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scanty support by “ French translation and Italian song." We heartily hope, that the bard of “ Paradise Lost” will do better for his translator than he did for himself, and that M. de Chateaubriand will put more than five pounds in his pocket by his literary labor.

Art. III. - The Poems of Richard MONCKTON Milnes,

Author of " Memorials of a Tour in Greece.” In Two Volumes. London : Edward Moxon. 1838. Svo. pp. xvi. 208 and xii. 166.

The external appearance of these volumes is attractive beyond the usual splendor of the London press, and indicates their connexion with the delicacies of English high life. The author everywhere makes known, in prefaces, dedications, and verses, his aristocratic standing ; and, as might be expected, his works receive not a little of their character and coloring from this circumstance. Many of the pieces are connected with his own personal history, or that of his fainily and friends ; many are suggested by scenes in his own and foreign lands; and some have that ambiguous air of halfreal, half-fictitious, which renders it doubtful to the reader, whether they have any true meaning or not. Being mostly occasional, there is none of any considerable length. The first volume bears the title, “Poems of Many Years" ; the second, that of " Memorials of a Residence on the Continent, and Historical Poems.”

Among the latter no small number seem to have been written in imitation of Wordsworth's historical pieces, and, like many of them, are merely rhymed prose. It is surprising, that men can go on writing sonnets à-propos to every thing, with a fancy, that, because there are fourteen lines strung together by rule, therefore there is poetry. Others of these pieces have a good deal of sweetness and grace, marked by a love of nature, an affectionate sympathy with suffering, and a devotedness to friends and kindred, which are altogether amiable and winning. They give the feeling, that the author is a man of great gentlemanliness of character, of a contemplative turn of mind, elegant in his tastes, and fitted to be loved by those near him ; but a poet more by circumstance, study, and imitation, than by native enthusiasm, or original fancy. Accordingly, his poetry, while possessing unusual merits of a certain kind, is yet defective and ineffectual from the want of the poetic soul. It wants impulse and glow. It is elaborate, elegant, stately, and sonorous in form and movement, generous, moral, and devout in sentiment, bearing with it an air of philosophical pretension, and shaded by a gentle touch of melancholy. But there is a frequent want of ease, and a straining after what is original and striking both in sentiment and diction, which turn the pleasure of perusal into laborious effort.

The reader is not borne on by the current, but is obliged to bend his mind with an effort, and make a study of the verses. The poem, entitled “ The Marvel of Life,” will illustrate and justify these general remarks.

“O Life! how like the common breathed air,
Which is thy outward instrument, thou liest
Ever about us, with sustaining force,
In the calm current of our usual days
Unfelt, unthought of; nay, how dense a crowd
Float on upborne by thy prolific stream,
Even to the ridges of the eternal sea,
Spending profuse the passion of their mind
On every flower that gleams on either bank,
On every rock that bends its rugged brow,
Conscious of all things, only not of thee.
Yet some there are, who, in their greenest youth,
At some rare hours, have known the dazzling light
Intolerable, that glares upon the soul,
In the mere sense of Being, and grown faint
With awe, and striven to press their folded hands
Upon their inner eyes, and bowed their heads,
As in the presence of a mighty Ghost,
Which they must feel, but cannot dare to see.
It is before me now, that fearful truth,
That single solitary truth, which hangs
In the dark heaven of our uncertainties,
Seen by no other light than its own fire,
Self-balanced, like the Arab Magian's tomb,
Between the inner and the outer World ; -
How utterly the wretched shred of Time,
Which in our blindness we call Human Life,

Is lost with all its train of circumstance,
VOL. XLIX. - NO. 105.


And appanage of after and before,
In this eternal present ; that we Are,
No When, - no Where, - no How, — but that we Are, -
And nought besides ; — Nor when our dazed sight,
Weaned from its first keen wonder, learns to fix
The surer and more reasonable gaze
Of calm, concentrated philosophy
On this intense idea, have we gained
One instant's raising of the sacred veil,
One briefest glimpse into the sanctuary. -
We grasp at words, and find them meaningless,
Bind thoughts together that will not be bound,
But burst asunder at the very time
We hold them closest, - find we are awake
The while we seem to dream, and find we dream
The while we seem to be the most awake ;
And thus we are thrown on from sea to sea.
Can we take up the sparkles of choice light,
That dance upon the ruffled summer waters,
And make them up to one coherent sun ?
Can we transform the charred and molten dust
Into its elemental diamond ?
And, tho' thus impotent, we yet dare hope,
From this embased form, half earth, half heaven,
Of most imperfect fragmentary nature,
These scant materials of dethroned power,
This tarnisht Beauty, marred Divinity,
To fabricate a comprehensive scheme
Of absolute Existence, — to lay open
The knowledge of a clear concordant Whole,
And penetrate, with foully-scaled eyes,
The total scope, and utmost distances,
Of the Creations of the Living God.

“ He was a bitter Mocker, that old Man
Who bade us' know ourselves,' yet not unwise ;
For though the science of our Life and Being
Be unattained and unattainable
By these weak organs, though the athlete mind,
Hardened by practice of unpausing toil,
And fed to manhood with robustest meats,
Never can train its sinews strong enough
To raise itself from off the solid ground,
To which the mandate of creating Will
Has bound it ; though we all must patient stand,

Like statues on appointed pedestals,
Yet we may choose (since choice is given) to shun
Servile contentment or ignoble fear,
In the expression of our attitude ;
And with far-straining eyes, and hands upcast,
And feet half-raised, declare our painful state,
Yearning for wings to reach the fields of Truth,
Mourning for wisdom, panting to be free.”

- Vol. 1. pp. 117 - 120. There is much that is fine in this, — the pomp of the numbers, the imposing solemnity of the tone, the richness of some of the imagery ; yet it clearly lies open to the exceptions we have made.

66 The Papal Benediction, from St. Peter's” might be quoted as particularly characteristic, - a fine subject finely treated. It is, on the whole, a noble and sonorous ode. The grand introductory swell is, however, interrupted and ruined by a harsh change from the present to the past tense in the third stanza, which stops the reader abruptly, and puts him on thinking and puzzling in order to make out the sense. The seven closing stanzas roll upon the ear majestically, and touch the chord of the sublime ; but they do not bear critical scrutiny.

“ Higher than ever lifted into space,

Rises the soveran dome, –
Into the Colonnade's immense embrace

Flows all the life of Rome ;

“ The assembled peasants of a hundred mountains,

Beneath the Sun's clear disk,
Behold that peerless Whole of radiant Fountains, –

Exorcised Obelisk, —

" And massive Front, from whose high ridge outslanted,

A spacious awning fell ;
The swaying breadth each gazer's breast enchanted

To follow its slow swell.

" Why are they met in their collective might,

That earnest multitude ?
Is it to vindicate some injured right,

By threat and clamor rude ?

“ To watch with tip-toe foot and eager eye

Some mere device of Pride, Meaningless pomp of regal vanity

The void of Truth to hide ?

To feed some popular lust which cautious power

Would, for wise ends, restrain,
Not bartering to the passion of an hour

What ages toiled to gain ?

Thanks, thanks to Heaven, that in these evil days,

Days of hard hearts and cold,
Days where no love is found in all our ways,

Where Man is overbold,

“ And loathes all tender, mutual offices,

And nothing old reveres,
Unwilling to be seen upon his knees,

Ashamed of his own tears,

“ My soul the gracious privilege of this sight,

This priceless sight, has won,
A people of too simple faith to slight

A Father's benison ;

“ Not in low flattery, not in selfish dread,

Before one meek old man,
A people, a whole people, prostrated,

Infant and veteran,

By that High-Priest in prelude of deep prayer

Implored and sanctified,
The benediction of paternal care

Can never be denied.

“ Most surely from that narrow gallery,

The oriflamme unfurled, Shelters within its grand benignity

Rome and the orbed world.

“ The faintest wretch may catch the dew that falls

From those anointed lips,
And take away a wealth ihat never palls,

A joy without eclipse.

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