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screams of wounded horses, and the crash | Philip van Artevelde grew more and more of broken timbers. On the night before apprehensive of the supernatural as his cathe fatal battle, a still more ominous appa- reer darkened towards the close. The ration is granted him, the recounting of mind of Elena was but the reflex of his own; which to Elena is worked out with extraor- and their mutual insight into the future is dinary power. We extract a few lines: picturesquely recorded by Froissart.

Artevelde. The gibbous moon was in a wan
decline,

And all was silent as a sick man's chamber.
Mixing its small beginnings with the dregs
Of the pale moonshine and a few faint stars,
The cold uncomfortable daylight dawned;
And the white tents, topping a low ground-fog,
Showed like a fleet becalmed. I wandered far,
Till reaching to the bridge I sate me down
Upon the parapet. Much mused I there,
Revolving many a passage of my life,
And the strange destiny that lifted me
To be the leader of a mighty host,
And terrible to kings. What followed then
I hardly may relate, for you would smile;
And say I might have dreamed as well a-bed
As gone abroad to dream.

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The fight at Rosebecque was fatally mismanaged, and more than twenty thousand of the popular side are said to have fallen. In the dramatic version of the day's events Elena having avenged Philip's death on the recreant Sir Fleureant of Heurlée, is herself killed on the great captain's corpse, in sight of Bourbon, her former treacherous lover. His voice is given for treating the remains of Artevelde with outrage; but this proposal is overruled by the generous Duke of Burgundy, who, while urging the concession of a soldier's funeral, sums up the character of the departed hero:

Dire rebel though he was,
Yet with a noble nature and great gifts
Was he endowed, courage, discretion, wit,
An equal temper and an ample soul,
Rock-bound and fortified against assaults
Of transitory passion; but below
Built on a surging subterranean fire,
That stirred and lifted him to high attempts.
So prompt and capable, and yet so calm,
He nothing lacked in sovereignty but the right,
Nothing in soldiership except good fortune.

These lines furnish a good example of the force and dignity of Mr. Taylor's style. Within quite recent times we have had the blank verse of Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley; of Mr. Tennyson, Mr. Matthew Arnold, and Mr. Henry Taylor. These examples are all of a perfectly distinct character, but all excellent. The last is equable, well sustained, and always vigorous; rising sometimes to a majestic flow of rhythm, and capable of sustaining an unusual weight of sententious apophthegm without being injuriously encumbered. The style is, in a word, the exactly fitting vehicle of the author's great conceptions. Philip van Artevelde is a philosophical poem of the most genuine kind. Mr. Taylor's reflections are not calculated to create a petty surprise, nor to disturb the feelings of a reader belonging to a less liberal school than his own. Sensation, in the acceptation which recent slang has bestowed upon the word, is about the last thing that a perusal of his poems would produce. His liberalism is not the clamorous and reiterated shibboleth of a party; it is the well weighed result of much revolving the thoughts and ways of men. His tone is, perhaps a little in excess, the tone of a scholar, of a writer in the closet. In most,

if not in all, of the plays, with the single | oniacal arts, a charge which (as Turner re-
exception of St. Clement's Eve, there is a marks) gives demonstration of the talents
want of distinct individual life about the mi- and knowledge of the person so accused;
nor characters; the principal figure has been it was by his skill in music that he first won
elaborated and meditated on until it seems the favour of Edred, and he was equally
to cast somewhat too deep a shadow over ingenious in the practice of other rare ac-
the rest. But this is a subject which, in the complishments-writing, painting, and en-
face of such transcendent excellences and graving. Nor has Mr. Taylor omitted to
so much thoroughness of work, we do not notice his fame as a mechanic, introducing
care to pursue further. It is enough to him during his flight at the blacksmith's
say that in reading Mr. Taylor we seem to forge in Hampshire, in the act of giving a
breathe a finer moral atmosphere; and lesson on a improved method of making
one rises from his poems with a confirmed coulters. He was familiar, in short, with
confidence in the worthy and noble uses of the omne scibile of his times, and with a
Art.
great deal more which the mere scholars of
that age, and indeed of any age, would
hardly admit to be scibile at all. By much
painful inward strife he had attained com-
plete mastery over himself; and he had
gradually learned the most difficult lesson
in the world-the secret of swaying the
wills of his fellow men. The whole of his
immense energies were at last interpene-
trated and guided by the single impulse of
devotion to the Church, not merely as a
spiritual authority, but as an institution in
an institution, the idea of which
was ever present to the inner eye of his
soul, but was feebly realized in the world
visibly existing around him. Mr. Taylor
makes him soliloquize thus, while waiting
the arrival of two of his party, the Bishops
of Worcester and Winchester:
The Church is great,
Is holy, is ineffably divine!
Spiritually seen, and with the eye of faith,
The body of the Church, lit from within,
Seems but the luminous phantom of a body:
The incorporeal spirit is all in all,
Eternity à parte post et ante

So drinks the refuse, thins the material fibre
That lost in ultimate tenuity
The actual and the mortal lineaments;
The Church in time, the meagre, definite, bare
Ecclesiastical anatomy,
The body of this death, translates itself,
And glory upon glory swallowing all
Makes earth a scarce distinguishable speck

After an interval of eight years Philip van Artevelde was followed by Edwin the Fair. In selecting a subject from the tenth century, Mr. Taylor wisely allowed himself considerable latitude of treatment. The letter of history being so scanty and doubtful, he resolved to be true at any rate to its spirit. Characteristic incidents from bordering reigns have therefore been included in that of Edwin; and certain events such as the exile of St. Dunstan in Flanders which actually occurred society within that narrow space of time have, for the sake of compression, been omitted. The powerful impulse given to monachism in the tenth century by the spread of the Benedictine discipline throughout Europe was the origin of the collision which took place in Edwin's reign between the crown and the cowl. The feud between regulars and seculars occasioned great national exhaustion, and by far the larger part of the military strength of the country was arrayed on one side or the other. The Danes, who preferred the sack of a monastery to the storming of a castle, were on the alert; the prayer of the Anglo-Saxon liturgy, for deliverance a furore Northmannorum, proved futile to those who had renounced the duty of helping themselves; and the play ends with a rush of the enemy into the very precincts of the cathedral at Malpas, in Cheshire, where funeral rites are being performed over the body of Elgiva.

The stirring, stormy motion of the times has been perfectly conceived by Mr. Taylor, who has transferred the effect to his picture as the accessory colouring of one stupendously powerful central figure. It is on St. Dunstan, of course, that the main interest of the drama is fixed. The vast intellectual energy and acuteness of that extraordinary man can scarcely be over-estimated. He was so far ahead of his contemporaries at court in mathematical

It is this keen inward vision which keeps him always a march in advance of his enemies, and sustains in him that marvellous fertility of resource without which a leader in troubled times is nothing. Ethelwald, Bishop of Winchester, canvassing the prospects of the approaching synod, when the grave question is to be raised whether the

and liberal studies as to be accused of dem-private marriage of Edwin and Elgiva shall

In universal heaven. Such is the Church

As seen by faith; but otherwise regarded,

The body of the Church is searched in vain
To find the seat of the soul; for it is nowhere.
Here are two bishops; but 'tis not in them.

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be ratified by the Church, expresses a fore- | this: that, more than any single historian boding of opposition to the monastic influ- who had appeared before he wrote, he has ence. 'Tis said the synod, when it meets, clothed the figure of the saint with the garb will not be pure, nor of one mind.' To of reality, and made him live, move, and which St. Dunstan unhesitatingly replies: act before our eyes: bringing out in full relief his splendid mental endowments, his 'Tis ignorantly said: I am the synod's mind. magnificent aspirations, his natural tender ness, as shown by his bitter grief on the death of his aged mother

But like other men who have seen farther
than their contemporaries, he reasons him-
self into the persuasion that practical means
must be employed, in order to supplement

My friend - I had but her- no more,
No other upon earth-and as for heaven,
I am as they that seek a sign, to whom

the operations of Providence. The ques-No sign is given. My mother! Oh, my mother

tion of ratifying the king's marriage within the prohibited degrees was one of vital importance to the regulars' cause. Earl Athulf, brother to Elgiva, was already threatening the capital; and Wulfstan the Wise, his aged chaplain, backed by a large muster of secular clergy, was to attend the synod, bringing the earl's conditions. St. Dunstan foresees what will be the natural bent of the majority in the council; to them the ratification will seem to be no great matter in itself, but an easy method of restoring peace. This is not the view of a man who lives rapt in the ideal of an everlasting Church. And as to its eventually becoming the resolution of the synod, cannot that be prevented by timely precaution? He has no misgiving about the voice which inwardly to himself declares the will of God. The problem is, how to cause the synod to hear the same voice manifestly coming from heaven. For the successful solution of this problem he is at length persuaded that Heaven would have him provide; and he provides accordingly.

His speech before the synod begins in a tone of tottering mistrust:

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- together with those darker hues of char acter which fell upon him as the shadow of the age he lived in, and which remind us that, though he was in truth a mighty leader, a son of the genus Deorum, he was a child of the tenth century also.

If Philip Van Artevelde is the greatest of Mr. Taylor's works, and Edwin perhaps the best studied, and the most forcibly impressive, St. Clement's Eve is, beyond question, the most carefully finished. And though departing from chronological sequence, we shall proceed to notice it here, as our space forbids more than a few words on Isaac Comnenus, our author's earliest drama, and on The Virgin Widow (henceforward to be called A Sicilian Summer) which appeared in 1850.

The scenes of St. Clement's Eve are laid

in the year 1407, at a period when political disorder and ecclesiastical schism had combined to reduce society in France to about the worst condition of which the middle ages afford an example. The intermittent madness of Charles VI. le bien-aimé, placed the reins of government nominally in the power of the Council; but they were in reality tossed from hand to hand through the rivalry of Lewis, Duke of Orleans, the king's brother, and Jean Sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy, son to Philippe le Hardi, the king's late uncle. France, as in the vision of Robert the Hermit, resembled — A woman's body, whereupon were perched Two birds, a falcon and a kite, whose heads Bore each a crown, and each had bloody beaks, And blood was on the claws of each, which clasped

This the right breast and that the left, and each

Fought with the other, nor for that they ceased To tear the body.

The central figure in the drama is the 'falcon' of the vision-the Duke of Orleans. Rien si chevaleresque... D'allieurs étoit aimable, agréable et doux dans ses manières, son language étoit facile, raisonnable et séduisant; il savoit s'entretenir mieux qu'au cun prince avec les docteurs et les hommes

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'habiles des conseils du roi.' To complete and most distinctly drawn in all Mr. Taythe concurrent testimony to the fascination lor's compositions. With the further exof the character, in personal beauty he re- ception of Theodora in Isaac Comnenus, sembled his brother (le bien-aimé) and sapi- and of Elena, his female creations fall natebat sicut angelus Domini. In the Convent urally into two groups. There are the of the Celestines in Paris, there is at the blindly, fondly loving-so fondly as to bortime of the play a novice, possessed of won- der on the insipid- Anna Comnena, Roderful grace and beauty, but of the loftiest salba, and (in a less degree) Adriana; and devotion, by name Jolande St. Rémy. A the sarcastically brusque, as Clara van Arretainer of Jean Sans Peur, named Montar- tevelde, Emma, daughter of Wulfstan the gis, the Iago of the play, who has already Wise, and Fiordeliza. Flos is the most hopelessly ensnared Flos de Flavy, Jolande's genuine woman throughout the play, and bosom friend, is possessed with a wanton Clara the noblest female character. Here whim to seize the latter, and forms the de- is her answer to Van Aeswyn, the emissary sign of carrying her off to a distant château of her devoted lover, Sir Walter D'Arlon, of his own, on her return from vespers who begs that she will fly from the famine in the Celestine Chapel in the Rue Bar- and the pestilence of Ghent to one of his bette. Tidings of this villany reached the castles, and ventures to hint that her removal ear of the Duke of Orleans, who disguis- might be a relief to her brother Philip : ing himself and five picked retainers in pilClara. grims' weedsNo, sir, you mistake, meets and baffles the party Knowing nor him nor me: we two have grown of Montargis, whom he disarms and wounds, From birth on my side, boyhood upon his, and having rescued Jolande is himself led Inseparably together, as two grafts captive by the grace and loveliness of her Out of the self-same stock; we've shared alike character. The following are his opening The sun and shower and all that Heaven hath words in the interview which he obtains with her on the day after the affray ;

Once in a midnight 'twas when the war
With Brittany broke out-tired with the din
And tumult of the host, I left the road
And in the distant cloisters of the wood
Dismounted and sat down. The untroubled moon
Kept through the silent skies a cloudless course,
And kissed and hallowed with her tender light
Young leaf and mossy trunk, and on the sward
Black shadows slumbered, softly counterchanged
With silver bars. Majestic and serene,
I said, is Nature's night, and what is Man's?
Then from the secret heart of some recess
Gushed the sweet nocturns of that serious bird
Whose love-note never sleeps. With glad sur-
prise

Her music thrilled the bosom of the wood,
And like an angel's message entered mine.
Why wander back my thoughts to that night-
march?

Can you divine? or must I tell you why?
The world without and world within this precinct
Are to my heart, the one the hurrying march
With riot, outrage, ribaldry, and noise,
Insulting Night- the other deep repose,
That listens only to a love-taught song
And throbs with gentlest joy.

Jolande stands alone among Mr. Taylor's female characters. She is in fact little more than a lay figure, momentarily diverted from the devotion which is the natural life of her spirit by a passion for the duke, but restored to herself during the effort she makes to cure the king's insanity by a miracle, the failure of which hufries on the duke's death and her own. Flos de Flavy, though a slight character, is one of the best

sent us;

I've loved him much and quarrelled with him oft,

And all our loves and quarrels past are links
That no adversary shall e'er dissever.
And I am useful, too; he'll tell you that
We Arteveldes were made for times like these;
The Deacon of the Mariners said well
That we are of such canvas as they use
To make storm-stay sails. I have much in charge
And I'll stand by him and abide the worst.
Aeswyn. Then must I tell Sir Walter that
you never

Clara. Alas, poor D'Arlon! did I then say

'never'?

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The Eve of Pentecost, when he was seen
At midnight in the Rue des Ursulins
Ranging and whirling round and round the
gibbet;

6

Whiles the dead bodies, swinging in the wind,
Sang Ave Sathanas!' That too he'll deny.
Passac. As I'm a Christian man, sirs, it is
false.
Father Betizac. I told you so; I knew he
would deny it.

Passac. At midnight on the Eve of Pentecost
I was at nocturns in the Chapel Royal.
2nd Citizen. Oh monstrous liar! I saw thee cause of one man?

with mine eyes

Ranging and scouring round about the gibbet, At midnight chimes; yea, with mine eyes I saw thee.

Thou hadst put on the body of a cur,
A cock-tail'd cur.

Two monks in Edwin the Fair, conversing about St. Dunstan in the monastery of Sheen, are scarcely more rational:

And the popular impeachment of Isaac
Comnenus is written with great cleverness

in the same vein:

Cæsar, and holds your clubs are no better than oaten straws, and will not frighten the flies from lighting on your noses. But mark you thisDid Cæsar ever consort with wicked magians? Did Cæsar ever hit St. Basil in the eye?

Citizens. No, no.

1st Citizen. And though I think he be neither a saint nor a martyr, yet I'll be bound for him he was no blood-thirsty heretic. Why then, if Cæsar was no heretic, a heretic can be no Cæsar. And look ye, what I say is this,— shall all Constantinople be starved to death be

Isaac Comnenus, though overloaded with

Twice he cough'd

1st Monk. He slept two hours -no more; sententious speeches, and cumbered with a then raised his head, very ill digested scheme of action, is one of And said, Methinks it raineth.' the most remarkable first works that have 2nd Monk. ever been produced. The hero, Isaac, who And then he spat. is a blighted man before he appears on the 1st Monk. He raised himself and said scene, says virtually in every deed and 'Methinks it raineth,'-pointing with his hand. movement The word was even as though an angel's tongue Had spoken, and when I look'd it rain'd apace. I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by

despair.

All. We know it. We know it. 1st Citizen. Ay, and you know too the holy image of the blessed St. Basil, in the niche over the monks of St. Conon's gate. Now this Comnenus, no farther back than one night I know not when, riding past like a madman with two or three more such heathen pagan knights from over-sea, puts me his lance in the rest with the butt end to the onset, and drives it two inches and a half into St. Basil's eye.

2nd Monk. Anathema esto!

1st Citizen. But they'll tell you, they of the green faction, that he's a very Socrates, a second

All. Never, never. Burn his house. Cut his throat.

1st Citizen. Then look ye, what I say is this, if he be not already fled forth the city gates

Citizens. Stop him, seize him, secure the gates.

2nd Monk. Smite him hip and thigh, hew him in pieces before the Lord.

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know not.

1st Citizen. But how did Comnenus bring it about, answer me that? -You're dumb,-ye Now hear me. You all know that some years by-gone this Comnenus was out in the Persian war, fighting in as Christian-like a manner as I myself or any of you. Now mark; after he was taken prisoner, there comes to

He has lost his early love, Irene, and is now, to use his own expression, riding his heart with spurs'; in which mood he is persecuted by the passionate attachment of Theodora, daughter of the reigning Emperor Nicephorus, who like another Scylla — would gladly make common cause with the foe of her tottering sire. steadily rejects her advances; and, in the family, when the moody Isaac has handed moment of triumph for the Comnenian over the reins of empire to his younger and more popular brother, Alexius-when

He

him in his tent one evening an old man, wrapped

in a flowing mantle, and holding, look ye, a cup in one hand and a mighty volume in the other. He was as wicked a magian as you shall see in all Persia; and he said to him, look ye, he said the aged patriarch is dead, and the de. . . . by the sweat of St. Isidore I have for-posed Nicephorus has perished in prison gotten what he said. But ever since, this Com- by his own hand-she seeks an interview nenus has been one of your bloody schismatics with the man who has set her aside, and and heretical murdering villains. stabs him in the heart. There is something about the tragedy of Isaac Comnenus which reminds one more forcibly of the unflinching Nemesis in the Greek dramatists than of any modern conception. The fall of Isaac after the successful capture of Constantinople and the magnanimous rejection of power on his own behalf, if it resembles anything in art at all, can only be likened in its suddenness and its horror to the fall of Agamemnon after the capture of Troy.

The motto of Leviore plectro has been justly prefixed to A Sicilian Summer

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