLXIV Nothing except his surname appears recoverable with
regard to the author of this truly noble poem. It should be noted as exhib ting a rare excellence, the climax of simple sublimity.
It is a lesson of high instructiveness to examine the essential qualities which give first-rate poetical rank to lyrics such as ‘To-morrow' or 'Sally in our Alley,' when compared with poems written (if the phrase may be allowed) in keys so different as the subtle sweetness of Shelley, the grandeur of Gray and Milton, or the delightsul Pastoralism of the Elizabethan verse. Intelligent readers wiil gain hence a clear understanding of the vast imaginative range of Poetry; - through what wide oscillations the mind and the taste of a nation may pass ;- how many are the roads which Truth and Nature open to Excellence.
Summary of Book Fourth
It proves sufficiently the lavish wealth of our own age in Poetry, that the pieces which, without conscious departure from the standard of Excellence, render this Book by far the longest, were with very few exceptions composed during the first thirty years of the nineteenth century.
Exhaustive reasons can hardly be given for the strangely sudden appearance of individual genius : but none, in the Editor's judgment, can be less adequate than that which assigns the splendid national achievements of our recent poetry to an impulse from the frantic follies and criminal wars that at the time disgraced the least essentially civilized of our foreign neighbours. The first French Revolution was rather, in his opinion, one resuit, and in itself by no means the most important, of that far wider and greater spirit which through enquiry and doubt, through pain and triumph, sweeps mankind round the circles of its gradual development: and it is to this that we must trace the literature of modern Europe. But, without more detailed discussion on the motive causes of Scott, Wordsworth, Campbell, Keats, and Shelley, we may observe that these Poets, with others, carried to further perfection the later tendencies of the Century preceding, in simplicity of narrative, reverence for human Passion and Character in every sphere, and impassioned love of Nature :that, whilst maintaining on the whole the advances in art made since the Restoration, they renewed the half-forgotten melody and depth of tone which marked the best Elizabethan writers :that, lastly, to what was thus inherited they added a richness in language and a variety in metre, a force and fire in narrative, a tenderness and bloom in feeling, an insight into the finer passages of the Soul and the inner meanings of the landscape, a larger and wiser Humanity, - hitherto hardly attained, and perhaps unattainable even by predecessors of not inferior individual gen ius. In a word, the Nation which, after the Greeks in their glory, has been the most gifted of all nations for Poetry, expressed in these men the highest strength and prodigality of its nature. They interpreted the age to itself — hence the many phases of thought and style they present :- to sympathize with each, fervently and impartially, without fear and without fancifulness, is no doubtsul step in the higher education of the Soul. For, as with the Affections and the Conscience, Purity in Taste is absolutely proportionate to Strength :- and when once the mind has raised itself to grasp and to delight in Excellence, those who love most will be found to love most wisely. Page No. 200 CLXVI stout Cortez: History requires here Balbóa : (A.T.)
may be noticed, that to find in Chapman's Homer the 'pure serene' of the original, the reader must bring with him the imagination of the youthful poet - he must be 'a Greek himself,' as Shelley finely saiu
of Keats. 206 clxix The most tender and true of Byron's smaller poems. clxx This poem, with ccxxxvi, exemplifies the peculiar
skill with which Scott employs proper names : — nor
is there a surer sign of high poetical genius. 227 cxc! The Editor in this and in other instances has risked
the addition (or the change) of a Title, that the aim of the verses following may be grasped more clearly and
immediately. 235 cxcviu Nature's Eremite: like a solitary thing in Nature.
- This beautiful Sonnet was the last word of a poet deserving the title 'marvellous boy'in a much higher sense than Chatterton.
If the fulfilment may ever safely be prophesied from the promise, England appears to have lost in Keats one whose gists in Poetry have rarely been surpassed. Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth, had their lives been closed at twenty-five, would (so far as we know) have left poems of less excellence and hope than the youth who, from the petty school and the London surgery, passed at once to a place with them of 'high collateral glory.' It is impossible not to regret that Moore has written so little in this sweet and genuinely national style. A masterly example of Byron's command of strong thought and close reasoning in verse :-- as the next is equally characteristic of Shelley's wayward intensity, and civ of the dramatic power, the vital identi