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and soaring conceits, which may be made bearable elsewhere, but are positively ludicrous in a sonnet.
The second volume of Mr. De Vere's poems contains three parts: the first is a masque, entitled “ The Search of Proserpine;" the second, “ Recollections of Greece;" the third, miscellaneous poems. We shall begin with the third part: we have here about twenty odes, forty-four songs, and positively fifty-two sonnets. We are informed that they belong to an early period in Mr. De Vere's poetic history, and, as the effusions of an early age, are very creditable. But taking the whole one hundred and twenty outpourings together, we have nothing whatever to say in their favour collectively. They are all tiresome resemblances of one another-all pretty, all imaginative, all with some little point. In fact, they painfully bring back to our memory our old satirical friend's lines
“ Nil bene cum facias, facis attamen omnia belle
Vis dicam quid sis ?"We leave the last line to be finished by more ill-natured persons than ourselves; for we respect both Mr. De Vere and his poetry in the main : but still this golden mediocrity is terribly trying to a poor reviewer like ourselves, who makes it a point of conscience to read every line in the volume. We are not, however, positively bad-tempered, and so we will fairly mention some that appear to us to outstrip their fellows." The Foundation of Rome” is written in a vigorous style, but it is rather the prodigal vigour of youth, than the calm power of maturer years. We select four or five lines from any part:
“ The shade of Remus round and round shall pace
Night after night your blood-cemented walls,
To earth the whole vast fabric falls !" And so on, amid a storm of what the Germans called thunderwords. Just the same sort of fault may be found with the other odes; for instance, in the “Ode to the Planet Venus" we meet with the following sesquipedalian lines :
“ The tyrant seest thou, drowning in mad laughter
A nation's groans, as with a stormy wind;
But lethal shades 'mid royal wreaths entwined,
And the black vengeance pacing swiftly after!" Such lines as these are the exclusive, unalienable property of poets of a sterner mood, and the corresponding society school, and should not be sought after by so gentle a poet as Mr. De Vere. The best song, perhaps, is that entitled a “Scene in a
Mad-house." It falls exceedingly short of Justinus Kerner's celebrated song from a scene in the same place, but still it is respectable, and the burden calls pleasantly back the quaint conceits of the old ballads :“Whence caught you, sweet mourner, the swell of that song ?
• From the arch of yon wind-laden billow.' Whence learned you, sweet lady, your sadness ?— From wrong.”
Your meekness, who taught you ?— The willow.'” Amid the fifty-two sonnets “ The Old Age of Milton” stands pre-eminent-Verbum non amplius addam.
The second part, or “ The Recollections of Greece," is much better. The untamed descriptions of scenery are brought under some sort of subjection: images no longer stand alone in their solitude, but become connected together, and fill the mind with more distinct apprehensions of the realities they would shadow forth. The three Idylls are written in an easy, playful style, and are improved by the few graver thoughts with which the poems are tempered. We like the following lines towards the close of the second Idyll
. The poet is enumerating the gifts he will offer to his mistress, and the pleasure she will have in floating over the waters in the boat he is to construct for her. We must, of course, remember, that the speech is meant to be that of a Pagan:
“ Are these but trivial joys? Ah me! fresh leaves
Gladden the forests ; but no second life
The wild swan's chanting her death melody." (pp. 72, 73). The lines written under Delphi have a great deal more pretence, but are infinitely inferior to these same Idylls: the simple fact being this—that the lines under Delphi aim at a sort of metaphysical investigation of the idolatry of the old world, and, of course, end in words printed in capital letters and confusion. Few young men can deal with such subjects: this connection of the subjective and objective
world belongs to such poets as Wordsworth, and not to Mr. De Vere. Mr. De Vere is pleasing and graceful, when he lies among his favourite voilet-beds, fanned by the warm Favonius, and lulled by tinkling waters ; but when he casts off his garland and singing robes, and, like old Priam, girds himself with his powerless sword of abstract reasoning, he becomes tiresome, unreadable, and is smitten down by every Neoptolemus. He rises at once in simple vivid description, such as in the fine sonnet entitled "Sunrise," which we earnestly recommend to our readers, and regret that our limits prevent its insertion.
Lastly, we will notice “ The Rape of Proserpine.” Mr. De Vere quotes the meaning Bacon assigned to the fable the disappearance of flowers at the end of the year, when the vital juices are, as it were, drawn down to the centre of the earth, and held there in bondage. Mr. De Vere then goes on to say, " that the fable has its moral application ; also, being connected with that great mystery of joy and grief, of life and death, which pressed so heavily on the mind of Pagan Greece, and imparts to the whole of her mythology a profound interest, spiritual as well as philosophical.” The affections of humanity are to be represented by Ceres, and the appetites by the Sylvan deities. Such is the outline of the masque. We cannot, however, say that it is in any way adequately filled up; individual passages are fine, and the whole poem is sprinkled with a rose-water classificality, but that is all. We cannot trace anything like a commentary on the moral application to which Mr. De Vere points. It is a poem that all would read over with pleasure the first time, but would never face again; it is too full of easy, graceful strophes, and anti-strophes, and sunny descriptions, to shadow forth any deep allegorical meaning. Let any one read the Klage der Ceres, and he will at once sensibly feel what may be made of such a subject in a masterhand; the last stanza but one, which embodies Bacon's theory, is as fine a stanza as Schiller ever wrote.
We now take our leave of Mr. De Vere with mingled feelings : we regret that some pleasant hours over his poems have at last come to an end; and, on the other hand, we do feel hearty satisfaction that our self-imposed task of wading through his poems should be concluded. If he would consent to write a quarter as much, and spend more time in close and coherent thought, he might boldly claim the continued admiration, both of those who are, and of those who are to come.
ART. III.-Anglo-Catholicism : a Short Treatise on the Theory
of the English Church ; with Remarks on its Peculiarities; the Objections of Romanists and Dissenters; its Practical Defects; its Present Position ; its Future Prospects ; and the Duties of its Members. By WILLIAM GRESLEY, M.A., Pre
bendary of Lichfield. London: Burns. 1844. HAVING obtained eminent success in that path which he has marked out as peculiarly his own—the union, namely, of delightful fiction with admirable moral and religious instructionMr. Gresley has now entered on a new department of literature, and has come forward in the character of a professedly theological writer.
We rejoice at it. He possesses all those qualities which are most essential in this arduous and important task-a strong and forcible style, neither too diffuse nor too brief, but which
keeps exactly between the two extremes ; a remarkable clearness of expression, which always allows his meaning to be perceived by his readers; an earnest and energetic tone of thought, becoming eloquent when the subject demands it; all these requisites Mr. Gresley possesses in no stinted measure-a circumstance which is rendered evident, not only in the present work, but in all his other productions as well, wherever theological subjects are introduced. The book before us appears most seasonably, and exactly at the time when it is wanted—a popular work, explanatory of those great and important points of doctrine and discipline which have been made the subject of discussion for some time past, and which would endeavour, at the same time, to show the opinion entertained upon each of them by the Church of England; or, in other words, which would endeavour to display what Mr. Gresley terms “the Theory of the English Church." Such a work is earnestly called for by the circumstances of the times, and in meeting that call, fearlessly and zealously, we think our author has earned a debt of gratitude at the hands of all members of our holy and apostolic Church. The work which he has produced is so moderate in its compass, and plain and simple in its arguments and meaning, as to be accessible to all classes of readers, whilst at the same time it possesses sufficient learning to render it very useful as a manual of reference to the theological student. We rejoice to think that in the present stir and heat of controversial discussion, when men's minds are so strangely agitated, and when so many, it is much to be feared, are unable or unwilling, through ignorance or weakness and irresolution, to decide as to which path they shall follow, standards of opinion are being formed, to which individuals so situated may look with some degree of confidence, certain of not being led astray from those good old paths, those pleasant and peaceful ways, in which so many of the learned, and wise, and good, and pious, walked in ages past; in which the learned Hooker, the saintly Andrewes, the eloquent Jeremy Taylor, have rejoiced; and the zeal of Ken, the sound sense of Patrick, and the admirable clearness and genuine moderation of Robert Nelson, been conspicuous—to instance a few only of those names which have distinguished the theology of the Church of England.
We need scarcely say that we reckon the Anglo-Catholicism of Mr. Gresley among those standards to which we have made allusion, as forming books of reference to which those members of our Church may have recourses, who, at the same time that they consider themselves members of the Catholic Church of Christ, are not willing to forget that they are also members of that most pure and apostolic branch of Christ's Church planted, by the providence of God, in this land—in a word, they, being members of the universal Church, are also in a more peculiar and intimate sense members of the Church of England.
This, indeed, is a distinction which Mr. Gresley never loses sight of throughout his work, in conformity with the practice of the best and soundest divines of our Church. It is perfectly compatible indeed—whatever may be the conduct of some persons on this point_with the most strict and earnest belief in the apostolical succession, and the divine origin of episcopacy, the dignity of the sacerdotal order, and the divine and saving grace and spiritual efficacy inherent in the Christian sacraments, to expose and hold up to reprobation the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and to point out those tenets in which she has adulterated the true faith. It is quite possible, moreover, to allude, in the respectful and submissive tone of faithful, devoted, and obedient children, to those deviations in practice, if any such there be-though it may be strongly doubted whether any such are to be found—which may exist in our own Church, without holding up as a standard of comparison, or as a model for imitation, another Church, which our very obligations as professing members of the Church of England, to say nothing of that knowledge of her true character which history and experience will enable us to acquire, should oblige us to regard as having departed from the truth and purity of the Christain faith. It is quite possible, moreover, to praise and admire the excellences of our own Church; to be contented with, and grateful for, our happy lot, in