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A LEGACY OF VERSE.
From The Spectator.
is often the fullest life. Fragility is not de-
The wave of life seems to leap and fall in
Ir is painful work making acquaintance for the first time with a mind of rare genius and sweetness which has already and only just left us, and yet left us before its promise had passed into anything like full and adequate performance. There are many of the little poems in this volume which ought to live, which have the breath of true genius in them, and which merely to have entered. into should be enjoyment. Yet it is impossible even for an absolute stranger, like the present writer, who had never even heard of the author or read one of the verses in the volume till they appeared in this posthumous publication, to read them without feeling throughout the melancholy of something like a personal loss. This arises partly from the delicately pencilled personal character stamped upon the poems, and on the few extracts from Miss Williams's letters We are not going to compare these beauwhich Mr. Plumptre has given us in his brief but most effective preliminary sketch, and partly, no doubt, from the constantly tiful poems of Miss William's to Shelley's. moreover, convey a very false notion of the recurring notes of fragility which are to be That would be unjust to her, and would, true drift and bent of her genius. But they found in almost all the most beautiful which seem generally also the most hasty of these poems, and which give to nearly are like his in this, and in this alone, that every one of them the tone of a hurried almost all of them have about them what though pathetic farewell. In one of Keble's Mr. Arnold, speaking of Shelley, calls "the unconscious fragility. They all tremble letters which Sir J. T. Coleridge quotes in lovely wail" of a half conscious and half his recently published life, Keble makes a not the frayed but tenacharacteristic remark on the attaching char- with a kind of distant and airy plaintiveness, yielding sadness, acter of ill-health, observing that it is almost not the enduring kind of sadness, but the heartbreaking, "because it gets stronger as Wordsworth's, whose saddest tones have a hope gets less." This remark was made cious string of such a harp as Scott's or own marriage, twenty years before his which, however, as Sir J. T. Coleridge ob-resonance of terrestrial strength and fortiserves, certainly illustrated it. Now there tude about them, but the delicate and ghostis something of a similar kind of fascination ly melancholy that seems to be attained only in a certain class of poems, not of course be- by virtue of the attenuation of the chord, bodied music to hover over cause they convey an appeal for help, we and through the tendency of a half disemdoubt very much if that is the true attrac- that are near their hour of breaking. Yet tion of even physical feebleness, cause the mere impression of fragility adds Miss Williams's gaiety and humour are not a fresh beauty to that which is beautiful; the less remarkable than her melancholy, but all mere sense of transience, the shadow of com- are of the same kind, all have the tendering withdrawal, the presentiment of loss, ness and pathos that seem just to touch this adds not only a new keenness to the in- world from some point behind and beyond sight with which we enter into the vanishing it. As an illustration of what we have said, called "Questionings" and "Responses," gleam, but gives also a new softness to the take almost any of the beautiful poems beauty itself, the softness of gentle masculine and all the tenderness of a femiation, of that thrill which makes no demand which seem to contain all the boldness of a on the attention, but carries it all the more by the involuntary vibration the sinking cadence leaves behind. All poetry, if it be poetry at all, must be full of life; but there is no paradox in saying that life departing
nine spirit; but this especially, which is, perhaps, the most lovely of them all:
dust lies dead;
When the cloud is scattered, the rainbow's
When the lute is broken, sweet tones are re-
When the lips have spoken, loved accents are
* Twilight hours: a Legacy of Verse. By Sarah Williams. With a Memoir by E. H. Plumptre, M.A. London: Strahan.
"SORROW AND SIGHING SHALL FLEE AWAY.'-THE PROPHET ISAIAHI.
Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing,
Out of a world where the flowers lie dying, Out of a world where all flesh is grass? Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing, Dear as the autumn, and fair as the rain.
"Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing, Will they then cease, and our souls grow dull? Sluggishly somnolent, torpidly lying,
Lapped in the calm of a deep sea lull? Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing, Should we not long for the thundering main?
"Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing,
All to be done, and our tears gone dry; Never a thought o'er the boundary flying,
Never a grasp as the clovds swing by, Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing, All faded out, nothing left to restrain.
"Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing,
What would our days be cut off from these? If, at the fairy mart, we were life buying, Should we not choose them, past things that please? Sorrow and sighing, sorrow and sighing,— Take what you will, only leave us our pain."
The couplet in the third verse,
"Never a thought o'er the boundary flying Never a grasp as the clouds swing by,"
has the far-away ring of true spiritual detachment,' something of the moan of the waves of another world breaking on the hard shore of the visible and finite.
But this, though one of the most beautiful of these unfinished but wonderful lyrics will by no means convey to our readers a fair conception of the poet's originality of imagination, of the boldness with which she deals with conceptions that would seem anything but native to an English girl's imagination. Take, now, this, which we might almost call, in some humble sense, a companion to the Poet Laureate's " Northern Farmer," not, of course, that it involves anything like the same grasp of detail or the same complete dramatic knowledge of the class depicted. But Miss Williams skilfully avoided the necessity for this by giving to her yeoman's dying thoughts just a faint touch of fever and delirium, just that vagrancy of mind which renders it impossible to expect that he would paint his standard of life so minutely as Tennyson's farmer paints his. Also, she has chosen a rough mind of a higher strain than the Northern Farmer, a mind evidently often visited by gleams of spiritual light. On the whole, her picture is sufficiently vivid and striking:
If they would but be still for a moment until I | But, as we have said, it is impossible for us
even to refer to the innumerable indications of originality, sweetness, and power in this little volume.
And not thrust in their sighing while I am at talk with the King.
"Well, what is it you want, then, Kezia? speak
quickly, my girl!
Say good-bye to us, father; nor mutter like this, in your sleep.' Little lass! she is tender and fair, and the boys are good boys; I must help them from yonder. Good-bye, lass! Good-bye, boys, Good-bye! The condition of mind implied in the fine line,
"And the poverty is such a kingship becomes him so well!"
is, it will be seen, as strikingly opposed as possible to the pure worship of the land, the conscientia' which is adstricta gleba of Tennyson's hero. But if we go on extracting all that seems to us the product of true genius in the volume we should print nearly half of it, and we should have to do so merely to show the striking variety of mood and poetical conception it contains. What a range of conception, from the first fine piece called "Baal," the idea of which is to paint the changing attitude of man towards the powers of evil as the world grows older, and the corresponding change in the voice of God as it pleads with man, to the exquisite little children's poems, such as "Marjory's Wedding" and "Crutch, the Judge," which show the divine light play ing on children's nature with a spiritual truth, as it seems to us, infinitely superior to the highest touches in Mr. Keble's beautiful but comparatively artificial Lyra Innocentium. For mere force of diction take the following verse:
'Darkness, dumbness, fall on us
"Yesterday I saw the sunset over the fields; there was such a curious bright peacefulness over everything, the cool clear grey and blue of the sky, joined to the low green hills by a crimson line, where the sun had flung back a parting resurgam before he sank.” "In this delicious weather one must keep out all
day; this afternoon the sunset colours on the sea were oxquisite, and the sky scenery magnificent
"Is it so, O Christ in heaven! that the highest
little gem-like bits of darkest blue set in snowy curled cumuli, and lead-grey nimbus. Of course it is utterly impossible to describe this sort of thing; but I suppose one's instinct of speech is ineradicable. Talking of instincts, I public is one almost universal. The few children fancy the desire for some kind of audience or selves prosaically enough; but a grown-up there are on the sands now, play among themlooking tolerably good-tempered, and may at person has only to sit down amongst them, once enliven them into attempting wonderful
That the strongest wander furthest and more
And the anguish of the singer makes the sweet-feats, casting up droll little glances in search of a ness of the strain?"
smile of approbation or amusement. I think, with children at least, that it is partly the unselfish desire to give pleasure. They like gath
Or read the debate between "the sisters" as to the preciousness to them of their past griefs (pp. 129-131), and its exqui-ering shells or doing anything for anybody. I sitely pathetic conclusion; or the lovely lyr- hear dismal accounts of east winds in London; ic called "Departed:" or the previous one, rate. They keep arriving in long V-like lines. but the swallows believe in the spring, at any headed "Domine, Dirige Nos," with its How tame they are when they first come! One wonderfully dramatic climax, alighted nearly at my feet this morning and stood looking at me with the most charming air of disdain imaginable. Then he perched on a lump of chalk, and gave his greeting to the land in a little low song-only two or three notesbut wonderfully clear and sweet. The gaunt old
sudden roughnesses, failures, flaws, but there
But we cannot turn from these poems without real regret. As they constitute, we suppose, at least the substance of Miss Williams's claim to rank among English poets, a claim which can now never become strong er than it is, we cannot close without pain a volume which is, at the present day, we fear, insufficient in amount to give her such rank, — it was not so once, for Gray's claim rests upon as little, we think, in quantity, on poetry of far narrower scope, and containing far less play of light and thought, though, we admit, on far more perfect workmanship and execution, and yet a volume which proves completely, to our apprehension, that she had ample genius, with a few years longer of life, to have established it.
will and in the interest of individual senators. This is one result of the operation of the system adopted by General Jackson, and which is expressed in the maxim promalgated and adopted as a rule of action, if not first uttered by him, "To the victors belong the spoils." Senators have claimed and exercised the right of saying not only who should not, but who should, be made clerks in the Treasury, postmasters, inspectors of the customs, collectors of internal revenue. They have presented lists, and said, "Find places for these men, or you will have trouble when you want my vote upon the great measures and the great appointments of the Administration. If my supporters and party friends are not taken care of, I am not to be counted upon to support party measures." They have traded conditions expressed or implied, and genwith each other in these petty offices on the erally expressed, "If you will grind my axe, will grind yours." And it must be confessed that in this respect their honour has been almost unimpeachable. The consequence has been that every Senator has had a crowd of followers, a horde of political hangers-on; and inevitably these men have been in the mass the least valuable and the least trustworthy of the community. They have formed a clientage like that which pertained to the Senators of Rome, and their interests were looked after with no less solicitude by their patron in the one case than in the other. If a man sought an appointment, however trivial, the first question asked was, has he the support of "his Senator ?" If another were threatened with removal he set about getting the protest of "his Senator." I have known more than one important officer of the Government driven to his wits' end, worried beyond endurance to find minor places for the men sent to him with the peremptory demands by the Senators to whom he owed his appointment. This system often produces serious embarrassment in the honest and efficient transaction of the public business. Men are found miserably incapable or dishonest; they are not removed, or if removed, they are soon restored. The reason given is often, "You can't get him out, he is one of Senator's men. Senators claim other privileges, as to which I will not go into details; but they ask for and get, get for the asking, given with haste and solicitude, that to which they have no more right than they have to free board and lodging for themselves and their families at the White House. They have used their power, those who have thus used it, for to these strictures there are a very few honourable exceptions, chiefly among
THE power of the Senate, in the matter of appointment to office, has been greatly and injuriously perverted since the early days of Government. What was meant to be, and what then was, a general supervisory power over the appointment of the principal officers, cabinet ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, foreign ministers, consuls, officers of the Army and Navy, and the like, has degenerated into an appanage, a perquisite of the senators as individuals. This has gone on until it has come to pass that the pettiest offices of all the departments, of the Customs even, and the Post Office, are filled, not by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, but by the
the Senators of the New England States and the old Slave States, to build up their political strength and to reward their political supporters. The Senators are elected not by a popular vote, but by the Legislatures of the several States, and the position of Senator of the United States for six years being the most eagerly sought after of all political prizes, except that of President, it is obtained by intrigue, corruption, and, not to mince matters, by direct bribery. But the successful man usually "pays his debts," as the phrase goes, largely out of the public Treasury by securing the appointment of his friends and of his friends' friends to office.
that the Executive, Legislative and Judicial elements of our system will find themselves set back in statu quo ante bellum.
From N. Y. Evening Post.
The Tenure of Office Act, which restricts, constitutionally or unconstitutionally, the President's power of removal from office, increased largely the power of the Senate in this regard. This law was passed not for the purpose of restricting the power of the President of the United States, but as a check upon, and an affront to, the man Andrew Johnson. That man is no longer to be feared; and the House has voted to repeal the law. But the Senate, having got an accession of appointing power (in effect) into its hands, is unwilling to give it up. And here comes in General Grant, who has avowed his intention of purging the commonweal an intention which the Senators are obliged openly to approve, but which, if It is the legitimate and normal effect of carried into effect, will send adrift the men trade to make all the parties better off than who constitute no small proportion of the they were, by just so much as what they rebulk of their clientage. This, indeed, will ceive is worth more to them than what they not deprive them of any consideration that give in exchange. If a man consumes all is justly their due, not to say of any power that he receives in exchange, he has so which properly belongs to them in the Gov- much more to enjoy. If he saves a part of ernment. But it will diminish their follow-it, he finds himself just so much the richer ing, make it of less consequence to concili- than he was. ate them, visibly reduce their personal importance.
It is in this way, chiefly, that communities and nations become rich, by producing more than they want, and exchanging the surplus for that which is to them still more valuable.
This pretension of the Senate, it seems that General Grant will wage war against. Alone he could not do much. But the House, irritated by the assumption of the Senate, will sustain him. Supported by the House and the popular feeling, he will hardly fail to march straight to his point. If the Senate should see fit to repeal the Tenure of Office Act, and to second him in his endeavours to introduce honesty and economy into the administration of the Government, and to make fitness and not political clientage the qualification for office, well; if not, there will be a battle, in which the President and the House, sustained as they will be, morally at least, by the Supreme Court, must be victorious. The result of all which will be, if it so fall out, that the old balance will be restored between the three departments of our Government, and
TRADE is the exchange of commodities. It is an exchange between men of things which they have severally produced. It comes to this, through how many soever intervening parties the exchange may be effected. The use of money, of credit, or of bills of exchange in any of the stages, makes no difference in the essential nature of the transaction; it amounts just to an exchange of commodities.
One gives another that which he can spare, and receives in return that which he wants. And the other gives to the first that which he can spare, to receive in return that which he wants.
Each gives that which he values less for that which he values more. And each receives that which he values more in place of that which he values less. Both, therefore, are gainers.
The nature of trade is not affected by the circumstance that the parties whose products are exchanged are separated by half the circumference of the globe; nor by the employing of ever so many intermediate agencies, as merchants and factors and shippers, in effecting the exchange; nor by the use of money, or bills of exchange, or any other means of facilitating the adjustments between various parties concerned. In its substantial nature it is just the exchange of products; and the motive to it is that each party is supposed to value that which he receives more than he does that which he gives.
The owner of a prairie farm in the West sends his flour to Brazil, to feed the owner of a coffee patch, who in his turn sends