Изображения страниц

DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI-MISS ROSSETTI. An English artist, MR. D. G. Rossetti, one of the originators of what is termed the Pre-Raphaelite style of art, or imitation of the early Italian painters, with their vivid colours, minute details, and careful finish, is known also as a poet and translator. In 1861 Mr. Rossetti published • The Early Italian Poets from Ciullo d'Alcamo to Dante Alighieri (1100-1200-1300), in the original metres, together with Dante's Vita Nuova.' In 1870 he issued a volume of 'Poems,' some of which were early productions printed in periodical works. Nearly all of them are in form and colour, subject and style of treatment, similar to the Pre-Raphaelite pictures. The first relates the thoughts and musings of a maiden in heaven while waiting the arrival of her lover from the land of the living.

From 'The Blessed Damozel.' The blessed damozel leaned out,

The void, as low as where this earth
From ihe gold bar of heaven;

Spins like a fretful midge.
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even ;

Heard hardly some of her new friends She had three lilies in her hand,

Amid their loving games,
And the stars in her hair were seven. Spake evermore among themselves

Their virginal chaste names :
Her robe ungirt from clasp to hem, And the souls mounting up to God,
Nor wrought fowers did adorn,

Went by her like thin fames.
But a white rose of Mary's gift
For service, meetly worn;

And still she bowed berself, and stooped
And her hair hanging down her back, Out of the circling charm,
Was yellow like ripe corn.

Uptil ber bosom must have made

The bar she leaned on warm, It was the rampart of God's house And the liljer lay as if asleep, That she was standing on,

Along her bended arm. By God built over the starty depth, "The which is space begun,

From the fixed place of heaven she saw So high that looking downward thence, Time like a pulse shake fierce She scarce could see the sun.

Through all the worlds. Her gaze still

strove It lies in heaven. across the flood

Within the gulf to pierce Of ether like a bridge,

Its path, and now she spoke as when Beneath the tides of day and night, The stars sang in their spheres. With flame and darkness ridge,

The Sea Limits. Consider the sea's lletleeg chime;

Its painful pnlee is in the sands. Time's self it is. made andible-

Last utterly, the whole ekr stands
The inurmur of the earth's own shell Gray and not known, along its path.
Secret continuance fublime
le the rea's end: our sight may pass

Listen alone beside the sa.
No furlong further. Since time was, Listen alone among the woods;
This sound hath told the lapse of time. Those voices of twin folitudes

Sball have one sound alike to thee :
No quiet, which is death'g-it hath

Hark when the murmurs of thronged The morirnfulness of ancient life, Enduring always at dull strife.

Surge and sink back and surge againAs the world's heart of rest and wrath, Still the one voice of wave and tree.




Gather a shell from the strown beach, And all mankind is thus at heart
And listen at its lips ; they sigh

Not anything but what thou art;
The same desire and mystery,

And earth, sea, man, are all in each. The echo of the whole sea's speech.

Mr. Rossetti is a native of London, born in 1828, son of Mr. Gabriel Rossetti, Professor of Italian at King's College, London, and author of a Commentary on Dante (1826–27), who died in 1854, aged seventy-one.

Christina GABRIELA ROSSETTI (born in 1830), daughter of the Professor, and sister of the above Dante Gabriel, is also an author, having written · Goblin Market, and other Poems,'1862; Prince's Progress,' 1866; 'Commonplace and other Short Stories' (in prose), 1870; ‘Nursery Rhyme Book,' 1872, &c.

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE. In 1865 appeared a dramatic poem entitled 'Atalanta in Calydon,' founded on the beautiful Greek

legend of Calydon, and thoroughly Grecian in form and spirit. This work was hailed, both by the lovers and critics of poetry, as one of the most finished imaginative poems produced since the days of Shelley. “It is the produce,' said the Edinburgh Review,' not of the tender lyrical faculty which so often waits on sensitive youth, and afterwards fades into the common light of day, nor even of the classical culture of which it is itself a signal illustration, but of an affluent apprehensive genius which, with ordinary care and fair fortune, will take a foremost place in English literature.' In truth, the young poet had by this one bound placed himself in the first rank of our poets. His next work. 'Chastelard' (1865), was a tragedy founded on the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the unfortunate young chevalier who accompanied the queen from France, and who fell a victim to his romantic and extravagant passion for Mary. The subject was a perilous one for the drama, even when håndled with the utmost delicacy; but MR. SWINBURNE treated it with volupıllous warmth; while his portrait of the heroine, whom he represented as cruel, relentless, and licentious, shocked the admirers of the queen. In 1866, appeared a volume of Poems and Ballads,' which was considered so strongly objectionable, that Mr. Swinburne's publishers, Messrs. Moxon & Co., withdrew it from circulation.

To the critical outcry against it, the poet replied in a pamphlet of • Notes' protesting against the prudery of his assailants; and one of his friends, Mr. W. M. Rossetti, in a ‘Criticism on Swinburne's poems and Ballads.' pleaded that 'in fact Mr. Swinburne's mind appeared to be very like a tabula rasa on moral and religious subjects, so occupied is it with instincts, feelings, perceptions, and a sense of natural or artistic fitness and harmony! The subsequent works of

This image of the sea-shell had been previously used both by Landor and Words worth.

[ocr errors]

the poet are—' A Song of Italy,' 1867; William Blake, a Critical Essay,' 1867; Siena,' a poem, 1868; Ode on the Proclamation of the French Republic,' 1870; and “Songs before Sunrise,' 1871. He has also edited selections from the poems of Byron and Coleridge, and contributed a few admirable critical essays to literary journals.

Mr. Swinburne a native of London, son of Admiral Swinburne, and born in 1837. He received his earlier education in France and at Eton; in 1857 he was entered a commoner of Balliol College, Oxford, but left the university without taking a degree. In his twentythird year he published two plays, “The Queen Mother' and 'Rosamund,' whcih exhibited literary power, but are crude and immature productions. We subjoin some extracts from Calydon.' In these may be noted one drawback, which has come to be a mannerism of the poet-& too great proneness to alliteration. “I will sometimes affect the letter,' says Holofernes, ‘for it argues facility;' but in highly poetical and melodious lines like the following, it is a defect.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Maiden, and mistress of the months and stars
Now folded in the flowerless fields of heaven,
Goddess whom all gods love with threefold heart,
Being freble in thy divided deity,
A light for dead men and dark hours, a foot
Swift on the hills us morning, and a hand
To all things fierce and feet that roar and range.
Mortal, with gentler shafts than snow or sleep;
Hear now and help, and lift po violent hand,
But favourable and fair as thine eye's beam
Hidden and shewn in heaven; for I all vight
Amid the king's bounds and the hunting inen
Have wrought and worshipped toward ihee; nor shall man
See goodlier hounds or deadlier hedge of spears;
But for the end, that lies oureached as yet
Between the hands and on the knees of gods.
O fair-faced eun, killing the stars and dews
And dreams and desolation of the night!
Rise up, shine, stretch thide hand out, with thy bow
Touch the most dimmest height of trembling heaven,
And burn and break the dark about thy ways,
Shot through and through with arrows; let thine hair
Lighten as fame above that fameless shell
Which was the moon, and thine eyes fill the world,
And thy lips kindle with swift beams; let earth
Laugh, and the loug sea fiery from thy feet
Through all the roar and ripple of streaming springe,
And foam in reddeving fakes, and flying flowers
Shaken from hands and blown from lips of nymphs,
Whose hair or breast divides the wandering wave
With salt tresses cleaving lock to lock.
All gold, or shuddering or unfurrowed snow;
And all the winds about thee with their wings,
And fountain-heads of all the watered world.

Chorus. Before the beginning of years

That his strength might endure for a There came to the making of man

span Time, with a gift of tears;

With travail and heavy sorrow,
Grief, with a glass that ran;

The holy spirit of man.
Pieasure, with pain for leaven;
Summer, with flowers that fell;

From the winds of the north and the Remembrance, fallen from heaven,

south And Madness, risen froin hell ;

They gathered as unto strife; Strength, without hands to smite; They breathed upon his mouth, Love, that endures for a breath;

They filled his body with life'; Night, the shadow of light,

Eyesight and speech they wrought And Life, the shadow of death.

For the veils of the soul therein

A time for labour and thought, And the high gods took in hand

A time to serve and to sin ; Fire, and the fulling of tears,

They gave him a light in his ways, And a ineasure of sliding sand

And love, and a space for delight, From under the feet of years;

And beauty and length of days,
And froth and drift of the sea :

And night, and sleep in the night.
And dust of the labouring earth; His speech is a burning fire;
And bodies of things to be

With his lips be travaileth ;
In the honses of death and of birth ; In his heart is a blind desire,
And wrought with weeping and laughter, In his eyes foreknowledge of death;

And fashioned with loathing and love, He weaves, and is clothed with derision; With life before and after,

Sows, and he shall not reap; And death beneath and above,

His life is a watch or a vision For a day and a night and a morrow, Between a sleep and a sleep

In 184 Mr. Swinburne published an epic drama or tragedy, • Bothwell;' continuing the history of Mary, Queen of Scots, after the episode of 'Chastelard.' This tragedy of 'Bothwell' is a most voluminous work-upwards of 15,000 lines and with a numerous dramatis persona, including, besides Darnley and the Queen, the four Maries, Rizzio, John Knox, the Regent Murray, French and English ambassadors, &c. Though much too long and deficient in variety of situations and incidents for an English play, “Bothwell' is a powerful production—the most masterly of Mr. Swinburne's dramatic works. Mary he has drawn in colours dark as the portraiture by Froude-as treacherous, passionate, fierce, cruel, and sensuousa second Lady Macbeth. The historical facts, and much of the language of Knox and others, are skilfully introduced and interwoven pritli the passionate scenes; while occasionally French and English songs relieve the long dialogues.

Carberry 1/12: Parting of Bothwell and Queen Mary.

QUEEN. Do not spenk yet: a word should burst my heart;
It iš i hollow crystal fuil of tears
I hat even a breath might break, and they be spilt,
And life run out with them; no diamond now,
Bat weaker than of wax. Life of that heart,
There is but one thing hath po remedy,
Death; all ills else have end or bope of end,
And time to work their worst refore time change:
This death hath none; there is all hope shut fast,
Al chance bound up for ever: change por time

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Can help nor comfort this. You shall not die;
I can hold fast no sense of thought but this.
You shall not.

BOTH WELL. Well, being sundered, we may live,
And living meet; and here to hold the field
Were but a deadly victory, and my band
The mockery of a conqueror's; we should pass
No less their prisoners from the field thus won
Than from these lists defeated. You do well;
They dare not urge or strain the power they hav
To bring the prisover where my witness borne
Might shew them parcel of the deed and guilt
For which they rise up to lay hold on me
As upright men of doom, and with pure hands
To hale me to their judgment. I will go,
Till good time bring me back; and you that stay,
Keep faith with me.

QUEEN. O how does one break faith?
What are they that are faithless? By my love,
I cannot tell or think how I should lie,
Bhould live and lie to you that are my faith,
My soul, my spirit, my very and Enly god,
My truth and trust that makes me true of heart,
My life that feeds, and light that lightens me,
My breath and blood of living. Doth God think
How I shall be without you? what strange breath
Shall my days draw? what strange blood feed my life,
When this life that is love is gone from them,
And this light lost? Where shall my true life go,
And by what far ways follow to find love,
Fly where love will? Where will you turn froin me?

BOTHWELL. Hence will I to Dunbar, and thence again
There is no way but northward, and to ship
From the north islands; thence betimes abroad,
By land or sea, to lurk and find my life
Tin the wheel turn.

QUEEN. Ah God, that we were set
Far out at sea alone by storm and night,
To drive together on one end, and know
If life or death would give us good or ill,
And night or day receive, and heaven or earth
Forget us or remember! He comes back:
Here is the end.

BOTHWELL. But till Time change his tune :
No more nor further. We shall find our day.

QUEEN. Have we not found ? I know not what we shall,
But what hath been and is, and whence they are,
God knows if now I know not-he is here.

Re-enter KIRKALDY.
KIRKALDY. Madam, the Lords return by me this word
With them yon must go back to Edinburgh,
And there be weil entreated as of friends :
And for the Duke, they are with one mind content
He should part hence for safe and present flight:
But here may tarry not, or pass not free.
This is the last word from them by my mouth.

QUEEN. Ay lo it, sir ; the last word 'I shall bear
Last in mine ear for ever: Do command
Nor threat of man shall give car to more
That bave heard this.-WW you not go, my Lord?

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »