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little things of life. Thus, in conduct or writing, they tend to weary us by a morbid sentimentalism. From this fault Miss Barrett is wholly free. Personal feeling is in its place ; enlightened by Reason, ennobled by Imagination. The earth is no despised resting place for the feet, the heaven bends wide above, rich in starry hopes, and the air flows around exhilarating and free.

The mournful, albeit we must own them tuneful, sisters of the lyre might hush many of their strains at this clear note from one who has felt and conquered the same difficulties.

' Experience, like a pale musician, holds

A dulcimer of patience in his hand:

Whence harmonies we cannot understand
Of God's will in his worlds the strain unfolds,
In sad perplexed minors. Deathly colds

Fall on us while we hear and countermand

Our sanguine heart back from the fancy land,
With nightingales in visionary wolds.

We murmur—'Where is any certain tune,
Or measured music in such notes as these ?'
But angels leaning from the golden seat,

Are not so minded; their fine ear hath won
The issue of completed cadences;

And smiling down the stars, they whisper-SWEET.”

Te are accustomed now to much verse on moral subjects, such as follows the lead of Wordsworth and seeks to arrange moral convictions as melodies on the harp. But these tones are never deep, unless the experience of the poet, in the realms of intellect and emotion, be commensurate with his apprehension of truth. Wordsworth moves us when he writes an “Ode to Duty,"

Dion,” because he could also write “Ruth," and the exquisitely tender poems on Matthew, in whom nature

"for a favorite child Had tempered so the clay,



That every hour the heart ran wild,

Yet never went astray.”

The trumpet call of Luther's • Judgment Hymni' sounds from the depths of a nature capable of all human emotions, or it could not make the human ear vibrate as it does. The calm convictions expressed by Miss Barrett in the sonnets come with poetic force, because she was also capable of writing The Lost Bower,' • The Romaunt of the Page,' • Loved Once,' • Bertha in the Lane,' and ' A Lay of the Early Rose.' These we select as the finest of the tender poems.

In the · Drama of Exile' and the · Vision of Poets,' where she aims at a Miltonic flight or Dantesque grasp—not in any spirit of rivalry or imitation, but because she is really possessed of a similar mental scope—her success is far below what we find in the poems of feeling and experience; for she has the vision of a great poet, but little in proportion of his plastic power. She is at home in the Universe ; she sees its laws; she sympathises with its motions. She has the imagination all compact—the healthy archetypal plant from which all forms may be divined, and, so far as now existent, understood. Like Milton, she the angelic hosts in real presence; like Dante, she hears the spheral concords and shares the planetary motions. But she cannot, like Milton, marshal the angels so near the earth as to impart the presence other than by sympathy. He who is near her level of mind may, through the magnetic sympathy, see the angels with her. Others will feel only the grandeur and sweetness she expresses in these forms. Still less can she, like Dante, give, by a touch, the key which enables ourselves to play on the same instrument. She is singularly deficient in the power of compression. There are always far more words and verses than are needed to convey the meaning, and it is a great proof of her strength, that the thought still seems strong, when arrayed in a form so Briarean clumsy and many-handed.


We compare her with those great poets, though we have read her preface and see how sincerely she deprecates any such comparison, not merely because her theme is the same as theirs, but because, as we must again repeat, her field of vision and nobleness of conception are such, that we cannot forbear trying her by the same high standard to see what she lacks.

Of the “ Drama of Exile” and other poems of the same character, we may say that we shall never read them again, but we are very glad to have read them once, to see how the grand mysteries look to her, to share with her the conception and outline of what would, in the hands of a more powerful artist, have come forth a great poem. Our favorite, above anything we have read of hers, is the “ Rhyme of the Duchess May,” equally admirable in thought and execution, in poetic meaning and romantic grace.

Were there room here, it should be inserted, as a sufficient evidence of the writer's high claims; but it is too long, and does not well bear being broken. The touches throughout are fine and forcible, but they need the unison of the whole to give them their due effect.

Most of these poems have great originality in the thought and the motive powers. It is these, we suppose, that have made “ The Brown Rosarie” so popular. It has long been handed about in manuscript, and hours have been spent in copying it, which would have been spared if the publication of these volumes in America had been expected so soon. It does not please us so well as many of the others. The following, for instance, is just as original, full of grace, and, almost, perfectly simple :


How sweetly natural! and how distinct is the picture of the

* Several poems mentioned in these articles, and published in the first instance, are omitted now on account of their length.

little girl, as she sits by the brook. The poem cannot fail to charm all who have treasured the precious memories of their own childhood, and remember how romance was there interwoven with reality.

Miss Barrett makes many most fair and distinct pictures, such. as this of the Duchess May at the fatal moment when her lord's fortress was giving way :

Low she dropt her head and lower, till her hair coiled on the floor.

Tou slowly!
And tear after tear you heard, fall distinct as any word

Which you might be listening for.
“Get thee in, thou soft ladie!—here is never a place for thee.”

Toll slowly!
“Braid thy hair and clasp thy gown, that thy beauty in its moan

May find grace with Leigh of Leigh.”
She stood up in bitter case, with a pale yet steady face,

Tou slowly!
Like a statue thunderstruck, which, though quivering, seems to look

Right against the thunder-place,
And her feet trod in, with pride, her own tears i' the stone beside.

Toll slowly!
Go to, faithful friends, go to !-Judge no more what ladies do,

No, nor how their lords may ride.
and so on. There are passages in that poem beyond praise.

Here are descriptions as fine of another sort of person from


Her foot upon the new-mow'n grass-bareheaded—with the flowing
Of the virginal white vesture, gathered closely to her throat;
With the golden ringlets in her neck, just quickened by her going,
And appearing to breathe sun for air, and doubting if to float, -
With a branch of dewy maple, which her right hand held above her,
And which trembled a green shadow in betwixt her and the skies,
As she turned her face in going, thus she drew me on to love her,
And to study the deep meaning of the smile hid in her eyes.

For her eyes alone smiled constantly. her lips had serious sweetness,
And her front was calm-the dimple rarely rippled on her cheek:
But her deep blue eyes smiled constantly, -as if they had by fitness
Won the secret of a happy dream, she did not care to speak.

How fine are both the descriptive and critical touches in the .following passage:

Ay, and sometimes on the hill-side, while we sat down in the gowans,
With the forest green behind us, and its shadow cast before;
And the river running under; and across it, from the rowens,
A brown partridge whirring near us, till we felt the air it bore

There, obedient to her praying, did I read aloud the poems
Made by Tuscan flutes, or instruments, more various, of our own;
Read the pastoral parts of Spenser-or the subtle interflowings
Found in Petrarch's sonnets-here's the book-the leaf is folded down!

Or at times a modern volume-Wordsworth's solemn-thoughted idyl,
Ilowitt's ballad-dew, or Tennyson's god-vocal reverie,–
Or from Browning some "Pomegranate,” which, if cut deep down the middle,
Shows a heart within, blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity.

Or I read there, sometimes, hoarsely, some new poem of my making -
Oh, your poets never read their own best verses to their worth,
For the echo, in you, breaks upon the words which you are speaking,
And the chariot-wheels jar in the gate through which you drive them forth.
After, when we were grown tired of books, the silence round us flinging
A slow arm of sweet compression, felt with beatings at the breast, —
She would break out, on a sudden, in a gush of woodland singing,
Like a child's emotion in a god—a naiad tired of rest.

Oh, to see or hear her singing! scarce I know which is divinest-
For her looks sing too-she modulates her gestures on the tune;
And her mouth stirs with the song, like song; and when the notes are finest,
'Tis the eyes that shoot out vocal light, and seem to swell them on.

Then we talked-oh, how we talked! her voice so cadenced in the talking,
Made another singing—of the soul! a music without bars-
While the leafy sounds of woodlands, humming round where we were walking,
Brought interposition worthy-sweet,-

,-as skies about the stars.

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