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stantaneous. Nothing more remained to extinguish absolutely the responsibility of the Garrisonian Abolitionists for the enslavement of their countrymen. They alone of the entire population of the United States had washed their hands of slavery, historically and in time present. All other considerations yielded to this religious purification of themselves before their Creator" (III., 117).
And so, forsooth, while these men held up to God their clean hands, helpless for any practical work except to aid fugitives, and are glorified therefor, we must turn round to see "the brave Lovejoy [who] gave his breast to the bullets of a mob";* Birney and Allan, who fled from Alabama to save their lives; the dauntless Giddings, who went to Congress in risk of his life; Sumner, on whose devoted head were poured out murderously- ruffian blows; Whittier and Lowell, whose inspired pens moved thousands of hearts with sympathy and love of liberty; and Chase, and Leavitt, and the other Lovejoy, and Goodell, and Smith, and thousands more, who spent and were spent in the noble cause, these we are to see with hands foul with the blood of the slave, while really rending chains and battering down the doors of the prison-house! Clean hands for disunionists only!
The authors add, “But anti-slavery disunion is seldom weighed in its own scales." No wonder: the beam is ill-balanced, and the weights are false. It must be weighed in the scales of the general reason of mankind. It is vain in this day to talk of "the unassailable logic of the Abolition position"; to claim that in some respects" its value cannot be overestimated," and to boast that "in the desperate councils of the Slave Power, the hopes of peace through fresh compromises were dampened by the spectacle of this saving remnant' of irreconcilables whose leader was Garrison" (III., 119).
The plain fact is that this Disunionism broke down Garrison's influence and immensely damaged his work. His sincerity, his zeal, his self-sacrifice, his courage, his power as an orator and a writer, his many lovable personal qualities, all these could not save his ship from foundering upon the steadfast rock of Northern faith in the Union of States and in the political methods of a free people, who are never exactly right, indeed, and can never hold up those boasted clean hands, but who have the virtue of forever becoming right.
That the sons of Garrison, in writing their father's life, should defend him as far as pos
Emerson, Essay on Heroism.
sible, is natural; that they should so pervert history as to exaggerate his importance in the great struggle, was to be expected; but that they should deform the whole third volume with glorification of his greatest mistake, is more than strange. After citing certain contemptuous articles from Southern newspapers, of which Senator Hammond's famous "mudsill" phrase was typical, they say: "How the love of Union on the part of the North ever survived such representative expressions of contempt and contumely as these must always remain a mystery " (III., 435). To those who grew up like most Americans, and like the old Abolitionists (non-Garrisonian, we mean), whose heads are gray with years, a fast-diminishing band, there is no mystery at all. We used to answer such stuff by saying, “Gentlemen of the South, this Union belongs to us, and to Liberty: if you don't like our company, you may go out of the house; we stay." While we were doing this, these younger men, one born in 1840 and the other in 1848, were growing up in an atmosphere of disunion, looking at the Constitution and the Union always through the belittling end of the spy-glass. In result, they appear as ill-qualified to judge of the sentiments of the American people and of the history of that time as is a Moslem Moollah to interpret the Epistle to the Galatians.
There is a constant claim that great things were accomplished by the Garrisonian Abolitionists, so that the South was especially afraid of them, as hinted in the passage quoted above, "the spectacle of this saving remnant' of irreconcilables whose leader was Garrison." The very last paragraphs of Vol. III. repeat this extraordinary assumption. Who broke the "covenant with Death and the agreement with Hell"? The writer says it was not done "by Northern manhood, conscience, church, and clergy," "but on the one hand by the simple fidelity of a remnant pledged to eternal hostility to slavery wherever found and legalized, and to incessant agitation on the other, by the sheer wickedness and dementia of the short-sighted Slave Power." Everybody but these biographers sees that Northern manhood and conscience, long-suffering indeed, and slow to be stirred to violence, hoping and believing that discussion and truth would conquer all political evils, were the real power which the South found arrayed against it, and against which it revolted; and church and clergy certainly had an honorable part in the uprising. And it may be seen by reading the periodicals
of the time that nobody was caring for the "remnant," or for what it was about. After having abused anti-slavery in politics and the Republican party to the utmost of his vast power of vituperation, and after having called Mr. Lincoln "this huckster in politics," "this county-court advocate," "the slave-hound of Illinois" (III., 503), Wendell Phillips had the impudence to turn round when Lincoln was elected, saying, "For the first time in our history, the slave has chosen a President of the United States. Lincoln is in place, Garrison in power" (III., 505). How does the world see it by this time?
It is pleasant to turn from this third volume, with its frequent lines of abuse (such as S. S. Foster's declaration that "the Methodist Episcopal Church is worse than any brothel in the city of New York," a favorite assertion of his),
and with its faults in matters of fact and of reasoning, to the fourth volume. As soon as the Secession was assured and completed, Garrison found himself in harmony and communion with most people about him. While they were getting hotter and angrier, he was growing cooler. We heard a clergyman say that he shrank from the imprecatory psalms (the 109th, for instance), until secession occurred, and then he found use for them. Most people then wanted Garrison to go on cursing the South. But Mr. Garrison, as a non-resistant and as a lover of peace, could no longer curse the slave-holders in the name of God, now that he saw "the glory of the coming of the Lord" and "the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword." How different in tone is this:
"Yet I pray you to remember that the slave-holders are just as merciful and forbearing as they can be in their situation-not a whit more brutal, bloody, satanic than they are obliged to be in the terrible exigencies in which, as slave-holders, they are placed. They are men of like passions with ourselves; they are of our common country; and if we had been brought up in the midst of slavery, as they have been,—if we had our property in slaves, as they have,—if we had had the same training and education that they have received, of course we should have been just as much disposed to do all in our power to support slavery, and to put down freedom, by the same atrocious acts, as themselves. But let us return them good for evil by seizing this opportunity to deliver them from their deadliest curse; that is Christian" (IV., 32).
"I hold that it is not wise for us to be too microscopic in endeavoring to find disagreeable and annoying things, still less to assume that everything is waxing worse and worse, and that there is little or no hope. No! broaden your views; take a more philosophical grasp of the great question. I do not know that some margin of allowance may not be made even for the Administration. I would rather be over-magnanimous than wanting in justice" (IV., 44).
While often finding fault with things done by Mr. Lincoln, even to printing one of his orders between heavy black lines,—he opposed to one of Phillips's fulminations sentences like this, all of them full of kind appreciation of
the President's difficulties:
Then he imagines a conference with Lincoln, and puts in his mouth a shrewd defense of his course. Ah! if he had always shown such a generous appreciation of the motives and acts of others, how strongly and gladly should we praise him! But perhaps it was needful that he should be fierce and uncompromising, to do his work.
This last volume shows Garrison at his
best, with the great object of his life accomplished, with respect and honor yielded him, and with full and sympathetic recognition of his sacrifices and labors. His journey to Charleston to be present at the raising of the flag anew over the ruins of Sumter, his withdrawing from the Anti-Slavery Society, his closing the publication of "The Liberator," and the making up of the national testimonial to support his declining years, all these make very interesting chapters. We find the chapter on" Inner Traits" well told and delightful; it is written with the affection of sons, but with perfect good taste.
With respect to the value of the book as a contribution to the history of our country in the period of about fifty-five years which Garrison's active life covers, we must give it high rank. However sharply we may have spoken of some opinions and views, it is all written with a charming frankness and honesty, and with a wonderful skill in making it useful to the student. Its index of seventy-seven pages, in fine type, shows the drudgery of indexing raised to an art. One notable feature of it is, that with every personal name there is given, if possible, the date of the person's birth and death, and sometimes other data of interest; we counted about 170 names so treated in A and B alone.
Nor should we forget to renew our praise of the printers for the beauty and accuracy of their work, and of the publishers for the dress they have given these beautiful volumes. We turn to take one look more at the portrait that faces the title-page of the last volume, and gives us the impression of a lovely and loving old age, worthy of honor and full of peace.
RECENT BOOKS OF POETRY.*
"Speak good words! much misgiving faltered I. "Good words, the best, Balaustion! He is crowned, Gone with his Attic ivy home to feast, Since Aischulos required companionship."
The death of Robert Browning will recall to many the noble scene in "Aristophanes' Apology" which describes the death of Euripides, and which, mutatis mutandis, echoes so much of our own feeling in the present bereavement. On the one hand, there is the inevitable sorrow that a great spirit has departed this life, intensified, in the case of Mr. Browning, by the thought that not only is an individual. account closed by his death, but that we are brought by it a long step nearer to the close of an epoch in English poetry-and that epoch second only to the great Elizabethan one. On the other hand, there is a deep sense of satisfaction that his death has left no promise unfulfilled, that life has granted him an achievement adequate to his aim, and that, to recur to the scene already mentioned,
As he willed, he worked:
And, as he worked, he wanted not, be sure,
Triumph his whole life through, submitting work
There are many who, in their adaptation to present circumstances of the lines which we have placed at the head of this article, would substitute for the name of Eschylus that of Shakespeare. To associate the name of Mr. Browning with that of Shakespeare does not seem to us warranted by the genius of the
* ASOLANDO: FANCIES AND FACTS. By Robert Browning. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
DEMETER AND OTHER POEMS. By Alfred, Lord Tennyson, D.C.L., P.L. New York: Macmillan & Co.
WYNDHAM TOWERS. By Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
IN THE GARDEN OF DREAMS. Lyrics and Sonnets. By Louise Chandler Moulton. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
THE HERMITAGE AND LATER POEMS. By Edward Rowland Sill. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
LAKE LYRICS AND OTHER POEMS. By William Wilfred Campbell. St. John, N. B.: J. & A. McMillan.
THE TREASURY OF SACRED SONG. Selected from the English Lyrical Poetry of Four Centuries. By Francis T. Palgrave. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. New York: Macmillan & Co.
INTERLUDES, LYRICS, AND IDYLS, from the Poetic and Dramatic Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
BALLADS, LYRICS, AND SONNETS, from the Poetic Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
GUDRUN: A MEDIEVAL EPIC. Translated from the Middle High German by Mary Pickering Nichols. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
THREE DRAMAS OF EURIPIDES. By William Cranston Lawton. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
former poet. He is akin to Shakespeare in the possession of the dramatic instinct, but wholly unlike him in his mode of expression and in his envisagement of life and its perplexities. In the matter of expression, Lord Tennyson is far more truly Shakespearean than Mr. Browning can be said ever to have been; in fact, few stronger contrasts are offered by poetry than that between Shakespeare's divinely harmonious speech and Mr. Browning's always As rugged and generally uncouth discourse. for the philosophical substance of Mr. Browning's poetry, an invincible optimism ever protected from his siege the most secret recesses of the soul. The spirit in which the closing scene of "Lear" was conceived could not be his, nor his the prophetic vision of the essential unreality of things granted to Prospero in "The Tempest." To Mr. Browning the world was very real indeed; very much a matter of sense and perception. It was, to our mind, a truer discernment that impelled Landor to address his friend in these terms:
"Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world's,
Mr. Browning's attitude towards men and things has always seemed to us much like that of the father of English poetry. The vast difference between what the two men have to say is, after all, accounted for by the difference between the ages which they looked upon.
Time is not likely to deal gently with Mr. Browning's work. As long as the Browning societies continue to exist, complete editions will doubtless be in a certain demand, and his most shapeless and enigmatical work will not be without readers. Then, a great deal of this work, which must be "caviare to the general," will live in the estimation of the specialist the classical student, the historian, and the artist to whom it is really addressed, and who finds it intelligible enough. But the student of literature for its own sake, the lover of poetry pure and simple, will be content to leave most of the volumes unread, still holding Browning to be a great poet by virtue of the "Men and Women," and the dramatic scenes, lyrics, and idyls. The recently published volume, "Asolando, Fancies and Facts," will not be counted by such a reader among his treasures. Like nearly all that Mr. Browning has published during the past fifteen years, it exhibits the objectionable features of his work,
with but little of its meridian power and beauty. There are some thirty short pieces, altogether, and no one of them fastens upon the memory. They reveal the kindly sagacious old man, of wide knowledge and healthy interest in life, but only here and there the poet. It would be a pity, upon this occasion, to associate any of these poems with the noble memory of the dead master, when so many examples of his really great work throng unbidden upon the mind at the thought of his death.
With Lord Tennyson's new volume the case is different. Here we have work in all the great poet's different manners, and, with hardly an exception, the work deserves to rank with the best. The production of such work as this volume contains, at so advanced an age, is, we believe, unparalleled in English literature. We must look to Goethe and Hugo for its like. The idyl of Demeter and Persephone" at once takes its place, not only with the "Tiresias" of a few years ago, but with the "Tithonus and the " Ulysses" of the poet's golden prime, if any period may be so designated in the case of a poet who has been uninterruptedly writing masterpieces for over half a century. How Tennysonian, in the noblest sense, is this vision of a new order of things, which brings the poem to a close:
"Yet I, Earth-Goddess, am but ill-content With them, who still are highest. Those gray heads, What meant they by their Fate beyond the Fates' But younger kindlier Gods to bear us down, As we bore down the Gods before us? Gods, To quench, not hurl, the thunderbolt; to stay, Not spread, the plague, the famine; Gods indeed, To send the noon into the night, and break The sunless halls of Hades into Heaven? Till thy dark lord accept and love the Sun, And all the Shadow die into the Light. When thou shalt dwell the whole bright year with me, And souls of men, who grew beyond their race, And made themselves as Gods against the fear Of Death and Hell; and thou that hast from men, As Queen of Death, that worship which is Fear, Henceforth, as having risen from out the Dead, Shalt ever send thy life along with mine From buried grain thro' springing blade, and bless Their garner'd Autumn also, reap with me, Earth-mother, in the harvest hymns of Earth The worship which is Love, and see no more The Stone, the Wheel, the dimly-glimmering lawns Of that Elysium, all the hateful fires
Of torment, and the shadowy warrior glide Along the silent field of Asphodel."
memorative verse. "Owd Roä" is a story in Lincolnshire dialect, certainly the equal of any of the poet's previous experiments in this manner. "The Ring" and "Romney's Remorse" are two rather long poems with stories to tell, the latter of the two having the dramatic force of Browning, with the grace of form to which Browning rarely attained. Such beautiful poems as "The Progress of Spring," "Merlin and the Gleam," and "Far-Far Away" may but be mentioned here, although each is a lyric marvel. "Vastness" has been published before, and now deepens the impression it first made. The same thing may be said of "The Throstle," whose melody is simply bewitching.
Over most of these new poems we must hastily pass. The Jubilee Ode is the only piece in which the poet writes as the Laureate. The personal poems addressed to Professor Jebb, to Ward, to Mary Boyle, the early, and W. G. Palgrave, the later friend of the writer, are exquisite examples of congratulatory or com
To three of the poems we must give more than a passing reference. The one entitled "By an Evolutionist" shows us that the poet has made his own the aim of his Ulysses
"To follow knowledge like a sinking star Beyond the utmost bound of human thought." An English writer in "The Athenæum" (presumably Mr. Theodore Watts) has furnished so apt a commentary on this remarkable poem that we must make use of it here. He says: "In a certain sense, the most important poem in the volume is the one called By an Evolutionist,' where the only famous poet who has given attention to the movements of modern science confronts boldly at last what they will all have to confront by and by, the new cosmogony of growth. Many of the readers of this poem will recall the terrible shock the doctrine that man was descended from the brutes gave to all of us. It had the fascination of a horrible repulsion. It seemed to mock at poetry, mock at art, mock at the charm of womanhood, mock at religion, mock at everything that the idealist's soul had previously cherished. There seemed to be no possibility of reconciling idealism with such a hideous reality as this. Thousands of thinkers passed through this ordeal. The refusal to accept the inevitable destroyed Carlyle as a thinker, and destroyed Browning, and many another. And yet it has to be accepted, and idealism has to be reconciled to it. How Lord Tennyson strove with it is seen in many a poem, from In Memoriam' down to the poem called Parnassus' in this volume, where the Muses are depicted as overshadowed by Astronomy and Geology." And now for the first and last quatrains of the poem in question, which are all that we have space for:
The two other poems to which special reference must be made are those that open and close the volume. The former, dedicated to Lord Dufferin, is a tribute of thanks to the Indian Viceroy for his kindness to Lionel Tennyson, the son of the poet, who died on his way home from India. The verses are in the measure of "In Memoriam," and open with this stately stanza :
"At times our Britain cannot rest,
At times her steps are swift and rash; She moving, at her girdle clash
The golden keys of East and West."
The following verses, as beautiful as any of "In Memoriam," tell of the lost son and of his debt to the Dufferins:
"A soul that, watch'd from earliest youth,
And on thro' many a brightening year, Had never swerved for craft or fear, By one side-path, from simple truth; "Who might have chased and claspt Renown And caught her chaplet here-and there In haunts of jungle-poisoned air The flame of life went wavering down;
"But ere he left your fatal shore,
And lay on that funereal boat, Dying, 'Unspeakable,' he wrote, 'Their kindness,' and he wrote no more."
It would seem that the utmost possibilities of the English tongue for pathetic expression were reached in these lines, but the closing poem of the volume shows that the poet can surpass even himself. It is hardly rash to say that our whole literature contains nothing more beautiful in its pathos than the verses entitled "Crossing the Bar."
"Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea,
"But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home.
"Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark ;
66 'For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
In the presence of such poetry, criticism must give place to reverence. What poet ever crowned his work with such a swan-song as this? It comes to us with the impressiveness and sanctity of a benediction, flooding all the soul with peace.
In the poetic art of the cameo or the intaglio, Mr. Aldrich is a past master; it has re
mained for his later years to attempt the larger art of the epic,—for an epic, or something like one, his poem of "Wyndham Towers" must be called. It tells a grim Elizabethan legend of two brothers, at feud with one another for the love of a girl, who both met their death on the same night-the one at his brother's murderous hands, the slayer at the hands of a fate which imprisoned him, living, in the tomb of his victim. The story is told in blank verse which bears the marks of careful elaboration and of a conscientious study of the great Elizabethan models of that form of composition. An occasional verse, such as this,
"Poet, soldier, courtier, 'twas the mode,"
""Tis said the Malays have an arrow steeped," must be pronounced faulty; but the poem, as a whole, is remarkably correct as to form, as well as endowed with picturesque and imaginative qualities of a high order. Then, there are occasionally lines that dimly recall familiar passages of English poetry. There is at least a suggestion of Keats in
“O for a cavern in deep-bowelled earth,"
and of Tennyson in the couplet,
"Made Shakespeare, Rawleigh, Grenvile, Oxenham, And set them stars in the fore-front of Time.
There is a suggestion, too, in this,
"Quick, ere the dusky petals of the night, Unclosing, bare the fiery heart of dawn.”
But such suggestions are perhaps inevitable in any poem written by a modern, with all the past tradition of English poetry lying, more or less unconsciously, in his memory. We quote the following as an illustration of Mr. Aldrich's verse at its best:
"Her gray scarred sire
Had for cloth-doublet changed the steel cuirass,
"Wyndham Towers" is a poem that appeals very strongly to the cultured taste and the poetical sensibilities, and shows us, among other things, that the great art of blank verse is not yet a lost one. It is a work distinctly creditable, not only to Mr. Aldrich himself, but to American literature.
A far-off echo of Rossetti, a somewhat closer reflection of the mood and manner of the blind younger poet, Rossetti's disciple, to whose memthese verses are dedicated, appeals to us in