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Title: A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century
Author: Beers, Henry A. (Henry Augustin), 1847-1926
Language: English
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of James Hayward.




Author of _A Suburban Pastoral_, _The Ways of Vale_, etc.

"Was unsterblich im Gesang soll leben Muss im Leben untergehen."


Historians of French and German literature are accustomed to set off a
period, or a division of their subject, and entitle it "Romanticism" or
"the Romantic School."  Writers of English literary history, while
recognizing the importance of England's share in this great movement in
European letters, have not generally accorded it a place by itself in the
arrangement of their subject-matter, but have treated it cursively, as a
tendency present in the work of individual authors; and have maintained a
simple chronological division of eras into the "Georgian,", the
"Victorian," etc.  The reason of this is perhaps to be found in the fact
that, although Romanticism began earlier in England than on the Continent
and lent quite as much as it borrowed in the international exchange of
literary commodities, the native movement was more gradual and scattered.
It never reached so compact a shape, or came so definitely to a head, as
in Germany or France.  There never was precisely a "romantic school" or
an all-pervading romantic fashion in England.

There is, therefore, nothing in English corresponding to Heine's
fascinating sketch "Die Romantische Schule," or to Théophile Gautier's
almost equally fascinating and far more sympathetic "Histoire du
Romantisme."  If we can imagine a composite personality of Byron and De
Quincey, putting on record his half affectionate and half satirical
reminiscences of the contemporary literary movement, we might have
something nearly equivalent.  For Byron, like Heine, was a repentant
romanticist, with "radical notions under his cap," and a critical theory
at odds with his practice; while De Quincey was an early disciple of
Wordsworth and Coleridge,--as Gautier was of Victor Hugo,--and at the
same time a clever and slightly mischievous sketcher of personal traits.

The present volume consists, in substance, of a series of lectures given
in elective courses in Yale College.  In revising it for publication I
have striven to rid it of the air of the lecture room, but a few
repetitions and didacticisms of manner may have inadvertently been left
in.  Some of the methods and results of these studies have already been
given to the public in "The Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement,"
by my present associate and former scholar, Professor William Lyon
Phelps.  Professor Phelps' little book (originally a doctorate thesis)
follows, in the main, the selection and arrangement of topics in my
lectures.  _En revanche_ I have had the advantage of availing myself of
his independent researches on points which I have touched but slightly;
and particularly of his very full treatment of the Spenserian imitations.

I had at first intended to entitle the book "Chapters toward a History of
English Romanticism, etc."; for, though fairly complete in treatment, it
makes no claim to being exhaustive.  By no means every eighteenth-century
writer whose work exhibits romantic motives is here passed in review.
That very singular genius William Blake, _e.g._, in whom the influence of
"Ossian," among other things, is so strongly apparent, I leave untouched;
because his writings--partly by reason of their strange manner of
publication--were without effect upon their generation and do not form a
link in the chain of literary tendency.

If this volume should be favorably received, I hope before very long to
publish a companion study of English romanticism in the nineteenth


_October, 1898._



    I. The Subject Defined

   II. The Augustans

  III. The Spenserians

   IV. The Landscape Poets

    V. The Miltonic Group

   VI. The School of Warton

  VII. The Gothic Revival

 VIII. Percy and the Ballads

   IX. Ossian

    X. Thomas Chatterton

   XI. The German Tributary



The Subject Defined

To attempt at the outset a rigid definition of the word _romanticism_
would be to anticipate the substance of this volume.  To furnish an
answer to the question--What is, or was, romanticism? or, at least, What
is, or was English romanticism?--is one of my main purposes herein, and
the reader will be invited to examine a good many literary documents, and
to do a certain amount of thinking, before he can form for himself any
full and clear notion of the thing.  Even then he will hardly find
himself prepared to give a dictionary definition or romanticism.  There
are words which connote so much, which take up into themselves so much of
the history of the human mind, that any compendious explanation of their
meaning--any definition which is not, at the same time, a rather extended
description--must serve little other end than to supply a convenient mark
of identification.  How can we define in a sentence words like
renaissance, philistine, sentimentalism, transcendental, Bohemia,
pre-Raphaelite, impressionist, realistic?  _Definitio est negatio_.  It
may be possible to hit upon a form of words which will mark romanticism
off from everything else--tell in a clause what it is _not_; but to add a
positive content to the definition--to tell what romanticism _is_, will
require a very different and more gradual process.[1]

Nevertheless a rough, working definition may be useful to start with.
Romanticism, then, in the sense in which I shall commonly employ the
word, means the reproduction in modern art or literature of the life and
thought of the Middle Ages.  Some other elements will have to be added to
this definition, and some modifications of it will suggest themselves
from time to time.  It is provisional, tentative, classic, but will serve
our turn till we are ready to substitute a better.  It is the definition
which Heine gives in his brilliant little book on the Romantic School in
Germany.[2]  "All the poetry of the Middle Ages," he adds, "has a certain
definite character, through which it differs from the poetry of the
Greeks and Romans.  In reference to this difference, the former is called
Romantic, the latter Classic.  These names, however, are misleading, and
have hitherto caused the most vexatious confusion."[3]

Some of the sources of this confusion will be considered presently.
Meanwhile the passage recalls the fact that _romantic_, when used as a
term in literary nomenclature, is not an independent, but a referential
word.  It implies its opposite, the classic; and the ingenuity of critics
has been taxed to its uttermost to explain and develop the numerous
points of contrast.  To form a thorough conception of the romantic,
therefore, we must also form some conception of the classic.  Now there
is an obvious unlikeness between the thought and art of the nations of
pagan antiquity and the thought and art of the peoples of Christian,
feudal Europe.  Everyone will agree to call the Parthenon, the "Diana" of
the Louvre, the "Oedipus" of Sophocles, the orations of Demosthenes
classical; and to call the cathedral of Chartres, the walls of
Nuremberg--_die Perle des Mittelalters_--the "Legenda Aurea" of Jacobus
de Voragine, the "Tristan und Isolde" of Gottfried of Strasburg, and the
illuminations in a Catholic missal of the thirteenth century romantic.

The same unlikeness is found between modern works conceived in the
spirit, or executed in direct imitation, of ancient and medieval art
respectively.  It is easy to decide that Flaxman's outline drawings in
illustration of Homer are classic; that Alfieri's tragedies, Goethe's
"Iphigenie auf Tauris" Landor's "Hellenics," Gibson's statues, David's
paintings, and the church of the Madeleine in Paris are classical, at
least in intentions and in the models which they follow; while Victor
Hugo's "Notre Dame de Paris," Scott's "Ivanhoe," Fouqué's "Der
Zauberring," and Rossetti's painting, "The Girlhood of Mary," are no less
certainly romantic in their inspiration.

But critics have given a wider extension than this to the terms classic
and romantic.  They have discerned, or imagined, certain qualities,
attitudes of mind, ways of thinking and feeling, traits of style which
distinguish classic from romantic art; and they have applied the words
accordingly to work which is not necessarily either antique or medieval
in subject.  Thus it is assumed, for example, that the productions of
Greek and Roman genius were characterized by clearness, simplicity,
restraint, unity of design, subordination of the part to the whole; and
therefore modern works which make this impression of noble plainness and
severity, of harmony in construction, economy of means and clear,
definite outline, are often spoken of as classical, quite irrespective of
the historical period which they have to do with.  In this sense, it is
usual to say that Wordsworth's "Michael" is classical, or that Goethe's
"Hermann and Dorothea" is classical; though Wordsworth may be celebrating
the virtues of a Westmoreland shepherd, and Goethe telling the story of
two rustic lovers on the German border at the time of the Napoleonic wars.

On the other hand, it is asserted that the work of mediaeval poets and
artists is marked by an excess of sentiment, by over-lavish decoration, a
strong sense of color and a feeble sense of form, an attention to detail,
at the cost of the main impression, and a consequent tendency to run into
the exaggerated, the fantastic, and the grotesque.  It is not uncommon,
therefore, to find poets like Byron and Shelly classified as
romanticists, by virtue of their possession of these, or similar,
characteristics, although no one could be more remote from medieval
habits of thought than the author of "Don Juan" or the author of "The
Revolt of Islam."

But the extension of these opposing terms to the work of writers who have
so little in common with either the antique or the medieval as
Wordsworth, on the one hand, and Byron, on the other, does not stop here.
It is one of the embarrassments of the literary historian that nearly
every word which he uses has two meanings, a critical and a popular
meaning.  In common speech, classic has come to signify almost anything
that is good.  If we look in our dictionaries we find it defined somewhat
in this way: "Conforming to the best authority in literature and art;
pure; chaste; refined; originally and chiefly used of the best Greek and
Roman writers, but also applied to the best modern authors, or their
works."  "Classic, _n._ A work of acknowledged excellence and authority."
In this sense of the word, "Robinson Crusoe" is a classic; the "Pilgrim's
Progress" is a classic; every piece of literature which is customarily
recommended as a safe pattern for young writers to form their style upon
is a classic.[4]

Contrariwise the word _romantic_, as popularly employed, expresses a
shade of disapprobation.  The dictionaries make it a synonym for
_sentimental, fanciful_, _wild_, _extravagant_, _chimerical_, all evident
derivatives from their more critical definition, "pertaining or
appropriate to the style of the Christian and popular literature of the
Middle Ages, as opposed to the classical antique."  The etymology of
_romance_ is familiar.  The various dialects which sprang from the
corruption of the Latin were called by the common name of _romans_.  The
name was then applied to any piece of literature composed in this
vernacular instead of in the ancient classical Latin.  And as the
favorite kind of writing in Provençal, Old French, and Spanish was the
tale of chivalrous adventure that was called _par excellence_, _a roman_,
_romans_, or_ romance_.  The adjective _romantic_ is much later,
implying, as it does, a certain degree of critical attention to the
species of fiction which it describes in order to a generalizing of its
peculiarities.  It first came into general use in the latter half of the
seventeenth century and the early years of the eighteenth; and naturally,
was marked from birth with that shade of disapproval which has been
noticed in popular usage.

The feature that struck the critics most in the romances of the Middle
Ages, and in that very different variety of romance which was cultivated
during the seventeenth century--the prolix, sentimental fictions of La
Calprenède, Scudéri, Gomberville, and D'Urfé--was the fantastic
improbability of their adventures.  Hence the common acceptation of the
word _romantic_ in such phrases as "a romantic notion," "a romantic
elopement," "an act of romantic generosity."  The application of the
adjective to scenery was somewhat later,[5] and the abstract
_romanticism_ was, of course, very much later; as the literary movement,
or the revolution in taste, which it entitles, was not enough developed
to call for a name until the opening of the nineteenth century.  Indeed,
it was never so compact, conscious, and definite a movement in England as
in Germany and France; and its baptism doubtless came from abroad, from
the polemical literature which attended the career of the German
_romanticismus _and the French _romantisme_.

While accepting provisionally Heine's definition, it will be useful to
examine some of the wider meanings that have been attached to the words
_classic_ and _romantic_, and some of the analyses that have been
attempted of the qualities that make one work of art classical and
another romantic.  Walter Pater took them to indicate opposite tendencies
or elements which are present in varying proportions in all good art.  It
is the essential function of classical art and literature, he thought, to
take care of the qualities of measure, purity, temperance.  "What is
classical comes to us out of the cool and quiet of other times, as a
measure of what a long experience has shown us will, at least, never
displease us.  And in the classical literature of Greece and Rome, as in
the classics of the last century, the essentially classical element is
that quality of order in beauty which they possess, indeed, in a
pre-eminent degree."[6]  "The charm, then, of what is classical in art or
literature is that of the well-known tale, to which we can nevertheless
listen over and over again, because it is told so well.  To the absolute
beauty of its form is added the accidental, tranquil charm of

On the other hand, he defines the romantic characteristics in art as
consisting in "the addition of strangeness to beauty"--a definition which
recalls Bacon's saying, "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some
strangeness in the proportion."  "The desire of beauty," continues Pater,
"being a fixed element in every artistic organization, it is the addition
of curiosity to this desire of beauty that constitutes the romantic
temper."  This critic, then, would not confine the terms _classic_ and
_classicism_ to the literature of Greece and Rome and to modern works
conceived in the same spirit, although he acknowledges that there are
certain ages of the world in which the classical tradition predominates,
_i.e._, in which the respect for authority, the love of order and
decorum, the disposition to follow rules and models, the acceptance of
academic and conventional standards overbalance the desire for
strangeness and novelty.  Such epochs are, _e.g._, the Augustan age of
Rome, the _Siècle de Louis XIV_, in France, the times of Pope and Johnson
in England--indeed, the whole of the eighteenth century in all parts of

Neither would he limit the word _romantic_ to work conceived in the
spirit of the Middle Ages.  "The essential elements," he says, "of the
romantic spirit are curiosity and the love of beauty; and it is as the
accidental effect of these qualities only, that it seeks the Middle Ages;
because in the overcharged atmosphere of the Middle Age there are
unworked sources of romantic effect, of a strange beauty to be won by
strong imagination out of things unlikely or remote."  "The sense in
which Scott is to be called a romantic writer is chiefly that, in
opposition to the literary tradition of the last century, he loved
strange adventure and sought it in the Middle Age."

Here again the essayist is careful to explain that there are certain
epochs which are predominately romantic.  "Outbreaks of this spirit come
naturally with particular periods: times when . . . men come to art and
poetry with a deep thirst for intellectual excitement, after a long
_ennui_."  He instances, as periods naturally romantic, the time of the
early Provençal troubadour poetry: the years following the Bourbon
Restoration in France (say, 1815-30); and "the later Middle Age; so that
the medieval poetry, centering in Dante, is often opposed to Greek or
Roman poetry, as romantic to classical poetry."

In Pater's use of the terms, then, classic and romantic do not describe
particular literature, or particular periods in literary history, so much
as certain counterbalancing qualities and tendencies which run through
the literatures of all times and countries.  There were romantic writings
among the Greeks and Romans; there were classical writings in the Middle
Ages; nay, there are classical and romantic traits in the same author.
If there is any poet who may safely be described as a classic, it is
Sophocles; and yet Pater declares that the "Philoctetes" of Sophocles, if
issued to-day, would be called romantic. And he points out--what indeed
has been often pointed out--that the "Odyssey"[7] is more romantic than
the "Iliad:" is, in fact, rather a romance than a hero-epic.  The
adventures of the wandering Ulysses, the visit to the land of the
lotus-eaters, the encounter with the Laestrygonians, the experiences in
the cave of Polyphemus, if allowance be made for the difference in
sentiments and manners, remind the reader constantly of the medieval
_romans d'aventure_.  Pater quotes De Stendhal's saying that all good art
was romantic in its day.  "Romanticism," says De Stendhal, "is the art of
presenting to the nations the literary works which, in the actual state
of their habits and beliefs, are capable of giving them the greatest
possible pleasure: classicism, on the contrary, presents them with what
gave the greatest possible pleasure to their great grand-fathers"--a
definition which is epigrammatic, if not convincing.[8]  De Stendhal
(Henri Beyle) was a pioneer and a special pleader in the cause of French
romanticism, and, in his use of the terms, romanticism stands for
progress, liberty, originality, and the spirit of the future; classicism,
for conservatism, authority, imitation, the spirit of the past.
According to him, every good piece of romantic art is a classic in the
making.  Decried by the classicists of to-day, for its failure to observe
traditions, it will be used by the classicists of the future as a pattern
to which new artists must conform.

It may be worth while to round out the conception of the term by
considering a few other definitions of _romantic_ which have been
proposed.  Dr. F. H. Hedge, in an article in the _Atlantic Monthly_[9]
for March, 1886, inquired, "What do we mean by romantic?"  Goethe, he
says, characterized the difference between classic and romantic "as
equivalent to [that between] healthy and morbid.  Schiller proposed
'naïve and sentimental.'[10]  The greater part [of the German critics]
regarded it as identical with the difference between ancient and modern,
which was partly true, but explained nothing.  None of the definitions
given could be accepted as quite satisfactory."[11]

Dr. Hedge himself finds the origin of romantic feeling in wonder and the
sense of mystery.  "The essence of romance," he writes, "is mystery"; and
he enforces the point by noting the application of the word to scenery.
"The woody dell, the leafy glen, the forest path which leads, one knows
not whither, are romantic: the public highway is not."  "The winding
secret brook . . . is romantic, as compared with the broad river."
"Moonlight is romantic, as contrasted with daylight."  Dr. Hedge
attributes this fondness for the mysterious to "the influence of the
Christian religion, which deepened immensely the mystery of life,
suggesting something beyond and behind the world of sense."

This charm of wonder or mystery is perhaps only another name for that
"strangeness added to beauty" which Pater takes to be the distinguishing
feature of romantic art.  Later in the same article, Dr. Hedge asserts
that "the essence of romanticism is aspiration."  Much might be said in
defense of this position.  It has often been pointed out, _e.g._, that a
Gothic cathedral expresses aspiration, and a Greek temple satisfied
completeness.  Indeed if we agree that, in a general way, the classic is
equivalent to the antique, and the romantic to the medieval, it will be
strange if we do not discover many differences between the two that can
hardly be covered by any single phrase.  Dr. Hedge himself enumerates
several qualities of romantic art which it would be difficult to bring
under his essential and defining category of wonder or aspiration.  Thus
he announces that "the peculiarity of the classic style is reserve,
self-suppression of the writer"; while "the romantic is self-reflecting."
"Clear, unimpassioned, impartial presentation of the subject . . . is the
prominent feature of the classic style.  The modern writer gives you not
so much the things themselves as his impression of them."  Here then is
the familiar critical distinction between the objective and subjective
methods--Schiller's _naiv and sentimentalisch_--applied as a criterion of
classic and romantic style.  This contrast the essayist develops at some
length, dwelling upon "the cold reserve and colorless simplicity of the
classic style, where the medium is lost in the object"; and "on the other
hand, the inwardness, the sentimental intensity, the subjective coloring
of the romantic style."

A further distinguishing mark of the romantic spirit, mentioned by Dr.
Hedge in common with many other critics, is the indefiniteness or
incompleteness of its creations.  This is a consequence, of course, of
its sense of mystery and aspiration.  Schopenbauer said that music was
the characteristic modern art, because of its subjective, indefinite
character.  Pursuing this line of thought, Dr. Hedge affirms that
"romantic relates to classic somewhat as music relates to plastic
art. . .  It [music] presents no finished ideal, but suggests ideals
beyond the capacity of canvas or stone.  Plastic art acts on the
intellect, music on the feelings; the one affects us by what it presents,
the other by what it suggests.  This, it seems to me, is essentially the
difference between classic and romantic poetry"; and he names Homer and
Milton as examples of the former, and Scott and Shelley of the latter

Here then we have a third criterion proposed for determining the
essential _differentia_ of romantic art.  First it was mystery, then
aspiration; now it is the appeal to the emotions by the method of
suggestion.  And yet there is, perhaps, no inconsistency on the critic's
part in this continual shifting of his ground.  He is apparently
presenting different facets of the same truth; he means one thing by this
mystery, aspiration, indefiniteness, incompleteness, emotion
suggestiveness: that quality or effect which we all feel to be present in
romantic and absent from classic work, but which we find it hard to
describe by any single term.  It is open to any analyst of our critical
vocabulary to draw out the fullest meanings that he can, from such pairs
of related words as classic and romantic, fancy and imagination, wit and
humor, reason and understanding, passion and sentiment.  Let us, for
instance, develop briefly this proposition that the ideal of classic art
is completeness[12] and the ideal of romantic art indefiniteness, or

A.W. Schlegel[13] had already made use of two of the arts of design, to
illustrate the distinction between classic and romantic, just as Dr.
Hedge uses plastic art and music.  I refer to Schlegel's famous saying
that the genius of the antique drama was statuesque, and that of the
romantic drama picturesque.  A Greek temple, statue, or poem has no
imperfection and offers no further promise, indicates nothing beyond what
it expresses.  It fills the sense, it leaves nothing to the imagination.
It stands correct, symmetric, sharp in outline, in the clear light of
day.  There is nothing more to be done to it; there is no concealment
about it.  But in romantic art there is seldom this completeness.  The
workman lingers, he would fain add another touch, his ideal eludes him.
Is a Gothic cathedral ever really finished?  Is "Faust" finished?  Is
"Hamlet" explained?  The modern spirit is mystical; its architecture,
painting, poetry employ shadow to produce their highest effects: shadow
and color rather than contour.  On the Greek heroic stage there were a
few figures, two or three at most, grouped like statuary and thrown out
in bold relief at the apex of the scene: in Greek architecture a few
clean, simple lines: in Greek poetry clear conceptions easily expressible
in language and mostly describable in sensuous images.

The modern theater is crowded with figures and colors, and the distance
recedes in the middle of the scene.  This love of perspective is repeated
in cathedral aisles,[14] the love of color in cathedral windows, and
obscurity hovers in the shadows of the vault.  In our poetry, in our
religion these twilight thoughts prevail.  We seek no completeness here.
What is beyond, what is inexpressible attracts us.  Hence the greater
spirituality of romantic literature, its deeper emotion, its more
passionate tenderness.  But hence likewise its sentimentality, its
melancholy and, in particular, the morbid fascination which the thought
of death has had for the Gothic mind.  The classic nations concentrated
their attention on life and light, and spent few thoughts upon darkness
and the tomb.  Death was to them neither sacred nor beautiful.  Their
decent rites of sepulture or cremation seem designed to hide its
deformities rather than to prolong its reminders.  The presence of the
corpse was pollution.  No Greek could have conceived such a book as the
"Hydriotaphia" or the "Anatomy of Melancholy."

It is observable that Dr. Hedge is at one with Pater, in desiring some
more philosophical statement of the difference between classic and
romantic than the common one which makes it simply the difference between
the antique and the medieval.  He says: "It must not be supposed that
ancient and classic, on one side, and modern and romantic, on the other,
are inseparably one; so that nothing approaching to romantic shall be
found in any Greek or Roman author, nor any classic page in the
literature of modern Europe. . .  The literary line of demarcation is not
identical with the chronological one."  And just as Pater says that the
Odyssey is more romantic than the Iliad, so Dr. Hedge says that "the
story of Cupid and Psyche,[15] in the 'Golden Ass' of Apuleius, is as
much a romance as any composition of the seventeenth or eighteenth
century."  Medievalism he regards as merely an accident of romance:
Scott, as most romantic in his themes, but Byron, in his mood.

So, too, Mr. Sidney Colvin[16] denies that "a predilection for classic
subjects . . . can make a writer that which we understand by the word
classical as distinguished from that which we understand by the word
romantic.  The distinction lies deeper, and is a distinction much less of
subject than of treatment. . .  In classical writing every idea is called
up to the mind as nakedly as possible, and at the same time as
distinctly; it is exhibited in white light, and left to produce its
effect by its own unaided power.[17]  In romantic writing, on the other
hand, all objects are exhibited, as it were, through a colored and
iridescent atmosphere.  Round about every central idea the romantic
writer summons up a cloud of accessory and subordinate ideas for the sake
of enhancing its effect, if at the risk of confusing its outlines.  The
temper, again, of the romantic writer is one of excitement, while the
temper of the classical writer is one of self-possession. . .  On the one
hand there is calm, on the other hand enthusiasm.  The virtues of the one
style are strength of grasp, with clearness and justice of presentment;
the virtues of the other style are glow of the spirit, with magic and
richness of suggestion."  Mr. Colvin then goes on to enforce and
illustrate this contrast between the "accurate and firm definition of
things" in classical writers and the "thrilling vagueness and
uncertainty," the tremulous, coruscating, vibrating or colored light--the
"halo"--with which the romantic writer invests his theme.  "The romantic
manner, . . . with its thrilling uncertainties and its rich suggestions,
may be more attractive than the classic manner, with its composed and
measured preciseness of statement. . .  But on the other hand the
romantic manner lends itself, as the true classical does not, to inferior
work.  Second-rate conceptions excitedly and approximately put into words
derive from it an illusive attraction which may make them for a time, and
with all but the coolest judges, pass as first-rate.  Whereas about true
classical writing there can be no illusion.  It presents to us
conceptions calmly realized in words that exactly define them,
conceptions depending for their attraction, not on their halo, but on

As examples of these contrasting styles, Mr. Colvin puts side by side
passages from "The Ancient Mariner" and Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale,"
with passages, treating similar themes, from Landor's "Gebir" and
"Imaginary Conversations."  The contrast might be even more clearly
established by a study of such a piece as Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn,"
where the romantic form is applied to classical content; or by a
comparison of Tennyson's "Ulysses" and "The Lotus Eaters," in which
Homeric subjects are treated respectively in the classic and the romantic

Alfred de Musset, himself in early life a prominent figure among the
French romanticists, wrote some capital satire upon the baffling and
contradictory definitions of the word _romantisme_ that were current in
the third and fourth decades of this century.[18]  Two worthy provincials
write from the little town of La Ferté-sous-Jouarre to the editor of the
"Revue des Deux Mondes," appealing to him to tell them what romanticism
means.  For two years Dupuis and his friend Cotonet had supposed that the
term applied only to the theater, and signified the disregard of the
unities.  "Shakspere, for example makes people travel from Rome to
London, and from Athens to Alexandria in a quarter of an hour.  His
heroes live ten or twenty years between two acts.  His heroines, angels
of virtue during a whole scene, have only to pass into the _coulisses_,
to reappear as wives, adulteresses, widows, and grandmothers.  There, we
said to ourselves, is the romantic.  Contrariwise, Sophocles makes
Oedipus sit on a rock, even at the cost of great personal inconvenience,
from the very beginning of his tragedy.  All the characters come there to
find him, one after the other.  Perhaps he stands up occasionally, though
I doubt it; unless, it may be, out of respect for Theseus, who, during
the entire play, obligingly walks on the high-way, coming in or going out
continually. . .  There, we said to ourselves, is the classic."

But about 1828, continues the letter, "we learned that there were
romantic poetry and classical poetry, romantic novels and classical
novels, romantic odes and classical odes; nay, a single line, my dear
sir, a sole and solitary line of verse might be romantic or classic,
according as the humor took it.  When we received this intelligence, we
could not close our eyes all night.  Two years of peaceful conviction had
vanished like a dream.  All our ideas were turned topsy-turvy; for it the
rules of Aristotle were no longer the line of demarcation which separated
the literary camps, where was one to find himself, and what was he to
depend upon?  How was one to know, in reading a book, which school it
belonged to? . . .  Luckily in the same year there appeared a famous
preface, which we devoured straightway[19]. . .  This said very
distinctly that romanticism was nothing else than the alliance of the
playful and the serious, of the grotesque and the terrible, of the jocose
and the horrible, or in other words, if you prefer, of comedy and

This definition the anxious inquirers accepted for the space of a year,
until it was borne in upon them that Aristophanes--not to speak of other
ancients--had mixed tragedy and comedy in his drama.  Once again the
friends were plunged in darkness, and their perplexity was deepened when
they were taking a walk one evening and overheard a remark made by the
niece of the _sous-prefet_.  This young lady had fallen in love with
English ways, as was--somewhat strangely--evidenced by her wearing a
green veil, orange-colored gloves, and silver-rimmed spectacles.  As she
passed the promenaders, she turned to look at a water-mill near the ford,
where there were bags of grain, geese, and an ox in harness, and she
exclaimed to her governess, "_Voilà un site romantique_."

This mysterious sentence roused the flagging curiosity of MM. Dupuis and
Contonet, and they renewed their investigations.  A passage in a
newspaper led them to believe for a time that romanticism was the
imitation of the Germans, with, perhaps, the addition of the English and
Spanish.  Then they were tempted to fancy that it might be merely a
matter of literary form, possibly this _vers brisé_ (run-over lines,
_enjambement_) that they are making so much noise about.  "From 1830 to
1831 we were persuaded that romanticism was the historic style (_genre
historique_) or, if you please, this mania which has lately seized our
authors for calling the characters of their novels and melodramas
Charlemagne, Francis I., or Henry IV., instead of Amadis, Oronte, or
saint-Albin. . .  From 1831 to the year following we thought it was the
_genre intime,_ about which there was much talk.  But with all the pains
that we took we never could discover what the _genre intime_ was.  The
'intimate' novels are just like the others.  They are in two volume
octavo, with a great deal of margin. . .  They have yellow covers and
they cost fifteen francs."  From 1832 to 1833 they conjectured that
romanticism might be a system of philosophy and political economy.  From
1833 to 1834 they believed that it consisted in not shaving one's self,
and in wearing a waistcoat with wide facings very much starched.

At last they bethink themselves of a certain lawyer's clerk, who had
first imported these literary disputes into the village, in 1824.  To
him, they expose their difficulties and ask for an answer to the
question, What is romanticism?  After a long conversation, they receive
this final definition.  "Romanticism, my dear sir!  No, of a surety, it
is neither the disregard of the unities, nor the alliance of the comic
and tragic, nor anything in the world expressible by words.  In vain you
grasp the butterfly's wing; the dust which gives it its color is left
upon your fingers.  Romanticism is the star that weeps, it is the wind
that wails, it is the night that shudders, the bird that flies and the
flower that breathes perfume: it is the sudden gush, the ecstasy grown
faint, the cistern beneath the palms, rosy hope with her thousand loves,
the angel and the pearl, the white robe of the willows.  It is the
infinite and the starry," etc., etc.

Then M. Ducoudray, a magistrate of the department, gives his theory of
romanticism, which he considers to be an effect of the religious and
political reaction under the restored Bourbon monarchy of Louis XVIII,
and Charles X.  "The mania for ballads, arriving from Germany, met the
legitimist poetry one fine day at Ladvocat's bookshop; and the two of
them, pickax in hand, went at nightfall to a churchyard, to dig up the
Middle Ages."  The taste for medievalism, M. Ducoudray adds, has survived
the revolution of 1830, and romanticism has even entered into the service
of liberty and progress, where it is a manifest anachronism, "employing
the style of Ronsard to celebrate railroads, and imitating Dante when it
chants the praises of Washington and Lafayette."  Dupuis was tempted to
embrace M. Ducoudray's explanation, but Cotonet was not satisfied.  He
shut himself in, for four months, at the end of which he announced his
discovery that the true and only difference between the classic and the
romantic is that the latter uses a good many adjectives.  He illustrates
his principle by giving passages from "Paul and Virginia" and the
"Portuguese Letters," written in the romantic style.

Thus Musset pricks a critical bubble with the point of his satire; and
yet the bubble declines to vanish.  There must really be some more
substantial difference than this between classic and romantic, for the
terms persist and are found useful.  It may be true that the romantic
temper, being subjective and excited, tends to an excess in adjectives;
the adjective being that part of speech which attributes qualities, and
is therefore most freely used by emotional persons.  Still it would be
possible to cut out all the adjectives, not strictly necessary, from one
of Tieck's _Märchen_ without in the slightest degree disturbing its
romantic character.

It remains to add that romanticism is a word which faces in two
directions.  It is now opposed to realism, as it was once opposed to
classicism.  As, in one way, its freedom and lawlessness, its love of
novelty, experiment, "strangeness added to beauty," contrast with the
classical respect for rules, models, formulae, precedents, conventions;
so, in another way, its discontent with things as they are, its idealism,
aspiration, mysticism contrast with the realist's conscientious adherence
to fact.  "Ivanhoe" is one kind of romance; "The Marble Faun" is

[1] Les définitions ne se posent pas _a priori_, si ce n'est peutêtre en
mathématiques.  En histoire, c'est de l'étude patiente de is la réalité
qu'elles se dégagent insensiblement.  Si M. Deschanel ne nous a pas donné
du _romantisme_ la définition que nous réclamions tout à l'heure, c'est,
à vrai dire, que son enseignement a pour objet de préparer cette
définition même.  Nous la trouverons où elle doit être, à la fin du cours
et non pas à début.--_F. Brunetière: "Classiques et Romantiques, Études
Critiques," _Tome III, p. 296.

[2] Was war aber dis romantische Schule in Deutschland?  Sie war nichts
anders als die Wiedererweckung der Poesie des Mittelalters, wie sie sich
in dessen Liedern, Bild- und Bauwerken, in Kunst und Leben, manifestiert
hatte.--_Die romanticsche Schule (Cotta edition)_, p. 158.

[3] "The Romantic School" (Fleishman's translation), p. 13.

[4] Un classique est tout artiste à l'ecole de qui nous pouvons nous
mettre sans craindre que ses leçons on ses exemples nous fourvoient.  Ou
encore, c'est celui qui possède . . . des qualités dont l'imitation, si
elle ne peut pas faire de bien, ne peut pas non plus faire de mal.--_F.
Brunetière, "Études Critiques,"_ Tome III, p. 300.

[5] Mr. Perry thinks that one of the first instances of the use of the
word _romantic _is by the diarist Evelyn in 1654: "There is also, on the
side of this horrid alp, a very romantic seat."--_English Literature in
the Eighteenth Century, by Thomas Sergeant Perry, _p. 148, _note_.

[6] "Romanticism," _Macmillan's Magazine_, Vol. XXXV.

[7] The Odyssey has been explained throughout in an allegorical sense.
The episode of Circe, at least, lends itself obviously to such
interpretation.  Circe's cup has become a metaphor for sensual
intoxication, transforming men into beasts; Milton, in "Comus,"  regards
himself as Homer's continuator, enforcing a lesson of temperance in
Puritan times hardly more consciously than the old Ionian Greek in times
which have no other record than his poem.

[8] "Racine et Shakespeare, Études en Romantisme" (1823), p. 32, ed. of
Michel Lévy Frères, 1954.  Such would also seem to be the view maintained
by M. Émile Deschanel, whose book "Le Romantisme des Classiques" (Paris,
1883) is reviewed by M. Brunetière in an article already several times
quoted.  "Tous les classiques," according to M. Deschanel--at least, so
says his reviewer--"ont jadis commencé par être des romantiques." And
again: "Un _romantique_ seraut tout simplement un classique en route pour
parvenir; et, réciproquement, un classique ne serait de plus qu'un
romantique arrivé."

[9] "Classic and Romantic," Vol. LVII.

[10] See Schiller's "Ueber naive and sentimentalische Dichtung."

[11] Le mot de romantisme, après cinquante ans et plus de discussions
passionnées, ne laisse pas d'être encore aujourd'hui bien vague et bien
flottant.--_Brunetière, ibid._

[12] Ce qui constitue proprement un classique, c'est l'équilibre en lui de
toutes les facultés qui concourent à la perfection de l'oeuvre
d'art.--_Brunetière, ibid._

[13] "Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Litteratur."

[14] Far to the west the long, long vale withdrawn,
    Where twilight loves to linger for a while.
       --_Beattie's "Minstrel."_

[15] The modernness of this "latest born of the myths" resides partly in
its spiritual, almost Christian conception of love, partly in its
allegorical theme, the soul's attainment of immortality through love.
The Catholic idea of penance is suggested, too, in Psyche's "wandering
labors long."  This apologue has been a favorite with platonizing poets,
like Spenser and Milton.  See "The Faïrie Queene," book iii. canto vi.
stanza 1., and "Comus," lines 1002-11

[16] "Selections from Walter Savage Landor," Preface, p. vii.

[17] See also Walter Bagehot's essay on "Pure, Ornate, and Grotesque Art,"
"Literary Studies, Works" (Hartford, 1889), Vol I. p. 200.

[18] Lettres de Dupuis et Cotonet (1836), "Oeuvres Complètes" (Charpentier
edition, 1881), Tome IX. p. 194.

[19] Preface to Victor Hugo's "Cromwell," dated October, 1827.  The play
was printed, but not acted, in 1828.

[20] In modern times romanticism, typifying a permanent tendency of the
human mind, has been placed in opposition to what is called realism. . .
[But] there is, as it appears to us, but one fundamental note which all
romanticism . . . has in common, and that is a deep disgust with the
world as it is and a desire to depict in literature something that is
claimed to be nobler and better.--_Essays on German Literature, by H. H.
Boyesen_, pp. 358 and 356.


The Augustans

The Romantic Movement in England was a part of the general European
reaction against the spirit of the eighteenth century.  This began
somewhat earlier in England than in Germany, and very much earlier than
in France, where literacy conservatism went strangely hand in hand with
political radicalism.  In England the reaction was at first gradual,
timid, and unconscious.  It did not reach importance until the seventh
decade of the century, and culminated only in the early years of the
nineteenth century.  The medieval revival was only an incident--though a
leading incident--of this movement; but it is the side of it with which
the present work will mainly deal.  Thus I shall have a great deal to say
about Scott; very little about Byron, intensely romantic as he was in
many meanings of the word.  This will not preclude me from glancing
occasionally at other elements besides medievalism which enter into the
concept of the term "romantic."

Reverting then to our tentative definition--Heine's definition--of
romanticism, as the reproduction in modern art and literature of the life
of the Middle Ages, it should be explained that the expression, "Middle
Ages," is to be taken here in a liberal sense.  Contributions to romantic
literature such as Macpherson's "Ossian," Collins' "Ode on the
Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands," and Gray's translations form
the Welsh and the Norse, relate to periods which antedate that era of
Christian chivalry and feudalism, extending roughly from the eleventh
century to the fifteenth, to which the term, "Middle Ages," more strictly
applies.  The same thing is true of the ground-work, at least, of ancient
hero-epics like "Beowulf" and the "Nibelungen Lied," of the Icelandic
"Sagas," and of similar products of old heathen Europe which have come
down in the shape of mythologies, popular superstitions, usages, rites,
songs, and traditions.  These began to fall under the notice of scholars
about the middle of the last century and made a deep impression upon
contemporary letters.

Again, the influence of the Middle Age proper prolonged itself beyond the
exact close of the medieval period, which it is customary to date from
the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The great romantic poets of Italy,
Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso, wrote in the full flush of the pagan revival and
made free use of the Greek and Roman mythologies and the fables of Homer,
Vergil, and Ovid; and yet their work is hardly to be described as
classical.  Nor is the work of their English disciples, Spenser and
Sidney; while the entire Spanish and English drama of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries (down to 1640, and with an occasional exception,
like Ben Jonson) is romantic.  Calderon is romantic; Shakspere and
Fletcher are romantic.  If we agree to regard medieval literature, then,
as comprising all the early literature of Europe which drew its
inspiration from other than Greek-Latin sources, we shall do no great
violence to the usual critical employment of the word.  I say _early_
literature, in order to exclude such writings as are wholly modern, like
"Robinson Crusoe," or "Gulliver's Travels," or Fielding's novels, which
are neither classic nor romantic, but are the original creation of our
own time.  With works like these, though they are perhaps the most
characteristic output of the eighteenth century, our inquiries are not

It hardly needs to be said that the reproduction, or imitation, of
mediaeval life by the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century romanticists,
contains a large admixture of modern thought and feeling.  The brilliant
pictures of feudal society in the romances of Scott and Fouqué give no
faithful image of that society, even when they are carefully correct in
all ascertainable historical details.[1]  They give rather the impression
left upon an alien mind by the quaint, picturesque features of a way of
life which seemed neither quaint nor picturesque to the men who lived it,
but only to the man who turns to it for relief form the prosaic, or at
least familiar, conditions of the modern world.  The offspring of the
modern imagination, acting upon medieval material, may be a perfectly
legitimate, though not an original, form of art.  It may even have a
novel charm of its own, unlike either parent, but like Euphorion, child
of Faust by Helen of Troy, a blend of Hellas and the Middle Age.  Scott's
verse tales are better poetry than the English metrical romances of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  Tennyson has given a more perfect
shape to the Arthurian legends than Sir Thomas Malory, their compiler, or
Walter Map and Chrestien de Troyes, their possible inventors. But, of
course, to study the Middle Ages, as it really was, one must go not to
Tennyson and Scott, but to the "Chanson de Roland," and the "Divine
Comedy," and the "Romaunt of the Rose,"  and the chronicles of
Villehardouin, Joinville, and Froissart.

And the farther such study is carried, the more evident it becomes that
"mediaeval" and "romantic" are not synonymous.  The Middle Ages was not,
at all points, romantic:  it is the modern romanticist who makes, or
finds, it so.  He sees its strange, vivid peculiarities under the glamour
of distance.  Chaucer's temper, for instance, was by no means romantic.
This "good sense" which Dryden mentions as his prominent trait; that "low
tone" which Lowell praises in him, and which keeps him close to the
common ground of experience, pervade his greatest work, the "Canterbury
Tales," with an insistent realism.  It is true that Chaucer shared the
beliefs and influences of his time and was a follower of its literary
fashions.  In his version of the "Romaunt of the Rose," his imitations of
Machault, and his early work in general he used the mediaeval machinery
of allegory and dreams.  In "Troilus and Cresseide" and the tale of
"Palamon and Arcite," he carries romantic love and knightly honor to a
higher pitch than his model, Boccaccio.  But the shrewdly practical
Pandarus of the former poem--a character almost wholly of Chaucer's
creation--is the very embodiment of the anti-romantic attitude, and a
remarkable anticipation of Sancho Panza; while the "Rime of Sir Thopas"
is a distinct burlesque of the fantastic chivalry romances.[2]  Chaucer's
pages are picturesque with tournament, hunting parties, baronial feasts,
miracles of saints, feats of magic; but they are solid, as well, with the
everyday life of fourteenth-century England.  They have the _naïveté_ and
garrulity which are marks of mediaeval work, but not the quaintness and
grotesquerie which are held to be marks of romantic work.  Not archaic
speech, but a certain mental twist constitutes quaintness.  Herbert and
Fuller are quaint; Blake is grotesque; Donne and Charles Lamb are
willfully quaint, subtle, and paradoxical.  But Chaucer is always
straight-grained, broad, and natural.

Even Dante, the poet of the Catholic Middle Ages; Dante, the mystic, the
idealist, with his intense spirituality and his passion for symbolism,
has been sometimes called classic, by virtue of the powerful construction
of his great poem, and his scholastic rigidity of method.

The relation between modern romanticizing literature and the real
literature of the Middle Ages, is something like that between the
literature of the renaissance and the ancient literatures of Greece and
Rome.  But there is this difference, that, while the renaissance writers
fell short of their pattern, the modern schools of romance have outgone
their masters--not perhaps in the intellectual--but certainly in the
artistic value of their product.  Mediaeval literature, wonderful and
stimulating as a whole and beautiful here and there in details of
execution, affords few models of technical perfection.  The civilization
which it reflected, though higher in its possibilities than the classic
civilization, had not yet arrived at an equal grade of development, was
inferior in intelligence and the natured results of long culture.  The
epithets of Gothic ignorance, rudeness, and barbarism, which the
eighteenth-century critics applied so freely to all the issue of the
so-called dark ages, were not entirely without justification.  Dante is
almost the only strictly mediaeval poet in whose work the form seems
adequate to the content; for Boccaccio and Petrarca stand already on the
sill of the renaissance.

In the arts of design the case was partly reversed.  If the artists of
the renaissance did not equal the Greeks in sculpture and architecture,
they probably excelled them in painting.  On the other hand, the
restorers of Gothic have never quite learned the secret of the mediaeval
builders.  However, if the analogy is not pushed too far, the romantic
revival may be regarded as a faint counterpart, the fragments of a
half-forgotten civilization were pieced together; Greek manuscripts
sought out, cleaned, edited, and printed: statues, coins, vases dug up
and ranged in museums: debris cleared away from temples, amphitheaters,
basilicas; till gradually the complete image of the antique world grew
forth in august beauty, kindling an excitement of mind to which there are
few parallels in history; so, in the eighteenth century, the despised
ages of monkery, feudalism, and superstition began to reassert their
claims upon the imagination.  Ruined castles and abbeys, coats of mail,
illuminated missals, manuscript romances, black-letter ballads, old
tapestries, and wood carvings acquired a new value.  Antiquaries and
virtuosos first, and then poets and romancers, reconstructed in turn an
image of medieval society.

True, the later movement was much the weaker of the two.  No such fissure
yawned between modern times and the Middle Ages as had been opened
between the ancient world and the Middle Ages by the ruin of the Roman
state and by the barbarian migrations.  Nor had ten centuries of rubbish
accumulated over the remains of mediaeval culture.  In 1700 the Middle
Ages were not yet so very remote.  The nations and languages of Europe
continued in nearly the same limits which had bounded them two centuries
before.  The progress in the sciences and mechanic arts, the discovery
and colonizing of America, the invention of printing and gunpowder, and
the Protestant reformation had indeed drawn deep lines between modern and
mediaeval life.  Christianity, however, formed a connecting link, though,
in Protestant countries, the continuity between the earlier and later
forms of the religion had been interrupted.  One has but to compare the
list of the pilgrims whom Chaucer met at the Tabard, with the company
that Captain Sentry or Peregrine Pickle would be likely to encounter at a
suburban inn, to see how the face of English society had changed between
1400 and 1700.  What has become of the knight, the prioress, the sumner,
the monk, pardoner, squire, alchemist, friar; and where can they or their
equivalents be found in all England?

The limitations of my subject will oblige me to treat the English
romantic movement as a chapter in literary history, even at the risk of
seeming to adopt a narrow method.  Yet it would be unphilosophical to
consider it as a merely aesthetic affair, and to lose sight altogether of
its deeper springs in the religious and ethical currents of the time.
For it was, in part, a return of warmth and color into English letters;
and that was only a symptom of the return of warmth and color--that is,
of emotion and imagination--into English life and thought: into the
Church, into politics, into philosophy.  Romanticism, which sought to
evoke from the past a beauty that it found wanting in the present, was
but one phase of that revolt against the coldness and spiritual deadness
of the first half of the eighteenth century which had other sides in the
idealism of Berkeley, in the Methodist and Evangelical revival led by
Wesley and Whitefield, and in the sentimentalism which manifested itself
in the writings of Richardson and Sterne.  Corresponding to these on the
Continent were German pietism, the transcendental philosophy of Kant and
his continuators, and the emotional excesses of works like Rousseau's
"Nouvelle Héloise" and Goethe's "Sorrows of Werther."

Romanticism was something more, then, than a new literary mode; a taste
cultivated by dilettante virtuosos, like Horace Walpole, college recluses
like Gray, and antiquarian scholars like Joseph and Thomas Warton.  It
was the effort of the poetic imagination to create for itself a richer
environment; but it was also, in its deeper significance, a reaching out
of the human spirit after a more ideal type of religion and ethics than
it could find in the official churchmanship and the formal morality of
the time.  Mr. Leslie Stephen[3] points out the connection between the
three currents of tendency known as sentimentalism, romanticism, and
naturalism.  He explains, to be sure, that the first English
sentimentalists, such as Richardson and Sterne, were anything but
romantic.  "A more modern sentimentalist would probably express his
feelings[4] by describing some past state of society.  He would paint
some ideal society in mediaeval times and revive the holy monk and the
humble nun for our edification."  He attributes the subsequent interest
in the Middle Ages to the progress made in historical inquiries during
the last half of the eighteenth century, and to the consequent growth of
antiquarianism.  "Men like Malone and Stevens were beginning those
painful researches which have accumulated a whole literature upon the
scanty records of our early dramatists.  Gray, the most learned of poets,
had vaguely designed a history of English poetry, and the design was
executed with great industry by Thomas Warton.  His brother Joseph
ventured to uphold the then paradoxical thesis that Spenser was as great
a man as Pope.  Everywhere a new interest was awakening in the minuter
details of the past."  At first, Mr. Stephen says, the result of these
inquiries was "an unreasonable contempt for the past.  The modern
philosopher, who could spin all knowledge out of his own brain; the
skeptic, who had exploded the ancient dogma; or the free-thinker of any
shade, who rejoiced in the destruction of ecclesiastical tyranny, gloried
in his conscious superiority to his forefathers.  Whatever was old was
absurd; and Gothic--an epithet applied to all medieval art, philosophy,
or social order--became a simple term of contempt."  But an antiquarian
is naturally a conservative, and men soon began to love the times whose
peculiarities they were so diligently studying.  Men of imaginative minds
promptly made the discovery that a new source of pleasure might be
derived from these dry records. . .  The 'return to nature' expresses a
sentiment which underlies . . . both the sentimental and romantic
movements. . .  To return to nature is, in one sense, to find a new
expression for emotions which have been repressed by existing
conventions; or, in another, to return to some simpler social order which
had not yet suffered from those conventions.  The artificiality
attributed to the eighteenth century seems to mean that men were content
to regulate their thoughts and lives by rules not traceable to first
principles, but dependent upon a set of special and exceptional
conditions. . .  To get out of the ruts, or cast off the obsolete
shackles, two methods might be adopted.  The intellectual horizon might
be widened by including a greater number of ages and countries; or men
might try to fall back upon the thoughts and emotions common to all
races, and so cast off the superficial incrustation.  The first method,
that of the romanticists, aims at increasing our knowledge: the second,
that of the naturalistic school, at basing our philosophy on deeper

The classic, or pseudo-classic, period of English literature lasted from
the middle of the seventeenth till the end of the eighteenth century.
Inasmuch as the romantic revival was a protest against this reigning
mode, it becomes necessary to inquire a little more closely what we mean
when we say that the time of Queen Anne and the first two Georges was our
Augustan or classical age.  In what sense was it classical?  And was it
any more classical than the time of Milton, for example, or the time of
Landor?  If the "Dunciad," and the "Essay on Man," are classical, what is
Keats' "Hyperion"?  And with what propriety can we bring under a common
rubric things so far asunder as Prior's "Carmen Seculare" and Tennyson's
"Ulysses," or as Gay's "Trivia" and Swinburne's "Atalanta in Calydon"?
Evidently the Queen Anne writers took hold of the antique by a different
side from our nineteenth-century poets.  Their classicism was of a
special type.  It was, as has been often pointed out, more Latin than
Greek, and more French than Latin.[6]  It was, as has likewise been said,
"a classicism in red heels and a periwig."  Victor Hugo speaks of "cette
poésie fardée, mouchetée, poudrée, du dix-huitième siècle, cette
litèrature à paniers, à pompons et à falbalas."[7]  The costumes of
Watteau contrast with the simple folds of Greek drapery very much as the
"Rape of the Lock," contrasts with the Iliad, or one of Pope's pastorals
with an idyl of Theocritus.  The times were artificial in poetry as in

    "Tea-cup times of hood and hoop,
    And when the patch was worn."

Gentlemen wore powdered wigs instead of their own hair, and the power and
the wig both got into their writing.  _Perruque_ was the nickname applied
to the classicists by the French romanticists of Hugo's generation, who
wore their hair long and flowing--_cheveaux mérovigiennes_--and affected
an _outré_ freedom in the cut and color of their clothes.  Similarly the
Byronic collar became, all over Europe, the symbol of daring independence
in matters of taste and opinion.  Its careless roll, which left the
throat exposed, seemed to assist the liberty of nature against cramping

The leading Queen Anne writers are so well known that a somewhat general
description of the literary situation in England at the time of Pope's
death (1744) will serve as an answer to the question, how was the
eighteenth century classical.  It was remarked by Thomas Warton[8] that,
at the first revival of letters in the sixteenth century, our authors
were more struck by the marvelous fables and inventions of ancient poets
than by the justness of their conceptions and the purity of their style.
In other words, the men of the renaissance apprehended the ancient
literature as poets: the men of the _Éclaircissement_ apprehended them as
critics.  In Elizabeth's day the new learning stimulated English genius
to creative activity.  In royal progresses, court masques, Lord Mayors'
shows, and public pageants of all kinds, mythology ran mad.  "Every
procession was a pantheon."  But the poets were not careful to keep the
two worlds of pagan antiquity and mediaeval Christianity distinct.  The
art of the renaissance was the flower of a double root, and the artists
used their complex stuff naïvely.  The "Faërie Queene" is the typical
work of the English renaissance; there hamadryads, satyrs, and river gods
mingle unblushingly with knights, dragons, sorcerers, hermits, and
personified vices and virtues.  The "machinery" of Homer and Vergil--the
"machinery" of the "Seven Champions of Christendom" and the "Roman de la
Rose"!  This was not shocking to Spenser's contemporaries, but it seemed
quite shocking to classical critics a century later.  Even Milton, the
greatest scholar among English poets, but whose imagination was a strong
agent, holding strange elements in solution, incurred their censure for
bringing Saint Peter and the sea-nymphs into dangerous juxtaposition in

But by the middle of the seventeenth century the renaissance schools of
poetry had become effete in all European countries.  They had run into
extravagances of style, into a vicious manner known in Spain as
Gongorism, in Italy as Marinism, and in England best exhibited in the
verse of Donne and Cowley and the rest of the group whom Dr. Johnson
called the metaphysical poets, and whose Gothicism of taste Addison
ridiculed in his _Spectator_ papers on true and false wit.  It was France
that led the reform against this fashion.  Malherbe and Boileau insisted
upon the need of discarding tawdry ornaments of style and cultivating
simplicity, clearness, propriety, decorum, moderation; above all, good
sense.  The new Academy, founded to guard the purity of the French
language, lent its weight to the precepts of the critics, who applied the
rules of Aristotle, as commented by Longinus and Horace, to modern
conditions.  The appearance of a number of admirable writers--Corneille,
Molière, Racine, Bossuet, La Fontaine, La Bruyère--simultaneously with
this critical movement, gave an authority to the new French literature
which enabled it to impose its principles upon England and Germany for
over a century.  For the creative literature of France conformed its
practice, in the main, to the theory of French criticism; though not, in
the case of Regnier, without open defiance.  This authority was
re-enforced by the political glories and social _éclat_ of the _siècle de
Louis Quatorze_

It happened that at this time the Stuart court was in exile, and in the
train of Henrietta Maria at Paris, or scattered elsewhere through France,
were many royalist men of letters, Etherege, Waller, Cowley, and others,
who brought back with them to England in 1660 an acquaintance with this
new French literature and a belief in its aesthetic code.  That French
influence would have spread into England without the aid of these
political accidents is doubtless true, as it is also true that a reform
of English versification and poetic style would have worked itself out
upon native lines independent of foreign example, and even had there been
so such thing as French literature.  Mr. Gosse has pointed out couplets
of Waller, written as early as 1623, which have the formal precision of
Pope's; and the famous passage about the Thames in Denham's "Cooper's
Hill" (1642) anticipates the best performance of Augustan verse:

    "O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
    My great example, as it is my theme!
    Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
    Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full."

However, as to the general fact of the powerful impact of French upon
English literary fashions, in the latter half of the seventeenth century,
there can be no dispute.[9]

This change of style was symptomatic of a corresponding change in the
national temper.  It was the mission of the eighteenth century to assert
the universality of law and, at the same time, the sufficiency of the
reason to discover the laws, which govern in every province: a service
which we now, perhaps, undervalue in our impatience with the formalism
which was its outward sign.  Hence its dislike of irregularity in art and
irrationality in religion.  England, in particular, was tired of
unchartered freedom, of spiritual as well as of literary anarchy.  The
religious tension of the Commonwealth period had relaxed--men cannot be
always at the heroic pitch--and theological disputes had issued in
indifference and a skepticism which took the form of deism, or "natural
religion."  But the deists were felt to be a nuisance.  They were
unsettling opinions and disturbing that decent conformity with generally
received beliefs which it is the part of a good citizen to maintain.
Addison instructs his readers that, in the absence of certainty, it is
the part of a prudent man to choose the safe side and make friends with
God.  The freethinking Chesterfield[10] tells his son that the profession
of atheism is ill-bred.  De Foe, Swift, Richardson, Fielding, Johnson all
attack infidelity.  "Conform! Conform!" said in effect the most
authoritative writers of the century.  "Be sensible: go to church: pay
your rates: don't be a vulgar deist--a fellow like Toland who is poor and
has no social position.  But, on the other hand, you need not be a
fanatic or superstitious, or an enthusiast.  Above all, _pas de zèle!_"

"Theology," says Leslie Stephen, "was, for the most part, almost as
deistical as the deists.  A hatred for enthusiasm was as strongly
impressed upon the whole character of contemporary thought as a hatred of
skepticism. . .  A good common-sense religion should be taken for granted
and no questions asked. . .  With Shakspere, or Sir Thomas Browne, or
Jeremy Taylor, or Milton, man is contemplated in his relations to the
universe; he is in presence of eternity and infinity; life is a brief
drama; heaven and hell are behind the veil of phenomena; at every step
our friends vanish into the abyss of ever present mystery.  To all such
thoughts the writers of the eighteenth century seemed to close their eyes
as resolutely as possible. . .  The absence of any deeper speculative
ground makes the immediate practical questions of life all the more
interesting.  We know not what we are, nor whither we are going, nor
whence we come; but we can, by the help of common sense, discover a
sufficient share of moral maxims for our guidance in life. . .  Knowledge
of human nature, as it actually presented itself in the shifting scene
before them, and a vivid appreciation of the importance of the moral law,
are the staple of the best literature of the time."[11]

The God of the deists was, in truth, hardly more impersonal than the
abstraction worshiped by the orthodox--the "Great Being" of Addison's
essays, the "Great First Cause" of Pope's "Universal Prayer," invoked
indifferently as "Jehovah, Jove, or Lord."  Dryden and Pope were
professed Catholics, but there is nothing to distinguish their so-called
sacred poetry from that of their Protestant contemporaries.  Contrast the
mere polemics of "The Hind and the Panther" with really Catholic poems
like Southwell's "Burning Babe" and Crashaw's "Flaming Heart," or even
with Newman's "Dream of Gerontius."  In his "Essay on Man," Pope
versified, without well understanding, the optimistic deism of Leibnitz,
as expounded by Shaftesbury and Bolingbroke.  The Anglican Church itself
was in a strange condition, when Jonathan Swift, a dean and would-be
bishop, came to its defense with his "Tale of a Tub" and his ironical
"Argument against the Abolition of Christianity."  Among the Queen Anne
wits Addison was the man of most genuine religious feeling.  He is always
reverent, and "the feeling infinite" stirs faintly in one or two of his
hymns.  But, in general, his religion is of the rationalizing type, a
religion of common sense, a belief resting upon logical deductions, a
system of ethics in which the supernatural is reduced to the lowest
terms, and from which the glooms and fervors of a deep spiritual
experience are almost entirely absent.  This "parson in a tie-wig" is
constantly preaching against zeal, enthusiasm, superstition, mysticism,
and recommending a moderate, cheerful, and reason religion.[12]  It is
instructive to contrast his amused contempt for popular beliefs in
ghosts, witches, dreams, prognostications, and the like, with the
reawakened interest in folk lore evidenced by such a book as Scott's
"Demonology and Witchcraft."

Queen Anne literature was classical, then, in its lack of those elements
of mystery and aspiration which we have found described as of the essence
of romanticism.  It was emphatically a literature of this world.  It
ignored all vague emotion, the phenomena of subconsciousness, "the
electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound," the shadow that rounds
man's little life, and fixed its attention only upon what it could
thoroughly comprehend.[13]  Thereby it escaped obscurity.  The writings
of the Augustans in both verse and prose are distinguished by a perfect
clearness, but it is a clearness without subtlety or depth.  They never
try to express a thought, or to utter a feeling, that is not easily
intelligible.  The mysticism of Wordsworth, the incoherence of Shelley,
the darkness of Browning--to take only modern instances--proceed,
however, not from inferior art, but from the greater difficulty of
finding expression for a very different order of ideas.

Again the literature of the Restoration and Queen Anne periods--which may
be regarded as one, for present purposes--was classical, or at least
unromantic, in its self-restraint, its objectivity, and its lack of
curiosity; or, as a hostile criticism would put it, in its coldness of
feeling, the tameness of its imagination, and its narrow and imperfect
sense of beauty.  It was a literature not simply of this world, but of
_the_ world, of the _beau monde_, high life, fashion, society, the court
and the town, the salons, clubs, coffee-houses, assemblies,
ombre-parties.  It was social, urban, gregarious, intensely though not
broadly human.  It cared little for the country or outward nature, and
nothing for the life of remote times and places.  Its interest was
centered upon civilization and upon that peculiarly artificial type of
civilization which it found prevailing.  It was as indifferent to Venice,
Switzerland, the Alhambra, the Nile, the American forests, and the
islands of the South Sea as it was to the Middle Ages and the manners of
Scotch Highlanders.  The sensitiveness to the picturesque, the liking for
local color and for whatever is striking, characteristic, and peculiarly
national in foreign ways is a romantic note.  The eighteenth century
disliked "strangeness added to beauty"; it disapproved of anything
original, exotic, tropical, bizarre for the same reason that it
disapproved of mountains and Gothic architecture.

Professor Gates says that the work of English literature during the first
quarter of the present century was "the rediscovery and vindication of
the concrete.  The special task of the eighteenth century had been to
order, and to systematize, and to name; its favorite methods had been
analysis and generalization.  It asked for no new experience. . .  The
abstract, the typical, the general--these were everywhere exalted at the
expense of the image, the specific experience, the vital fact."[14]
Classical tragedy, _e.g._, undertook to present only the universal,
abstract, permanent truths of human character and passion.[15]  The
impression of the mysterious East upon modern travelers and poets like
Byron, Southey, De Quincey, Moore, Hugo,[16] Ruckert, and Gérard de
Nerval, has no counterpart in the eighteenth century.  The Oriental
allegory or moral apologue, as practiced by Addison in such papers as
"The Vision of Mirza," and by Johnson in "Rasselas," is rather faintly
colored and gets what color it has from the Old Testament.  It is
significant that the romantic Collins endeavored to give a novel turn to
the decayed pastoral by writing a number of "Oriental Eclogues," in which
dervishes and camel-drivers took the place of shepherds, but the
experiment was not a lucky one.  Milton had more of the East in his
imagination than any of his successors.  His "vulture on Imaus bred,
whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds"; his "plain of Sericana where
Chinese drive their cany wagons light"; his "utmost Indian isle
Taprobane," are touches of the picturesque which anticipate a more modern
mood than Addison's.

"The difference," says Matthew Arnold, "between genuine poetry and the
poetry of Dryden, Pope, and all their school is briefly this: their
poetry is conceived and composed in their wits, genuine poetry is
conceived and composed in the soul."  The representative minds of the
eighteenth century were such as Voltaire, the master of persiflage,
destroying superstition with his _souriere hideux_; Gibbon, "the lord of
irony," "sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer"; and Hume, with his
thorough-going philosophic skepticism, his dry Toryism, and cool contempt
for "zeal" of any kind.  The characteristic products of the era were
satire, burlesque, and travesty: "Hudibras," "Absalom and Achitophel,"
"The Way of the World," "Gulliver's Travels" and "The Rape of the Lock."
There is a whole literature of mockery: parodies like Prior's "Ballad on
the Taking of Namur" and "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse";
Buckingham's "Rehearsal" and Swift's "Meditation on a Broomstick";
mock-heroics, like the "Dunciad" and "MacFlecknoe" and Garth's
"Dispensary," and John Phillips' "Splendid Shilling" and Addison's
"Machinae Gesticulantes"; Prior's "Alma," a burlesque of philosophy;
Gay's "Trivia" and "The Shepherd's Week," and "The Beggars' Opera"-a
"Newgate pastoral"; "Town Eclogues" by Swift and Lady Montague and
others.  Literature was a polished mirror in which the gay world saw its
own grinning face.  It threw back a most brilliant picture of the surface
of society, showed manners but not the elementary passions of human
nature.  As a whole, it leaves an impression of hardness, shallowness,
and levity.  The polite cynicism of Congreve, the ferocious cynicism of
Swift, the malice of Pope, the pleasantry of Addison, the early
worldliness of Prior and Gay are seldom relieved by any touch of the
ideal.  The prose of the time was excellent, but the poetry was merely
rhymed prose.  The recent Queen Anne revival in architecture, dress, and
bric-a-brac, the recrudescence of society verse in Dobson and others, is
perhaps symptomatic of the fact that the present generation has entered
upon a prosaic reaction against romantic excesses and we are finding our
picturesque in that era of artifice which seemed so picturesque to our
forerunners.  The sedan chair, the blue china, the fan, farthingale, and
powdered head dress have now got the "rime of age" and are seen in
fascinating perspective, even as the mailed courser, the buff jerkin, the
cowl, and the cloth-yard shaft were seen by the men of Scott's generation.

Once more, the eighteenth century was classical in its respect for
authority.  It desired to put itself under discipline, to follow the
rules, to discover a formula of correctness in all the arts, to set up a
tribunal of taste and establish canons of composition, to maintain
standards, copy models and patterns, comply with conventions, and
chastise lawlessness.  In a word, its spirit was academic.  Horace was
its favorite master--not Horace of the Odes, but Horace of the Satires
and Epistles, and especially Horace as interpreted by Boileau.[17]  The
"Ars Poetica" had been englished by the Earl of Roscommon, and imitated
by Boileau in his "L'Art Poetique," which became the parent of a numerous
progeny in England; among others as "Essay on Satire" and an "Essay on
Poetry," by the Earl of Mulgrave;[18] an "Essay on Translated Verse" by
the Earl of Roscommon, who, says Addison, "makes even rules a noble
poetry";[19] and Pope's well-known "Essay on Criticism."

The doctrine of Pope's essay is, in brief, follow Nature, and in order
that you may follow nature, observe the rules, which are only "Nature
methodized," and also imitate the ancients.

    "Learn hence for ancient rules a just esteem;
    To copy nature is to copy them."

Thus Vergil when he started to compose the Aeneid may have seemed above
the critic's law, but when he came to study Homer, he found that Nature
and Homer were the same.  Accordingly,

                "he checks the bold design,
    And rules as strict his labor'd work confine."

Not to stimulate, but to check, to confine, to regulate, is the unfailing
precept of this whole critical school.  Literature, in the state in which
they found it, appeared to them to need the curb more than the spur.

Addison's scholarship was almost exclusively Latin, though it was
Vergilian rather than Horatian.  Macaulay[20] says of Addison's "Remarks
on Italy"; "To the best of our remembrance, Addison does not mention
Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Bolardo, Berni, Lorenzo de' Medici, or
Machiavelli.  He coldly tells us that at Ferrara he saw the tomb of
Ariosto, and that at Venice he heard the gondoliers sing verses of Tasso.
But for Tasso and Ariosto he cared far less than for Valerius Flaccus and
Sidonius Apollinaris.  The gentle flow of the Ticino brings a line of
Silius to his mind.  The sulphurous stream of Albula suggests to him
several passages of Martial.  But he has not a word to say of the
illustrious dead of Santa Croce; he crosses the wood of Ravenna[21]
without recollecting the specter huntsman, and wanders up and down Rimini
without one thought of Francesca.  At Paris he had eagerly sought an
introduction to Boileau; but he seems not to have been at all aware that
at Florence he was in the vicinity of a poet with whom Boileau could not
sustain a comparison: of the greatest lyric poet of modern times [!]
Vincenzio Filicaja. . .  The truth is that Addison knew little and cared
less about the literature of modern Italy.  His favorite models were
Latin.  His favorite critics were French.  Half the Tuscan poetry that he
had read seemed to him monstrous and the other half tawdry."[22]

There was no academy in England, but there was a critical tradition that
was almost as influential.  French critical gave the law: Boileau,
Dacier, LeBossu, Rapin, Bouhours; English critics promulgated it: Dennis,
Langbaine, Rymer, Gildon, and others now little read.  Three writers of
high authority in three successive generations--Dryden, Addison, and
Johnson--consolidated a body of literary opinion which may be described,
in the main, as classical, and as consenting, though with minor
variations.  Thus it was agreed on all hands that it was a writer's duty
to be "correct."  It was well indeed to be "bold," but bold with
discretion.  Dryden thought Shakspere a great poet than Jonson, but an
inferior artist.  He was to be admired, but not approved.  Homer, again,
it was generally conceded, was not so correct as Vergil, though he had
more "fire."  Chesterfield preferred Vergil to Homer, and both of them to
Tasso.  But of all epics the one he read with most pleasure was the
"Henriade."  As for "Paradise Lost," he could not read it through.
William Walsh, "the muses' judge and friend," advised the youthful Pope
that "there was one way still left open for him, by which he might excel
any of his predecessors, which was by correctness; that though indeed we
had several great poets, we as yet could boast of none that were
perfectly correct; and that therefore he advised him to make this quality
his particular study."  "The best of the moderns in all language," he
wrote to Pope, "are those that have the nearest copied the ancients."
Pope was thankful for the counsel and mentions its giver in the "Essay on
Criticism" as one who had

                "taught his muse to sing,
    Prescribed her heights and pruned her tender wing."

But what was correct?  In the drama, _e.g._, the observance of the
unities was almost universally recommended, but by no means universally
practiced.  Johnson, himself a sturdy disciple of Dryden and Pope,
exposed the fallacy of that stage illusion, on the supposed necessity of
which the unities of time and place were defended.  Yet Johnson, in his
own tragedy "Irene," conformed to the rules of Aristotle.  He pronounced
"Cato" "unquestionably the noblest production of Addison's genius," but
acknowledge that its success had "introduced, or confirmed among us, the
use of dialogue too declamatory, of unaffecting elegance and chill
philosophy."  On the other hand Addison had small regard for poetic
justice, which Johnson thought ought to be observed.  Addison praised old
English ballads, which Johnson thought mean and foolish; and he guardedly
commends[23] "the fairy way of writing," a romantic foppery that Johnson

Critical opinion was pronounced in favor of separating tragedy and
comedy, and Addison wrote one sentence which condemns half the plays of
Shakspere and Fletcher: "The tragi-comedy, which is the product of the
English theater, is one the most monstrous inventions that ever entered
into a poet's thought."[25]  Dryden made some experiments in
tragi-comedy, but, in general, classical comedy was pure comedy--the
prose comedy of manners--and classical tragedy admitted no comic
intermixture.  Whether tragedy should be in rhyme, after the French
manner, or in blank verse, after the precedent of the old English stage,
was a moot point.  Dryden at first argued for rhyme and used it in his
"heroic plays"; and it is significant that he defended its use on the
ground that it would act as a check upon the poet's fancy.  But afterward
he grew "weary of his much-loved mistress, rhyme," and went back to blank
verse in his later plays.

As to poetry other than dramatic, the Restoration critics were at one in
judging blank verse too "low" for a poem of heroic dimensions; and though
Addison gave it the preference in epic poetry, Johnson was its persistent
foe, and regarded it as little short of immoral.  But for that matter,
Gray could endure no blank verse outside of Milton.  This is curious,
that rhyme, a mediaeval invention, should have been associated in the
last century with the classical school of poetry; while blank verse, the
nearest English equivalent of the language of Attic tragedy, was a
shibboleth of romanticizing poets, like Thomson and Akenside.  The reason
was twofold: rhyme came stamped with the authority of the French tragic
alexandrine; and, secondly, it meant constraint where blank verse meant
freedom, "ancient liberty, recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome
and modern bondage of rhyming."[26]  Pope, among his many thousand rhymed
couplets, has left no blank verse except the few lines contributed to
Thomson's "Seasons."  Even the heroic couplet as written by earlier poets
was felt to have been too loose in structure.  "The excellence and
dignity of it," says Dryden, "were never fully known till Mr. Waller
taught it; he first made writing easily an art; first showed us how to
conclude the sense most commonly in distichs, which, in the verse of
those before him, runs on for so many lines together, that the reader is
out of breath to overtake it."[27]  All through the classical period the
tradition is constant that Waller was the first modern English poet, the
first correct versifier.  Pope is praised by Johnson because he employed
but sparingly the triplets and alexandrines by which Dryden sought to
vary the monotony of the couplet; and he is censured by Cowper because,
by force of his example, he "made poetry a mere mechanic art."
Henceforth the distich was treated as a unit: the first line was balanced
against the second, and frequently the first half of the line against the
second half.

     "To err is human, to forgive divine."
    "And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged."
    "Charms strike the eye, but merit wins the soul," etc., etc.

This type of verse, which Pope brought to perfection, and to which he
gave all the energy and variety of which it was capable, so prevailed in
our poetry for a century or more that one almost loses sight of the fact
that any other form was employed.  The sonnet, for instance, disappeared
entirely, until revived by Gray, Stillingfleet, Edwards, and Thomas
Warton, about the middle of the eighteenth century.[28]  When the poets
wished to be daring and irregular, they were apt to give vent in that
species of pseudo-Pindaric ode which Cowley had introduced--a literary
disease which, Dr. Johnson complained, infected the British muse with the
notion that "he who could do nothing else could write like Pindar."

Sir Charles Eastlake in his "History of the Gothic Revival" testifies to
this formal spirit from the point of view of another art than literature.
"The age in which Batty Langley lived was an age in which it was
customary to refer all matters of taste to rule and method.  There was
one standard of excellence in poetry--a standard that had its origin in
the smooth distichs of heroic verse which Pope was the first to perfect,
and which hundreds of later rhymers who lacked his nobler powers soon
learned to imitate.  In pictorial art, it was the grand school which
exercised despotic sway over the efforts of genius and limited the
painter's inventions to the field of Pagan mythology.  In architecture,
Vitruvius was the great authority.  The graceful majesty of the
Parthenon--the noble proportions of the temple of Theseus--the chaste
enrichment which adorns the Choragic monument of Lysicrates, were
ascribed less to the fertile imagination and refined perceptions of the
ancient Greek, than to the dry and formal precepts which were invented
centuries after their erection.  Little was said of the magnificent
sculpture which filled the metopes of the temple of the Minerva; but the
exact height and breadth of the triglyphs between them were considered of
the greatest importance.  The exquisite drapery of caryatids and
canephorae, no English artist, a hundred years ago, thought fit to
imitate; but the cornices which they supposed were measured inch by inch
with the utmost nicety.  Ingenious devices were invented for enabling the
artificer to reproduce, by a series of complicated curves, the profile of
a Doric capital, which probably owed its form to the steady hand and
uncontrolled taste of the designer.  To put faith in many of the theories
propounded by architectural authorities in the last century, would be to
believe that some of the grandest monuments which the world has ever seen
raised, owe their chief beauty to an accurate knowledge of arithmetic.
The diameter of the column was divided into modules: the modules were
divided into minutes; the minutes into fractions of themselves.  A
certain height was allotted to the shaft, another to the entablature. . .
Sometimes the learned discussed how far apart the columns of a portico
might be."[29]

This kind of mensuration reminds one of the disputes between French
critics as to whether the unity of time meant thirty hours, or
twenty-four, or twelve, or the actual time that it took to act the play;
or of the geometric method of the "Saturday papers" in the _Spectator_.
Addison tries "Paradise Lost" by Aristotle's rules for the composition of
an epic.  Is it the narrative of a single great action?  Does it begin
_in medias res_, as is proper, or _ab ovo Ledae_, as Horace has said that
an epic ought not?  Does it bring in the introductory matter by way of
episode, after the approved recipe of Homer and Vergil?  Has it
allegorical characters, contrary to the practice of the ancients?  Does
the poet intrude personally into his poem, thus mixing the lyric and epic
styles? etc.  Not a word as to Milton's puritanism, or his
_Weltanschauung_, or the relation of his work to its environment.
Nothing of that historical and sympathetic method--that endeavor to put
the reader at the poet's point of view--by which modern critics, from
Lessing to Sainte-Beuve, have revolutionized their art.  Addison looks at
"Paradise Lost" as something quite distinct from Milton: as a
manufactured article to be tested by comparing it with standard fabrics
by recognized makers, like the authors of the Iliad and Aeneid.

When the Queen Anne poetry took a serious turn, the generalizing spirit
of the age led it almost always into the paths of ethical and didactic
verse.  "It stooped to truth and moralized its song," finding its
favorite occupation in the sententious expression of platitudes--the
epigram in satire, the maxim in serious work.  It became a poetry of
aphorisms, instruction us with Pope that

    "Virtue alone is happiness below;"

or, with Young, that

    "Procrastination is the thief of time;"

or, with Johnson, that

    "Slow rises worth by poverty depressed."

When it attempted to deal concretely with the passions, it found itself
impotent.  Pope's "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard" rings hollow: it is
rhetoric, not poetry.  The closing lines of "The Dunciad"--so strangely
overpraised by Thackeray--with their metallic clank and grandiose
verbiage, are not truly imaginative.  The poet is simply working himself
up to a climax of the false sublime, as an orator deliberately attaches a
sounding peroration to his speech.  Pope is always "heard," never

The poverty of the classical period in lyrical verse is particularly
significant, because the song is the most primitive and spontaneous kind
of poetry, and the most direct utterance of personal feeling.  Whatever
else the poets of Pope's time could do, they could not sing.  They are
the despair of the anthologists.[30]  Here and there among the brilliant
reasoners, _raconteurs_, and satirists in verse, occurs a clever
epigrammatist like Prior, or a ballad writer like Henry Carey, whose
"Sally in Our Alley" shows the singing, and not talking, voice, but
hardly the lyric cry.  Gay's "Blackeyed Susan" has genuine quality,
though its _rococo_ graces are more than half artificial.  Sweet William
is very much such an opera sailor-man as Bumkinet or Grubbinol is a
shepherd, and his wooing is beribboned with conceits like these:

    "If to fair India's coast we sail,
      Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright,
    Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,
      Thy skin is ivory so white.
    Thus every beauteous prospect that I view,
    Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue."

It was the same with the poetry of outward nature as with the poetry of
human passion.[31]  In Addison's "Letter from Italy," in Pope's
"Pastorals," and "Windsor Forest," the imagery, when not actually false,
is vague and conventional, and the language abounds in classical
insipidities, epithets that describe nothing, and generalities at second
hand from older poets, who may once, perhaps, have written with their
"eyes upon the object."  Blushing Flora paints the enameled ground;
cheerful murmurs fluctuate on the gale; Eridanus through flowery meadows
strays; gay gilded[32] scenes and shining prospects rise; while
everywhere are balmy zephyrs, sylvan shades, winding vales, vocal shores,
silver floods, crystal springs, feathered quires, and Phoebus and
Philomel and Ceres' gifts assist the purple year.  It was after this
fashion that Pope rendered the famous moonlight passage in his
translation of the Iliad:

    "Then shine the vales, the rocks in prospect rise,
    A flood of glory bursts from all the skies," etc.

"Strange to think of an enthusiast," says Wordsworth, "reciting these
verses under the cope of a moonlight sky, without having his raptures in
the least disturbed by a suspicion of their absurdity."  The poetic
diction against which Wordsworth protested was an outward sign of the
classical preference for the general over the concrete.  The vocabulary
was Latinized because, in English, the _mot propre_ is commonly a Saxon
word, while its Latin synonym has a convenient indefiniteness that keeps
the subject at arm's length.  Of a similar tendency was the favorite
rhetorical figure of personification, which gave a false air of life to
abstractions by the easy process of spelling them with a capital letter.

    "From bard to bard the frigid caution crept,
    Till Declamation roared whilst Passion slept;
    Yet still did Virtue deign the stage to tread,
    Philosophy remained though Nature fled,. . .
    Exulting Folly hailed the joyful day,
    And Pantomime and Song confirmed her sway."[33]

Everything was personified; Britannia, Justice, Liberty, Science,
Melancholy, Night.  Even vaccination for the smallpox was invoked as a

    "Inoculation, heavenly maid, descend!"[34]

But circumstances or periphrasis was the capital means by which the
Augustan poet avoided precision and attained nobility of style.  It
enabled him to speak of a woman as a "nymph," or a "fair"; of sheep as
"the fleecy care"; of fishes as "the scaly tribe"; and of a picket fence
as a "spiculated paling."  Lowell says of Pope's followers: "As the
master had made it an axiom to avoid what was mean or low, so the
disciples endeavored to escape from what was common.  This they contrived
by the ready expedient of the periphrasis.  They called everything
something else.  A boot with them was

    "'The shining leather that encased the limb.'

"Coffee became

    "'The fragrant juice of Mocha's berry brown.'"[35]

"For the direct appeal to Nature, and the naming of specific objects,"
says Mr. Gosse,[36] "they substituted generalities and second-hand
allusions.  They no longer mentioned the gillyflower and the daffodil,
but permitted themselves a general reference to Flora's vernal wreath.
It was vulgar to say that the moon was rising; the gentlemanly expression
was, 'Cynthia is lifting her silver horn!'  Women became nymphs in this
new phraseology, fruits became 'the treasures of Pomona,' a horse became
'the impatient courser.'  The result of coining these conventional
counters for groups of ideas was that the personal, the exact, was lost
in literature.  Apples were the treasures of Pomona, but so were
cherries, too, and if one wished to allude to peaches, they also were the
treasures of Pomona.  This decline from particular to general language
was regarded as a great gain in elegance.  It was supposed that to use
one of these genteel counters, which passed for coin of poetic language,
brought the speaker closer to the grace of Latinity.  It was thought that
the old direct manner of speaking was crude and futile; that a romantic
poet who wished to allude to caterpillars could do so without any
exercise of his ingenuity by simply introducing the word 'caterpillars,'
whereas the classical poet had to prove that he was a scholar and a
gentleman by inventing some circumlocution, such as 'the crawling scourge
that smites the leafy plain.'. . .  In the generation that succeeded Pope
really clever writers spoke of a 'gelid cistern,' when they meant a cold
bath, and 'the loud hunter-crew' when they meant a pack of foxhounds."

It would be a mistake to suppose that the men of Pope's generation,
including Pope himself, were altogether wanting in romantic feeling.
There is a marked romantic accent in the Countess of Winchelsea's ode "To
the Nightingale"; in her "Nocturnal Reverie"; in Parnell's "Night Piece
on Death," and in the work of several Scotch poets, like Allan Ramsay and
Hamilton of Bangour, whose ballad, "The Braces of Yarrow," is certainly a
strange poem to come out of the heart of the eighteenth century.  But
these are eddies and back currents in the stream of literary tendency.
We are always in danger of forgetting that the literature of an age does
not express its entire, but only its prevailing, spirit.  There is
commonly a latent, silent body of thought and feeling underneath which
remains inarticulate, or nearly so.  It is this prevailing spirit and
fashion which I have endeavored to describe in the present chapter.  If
the picture seems to lack relief, or to be in any way exaggerated, the
reader should consult the chapters on "Classicism" and "The
Pseudo-Classicists" in M. Pellisier's "Literary Movement in France,"
already several times referred to.  They describe a literary situation
which had a very exact counterpart in England.

[1] As another notable weakness of the age is its habit of looking, to the
past ages--not understanding them all the while . . . so Scott gives up
nearly the half of his intellectual power to a fond yet purposeless
dreaming over the past; and spends half his literary labors in endeavors
to revive it, not in reality, but on the stage of fiction: endeavors
which were the best of the kind that modernism made, but still successful
only so far as Scott put under the old armor the everlasting human nature
which he knew; and totally unsuccessful so far as concerned the painting
of the armor itself, which he knew _not_. . .  His romance and
antiquarianism, his knighthood and monkery, are all false, and he knows
them to be false.--_Ruskin, "Modern Painters,"_ Vol. III. p. 279 (First
American Edition, 1860).

[2] See also the sly hit at popular fiction in the _Nonnë Prestës Tale_:

    "This story is also trewe, I undertake,
    As is the book of Launcelot de Lake,
    That women hold in ful gret reverence."

[3] "History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century," Vol. II. chap
xii, section vii.

[4] Sentimentalism approaches its subject through the feelings;
romanticism through the imagination.

[5] Ruskin, too indicates the common element in romanticism and
naturalism--a desire to escape from the Augustan formalism.  I condense
the passage slightly: "To powder the hair, to patch the cheek, to hoop
the body, to buckle the foot, were all part and parcel of the same system
which reduced streets to brick walls and pictures to brown stains.
Reaction from this state was inevitable, and accordingly men steal out to
the fields and mountains; and, finding among these color and liberty and
variety and power, rejoice in all the wildest shattering of the mountain
side, as an opposition to Gower Street.  It is not, however, only to
existing inanimate nature that our want of beauty in person and dress has
driven us.  The imagination of it, as it was seen in our ancestors,
haunts us continually.  We look fondly back to the manners of the age
sought in the centuries which we profess to have surpassed in
everything. . .  This romantic love of beauty, forced to seek in history
and in external nature the satisfaction it cannot find in ordinary
life."--_Modern Painters_, Vol. III. p. 260.

[6] Although devout in their admiration for antiquity, the writers of the
seventeenth century have by no means always clearly grasped the object of
their cult.  Though they may understand Latin tradition, they have
certainly never entered into the freer, more original spirit of Greek
art.  They have but an incomplete, superficial conception of
Hellenism. . .  Boileau celebrates but does not understand Pindar. . .
The seventeenth century comprehended Homer no better than Pindar.  What
we miss in them is exactly what we like best in his epopee--the vast
living picture of semi-barbarous civilization. . .  No society could be
less fitted than that of the seventeenth century to feel and understand
the spirit of primitive antiquity.  In order to appreciate Homer, it was
thought necessary to civilize the barbarian, make him a scrupulous
writer, and convince him that the word "ass" is a "very noble" expression
in Greek--_Pellisier: "The Literary Movement in France" (Brinton's
translation, _1897), pp. 8-10.  So Addison apologizes for Homer's failure
to observe those qualities of nicety, correctness, and what the French
call _bienséance_ (decorum,) the necessity of which had only been found
out in later times.  See _The Spectator_, No. 160.

[7] Preface to "Cromwell."

[8] "History of English Poetry," section lxi. Vol III. p. 398 (edition of

[9] See, for a fuller discussion of this subject, "From Shakspere to Pope:
An Inquiry into the Causes and Phenomena of the Rise of Classical Poetry
in England," by Edmund Gosse, 1885.

[10] The cold-hearted, polished Chesterfield is a very representative
figure.  Johnson, who was really devout, angrily affirmed that his
celebrated letters taught: "the morality of a whore with the manners of a

[11] "History of English Thought in the Eighteen Century," Vol. II. chap.
xii. Section iv.  See also "Selections from Newman," by Lewis E. Gates,
Introduction, pp. xlvii-xlviii.  (1895).

[12] See especially _Spectator_, Nos. 185, 186, 201, 381, and 494.

[13] The classical Landor's impatience of mysticism explains his dislike
of Plato, the mystic among Greeks.  Diogenes says to Plato: "I meddle not
at present with infinity or eternity: when I can comprehend them, I will
talk about them," "Imaginary Conversations," 2d series, Conversation XV.
Landor's contempt for German literature is significant.

[14] "Selections from Newman," Introduction, pp. xlvii-xlviii.

[15] Racine observes that good sense and reason are the same in all ages.
What is the result of this generalization?  Heroes can be transported
from epoch to epoch, from country to country, without causing surprise.
Their Achilles is no more a Greek than is Porus an Indian; Andromache
feels and talks like a seventeenth-century princess: Phaedra experiences
the remorse of a Christian.--_Pellissier, "Literary Movement in France,"_
p. 18.

In substituting men of concrete, individual lives for the ideal figures
of tragic art, romanticism was forced to determine their physiognomy by a
host of local, casual details.  In the name of universal truth the
classicists rejected the coloring of time and place; and this is
precisely what the romanticists seek under the name of particular
reality.--_Ibid._ p. 220.  Similarly Montezuma's Mexicans in Dryden's
"Indian Emperor" have no more national individuality than the Spanish
Moors in his "Conquest of Granada."  The only attempt at local color in
"Aurungzebe"--an heroic play founded on the history of a contemporary
East Indian potentate who died seven years after the author--is the
introduction of the _suttee_, and one or two mentions of elephants.

[16] See "Les Orientales" (Hugo) and Nerval's "Les Nuits de Rhamadan" and
"La Légende du Calife Hakem."

[17]  The rules a nation, born to serve, obeys;
      And Boileau still in right of Horace sways.
             --_Pope, "Essay on Criticism,"_

[18] These critical verse essays seem to have been particularly affected
by this order of the peerage; for, somewhat later, we have one, "On
Unnatural Flights in Poetry,"  by the Earl of Lansdowne--"Granville the

[19] "Epistle to Sacheverel."

[20] "Essay on Addison."

[21] Sweet hour of twilight!--in the solitude
      Of the pine forest, and the silent shore
    Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood,
      Rooted where once the Adrian wave flowed o'er,
    To where the last Caesarian fortress stood,
      Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore
    And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me,
      How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!
               --_Don Juan_

[22] I must entirely agree with Monsieur Boileau, that one verse of Vergil
is worth all the _clinquant _or tinsel of Tasso.--_Spectator_, No. 5.

[23] _Spectator_, No. 419.

[24] See his "Life of Collins."

[25] _Spectator_, No. 40.

[26] "The Verse": Preface to "Paradise Lost."

[27] Dedicatory epistle to "The Rival Ladies."

[28] Mr. Gosse says that a sonnet by Pope's friend Walsh is the only one
"written in English between Milton's in 1658, and Warton's about 1750,"
Ward's "English Poets," Vol. III, p. 7. The statement would have been
more precise if he had said published instead of _written_.

[29] "History of the Gothic Revival," pp. 49-50 (edition of 1872).

[30] Palgrave says that the poetry of passion was deformed, after 1660, by
"levity and an artificial time"; and that it lay "almost dormant for the
hundred years between the days of Wither and Suckling and the days of
Burns and Cowper," "Golden Treasury" (Sever and Francis edition, 1866).
pp. 379-80.

[31] Excepting the "Nocturnal Reverie" of Lady Winchelsea, and a passage
or two in the "Windsor Forest" of Pope, the poetry of the period
intervening between the publication of the "Paradise Lost" and the
"Seasons" [1667-1726] does not contain a single new image of external
nature.--_Wordsworth.  Appendix to Lyrical Ballads_, (1815).

[32] _Gild_ is a perfect earmark of eighteenth-century descriptive verse:
the shore is gilded and so are groves, clouds, etc.  Contentment gilds
the scene, and the stars gild the gloomy night (Parnell) or the glowing
pole (Pope).

[33] Johnson, "Prologue at the Opening of Drury Lane," 1747.

[34] See Coleridge, "Biographia Literaria," chap. Xviii

[35] Essay on Pope, in "My Study Windows."

[36] "From Shakespere to Pope," pp. 9-11.


The Spenserians

Dissatisfaction with a prevalent mood or fashion in literature is apt to
express itself either in a fresh and independent criticism of life, or in
a reversion to older types.  But, as original creative genius is not
always forthcoming, a literary revolution commonly begins with imitation.
It seeks inspiration in the past, and substitutes a new set of models as
different as possible from those which it finds currently followed.  In
every country of Europe the classical tradition had hidden whatever was
most national, most individual, in its earlier culture, under a smooth,
uniform veneer.  To break away from modern convention, England and
Germany, and afterward France, went back to ancient springs of national
life; not always, at first, wisely, but in obedience to a true instinct.

How far did any knowledge or love of the old romantic literature of
England survive among the contemporaries of Dryden and Pope?  It is not
hard to furnish an answer to this question.  The prefaces of Dryden, the
critical treatises of Dennis, Winstanley, Oldmixon, Rymer, Langbaine,
Gildon, Shaftesbury, and many others, together with hundreds of passages
in prologues and epilogues to plays; in periodical essays like the
_Tatler_ and _Spectator_; in verse essays like Roscommon's, Mulgrave's
and Pope's; in prefaces to various editions of Shakspere and Spenser; in
letters, memoirs, etc., supply a mass of testimony to the fact that
neglect and contempt had, with a few exceptions, overtaken all English
writers who wrote before the middle of the seventeenth century.  The
exceptions, of course, were those supreme masters whose genius prevailed
against every change of taste: Shakspere and Milton, and, in a less
degree, Chaucer and Spenser.  Of authors strictly mediaeval, Chaucer
still had readers, and there were reprints of his works in 1687, 1721,
and 1737,[1] although no critical edition appeared until Tyrwhitt's in
1775-78.  It is probable, however, that the general reader, if he read
Chaucer at all, read him in such modernized versions as Dryden's "Fables"
and Pope's "January and May."  Dryden's preface has some admirable
criticism of Chaucer, although it is evident, from what he says about the
old poet's versification, that the secret of Middle English scansion and
pronunciation had already been lost.  Prior and Pope, who seem to have
been attracted chiefly to the looser among the "Canterbury Tales," made
each a not very successful experiment at burlesque imitation of
Chaucerian language.

Outside of Chaucer, and except among antiquarians and professional
scholars, there was no remembrance of the whole _corpus poetarum_ of the
English Middle Age: none of the metrical romances, rhymed chronicles,
saints' legends, miracle plays, minstrel ballads, verse homilies, manuals
of devotion, animal fables, courtly or popular allegories and love songs
of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries.  Nor was there
any knowledge or care about the masterpieces of medieval literature in
other languages than English; about such representative works as the
"Nibelungenlied," the "Chanson de Roland," the "Roman de la Rose," the
"Parzival" of Wolfram von Eschenbach, the "Tristan" of Gottfried of
Strasburg, the "Arme Heinrich" of Harmann von Aue, the chronicles of
Villehardouin, Joinville, and Froissart, the "Morte Artus," the "Dies
Irae," the lyrics of the troubadour Bernart de Ventadour, and of the
minnesinger Walter von der Vogelweide, the Spanish Romancero, the poems
of the Elder Edda, the romances of "Amis et Amile" and "Aucassin et
Nicolete," the writings of Villon, the "De Imitatione Christi" ascribed
to Thomas à Kempis. Dante was a great name and fame, but he was virtually

There is nothing strange about this; many of these things were still in
manuscript and in unknown tongues, Old Norse, Old French, Middle High
German, Middle English, Mediaeval Latin.  It would be hazardous to assert
that the general reader, or even the educated reader, of to-day has much
more acquaintance with them at first hand than his ancestor of the
eighteenth century; or much more acquaintance than he has with
Aeschuylus, Thucydides, and Lucretius, at first hand.  But it may be
confidently asserted that he knows much more _about_ them; that he thinks
them worth knowing about; and that through modern, popular versions of
them--through poems, historical romances, literary histories, essays and
what not--he has in his mind's eye a picture of the Middle Age, perhaps
as definite and fascinating as the picture of classical antiquity.  That
he has so is owing to the romantic movement.  For the significant
circumstance about the attitude of the last century toward the whole
medieval period was, not its ignorance, but its incuriosity.  It did not
want to hear anything about it.[2]  Now and then, hints Pope, an
antiquarian pedant, a university don, might affect an admiration for some
obsolete author:

    "Chaucer's worst ribaldry is learned by rote,
    And beastly Skelton heads of houses quote:
    One likes no language but the 'Faery Queen';
    A Scot will fight for 'Christ's Kirk o' the Green.'"[3]

But, furthermore, the great body of Elizabethan and Stuart literature was
already obsolescent.  Dramatists of the rank of Marlowe and Webster,
poets like George Herbert and Robert Herrick--favorites with our own
generation--prose authors like Sir Thomas Browne--from whom Coleridge and
Emerson drew inspiration--had fallen into "the portion of weeds and
outworn faces."  Even writers of such recent, almost contemporary, repute
as Donne, whom Carew had styled

    "--a king who ruled, as he thought fit,
    The universal monarch of wit":

Or as Cowley, whom Dryden called the darling of his youth, and who was
esteemed in his own lifetime a better poet than Milton; even Donne and
Cowley had no longer a following.  Pope "versified" some of Donne's
rugged satires, and Johnson quoted passages from him as examples of the
bad taste of the metaphysical poets.  This in the "Life of Cowley," with
which Johnson began his "Lives of the Poets," as though Cowley was the
first of the moderns.  But,

    "Who now reads Cowley?"

asks Pope in 1737.[4]  The year of the Restoration (1660) draws a sharp
line of demarcation between the old and the new.  In 1675, the year after
Milton's death, his nephew, Edward Philips, published "Theatrum
Poetarum," a sort of biographical dictionary of ancient and modern
authors.  In the preface, he says: "As for the antiquated and fallen into
obscurity from their former credit and reputation, they are, for the most
part, those that have written beyond the verge of the present age; for
let us look back as far as about thirty or forty years, and we shall find
a profound silence of the poets beyond that time, except of some few

This testimony is the more convincing, since Philips was something of a
_laudator temporis acti_.  He praises several old English poets and
sneers at several new ones, such as Cleaveland and Davenant, who were
high in favor with the royal party.  He complains that nothing now
"relishes so well as what is written in the smooth style of our present
language, taken to be of late so much refined"; that "we should be so
compliant with the French custom, as to follow set fashions"; that the
imitation of Corneille has corrupted the English state; and that Dryden,
"complying with the modified and gallantish humour of the time," has, in
his heroic plays, "indulged a little too much to the French way of
continual rime."  One passage, at least, in Philips' preface has been
thought to be an echo of Milton's own judgment on the pretensions of the
new school of poetry.  "Wit, ingenuity, and learning in verse; even
elegancy itself, though that comes nearest, are one thing.  True native
poetry is another; in which there is a certain air and spirit which
perhaps the most learned and judicious in other arts do not perfectly
apprehend, much less is it attainable by any study or industry.  Nay,
though all the laws of heroic poem, all the laws of tragedy were exactly
observed, yet still this _tour entrejeant_--this poetic energy, if I may
so call it, would be required to give life to all the rest; which shines
through the roughest, most unpolished, and antiquated language, and may
haply be wanting in the most polite and reformed.  Let us observe
Spenser, with all his rusty, obsolete words, with all his rough-hewn
clouterly verses; yet take him throughout, and we shall find in him a
graceful and poetic majesty.  In like manner, Shakspere in spite of all
his unfiled expressions, his rambling and indigested fancies--the
laughter of the critical--yet must be confessed a poet above many that go
beyond him to literature[5] some degrees."

The laughter of the critical!  Let us pause upon the phrase, for it is a
key to the whole attitude of the Augustan mind toward "our old tragick
poet."  Shakspere was already a national possession.  Indeed it is only
after the Restoration that we find any clear recognition of him, as one
of the greatest--as perhaps himself the very greatest--of the dramatists
of all time.  For it is only after the Restoration that criticism begins.
"Dryden," says Dr. Johnson, "may be properly considered as the father of
English criticism, as the writer who first taught us to determine, upon
principles, the merit of composition. . .  Dryden's 'Essay of Dramatic
Poesy' [1667] was the first regular and valuable treatise on the art of
writing."[6]  The old theater was dead and Shakspere now emerged from
amid its ruins, as the one unquestioned legacy of the Elizabethan age to
the world's literature.  He was not only the favorite of the people, but
in a critical time, and a time whole canons of dramatic art were opposed
to his practice, he united the suffrages of all the authoritative leader
of literacy opinion.  Pope's lines are conclusive as to the veneration in
which Shakspere's memory was held a century after his death.

    "On Avon's banks, where flowers eternal blow,
    If I but ask, if any weed can grow;
    One tragic sentence if I dare deride
    Which Betterton's grave action dignified . . .
    How will our fathers rise up in a rage,
    And swear, all shame is lost in George's age."[7]

The Shaksperian tradition is unbroken in the history of English
literature and of the English theater.  His plays, in one form or
another, have always kept the stage even in the most degenerate condition
of public taste.[8]  Few handsomer tributes have been paid to Shakspere's
genius than were paid in prose and verse, by the critics of our classical
age, from Dryden to Johnson.  "To begin then with Shakspere," says the
former, in his "Essay of Dramatic Poesy," "he was the man who, of all
modern and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive
soul."  And, in the prologue to his adaptation of "The Tempest," he
acknowledges that

    "Shakspere's magic could not copied be:
    Within that circle none durst walk but he."

"The poet of whose works I have undertaken the revision," writes Dr.
Johnson, "may now begin to assume the dignity of an ancient, and claim
the privilege of established fame and prescriptive veneration."[9]

    "Each change of many-colored life he drew,
    Exhausted worlds, and then imagined new."[10]

Yet Dryden made many petulant, and Johnson many fatuous mistakes about
Shakspere; while such minor criticasters as Thomas Rymer[11] and Mrs.
Charlotte Lenox[12] uttered inanities of blasphemy about the finest
touches in "Macbeth" and "Othello."  For if we look closer, we notice
that everyone who bore witness to Shakspere's greatness qualified his
praise by an emphatic disapproval of his methods.  He was a prodigious
genius, but a most defective artist.  He was the supremest of dramatic
poets, but he did not know his business.  It did not apparently occur to
anyone--except, in some degree, to Johnson--that there was an absurdity
in this contradiction; and that the real fault was not in Shakspere, but
in the standards by which he was tried.  Here are the tests which
technical criticism has always been seeking to impose, and they are not
confined to the classical period only.  They are used by Sidney, who took
the measure of the English buskin before Shakspere had begun to write; by
Jonson, who measured socks with him in his own day; by Matthew Arnold,
who wanted an English Academy, but in whom the academic vaccine, after so
long a transmission, worked but mildly.  Shakspere violated the unities;
his plays were neither right comedies nor right tragedies; he had small
Latin and less Greek; he wanted art and sometimes sense, committing
anachronisms and Bohemian shipwrecks; wrote hastily, did not blot enough,
and failed of the grand style.  He was "untaught, unpractised in a
barbarous age"; a wild, irregular child of nature, ignorant of the rules,
unacquainted with ancient models, succeeding--when he did succeed--by
happy accident and the sheer force of genius; his plays were
"roughdrawn," his plots lame, his speeches bombastic; he was guilty on
every page of "some solecism or some notorious flaw in sense."[13]

Langbaine, to be sure, defends him against Dryden's censure.  But Dennis
regrets his ignorance of poetic art and the disadvantages under which he
lay from not being conversant with the ancients.  If he had known his
Sallust, he would have drawn a juster picture of Caesar; and if he had
read Horace "Ad Pisones," he would have made a better Achilles.  He
complains that he makes the good and the bad perish promiscuously; and
that in "Coriolanus"--a play which Dennis "improved" for the new
stage--he represents Menenius as a buffoon and introduces the rabble in a
most undignified fashion.[14]  Gildon, again, says that Shakspere must
have read Sidney's "Defence of Posey" and therefore, ought to have known
the rules and that his neglect of them was owing to laziness.  "Money
seems to have been his aim more than reputation, and therefore he was
always in a hurry . . . and he thought it time thrown away, to study
regularity and order, when any confused stuff that came into his head
would do his business and fill his house."[15]

It would be easy, but it would be tedious, to multiply proofs of this
patronizing attitude toward Shakspere.  Perhaps Pope voices the general
sentiment of his school, as fairly as anyone, in the last words of his
preface.[16]  "I will conclude by saying of Shakspere that, with all his
faults and with all the irregularity of his _drama_, one may look upon
his works, in comparison of those that are more finished and regular, as
upon an ancient, majestic piece of Gothic architecture compared with a
neat, modern building.  The latter is more elegant and glaring, but the
former is more strong and solemn. . .  It has much the greater variety,
and much the nobler apartments, though we are often conducted to them by
dark, odd and uncouth passages.  Nor does the whole fail to strike us
with greater reverence, though many of the parts are childish, ill-placed
and unequal to its grandeur."  This view of Shakspere continued to be the
rule until Coleridge and Schlegel taught the new century that this child
of fancy was, in reality, a profound and subtle artist, but that the
principles of his art--as is always the case with creative genius working
freely and instinctively--were learned by practice, in the concrete,
instead of being consciously thrown out by the workman himself into an
abstract _theoria_; so that they have to be discovered by a reverent
study of his work and lie deeper than the rules of French criticism.
Schlegel, whose lectures on dramatic art were translated into English in
1815, speaks with indignation of the current English misunderstanding of
Shakspere.  "That foreigners, and Frenchmen in particular, who frequently
speak in the strangest language about antiquity and the Middle Age, as if
cannibalism had been first put an end in Europe by Louis XIV., should
entertain this opinion of Shakspere might be pardonable.  But that
Englishmen should adopt such a calumniation . . . is to me

The beginnings of the romantic movement in England were uncertain.  There
was a vague dissent from current literary estimates, a vague discontent
with reigning literary modes, especially with the merely intellectual
poetry then in vogue, which did not feed the soul.  But there was, at
first, no conscious, concerted effort toward something of creative
activity.  The new group of poets, partly contemporaries of Pope, partly
successors to him--Thomson, Shenstone, Dyer, Akenside, Gray, Collins, and
the Warton brothers--found their point of departure in the loving study
and revival of old authors.  From what has been said of the survival of
Shakspere's influence it might be expected that his would have been the
name paramount among the pioneers of English romanticism. There are
several reasons why this was not the case.

In the first place, the genius of the new poets was lyrical or
descriptive, rather than dramatic.  The divorce between literature and
the stage had not yet, indeed, become total; and, in obedience to the
expectation that every man of letters should try his hand at
play-writing, Thomson, at least, as well as his friend and disciple
Mallet, composed a number of dramas.  But these were little better than
failures even at the time; and while "The Seasons" has outlived all
changes of taste, and "The Castle of Indolence" has never wanted
admirers, tragedies like "Agamemnon" and "Sophonisba" have been long
forgotten.  An imitation of Shakspere to any effective purpose must
obviously have take the shape of a play; and neither Gray nor Collins nor
Akenside, nor any of the group, was capable of a play.  Inspiration of a
kind, these early romanticists did draw from Shakspere.  Verbal
reminiscences of him abound in Gray.  Collins was a diligent student of
his works.  His "Dirge in Cymbeline" is an exquisite variation on a
Shaksperian theme.  In the delirium of his last sickness, he told Warton
that he had found in an Italian novel the long-sought original of the
plot of "The Tempest."  It is noteworthy, by the way, that the
romanticists were attracted to the poetic, as distinguished from the
dramatic, aspect of Shakspere's genius; to those of his plays in which
fairy lore and supernatural machinery occur, such as "The Tempest" and "A
Midsummer Night's Dream."

Again, the stage has a history of its own, and, in so far as it was now
making progress of any kind, it was not in the direction of a more poetic
or romantic drama, but rather toward prose tragedy and the sentimental
comedy of domestic life, what the French call _la tragédie bourgeoise_
and _la comédie larmoyante_.  In truth the theater was now dying; and
though, in the comedies of Goldsmith and Sheridan, it sent up one bright,
expiring gleam, the really dramatic talent of the century had already
sought other channels in the novels of Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett.

After all, a good enough reason why the romantic movement did not begin
with imitation of Shakspere is the fact that Shakspere is inimitable.  He
has no one manner that can be caught, but a hundred manners; is not the
poet of romance, but of humanity; nor medieval, but perpetually modern
and contemporaneous in his universality.  The very familiarity of his
plays, and their continuous performance, although in mangled forms, was a
reason why they could take little part in a literary revival; for what
has never been forgotten cannot be revived.  To Germany and France, at a
later date, Shakspere came with the shock of a discovery and begot
Schiller and Victor Hugo.  In the England of the eighteenth century he
begot only Ireland's forgeries.

The name inscribed in large letters on the standard of the new school was
not Shakspere but Spenser.  If there is any poet who is _par excellence_
the poet of romance, whose art is the antithesis of Pope's, it is the
poet of the "Faërie Queene."  To ears that had heard from childhood the
tinkle of the couplet, with its monotonously recurring rhyme, its
inevitable caesura, its narrow imprisonment of the sense, it must have
been a relief to turn to the amplitude of Spencer's stanza, "the full
strong sail of his great verse."  To a generation surfeited with Pope's
rhetorical devices--antithesis, climax, anticlimax--and fatigued with the
unrelaxing brilliancy and compression of his language; the escape from
epigrams and point (snap after snap, like a pack of fire-crackers), from
a style which has made his every other line a proverb or current
quotation--the escape from all this into Spenser's serene, leisurely
manner, copious Homeric similes, and lingering detail must have seemed
most restful.  To go from Pope to Spenser was to exchange platitudes,
packed away with great verbal cunning in neat formulas readily portable
by the memory, for a wealth of concrete images: to exchange saws like,

    "A little learning is a dangerous thing,"

for a succession of richly colored pictures by the greatest painter among
English poets.  It was to exchange the most prosaic of our poets--a poet
about whom question has arisen whether he is a poet at all--for the most
purely poetic of our poets, "the poet's poet."  And finally, it was to
exchange the world of everyday manners and artificial society for an
imaginary kingdom of enchantment, "out of space, out of time."

English poetry has oscillated between the poles of Spenser and Pope.  The
poets who have been accepted by the race as most truly national, poets
like Shakspere, Milton, and Byron, have stood midway.  Neither Spenser
nor Pope satisfies long.  We weary, in time, of the absence of passion
and intensity in Spenser, his lack of dramatic power, the want of
actuality in his picture of life, the want of brief energy and nerve in
his style; just as we weary of Pope's inadequate sense of beauty.  But at
a time when English poetry had abandoned its true function--the
refreshment and elevation of the soul through the imagination--Spenser's
poetry, the poetry of ideal beauty, formed the most natural corrective.
Whatever its deficiencies, it was not, at any rate, "conceived and
composed in his wits."

Spenser had not fared so well as Shakspere under the change which came
over public taste after the Restoration.  The age of Elizabeth had no
literary reviews or book notices, and its critical remains are of the
scantiest.  But the complimentary verses by many hands published with the
"Faërie Queene" and the numerous references to Spenser in the whole
poetic literature of the time, leave no doubt as to the fact that his
contemporaries accorded him the foremost place among English poets.  The
tradition of his supremacy lasted certainly to the middle of the
seventeenth century, if not beyond.  His influence is visible not only in
the work of professed disciples like Giles and Phineas Fletcher, the
pastoral poet William Browne, and Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist,
but in the verse of Jonson, Fletcher, Milton, and many others.  Milton
confessed to Dryden that Spenser was his "poetical father."  Dryden
himself and Cowley, whose practice is so remote from Spenser's,
acknowledged their debt to him.  The passage from Cowley's essay "On
Myself" is familiar: "I remember when I began to read, and to take some
pleasure in it, there was wont to lie in my mother's parlour (I know not
by what accident, for she herself never read any book but of
devotion--but there was wont to lie) Spenser's works.  This I happened to
fall upon, and was infinitely delighted with the stories of the knights
and giants and monsters and brave houses which I found everywhere there
(thought my understanding had little to do with all this), and, by
degrees, with the tinkling of the rime and dance of the numbers; so that
I think I had read him all over before I was twelve years old, and was
thus made a poet as irremediably as a child is made an eunuch."  It is a
commonplace that Spenser has made more poets than any other one writer.
Even Pope, whose empire he came back from Fairyland to overthrow, assured
Spence that he had read the "Faërie Queene" with delight when he was a
boy, and re-read it with equal pleasure in his last years.  Indeed, it is
too readily assumed that writers are insensible to the beauties of an
opposite school.  Pope was quite incapable of appreciating it.  He took a
great liking to Allan Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd"; he admired "The
Seasons," and did Thomson the honor to insert a few lines of his own in
"Summer."  Among his youthful parodies of old English poets is one piece
entitled "The Alley," a not over clever burlesque of the famous
description of the Bower of Bliss.[18]

As for Dryden, his reverence for Spenser is qualified by the same sort of
critical disapprobation which we noticed in his eulogies of Shakspere.
He says that the "Faërie Queene" has no uniformity: the language is not
so obsolete as is commonly supposed, and is intelligible after some
practice; but the choice of stanza is unfortunate, though in spite of it,
Spenser's verse is more melodious than any other English poet's except
Mr. Waller's.[19]  Ambrose Philips--Namby Pamby Philips--whom Thackeray
calls "a dreary idyllic cockney," appealed to "The Shepherd's Calendar"
as his model, in the introduction to his insipid "Pastorals," 1709.
Steele, in No. 540 of the _Spectator_ (November 19, 1712), printed some
mildly commendatory remarks about Spenser.  Altogether it is clear that
Spenser's greatness was accepted, rather upon trust, throughout the
classical period, but that this belief was coupled with a general
indifference to his writings.  Addison's lines in his "Epistle to
Sacheverel; an Account of the Greatest English Poets," 1694, probably
represent accurately enough the opinion of the majority of readers:

    "Old Spenser next, warmed with poetic rage,
    In ancient tales amused a barbarous age;
    An age that, yet uncultivated and rude,
    Wher'er the poet's fancy led, pursued,
    Through pathless fields and unfrequented floods,
    To dens of dragons and enchanted woods.
    But now the mystic tale, that pleased of yore,
    Can charm an understanding age no more.
    The long-spun allegories fulsome grow,
    While the dull moral lies too plain below,
    We view well pleased at distance all the sights
    Of arms and palfreys, battles, fields and fights,
    And damsels in distress and courteous knights,
    But when we look too near, the shades decay
    And all the pleasing landscape fades away."

Addison acknowledged to Spence that, when he wrote this passage, he had
never read Spenser!  As late as 1754 Thomas Warton speaks of him as "this
admired but neglected poet,"[20] and Mr. Kitchin asserts that "between
1650 and 1750 there are but few notices of him, and a very few editions
of his works."[21]  There was a reprint of Spenser's works--being the
third folio of the "Faërie Queene"--in 1679, but no critical edition till
1715.  Meanwhile the title of a book issued in 1687 shows that Spenser
did not escape that process of "improvement" which we have seen applied
to Shakspere: "Spenser Redivivus; containing the First Book of the 'Faëry
Queene.'  His Essential Design Preserved, but his Obsolete Language and
Manner of Verse totally laid aside.  Delivered in Heroic Numbers by a
Person of Quality."  The preface praises Spenser, but declares that "his
style seems no less unintelligible at this day than the obsoletest of our
English or Saxon dialect."  One instance of this deliverance into heroic
numbers must suffice:

    "By this the northern wagoner had set
    His sevenfold team behind the steadfast star
    That was in ocean waves yet never wet,
    But firm is fixed, and sendeth light from far
    To all that in the wide deep wandering are."

In 1715 John Hughes published his edition of Spenser's works in six
volumes.  This was the first attempt at a critical text of the poet, and
was accompanied with a biography, a glossary, an essay on allegorical
poetry, and some remarks on the "Faërie Queene."  It is curious to find
in the engravings, from designs by Du Guernier, which illustrate Hughes'
volumes, that Spenser's knights wore the helmets and body armor of the
Roman legionaries, over which is occasionally thrown something that looks
very much like a toga.  The lists in which they run a tilt have the
façade of a Greek temple for a background.  The house of Busyrane is
Louis Quatorze architecture, and Amoret is chained to a renaissance
column with Corinthian capital and classical draperies.  Hughes' glossary
of obsolete terms includes words which are in daily use by modern
writers: aghast, baleful, behest, bootless, carol, craven, dreary,
forlorn, foray, guerdon, plight, welkin, yore.  If words like these, and
like many which Warton annotates in his "Observations," really needed
explanation, it is a striking proof, not only of the degree in which our
older poets had been forgotten, but also of the poverty to which the
vocabulary of English poetry had been reduced by 1700.

In his prefatory remarks to the "Faërie Queene," the editor expresses the
customary regrets that the poet should have chosen so defective a stanza,
"so romantick a story," and a model, or framework for the whole, which
appears so monstrous when "examined by the rules of epick poetry"; makes
the hackneyed comparison between Spenser's work and Gothic architecture,
and apologizes for his author, on the ground that, at the time when he
wrote, "the remains of the old Gothick chivalry were not quite
abolished."  "He did not much revive the curiosity of the public," says
Johnson, in his life of Hughes; "for near thirty years elapsed before his
edition was reprinted."  Editions of the "Faërie Queene" came thick and
fast about the middle of the century.  One (by Birch) was issued in 1751,
and three in 1758; including the important edition by Upton, who, of all
Spenser's commentators, has entered most elaborately into the
interpretation of the allegory.

In the interval had appeared, in gradually increasing numbers, that
series of Spenserian imitations which forms an interesting department of
eighteenth-century verse.  The series was begun by a most unlikely
person, Matthew Prior, whose "Ode to the Queen," 1706, was in a ten-lined
modification of Spenser's stanza and employed a few archaisms like _weet_
and _ween_, but was very unspenserian in manner.  As early as the second
decade of the century, the horns of Elfland may be heard faintly blowing
in the poems of the Rev. Samuel Croxall, the translator of Aesop's
"Fables."  Mr. Gosse[23] quotes Croxall's own description of his poetry,
as designed "to set off the dry and insipid stuff" of the age with "a
whole piece of rich and glowing scarlet."  His two pieces "The Vision,"
1715, and "The Fair Circassian," 1720, though written in the couplet,
exhibit a rosiness of color and a luxuriance of imagery manifestly
learned from Spenser.  In 1713 he had published under the pseudonym of
Nestor Ironside, "An Original Canto of Spenser," and in 1714 "Another
Original Canto," both, of course, in the stanza of the "Faërie Queene."
The example thus set was followed before the end of the century by scores
of poets, including many well-known names, like Akenside, Thomson,
Shenstone, and Thomas Warton, as well as many second-rate and third-rate

It is noteworthy that many, if not most, of the imitations were at first
undertaken in a spirit of burlesque; as is plain not only from the poems
themselves, but from the correspondence of Shenstone and others.[25]  The
antiquated speech of an old author is in itself a challenge to the
parodist: _teste_ our modern ballad imitations.  There is something
ludicrous about the very look of antique spelling, and in the sound of
words like _eftsoones_ and _perdy_; while the sign _Ye Olde Booke Store_,
in Old English text over a bookseller's door, strikes the public
invariably as a most merry conceited jest; especially if the first letter
be pronounced as a _y_, instead of, what it really is, a mere
abbreviation of _th_.  But in order that this may be so, the language
travestied should not be too old.  There would be nothing amusing, for
example, in a burlesque imitation of Beowulf, because the Anglo-Saxon of
the original is utterly strange to the modern reader.  It is conceivable
that quick-witted Athenians of the time of Aristophanes might find
something quaint in Homer's Ionic dialect, akin to that quaintness which
we find in Chaucer; but a Grecian of to-day would need to be very Attic
indeed, to detect any provocation to mirth in the use of the genitive
in-oio, in place of the genitive in-ou.  Again, as one becomes familiar
with an old author, he ceases to be conscious of his archaism: the final
_e_ in Chaucer no longer strikes him as funny, nor even the circumstance
that he speaks of little birds as _smalë fowlës_.  And so it happened,
that poets in the eighteenth century who began with burlesque imitation
of the "Faërie Queen" soon fell in love with its serious beauties.

The only poems in this series that have gained permanent footing in the
literature are Shenstone's "Schoolmistress" and Thomson's "Cast of
Indolence."  But a brief review of several other members of the group
will be advisable.  Two of them were written at Oxford in honor of the
marriage of Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1736: one by Richard Owen
Cambridge;[26] the other by William Thompson, then bachelor of arts and
afterward fellow of Queen's College.  Prince Fred, it will be remembered,
was a somewhat flamboyant figure in the literary and personal gossip of
his day.  He quarreled with his father, George II, who "hated boetry and
bainting," and who was ironically fed with soft dedication by Pope in his
"Epistle to Augustus"; also with his father's prime minister, Sir Robert
Walpole, "Bob, the poet's foe."  He left the court in dudgeon and set up
an opposition court of his own where he rallied about him men of letters,
who had fallen into a neglect that contrasted strangely with their former
importance in the reign of Queen Anne.  Frederick's chief ally in this
policy was his secretary, George Lord Lyttelton, the elegant if somewhat
amateurish author of "Dialogues of the Dead" and other works; the friend
of Fielding, the neighbor of Shenstone at Hagley, and the patron of
Thomson, for whom he obtained the sinecure post of Surveyor of the
Leeward Islands.

Cambridge's spousal verses were in a ten-lined stanza.  His "Archimage,"
written in the strict Spenserian stanza, illustrates the frequent
employment of this form in occasional pieces of a humorous intention.  It
describes a domestic boating party on the Thames, one of the oarsmen
being a family servant and barber-surgeon, who used to dress the
chaplain's hair:

    "Als would the blood of ancient beadsman spill,
    Whose hairy scalps he hanged in a row
    Around his cave, sad sight to Christian eyes, I trow."

Thompson's experiments, on the contrary, were quite serious.  He had
genuine poetic feeling, but little talent.  In trying to reproduce
Spenser's richness of imagery and the soft modulation of his verse, he
succeeds only in becoming tediously ornate.  His stanzas are nerveless,
though not unmusical.  His college exercise, "The Nativity," 1736, is a
Christmas vision which comes to the shepherd boy Thomalin, as he is
piping on the banks of Isis.  It employs the pastoral machinery, includes
a masque of virtues,--Faith, Hope, Mercy, etc.,--and closes with a
compliment to Pope's "Messiah."  The preface to his "Hymn to May," has
some bearing upon our inquiries:  "As Spenser is the most descriptive and
florid of all our English writers, I attempted to imitate his manner in
the following vernal poem.  I have been very sparing of the antiquated
words which are too frequent in most of the imitations of this
author. . .  His lines are most musically sweet, and his descriptions
most delicately abundant, even to a wantonness of painting, but still it
is the music and painting of nature.  We find no ambitious ornaments or
epigrammatical turns in his writings, but a beautiful simplicity which
pleases far above the glitter of pointed wit."  The "Hymn to May" is in
the seven-lined stanza of Phineas Fletcher's "Purple Island"; a poem,
says Thompson, "scarce heard of in this age, yet the best in the
allegorical way (next to 'The Fairy Queen') in the English language."

William Wilkie, a Scotch minister and professor, of eccentric habits and
untidy appearance, published, in 1759, "A Dream: in the Manner of
Spenser," which may be mentioned here not for its own sake, but for the
evidence that it affords of a growing impatience of classical restraints.
The piece was a pendant to Wilkie's epic, the "Epigoniad."  Walking by
the Tweed, the poet falls asleep and has a vision of Homer, who
reproaches him with the bareness of style in his "Epigoniad."  The
dreamer puts the blame upon the critics,

    "Who tie the muses to such rigid laws
    That all their songs are frivolous and poor."

Shakspere, indeed,

    "Broke all the cobweb limits fixed by fools";

but the only reward of his boldness

    "Is that our dull, degenerate age of lead
    Says that he wrote by chance, and that he scare could read."

One of the earlier Spenserians was Gilbert West, the translator of
Pindar, who published, in 1739, "On the Abuse of Travelling: A Canto in
Imitation of Spenser."[27]  Another imitation, "Education," appeared in
1751.  West was a very tame poet, and the only quality of Spenser's which
he succeeded in catching was his prolixity.  He used the allegorical
machinery of the "Faërie Queene" for moral and mildly satirical ends.
Thus, in "The Abuse of Traveling," the Red Cross Knight is induced by
Archimago to embark in a painted boat steered by Curiosity, which wafts
him over to a foreign shore where he is entertained by a bevy of light
damsels whose leader "hight Politessa," and whose blandishments the
knight resists.  Thence he is conducted to a stately castle (the court of
Louis XV. whose minister--perhaps Cardinal Fleury?--is "an old and
rankled mage"); and finally to Rome, where a lady yclept Vertù holds
court in the ruins of the Colosseum, among mimes, fiddlers, pipers,
eunuchs, painters, and _ciceroni_.

Similarly the canto on "Education" narrates how a fairy knight, while
conducting his young son to the house of Paidia, encounters the giant
Custom and worsts him in single combat.  There is some humor in the
description of the stream of science into which the crowd of infant
learners are unwillingly plunged, and upon whose margin stands

    "A _birchen_ grove that, waving from the shore,
    Aye cast upon the tide its falling bud
    And with its bitter juice empoisoned all the flood."

The piece is a tedious arraignment of the pedantic methods of instruction
in English schools and colleges.  A passage satirizing the artificial
style of gardening will be cited later.  West had a country-house at
Wickham, in Kent, where, says Johnson,[28] "he was very often visited by
Lyttelton and Pitt; who, when they were weary of faction and debates,
used at Wickham to find books and quiet, a decent table and literary
conversation.  There is at Wickham, a walk made by Pitt."  Like many
contemporary poets, West interested himself in landscape gardening, and
some of his shorter pieces belong to that literature of inscriptions to
which Lyttelton, Akenside, Shenstone, Mason, and others contributed so
profusely.  It may be said for his Spenserian imitations that their
archaisms are unusually correct[29]--if that be any praise--a feature
which perhaps recommended them to Gray, whose scholarship in this, as in
all points, was nicely accurate.  The obligation to be properly
"obsolete" in vocabulary was one that rested heavily on the consciences
of most of these Spenserian imitators.  "The Squire of Dames," for
instance, by the wealthy Jew, Moses Mendez, fairly bristles with
seld-seen costly words, like _benty_, _frannion_, etc., which it would
have puzzled Spenser himself to explain.

One of the pleasantest outcomes of this literary fashion was William
Shenstone's "Schoolmistress," published in an unfinished shape in 1737
and, as finally completed, in 1742.  This is an affectionate
half-humorous description of the little dame-school of Shenstone's--and
of everybody's--native village, and has the true idyllic touch.
Goldsmith evidently had it in memory when he drew the picture of the
school in his "Deserted Village."[30]  The application to so humble a
theme of Spenser's stately verse and grave, ancient words gives a very
quaint effect.  The humor of "The Schoolmistress" is genuine, not
dependent on the more burlesque, as in Pope's and Cambridge's
experiments; and it is warmed with a certain tenderness, as in the
incident of the hen with her brood of chickens, entering the open door of
the schoolhouse in search of crumbs, and of the grief of the little
sister who witnesses her brother's flogging, and of the tremors of the
urchins who have been playing in the dame's absence:

    "Forewarned, if little bird their pranks behold,
    'Twill whisper in her ear and all the scene unfold."

But the only one among the professed scholars of Spenser who caught the
glow and splendor of the master was James Thomson.  It is the privilege
of genius to be original even in its imitations.  Thomson took shape and
hue from Spenser, but added something of his own, and the result has a
value quite independent of its success as a reproduction.  "The Castle of
Indolence," 1748,[31] is a fine poem; at least the first part of it is,
for the second book is tiresomely allegorical, and somewhat involved in
plot.  There is a magic art in the description of the "land of
drowsy-head," with its "listless climate" always "atween June and
May,"[32] its "stockdove's plaint amid the forest deep," its hillside
woods of solemn pines, its gay castles in the summer clouds, and its
murmur of the distance main.  The nucleus of Thomson's conception is to
be found in Spenser's House of Morpheus ("Faërie Queene," book i. canto
i. 41), and his Country of Idlesse is itself an anticipation of
Tennyson's Lotus Land, but verse like this was something new in the
poetry of the eighteenth century:

    "Was nought around but images of rest:
    Sleep-soothing groves and quiet lawns between;
    And flowery beds that slumberous influence kest,
    From poppies breathed; and beds of pleasant green,
    Where never yet was creeping creatures seen.

    "Meantime unnumbered glittering streamlets played
    And hurlëd everywhere their waters sheen;
    That, as they bickered through the sunny glade,
    Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made."

"The Castle of Indolence" had the romantic iridescence, the "atmosphere"
which is lacking to the sharp contours of Augustan verse.  That is to
say, it produces an effect which cannot be wholly accounted for by what
the poet says; an effect which is wrought by subtle sensations awakened
by the sound and indefinite associations evoked by the words.  The secret
of this art the poet himself cannot communicate.  But poetry of this kind
cannot be translated into prose--as Pope's can--any more than music can
be translated into speech, without losing its essential character.  Like
Spenser, Thomson was an exquisite colorist and his art was largely
pictorial.  But he has touches of an imagination which is rarer, if not
higher in kind, than anything in Spenser.  The fairyland of Spenser is an
unreal, but hardly an unearthly region.  He seldom startles by glimpses
behind the curtain which hangs between nature and the supernatural, as in

    "Airy tongues that syllable men's names
    On sands and shores and desert wildernesses."

There is something of this power in one stanza, at least, of "The Castle
of Indolence:"

    "As when a shepherd of the Hebrid Isles,
    Placed far amid the melancholy main
    (Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles,
    Or that aerial beings sometimes deign
    To stand embodied to our sense plain),
    The whilst in ocean Phoebus dips his wain,
    A vast assembly moving to and fro,
    Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show."

It may be guessed that Johnson and Boswell, in their tour to the Hebrides
or Western Islands, saw nothing of the "spectral puppet play" hinted at
in this passage--the most imaginative in any of Spenser's school till we
get to Keats'

    "Magic casements opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn."

William Julius Mickle, the translator of the "Lusiad," was a more
considerable poet than any of the Spenserian imitators thus far reviewed,
with the exception of Thomson and the possible exception of Shenstone.
He wrote at least two poems that are likely to be remembered.  One of
these was the ballad of "Cumnor Hall" which suggested Scott's
"Kenilworth," and came near giving its name to the novel.  The other was
the dialect song of "The Mariner's Wife," which Burns admired so greatly:

    "Sae true his heart, sae smooth his speech,
      His breath like caller air,
    His very foot has music in't,
      As he comes up the stair,
    For there's nae luck about the house,
      There is nae luck at a',
    There's little pleasure in the house
      When our gudeman's awa',"[33]

Mickle, like Thomson, was a Scotchman who came to London to push his
literary fortunes.  He received some encouragement from Lyttelton, but
was disappointed in his hopes of any substantial aid from the British
Maecenas.  His biographer informs us that "about his thirteenth year, on
Spenser's 'Faërie Queene' falling accidentally in his way, he was
immediately struck with the picturesque descriptions of that much admired
ancient bard and powerfully incited to imitate his style and manner."[34]
In 1767 Mickle published "The Concubine," a Spenserian poem in two
cantos.  In the preface to his second edition, 1778, in which the title
was changed to "Syr Martyn," he said that: "The fullness and wantonness
of description, the quaint simplicity, and, above all, the ludicrous, of
which the antique phraseology and manner of Spenser are so happily and
peculiarly susceptible, inclined him to esteem it not solely as the best,
but the only mode of composition adapted to his subject."

"Syr Martyn" is a narrative poem not devoid of animation, especially
where the author forgets his Spenser.  But in the second canto he feels
compelled to introduce an absurd allegory, in which the nymph Dissipation
and her henchman Self-Imposition conduct the hero to the cave of
Discontent.  This is how Mickle writes when he is thinking of the "Faërie

    "Eke should he, freed from fous enchanter's spell,
    Escape his false Duessa's magic charms,
    And folly quaid, yclept an hydra fell
    Receive a beauteous lady to his arms;
    While bards and minstrels chaunt the soft alarms
    Of gentle love, unlike his former thrall:
    Eke should I sing, in courtly cunning terms,
    The gallant feast, served up by seneschal,
    To knights and ladies gent in painted bower or hall."

And this is how he writes when he drops his pattern:

    "Awake, ye west winds, through the lonely dale,
    And, Fancy, to thy faerie bower betake!
    Even now, with balmy freshness, breathes the gale,
    Dimpling with downy wing the stilly lake;
    Through the pale willows faltering whispers wake,
    And evening comes with locks bedropt with dew;
    On Desmond's moldering turrets slowly shake
    The trembling rye-grass and the harebell blue,
    And ever and anon fair Mulla's plaints renew."

A reader would be guilty of no very bad guess who should assign this
stanza--which Scott greatly admired--to one of he Spenserian passages
that prelude the "Lady of the Lake."

But it is needless to extend this catalogue any farther.  By the middle
of the century Spenserian had become so much the fashion as to provoke a
rebuke from Dr. Johnson, who prowled up and down before the temple of the
British Muses like a sort of classical watch-dog.  "The imitation of
Spenser," said the _Rambler_ of May 14, 1751, "by the influence of some
men of learning and genius, seems likely to gain upon the age. . .  To
imitate the fictions and sentiments of Spenser can incur no reproach, for
allegory is perhaps one of the most pleasing vehicles of instruction.
But I am very far from extending the same respect to his diction or his
stanza.  His style was, in his own words and peculiarities of phrase, and
so remote from common use that Jonson boldly pronounces him _to have
written no language_.  His stanza is at once difficult and unpleasing:
tiresome to the ear by its uniformity, and to the attention by its
length. . .  Life is surely given us for other purposes than to gather
what our ancestors have wisely thrown away and to learn what is of no
value but because it has been forgotten."[35]  In his "Life of West,"
Johnson says of West's imitations of Spenser, "Such compositions are not
to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their
effect is local and temporary: they appeal not to reason or passion, but
to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind.  An
imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom
Spenser has never been perused."

The critic is partly right.  The nice points of a parody are lost upon a
reader unacquainted with the thing parodied.  And as for serious
imitations, the more cleverly a copyist follows his copy, the less value
his work will have.  The eighteenth-century Spenserians, like West,
Cambridge, and Lloyd, who stuck most closely to their pattern, oblivion
has covered.  Their real service was done in reviving a taste for a
better kind of poetry than the kind in vogue, and particularly in
restoring to English verse a stanza form, which became so noble an
instrument in the hands of later poets, who used it with as much freedom
and vigor as if they had never seen the "Faërie Queene."  One is seldom
reminded of Spenser while reading "Childe Harold"[36] or "Adonais" or
"The Eve of Saint Agnes"; but in reading West or Cambridge, or even in
reading Shenstone and Thomson, one is reminded of him at every turn.  Yet
if it was necessary to imitate anyone, it might be answered to Dr.
Johnson that it was better to imitate Spenser than Pope.  In the
imitation of Spenser lay, at least, a future, a development; while the
imitation of Pope was conducting steadily toward Darwin's "Botanic

It remains to notice one more document in the history of this Spenserian
revival, Thomas Warton's "Observations on the Faërie Queen," 1754.
Warton wrote with a genuine delight in his subject.  His tastes were
frankly romantic.  But the apologetic air which antiquarian scholars
assumed, when venturing to recommend their favorite studies to the
attention of a classically minded public, is not absent from Warton's
commentary.  He writes as if he felt the pressure of an unsympathetic
atmosphere all about him.  "We who live in the days of writing by rule
are apt to try every composition by those laws which we have been taught
to think the sole criterion of excellence.  Critical taste is universally
diffused, and we require the same order and design which every modern
performance is expected to have, in poems where they never were regarded
or intended. . .  If there be any poem whose graces please because they
are situated beyond the reach of art[37] . . . it is this.  In reading
Spenser, if the critic is not satisfied, yet the reader is transported."
"In analyzing the plan and conduct of this poem, I have so far tried it
by epic rules, as to demonstrate the inconveniences and incongruities
which the poet might have avoided, had he been more studious of design
and uniformity.  It is true that his romantic materials claim great
liberties; but no materials exclude order and perspicacity."  Warton
assures the reader that Spenser's language is not "so difficult and
obsolete as it is generally supposed to be;" and defends him against
Hume's censure,[38] that "Homer copied true natural manners . . . but the
pencil of the English poet was employed in drawing the affectations and
conceits and fopperies of chivalry."

Yet he began his commentary with the stock denunciations of "Gothic
ignorance and barbarity."  "At the renaissance it might have been
expected that, instead of the romantic manner of poetical
composition . . . a new and more legitimate taste of writing would have
succeeded. . .  But it was a long time before such a change was effected.
We find Ariosto, many years after the revival of letters, rejecting truth
for magic, and preferring the ridiculous and incoherent excursions of
Boiardo to the propriety and uniformity of the Grecian and Roman models.
Nor did the restoration of ancient learning produce any effectual or
immediate improvement in the state of criticism.  Beni, one of the most
celebrated critics of the sixteenth century, was still so infatuated with
a fondness for the old Provençal vein, that he ventured to write a
regular dissertation, in which he compares Ariosto with Homer."  Warton
says again, of Ariosto and the Italian renaissance poets whom Spenser
followed, "I have found no fault in general with their use of magical
machinery; notwithstanding I have so far conformed to the reigning maxims
of modern criticism as to recommend classical propriety."
Notwithstanding this prudent determination to conform, the author takes
heart in his second volume to speak out as follows about the
pseudo-classic poetry of his own age: "A poetry succeeded in which
imagination gave way to correctness, sublimity of description to delicacy
of sentiment, and majestic imagery to conceit and epigram.  Poets began
now to be more attentive to words than to things and objects.  The nicer
beauties of happy expression were preferred to the daring strokes of
great conception.  Satire, that bane of the sublime, was imported from
France.  The muses were debauched at court; and polite life and familiar
manners became their only themes."

By the time these words were written Spenser had done his work.  Color,
music, fragrance were stealing back again into English song, and
"golden-tongued romance with serene lute" stood at the door of the new
age, waiting for it to open.

[1] A small portion of "The Canterbury Tales."  Edited by Morell.

[2] The sixteenth [_sic. Quaere_, seventeenth?] century had an instinctive
repugnance for the crude literature of the Middle Ages, the product of so
strange and incoherent a civilization.  Here classicism finds nothing but
grossness and barbarism, never suspecting that it might contain germs,
which, with time and genius, might develop into a poetical growth,
doubtless less pure, but certainly more complex in its harmonies, and of
a more expressive form of beauty.  The history of our ancient poetry,
traced in a few lines by Boileau, clearly shows to what degree he either
ignored or misrepresented it.  The singular, confused architecture of
Gothic cathedrals gave those who saw beauty in symmetry of line and
purity of form but further evidence of the clumsiness and perverted taste
of our ancestors. All remembrances of the great poetic works of the
Middle Ages is completely effaced.  No one supposes in those barbarous
times the existence of ages classical also in their way; no one imagines
either their heroic songs or romances of adventure, either the rich
bounty of lyrical styles or the naïve, touching crudity of the Christian
drama.  The seventeenth century turned disdainfully away from the
monuments of national genius discovered by it; finding them sometimes
shocking in their rudeness, sometimes puerile in their refinements.
These unfortunate exhumations, indeed, only serve to strengthen its cult
for a simple, correct beauty, the models of which are found in Greece and
Rome.  Why dream of penetrating the darkness of our origin?  Contemporary
society is far too self-satisfied to seek distraction in the study of a
past which it does not comprehend.  The subjects and heroes of domestic
history are also prohibited.  Corneille is Latin, Racine is Greek; the
very name of Childebrande suffices to cover an epopee with
ridicule.--_Pellissier_, pp. 7-8.

[3] "Epistle to Augustus."

[4] "Epistle of Augustus."

[5] _I.e._, learning.

[6] "Life of Dryden."

[7] "Epistle to Augustus."

[8] The tradition as to Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton is almost equally
continuous.  A course of what Lowell calls "penitential reading," in
Restoration criticism, will convince anyone that these four names already
stood out distinctly, as those of the four greatest English poets.  See
especially Winstanley, "Lives of the English Poets," 1687; Langbaine, "An
Account of the English Dramatic Poets," 1691; Dennis, "Essay on the
Genius and Writings of Shakspere," 1712; Gildon, "The Complete Art of
Poetry," 1718.  The fact mentioned by Macaulay, that Sir Wm. Temple's
"Essay on Ancient and Modern Learning" names none of the four, is without
importance.  Temple refers by name to only three English "wits," Sidney,
Bacon, and Selden.  This very superficial performance of Temple's was a
contribution to the futile controversy over the relative merits of the
ancients and moderns, which is now only of interest as having given
occasion to Bentley to display his great scholarship in his "Dissertation
on the Epistles of Phalaris," (1698), and to Swift to show his powers of
irony in "The Battle of the Books" (1704).

[9] Preface to the "Plays of Shakspere," 1765.

[10] Prologue, spoken by Garrick at the opening of Drury Lane Theater,

[11] "The Tragedies of the Last Age Considered and Examined," 1678.

[12] "Shakspere Illustrated," 1753.

[13] See Dryden's "Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy" and "Defence of the
Epilogue to the Conquest of Granada."

[14] "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakspere," 1712.

[15] "The Art of Poetry," pp. 63 and 99.  _Cf_. Pope, "Epistle to

    "Shakspere (whom you and every play-house bill
    Style the divine, the matchless, what you will)
    For gain, not glory, winged his roving flight,
    And grew immortal in his own despite."

[16] Pope's "Shakspere," 1725.

[17] For a fuller discussion of this subject, consult "A History of
Opinion on the Writings of Shakspere," in the supplemental volume of
Knight's Pictorial Edition.  Editions of Shakspere issued within a
century following the Restoration were the third Folio, 1664; the fourth
Folio, 1685; Rowe's (the first critical edition, with a Life, etc.) 1709
(second edition, 1714); Pope's, 1725 (second edition, 1728); Theobald's,
1733; Hanmer's 1744; Warburton-Pope's, 1747; and Johnson's 1765.
Meanwhile, though Shakspere's plays continued to be acted, it was mostly
in doctored versions.  Tate changed "Lear" to a comedy.  Davenant and
Dryden made over "The Tempest" into "The Enchanted Island," turning blank
verse into rhyme and introducing new characters, while Shadwell altered
it into an opera.  Dryden rewrote "Troilus and Cressida"; Davenant,
"Macbeth."  Davenant patched together a thing which he called "The Law
against Lovers," from "Measure for Measure" and "Much Ado about Nothing."
Dennis remodeled the "Merry Wives of Windsor" as "The Comical Gallant";
Tate, "Richard II." as "The Sicilian Usurper"; and Otway, "Romeo and
Juliet," as "Caius Marius."  Lord Lansdowne converted "The Merchant of
Venice" into "The Jew of Venice," wherein Shylock was played as a comic
character down to the time of Macklin and Kean.  Durfey tinkered
"Cymbeline."  Cibber metamorphosed "King John" into "Papal Tyranny," and
his version was acted till Macready's time.  Cibber's stage version of
"Richard III." is played still.  Cumberland "engrafted" new features upon
"Timon of Athens" for Garrick's theater, about 1775.  In his life of Mrs.
Siddons, Campbell says that "Coriolanus" "was never acted genuinely from
the year 1660 till the year 1820" (Phillimore's "Life of Lyttelton," Vol.
I. p. 315).  He mentions a revision by Tate, another by Dennis ("The
Invader of his Country"), and a third brought out by the elder Sheridan
in 1764, at Covent Garden, and put together from Shakspere's tragedy and
an independent play of the same name by Thomson. "Then in 1789 came the
Kemble edition in which . . . much of Thomson's absurdity is still

[18] "Faërie Queene," II. xii. 71

[19] "Essay on Satire."  Philips says a good word for the Spenserian
stanza: "How much more stately and majestic in epic poems, especially of
heroic argument, Spenser's stanza . . . is above the way either of
couplet or alternation of four verses only, I am persuaded, were it
revived, would soon be acknowledged."--_Theatrum Poetatarum_, Preface,
pp. 3-4.

[20] "Observations on the Faëry Queene," Vol. II. p. 317.

[21] "The Faëry Queene," Book I., Oxford, 1869.  Introduction, p. xx.

[22] "Canto" ii. stanza i.

    "Now had Bootes' team far passed behind
    The northern star, when hours of night declined."
                   --_Person of Quality_

[23] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 139.

[24] For a full discussion of this subject the reader should consult
Phelps' "Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement," chap. iv., "The
Spenserian Revival."  A partial list of Spenserian imitations is given in
Todd's edition of Spenser, Vol. I.  But the list in Prof. Phelps'
Appendix, if not exhaustive, is certainly the most complete yet published
and may be here reproduced.  1706: Prior: "Ode to the Queen."  1713-21:
Prior(?): "Colin's Mistakes."   1713 Croxall: "An Original Canto of
Spenser."  1714: Croxall: "Another Original Canto."  1730 (_circa_):
Whitehead: "Vision of Solomon," "Ode to the Honorable Charles Townsend,"
"Ode to the Same." 1736: Thompson: "Epithalamium."  1736: Cambridge:
"Marriage of Frederick."  1736-37: Boyse: "The Olive," "Psalm XLII."
1737: Akenside: "The Virtuoso."  1739: West: "Abuse of Traveling."  1739:
Anon.: "A New Canto of Spenser's Fairy Queen."  1740: Boyse: "Ode to the
Marquis of Tavistock."  1741 (_circa_): Boyse: "Vision of Patience."
1742: Shenstone: "The Schoolmistress."  1742-50: Cambridge: "Archimage."
1742: Dodsley: "Pain and Patience."  1743: Anon.: "Albion's Triumph."
1744 (_circa_): Dodsley: "Death of Mr. Pope."  1744: Akenside: "Ode to
Curio."  1746: Blacklock: "Hymn to Divine Love," "Philantheus."  1747:
Mason: Stanzas in "Musaeus."  1747: Ridley: "Psyche."  1747: Lowth:
"Choice of Hercules."  1747: Upton: "A New Canto of Spenser's Fairy
Queen."  1747: Bedingfield: "Education of Achilles."  1747: Pitt: "The
Jordan."  1748: T. Warton, Sr.: "Philander."  1748: Thomson: "The Castle
of Indolence."  1749: Potter: "A Farewell Hymn to the Country."  1750: T.
Warton: "Morning."  1751: West: "Education."  1751: T. Warton: "Elegy on
the Death of Prince Frederick."  1751: Mendes: "The Seasons,"  1751:
Lloyd: "Progress of Envy."  1751: Akenside: "Ode."  1751: Smith:
"Thales."  1753: T. Warton: "A Pastoral in the Manner of Spenser."  1754:
Denton: "Immortality."  1755: Arnold: "The Mirror."  1748-58: Mendez:
"Squire of Dames."  1756: Smart: "Hymn to the Supreme Being."  1757:
Thompson: "The Nativity," "Hymn to May."  1758: Akenside: "To Country
Gentlemen of England."  1759: Wilkie: "A Dream"  1759: Poem in "Ralph's
Miscellany."  1762: Denton: "House of Superstition."  1767: Mickle: "The
Concubine."  1768: Downman: "Land of the Muses."  1771-74: Beattie: "The
Ministrel."  1775: Anon.: "Land of Liberty."  1775: Mickle: Stanzas from
"Introduction to the Lusiad."

[25] See Phelps, pp. 66-68.

[26] See the sumptuous edition of Cambridge's "Works," issued by his son
in 1803.

[27] "Mr. Walpole and I have frequently wondered you should never mention
a certain imitation of Spenser, published last year by a namesake of
yours, with which we are all enraptured and enmarvelled."--_Letter form
Gray to Richard West_, Florence, July 16, 1740.  There was no
relationship between Gilbert West and Gray's Eton friend, though it seems
that the former was also an Etonian, and was afterwards at Oxford,
"whence he was seduced to a more airy mode of life," says Dr. Johnson,
"by a commission in a troop of horse, procured him by his uncle."
Cambridge, however, was an acquaintance of Gray, Walpole, and Richard
West, at Eton.  Gray's solitary sonnet was composed upon the death of
Richard West in 1742; and it is worth noting that the introduction to
Cambridge's works are a number of sonnets by his friend Thomas Edwards,
himself a Spenser lover, whose "sugared sonnets among his private
friends"  begin about 1750 and reach the number of fifty.

[28] "Life of West."

[29] Lloyd, in "The Progress of Envy," defines _wimpled_ as "hung down";
and Akenside, in "The Virtuoso," employs the ending _en_ for the singular

[30] Cf. "And as they looked, they found their horror grew."

    "And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew."

    "The noises intermixed, which thence resound,
    Do learning's little tenement betray."

    "There in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule." etc.

[31] The poem was projected, and perhaps partly written, fourteen or
fifteen years earlier.

[32] _Cf_. Tennyson's "land in which it seemed always afternoon."--_The
Lotus Eaters_.

[33] Mickle's authorship of this song has been disputed in favor of one
Jean Adams, a poor Scotch school-mistress, whose poems were printed at
Glasgow in 1734.

[34] Rev. John Sim's "Life of Mickle" in "Mickle's Poetical Works," 1806,
p. xi.

[35] _Cf._ Joseph Warton's "Essay on Pope," Vol. II. p. 35.  "It has been
fashionable of late to imitate Spenser; but the likeness of most of these
copies hath consisted rather in using a few of his ancient expressions
than in catching his real manner.  Some, however, have been executed with
happiness, and with attention to that simplicity, that tenderness of
sentiment and those little touches of nature that constitute Spenser's
character.  I have a peculiar pleasure in mentioning two of them, 'The
Schoolmistress' by Mr. Shenstone, and 'The Education of Achilles' by Mr.
Bedingfield.  And also, Dr. Beattie's charming 'Minstrel.'  To these must
be added that exquisite piece of wild and romantic imagery, Thomson's
'Castle of Indolence.'"

[36] Byron, to be sure, began his first canto with conscious Spenserian.
He called his poem a "romaunt," and his valet, poor Fletcher, a "stanch
yeomán," and peppered his stanzas thinly with _sooths_ and _wights_ and_
whiloms_, but he gave over this affectation in the later cantos and made
no further excursions into the Middle Ages.

[37] Pope's, "Snatch a grace beyond the reach of art."
   --_Essay on Criticism_.

[38] "History of England," Vol. II. p. 739.


The Landscape Poets

There is nothing necessarily romantic in literature that concerns itself
with rural life or natural scenery.  Yet we may accept, with some
qualification, the truth of Professor McClintock's statement, that the
"beginning and presence of a creative, romantic movement is almost always
shown by the love, study, and interpretation of physical nature."[1]  Why
this should be true, at all events of the romantic movement that began in
the eighteenth century, is obvious enough.  Ruskin and Leslie Stephen
have already been quoted, as witnesses to the fact that naturalism and
romanticism had a common root:  the desire, namely, to escape into the
fresh air and into freer conditions, from a literature which dealt, in a
strictly regulated way, with the indoor life of a highly artificial
society.  The pastoral had ceased to furnish any relief.  Professing to
chant the praises of innocence and simplicity, it had become itself
utterly unreal and conventional, in the hands of cockneys like Philips
and Pope.  When the romantic spirit took possession of the poetry of
nature, it manifested itself in a passion for wildness, grandeur,
solitude.  Of this there was as yet comparatively little even in the
verse of Thomson, Shenstone, Akenside, and Dyer.

Still the work of these pioneers in the "return to nature" represents the
transition, and must be taken into account in any complete history of the
romantic movement.  The first two, as we have seen, were among the
earliest Spenserians: Dyer was a landscape painter, as well as a poet;
and Shenstone was one of the best of landscape gardeners.  But it is the
beginnings that are important.  It will be needless to pursue the history
of nature poetry into its later developments; needless to review the
writings of Cowper and Crabbe, for example,--neither of whom was romantic
in any sense,--or even of Wordsworth, the spirit of whose art, as a
whole, was far from romantic.

Before taking up the writers above named, one by one, it will be well to
notice the general change in the forms of verse, which was an outward
sign of the revolution in poetic feeling.  The imitation of Spenser was
only one instance of a readiness to lay aside the heroic couplet in favor
of other kinds which it had displaced, and in the interests of greater
variety. "During the twenty-five years," says Mr. Goss, "from the
publication of Thomson's 'Spring' ['Winter'] in 1726, to that of Gray's
'Elegy' in 1751, the nine or ten leading poems or collections of verse
which appeared were all of a new type; somber, as a rule, certainly
stately, romantic in tone to the extreme, prepared to return, ignorantly
indeed, but with respect, to what was 'Gothic' in manners, architecture,
and language; all showing a more or less vague aspiration towards the
nature, and not one composed in the heroic couplet hitherto so vigorously
imposed on serious verse.  'The Seasons,' 'Night Thoughts' and 'The
Grave' are written in blank verse: 'The Castle of Indolence' and 'The
Schoolmistress' in Spenserian stanza; 'The Spleen' and 'Grongar Hill' in
octosyllabics, while the early odes of Gray and those of Collins are
composed in a great variety of simple but novel lyric measures."[2]

The only important writer who had employed blank verse in undramatic
poetry between the publication of "Paradise Regained" in 1672, and
Thomson's "Winter" in 1726, was John Philips.  In the brief prefatory
note to "Paradise Lost," the poet of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso,"
forgetting or disdaining the graces of his youthful muse, had spoken of
rhyme as "the invention of a barbarous age," as "a thing trivial and of
no true musical delight."  Milton's example, of course, could not fail to
give dignity and authority to the majestic rhythm that he had used; and
Philips' mock-heroic "The Splendid Shilling" (1701), his occasional
piece, "Blenheim" (1705), and his Georgic "Cyder" (1706), were all avowed
imitation of Milton.  But the well-nigh solitary character of Philips'
experiments was recognized by Thomson, in his allusion to the last-named

    "Philips, Pomona's bard, the second thou
    Who nobly durst, in rime-unfettered verse,
    With British freedom sing the British song."[3]

In speaking of Philips' imitations of Milton, Johnson said that if the
latter "had written after the improvements made by Dryden, it is
reasonable to believe he would have admitted a more pleasing modulation
of numbers into his work."[4]  Johnson hated Adam Smith, but when Boswell
mentioned that Smith, in his rhetorical lectures at Glasgow University,
had given the preference to rhyme over blank verse, the doctor exclaimed,
"Sir, I was once in company with Smith and we did not take to each other;
but had I known that he loved rhyme as much as you tell me he does, I
should have hugged him."

In 1725 James Thomson, a young Scotchman, came to London to push his
literary fortunes.  His countryman, David Malloch,--or Mallet, as he
called himself in England,--at that time private tutor in the family of
the Duke of Montrose, procured Thomson introductions into titled society,
and helped him to bring out "Winter," the first installment of "The
Seasons," which was published in 1726.  Thomson's friend and biographer
(1762) the Rev. Patrick Murdoch, says that the poem was "no sooner read
than universally admired; those only excepted who had not been used to
feel, or to look for anything in poetry beyond a _point_ of satirical or
epigrammatic wit, a smart antithesis richly trimmed with rhyme."  This is
a palpable hit at the stronger contrast than between Thomson and Pope,
not alone in subject and feeling, but in diction and verse.  Thomson's
style is florid and luxuriant, his numbers flowing and diffuse, while
Pope had wonted the English ear to the extreme of compression in both
language and meter.  Pope is among the most quotable of poets, while
Thomson's long poem, in spite of its enduring popularity, has contributed
but a single phrase to the stock of current quotation:

    "To teach the young idea how to shoot."

"Winter" was followed by "Summer" in 1727, "Spring" in 1728, and the
completed "Seasons" in 1730.  Thomson made many changes and additions in
subsequent editions.  The original "Seasons" contained only 3902 lines
(exclusive of the "Hymn"), while the author's final revision of 1746 gave
5413.  One proof that "The Seasons" was the work of a fresh and
independent genius is afforded by the many imitations to which it soon
gave birth.  In Germany, a passage from Brockes' translation (1745) was
set to music by Haydn.  J. P. Uz (1742) and Wieland each produced a
"Frühling," in Thomson's manner; but the most distinguished of his German
disciples was Ewald Christian von Kleist, whose "Fruhling" (1749) was a
description of a country walk in spring, in 460 hexameter lines,
accompanied, as in Thomson's "Hymn," with a kind of "Gloria in excelsis,"
to the creator of nature.  "The Seasons" was translated into French by
Madame Bontemps in 1759, and called forth, among other imitations, "Les
Saisons" of Saint Lambert, 1769 (revised and extended in 1771.)  In
England, Thomson's influence naturally manifested itself less in direct
imitations of the scheme of his poem than in the contagion of his manner,
which pervades the work of many succeeding poets, such as Akenside,
Armstrong, Dyer, Somerville and Mallet.  "There was hardly one verse
writer of any eminence," says Gosse,[5] "from 1725-50, who was not in
some manner guided or biased by Thomson, whose genius is to this day
fertile in English literature."

We have grown so accustomed to a more intimate treatment and a more
spiritual interpretation of nature, that we are perhaps too apt to
undervalue Thomson's simple descriptive or pictorial method.  Compared
with Wordsworth's mysticism, with Shelley's passionate pantheism, with
Byron's romantic gloom in presence of the mountains and the sea, with
Keats' joyous re-creation of mythology, with Thoreau's Indian-like
approach to the innermost arcana--with a dozen other moods familiar to
the modern mind--it seems to us unimaginative.  Thomson has been likened,
as a colorist, to Rubens; and possibly the glow, the breadth, and the
vital energy of his best passages, as of Rubens' great canvases, leave
our finer perceptions untouched, and we ask for something more esoteric,
more intense.  Still there are permanent and solid qualities in Thomson's
landscape art, which can give delight even now to an unspoiled taste.  To
a reader of his own generation, "The Seasons" must have come as the
revelation of a fresh world of beauty.  Such passages as those which
describe the first spring showers, the thunderstorm in summer, the
trout-fishing, the sheep-washing, and the terrors of the winter night,
were not only strange to the public of that day, but were new in English

That the poet was something of a naturalist, who wrote lovingly and with
his "eye upon the object," is evident from a hundred touches, like
"auriculas with shining meal";

    "The yellow wall-flower stained with iron brown;"


    "The bittern knows his time, with bill engulfed,
    To shake the sounding marsh."[6]

Thomson's scenery was genuine.  His images of external nature are never
false and seldom vague, like Pope's.  In a letter to Lyttelton,[7] he
speaks of "the Muses of the great simple country, not the little
fine-lady Muses of Richmond Hill."  His delineations, if less sharp and
finished in detail than Cowper's, have greater breadth.  Coleridge's
comparison of the two poets is well known: "The love of nature seems to
have led Thomson to a cheerful religion, and a gloomy religion to have
led Cowper to a love of nature. . .  In chastity of diction and the
harmony of blank verse, Cowper leaves Thomson immeasurably below him; yet
I still feel the latter to have been the born poet."

The geologist Hugh Miller, who visited Lyttelton's country seat at Hagley
in 1845, describes the famous landscape which Thomson had painted in

    "Meantime you gain the height from whose fair brow
    The bursting prospect spreads immense around,
    And, snatched o'er hill and dale and wood and lawn,
    And verdant field and darkening heath between,
    And villages embosomed soft in trees,
    And spiry town, by surging columns marked
    Of household smoke, your eye extensive roams. . .
    To where the broken landscape, by degrees
    Ascending, roughens into rigid hills,
    O'er which the Cambrian mountains, like far clouds,
    That skirt the blue horizon, dusky rise."

"That entire prospect," says Miller,[8]--"one of the finest in England,
and eminently characteristic of what is best in English scenery--enabled
me to understand what I had used to deem a peculiarity--in some measure a
defect--in the landscapes of the poet Thomson.  It must have often struck
the Scotch reader that, in dealing with very extended prospects, he
rather enumerates than describes.  His pictures are often mere
catalogues, in which single words stand for classes of objects, and in
which the entire poetry seems to consist in an overmastering sense of
vast extent, occupied by amazing multiplicity. . .  Now the prospect from
the hill at Hagley furnished me with the true explanation of this
enumerative style.  Measured along the horizon, it must, on the lowest
estimate, be at least fifty miles in longitudinal extent; measured
laterally, from the spectator forwards, at least twenty. . .  The real
area must rather exceed than fall short of a thousand square miles: the
fields into which it is laid out are small, scarcely averaging a square
furlong in superficies. . .  With these there are commixed innumerable
cottages, manor-houses, villages, towns.  Here the surface is dimpled by
unreckoned hollows; there fretted by uncounted mounds; all is amazing,
overpowering multiplicity--a multiplicity which neither the pen nor the
pencil can adequately express; and so description, in even the hands of a
master, sinks into mere enumeration. The picture becomes a catalogue."

Wordsworth[9] pronounced "The Seasons" "a work of inspiration," and said
that much of it was "written from himself, and nobly from himself," but
complained that the style was vicious.  Thomson's diction is, in truth,
not always worthy of his poetic feeling and panoramic power over
landscape.  It is academic and often tumid and wordy, abounding in
Latinisms like _effusive_, _precipitant_, _irriguous_, _horrific_,
_turgent_, _amusive_.  The lover who hides by the stream where his
mistress is bathing--that celebrated "serio-comic bathing"--is described
as "the latent Damon"; and when the poet advises against the use of worms
for trout bait, he puts it thus:

    "But let not on your hook the tortured worm
    Convulsive writhe in agonizing folds," etc.

The poets had now begun to withdraw from town and go out into the
country, but in their retirement to the sylvan shades they were
accompanied sometimes, indeed, by Milton's "mountain nymph, sweet
Liberty," but quite as frequently by Shenstone's nymph, "coy Elegance,"
who kept reminding them of Vergil.

Thomson's blank verse, although, as Coleridge says, inferior to Cowper's,
is often richly musical and with an energy unborrowed of Milton--as
Cowper's is too apt to be, at least in his translation of Homer.[10]  Mr.
Saintsbury[11] detects a mannerism in the verse of "The Seasons," which
he illustrates by citing three lines with which the poet "caps the climax
of three several descriptive passages, all within the compass of half a
dozen pages," viz.:

    "And Egypt joys beneath the spreading wave."
    "And Mecca saddens at the long delay."
    "And Thule bellows through her utmost isles."

It would be easy to add many other instances of this type of climacteric
line, _e.g. _("Summer," 859),

    "And Ocean trembles for his green domain."

For the blank verse of "The Seasons" is a blank verse which has been
passed through the strainer of the heroic couplet.  Though Thomson, in
the flow and continuity of his measure, offers, as has been said, the
greatest contrast to Pope's system of versification; yet wherever he
seeks to be nervous, his modulation reminds one more of Pope's
antithetical trick than of Shakspere's or Milton's freer structure.  For
instance ("Spring," 1015):

    "Fills every sense and pants in every vein."

or (_Ibid._ 1104):

    "Flames through the nerves and boils along the veins."

To relieve the monotony of a descriptive poem, the author introduced
moralizing digressions: advice to the husbandman and the shepherd after
the manner of the "Georgics"; compliments to his patrons, like Lyttelton,
Bubb Dodington, and the Countess of Hertford; and sentimental narrative
episodes, such as the stories of Damon and Musidora,[12] and Celadon and
Amelia in "Summer," and of Lavinia and Palemon[13] in "Autumn"; while
ever and anon his eye extensive roamed over the phenomena of nature in
foreign climes, the arctic night, the tropic summer, etc.  Wordsworth
asserts that these sentimental passages "are the parts of the work which
were probably most efficient in first recommending the author to general
notice."[14]  They strike us now as insipid enough.  But many coming
attitudes cast their shadows before across the page of "The Seasons."
Thomson's denunciation of the slave trade, and of cruelty to animals,
especially the caging of birds and the coursing of hares; his preference
of country to town; his rhapsodies on domestic love and the innocence of
the Golden Age; his contrast between the misery of the poor and the
heartless luxury of the rich; all these features of the poem foretoken
the sentimentalism of Sterne and Goldsmith, and the humanitarianism of
Cowper and Burns.  They anticipate, in particular, that half affected
itch of simplicity which titillated the sensibilities of a corrupt and
artificial society in the writings of Rousseau and the idyllic pictures
of Bernardin de St. Pierre's "Paul and Virginia."  Thomson went so far in
this vein as to decry the use of animal food in a passage which recalls
Goldsmith's stanza:[15]

    "No flocks that range the valley free
      To slaughter I condemn:
    Taught by the power that pities me,
      I learn to pity them."

This sort of thing was in the air.  Pope was not a sentimental person,
yet even Pope had written

    "The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
    Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
    Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food.
    And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood."[16]

It does not appear that Thomson was personally averse to a leg of mutton.
His denunciations of luxury, and his praise of early rising[17] and cold
bathing[18] sound rather hollow from the lips of a bard--"more fat than
bard beseems"-who used to lie abed till noon, and who, as Savage told
Johnson, "was perhaps never in cold water in his life."  Johnson reports,
not without some spice of malice, that the Countess of Hertford, "whose
practice it was to invite every summer some poet into the country, to
hear her verses and assist her studies," extended this courtesy to
Thomson, "who took more delight in carousing with Lord Hertford and his
friends than assisting her ladyship's poetical operations, and therefore
never received another summons."[19]

The romantic note is not absent from "The Seasons," but it is not
prominent.  Thomson's theme was the changes of the year as they affect
the English landscape, a soft, cultivated landscape of lawns, gardens,
fields, orchards, sheep-walks, and forest preserves.  Only now and then
that attraction toward the savage, the awful, the mysterious, the
primitive, which marks the romantic mood in naturalistic poetry, shows
itself in touches like these.

    "High from the summit of a craggy cliff,
     Hung o'er the deep, such as amazing frowns
     On utmost Kilda's shore, whose lonely race
     Reigns the setting sun to Indian worlds."[20]

    "Or where the Northern Ocean, in vast whirls,
    Boils round the naked, melancholy isles
    Of farthest Thule, and the Atlantic surge
    Pours in among the stormy Hebrides."[21]

Compare also the description of the thunderstorm in the mountains
("Summer," 1156-68), closing with the lines:

    "Far seen the heights of heathy Cheviot blaze,
     And Thule bellows through her utmost isles."

The Western Islands appear to have had a peculiar fascination for
Thomson.  The passages above quoted, and the stanza from "The Castle of
Indolence," cited on page 94, gave Collins the clew for his "Ode on the
Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands," which contained, says Lowell,
the whole romantic school in the germ.  Thomason had perhaps found the
embryon atom in Milton's "stormy Hebrides," in "Lycidas," whose echo is
prolonged in Wordsworth's "Solitary Reaper"--

    "Breaking the silence of the seas
    Among the farthest Hebrides."

Even Pope--he had a soul--was not unsensitive to this, as witness his

    "Loud as the wolves, on Orcas' stormy steep,
    Howl to the roarings of the Northern deep."[22]

The melancholy which Victor Hugo pronounces a distinguishing badge of
romantic art, and which we shall see gaining more and more upon English
poetry as the century advanced, is also discernible in "The Seasons" in a
passage like the following:

    "O bear me then to vast embowering shades,
    To twilight groves and visionary vales,
    To weeping grottos and prophetic glooms;
    Where angel-forms athwart the solemn dusk
    Tremendous sweep, or seem to sweep along;
    And voices more than human, through the void,
    Deep-sounding, seize the enthusiastic ear;"[23]

or this, which recalls "Il Penseroso":

    "Now all amid the rigors of the year,
    In the wild depth of winter, while without
    The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my retreat
    Between the groaning forest and the shore,
    Beat by the boundless multitude of waves,
    A rural, sheltered, solitary scene;
    Where ruddy fire and beaming tapers join
    To cheer the gloom.  There studious let me sit
    And hold high converse with the mighty dead."[24]

The revival again, of the preternatural and of popular superstitions as
literary material, after a rationalizing and skeptical age, is signalized
by such a passage as this:

    "Onward they pass, o'er many a panting height,
    And valley sunk and unfrequented, where
    At fall of eve the fairy people throng,
    In various game and revelry to pass
    The summer night, as village stories tell.
    But far around they wander from the grave
    Of him whom his ungentle fortune urged
    Against his own sad breast to life the hand
    Of impious violence.  The lonely tower
    Is also shunned, whose mournful chambers hold,
    So night-struck fancy dreams, the yelling ghost."

It may not be uninstructive to note the occurrence of the word _romantic_
at several points in the poem:

            "glimmering shades and sympathetic glooms,
    Where the dim umbrage o'er the falling stream
    Romantic hangs."[25]

This is from a passage in which romantic love once more comes back into
poetry, after its long eclipse; and in which the lover is depicted as
wandering abroad at "pensive dusk," or by moonlight, through groves and
along brooksides.[26]  The word is applied likewise to clouds, "rolled
into romantic shapes, the dream of waking fancy"; and to the scenery of
Scotland--"Caledonia in romantic view."  In a subtler way, the feeling of
such lines as these is romantic:

    "Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
    As home he goes beneath the joyous moon;"

or these, of the comparative lightness of the summer night:

            "A faint, erroneous ray,
    Glanced from the imperfect surfaces of things,
    Flings half an image on the straining eye."

In a letter to Stonehewer (June 29, 1760), Gray comments thus upon a
passage from Ossian:

    "'Ghosts ride on the tempest to-night:
    Sweet is their voice between the gusts of wind:
    _Their songs are of other worlds._'

"Did you never observe (_while rocking winds are piping loud_) that pause,
as the gust is re-collecting itself, and rising upon the ear in a shrill
and plaintive note, like the soul of an Aeolian harp?  I do assure you,
there is nothing in the world so like the voice of a spirit.  Thomson had
an ear sometimes; he was not deaf to this, and has described it
gloriously, but given it another, different turn, and of more horror.  I
cannot repeat the lines: it is in his 'Winter.'"  The lines that Gray had
in mind were probably these (191-94):

    "Then, too, they say, through all the burdened air,
    Long groans are heard, shrill sounds and distant sighs
    That, uttered by the demon of the night,
    Warn the devoted wretch of woe and death."

Thomson appears to have been a sweet-tempered, indolent man, constant in
friendship and much loved by his friends.  He had a little house and
grounds in Kew Lane where he used to compose poetry on autumn nights and
loved to listen to the nightingales in Richmond Garden; and where, sang
Collins, in his ode on the poet's death (1748),

    "Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore,
      When Thames in summer wreaths is drest,
    And oft suspend the dashing oar
      To bid his gentle spirit rest."

Collins had been attracted to Richmond by Thomson's residence there, and
forsook the neighborhood after his friend's death.

Joseph Warton, in his "Essay on Pope" (1756), testified that "The
Seasons" had been "very instrumental in diffusing a taste for the
beauties of nature and landscape."  One evidence of this diffused taste
was the rise of the new or natural school of landscape gardening.  This
was a purely English art, and Gray, writing in 1763,[27] says "It is not
forty years since the art was born among us; and it is sure that there
was nothing in Europe like it": he adds that "our skill in gardening and
laying out grounds" is "the only taste we can call our own, the only
proof of our original talent in matter of pleasure."  "Neither Italy nor
France have ever had the least notion of it, nor yet do at all comprehend
it, when they see it."[28]  Gray's "not forty years" carries us back with
sufficient precision to the date of "The Seasons" (1726-30), and it is
not perhaps giving undue credit to Thomson, to acknowledge him as, in a
great measure, the father of the national school of landscape gardening.
That this has always been recognized upon the Continent as an art of
English invention, is evidenced by the names _Englische Garten_, _jardin
Anglais_, still given in Germany and France to pleasure grounds laid out
in the natural taste.[29]  Schopenhauer gives the philosophy of the
opposing styles as follows: "The great distinction between the English
and the old French garden rests, in the last analysis, upon this, viz.,
that the former are laid out in the objective, the latter in the
subjective sense, that is to say, in the former the will of Nature, as it
manifests (_objektivirt_) itself in tree, mountain, and water, is brought
to the purest possible expression of its ideas, _i.e._, of its own being.
In the French gardens, on the other hand, there is reflected only the
will of the owner who has subdued Nature, so that, instead of her own
ideas, she wears as tokens of her slavery, the forms which he has forced
upon her-clipped hedges, trees cut into all manner of shapes, straight
alleys, arched walks, etc."

It would be unfair to hold the false taste of Pope's generation
responsible for that formal style of gardening which prevailed when "The
Seasons" was written.  The old-fashioned Italian or French or Dutch
garden--as it was variously called--antedated the Augustan era, which
simply inherited it from the seventeenth century.  In Bacon's essay on
gardens, as well as in the essays on the same subject by Cowley and Sir
William Temple, the ideal pleasure ground is very much like that which Le
Notre realized so brilliantly at Versailles.[30]  Addison, in fact, in
the _Spectator_ (No. 414) and Pope himself in the _Guardian_ (No. 173)
ridiculed the excesses of the reigning mode, and Pope attacked them again
in his description of Timon's Villa in the "Epistle to the Earl of
Burlington" (1731), which was thought to be meant for Canons, the seat of
the Duke of Chandos.

    "His gardens next your admiration call,
    On every side you look, behold the wall!
    No pleasing intricacies intervene,
    No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
    Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
    And half the platform just reflects the other.
    The suffering eye inverted nature sees,
    Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees;
    With here a fountain, never to be played;
    And there a summer house, that knows no shade;
    Here Amphitrite sails through myrtle bowers;
    There gladiators fight, or die in flowers;
    Unwatered see the drooping sea-horse mourn,
    And swallows roost in Nilus' dusty urn."

Still the criticism is not merely fanciful which discovers an analogy
between the French garden, with its trim regularity and artificial
smoothness, and the couplets which Pope wrote: just such an analogy as
exists between the whole classical school of poetry and the Italian
architecture copied from Palladio and introduced in England by Inigo
Jones and Christopher Wren.  Grounds were laid out in rectangular plots,
bordered by straight alleys, sometimes paved with vari-colored sand, and
edged with formal hedges of box and holly.  The turf was inlaid with
parterres cut in geometric shapes and set, at even distances, with yew
trees clipped into cubes, cones, pyramids, spheres, sometimes into
figures of giants, birds, animals, and ships--called "topiary work"
(_opus topiarium_).  Terraces, fountains, bowling-greens (Fr.
_boulingrin_) statues, arcades, quincunxes, espallers, and artificial
mazes or labyrinths loaded the scene.  The whole was inclosed by a wall,
which shut the garden off from the surrounding country.

"When a Frenchman reads of the Garden of Eden," says Horace Walpole, in
his essay "On Modern Gardening" (written in 1770, published in 1785), "I
do not doubt but he concludes it was something approaching to that of
Versailles, with clipped hedges, _berceaux_ and trellis work. . .  The
measured walk, the quincunx and the _étoile_ imposed their unsatisfying
sameness on every royal and noble garden. . . Many French groves seem
green chests set upon poles. . .  In the garden of Marshal de Biron at
Paris, consisting of fourteen acres, every walk is buttoned on each side
by lines of flower-pots, which succeed in their seasons. When I saw it,
there were nine thousand pots of asters, or _la reine Marguerite_. . .
At Lady Orford's, at Piddletown, in Dorsetshire, there was, when my
brother married, a double enclosure of thirteen gardens, each I suppose
not much above a hundred yards square, with an enfilade of correspondent
gates; and before you arrived at these, you passed a narrow gut between
two stone terraces that rose above your head, and which were crowned by a
line of pyradmidal yews.  A bowling green was all the lawn admitted in
those times: a circular lake the extent of magnificence."[31]

Walpole names Theobalds and Nonsuch as famous examples of the old formal
style of garden; Stourhead, Hagley, and Stowe--the country seat of
Lyttelton's brother-in-law, Lord Cobham--of the new.  He says that
mottoes and coats of arms were sometimes cut in yew, box, and holly.  He
refers with respect to a recent work by the Rev. Thomas Whately, or
Wheatley, "Observations on Modern Gardening," 1770; and to a poem, then
and still in manuscript, but passages of which are given by Amherst,[32]
entitled "The Rise and Progress of the Present Taste in Planting Parks,
Pleasure Grounds, Gardens, etc.  In a poetic epistle to Lord Viscount
Irwin," 1767.

Gray's friend and editor, the Rev. William Mason, in his poem "The
English Garden," 1757, speaks of the French garden as already a thing of
the past.

    "O how unlike the scene my fancy forms,
    Did Folly, heretofore, with Wealth conspire
    To plant that formal, dull disjointed scene
    Which once was called a garden!  Britain still
    Bears on her breast full many a hideous wound
    Given by the cruel pair, when, borrowing aid
    From geometric skill, they vainly strove
    By line, by plummet and unfeeling shears
    To form with verdure what the builder formed
    With stone. . .
                    Hence the sidelong walls
    Of shaven yew; the holly's prickly arms
    Trimmed into high arcades; the tonsile box,
    Wove in mosaic mode of many a curl
    Around the figured carpet of the lawn. . .
    The terrace mound uplifted; the long line
    Deep delved of flat canal."[33]

But now, continues the poet, Taste "exalts her voice" and

                    "At the awful sound
    The terrace sinks spontaneous; on the green,
    Broidered with crispëd knots, the tonsile yews
    Wither and fall; the fountain dares no more
    To fling its wasted crystal through the sky,
    But pours salubrious o'er the parchëd lawn."

The new school had the intolerance of reformers.  The ruthless Capability
Brown and his myrmidons laid waste many a prim but lovely old garden,
with its avenues, terraces, and sun dials, the loss of which is deeply
deplored, now that the Queen Anne revival has taught us to relish the
_rococo_ beauties which Brown's imitation landscapes displaced.

We may pause for a little upon this "English Garden" of Mason's, as an
example of that brood of didactic blank-poems, begotten of Phillips'
"Cyder" and Thomson's "Seasons," which includes Mallet's "Excursion"
(1728), Somerville's "Chase" (1734), Akenside's "Pleasures of
Imagination" (1742-44), Armstrong's "Art of Preserving Health" (1744),
Dyer's "Fleece" (1757) and Grainger's "Sugar Cane" (1764).  Mason's blank
verse, like Mallet's, is closely imitative of Thomson's and the influence
of Thomson's inflated diction is here seen at its worst.  The whole poem
is an object lesson on the absurdity of didactic poetry.  Especially
harrowing are the author's struggles to be poetic while describing the
various kinds of fences designed to keep sheep out of his inclosures.

                "Ingrateful sure,
    When such the theme, becomes the poet's task:
    Yet must he try by modulation meet
    Of varied cadence and selected phrase
    Exact yet free, without inflation bold,
    To dignify that theme."

Accordingly he dignified his theme by speaking of a net as the
"sportsman's hempen toils," and of a gun as the

                    "--fell tube
    Whose iron entrails hide the sulphurous blast
    Satanic engine!"

When he names an ice-house, it is under a form of conundrum:

        "--the structure rude where Winter pounds,
    In conic pit his congelations hoar,
    That Summer may his tepid beverage cool
    With the chill luxury."

This species of verbiage is the earmark of all eighteenth-century poetry
and poets; not only of those who used the classic couplet, but equally of
the romanticizing group who adopted blank verse.  The best of them are
not free from it, not even Gray, not even Collins; and it pervades
Wordsworth's earliest verses, his "Descriptive Sketches" and "Evening
Walk" published in 1793.  But perhaps the very worst instance of it is in
Dr. Armstrong's "Economy of Love," where the ludicrous contrast between
the impropriety of the subject and the solemn pomp of the diction amounts
almost to _bouffe_.

In emulation of "The Seasons" Mason introduced a sentimental love
story--Alcander and Nerina--into his third book.  He informs his readers
(book II. 34-78) that, in the reaction against straight alleys, many
gardeners had gone to an extreme in the use of zigzag meanders; and he
recommends them to follow the natural curves of the footpaths which the
milkmaid wears across the pastures "from stile to stile," or which

                       --"the scudding hare
    Draws to her dew-sprent seat o'er thymy heaths."

The prose commentary on Mason's poem, by W. Burgh,[34] asserts that the
formal style of garden had begun to give way about the commencement of
the eighteenth century, though the new fashion had but very lately
attained to its perfection.  Mason mentions Pope as a champion of the
true taste,[35] but the descriptions of his famous villa at Twickenham,
with its grotto, thickets, and artificial mounds, hardly suggest to the
modern reader a very successful attempt to reproduce nature.  To be sure,
Pope had only five acres to experiment with, and that parklike scenery
which distinguishes the English landscape garden requires a good deal of
room.  The art is the natural growth of a country where primogeniture has
kept large estates in the hands of the nobility and landed gentry, and in
which a passion for sport has kept the nobility and gentry in the country
a great share of the year.  Even Shenstone--whose place is commended by
Mason--Shenstone at the Leasowes, with his three hundred acres, felt his
little pleasance rather awkwardly dwarfed by the neighborhood of
Lyttelton's big park at Hagley.

The general principle of the new or English school was to imitate nature;
to let trees keep their own shapes, to substitute winding walks for
straight alleys, and natural waterfalls or rapids for _jets d'eau_ in
marble basins. The plan upon which Shenstone worked is explained in his
"Unconnected Thoughts on Gardening"[36] (1764), a few sentences from
which will indicate the direction of the reform: "Landscape should
contain variety enough to form a picture upon canvas; and this is no bad
test, as I think the landscape painter is the gardener's best designer.
The eye requires a sort of balance here; but not so as to encroach upon
probable nature.  A wood or hill may balance a house or obelisk; for
exactness would be displeasing. . .  It is not easy to account for the
fondness of former times for straight-lined avenues to their houses;
straight-lined walks through their woods; and, in short, every kind of
straight line, where the foot has to travel over what the eye has done
before. . .  To stand still and survey such avenues may afford some
slender satisfaction, through the change derived from perspective; but to
move on continually and find no change of scene in the least attendant on
our change of place, must give actual pain to a person of taste. . .  I
conceived some idea of the sensation he must feel from walking but a few
minutes, immured between Lord D----'s high shorn yew hedges, which run
exactly parallel at the distance of about ten feet, and are contrived
perfectly to exclude all kind of objects whatsoever. . .  The side trees
in vistas should be so circumstanced as to afford a probability that they
grew by nature. . .  The shape of ground, the disposition of trees and
the figure of water must be sacred to nature; and no forms must be
allowed that make a discovery of art. . .  The taste of the citizen and
of the mere peasant are in all respects the same: the former gilds his
balls, paints his stonework and statues white, plants his trees in lines
or circles, cuts his yew-trees, four-square or conic, or gives them what
he can of the resemblance of birds or bears or men; squirts up his
rivulets in _jets d'eau_; in short, admires no part of nature but her
ductility; exhibits everything that is glaring, that implies expense, or
that effects a surprise because it is unnatural.  The peasant is his
admirer. . .  Water should ever appear as an irregular lake or winding
stream. . .  Hedges, appearing as such, are universally bad.  They
discover art in nature's province."

There is surely a correspondence between this new taste for picturesque
gardening which preferred freedom, variety, irregularity, and naturalness
to rule, monotony, uniformity, and artifice, and that new taste in
literature which discarded the couplet for blank verse, or for various
stanza forms, which left the world of society for the solitudes of
nature, and ultimately went, in search of fresh stimulus, to the remains
of the Gothic ages and the rude fragments of Norse and Celtic antiquity.

Both Walpole and Mason speak of William Kent, the architect and landscape
painter, as influential in introducing a purer taste in the gardener's
art.  Kent was a friend of Pope and a _protégé_ of Lord Burlington to
whom Pope inscribed his "Epistle on the Use of Riches," already quoted
(see _ante_ p. 121), and who gave Kent a home at his country house.  Kent
is said to have acknowledged that he caught his taste in gardening from
the descriptive passages in Spenser, whose poems he illustrated.  Walpole
and Mason also unite in contrasting with the artificial gardening of
Milton's time the picture of Eden in "Paradise Lost:"

        "--where not nice art in curious knots,
    But nature boon poured forth on hill and dale
    Flowers worthy of Paradise; while all around
    Umbrageous grots, and caves of cool recess,
    And murmuring waters, down the slope dispersed,
    Or held by fringëd banks in crystal lakes.
    Compose a rural seat of various hue."

But it is worth noting that in "L'Allegro" "retired leisure," takes his
pleasure in "_trim_ gardens," while in Collins,

    "Ease and health retire
    To breezy lawn or forest deep."

Walpole says that Kent's "ruling principle was that nature abhors a
straight line."  Kent "leaped the fence and saw that all nature was a
garden.  He felt the delicious contrast of hill and valley, changing
imperceptibly into each other. . . and remarked how loose groves crowned
an easy eminence with happy ornament. . .  The great principles on which
he worked were perspective and light and shade. . .  But of all the
beauties he added to the face of this beautiful country, none surpassed
his management of water.  Adieu to canals, circular basins, and cascades
tumbling down marble steps. . .  The gentle stream was taught to
serpentine seemingly at its pleasure."[37]  The treatment of the garden
as a part of the landscape in general was commonly accomplished by the
removal of walls, hedges, and other inclosures, and the substitution of
the ha-ha or sunken fence.  It is odd that Walpole, though he speaks of
Capability Brown, makes no mention of the Leasowes, whose proprietor,
William Shenstone, the author of "The School-mistress," is one of the
most interesting of amateur gardeners.  "England," says Hugh Miller, "has
produced many greater poets than Shenstone, but she never produced a
greater landscape gardener."

At Oxford, Shenstone had signalized his natural tastes by wearing his own
hair instead of the wig then (1732) universally the fashion.[38]  On
coming of age, he inherited a Shropshire farm, called the Leasowes, in
the parish of Hales Owen and an annuity of some three hundred pounds.  He
was of an indolent, retiring, and somewhat melancholy temperament; and,
instead of pursuing a professional career, he settled down upon his
property and, about the year 1745, began to turn it into a _fermé ornée_.
There he wooed the rustic muse in elegy, ode, and pastoral ballad,
sounding upon the vocal reed the beauties of simplicity and the vanity of
ambition, and mingling with these strains complaints of Delia's cruelty
and of the shortness of his own purse, which hampered him seriously in
his gardening designs.  Mr. Saintsbury has described Shenstone as a
master of "the artificial-natural style of poetry."[39]  His pastoral
insipidities about pipes and crooks and kids, Damon and Delia, Strephon
and Chloe, excited the scorn of Dr. Johnson, who was also at no pains to
conceal his contempt for the poet's horticultural pursuits.  "Whether to
plant a walk in undulating curves and to place a bench at every turn
where there is an object to catch the view; to make water run where it
will be seen; to leave intervals where the eye will be pleased, and to
thicken the plantation where there is something to be hidden, demands any
great powers of mind, I will not enquire."  The doctor reports that
Lyttelton was jealous of the fame which the Leasowes soon acquired, and
that when visitors to Hagley asked to see Shenstone's place, their host
would adroitly conduct them to inconvenient points of view--introducing
them, _e.g._, at the wrong end of a walk, so as to detect a deception in
perspective, "injuries of which Shenstone would heavily complain."[40]
Graves, however, denies that any rivalry was in question between the
great domain of Hagley and the poet's little estate.  "The truth of the
case," he writes, "was that the Lyttelton family went so frequently with
their company to the Leasowes, that they were unwilling to break in upon
Mr. Shenstone's retirement on every occasion, and therefore often went to
the principal points of view, without waiting for anyone to conduct them
regularly through the whole walks.  Of this Mr. Shenstone would sometimes
peevishly complain."

Shenstone describes in his "Thoughts on Gardening," several artifices
that he put in practice for increasing the apparent distance of objects,
or for lengthening the perspective of an avenue by widening it in the
foreground and planting it there with dark-foliaged trees, like yews and
firs, "then with trees more and more fady, till they end in the
almond-willow or silver osier."  To have Lord Lyttelton bring in a party
at the small, or willow end of such a walk, and thereby spoil the whole
trick, must indeed have been provoking.  Johnson asserts that Shenstone's
house was ruinous and that "nothing raised his indignation more than to
ask if there were any fishes in his water."  "In time," continues the
doctor, "his expenses brought clamors about him that overpowered the
lamb's bleat and the linnet's song; and his groves were haunted by beings
very different from fawns and fairies;" to wit, bailiffs; but Graves
denies this.

The fame of the Leasowes attracted visitors from all parts of the
country--literary men like Spence, Home, and Dodsley; picturesque
tourists, who came out of curiosity; and titled persons, who came, or
sent their gardeners, to obtain hints for laying out their grounds.
Lyttelton brought William Pitt, who was so much interested that he
offered to contribute two hundred pounds toward improvements, an offer
that Shenstone, however, declined.  Pitt had himself some skill in
landscape gardening, which he exercised at Enfield Chase and afterward at
Hayes.[41]  Thomson, who was Lyttelton's guest at Hagley every summer
during the last three or four years of his life, was naturally familiar
with the Leasowes.  There are many references to the "sweet descriptive
bard," in Shenstone's poems[42] and a seat was inscribed to his memory in
a part of the grounds known as Vergil's Grove.  "This seat," says
Dodsley, "is placed upon a steep bank on the edge of the valley, from
which the eye is here drawn down into the flat below by the light that
glimmers in front and by the sound of various cascades, by which the
winding stream is agreeably broken.  Opposite to this seat the ground
rises again in an easy concave to a kind of dripping fountain, where a
small rill trickles down a rude niche of rock work through fern,
liverwort, and aquatic weeds. . .  The whole scene is opaque and

English landscape gardening is a noble art.  Its principles are sound and
of perpetual application.  Yet we have advanced so much farther in the
passion for nature than the men of Shenstone's day that we are apt to be
impatient of the degree of artifice present in even the most skillful
counterfeit of the natural landscape.  The poet no longer writes odes on
"Rural Elegance," nor sings

    "The transport, most allied to song,
      In some fair valley's peaceful bound
    To catch soft hints from Nature's tongue,
      And bid Arcadia bloom around;
    Whether we fringe the sloping hill,
      Or smooth below the verdant mead;
    Or in the horrid brambles' room
      Bid careless groups of roses bloom;
    Or let some sheltered lake serene
      Reflect flowers, woods and spires, and brighten all the scene."

If we cannot have the mountains, the primeval forest, or the shore of the
wild sea, we can at least have Thomson's "great simple country," subdued
to man's use but not to his pleasure.  The modern mood prefers a lane to
a winding avenue, and an old orchard or stony pasture to a lawn decorated
with coppices.  "I do confess," says Howitt, "that in the 'Leasowes' I
have always found so much ado about nothing; such a parade of miniature
cascades, lakes, streams conveyed hither and thither; surprises in the
disposition of woods and the turn of walks. . . that I have heartily
wished myself out upon a good rough heath."

For the "artificial-natural" was a trait of Shenstone's gardening no less
than of his poetry.  He closed every vista and emphasized every opening
in his shrubberies and every spot that commanded a prospect with come
object which was as an exclamation point on the beauty of the scene: a
rustic bench, a root-house, a Gothic alcove, a grotto, a hermitage, a
memorial urn or obelisk dedicated to Lyttelton, Thomson, Somerville,[44]
Dodsley, or some other friend.  He supplied these with inscriptions
expressive of the sentiments appropriate to the spot, passages from
Vergil, or English or Latin verses of his own composition.  Walpole says
that Kent went so far in his imitation of natural scenery as to plant
_dead_ trees in Kensington Garden.  Walpole himself seems to approve of
such devices as artificial ruins, "a feigned steeple of a distant church
or an unreal bridge to disguise the termination of water."  Shenstone was
not above these little effects: he constructed a "ruinated priory" and a
temple of Pan out of rough, unhewn stone; he put up a statue of a piping
faun, and another of the Venus dei Medici beside a vase of gold fishes.

Some of Shenstone's inscriptions have escaped the tooth of time.  The
motto, for instance, cut upon the urn consecrated to the memory of his
cousin, Miss Dolman, was prefixed by Byron to his "Elegy upon Thyrza":
"Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse!"  The
habit of inscription prevailed down to the time of Wordsworth, who
composed a number for the grounds of Sir George Beaumont at Coleorton.
One of Akenside's best pieces is his "Inscription for a Grotto," which is
not unworthy of Landor.  Matthew Green, the author of "The Spleen," wrote
a poem of some 250 lines upon Queen Caroline's celebrated grotto in
Richmond Garden.  "A grotto," says Johnson, apropos of that still more
celebrated one at Pope's Twickenham villa, "is not often the wish or
pleasure of an Englishman, who has more frequent need to solicit than
exclude the sun"; but the increasing prominence of the mossy cave and
hermit's cell, both in descriptive verse and in gardening, was
symptomatic.  It was a note of the coming romanticism, and of that
pensive, elegiac strain which we shall encounter in the work of Gray,
Collins, and the Wartons.  It marked the withdrawal of the muse from the
world's high places into the cool sequestered vale of life.  All through
the literature of the mid-century, the high-strung ear may catch the
drip-drip of spring water down the rocky walls of the grot.

At Hagley, halfway up the hillside, Miller saw a semi-octagonal temple
dedicated to the genius of Thomson.  It stood in a grassy hollow which
commanded a vast, open prospect and was a favorite resting place of the
poet of "The Seasons."  In a shady, secluded ravine he found a white
pedestal, topped by an urn which Lyttelton had inscribed to the memory of
Shenstone.  This contrast of situation seemed to the tourist emblematic.
Shenstone, he says, was an egotist, and his recess, true to his
character, excludes the distant landscape.  Gray, who pronounced "The
Schoolmistress" a masterpiece in its kind, made a rather slighting
mention of its author.[45]  "I have read an 8vo volume of Shenstone's
letters; poor man!  He was always wishing for money, for fame and other
distinctions; and his whole philosophy consisted in living, against his
will, in retirement and in a place which his taste had adorned, but which
he only enjoyed when people of note came to see and commend it."  Gray
unquestionably profited by a reading of Shenstone's "Elegies," which
antedate his own "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (1751).  He
adopted Shenstone's stanza, which Shenstone had borrowed from the love
elegies of a now forgotten poet, James Hammond, equerry to Prince
Frederick and a friend of Cobham, Lyttelton, and Chesterfield.  "Why
Hammond or other writers," says Johnson, "have thought the quatrain of
ten syllables elegiac, it is difficult to tell.  The character of the
elegy is gentleness and tenuity, but this stanza has been pronounced by
Dryden. . .to be the most magnificent of all the measures which our
language affords."[46]

Next after "The Schoolmistress," the most engaging of Shenstone's poems
is his "Pastoral Ballad," written in 1743 in four parts and in a tripping
anapestic measure.  Familiar to most readers is the stanza beginning:

    "I have found out a gift for my fair,
    I have found where the wood-pigeons breed."

Dr. Johnson acknowledged the prettiness of the conceit:

    "So sweetly she bade me adieu,
    I thought that she bade me return;"

and he used to quote and commend the well-known lines "Written at an Inn
at Henley:

    "Whoe'er has travell'd life's dull round,
      Where'er his stages may have been,
    May sigh to think he still has found
      The warmest welcome at an inn."

As to Shenstone's blank verse--of which there is not much--the doctor
says: "His blank verses, those that can read them may probably find to be
like the blank verses of his neighbors."  Shenstone encouraged Percy to
publish his "Reliques."  The plans for the grounds at Abbotsford were
somewhat influenced by Didsley's description of the Leasowes, which Scott
studied with great interest.

In 1744 Mark Akenside, a north country man and educated partly in
Scotland, published his "Pleasures of Imagination," afterwards rewritten
as "The Pleasures of the Imagination" and spoiled in the process.  The
title and something of the course of thought in the poem were taken from
Addison's series of papers on the subject (_Spectator_, Nos. 411-421).
Akenside was a man of learning and a physician of distinction.  His poem,
printed when he was only twenty-three, enjoyed a popularity now rather
hard to account for.  Gray complained of its obscurity and said it was
issued nine years too early, but admitted that now and then it rose "even
to the best, particularly in description."  Akenside was harsh, formal,
and dogmatic, as a man.  Smollett caricatured him in "Peregrine Pickle."
Johnson hated his Whig principles and represents him, when settled at
Northampton, as "having deafened the place with clamors for liberty."[47]
He furthermore disliked the class of poetry to which Akenside's work
belonged, and he told Boswell that he couldn't read it.  Still he speaks
of him with a certain cautious respect, which seems rather a concession
to contemporary opinion than an appreciation of the critic's own.  He
even acknowledges that Akenside has "few artifices of disgust than most
of his brethren of the blank song."  Lowell says that the very title of
Akenside's poem pointed "away from the level highway of commonplace to
mountain paths and less dogmatic prospects.  The poem was stiff and
unwilling, but in its loins lay the seed of nobler births.  Without it,
the 'Lines Written at Tintern Abbey' might never have been."

One cannot read "The Pleasures of Imagination" without becoming sensible
that the writer was possessed of poetic feeling, and feeling of a kind
that we generally agree to call romantic.  His doctrine at least, if not
his practice, was in harmony with the fresh impulse which was coming into
English poetry.  Thus he celebrates heaven-born genius and the
inspiration of nature, and decries "the critic-verse" and the effort to
scale Parnassus "by dull obedience."  He invokes the peculiar muse of the
new school:

    "Indulgent _Fancy_, from the fruitful banks
    Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
    Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
    Where Shakspere lies."

But Akenside is too abstract.  In place of images, he presents the reader
with dissertations.  A poem which takes imagination as its subject rather
than its method will inevitably remain, not poetry but a lecture on
poetry--a theory of beauty, not an example of it.  Akenside might have
chosen for his motto Milton's lines:

        "How charming is divine philosophy!
    Not harsh and crabbëd, as dull fools suppose,
    But musical as is Apollo's lute."

Yet he might have remembered, too, what Milton said about the duty of
poetry to be simple, sensuous, and passionate.  Akenside's is nothing of
these; it is, on the contrary obscure, metaphysical, and, as a
consequence, frigid.  Following Addison, he names greatness and novelty,
_i.e._, the sublime and the wonderful, as, equally with beauty, the chief
sources of imaginative pleasure, and the whole poem is a plea for what we
are now accustomed to call the ideal.  In the first book there is a
passage which is fine in spirit and--though in a less degree--in

    "Who that from Alpine heights his laboring eye
    Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey
    Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
    Through mountains, plains, through empires black with shade.
    And continents of sand, will turn his gaze
    To mark the windings of a scanty rill
    That murmurs at his feet?  The high-born soul
    Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
    Beneath its native quarry.  Tired of earth
    And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
    Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
    Rides on the vollied lightning through the heavens;
    Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
    Sweeps the long trace of day."

The hint for this passage was furnished by a paragraph in Addison's
second paper (_Spectator_, 412) and the emotion is the same to which
Goethe gives utterance in the well-known lines of "Faust";

    "Doch jedem ist es eingeboren
    Dass sein Gefühl hinauf und vorwärts dringt," etc.

But how greatly superior in sharpness of detail, richness of invention,
energy of movement is the German to the English poet!

Akenside ranks among the earlier Spenserians by virtue of his "Virtuoso"
(1737) and of several odes composed in a ten-lined variation on Spenser's
stanza.  A collection of his "Odes" appeared in 1745--the year before
Collins' and Joseph Warton's-and a second in 1760.  They are of little
value, but show here and there traces of Milton's minor poetry and that
elegiac sentiment, common to the lyrical verse of the time, noticeable
particularly in a passage on the nightingale in Ode XV, book i;, "To the
Evening Star."  "The Pleasures of Imagination" was the parent of a
numerous offspring of similarly entitled pieces, among which are Joseph
Warton's "Pleasures of Melancholy," Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope," and
Rogers' "Pleasures of Memory."

In the same year with Thomson's "Winter" (1726) there were published in
two poetical miscellanies a pair of little descriptive pieces, "Grongar
Hill" and "The Country Walk," written by John Dyer, a young Welshman, in
the octosyllabic couplet of Milton's "L'Allegro" and "Il Pensoroso."
("Grongar Hill," as first printed was a sort of irregular ode with
alternate rhyming; but it was much improvised in later editions, and
rewritten throughout in couplets.)

Dyer was a landscape painter who had been educated at Westminster school,
studied under Richardson at London, and spent some time wandering about
the mountains of Wales in the practice of his art.  "Grongar Hill" is, in
fact, a pictorial poem, a sketch of the landscape seen from the top of
his favorite summit in South Wales.  It is a slight piece of work,
careless and even slovenly in execution, but with an ease and lightness
of touch that contrast pleasantly with Thomson's and Akenside's
ponderosity.  When Dyer wrote blank verse he slipped into the Thomsonian
diction, "cumbent sheep" and "purple groves pomaceous."  But in "Grongar
Hill"--although he does call the sun Phoebus--the shorter measure seems
to bring shorter words, and he has lines of Wordsworthian simplicity--

    "The woody valleys warm and low,
    The windy summit, wild and high."

or the closing passage, which Wordsworth alludes to in his sonnet on
Dyer--"Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill":

    "Grass and flowers Quiet treads
    On the meads and mountain heads. . .
    And often, by the murmuring rill,
    Hears the thrush while all is still,
    Within the groves of Grongar Hill."

Wordsworth was attracted by Dyer's love of "mountain turf" and "spacious
airy downs" and "naked Snowdon's wide, aerial waste."  The "power of
hills" was on him.  Like Wordsworth, too, he moralized his song.  In
"Grongar Hill," the ruined tower suggests the transience of human life:
the rivers running down to the sea are likened to man's career from birth
to death; and Campbell's couplet,

    "'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view
    And robes the mountain in its azure hue,"[48]

is thought to owe something to Dyer's

    "As yon summits soft and fair,
    Clad in colors of the air
    Which to those who journey near
    Barren, brown and rough appear,
    Still we tread the same coarse way,
    The present's still a cloudy day."

Dyer went to Rome to pursue his art studies and, on his return in 1740,
published his "Ruins of Rome" in blank verse.  He was not very successful
as a painter, and finally took orders, married, and settled down as a
country parson.  In 1757 he published his most ambitious work, "The
Fleece," a poem in blank verse and in four books, descriptive of English
wool-growing.  "The subject of 'The Fleece,' sir," pronounced Johnson,
"cannot be made poetical.  How can a man write poetically of serges and
druggets?"  Didactic poetry, in truth, leads too often to ludicrous
descents.  Such precepts as "beware the rot," "enclose, enclose, ye
swains," and

                "-the utility of salt
    Teach thy slow swains";

with prescriptions for the scab, and advice as to divers kinds of wool
combs, are fatal.  A poem of this class has to be _made_ poetical, by
dragging in episodes and digressions which do not inhere in the subject
itself but are artificially associated with it.  Of such a nature is the
loving mention--quoted in Wordsworth's sonnet--of the poet's native

                "-that soft tract
    Of Cambria, deep embayed, Dimetian land,
    By green hills fenced, by Ocean's murmur lulled."

Lowell admired the line about the Siberian exiles, met

    "On the dark level of adversity."

Miltonic reminiscences are frequent in Dyer.  Sabrina is borrowed from
"Comus"; "bosky bourn" and "soothest shepherd" from the same; "the light
fantastic toe" from "L'Allegro"; "level brine" and "nor taint-worm shall
infect the yearning herds," from "Lycidas"; "audience pure be thy
delight, though few," from "Paradise Lost."

"Mr. Dyer," wrote Gray to Horace Walpole in 1751, "has more of poetry in
his imagination than almost any of our number; but rough and
injudicious."  Akenside, who helped Dyer polish the manuscript of "The
Fleece," said that "he would regulate his opinion of the reigning taste
by the fate of Dyer's 'Fleece'; for if that were ill received, he should
not think it any longer reasonable to expect fame from excellence."  The
romantic element in Dyer's imagination appears principally in his love of
the mountains and of ancient ruins.  Johnson cites with approval a
sentence in "The Ruins of Rome":

                    "At dead of night,
    The hermit oft, midst his orisons, hears
    Aghast the voice of Time disparting towers."[49]

These were classic ruins.  Perhaps the doctor's sympathy would not have
been so quickly extended to the picture of the moldering Gothic tower in
"Grongar Hill," or of "solitary Stonehenge gray with moss," in "The

[1] W. D. McClintock, "The Romantic and Classical in English Literature,"
_Chautauquan_, Vol. XIV, p. 187.

[2] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 207.

[3] "Autumn," lines 645-47.

[4] "Life of Philips."

[5] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 221

[6] _Cf_. Chaucer: "And as a bitoure bumbleth in the mire."
                --_Wyf of Bathes Tale_.

[7] Phillimore's "Life of Lyttelton," Vol. I, p. 286.

[8] "First Impression of England," p. 135.

[9] Appendix to Preface to the Second Edition of "Lyrical Ballads,"

[10] There are, of course, Miltonic reminiscences in "The Seasons."  The
moon's "spotted disk" ("Autumn," 1091) is Milton's "spotty globe."  The
apostrophe to light ("Spring" 90-96) borrows its "efflux divine" from
Milton's "bright effluence of bright essence increate" ("Paradise Lost,"
III. 1-12)  And _cf._ "Autumn," 783-84:

                "--from Imaus stretcht
    Athwart the roving Tartar's sullen bounds,"

with P.L., III, 431-32; and "Winter," 1005-08.

    Beneath the shelter of an icy isle,
    While night o'erwhelms the sea."

with P.L., I. 207-208.

[11] "Ward's English Poets," Vol. III. p. 171.

[12] There were originally _three_ damsels in the bathing scene!

[13] It was to this episode that Pope supplied the lines (207-14)

"Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self," etc.,

which form his solitary essay in blank verse.  Thomson told Collins that
he took the first hint of "The Seasons" from the names of the
divisions--Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter--in Pope's "Pastorals."

[14] Appendix to Preface to Second Edition of "Lyrical Ballads."

[15] "The Hermit."

[16] "Essay on Man," Epistle I.

[17] "Falsely luxurious, will not man awake?" etc.
           --_Summer_, 67.

[18] "Nor, when cold winter keens the brightening flood,
    Would I, weak shivering, linger on the brink."
           --_Ibid._ 1259-60.

[19] "Life of Thomson."

[20] "Spring," 755-58.

[21] "Autumn," 862-65.

[22] "Epistle of Augustus."

[23] "Autumn," 1030-37.  _Cf._ Cowper's

    "O for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
     Some boundless contiguity of shade!"

[24] "Winter," 424-32.

[25] "Spring," 1026-28.

[26] Shakspere's "broom groves whose shade the dismist bachelor loves;"


    "Fountain heads and pathless groves,
    Places which pale passion loves,"

and his

    "Moonlight walks when all the fowls
    Are safely housed, save bats and owls."

[27] Letter to Howe, September 10.

[28] Letter to Howe, November, 1763.

[29] Alicia Amherst ("History of Gardening in England," 1896, p. 283)
mentions a French and an Italian work, entitled respectively "Plan de
Jardins dans le gout Anglais," Copenhagen, 1798; and "Del Arte dei
Giardini Inglesi," Milan, 1801.  "This passion for the imitation of
nature," says the same authority, "was part of the general reaction which
was taking place, not only in gardening but in the world of literature
and of fashion.  The extremely artificial French taste had long taken the
lead in civilized Europe, and now there was an attempt to shake off the
shackles of its exaggerated formalism.  The poets of the age were also
pioneers of this school of nature.  Dyer, in his poem of 'Grongar Hill,'
and Thomson, in his 'Seasons,' called up pictures which the gardeners and
architects of the day strove to imitate."  See in this work, for good
examples of the formal garden, the plan of Belton House, Lincoln, p. 245;
of Brome Hall, Suffolk; of the orangery and canal at Euston, p. 201; and
the scroll work patterns of turf and parterres on pp. 217-18.

[30] In Temple's gardens at Moor Park, Hertfordshire, _e.g._, there were
terraces covered with lead.  Charles II. imported some of Le Notre's
pupils and assistants, who laid out the grounds at Hampton Court in the
French taste.  The maze at Hampton Court still existed in Walpole's time

[31] It is worth noticing that Batty Langley, the abortive restorer of
Gothic, also recommended the natural style of landscape gardening as
early as 1728 in his "New Principles of Gardening."

[32] "History of Gardening in England."

[33] I. 384-404.

[34] "The Works of William Mason," in 4 vols., London, 1811.

[35] See Pope's paper in the _Guardian_ (173) for some rather elaborate
foolery about topiary work.  "All art," he maintains, "consists in the
imitation and study of nature."  "We seem to make it our study to recede
from nature, not only in the various tonsure of greens into the most
regular and formal shapes, but," etc., etc.  Addison, too, _Spectator_
414, June 25, 1712, upholds "the rough, careless strokes of nature"
against "the nice touches and embellishments of art," and complains that
"our British gardeners, instead of humoring nature, love to deviate from
it as much as possible.  Our trees rise in cones, globes, and pyramids.
We see the marks of the scissors upon every plant and bush.  I do not
know whether I am singular in all its luxuriancy and diffusion of boughs
and branches, than when it is thus cut and trimmed into a mathematical
figure."  See also _Spectator_, 477, for a pretty scheme of a garden laid
out with "the beautiful wildness of nature."  Gilbert West's Spenserian
poem "Education," 1751 (see _ante_, p. 90) contains an attack, in six
stanzas, upon the geometric garden, from which I give a single stanza.

    "Alse other wonders of the sportive shears,
    Fair nature mis-adorning, there were found:
    Globes, spiral columns, pyramids, and piers,
    With sprouting urns and budding statues crowned;
    And horizontal dials on the ground,
    In living box by cunning artists traced;
    And gallies trim, on no long voyage bound
    But by their roots there ever anchored fast,
    All were their bellying sails out-spread to every blast."

[36] "Essays on Men and Manners," Shenstone's Works, Vol. II. Dodsley's

[37] "On Modern Gardening," Works of the Earl of Orford, London, 1798,
Vol. II.

[38] Graves, "Recollections of Shenstone," 1788.

[39] "Ward's English Poets," Vol. III. 271.

[40] "Life of Shenstone."

[41] See _ante_, p. 90, for his visits to Gilbert West at Wickham.

[42] See especially "A Pastoral Ode," and "Verses Written toward the Close
of the Year 1748."

[43] "A Description of the Leasowes by R. Dodsley," Shenstone's Works,
Vol. II, pp. 287-320 (3d ed.)  This description is accompanied with a
map.  For other descriptions consult Graves'  "Recollections," Hugh
Miller's "First Impressions of England," and Wm. Howitt's "Homes of the
Poets" (1846), Vol. I.  pp. 258-63.  The last gives an engraving of the
house and grounds.  Miller, who was at Hagley--"The British Tempe"-and
the Leasowes just a century after Shenstone began to embellish his
paternal acres, says that the Leasowes was the poet's most elaborate
poem, "the singularly ingenious composition, inscribed on an English
hillside, which employed for twenty long years the taste and genius of

[44] See "Lady Luxborough's Letters to Shenstone," 1775, for a long
correspondence about an urn which _she_ was erecting to Somerville's
memory.  She was a sister of Bolingbroke, had a seat at Barrels, and
exchanged visits with Shenstone.

[45] "Letter to Nichols," June 24, 1769.

[46] Dryden's "Annus Mirabilis," Davenant's "Gondibert," and Sir John
Davies' "Nosce Teipsum" were written in this stanza, but the universal
currency of Gray's poem associated it for many years almost exclusively
with elegiac poetry.  Shenstone's collected poems were not published till
1764, though some of them had been printed in Dodsley's "Miscellanies."
Only a few of his elegies are dated in the collected editions (Elegy
VIII, 1745; XIX, 1743; XXI, 1746), but Graves says that they were all
written before Gray's.  The following lines will recall to every reader
corresponding passages in Gray's "Churchyard":

    "O foolish muses, that with zeal aspire
    To deck the cold insensate shrine with bays!

    "When the free spirit quits her humble frame
    To tread the skies, with radiant garlands crowned;

    "Say, will she hear the distant voice of Fame,
    Or hearing, fancy sweetness in the sound?"
               --_Elegy II_.

    "I saw his bier ignobly cross the plain."
               --_Elegy III_.

    "No wild ambition fired their spotless breast."
               --_Elegy XV_.

    "Through the dim veil of evening's dusky shade
    Near some lone fane or yew's funereal green," etc.
               --_Elegy IV_.

    "The glimmering twilight and the doubtful dawn
    Shall see your step to these sad scenes return,
    Constant as crystal dews impearl the lawn," etc.

[47] "Life of Akenside."

[48] "Pleasures of Hope."

[49] _cf._ Wordsworth's

    "Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
    Or the unimaginable touch of time."
       --_Mutability: Ecclesiastical Sonnets_, XXXIV.


The Miltonic Group

That the influence of Milton, in the romantic revival of the eighteenth
century, should have been hardly second in importance to Spenser's is a
confirmation of our remark that Augustan literature was "classical" in a
way of its own.  It is another example of that curiously topsy-turvy
condition of things in which rhyme was a mark of the classic, and blank
verse of the romantic.  For Milton is the most truly classical of English
poets; and yet, from the angle of observation at which the eighteenth
century viewed him, he appeared a romantic.  It was upon his romantic
side, at all events, that the new school of poets apprehended and
appropriated him.

This side was present in Milton in a fuller measure than his completed
works would show.  It is well known that he, at one time, had projected
an Arthuriad, a design which, if carried out, might have anticipated
Tennyson and so deprived us of "The Idyls of the King."  "I betook me,"
he writes, "among those lofty fables and romances which recount in solemn
cantos the deeds of knighthood."[1]  And in the "Epitaphium Damonis" he
thus apprised the reader of his purpose:

    "Ipse ego Dardanais Rutupina per aequora puppes,
    Dicam, et Pandrasidos regnum vetus Inogeniae,
    Brennumque Arviragunque duces, priscumque Belinum,
    Et tandem Armoricos Britonum sub lege colonos;
    Tum gravidam Arturo fatali fraude Iörgernen;
    Mendaces vultus, assumptaque Gorlöis arma,
    Merlini dolus."[2]

The "matter of Britain" never quite lost the fascination which it had
exercised over his youthful imagination, as appears from passages in
"Paradise Lost"[3] and even in "Paradise Regained."[4]  But with his
increasing austerity, both religious and literary, Milton gravitated
finally to Hebraic themes and Hellenic art forms.  He wrote Homeric epics
and Aeschylean tragedies, instead of masques and sonnets, of rhymed
pieces on the Italian model, like "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," and of
stanzaic poems, like the "Nativity Ode," touched with Elizabethan
conceits.  He relied more and more upon sheer construction and weight of
thought and less upon decorative richness of detail.  His diction became
naked and severe, and he employed rhyme but sparingly, even in the choral
parts of "Samson Agonistes."  In short, like Goethe, he grew classical as
he grew old.  It has been mentioned that "Paradise Lost" did much to keep
alive the tradition of English blank verse through a period remarkable
for its bigoted devotion to rhyme, and especially to the heroic couplet.
Yet it was, after all, Milton's early poetry, in which rhyme is
used--though used so differently from the way in which Pope used it--that
counted for most in the history of the romantic movement.  Professor
Masson contradicts the common assertion, that "Paradise Lost" was first
written into popularity by Addison's Saturday papers.  While that series
was running, Tonson brought out (1711-13) an ediction of Milton's
poetical works which was "the ninth of 'Paradise Lost,' the eight of
'Paradise Regained,' the seventh of 'Samson Agonistes' and the sixth of
the minor poems."  The previous issues of the minor poems had been in
1645, 1673, 1695, 1705, and 1707.  Six editions in sixty-eight years is
certainly no very great showing.  After 1713 editions of Milton
multiplied rapidly; by 1763 "Paradise Lost" was in its forty-sixth, and
the minor poems in their thirtieth.[5]

Addison selected an occasional passage from Milton's juvenile poems, in
the _Spectator_; but from all obtainable evidence, it seems not doubtful
that they had been comparatively neglected, and that, although reissued
from time to time in complete editions of Milton's poetry, they were
regarded merely as pendents to "Paradise Lost" and floated by its
reputation.  "Whatever causes," says Dryden, "Milton alleges for the
abolishing of rime . . . his own particular reason is plainly this, that
rime was not his talent: he had neither the ease of doing it, nor the
graces of it: which is manifest in his 'Juvenilia' or verses written in
his youth; where his rime is always constrained and forced and comes
hardly from him."

Joseph Warton, writing in 1756,[6] after quoting copiously from the
"Nativity Ode," which, he says, is "not sufficiently read nor admired,"
continues as follows: "I have dwelt chiefly on this ode as much less
celebrated than 'L'Allegro' and "Il Penseroso,"[7] which are now
universally known,; but which, by a strange fatality, lay in a sort of
obscurity, the private enjoyment of a few curious readers, till they were
set to admirable music by Mr. Handel.  And indeed this volume of Milton's
miscellaneous poems has not till very lately met with suitable regard.
Shall I offend any rational admirer of Pope, by remarking that these
juvenile descriptive poems of Milton, as well as his Latin elegies, are
of a strain far more exalted than any the former author can boast?"

The first critical edition of the minor poems was published in 1785, by
Thomas Warton, whose annotations have been of great service to all later
editors.  As late as 1779, Dr. Johnson spoke of these same poems with an
absence of appreciation that now seems utterly astounding.  "Those who
admire the beauties of this great poem sometimes force their own judgment
into false admiration of his little pieces, and prevail upon themselves
to think that admirable which is only singular."  Of Lycidas he says: "In
this poem there is no nature, for there is no truth; there is no art, for
there is nothing new.  Its form is that of a pastoral, easy, vulgar, and
therefore disgusting. . .  Surely no man could have fancied that he read
'Lycidas' with pleasure, had he not known its author."  He acknowledges
that "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso" are "noble efforts of imagination";
and that, "as a series of lines," "Comus" "may be considered as worthy of
all the admiration with which the votaries have received it."  But he
makes peevish objections to its dramatic probability, finds its dialogues
and soliloquies tedious, and unmindful of the fate of Midas, solemnly
pronounces the songs--"Sweet Echo" and "Sabrina fair"--"harsh in their
diction and not very musical in their numbers"!  Of the sonnets he says:
"They deserve not any particular criticism; for of the best it can only
be said that they are not bad."[8]  Boswell reports that, Hannah More
having expressed her "wonder that the poet who had written 'Paradise
Lost' should write such poor sonnets," Johnson replied:  "Milton, madam,
was a genius that could cut a colossus from a rock, but could not carve
heads upon cherry stones."

The influence of Milton's minor poetry first becomes noticeable in the
fifth decade of the century, and in the work of a new group of lyrical
poets: Collins, Gray, Mason, and the brothers Joseph and Thomas Warton.
To all of these Milton was master.  But just as Thomson and Shenstone got
original effects from Spenser's stanza, while West and Cambridge and
Lloyd were nothing but echoes; so Collins and Gray--immortal names--drew
fresh music from Milton's organ pipes, while for the others he set the
tune.  The Wartons, indeed, though imitative always in their verse, have
an independent and not inconsiderable position in criticism and literary
scholarship, and I shall return to them later in that connection.  Mason,
whose "English Garden" has been reviewed in chapter iv, was a small poet
and a somewhat absurd person.  He aped, first Milton and afterward Gray,
so closely that his work often seems like parody.  In general the
Miltonic revival made itself manifest in a more dispersed and indirect
fashion than the Spenserian; but there was no lack of formal imitations,
also, and it will be advisable to notice a few of these here in the order
of their dates.

In 1740 Joseph Warton, then an Oxford undergraduate, wrote his
blank-verse poem "The Enthusiast, or the Lover of Nature."  The work of a
boy of eighteen, it had that instinct of the future, of the set of the
literary current, not uncommon in youthful artists, of which Chatterton's
precocious verses are a remarkable instance.  Composed only ten years
later than the completed "Seasons," and five years before Shenstone began
to lay out his miniature wilderness at the Leasowes, it is more
distinctly modern and romantic in its preference of wild nature to
cultivated landscape, and of the literature of fancy to the literature of

    "What are the lays of artful Addison,
    Coldly correct, to Shakspere's warblings wild?"

asks the young enthusiast, in Milton's own phrase.  And again

    "Can Kent design like Nature?. . .
    Though he, by rules unfettered, boldly scorns
    Formality and method, round and square
    Disdaining, plans irregularly great?. . .

    May boast a thousand fountains that can cast
    The tortured waters to the distant heavens;
    Yet let me choose some pine-topped precipice
    Abrupt and shaggy, whence a foamy stream,
    Like Anio, tumbling roars; or some black heath
    Where straggling stands the mournful juniper,
    Or yew tree scathed."

The enthusiast haunts "dark forests" and loves to listen to "hollow winds
and ever-beating waves" and "sea-mew's clang."  Milton appears at every
turn, not only in single epithets like "Lydian airs," "the level brine,"
"low-thoughted cares," "the light fantastic dance," but in the entire
spirit, imagery, and diction of the poem.  A few lines illustrate this
better than any description.

    "Ye green-robed Dryads, oft at dusky eve
    By wondering shepherds seen; to forest brown,
    To unfrequented meads and pathless wilds
    Lead me from gardens decked with art's vain pomp. . .
    But let me never fall in cloudless night,
    When silent Cynthia in her silver car
    Through the blue concave slides,. . .
    To seek some level mead, and there invoke
    Old midnight's sister, contemplation sage
    (Queen of the rugged brow and stern-fixed eye),
    To lift my soul above this little earth,
    This folly-fettered world: to purge my ears,
    That I may hear the rolling planet's song
    And tuneful turning spheres."

Mason's Miltonic imitations, "Musaeus," "Il Bellicoso" and "Il Pacifico"
were written in 1744--according to the statement of their author, whose
statements, however, are not always to be relied upon.  The first was
published in 1747; the second "surreptitiously printed in a magazine and
afterward inserted in Pearch's miscellany," finally revised and published
by the author in 1797; the third first printed in 1748 in the Cambridge
verses on the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.  These pieces follow copy in
every particular.  "Il Bellicoso," _e.g._, opens with the invocation.

    "Hence, dull lethargic Peace,
    Born in some hoary beadsman's cell obscure!"

The genealogies of Peace and War are recited, and contrasted pictures of
peaceful and warlike pleasures presented in an order which corresponds as
precisely as possible to Milton's in "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso."

    "Then, to unbend my mind, I'll roam
    Amid the cloister's silent gloom;
    Or, where ranged oaks their shades diffuse,
    Hold dalliance with my darling Muse,
    Recalling oft some heaven-born strain
    That warbled in Augustan reign;
    Or turn, well pleased, the Grecian page,
    If sweet Theocritus engage,
    Or blithe Anacreon, mirthful wight,
    Carol his easy love-lay light. . .
    And joys like these, if Peace inspire
    Peace, with thee I string the lyre."[9]

"Musaeus" was a monody on the death of Pope, employing the pastoral
machinery and the varied irregular measure of "Lycidas."  Chaucer,
Spenser, and Milton, under the names of Tityrus, Colin Clout, and
Thyrsis, are introduced as mourners, like Camus and St. Peter in the
original.  Tityrus is made to lament the dead shepherd in very incorrect
Middle English.  Colin Clout speaks two stanzas of the form used in the
first eclogue of "The Shepherd's Calendar," and three stanzas of the form
used in "The Faërie Queene."  Thyrsis speaks in blank verse and is
answered by the shade of Musaeus (Pope) in heroic couplets.  Verbal
travesties of "Lycidas" abound--"laureate hearse," "forego each vain
excuse," "without the loan of some poetic woe," etc.; and the closing
passage is reworded thus:

    "Thus the fond swain his Doric oat essayed,
    Manhood's prime honors rising on his cheek:
    Trembling he strove to court the tuneful Maid,
    With stripling arts and dalliance all too weak,
    Unseen, unheard beneath an hawthorn shade.
    But now dun clouds the welkin 'gan to streak;
    And now down dropt the larks and ceased their strain:
    They ceased, and with them ceased the shepherd swain."

In 1746 appeared a small volume of odes, fourteen in number, by Joseph
Warton, and another by William Collins.[10]  The event is thus noticed by
Gray in a letter to Thomas Wharton: "Have you seen the works of two young
authors, a Mr. Warton and a Mr. Collins, both writers of odes?  It is odd
enough, but each is the half of a considerable man, and one the
counterpart of the other.  The first has but little invention, very
poetical choice of expression and a good ear.  The second, a fine fancy,
modeled upon the antique, a bad ear, a great variety of words and images
with no choice at all.  They both deserve to last some years, but will
not."  Gray's critical acuteness is not altogether at fault in this
judgment, but half of his prophecy has failed, and his mention of Collins
is singularly inappreciative.  The names of Collins and Gray are now
closely associated in literary history, but in life the two men were in
no way connected.  Collins and the Wartons, on the other hand, were
personal friends.  Joseph Warton and Collins had been schoolfellows at
Winchester, and it was at first intended that their odes, which were
issued in the same month (December), should be published in a volume
together.  Warton's collection was immediately successful; but Collins'
was a failure, and the author, in his disappointment, burned the unsold

The odes of Warton which most nearly resemble Milton are "To Fancy," "To
Solitude," and "To the Nightingale," all in the eight-syllabled couplet.
A single passage will serve as a specimen of their quality:

    "Me, Goddess, by the right hand lead
    Sometimes through the yellow mead,
    Where Joy and white-robed Peace resort
    And Venus keeps her festive court:
    Where Mirth and Youth each evening meet,
    And lightly trip with nimble feet,
    Nodding their lily-crowned heads;
    Where Laughter rose-lip'd Hebe leads," etc.[11]

Collins' "Ode to Simplicity" is in the stanza of the "Nativity Ode," and
his beautiful "Ode to Evening," in the unrhymed Sapphics which Milton had
employed in his translation of Horace's "Ode to Pyrrha."  There are
Miltonic reminiscences like "folding-star," "religious gleams," "play
with the tangles of her hair," and in the closing couplet of the "Ode to

    "His cypress wreath my meed decree,
    And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee."

But, in general, Collins is much less slavish than Warton in his

Joseph Warton's younger brother, Thomas, wrote in 1745, and published in
1747, "The Pleasures of Melancholy," a blank-verse poem of three hundred
and fifteen lines, made up, in nearly equal parts, of Milton and
Akenside, with frequent touches of Thomson, Spenser, and Pope's "Epistle
of Eloisa to Abelard."  Warton was a lad of seventeen when his poem was
written: it was published anonymously and was by some attributed to
Akenside, whose "Pleasures of Imagination" (1744) had, of course,
suggested the title.  A single extract will suffice to show how well the
young poet knew his Milton:

    "O lead me, queen sublime, to solemn glooms
    Congenial with my soul; to cheerless shades,
    To ruined seats, to twilight cells and bowers,
    Where thoughtful Melancholy loves to muse,
    Her favorite midnight haunts. . .
    Beneath yon ruined abbey's moss-grown piles
    Oft let me sit, at twilight hour of eve,
    When through some western window the pale moon
    _Pours her long-levelled rule streaming light:_
    While sullen sacred silence reigns around,
    Save the lone screech-owl's note, who build his bower
    Amid the moldering caverns dark and damp;[12]
    Or the calm breeze, that rustles in the leaves
    Of flaunting ivy, that with mantle green
    Invests some wasted tower. . .
    Then when the sullen shades of evening close
    Where _through the room_ a blindly-glimmering gloom
    The _dying embers_ scatter, far remote
    From Mirth's mad shouts, that through the illumined roof
    Resound with festive echo, let me sit
    Blessed with the lowly cricket's drowsy dirge. . .
    This sober hour of silence will unmask
    False Folly's smile, that like the dazzling spells
    Of wily Comus cheat the unweeting eye
    With _blear illusion,_ and persuade to drink
    That charmëd cup which _Reason's mintage fair_
_    Unmoulds_, and stamps the monster on the man."

I italicize the most direct borrowings, but both the Wartons had so
saturated themselves with Milton's language, verse, and imagery that they
ooze out of them at every pore.  Thomas Warton's poems, issued separately
from time to time, were first published collectively in 1777.  They are
all imitative, and most of them imitative of Milton.  His two best odes,
"On the First of April" and "On the Approach of Summer," are in the
familiar octosyllabics.

    "Haste thee, Nymph! and hand in hand,
    With thee lead a buxom band;
    Bring fantastic-footed joy,
    With Sport, that yellow-tressëd boy," etc.[13]

In Gray and Collins, though one can hardly read a page without being
reminded of Milton, it is commonly in subtler ways than this.  Gray, for
example, has been careful to point out in his notes his verbal
obligations to Milton, as well as to Shakspere, Cowley, Dryden, Pindar,
Vergil, Dante, and others; but what he could not well point out, because
it was probably unconscious, was the impulse which Milton frequently gave
to the whole exercise of his imagination.  It is not often that Gray
treads so closely in Milton's footsteps as he does in the latest of his
poems, the ode written for music, and performed at Cambridge in 1769 on
the installation of the Duke of Grafton as Chancellor; in which Milton is
made to sing a stanza in the meter of the "Nativity Ode";

      "Ye brown o'er-arching groves
      That Contemplation loves,
    Where willowy Camus lingers with delight;
      Oft at the blush of dawn
      I trod your level lawn,
    Oft wooed the gleam of Cynthia, silver bright,
    In cloisters dim, far from the haunts of Folly,
    With Freedom by my side, and soft-eyed Melancholy."

Not only the poets who have been named, but many obscure versifiers are
witnesses to this Miltonic revival.  It is usually, indeed, the minor
poetry of an age which keeps most distinctly the "cicatrice and capable
impressure" of a passing literary fashion.  If we look through Dodsley's
collection,[14] we find a _mélange_ of satires in the manner of Pope,
humorous fables in the manner of Prior, didactic blank-verse pieces after
the fashion of Thomson and Akenside, elegiac quatrains on the model of
Shenstone and Gray, Pindaric odes _ad nauseam_, with imitations of
Spenser and Milton.[15]

To the increasing popularity of Milton's minor poetry is due the revival
of the sonnet.  Gray's solitary sonnet, on the death of his friend
Richard West, was composed in 1742 but not printed till 1775, after the
author's death.  This was the sonnet selected by Wordsworth, to
illustrate his strictures on the spurious poetic diction of the
eighteenth century, in the appendix to the preface to the second edition
of "Lyrical Ballads."  The style is noble, though somewhat artificial:
the order of the rhymes conforms neither to the Shaksperian nor the
Miltonic model.  Mason wrote fourteen sonnets at various times between
1748 and 1797; the earlier date is attached, in his collected works, to
"Sonnet I. Sent to a Young Lady with Dodsley's Miscellanies."  They are
of the strict Italian or Miltonic form, and abound in Miltonic allusions
and wordings.  All but four of Thomas Edwards' fifty sonnets, 1750-65,
are on Milton's model. Thirteen of them were printed in Dodsley's second
volume.  They have little value, nor have those of Benjamin
Stillingfleet, some of which appear to have been written before 1750.  Of
much greater interest are the sonnets of Thomas Warton, nine in number
and all Miltonic in form.  Warton's collected poems were not published
till 1777, and his sonnets are undated, but some of them seem to have
been written as early as 1750.  They are graceful in expression and
reflect their author's antiquarian tastes.  They were praised by Hazlitt,
Coleridge, and Lamb; and one of them, "To the River Lodon," has been
thought to have suggested Coleridge's "To the River Otter--"

    "Dear native stream, wild streamlet of the west--"

as well, perhaps, more remotely Wordsworth's series, "On the River

The poem of Milton which made the deepest impression upon the new school
of poets was "Il Penseroso."  This little masterpiece, which sums up in
imagery of "Attic choice" the pleasures that Burton and Fletcher and many
others had found in the indulgence of the atrabilious humor, fell in with
a current of tendency.  Pope had died in 1744, Swift in 1745, the last
important survivors of the Queen Anne wits; and already the reaction
against gayety had set in, in the deliberate and exaggerated solemnity
which took possession of all departments of verse, and even invaded the
theater; where Melpomene gradually crowded Thalia off the boards, until
sentimental comedy--_la comedie larmoyante_--was in turn expelled by the
ridicule of Garrick, Goldsmith, and Sheridan.  That elegiac mood, that
love of retirement and seclusion, which have been remarked in Shenstone,
became now the dominant note in English poetry.  The imaginative
literature of the years 1740-60 was largely the literature of low
spirits.  The generation was persuaded, with Fletcher, that

    "Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy."

But the muse of their inspiration was not the tragic Titaness of Dürer's

    "The Melencolia that transcends all wit."[16]

rather the "mild Miltonic maid," Pensive Meditation.

There were various shades of somberness, from the delicate gray of the
Wartons to the funereal sable to Young's "Night Thoughts" (1742-44) and
Blair's "Grave" (1743).  Goss speaks of Young as a "connecting link
between this group of poets and their predecessors of the Augustan age."
His poem does, indeed, exhibit much of the wit, rhetorical glitter, and
straining after point familiar in Queen Anne verse, in strange
combination with a "rich note of romantic despair."[17]  Mr. Perry, too,
describes Young's language as "adorned with much of the crude ore of
romanticism. . .  At this period the properties of the poet were but few:
the tomb, an occasional raven or screech-owl, and the pale moon, with
skeletons and grinning ghosts. . .  One thing that the poets were never
tired of, was the tomb. . .  It was the dramatic--can one say the
melodramatic?--view of the grave, as an inspirer of pleasing gloom, that
was preparing readers for the romantic outbreak."[18]

It was, of course, in Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"
(1751), that this elegiac feeling found its most perfect expression.
Collins, too has "more hearse-like airs than carols," and two of his most
heartfelt lyrics are the "Dirge in Cymbeline" and the "Ode on the Death
of Mr. Thomson."  And the Wartons were perpetually recommending such
themes, both by precept and example.[19]  Blair and Young, however, are
scarcely to be reckoned among the romanticists.  They were heavy
didactic-moral poets, for the most part, though they touched the string
which, in the Gothic imagination, vibrates with a musical shiver to the
thought of death.  There is something that accords with the spirit of
Gothic ecclesiastical architecture, with Gray's "ivy-mantled tower"--his
"long-drawn aisle and fretted vault"--in the paraphernalia of the tomb
which they accumulate so laboriously; the cypress and the yew, the owl
and the midnight bell, the dust of the charnel-house, the nettles that
fringe the grave-stones, the dim sepulchral lamp and gliding specters.

    "The wind is up.  Hark! how it howls!  Methinks
    Till now I never heard a sound so dreary,
    Doors creak and windows clap, and night's foul bird,
    Rocked in the spire, screams loud: the gloomy aisles,
    Black-plastered and hung 'round with shreds of scutcheons
    And tattered coats-of-arms, send back the sound,
    Laden with heavier airs, from the low vaults,
    The mansions of the dead."[20]

Blair's mortuary verse has a certain impressiveness, in its gloomy
monotony, not unlike that of Quarles' "Divine Emblems."  Like the
"Emblems," too, "The Grave," has been kept from oblivion by the art of
the illustrator, the well-known series of engravings by Schiavonetti from
designs by Wm. Blake.

But the thoughtful scholarly fancy of the more purely romantic poets
haunted the dusk rather than the ebon blackness of midnight, and listened
more to the nightingale than to the screech-owl.  They were quietists,
and their imagery was crepuscular.  They loved the twilight, with its
beetle and bat, solitude, shade, the "darkening vale," the mossy
hermitage, the ruined abbey moldering in its moonlit glade, grots,
caverns, brooksides, ivied nooks, firelight rooms, the curfew bell and
the sigh of the Aeolian harp.[21]  All this is exquisitely put in
Collins' "Ode to Evening."  Joseph Warton also wrote an "Ode to Evening,"
as well as one "To the Nightingale."  Both Wartons wrote odes "To
Solitude."  Dodsley's "Miscellanies" are full of odes to Evening,
Solitude, Silence, Retirement, Contentment, Fancy, Melancholy, Innocence,
Simplicity, Sleep; of Pleasures of Contemplation (Miss Whately, Vol. IX.
p. 120) Triumphs of Melancholy (James Beattie, Vol. X. p. 77), and
similar matter.  Collins introduced a personified figure of Melancholy in
his ode, "The Passions."

    "With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
    Pale Melancholy sat retired;
    And from her wild, sequestered seat,
    In notes by distance made more sweet,
    Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul;
      And dashing soft from rocks around,
      Bubbling runnels joined the sound;
    Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
      Or o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,
        Round a holy calm diffusing
        Love of peace and lonely musing,
      In hollow murmurs died away."

Collins was himself afflicted with a melancholia which finally developed
into madness.  Gray, a shy, fastidious scholar, suffered from inherited
gout and a lasting depression of spirits.  He passed his life as a
college recluse in the cloistered retirement of Cambridge, residing at
one time in Pembroke, and at another in Peterhouse College.  He held the
chair of modern history in the university, but never gave a lecture.  He
declined the laureateship after Cibber's death.  He had great learning,
and a taste most delicately correct; but the sources of creative impulse
dried up in him more and more under the desiccating air of academic study
and the increasing hold upon him of his constitutional malady.
"Melancholy marked him for her own."  There is a significant passage in
one of his early letters to Horace.  Walpole (1737): "I have, at the
distance of half a mile, through a green lane, a forest (vulgar call it a
common) all my own, at least as good as so, for I spy no human thing in
it but myself.  It is a little chaos of mountains and precipices. . .
Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches and other very
reverend vegetables that, like most other ancient people, are always
dreaming out their old stories to the winds. . .  At the foot of one of
these, squats ME, I, (il penseroso) and there grow to the trunk for a
whole morning."[22]  To Richard West he wrote, in the same year, "Low
spirits are my true and faithful companions"; and, in 1742, "Mine is a
white Melancholy, or rather Leucocholy, for the most part . . . but there
is another sort, black indeed, which I have now and then felt."

When Gray sees the Eton schoolboys at their sports, he is sadly reminded:

    "--how all around them wait
      The ministers of human fate
    And black Misfortune's baleful train."[23]

"Wisdom in sable garb," and "Melancholy, silent maid" attend the
footsteps of Adversity;[24] and to Contemplation's sober eye, the race of
man resembles the insect race:

    "Brushed by the hand of rough mischance,
    Or chilled by age, their airy dance
      They leave, in dust to rest."[25]

Will it be thought too trifling an observation that the poets of this
group were mostly bachelors and _quo ad hoc_, solitaries?  Thomson,
Akenside, Shenstone, Collins, Gray, and Thomas Warton never married.
Dyer, Mason, and Joseph Warton, were beneficed clergymen, and took unto
themselves wives.  The Wartons, to be sure, were men of cheerful and even
convivial habits.  The melancholy which these good fellows affected was
manifestly a mere literary fashion.  They were sad "only for wantonness,"
like the young gentlemen in France.  "And so you have a garden of your
own," wrote Gray to his young friend Nicholls, in 1769, "and you plant
and transplant, and are dirty and amused; are you not ashamed of
yourself?  Why, I have no such thing, you monster; nor ever shall be
either dirty or amused as long as I live."  Gray never was; but the
Wartons were easily amused, and Thomas, by all accounts, not unfrequently
dirty, or at least slovenly in his dress, and careless and unpolished in
his manners, and rather inclined to broad humor and low society.

Romantically speaking, the work of these Miltonic lyrists marks an
advance upon that of the descriptive and elegiac poets, Thomson,
Akenside, Dyer, and Shenstone.  Collins is among the choicest of English
lyrical poets.  There is a flute-like music in his best odes--such as the
one "To Evening," and the one written in 1746--"How sleep the brave,"
which are sweeter, more natural, and more spontaneous than Gray's.  "The
Muse gave birth to Collins," says Swinburne; "she did but give suck to
Gray."  Collins "was a solitary song-bird among many more or less
excellent pipers and pianists.  He could put more spirit of color into a
single stroke, more breath of music into a single note, than could all
the rest of the generation into all the labors of their lives."[26]
Collins, like Gray, was a Greek scholar, and had projected a history of
the revival letters.  There is a classical quality in his verse--not
classical in the eighteenth-century sense--but truly Hellenic; a union,
as in Keats, of Attic form with romantic sensibility; though in Collins,
more than in Keats, the warmth seems to comes from without; the statue of
a nymph flushed with sunrise.  "Collins," says Gosse, "has the touch of a
sculptor; his verse is clearly cut and direct:  it is marble pure, but
also marble cold."[27]  Lowell, however, thinks that Collins "was the
first to bring back into poetry something of the antique flavor, and
found again the long-lost secret of being classically elegant without
being pedantically cold."[28]

These estimates are given for what they are worth.  The coldness which is
felt--or fancied--in some of Collins' poetry comes partly from the
abstractness of his subjects and the artificial style which he inherited,
in common with all his generation.  Many of his odes are addressed to
Fear, Pity, Mercy, Liberty, and similar abstractions.  The
pseudo-Pindaric ode, is, in itself, an exotic; and, as an art form, is
responsible for some of the most tumid compositions in the history of
English verse.  Collins' most current ode, though by no means his best
one, "The Passions," abounds in those personifications which, as has been
said, constituted, in eighteenth century poetry, a sort of feeble
mythology: "wan Despair," "dejected Pity," "brown Exercise," and "Music
sphere-descended maid."  It was probably the allegorical figures in
Milton's "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," "Sport that wrinkled care
derides," "spare Fast that oft with gods doth diet," etc., that gave a
new lease of life to this obsolescent machinery which the romanticists
ought to have abandoned to the Augustan schools.

The most interesting of Collins' poems, from the point of view of these
inquiries, is his "Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of
Scotland."  This was written in 1749, but as it remained in manuscript
till 1788, it was of course without influence on the minds of its
author's contemporaries.  It had been left unfinished, and some of the
printed editions contained interpolated stanzas which have since been
weeded away.  Inscribed to Mr. John Home, the author of "Douglas," its
purpose was to recommend to him the Scottish fairy lore as a fit subject
for poetry.  Collins justifies the selection of such "false themes" by
the example of Spenser, of Shakspere, (in "Macbeth"), and of Tasso

            "--whose undoubting mind
    Believed the magic wonders which he sung."

He mentions, as instances of popular beliefs that have poetic
capabilities, the kelpie, the will-o'-the-wisp, and second sight.  He
alludes to the ballad of "Willie Drowned in Yarrow," and doubtless with a
line of "The Seasons" running in his head,[29] conjures Home to "forget
not Kilda's race," who live on the eggs of the solan goose, whose only
prospect is the wintry main, and among whose cliffs the bee is never
heard to murmur.  Perhaps the most imaginative stanza is the ninth,
referring to the Hebrides, the chapel of St. Flannan and the graves of
the Scottish, Irish, and Norwegian kings in Icolmkill:

    "Unbounded is thy range; with varied skill
      Thy muse may, like those feathery tribes which spring
      From their rude rocks, extend her skirting wing,
    Round the moist marge of each cold Hebrid isle,
      To that hoar pile which still its ruins shows;
    In whose small vaults a pygmy folk is found,
      Whose bones the delver with his spade upthrows,
    And culls them, wondering, from the hallowed ground;
    Or thither, where, beneath the showery west,
      The mighty kings of three fair realms are laid;
    Once foes, perhaps, together now they rest,
      No slaves revere them and no wars invade.
    Yet frequent now at midnight's solemn hour,
      The rifted mounds their yawning cells unfold,
    And forth the monarchs stalk with sovereign power,
      In pageant robes, and wreathed with sheeny gold,
      And on their twilight tombs aerial council hold."

Collins' work was all done by 1749; for though he survived ten years
longer, his mind was in eclipse.  He was a lover and student of
Shakspere, and when the Wartons paid him a last visit at the time of his
residence with his sister in the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral, he
told Thomas that he had discovered the source of the "Tempest," in a
novel called "Aurelio and Isabella," printed in 1588 in Spanish, Italian,
French, and English.  No such novel has been found, and it was seemingly
a figment of Collins' disordered fancy.  During a lucid interval in the
course of this visit, he read to the Wartons, from the manuscript, his
"Ode on the Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands"; and also a poem
which is lost, entitled, "The Bell of Arragon," founded on the legend of
the great bell of Saragossa that tolled of its own accord whenever a king
of Spain was dying.

Johnson was also a friend of Collins, and spoke of him kindly in his
"Lives of the Poets," though he valued his writings little.  "He had
employed his mind chiefly upon works of fiction and subjects of fancy;
and by indulging some peculiar habits of thought, was eminently delighted
with those flights of imagination which pass the bounds of nature, and to
which the mind is reconciled only by a passive acquiescence in popular
traditions.  He loved fairies, genii, giants, and monsters; he delighted
to rove through the meanders of enchantment, to gaze on the magnificence
of golden palaces, to repose by the water-falls of Elysian gardens.  This
was, however, the character rather of his inclination than his genius;
the grandeur of wildness and the novelty of extravagance were always
desired by him, but were not always attained."[30]

Thomas Gray is a much more important figure than Collins in the
intellectual history of his generations; but this superior importance
does not rest entirely upon his verse, which is hardly more abundant than
Collins', though of a higher finish.  His letters, journals, and other
prose remains, posthumously published, first showed how long an arc his
mind had subtended on the circle of art and thought.  He was sensitive to
all fine influences that were in the literary air.  One of the greatest
scholars among English poets, his taste was equal to his acquisitions.
He was a sound critic of poetry, music, architecture, and painting.  His
mind and character both had distinction; and if there was something a
trifle finical and old-maidish about his personality--which led the young
Cantabs on one occasion to take a rather brutal advantage of his nervous
dread of fire--there was also that nice reserve which gave to Milton,
when _he_ was at Cambridge, the nickname of the "lady of Christ's."

A few of Gray's simpler odes, the "Ode on the Spring," the "Hymn to
Adversity" and the Eton College ode, were written in 1742 and printed in
Dodsley's collection in 1748.  The "Elegy" was published in 1751; the two
"sister odes," "The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard," were struck off
from Horace Walpole's private press at Strawberry Hill in 1757.  Gray's
popular fame rests, and will always rest, upon his immortal "Elegy."  He
himself denied somewhat impatiently that it was his best poem, and
thought that its popularity was owing to its subject.  There are not
wanting critics of authority, such as Lowell and Matthew Arnold, who have
pronounced Gray's odes higher poetry than his "Elegy."  "'The Progress of
Poesy,'" says Lowell, "overflies all other English lyrics like an
eagle. . .  It was the prevailing blast of Gray's trumpet that, more than
anything else, called men back to the legitimate standard."[31]  With all
deference to such distinguished judges, I venture to think that the
popular instinct on this point is right, and even that Dr. Johnson is not
so wrong as usual.  Johnson disliked Gray and spoke of him with surly
injustice.  Gray, in turn, could not abide Johnson, whom he called _Ursa
major_.  Johnson said that Gray's odes were forced plants, raised in a
hot-house, and poor plants at that. "Sir, I do not think Gray a
first-rate poet.  He has not a bold imagination, nor much command of
words.  The obscurity in which he has involved himself will not persuade
us that he is sublime.  His 'Elegy in a Churchyard' has a happy selection
of images, but I don't like what are called his great things."  "He
attacked Gray, calling him a 'dull fellow.'  Boswell: 'I understand he
was reserved, and might appear dull in company; but surely he was not
dull in poetry.'  Johnson: 'Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his
closet, dull everywhere.  He was dull in a new way and that made many
people think him GREAT.  He was a mechanical poet.'  He then repeated
some ludicrous lines, which have escaped my memory, and said, 'Is not
that GREAT, like his odes?'. . .  'No, sir, there are but two good
stanzas in Gray's poetry, which are in his "Elegy in a Country
Churchyard."  He then repeated the stanza--

    "'For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,'" etc.

"In all Gray's odes," wrote Johnson, "there is a kind of cumbrous
splendor which we wish away. . .  These odes are marked by glittering
accumulations of ungraceful ornaments; they strike rather than please;
the images are magnified by affectation; the language is labored into
harshness.  The mind of the writer seems to work with unnatural
violence. . .  His art and his struggle are too visible and there is too
little appearance of ease and nature. . .  In the character of his
'Elegy,' I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common
sense of readers uncorrupted with literary prejudices, after all the
refinements of subtlety and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally
decided all claims to poetical honors.  The 'Churchyard' abounds with
images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments to which
every bosom returns an echo."

There are noble lines in Gray's more elaborate odes, but they do make as
a whole that mechanical, artificial impression of which Johnson
complains.  They have the same rhetorical ring, the worked-up fervor in
place of genuine passion, which was noted in Collins' ode "On the
Passions."  Collins and Gray were perpetually writing about the passions;
but they treated them as abstractions and were quite incapable of
exhibiting them in action.  Neither of them could have written a ballad,
a play, or a romance.  Their odes were bookish, literary, impersonal,
retrospective.  They had too much of the ichor of fancy and too little
red blood in them.

But the "Elegy" is the masterpiece of this whole "Il Penseroso" school,
and has summed up for all English readers, for all time, the poetry of
the tomb.  Like the "Essay on Man," and "Night Thoughts" and "The Grave,"
it is a poem of the moral-didactic order, but very different in result
from these.  Its moral is suffused with emotion and expressed concretely.
Instead of general reflections upon the shortness of life, the vanity of
ambition, the leveling power of death, and similar commonplaces, we have
the picture of the solitary poet, lingering among the graves at twilight
(_hora datur quieti_), till the place and the hour conspire to work their
effect upon the mind and prepare it for the strain of meditation that
follows.  The universal appeal of its subject and the perfection of its
style have made the "Elegy" known by heart to more readers than any other
poem in the language.  Parody is one proof of celebrity, if not of
popularity, and the "sister odes" were presently parodied by Lloyd and
Colman in an "Ode to Obscurity" and an "Ode to Oblivion."  But the
"Elegy" was more than celebrated and more than popular; it was the most
admired and influential poem of the generation.  The imitations and
translations of it are innumerable, and it met with a response as
immediate as it was general.[32]  One effect of this was to consecrate
the ten-syllabled quatrain to elegiac uses.  Mason altered the sub-title
of his "Isis" (written in 1748) from "An Elegy" to "A Monologue," because
it was "not written in alternate rimes, which since Mr. Gray's exquisite
'Elegy in the Country Church-yard' has generally obtained, and seems to
be more suited to that species of poem."[33]  Mason's "Elegy written in a
Church-yard in South Wales" (1787) is, of course, in Gray's stanza and,
equally of course, introduces a tribute to the master:

    "Yes, had he paced this church-way path along,
      Or leaned like me against this ivied wall,
    How sadly sweet had flowed his Dorian song,
      Then sweetest when it flowed at Nature's call."[34]

It became almost _de rigueur_ for a young poet to try his hand at a
churchyard piece.  Thus Richard Cumberland, the dramatist, in his
"Memoirs," records the fact that when he was an undergraduate at
Cambridge in 1752 he made his "first small offering to the press,
following the steps of Gray with another church-yard elegy, written on
St. Mark's Eve, when, according to rural tradition, the ghost of those
who are to die within the year ensuing are seen to walk at midnight
across the churchyard."[35]  Goldsmith testifies to the prevalence of the
fashion when, in his "Life of Parnell," he says of that poet's "Night
Piece on Death"[36] that, "with very little amendment," it "might be made
to surpass all those night-pieces and church-yard scenes that have since
appeared."  But in this opinion Johnson, who says that Parnell's poem "is
indirectly preferred by Goldsmith to Gray's 'Churchyard,'" does not
agree; nor did the public.[37]

Gray's correspondence affords a record of the progress of romantic
taste for an entire generation.  He set out with classical
prepossessions--forming his verse, as he declared, after Dryden--and
ended with translations from Welsh and Norse hero-legends, and with an
admiration for Ossian and Scotch ballads.  In 1739 he went to France and
Italy with Horace Walpole.  He was abroad three years, though in 1741 he
quarreled with Walpole at Florence, separated from him and made his way
home alone in a leisurely manner.  Gray is one of the first of modern
travelers to speak appreciatively of Gothic architecture, and of the
scenery of the Alps, and to note those strange and characteristic aspects
of foreign life which we now call picturesque, and to which every
itinerary and guidebook draws attention.  Addison, who was on his travels
forty years before, was quite blind to such matters.  Not that he was
without the feeling of the sublime: he finds, _e.g._, an "agreeable
horror" in the prospect of a storm at sea.[38]  But he wrote of his
passage through Switzerland as a disagreeable and even frightful
experience; "a very troublesome journey over the Alps.  My head is still
giddy with mountains and precipices; and you can't imagine how much I am
pleased with the sight of a plain."

"Let any one reflect," says the _Spectator_,[39] "on the disposition of
mind he finds in himself at his first entrance into the Pantheon at Rome,
and how his imagination is filled with something great and amazing; and,
at the same time, consider how little, in proportion, he is affected with
the inside of a Gothic cathedral, though it be five times larger than the
other; which can arise from nothing else but the greatness of the manner
in the one, the meanness in the other."[40]

Gray describes the cathedral at Rheims as "a vast Gothic building of a
surprising beauty and lightness, all covered over with a profusion of
little statues and other ornaments"; and the cathedral at Siena, which
Addison had characterized as "barbarous," and as an instance of "false
beauties and affected ornaments," Gray commends as "labored with a Gothic
niceness and delicacy in the old-fashioned way."  It must be acknowledged
that these are rather cold praises, but Gray was continually advancing in
his knowledge of Gothic and his liking for it.  Later in life he became
something of an antiquarian and virtuoso.  He corresponded with Rev.
Thomas Wharton, about stained glass and paper hangings, which Wharton,
who was refitting his house in the Gothic taste, had commissioned Gray to
buy for him of London dealers.  He describes, for Wharton's benefit,
Walpole's new bedroom at Strawberry Hill as "in the best taste of
anything he has yet done, and in your own Gothic way"; and he advises his
correspondent as to the selection of patterns for staircases and arcade
work.  There was evidently a great stir of curiosity concerning
Strawberry Hill in Gray's coterie, and a determination to be Gothic at
all hazards; and the poet felt obliged to warn his friends that zeal
should not outrun discretion.  He writes to Wharton in 1754: "I rejoice
to find you at last settled to your heart's content, and delight to hear
you talk of giving your house some _Gothic ornaments_ already.  If you
project anything, I hope it will be entirely within doors; and don't let
me (when I come gaping into Coleman Street) be directed to the gentlemen
at the ten pinnacles, or with the church porch at his door."  Again, to
the same (1761): "It is mere pedantry in Gothicism to stick to nothing
but altars and tombs, and there is no end to it, if we are to sit upon
nothing but coronation chairs, nor drink out of nothing but chalices or
flagons."  Writing to Mason in 1758 about certain incongruities in one of
the latter's odes, he gives the following Doresque illustration of his
point.  "If you should lead me into a superb Gothic building, with a
thousand clustered pillars, each of them half a mile high, the walls all
covered with fret-work, and the windows full of red and blue saints that
had neither head nor tail, and I should find the Venus de Medici in
person perked up in a long niche over the high altar, as naked as she was
born, do you think it would raise or damp my devotions?"[41]  He made it
a favorite occupation to visit and take drawings from celebrated ruins
and the great English cathedrals, particularly those in the Cambridge
fens, Ely and Peterboro'.  These studies he utilized in a short essay on
Norman architecture, first published by Mitford in 1814, and incorrectly
entitled "Architectura Gothica."

Reverting to his early letters from abroad one is struck by the
anticipation of the modern attitude, in his description of a visit to the
Grande Chartreuse, which he calls "one of the most solemn, the most
romantic, and the most astonishing scenes."[42]  "I do not remember to
have gone ten paces without an exclamation that there was no restraining.
Not a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with
religion and poetry. . .  One need not have a very fantastic imagination
to see spirits there at noonday."[43]  Walpole's letter of about the same
date, also to West,[44] is equally ecstatic.  It is written "from a
hamlet among the mountains of Savoy. . .  Here we are, the lonely lords
of glorious desolate prospects. . .  But the road, West, the road!
Winding round a prodigious mountain, surrounded with others, all shagged
with hanging woods, obscured with pines, or lost in clouds!  Below a
torrent breaking through cliffs, and tumbling through fragments of
rocks!. . .  Now and then an old foot bridge, with a broken rail, a
leaning cross, a cottage or the ruin of an hermitage!  This sounds too
bombast and too romantic to one that has not seen it, too cold for one
that has."  Or contrast with Addison's Italian letters passages like
these, which foretoken Rogers and Byron.  We get nothing so sympathetic
till at least a half century later.  "It is the most beautiful of Italian
nights. . .  There is a moon!  There are starts for you!  Do not you hear
the fountain?  Do not you smell the orange flowers?  That building yonder
is the convent of St. Isidore; and that eminence with the cypress-trees
and pines upon it, the top of Mt. Quirinal."[45]  "The Neapolitans work
till evening: then take their lute or guitar and walk about the city, or
upon the sea shore with it, to enjoy the _fresco_.  One sees their little
brown children jumping about stark naked and the bigger ones dancing with
castanets, while others play on the cymbal to them."[46]  "Kennst dud as
Land," then already?  The

                "small voices and an old guitar,
    Winning their way to an unguarded heart"?

And then, for a prophecy of Scott, read the description of Netley
Abbey,[47] in a letter to Nicholls in 1764.  "My ferryman," writes Gray
in a letter to Brown about the same ruin, "assured me that he would not
go near it in the night time for all the world, though he knew much money
had been found there. The sun was all too glaring and too full of gauds
for such a scene, which ought to be visited only in the dusk of the

    "If thou woulds't view fair Melrose aright
    Go visit it by the pale moonlight,
    For the gay beams of lightsome day
    Gild, but to flout, the ruins, Gray."

In 1765, Gray visited the Scotch Highlands and sent enthusiastic
histories of his trip to Wharton and Mason.  "Since I saw the Alps, I
have seen nothing sublime till now."  "The Lowlands are worth seeing
once, but the mountains are ecstatic, and ought to be visited in
pilgrimage once a year.  None but those monstrous creatures of God know
how to join so much beauty with so much horror.  A fig for your poets,
painters, gardeners, and clergymen that have not been among them."

Again in 1770, the year before his death, he spent six weeks on a ramble
through the western counties, descending the Wye in a boat for forty
miles, and visiting among other spots which the muse had then, or has
since, made illustrious, Hagley and the Leasowes, the Malvern Hills and
Tintern Abby.  But the most significant of Gray's "Lilliputian travels,"
was his tour of the Lake Country in 1769.  Here he was on ground that has
since become classic; and the lover of Wordsworth encounters with a
singular interest, in Gray's "Journal in the Lakes," written nearly
thirty years before the "Lyrical Ballads," names like Grasmere, Winander,
Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Derwentwater, Borrowdale, and Lodore.  What
distinguishes the entries in this journal from contemporary writing of
the descriptive kind is a certain intimacy of comprehension, a depth of
tone which makes them seem like nineteenth-century work. To Gray the
landscape was no longer a picture.  It had sentiment, character, meaning,
almost personality.  Different weathers and different hours of the day
lent it expressions subtler than the poets had hitherto recognized in the
broad, general changes of storm and calm, light and darkness, and the
successions of the seasons.  He heard Nature when she whispered, as well
as when she spoke out loud.  Thomson could not have written thus, nor
Shenstone, nor even, perhaps, Collins.  But almost any man of cultivation
and sensibility can write so now; or, if not so well, yet with the same
accent.  A passage or two will make my meaning clearer.

"To this second turning I pursued my way about four miles along its
borders [Ulswater], beyond a village scattered among trees and called
Water Mallock, in a pleasant, grave day, perfectly calm and warm, but
without a gleam of sunshine.  Then, the sky seeming to thicken, the
valley to grown more desolate, and evening drawing on, I returned by the
way I came to Penrith. . .  While I was here, a little shower fell, red
clouds came marching up the hills from the east, and part of a bright
rainbow seemed to rise along the side of Castle Hill. . .  The calmness
and brightness of the evening, the roar of the waters, and the thumping
of huge hammers at an iron forge not far distant, made it a singular
walk. . .  In the evening walked alone down to the lake after sunset and
saw the solemn coloring of night draw on, the last gleam of sunshine
fading away on the hilltops, the deep serene of the waters, and the long
shadows of the mountains thrown across them till they nearly touched the
hithermost shore.  At distance heard the murmur of many waterfalls not
audible in the day-time.[48]  Wished for the moon, but she was dark to me
and silent, hid in her vacant inter-lunar cave."[49]

"It is only within a few years," wrote Joseph Warton in 1782, "that the
picturesque scenes of our own country, our lakes, mountains, cascades,
caverns, and castles, have been visited and described."[50]  It was in
this very year that William Gilpin published his "Observations on the
River Wye," from notes taken upon a tour in 1770.  This was the same year
when Gray made his tour of the Wye, and hearing that Gilpin had prepared
a description of the region, he borrowed and read his manuscript in June,
1771, a few weeks before his own death.  These "Observations" were the
first of a series of volumes by Gilpin on the scenery of Great Britain,
composed in a poetic and somewhat over-luxuriant style, illustrated by
drawings in aquatinta, and all described on the title page as "Relative
chiefly to Picturesque Beauty."  They had great success, and several of
them were translated into German and French.[51]

[1] "An Apology for Smectymnuus."

[2] Lines 162-168.  See also "Mansus," 80-84.

[3]         "What resounds
    In fable or romance of Uther's son,
    Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
    And all who since, baptized or infidel,
    Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
    Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,
    Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
    When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
    By Fontarabbia."
           --_Book I_, 579-587.

[4] "Faery damsels met in forest wide
    By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
    Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore."
           --_Book II_, 359-361.

[5] "Masson's Life of Milton," Vol. VI. P. 789

[6] "Essay on Pope," Vol. I. pp. 36-38 (5th edition).  In the dedication
to Young, Warton says: "The Epistles (Pope's) on the Characters of Men
and Women, and your sprightly Satires, my good friend, are more
frequently perused and quoted than 'L'Allegro' and 'Il Penseroso' of

[7] The Rev. Francis Peck, in his "New Memoirs of the Life and Poetical
Works of Mr. John Milton," in 1740, says that these two poems are justly
admired by foreigners as well as Englishmen, and have therefore been
translated into all the modern languages.  This volume contains, among
other things, "An Examination of Milton's Style"; "Explanatory and
Critical Notes on Divers Passages of Milton and Shakspere"; "The
Resurrection," a blank verse imitation of "Lycidas," "Comus," "L'Allegro"
and "Il Penserosa," and the "Nativity Ode."  Peck defends Milton's rhymed
poems against Dryden's strictures.  "He was both a perfect master of rime
and could also express something by it which nobody else ever thought
of."  He compares the verse paragraphs of "Lycidas" to musical bars and
pronounces its system of "dispersed rimes" admirable and unique.

[8] "Life of Milton."

[9] "Il Pacifico: Works of William Mason," London, 1811, Vol. I. p. 166.

[10] "Odes on Several Descriptive and Allegoric Subjects."

[11] "To Fancy."

[12] _Cf_. Gray's "Elegy," first printed in 1751:

    "Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
      The moping owl does to the moon complain
    Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
      Molest her ancient, solitary reign."

[13] "On the Approach of Summer."  The "wattled cotes," "sweet-briar
hedges," "woodnotes wild," "tanned haycock in the mead," and "valleys
where mild whispers use," are transferred bodily into this ode from

[14] Three volumes appeared in 1748; a second edition, with Vol. IV. added
in 1749, Vols. V. and VI. in 1758.  There were new editions in 1765,
1770, 1775, and 1782.  Pearch's continuations were published in 1768
(Vols. VII. and VIII.) and 1770 (Vols. IX. and X.); Mendez's independent
collection in 1767; and Bell's "Fugitive Poetry," in 18 volumes, in

[15] The reader who may wish to pursue this inquiry farther will find the
following list of Miltonic imitations useful: Dodsley's "Miscellany," I.
164, Pre-existence: "A Poem in Imitation of Milton," by Dr. Evans.  This
is in blank verse, and Gray, in a letter to Walpole, calls it "nonsense."
II. 109. "The Institution of the Order of the Garter," by Gilbert West.
This is a dramatic poem, with a chorus of British bards, which is several
times quoted and commended in Joseph Warton's "Essay on Pope."  West's
"Monody on the Death of Queen Caroline," is a "Lycidas" imitation.  III.
214, "Lament for Melpomene and Calliope," by J. G. Cooper; also a
"Lycidas" poem.  IV. 50, "Penshurst," by Mr. F. Coventry: a very close
imitation of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso."  IV. 181, "Ode to Fancy," by
the Rev. Mr. Merrick: octosyllables.  IV. 229, "Solitude, an Ode," by Dr.
Grainger: octosyllables.  V. 283, "Prologue to Comus," performed at Bath,
1756.  VI. 148, "Vacation," by----, Esq.:  "L'Allegro," very close--

    "These delights, Vacation, give,
    And I with thee will choose to live."

IX. (Pearch) 199, "Ode to Health," by J. H. B., Esq.: "L'Allegro."  X. 5,
"The Valetudinarian," by Dr. Marriott; "L'Allegro," very close.  X. 97,
"To the Moon," by Robert Lloyd: "Il Penseroso," close.  Parody is one of
the surest testimonies to the prevalence of a literary fashion, and in
Vol X. p 269 of Pearch, occurs a humorous "Ode to Horror," burlesquing
"The Enthusiast" and "The Pleasures of Melancholy," "in the allegoric,
descriptive, alliterative, epithetical, hyperbolical, and diabolical
style of our modern ode wrights and monody-mongers," form which I extract
a passage:

    "O haste thee, mild Miltonic maid,
    From yonder yew's sequestered shade. . .
    O thou whom wandering Warton saw,
    Amazed with more than youthful awe,
    As by the pale moon's glimmering gleam
    He mused his melancholy theme.
    O Curfew-loving goddess, haste!
    O waft me to some Scythian waste,
    Where, in Gothic solitude,
    Mid prospects most sublimely rude,
    Beneath a rough rock's gloomy chasm,
    Thy sister sits, Enthusiasm."

"Bell's Fugitive Poetry," Vol. XI, (1791), has a section devoted to
"poems in the manner of Milton," by Evans, Mason, T. Warton and a Mr. P.

[16] See James Thomson's "City of Dreadful Night," xxi.  Also the
frontispiece to Mr. E. Stedman's "Nature of Poetry" (1892) and pp. 140-41
of the same.

[17] "Eighteenth Century Literature," pp. 209, 212.

[18] "English Literature in the Eighteenth Century," pp. 375, 379.

[19] Joseph mentions as one of Spenser's characteristics, "a certain
pleasing melancholy in his sentiments, the constant companion of an
elegant taste, that casts a delicacy and grace over all his composition,"
"Essay on Pope," Vol. II. p. 29.  In his review of Pope's "Epistle of
Eloisa to Abelard," he says: "the effect and influence of Melancholy, who
is beautifully personified, on every object that occurs and on every part
of the convent, cannot be too much applauded, or too often read, as it is
founded on nature and experience.  That temper of mind casts a gloom on
all things.

    "'But o'er the twilight grows and dusky caves,' etc."
                   --_Ibid_, Vol. I. p. 314.

[20] "The Grave," by Robert Blair.

[21] The aeolian harp was a favorite property of romantic poets for a
hundred years.  See Mason's "Ode to an Aeolus's Harp" (Works, Vol. I. p.
51).  First invented by the Jesuit, Kircher, about 1650, and described in
his "Musurgia Universalis," Mason says that it was forgotten for upwards
of a century and "accidentally rediscovered" in England by a Mr. Oswald.
It is mentioned in "The Castle of Indolence" (i. xl) as a novelty:

    "A certain music never known before
    Here lulled the pensive melancholy mind"--

a passage to which Collins alludes in his verses on Thomson's death--

    "In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
    His airy harp shall now be laid."

See "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" I. 341-42 (1805)

    "Like that wild harp whose magic tone
    Is wakened by the winds alone."

And Arthur Cleveland Coxe's (_Christian Ballads_, 1840)

    "It was a wind-harp's magic strong,
    Touched by the breeze in dreamy song,"

And the poetry of the Annuals _passim_.

[22] _Cf._ the "Elegy":

    "There at the foot of yonder nodding beech," etc.

[23] "On a Distant Prospect of Eton College."

[24] "Hymn to Adversity"

[25] "Ode on the Spring."

[26] "Ward's English Poets," Vol. III. pp. 278-82.

[27] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 233.

[28] "Essay on Pope."

[29] See _ante_, p. 114.

[30] "Life of Collins."

[31] Essay on "Pope."

[32] Mr. Perry enumerates, among English imitators, Falconer, T. Warton,
James Graeme, Wm. Whitehead, John Scott, Henry Headly, John Henry Moore,
and Robert Lovell, "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 391.  Among
foreign imitations Lamartine's "Le Lac" is perhaps the most famous.

[33] "Mason's Works," Vol. I. p. 179.

[34] _Ibid._, Vol. I. p. 114.

[35] _Cf_. Keats' unfinished poem, "The Eve of St. Mark,"

[36] Parnell's collected poems were published in 1722.

[37] Not the least interesting among the progeny of Gray's "Elegy" was
"The Indian Burying Ground" of the American poet, Philip Freneau
(1752-1832).  Gray's touch is seen elsewhere in Freneau, _e.g._, in "The
Deserted Farm-house."

    "Once in the bounds of this sequestered room
      Perhaps some swain nocturnal courtship made:
    Perhaps some Sherlock mused amid the gloom,
      Since Love and Death forever seek the shade."

[38] _Spectator_, No. 489.

[39] No. 415.

[40] John Hill Burton, in his "Reign of Queen Anne" give a passage from a
letter of one Captain Burt, superintendent of certain road-making
operations in the Scotch Highlands, by way of showing how very modern a
person Carlyle's picturesque tourist is.  The captain describes the
romantic scenery of the glens as "horrid prospects."  It was considerably
later in the century that Dr. Johnson said, in answer to Boswell's timid
suggestion that Scotland had a great many noble wild prospects, "I
believe, sir, you have a great many, Norway, too, has noble wild
prospects, and Lapland is remarkable for prodigious noble wild prospects.
But, sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever
sees is the high-road that leads him to England."

[41] See also Gray's letter to Rev. James Brown (1763) inclosing a
drawing, in reference to a small ruined chapel at York Minster; and a
letter (about 1765) to Jas. Bentham, Prebendary of Ely whose "Essay on
Gothic Architecture" has been wrongly attributed to Gray.

[42] To Mrs. Dorothy Gray, 1739.

[43] To Richard West, 1739.

[44] Gray, Walpole, and West had been schoolfellows and intimates at Eton.

[45] To West, 1740.

[46] To Mrs. Dorothy Gray, 1740.

[47] "Pearch's Collection" (VII. 138) gives an elegiac quatrain poem on
"The Ruins of Netley Abbey," by a poet with the suggestive name of George
Keate; and "The Alps," in heavy Thomsonian blank verse (VII. 107) by the
same hand.

[48] "A soft and lulling sound is heard
      Of streams inaudible by day."
                _The White Doe of Rylstone, Wordsworth_.

[49] "Samson Agonistes."

[50] "Essay on Pope" (5th ed.), Vol. II. p. 180.

[51] These were, in order of publication: "The Mountains and Lakes of
Cumberland and Westmoreland" (2 vols.), 1789; "The Highlands of
Scotland," 1789; "Remarks on Forest Scenery," 1791; "The Western Parts of
England and the Isle of Wight," 1798; "The Coasts of Hampshire," etc.,
1804; "Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex," etc., 1809.  The last two
were posthumously published.  Gilpin, who was a prebendary of Salisbury,
died in 1804.  Pearch's "Collection" (VII. 23) has "A Descriptive Poem,"
on the Lake Country, in octosyllabic couplets, introducing Keswick,
Borrowdale, Dovedale, Lodore, Derwentwater, and other familiar localities.


The School of Warton

In the progress of our inquiries, hitherto, we have met with little that
can be called romantic in the narrowest sense.  Though the literary
movement had already begun to take a retrospective turn, few distinctly
mediaeval elements were yet in evidence.  Neither the literature of the
monk nor the literature of the knight had suffered resurrection.  It was
not until about 1760 that writers began to gravitate decidedly toward the
Middle Ages.  The first peculiarly mediaeval type that contrived to
secure a foothold in eighteenth-century literature was the hermit, a
figure which seems to have had a natural attraction, not only for
romanticizing poets like Shenstone and Collins, but for the whole
generation of verse writers from Parnell to Goldsmith, Percy and
Beattie--each of whom composed a "Hermit"--and even for the authors of
"Rasselas" and "Tom Jones," in whose fictions he becomes a stock
character, as a fountain of wisdom and of moral precepts.[1]

A literary movement which reverts to the past for its inspiration is
necessarily also a learned movement.  Antiquarian scholarship must lead
the way.  The picture of an extinct society has to be pieced together
from the fragments at hand, and this involves special research.  So long
as this special knowledge remains the exclusive possession of
professional antiquaries like Gough, Hearne, Bentham, Perry, Grose,[2] it
bears no fruit in creative literature.  It produces only local histories,
surveys of cathedrals and of sepulchral monuments, books about Druidic
remains, Roman walls and coins, etc., etc.  It was only when men of
imagination and of elegant tastes were enlisted in such pursuits that the
dry stick of antiquarianism put forth blossoms.  The poets, of course,
had to make studies of their own, to decipher manuscripts, learn Old
English, visit ruins, collect ballads and ancient armor, familiarize
themselves with terms of heraldry, architecture, chivalry, ecclesiology
and feudal law, and in other such ways inform and stimulate their
imaginations.  It was many years before the joint labors of scholars and
poets had reconstructed an image of medieval society, sharp enough in
outline and brilliant enough in color to impress itself upon the general
public.  Scott, indeed, was the first to popularize romance; mainly, no
doubt, because of the greater power and fervor of his imagination; but
also, in part, because an ampler store of materials had been already
accumulated when he began work.  He had fed on Percy's "Reliques" in
boyhood; through Coleridge, his verse derives from Chatterton; and the
line of Gothic romances which starts with "The Castle of Otranto" is
remotely responsible for "Ivanhoe" and "The Talisman."  But Scott too
was, like Percy and Walpole, a virtuoso and collector; and the vast
apparatus of notes and introductory matter in his metrical tales, and in
the Waverley novels, shows how necessary it was for the romantic poet to
be his own antiquary.

As was to be expected, the zeal of the first romanticists was not always
a zeal according to knowledge, and the picture of the Middle Age which
they painted was more of a caricature than a portrait.  A large share of
medieval literature was inaccessible to the general reader.  Much of it
was still in manuscript.  Much more of it was in old and rare printed
copies, broadsides and black-letter folios, the treasure of great
libraries and of jealously hoarded private collections.  Much was in
dialects little understood-forgotten forms of speech-Old French, Middle
High German, Old Norse, medieval Latin, the ancient Erse and Cymric
tongues, Anglo-Saxon.  There was an almost total lack of apparatus for
the study of this literature.  Helps were needed in the shape of modern
reprints of scarce texts, bibliographies, critical editions,
translations, literary histories and manuals, glossaries of archaic
words, dictionaries and grammars of obsolete languages.  These were
gradually supplied by working specialists in different fields of
investigation.  Every side of medieval life has received illustration in
its turn.  Works like Tyrwhitt's edition of Chaucer (1775-78); the
collections of mediaeval romances by Ellis (1805), Ritson (1802), and
Weber (1810); Nares' and Halliwell's "Archaic Glossary" (1822-46),
Carter's "Specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Paintings" (1780-94),
Scott's "Demonology and Witchcraft" (1830),  Hallam's "Middle Ages"
(1818), Meyrick's "Ancient Armour" (1824), Lady Guest's "Mabinogion"
(1838), the publications of numberless individual scholars and of learned
societies like the Camden, the Spenser, the Percy, the Chaucer, the Early
English Text, the Roxburgh Club,--to mention only English examples, taken
at random and separated from each other by wide intervals of time,--are
instances of the labors by which mediaeval life has been made familiar to
all who might choose to make acquaintance with it.

The history of romanticism, after the impulse had once been given, is
little else than a record or the steps by which, one after another, new
features of that vast and complicated scheme of things which we loosely
call the Middle Ages were brought to light and made available as literary
material.  The picture was constantly having fresh details added to it,
nor is there any reason to believe that it is finished yet.  Some of the
finest pieces of mediaeval work have only within the last few years been
brought to the attention of the general reader; _e.g._, the charming old
French story in prose and verse, "Aucassin et Nicolete," and the
fourteenth-century English poem, "The Perle."  The future holds still
other phases of romanticism in reserve; the Middle Age seems likely to be
as inexhaustible in novel sources of inspiration as classical antiquity
has already proved to be.  The past belongs to the poet no less than the
present, and a great part of the literature of every generation will
always be retrospective.  The tastes and preferences of the individual
artist will continue to find a wide field for selection in the rich
quarry of Christian and feudal Europe.

It is not a little odd that the book which first aroused, in modern
Europe, an interest in Norse mythology should have been written by a
Frenchman.  This was the "Introduction à l'Histoire de Dannemarc,"
published in 1755 by Paul Henri Mallet, a native of Geneva and sometime
professor of Belles Lettres in the Royal University at Copenhagen.  The
work included also a translation of the first part of the Younger Edda,
with an abstract of the second part and of the Elder Edda, and versions
of several Runic poems.  It was translated into English, in 1770, by
Thomas Percy, the editor of the "Reliques," under the title, "Northern
Antiquities; or a Description of the Manners, Customs, Religion, and Laws
of the ancient Danes."  A German translation had appeared a few years
earlier and had inspired the Schleswig-Holsteiner, Heinrich Wilhem von
Gerstenberg, to compose his "Gedicht eines Skalden," which introduced the
old Icelandic mythology into German poetry in 1766.  Percy had published
independently in 1763 "Five Pieces of Runic Poetry, translated from the
Icelandic Language."

Gray did not wait for the English translation of Mallet's book.  In a
letter to Mason, dated in 1758, and inclosing some criticisims on the
latter's "Caractacus" (then in MS.), he wrote, "I am pleased with the
Gothic Elysium.  Do you think I am ignorant about either that, or the
_hell_ before, or the _twilight_.[3]  I have been there and have seen it
all in Mallet's 'Introduction to the History of Denmark' (it is in
French), and many other places."  It is a far cry from Mallet's "System
of Runic Mythology" to William Morris' "Sigurd the Volsung" (1877), but
to Mallet belongs the credit of first exciting that interest in
Scandinavian antiquity which has enriched the prose and poetry not only
of England but of Europe in general.  Gray refers to him in his notes on
"The Descent of Odin," and his work continued to be popular authority on
its subject for at least half a century.  Scott cites it in his
annotations on "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805).

Gray's studies in Runic literature took shape in "The Fatal Sisters" and
"The Descent of Odin," written in 1761, published in 1768.  These were
paraphrases of two poems which Gray found in the "De Causis Contemnendae
Mortis" (Copenhagen, 1689) of Thomas Bartholin, a Danish physician of the
seventeenth century.  The first of them describes the Valkyrie weaving
the fates of the Danish and Irish warriors in the battle of Clontarf,
fought in the eleventh century between Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, and Brian,
King of Dublin; the second narrates the descent of Odin to Niflheimer, to
inquire of Hela concerning the doom of Balder.[4]  Gray had designed
these for the introductory chapter of his projected history of English
poetry.  He calls them imitations, which in fact they are, rather than
literal renderings.  In spite of a tinge of eighteenth-century diction,
and of one or two Shaksperian and Miltonic phrases, the translator
succeeded fairly well in reproducing the wild air of his originals.  His
biographer, Mr. Gosse, promises that "the student will not fail . . . in
the Gothic picturesqueness of 'The Descent of Odin,' to detect notes and
phrases of a more delicate originality than are to be found even in his
more famous writings; and will dwell with peculiar pleasure on those
passages in which Gray freed himself of the trammels of an artificial and
conventional taste, and prophesied of the new romantic age that was

Celtic antiquity shared with Gothic in this newly around interest.  Here
too, as in the phrase about "the stormy Hebrides," "Lycidas" seems to
have furnished the spark that kindled the imaginations of the poets.

    "Where were ye, nymphs, when the remorseless deep
    Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?
    For neither were ye playing on the steep
    Where your old bards, the famous Druids lie,
    Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
    Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream."

Joseph Warton quotes this passage twice in his "Essay on Pope" (Vol I.,
pp. 7 and 356, 5th ed.), once to assert its superiority to a passage in
Pope's "Pastorals": "The mention of places remarkably romantic, the
supposed habitation of Druids, bards and wizards, is far more pleasing to
the imagination, than the obvious introduction of Cam and Isis."  Another
time, to illustrate the following suggestion: "I have frequently wondered
that our modern writers have made so little use of the druidical times
and the traditions of the old bards. . .  Milton, we see, was sensible of
the force of such imagery, as we may gather from this short but exquisite
passage."  As further illustrations of the poetic capabilities of similar
themes, Warton gives a stanza from Gray's "Bard" and some lines from
Gilbert West's "Institution of the Order of the Garter" which describe
the ghosts of the Druids hovering about their ruined altars at Stonehenge:

                "--Mysterious rows
    Of rude enormous obelisks, that rise
    Orb within orb, stupendous monuments
    Of artless architecture, such as now
    Oft-times amaze the wandering traveler,
    By the pale moon discerned on Sarum's plain."

He then inserts two stanzas, in the Latin of Hickes' "Thesaurus," of an
old Runic ode preserved by Olaus Wormius (Ole Worm) and adds an
observation upon the Scandinavian heroes and their contempt of death.
Druids and bards now begin to abound.  Collins' "Ode on the Death of Mr.
Thomson," _e.g._, commences with the line

    "In yonder grave a Druid lies."

In his "Ode to Liberty," he alludes to the tradition that Mona, the
druidic stronghold, was long covered with an enchantment of mist--work of
an angry mermaid:

    "Mona, once hid from those who search the main,
    Where thousand elfin shapes abide."

In Thomas Warton's "Pleasures of Melancholy," Contemplation is fabled to
have been discovered, when a babe, by a Druid

    "Far in a hollow glade of Mona's woods,"

and borne by him to his oaken bower, where she

                "--loved to lie
    Oft deeply listening to the rapid roar
    Of wood-hung Menai, stream of druids old."

Mason's "Caractacus" (1759) was a dramatic poem on the Greek model, with
a chorus of British bards, and a principal Druid for choragus.  The scene
is the sacred grove in Mona.  Mason got up with much care the description
of druidic rites, such as the preparation of the adder-stone and the
cutting of the mistletoe with a gold sickle, from Latin authorities like
Pliny, Tacitus, Lucan, Strabo, and Suetonius.  Joseph Warton commends
highly the chorus on "Death" in this piece, as well as the chorus of
bards at the end of West's "Institution of the Garter."  For the
materials of his "Bard" Gray had to go no farther than historians and
chroniclers such as Camden, Higden, and Matthew of Westminster, to all of
whom he refers.  Following a now discredited tradition, he represents the
last survivor of the Welsh poetic guild, seated, harp in hand, upon a
crag on the side of Snowdon, and denouncing judgment on Edward I, for the
murder of his brothers in song.

But in 1764 Gray was incited, by the publication of Dr. Evans'
"Specimens,"[5] to attempt a few translations from the Welsh.  The most
considerable of these was "The Triumphs of Owen," published among Gray's
collected poems in 1768.  This celebrates the victory over the
confederate fleets of Ireland, Denmark, and Normandy, won about 1160 by a
prince of North Wales, Owen Ap Griffin, "the dragon son on Mona."  The
other fragments are brief but spirited versions of bardic songs in praise
of fallen heroes: "Caràdoc," "Conan," and "The Death of Hoel."  They were
printed posthumously, though doubtless composed in 1764.

The scholarship of the day was not always accurate in discriminating
between ancient systems of religion, and Gray, in his letters to Mason in
1758, when "Caractacus" was still in the works, takes him to task for
mixing the Gothic and Celtic mythologies.  He instructs him that Woden
and his Valhalla belong to "the doctrine of the Scalds, not of the
Bards"; but admits that, "in that scarcity of Celtic ideas we labor
under," it might be permissible to borrow from the Edda, "dropping,
however, all mention of Woden and his Valkyrian virgins," and "without
entering too minutely on particulars"; or "still better, to graft any
wild picturesque fable, absolutely of one's own invention, upon the Druid
stock."  But Gray had not scrupled to mix mythologies in "The Bard,"
thereby incurring Dr. Johnson's censure.  "The weaving of the winding
sheet he borrowed, as he owns, from the northern bards; but their
texture, however, was very properly the work of female powers, as the art
of spinning the thread of life in another mythology.  Theft is always
dangerous: Gray has made weavers of the slaughtered bards, by a fiction
outrageous and incongruous."[6]  Indeed Mallet himself had a very
confused notion of the relation of the Celtic to the Teutonic race.  He
speaks constantly of the old Scandinavians as Celts.  Percy points out
the difference, in the preface to his translation, and makes the
necessary correction in the text, where the word Celtic occurs--usually
by substituting "Gothic and Celtic" for the "Celtic" of the original.
Mason made his contribution to Runic literature, "Song of Harold the
Valiant," a rather insipid versification of a passage from the "Knytlinga
Saga," which had been rendered by Bartholin into Latin, from him into
French by Mallet, and from Mallet into English prose by Percy.  Mason
designed it for insertion in the introduction to Gray's abortive history
of English poetry.

The true pioneers of the mediaeval revival were the Warton brothers.
"The school of Warton" was a term employed, not without disparaging
implications, by critics who had no liking for antique minstrelsy.
Joseph and Thomas Warton were the sons of Thomas Warton, vicar of
Basingstoke, who had been a fellow of Magdalen and Professor of Poetry at
Oxford; which latter position was afterward filled by the younger of his
two sons.  It is interesting to note that a volume of verse by Thomas
Warton, Sr., posthumously printed in 1748, includes a Spenserian
imitation and translations of two passages from the "Song of Ragner
Lodbrog," an eleventh-century Viking, after the Latin version quoted by
Sir Wm. Temple in his essay "Of Heroic Virtue";[7] so that the romantic
leanings of the Warton brothers seem to be an instance of heredity.
Joseph was educated at Winchester,--where Collins was his
schoolfellow--and both of the brothers at Oxford.  Joseph afterward
became headmaster of Winchester, and lived till 1800, surviving his
younger brother ten years.  Thomas was always identified with Oxford,
where he resided for forty-seven years.  He was appointed, in 1785,
Camden Professor of History in the university, but gave no lectures.  In
the same year he was chosen to succeed Whitehead, as Poet Laureate.  Both
brothers were men of a genial, social temper.  Joseph was a man of some
elegance; he was fond of the company of young ladies, went into general
society, and had a certain renown as a drawing-room wit and diner-out.
He used to spend his Christmas vacations in London, where he was a member
of Johnson's literary club.  Thomas, on the contrary, who waxed fat and
indolent in college cloisters, until Johnson compared him to a turkey
cock, was careless in his personal habits and averse to polite society.
He was the life of a common room at Oxford, romped with the schoolboys
when he visited Dr. Warton at Winchester, and was said to have a
hankering after pipes and ale and the broad mirth of the taproom.  Both
Wartons had an odd passion for military parades; and Thomas--who was a
believer in ghosts--used secretly to attend hangings.  They were also
remarkably harmonious in their tastes and intellectual pursuits, eager
students of old English poetry, Gothic architecture, and British
antiquities.  So far as enthusiasm, fine critical taste, and elegant
scholarship can make men poets, the Wartons were poets.  But their work
was quite unoriginal.  Many of their poems can be taken to pieces and
assigned, almost line by line and phrase by phrase, to Milton, Thomson,
Spenser, Shakspere, Gray.  They had all of our romantic poet Longfellow's
dangerous gifts of sympathy and receptivity, without a tenth part of his
technical skill, or any of his real originality as an artist.  Like
Longfellow, they loved the rich and mellow atmosphere of the historic

    "Tales that have the rime of age,
    And chronicles of eld."

The closing lines of Thomas Warton's sonnet "Written in a Blank Leaf of
Dugdale's Monasticon"[8]--a favorite with Charles Lamb--might have been
written by Longfellow:

    "Nor rough nor barren are the winding ways
    Of hoar Antiquity, but strewn with flowers."

Joseph Warton's pretensions, as a poet, are much less than his younger
brother's.  Much of Thomas Warton's poetry, such as his _facetiae_ in the
"Oxford Sausage" and his "Triumph of Isis," had an academic flavor.
These we may pass over, as foreign to our present inquiries.  So, too,
with most of his annual laureate odes, "On his Majesty's Birthday," etc.
Yet even these official and rather perfunctory performances testify to
his fondness for what Scott calls "the memorials of our forefathers'
piety or splendor."  Thus, in the birthday odes for 1787-88, and the New
Year ode for 1787, he pays a tribute to the ancient minstrels and to
early laureates like Chaucer and Spenser, and celebrates "the Druid harp"
sounding "through the gloom profound of forests hoar"; the fanes and
castles built by the Normans; and the

    "--bright hall where Odin's Gothic throne
    With the broad blaze of brandished falchions shone."

But the most purely romantic of Thomas Warton's poems are "The Crusade"
and "The Grave of King Arthur."  The former is the song which

    "The lion heart Plantagenet
    Sang, looking through his prison-bars,"

when the minstrel Blondel came wandering in search of his captive king.
The latter describes how Henry II., on his way to Ireland, was feasted at
Cilgarran Castle, where the Welsh bards sang to him of the death of
Arthur and his burial in Glastonbury Abbey.  The following passage
anticipates Scott:

    "Illumining the vaulted roof,
    A thousand torches flamed aloof;
    From many cups, with golden gleam,
    Sparkled the red metheglin's stream:
    To grace the gorgeous festival,
    Along the lofty-windowed hall
    The storied tapestry was hung;
    With minstrelsy the rafters rung
    Of harps that with reflected light
    From the proud gallery glittered bright:
    While gifted bards, a rival throng,
    From distant Mona, nurse of song,
    From Teivi fringed with umbrage brown,
    From Elvy's vale and Cader's crown,
    From many a shaggy precipice
    That shades Ierne's hoarse abyss,
    And many a sunless solitude
    Of Radnor's inmost mountains rude,
    To crown the banquet's solemn close
    Themes of British glory chose."

Here is much of Scott's skill in the poetic manipulation of place-names,

    "Day set on Norham's castled steep,
    And Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,
    And Cheviot's mountains lone"--

names which leave a far-resounding romantic rumble behind them.  Another
passage in Warton's poem brings us a long way on toward Tennyson's "Wild
Tintagel by the Cornish sea" and his "island valley of Avilion."

    "O'er Cornwall's cliffs the tempest roared:
    High the screaming sea-mew soared:
    In Tintaggel's topmost tower
    Darkness fell the sleety shower:
    Round the rough castle shrilly sung
    The whirling blast, and wildly flung
    On each tall rampart's thundering side
    The surges of the tumbling tide,
    When Arthur ranged his red-cross ranks
    On conscious Camlan's crimsoned banks:
    By Mordred's faithless guile decreed
    Beneath a Saxon spear to bleed.
    Yet in vain a Paynim foe
    Armed with fate the mightly blow;
    For when he fell, an elfin queen,
    All in secret and unseen,
    O'er the fainting hero threw
    Her mantle of ambrosial blue,
    And bade her spirits bear him far,
    In Merlin's agate-axled car,
    To her green isle's enameled steep
    Far in the navel of the deep."

Other poems of Thomas Warton touching upon his favorite studies are the
"Ode Sent to Mr. Upton, on his Edition of the Faery Queene," the "Monody
Written near Stratford-upon-Avon," the sonnets, "Written at Stonehenge,"
"To Mr. Gray," and "On King Arthur's Round Table," and the humorous
epistle which he attributes to Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, denouncing
the bishops for their recent order that fast-prayers should be printed in
modern type instead of black letter, and pronouncing a curse upon the
author of "The Companion to the Oxford Guide Book" for his disrespectful
remarks about antiquaries.

        "May'st thou pore in vain
    For dubious doorways!  May revengeful moths
    Thy ledgers eat!  May chronologic spouts
    Retain no cipher legible!  May crypts
    Lurk undiscovered!  Nor may'st thou spell the names
    Of saints in storied windows, nor the dates
    Of bells discover, nor the genuine site
    Of abbots' pantries!"

Warton was a classical scholar and, like most of the forerunners of the
romantic school, was a trifle shame-faced over his Gothic heresies.  Sir
Joshua Reynolds had supplied a painted window of classical design for New
College, Oxford; and Warton, in some complimentary verses, professes that
those "portraitures of Attic art" have won him back to the true taste;[9]
and prophesies that henceforth angels, apostles, saints, miracles,
martyrdoms, and tales of legendary lore shall--

    "No more the sacred window's round disgrace,
    But yield to Grecian groups the shining space. . .
    Thy powerful hand has broke the Gothic chain,
    And brought my bosom back to truth again. . .
    For long, enamoured of a barbarous age,
    A faithless truant to the classic page--
    Long have I loved to catch the simple chime
    Of minstrel harps, and spell the fabling rime;
    To view the festive rites, the knightly play,
    That decked heroic Albion's elder day;
    To mark the mouldering halls of barons bold,
    And the rough castle, cast in giant mould;
    With Gothic manners, Gothic arts explore,
    And muse on the magnificence of yore.
    But chief, enraptured have I loved to roam,
    A lingering votary, the vaulted dome,
    Where the tall shafts, that mount in massy pride,
    Their mingling branches shoot from side to side;
    Where elfin sculptors, with fantastic clew,
    O'er the long roof their wild embroidery drew;
    Where Superstition, with capricious hand,
    In many a maze, the wreathëd window planned,
    With hues romantic tinged the gorgeous pane,
    To fill with holy light the wondrous fane."[10]

The application of the word "romantic," in this passage, to the mediaeval
art of glass-staining is significant.  The revival of the art in our own
day is due to the influence of the latest English school of romantic
poetry and painting, and especially to William Morris.  Warton's
biographers track his passion for antiquity to the impression left upon
his mind by a visit to Windsor Castle, when he was a boy.  He used to
spend his summers in wandering through abbeys and cathedrals.  He kept
notes of his observations and is known to have begun a work on Gothic
architecture, no trace of which, however, was found among his
manuscripts.  The Bodleian Library was one of his haunts, and he was
frequently seen "surveying with quiet and rapt earnestness the ancient
gateway of Magdalen College."  He delighted in illuminated manuscripts
and black-letter folios.  In his "Observations on the Faëry Queene"[11]
he introduces a digression of twenty pages on Gothic architecture, and
speaks lovingly of a "very curious and beautiful folio manuscript of the
history of Arthur and his knights in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford,
written on vellum, with illuminated initials and head-pieces, in which we
see the fashion of ancient armour, building, manner of tilting and other

Another very characteristic poem of Warton's is the "Ode Written at
Vale-Royal Abbey in Cheshire," a monastery of Cistercian monks, founded
by Edward I.  This piece is saturated with romantic feeling and written
in the stanza and manner of Gray's "Elegy," as will appear from a pair of
stanzas, taken at random:

    "By the slow clock, in stately-measured chime,
    That from the messy tower tremendous tolled,
    No more the plowman counts the tedious time,
    Nor distant shepherd pens the twilight fold.

    "High o'er the trackless heath at midnight seen,
    No more the windows, ranged in array
    (Where the tall shaft and fretted nook between
    Thick ivy twines), the tapered rites betray."

It is a note of Warton's period that, though Fancy and the Muse survey
the ruins of the abbey with pensive regret, "severer Reason"--the real
eighteenth-century divinity--"scans the scene with philosophic ken,"
and--being a Protestant--reflects that, after all, the monastic houses
were "Superstition's shrine" and their demolition was a good thing for
Science and Religion.

The greatest service, however, that Thomas Warton rendered to the studies
that he loved was his "History of English Poetry from the Twelfth to the
Close of the Sixteenth Century."  This was in three volumes, published
respectively in 1774, 1777, and 1781.  The fragment of a fourth volume
was issued in 1790.  A revised edition in four volumes was published in
1824, under the editorship of Richard Price, corrected, augmented, and
annotated by Ritson, Douce, Park, Ashby, and the editor himself.  In 1871
appeared a new revision (also in four volumes) edited by W. Carew
Hazlitt, with many additions, by the editor and by well-known English
scholars like Madden, Skeat, Furnivall, Morris, and Thomas and Aldis
Wright.  It should never be forgotten, in estimating the value of
Warton's work, that he was a forerunner in this field.  Much of his
learning is out of date, and the modern editors of his history--Price and
Hazlitt--seem to the discouraged reader to be chiefly engaged, in their
footnotes and bracketed interpellations, in taking back statements that
Warton had made in the text.  The leading position, _e.g._, of his
preliminary dissertation, "Of the Origin of Romantic Fiction in
Europe"--deriving it from the Spanish Arabs--has long since been
discredited.  But Warton's learning was wide, if not exact; and it was
not dry learning, but quickened by the spirit of a genuine man of
letters.  Therefore, in spite of its obsoleteness in matters of fact, his
history remains readable, as a body of descriptive criticism, or a
continuous literary essay. The best way to read it is to read it as it
was written--in the original edition--disregarding the apparatus of
notes, which modern scholars have accumulated about it, but remembering
that it is no longer an authority and probably needs correcting on every
page.  Read thus, it is a thoroughly delightful book, "a classic in its
way," as Lowell has said.  Southey, too, affirmed that its publication
formed an epoch in literary history; and that, with Percy's "Reliques,"
it had promoted, beyond any other work, the "growth of a better taste
than had prevailed for the hundred years preceding."

Gray had schemed a history of English poetry, but relinquished the design
to Warton, to whom he communicated an outline of his own plan.  The
"Observations on English Metre" and the essay on the poet Lydgate, among
Gray's prose remains, are apparently portions of this projected work.

Lowell, furthermore, pronounces Joseph Warton's "Essay on the Genius and
Writings of Pope" (1756) "the earliest public official declaration of war
against the reigning mode."  The new school had its critics, as well as
its poets, and the Wartons were more effective in the former capacity.
The war thus opened was by no means as internecine as that waged by the
French classicists and romanticists of 1830.  It has never been possible
to get up a very serious conflict in England, upon merely aesthetic
grounds.  Yet the same opposition existed.  Warton's biographer tells us
that the strictures made upon his essay were "powerful enough to damp the
ardor of the essayist, who left his work in an imperfect state for the
long space of twenty-six years," _i.e._, till 1782, when he published the
second volume.

Both Wartons were personal friends of Dr. Johnson; they were members of
the Literary Club and contributors to the _Idler_ and the _Adventurer_.
Thomas interested himself to get Johnson the Master's degree from Oxford,
where the doctor made him a visit.  Some correspondence between them is
given in Boswell.  Johnson maintained in public a respectful attitude
toward the critical and historical work of the Wartons; but he had no
sympathy with their antiquarian enthusiasm or their liking for old
English poetry.  In private he ridiculed Thomas' verses, and summed them
up in the manner ensuing:

    "Whereso'er I turn my view,
    All is strange yet nothing new;
    Endless labor all along,
    Endless labor to be wrong;
    Phrase that time has flung away,
    Uncouth words in disarray,
    Tricked in antique ruff and bonnet,
    Ode and elegy and sonnet."

And although he added, "Remember that I love the fellow dearly, for all I
laugh at him," this saving clause failed to soothe the poet's indignant
breast, when he heard that the doctor had ridiculed his lines.  An
estrangement resulted which Johnson is said to have spoken of even with
tears, saying "that Tom Warton was the only man of genius he ever knew
who wanted a heart."

Goldsmith, too, belonged to the conservative party, though Mr. Perry[12]
detects romantic touches in "The Deserted Village," such as the line,

    "Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe,"


    "On Torno's cliffs or Pambamarca's side."

In his "Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning" (1759)
Goldsmith pronounces the age one of literary decay; he deplores the vogue
of blank verse--which he calls an "erroneous innovation"--and the
"disgusting solemnity of manner" that it has brought into fashion.  He
complains of the revival of old plays upon the stage.  "Old pieces are
revived, and scarcely any new ones admitted. . .  The public are again
obliged to ruminate over those ashes of absurdity which were disgusting
to our ancestors even in an age of ignorance. . .  What must be done?
Only sit down contented, cry up all that comes before us and advance even
the absurdities of Shakspere.  Let the reader suspend his censure; I
admire the beauties of this great father of our stage as much as they
deserve, but could wish, for the honor of our country, and for his own
too, that many of his scenes were forgotten.  A man blind of one eye
should always be painted in profile.  Let the spectator who assists at
any of these new revived pieces only ask himself whether he would approve
such a performance, if written by a modern poet.  I fear he will find
that much of his applause proceeds merely from the sound of a name and an
empty veneration for antiquity.  In fact, the revival of those _pieces of
forced humor, far-fetched conceit and unnatural hyperbole which have been
ascribed to Shakspere_, is rather gibbeting than raising a statue to his

The words that I have italicized make it evident that what Goldsmith was
really finding fault with was the restoration of the original text of
Shakspere's plays, in place of the garbled versions that had hitherto
been acted.  This restoration was largely due to Garrick, but Goldsmith's
language implies that the reform was demanded by public opinion and by
the increasing "veneration for antiquity."  The next passage shows that
the new school had its _claque_, which rallied to the support of the old
British drama as the French romanticists did, nearly a century later, to
the support of Victor Hugo's _melodrames_.[13]

"What strange vamped comedies, farcical tragedies, or what shall I call
them--speaking pantomimes have we not of late seen?. . .  The piece
pleases our critics because it talks Old English; and it pleases the
galleries because it has ribaldry. . .  A prologue generally precedes the
piece, to inform us that it was composed by Shakspere or old Ben, or
somebody else who took them for his model.  A face of iron could not have
the assurance to avow dislike; the theater has its partisans who
understand the force of combinations trained up to vociferation, clapping
of hands and clattering of sticks; and though a man might have strength
sufficient to overcome a lion in single combat, he may run the risk of
being devoured by an army of ants."

Goldsmith returned to the charge in "The Vicar of Wakefield" (1766),
where Dr. Primrose, inquiring of the two London dames, "who were the
present theatrical writers in vogue, who were the Drydens and Otways of
the day," is surprised to learn that Dryden and Rowe are quite out of
fashion, that taste has gone back a whole century, and that "Fletcher,
Ben Jonson and all the plays of Shakspere are the only things that go
down."  "How," cries the good vicar, "is it possible the present age can
be pleased with that antiquated dialect, that obsolete humor, those
overcharged characters which abound in the works you mention?"
Goldsmith's disgust with this affectation finds further vent in his "Life
of Parnell" (1770).  "He [Parnell] appears to me to be the last of that
great school that had modeled itself upon the ancients, and taught
English poetry to resemble what the generality of mankind have allowed to
excel. . .  His productions bear no resemblance to those tawdry things
which it has, for some time, been the fashion to admire. . .  His
poetical language is not less correct than his subjects are pleasing.  He
found it at that period in which it was brought to its highest pitch of
refinement; and ever since his time, it has been gradually debasing.  It
is, indeed, amazing, after what has been done by Dryden, Addison, and
Pope, to improve and harmonize our native tongue, that their successors
should have taken so much pains to involve it into pristine barbarity.
These misguided innovators have not been content with restoring
antiquated words and phrases, but have indulged themselves in the most
licentious transpositions and the harshest constructions; vainly
imagining that, the more their writings are unlike prose, the more they
resemble poetry.  They have adopted a language of their own, and call
upon mankind for admiration.  All those who do not understand them are
silent; and those who make out their meaning are willing to praise, to
show they understand."  This last sentence is a hit at the alleged
obscurity of Gray's and Mason's odes.

To illustrate the growth of a retrospective habit in literature Mr.
Perry[14] quotes at length from an essay "On the Prevailing Taste for the
Old English Poets," by Vicesimus Knox, sometimes master of Tunbridge
school, editor of "Elegant Extracts" and honorary doctor of the
University of Pennsylvania.  Knox's essays were written while he was an
Oxford undergraduate, and published collectively in 1777.  By this time
the romantic movement was in full swing.  "The Castle of Otranto" and
Percy's "Reliques" had been out more than ten years; many of the Rowley
poems were in print; and in this very year, Tyrwhitt issued a complete
edition of them, and Warton published the second volume of his "History
of English Poetry."  Chatterton and Percy are both mentioned by Knox.

"The antiquarian spirit," he writes, "which was once confined to
inquiries concerning the manners, the buildings, the records, and the
coins of the ages that preceded us, has now extended itself to those
poetical compositions which were popular among our forefathers, but which
have gradually sunk into oblivion through the decay of language and the
prevalence of a correct and polished taste.  Books printed in the black
letter are sought for with the same avidity with which the English
antiquary peruses a monumental inscription, or treasures up a Saxon piece
of money.  The popular ballad, composed by some illiterate minstrel, and
which has been handed down by tradition for several centuries, is rescued
from the hands of the vulgar, to obtain a place in the collection of the
man of taste.  Verses which, a few years past, were thought worthy the
attention of children only, or of the lowest and rudest orders, are now
admired for that artless simplicity which once obtained the name of
coarseness and vulgarity."  Early English poetry, continues the essayist,
"has had its day, and the antiquary must not despise us if we cannot
peruse it with patience.  He who delights in all such reading as is never
read, may derive some pleasure from the singularity of his taste, but he
ought still to respect the judgment of mankind, which has consigned to
oblivion the works which he admires.  While he pores unmolested on
Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, and Occleve, let him not censure our obstinacy
in adhering to Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Pope. . .  Notwithstanding the
incontrovertible merit of many of our ancient relics of poetry, I believe
it may be doubted whether any one of them would be tolerated as the
production of a modern poet.  As a good imitation of the ancient manner,
it would find its admirers; but, considered independently, as an
original, it would be thought a careless, vulgar, inartificial
composition.  There are few who do not read Dr. Percy's own pieces, and
those of other late writers, with more pleasure than the oldest ballad in
the collection of that ingenious writer."  Mr. Percy quotes another paper
of Knox in which he divides the admirers of English poetry into two
parties: "On one side are the lovers and imitators of Spenser and Milton;
and on the other, those of Dryden, Boileau, and Pope"; in modern phrase,
the romanticists and the classicists.

Joseph Warton's "Essay on Pope" was an attempt to fix its subject's rank
among English poets.  Following the discursive method of Thomas Warton's
"Observations on the Faerie Queen," it was likewise an elaborate
commentary on all of Pope's poems _seriatim_.  Every point was
illustrated with abundant learning, and there were digressions amounting
to independent essays on collateral topics: one, _e.g._, on Chaucer, one
on early French Metrical romances; another on Gothic architecture:
another on the new school of landscape gardening, in which Walpole's
essay and Mason's poem are quoted with approval, and mention is made of
the Leasowes.  The book was dedicated to Young; and when the second
volume was published in 1782, the first was reissued in a revised form
and introduced by a letter to the author from Tyrwhitt, who writes that,
under the shelter of Warton's authority, "one may perhaps venture to avow
an opinion that poetry is not confined to rhyming couplets, and that its
greatest powers are not displayed in prologues and epilogues."

The modern reader will be apt to think Warton's estimate of Pope quite
high enough.  He places him, to be sure, in the second rank of poets,
below Spenser, Shakspere, and Milton, yet next to Milton and above
Dryden; and he calls the reign of Queen Anne the great age of English
poetry.  Yet if it be recollected that the essay was published only
twelve years after Pope's death, and at a time when he was still commonly
held to be, if not the greatest poet, at least the greatest artist in
verse, that England had ever produced, it will be seen that Warton's
opinions might well be thought revolutionary, and his challenge to the
critics a bold one.  These opinions can be best exhibited by quoting a
few passages from his book, not consecutive, but taken here and there as
best suits the purpose.

"The sublime and the pathetic are the two chief nerves of all genuine
poesy.  What is there transcendently sublime or pathetic in Pope?. . .
He early left the more poetical provinces of his art, to become a moral,
didactic, and satiric poet. . .  And because I am, perhaps, unwilling to
speak out in plain English, I will adopt the following passage of
Voltaire, which, in my opinion, as exactly characteristizes Pope as it
does his model, Boileau, for whom it was originally designed.  'Incapable
peut-être du sublime qui élève l'áme, et du sentiment qui l'attendrit,
mais fait pour éclairer ceux à qui la nature accorda l'un et l'autre;
laborieux, sévère, précis, pur, harmonieux, il devint enfin le poëte de
la Raison.'. . .  A clear head and acute understanding are not sufficient
alone to make a poet; the most solid observations on human life,
expressed with the utmost elegance and brevity, are morality and not
poetry. . .  It is a creative and glowing imagination, _acer spiritus ac
vis_, and that alone, that can stamp a writer with this exalted and very
uncommon character."

Warton believes that Pope's projected epic on Brutus, the legendary found
of Britain, "would have more resembled the 'Henriade' than the 'Iliad,'
or even the 'Gierusalemme Liberata'; that it would have appeared (if this
scheme had been executed) how much, and for what reasons, the man that is
skillful in painting modern life, and the most secret foibles and follies
of his contemporaries, is, THEREFORE, disqualified for representing the
ages of heroism, and that simple life which alone epic poetry can
gracefully describe. . .  Wit and satire are transitory and perishable,
but nature and passion are eternal."  The largest portion of Pope's work,
says the author's closing summary, "is of the didactic, moral, and
satiric kind; and consequently not of the most poetic species of poetry;
when it is manifest that good sense and judgment were his
characteristical excellencies, rather than fancy and invention. . .  He
stuck to describing modern manners; but those manners, because they are
familiar, uniform, artificial, and polished, are in their very nature,
unfit for any lofty effort of the Muse.  He gradually became one of the
most correct, even, and exact poets that ever wrote. . .  Whatever
poetical enthusiasm he actually possessed, he withheld and stifled.  The
perusal of him affects not our minds with such strong emotions as we feel
from Homer and Milton; so that no man of a true poetical spirit is master
of himself while he reads them. . .  He who would think the 'Faerie
Queene,' 'Palamon and Arcite,' the 'Tempest' or 'Comus,' childish and
romantic might relish Pope.  Surely it is no narrow and niggardly
encomium to say, he is the great poet of Reason, the first of ethical
authors in verse."

To illustrate Pope's inferiority in the poetry of nature and passion,
Warton quotes freely by way of contrast, not only from Spenser and
Milton, but from such contemporaries of his own as Thomson, Akenside,
Gray, Collins, Dyer, Mason, West, Shenstone, and Bedingfield.  He
complains that Pope's "Pastorals" contains no new image of nature, and
his "Windsor Forest" no local color; while "the scenes of Thomson are
frequently as wild and romantic as those of Salvator Rosa, varied with
precipices and torrents and 'castled cliffs' and deep valleys, with piny
mountains and the gloomiest caverns."  "When Gray published his exquisite
ode on Eton College . . . little notice was taken of it; but I suppose no
critic can be found that will not place it far above Pope's 'Pastorals.'"

A few additional passages will serve to show that this critic's literary
principles, in general, were consciously and polemically romantic.  Thus
he pleads for the _mot précis_--that shibboleth of the nineteenth-century
romanticists--for "_natural, little_ circumstances" against "those who
are fond of _generalities_"; for the "lively painting of Spenser and
Shakspere," as contrasted with the lack of picturesqueness and imagery in
Voltaire's "Henriade."  He praises "the fashion that has lately obtained,
in all the nations of Europe, of republishing and illustrating their old
poets."[15]  Again, commenting upon Pope's well-known triplet,

    "Waller was smooth, but Dryden taught to join
    The varying verse, the full-resounding line,
    The long majestic march and energy divine!"

he exclaims: "What!  Did Milton contribute nothing to the harmony and
extent of our language?. . .  Surely his verses vary and resound as much,
and display as much majesty and energy, as any that can be found in
Dryden.  And we will venture to say that he that studies Milton
attentively, will gain a truer taste for genuine poetry than he that
forms himself on French writers and their followers."  Elsewhere he
expresses a preference for blank verse over rhyme, in long poems on
subjects of a dignified kind.[16]

"It is perpetually the nauseous cant of the French critics, and of their
advocates and pupils, that the English writers are generally incorrect.
If correctness implies an absence of petty faults, this perhaps may be
granted; if it means that, because their tragedians have avoided the
irregularities of Shakspere, and have observed a juster economy in their
fables, therefore the 'Athalia,' for instance, is preferable to 'Lear,'
the notion is groundless and absurd.  Though the 'Henriade' should be
allowed to be free from any very gross absurdities, yet who will dare to
rank it with the 'Paradise Lost'?. . .  In our own country the rules of
the drama were never more completely understood than at present; yet what
uninteresting, though faultless, tragedies have we lately seen!. . .
Whether or no the natural powers be not confined and debilitated by that
timidity and caution which is occasioned by a rigid regard to the
dictates of art; or whether that philosophical, that geometrical and
systematical spirit so much in vogue, which has spread itself from the
sciences even into polite literature, by consulting only reason, has not
diminished and destroyed sentiment, and made our poets write from and to
the head rather than the heart; or whether, lastly, when just models,
from which the rules have necessarily been drawn, have once appeared,
succeeding writers, by vainly and ambitiously striving to surpass
those . . . do not become stiff and forced."  One of these uninteresting,
though faultless tragedies was "Cato," which Warton pronounces a
"sententious and declamatory drama" filled with "pompous Roman
sentiments," but wanting action and pathos.  He censures the tameness of
Addison's "Letter from Italy."[17]  "With what flatness and unfeelingness
has he spoken of statuary and painting!  Raphael never received a more
phlegmatic eulogy."  He refers on the other hand to Gray's account of his
journey to the Grande Chartreuse,[18] as worthy of comparison with one of
the finest passages in the "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard."

This mention of Addison recalls a very instructive letter of Gray on the
subject of poetic style.[19]  The romanticists loved a rich diction, and
the passage might be taken as an anticipatory defense of himself against
Wordsworth's strictures in the preface to the "Lyrical Ballads."  "The
language of the age," wrote Gray, "is never the language of poetry,
except among the French, whose verse . . . differs in nothing from prose.
Our poetry has a language peculiar to itself; to which almost everyone
that has written has added something, by enriching it with foreign idioms
and derivatives; nay, sometimes words of their own composition or
invention.  Shakspere and Milton have been great creators in this
way . . . our language has an undoubted right to words of an hundred
years old, provided antiquity have not rendered them unintelligible.  In
truth Shakspere's language is one of his principal beauties; and he has
no less advantage over your Addisons and Rowes in this, than in those
other great excellencies you mention.  Every word in him is a picture."
He then quotes a passage from "Richard III.," and continues, "Pray put me
the following lines into the tongue of our modern dramatics.  To me they
appear untranslatable, and if this be the case, our language is greatly

Warton further protests against the view which ascribed the introduction
of true taste in literature to the French.  "Shakspere and Milton
imitated the Italians and not the French."  He recommends also the
reintroduction of the preternatural into poetry.  There are some, he
says, who think that poetry has suffered by becoming too rational,
deserting fairyland, and laying aside "descriptions of magic and
enchantment," and he quotes, _à propos_ of this the famous stanza about
the Hebrides in "The Castle of Indolence."[20]  The false refinement of
the French has made them incapable of enjoying "the terrible graces of
our irregular Shakspere, especially in his scenes of magic and
incantations.  These _Gothic_ charms are in truth more striking to the
imagination than the classical.  The magicians of Ariosto, Tasso, and
Spenser have more powerful spells than those of Apollonius, Seneca, and
Lucan.  The enchanted forest of Ismeni is more awfully and tremendously
poetical than even the grove which Caesar orders to be cut down in Lucan
(i. iii. 400), which was so full of terrors that, at noonday or midnight,
the priest himself dared not approach it--

    "'Dreading the demon of the grove to meet.'

"Who that sees the sable plumes waving on the prodigious helmet in the
Castle of Otranto, and the gigantic arm on the top of the great
staircase, is not more affected than with the paintings of Ovid and
Apuleius?  What a group of dreadful images do we meet with in the Edda!
The Runic poetry abounds in them.  Such is Gray's thrilling Ode on the
'Descent of Odin.'"

Warton predicts that Pope's fame as a poet will ultimately rest on his
"Windsor Forest," his "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard," and "The Rape of
the Lock."  To this prophecy time has already, in part, given the lie.
Warton preferred "Windsor Forest" and "Eloisa" to the "Moral Essays"
because they belonged to a higher kind of poetry.  Posterity likes the
"Moral Essays" better because they are better of their kind.  They were
the natural fruit of Pope's genius and of his time, while the others were
artificial.  We can go to Wordsworth for nature, to Byron for passion,
and to a score of poets for both, but Pope remains unrivaled in his
peculiar field.  In other words, we value what is characteristic in the
artist; the one thing which he does best, the precise thing which he can
do and no one else can.  But Warton's mistake is significant of the
changing literary standards of his age; and his essay is one proof out of
many that the English romantic movement was not entirely without
self-conscious aims, but had its critical formulas and its programme,
just as Queen Anne classicism had.

[1] Dr. Johnson had his laugh at this popular person:

    "'Hermit hoar, in solemn cell
    Wearing out life's evening gray,
    Strike thy bosom, sage, and tell
    What is bliss, and which the way?'

    "Thus I spoke, and speaking sighed,
    Scarce suppressed the starting tear:
    When the hoary sage replied,
    '_Come, my lad, and drink some beer._'"

[2] "Grose's Antiquities of Scotland" was published in 1791, and Burns
wrote "Tam o'Shanter" to accompany the picture of Kirk Alloway in this
work.  See his poem, "On the late Captain Grose's Peregrinations through

[3] "Ragnarök," or "Götterdämmerung," the twilight of the Gods

[4] For a full discussion of Gray's sources and of his knowledge of Old
Norse, the reader should consult the appendix by Professor G. L.
Kittredge to Professor W. L. Phelps' "Selections from Gray" (1894, pp.
xl-1.)  Professor Kittredge concludes that Gray had but a slight
knowledge of Norse, that he followed the Latin of Bartholin in his
renderings; and that he probably also made use of such authorities as
Torfaeus' "Orcades" (1697), Ole Worm's "Literatura Runica" (Copenhagen,
1636), Dr. George Hickes' monumental "Thesaurus" (Oxford, 1705), and
Robert Sheringham's "De Anglorum Gentis Origine Disceptatio" (1716).
Dryden's "Miscellany Poems" (1716) has a verse translation, "The Waking
of Angantyr," from the English prose of Hickes, of a portion of the
"Hervarar Saga."  Professor Kittredge refers to Sir William Temple's
essays "Of Poetry" and "Of Heroic Virtue."  "Nichols' Anecdotes" (I. 116)
mentions, as published in 1715, "The Rudiments of Grammar for the English
Saxon Tongue; with an Apology for the study of Northern Antiquities."
This was by Mrs. Elizabeth Elstob, and was addressed to Hickes, the
compiler of the "Thesaurus."

[5] "Some Specimens of the Poetry of the Ancient Welsh Bards, translated
into English," by  Rev. Evan Evans, 1764.  The specimens were ten in
number.  The translations were in English prose.  The originals were
printed from a copy which Davies, the author of the Welsh dictionary, had
made of an ancient vellum MS. thought to be of the time of Edward II,
Edward III, and Henry V.  The book included a Latin "Dissertatio de
Bardis," together with notes, appendices, etc.  The preface makes mention
of Macpherson's recently published Ossianic poems.

[6] "Life of Gray."

[7] See Phelps' "English Romantic Movement," pp. 73, 141-42.

[8] Wm Dugdale published his "Monasticon Anglicanum," a history of English
religious houses, in three parts, in 1655-62-73.  It was accompanied with
illustrations of the costumes worn by the ancient religious orders, and
with architectural views.  The latter, says Eastlake, were rude and
unsatisfactory, but interesting to modern students, as "preserving
representations of buildings, or portions of buildings, no longer in
existence; as, for instance, the _campanile_, or detached belfry of
Salisbury, since removed, and the spire of Lincoln, destroyed in 1547."

[9] "Verses on Sir Joshua Reynolds' Painted Window."  _Cf._ Poe, "To

    "On desperate seas long wont to roam
    Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
    Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
    To the glory that was Greece,
    And the grandeur that was Rome."

[10] This apology should be compared with Scott's verse epistle to Wm
Ereskine, prefixed to the third canto of "Marmion."

        "For me, thus nurtured, dost thou ask
    The classic poet's well-conned task?" etc.

Scott spoke of himself in Warton's exact language, as a "truant to the
classic page."

[11] See _ante_, pp. 99-101_._

[12] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 397.

[13] Lowell mentions the publication of Dodsley's "Old Plays," (1744) as,
like Percy's "Reliques," a symptom of the return of the past.  Essay on

[14] "Eighteenth Century Literature," pp. 401-03.

[15] It is curious, however, to find Warton describing Villon as "a pert
and insipid ballad-monger, whose thoughts and diction were as low and
illiberal as his life," Vol. II. p. 338 (Fifth Edition, 1806).

[16] Warton quotes the follow bathetic opening of a "Poem in Praise of
Blank Verse" by Aaron Hill, "one of the very first persons who took
notice of Thomson, on the publication of 'Winter'":

    "Up from Rhyme's poppied vale! And ride the storm
    That thunders in blank verse!"
               --Vol. II. p. 186.

[17] See _ante_, p. 57.

[18] See _ante_, p. 181.

[19] To Richard West, April, 1742.

[20] See _ante_, p. 94.


The Gothic Revival.

One of Thomas Warton's sonnets was addressed to Richard Hurd, afterward
Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and later of Worcester.  Hurd was a
friend of Gray and Mason, and his "Letters on Chivalry and Romance"
(1762) helped to initiate the romantic movement.  They perhaps owed their
inspiration, in part, to Sainte Palaye's "Mémoires sur l'ancienne
Chevalerie," the first volume of which was issued in 1759, though the
third and concluding volume appeared only in 1781.  This was a monumental
work and, as a standard authority, bears much the same relation to the
literature of its subject that Mallet's "Histoire de Dannemarc" bears to
all the writing on Runic mythology that was done in Europe during the
eighteenth-century.  Jean Baptiste de la Curne de Sainte Palaye was a
scholar of wide learning, not only in the history of mediaeval
institutions but in old French dialects.  He went to the south of France
to familiarize himself with Provençal: collected a large library of
Provençal books and manuscripts, and published in 1774 his "Histoire de
Troubadours."  Among his other works are a "Dictionary of French
Antiquities," a glossary of Old French, and an edition of "Aucassin et
Nicolete."  Mrs. Susannah Dobson, who wrote "Historical Anecdotes of
Heraldry and Chivalry" (1795), made an English translation of Sainte
Palaye's "History of the Troubadours" in 1779, and of his "Memoirs of
Ancient Chivalry" in 1784.

The purpose of Hurd's letters was to prove "the pre-eminence of the
Gothic manners and fictions, as adapted to the ends of poetry, above the
classic."  "The greatest geniuses of our own and foreign countries," he
affirms, "such as Ariosto and Tasso in Italy, and Spenser and Milton in
England, were seduced by these barbarities of their forefathers; were
even charmed by the Gothic romances.  Was this caprice and absurdity in
them?  Or may there not be something in the Gothic Romance peculiarly
suited to the view of a genius and to the ends of poetry?  And may not
the philosophic moderns have gone too far in their perpetual ridicule and
contempt of it?"  After a preliminary discussion of the origin of
chivalry and knight-errantry and of the ideal knightly characteristics,
"Prowess, Generosity, Gallantry, and Religion," which he derives from the
military necessities of the feudal system, he proceeds to establish a
"remarkable correspondency between the manners of the old heroic times,
as painted by their romancer, Homer, and those which are represented to
us in the books of modern knight-errantry."  He compares, _e.g._, the
Laestrygonians, Cyclopes_, _Circes, and Calypsos of Homer, with the
giants, paynims, sorceresses encountered by the champions of romance; the
Greek aoixoi with the minstrels; the Olympian games with tournaments; and
the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, in quelling dragons and other
monsters, with the similar enterprises of Lancelot and Amadis de Gaul.
The critic is daring enough to give the Gothic manners the preference
over the heroic.  Homer, he says, if he could have known both, would have
chosen the former by reason of "the improved gallantry of the feudal
times, and the superior solemnity of their superstitions.  The gallantry
which inspirited the feudal times was of a nature to furnish the poet
with finer scenes and subjects of description, in every view, than the
simple and uncontrolled barbarity of the Grecian. . .  There was a
dignity, a magnificence, a variety in the feudal, which the other wanted."

An equal advantage, thinks Hurd, the romancers enjoyed over the pagan
poets in the point of supernatural machinery.  "For the more solemn
fancies of witchcraft and incantation, the horrors of the Gothic were
above measure striking and terrible.  The mummeries of the pagan priests
were childish, but the Gothic enchanters shook and alarmed all
nature. . .  You would not compare the Canidia of Horace with the witches
in 'Macbeth.'  And what are Virgil's myrtles, dropping blood, to Tasso's
enchanted forest?. . .  The fancies of our modern bards are not only more
gallant, but . . . more sublime, more terrible, more alarming than those
of the classic fables.  In a word, you will find that the manners they
paint, and the superstitions they adopt, are the more poetical for being

Evidently the despised "Gothick" of Addison--as Mr. Howells puts it--was
fast becoming the admired "Gothic" of Scott.  This pronunciamento of very
advanced romantic doctrine came out several years before Percy's
"Reliques" and "The Castle of Otranto."  It was only a few years later
than Thomas Warton's "Observations on the Faërie Queene" and Joseph's
"Essay on Pope," but its views were much more radical.  Neither of the
Wartons would have ventured to pronounce the Gothic manners superior to
the Homeric, as materials for poetry, whatever, in his secret heart, he
might have thought.[1]  To Johnson such an opinion must have seemed flat
blasphemy.  Hurd accounts for the contempt into which the Gothic had
fallen on the ground that the feudal ages had never had the good fortune
to possess a great poet, like Homer, capable of giving adequate artistic
expression to their life and ideals.  _Carent vate sacro_.  Spenser and
Tasso, he thinks, "came too late, and it was impossible for them to paint
truly and perfectly what was no longer seen or believed. . .  As it is,
we may take a guess of what the subject was capable of affording to real
genius from the rude sketches we have of it in the old romancers. . .
The ablest writers of Greece ennobled the system of heroic manners, while
it was fresh and flourishing; and their works being masterpieces of
composition, so fixed the credit of it in the opinion of the world, that
no revolution of time and taste could afterward shake it.  Whereas the
Gothic, having been disgraced in their infancy by bad writers, and a new
set of manners springing up before there were any better to do them
justice, they could never be brought into vogue by the attempts of later
poets."  Moreover, "the Gothic manners of chivalry, as springing out of
the feudal system, were as singular as that system itself; so that when
that political constitution vanished out of Europe, the manners that
belonged to it were no longer seen or understood.  There was no example
of any such manners remaining on the face of the earth.  And as they
never did subsist but once, and are never likely to subsist again, people
would be led of course to think and speak of them as romantic and

Even so, he thinks that the Renaissance poets, Ariosto and Spenser, owe
their finest effects not to their tinge of classical culture but to their
romantic materials.  Shakspere "is greater when he uses Gothic manners
and machinery, than when he employs classical."  Tasso, to be sure, tried
to trim between the two, by giving an epic form to his romantic
subject-matter, but Hurd pronounces his imitations of the ancients "faint
and cold and almost insipid, when compared with his original
fictions. . .  If it was not for these _lies_ [_magnanima mensogna_] of
Gothic invention, I should scarcely be disposed to give the 'Gierusalemme
Liberata' a second reading."  Nay, Milton himself, though finally
choosing the classic model, did so only after long hesitation.  "His
favorite subject was Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  On this
he had fixed for the greater part of his life.  What led him to change
his mind was partly, as I suppose, his growing fanaticism; partly his
ambition to take a different route from Spenser; but chiefly, perhaps,
the discredit into which the stories of chivalry had now fallen by the
immortal satire of Cervantes.  Yet we see through all his poetry, where
his enthusiasm flames out most, a certain predilection for the legends of
chivalry before the fables of Greece."  Hurd says that, if the "Faërie
Queene" be regarded as a Gothic poem, it will be seen to have unity of
design, a merit which even the Wartons had denied it.  "When an architect
examines a Gothic structure by the Grecian rules he finds nothing but
deformity.  But the Gothic architecture has its own rules by which; when
it comes to be examined, it is seen to have its merit, as well as the

The essayist complains that the Gothic fables fell into contempt through
the influence of French critics who ridiculed and disparaged the Italian
romancers, Ariosto and Tasso.  The English critics of the
Restoration--Davenant, Hobbes, Shaftesbury--took their cue from the
French, till these pseudo-classical principles "grew into a sort of a
cant, with which Rymer and the rest of that school filled their flimsy
essays and rumbling prefaces. . .  The exact but cold Boileau happened to
say something about the _clinquant_ of Tasso," and "Mr. Addison,[2] who
gave the law in taste here, took it up and sent it about," so that "it
became a sort of watchword among the critics."  "What we have gotten,"
concludes the final letter of the series, "by this revolution, is a great
deal of good sense.  What we have lost is a world of fine fabling, the
illusion of which is so grateful to the _charméd spirit_ that, in spite
of philosophy and fashion 'Faery' Spenser still ranks highest among the
poets; I mean with all those who are earlier come of that house, or have
any kindness for it."

We have seen that, during the classical period, "Gothic," as a term in
literary criticism, was synonymous with barbarous, lawless, and tawdry.
Addison instructs his public that "the taste of most of our English
poets, as well as readers, is extremely Gothic."[3]  After commending the
French critics, Bouhours and Boileau, for their insistence upon good
sense, justness of thought, simplicity, and naturalness he goes on as
follows: "Poets who want this strength of genius, to give that majestic
simplicity to nature which we so much admire in the works of the
ancients, are forced to hunt after foreign ornaments, and not to let any
piece of wit, of what kind soever, escape them.  I look upon these
writers as Goths in poetry, who, like those in architecture, not being
able to come up to the beautiful simplicity of the old Greeks and Romans,
have endeavored to supply its place with all the extravagances of an
irregular fancy."  In the following paper (No. 63), an "allegorical
vision of the encounter of True and False Wit," he discovers, "in a very
dark grove, a monstrous fabric, built after the Gothic manner and covered
with innumerable devices in that barbarous kind of sculpture." This
temple is consecrated to the God of Dullness, who is "dressed in the
habit of a monk."  In his essay "On Taste" (No. 409) he says, "I have
endeavored, in several of my speculations, to banish this Gothic taste
which has taken possession among us."

The particular literary vice which Addison strove to correct in these
papers was that conceited style which infected a certain school of
seventeenth-century poetry, running sometimes into such puerilities as
anagrams, acrostics, echo-songs, rebuses, and verses in the shape of
eggs, wings, hour-glasses, etc.  He names, as special representatives of
this affectation, Herbert, Cowley, and Sylvester.  But it is significant
that Addison should have described this fashion as Gothic.  It has in
reality nothing in common with the sincere and loving art of the old
builders.  He might just as well have called it classic; for, as he
acknowledges, devices of the kind are to be found in the Greek anthology,
and Ovid was a poet given to conceits.  Addison was a writer of pure
taste, but the coldness and timidity of his imagination, and the maxims
of the critical school to which he belonged, made him mistake for
spurious decoration the efflorescence of that warm, creative fancy which
ran riot in Gothic art.  The grotesque, which was one expression of this
sappy vigor, was abhorrent to Addison.  The art and poetry of his time
were tame, where Gothic art was wild; dead where Gothic was alive.  He
could not sympathize with it, nor understand it.  "Vous ne pouvez pas le
comprendre; vous avez toujours haï la vie."

I have quoted Vicesimus Knox's complaint that the antiquarian spirit was
spreading from architecture and numismatics into literature.[4]  We meet
with satire upon antiquaries many years before this; in Pope, in
Akenside's Spenserian poem "The Virtuoso" (1737); in Richard Owen
Cambridge's "Scribleriad" (1751):

    "See how her sons with generous ardor strive,
    Bid every long-lost Gothic art revive,. . .
    Each Celtic character explain, or show
    How Britons ate a thousand years ago;
    On laws of jousts and tournaments declaim,
    Or shine, the rivals of the herald's fame.
    But chief that Saxon wisdom be your care,
    Preserve their idols and their fanes repair;
    And may their deep mythology be shown
    By Seater's wheel and Thor's tremendous throne."[5]

The most notable instance that we encounter of virtuosity invading the
neighboring realm of literature is in the case of Strawberry Hill and
"The Castle of Otranto."  Horace Walpole, the son of the great prime
minister, Robert Walpole, was a person of varied accomplishments and
undoubted cleverness.  He was a man of fashion, a man of taste, and a man
of letters; though, in the first of these characters, he entertained or
affected a contempt for the last, not uncommon in dilettante authors and
dandy artists, who belong to the _beau monde_ or are otherwise socially
of high place, _teste_ Congreve, and even Byron, that "rhyming peer."
Walpole, as we have seen, had been an Eton friend of Gray and had
traveled--and quarreled--with him upon the Continent.  Returning home, he
got a seat in Parliament, the entrée at court, and various lucrative
sinecures through his father's influence.  He was an assiduous courtier,
a keen and spiteful observer, a busy gossip and retailer of social
tattle.  His feminine turn of mind made him a capital letter-writer; and
his correspondence, particularly with Sir Horace Mann, English ambassador
at Florence, is a running history of backstairs diplomacy, court
intrigue, subterranean politics, and fashionable scandal during the
reigns of the second and third Georges.  He also figures as an historian
of an amateurish sort, by virtue of his "Catalogue of Royal and Noble
Authors," "Anecdotes of Painting," and "Historic Doubts on Richard III."
Our present concern with him, however, lies quite outside of these.

It was about 1750 that Walpole, who had bought a villa at Strawberry
Hill, on the Thames near Windsor, which had formerly belonged to Mrs.
Chenevix, the fashionable London toy-woman, began to turn his house into
a miniature Gothic castle, in which he is said to have "outlived three
sets of his own battlements."  These architectural experiments went on
for some twenty years.  They excited great interest and attracted many
visitors, and Walpole may be regarded as having given a real impetus to
the revival of pointed architecture.  He spoke of Strawberry Hill as a
castle, but it was, in fact, an odd blend of ecclesiastical and
castellated Gothic applied to domestic uses.  He had a cloister, a
chapel, a round tower, a gallery, a "refectory," a stair-turret with
Gothic balustrade, stained windows, mural scutcheons, and Gothic
paper-hangings.  Walpole's mock-gothic became something of a
laughing-stock, after the true principles of medieval architecture were
better understood.  Since the time when Inigo Jones, court architect to
James I., came back from Italy, where he had studied the works of
Palladio; and especially since the time when his successor, Sir
Christopher Wren, had rebuilt St. Paul's in the Italian Renaissance
style, after the great fire of London in 1664, Gothic had fallen more and
more into disuse.  "If in the history of British art," says Eastlake,
"there is one period more distinguished than another for the neglect of
Gothic, it was certainly the middle of the eighteenth century."  But
architecture had this advantage over other arts, it had left memorials
more obvious and imposing.  Medieval literature was known only to the
curious, to collectors of manuscript romances and black-letter ballads.
The study of medieval arts like tempera painting, illuminating,
glass-staining, wood-carving, tapestry embroidery; of the science of
blazonry, of the details of ancient armor and costumes, was the pursuit
of specialists.  But Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Salisbury
Cathedral, and York Minster, ruins such as Melrose and Fountain Abbeys,
Crichton Castle, and a hundred others were impressive witnesses for the
civilization that had built them and must, sooner or later, demand
respectful attention.  Hence it is not strange that the Gothic revival
went hand in hand with the romantic movement in literature, if indeed it
did not give it its original impulse.

"It is impossible," says Eastlake,[6] speaking of Walpole, "to peruse
either the letters or the romances of this remarkable man, without being
struck by the unmistakable evidence which they contain of his medieval
predilections.  His 'Castle of Otranto' was perhaps the first modern work
of fiction which depended for its interest on the incidents of a
chivalrous age, and it thus became the prototype of that class of novel
which was afterward imitated by Mrs. Radcliffe and perfected by Sir
Walter Scott.  The feudal tyrant, the venerable ecclesiastic, the forlorn
but virtuous damsel, the castle itself with its moats and drawbridge, its
gloomy dungeons and solemn corridors, are all derived from a mine of
interest which has since been worked more efficiently and to better
profit.  But to Walpole must be awarded the credit of its discovery and
first employment."

Walpole's complete works[7] contain elaborate illustrations and ground
plans of Strawberry Hill.  Eastlake give a somewhat technical account of
its constructive features, its gables, buttresses, finials, lath and
plaster parapets, wooden pinnacles and, what its proprietor himself
describes as his "lean windows fattened with rich saints."  From this I
extract only the description of the interior, which was "just what one
might expect from a man who possessed a vague admiration for Gothic
without the knowledge necessary for a proper adaptation of its features.
Ceilings, screens, niches, etc., are all copied, or rather parodied, from
existing examples, but with utter disregard for the original purpose of
the design.  To Lord Orford, Gothic was Gothic, and that sufficed.  He
would have turned an altar-slab into a hall-table, or made a cupboard of
a piscine, with the greatest complacency, if it only served his purpose.
Thus we find that in the north bed-chamber, when he wanted a model for
his chimney-piece, he thought he could not do better than adopt the form
of Bishop Dudley's tomb in Westminster Abbey.  He found a pattern for the
piers of his garden gate in the choir of Ely Cathedral."  The ceiling of
the gallery borrowed a design from Henry VII.'s Chapel; the entrance to
the same apartment from the north door of St. Alban's; and one side of
the room from Archbishop Bourchier's tomb at Canterbury.  Eastlake's
conclusion is that Walpole's Gothic, "though far from reflecting the
beauties of a former age, or anticipating those which were destined to
proceed from a re-development of the style, still holds a position in the
history of English art which commands our respect, for it served to
sustain a cause which had otherwise been well-nigh forsaken."

James Fergusson, in his "History of the Modern Styles of Architecture,"
says of Walpole's structures: "We now know that these are very
indifferent specimens of the true Gothic art, and are at a loss to
understand how either their author or his contemporaries could ever fancy
that these very queer carvings were actual reproductions of the details
of York Minster, or other equally celebrated buildings, from which they
were supposed to have been copied."  Fergusson adds that the fashion set
by Walpole soon found many followers both in church and house
architecture, "and it is surprising what a number of castles were built
which had nothing castellated about them except a nicked parapet and an
occasional window in the form of a cross."  That school of bastard Gothic
illustrated by the buildings of Batty Langley, and other early restorers
of the style, bears an analogy with the imitations of old English poetry
in the last century.  There was the same prematurity in both, the same
defective knowledge, crudity, uncertainty, incorrectness, feebleness of
invention, mixture of ancient and modern manners.  It was not until the
time of Pugin[8] that the details of the medieval building art were well
enough understood to enable the architect to work in the spirit of that
art, yet not as a servile copyist, but with freedom and originality.
Meanwhile, one service that Walpole and his followers did, by reviving
public interest in Gothic, was to arrest the process of dilapidation and
save the crumbling remains of many a half-ruinous abbey, castle, or
baronial hall.  Thus, "when about a hundred years since, Rhyddlan Castle,
in North Wales, fell into the possession of Dr. Shipley, Dean of St.
Asaph, the massive walls had been prescriptively used as stone quarries,
to which any neighboring occupier who wanted building materials might
resort; and they are honey-combed all round as high as a pick-ax could
reach."[9]  "Walpole," writes Leslie Stephen, "is almost the first modern
Englishman who found out that our old cathedrals were really beautiful.
He discovered that a most charming toy might be made of medievalism.
Strawberry Hill, with all its gimcracks, its pasteboard battlements and
stained-paper carvings, was the lineal ancestor of the new law-courts.
The restorers of churches, the manufacturers of stained glass, the modern
decorators and architects of all varieties, the Ritualists and the High
Church party, should think of him with kindness. . .  That he was quite
conscious of the necessity for more serious study, appears in his
letters; in one of which, _e.g._, he proposes a systematic history of
Gothic architecture such as has since been often executed."[10]  Mr.
Stephen adds that Walpole's friend Gray "shared his Gothic tastes, with
greatly superior knowledge."

Walpole did not arrive at his Gothicism by the gate of literature.  It
was merely a specialized development of his tastes as a virtuoso and
collector.  The museum of curiosities which he got together at Strawberry
Hill included not only suits of armor, stained glass, and illuminated
missals, but a miscellaneous treasure of china ware, enamels, faïence,
bronzes, paintings, engravings, books, coins, bric-a-brac, and
memorabilia such as Cardinal Wolsey's hat, Queen Elizabeth's glove, and
the spur that William III. wore at the Battle of the Boyne.  Walpole's
romanticism was a thin veneering; underneath it, he was a man of the
eighteenth century.  His opinions on all subjects were, if not
inconsistent, at any rate notoriously whimsical and ill-assorted.  Thus
in spite of his admiration for Gray and his--temporary--interest in
Ossian, Chatterton, and Percy's ballads, he ridiculed Mallet's and Gray's
Runic experiments, spoke contemptuously of Spenser, Thomson, and
Akenside, compared Dante to "a Methodist parson in bedlam," and
pronounced "A Midsummer Night's Dream" "forty times more nonsensical than
the worst translation of any Italian opera-books."[11]  He said that
poetry died with Pope, whose measure and manner he employed in his own
verses.  It has been observed that, in all his correspondence, he makes
but a single mention of Froissart's "Chronicle," and that a sneer at Lady
Pomfret for translating it.

Accordingly we find, on turning to "The Castle of Otranto," that, just as
Walpole's Gothicism was an accidental "sport" from his general
virtuosity; so his romanticism was a casual outgrowth of his
architectural amusements.  Strawberry Hill begat "The Castle of Otranto,"
whose title is fitly chosen, since it is the castle itself that is the
hero of the book.  The human characters are naught.  "Shall I even
confess to you," he writes to the Rev. William Cole (March 9, 1765),
"what was the origin of this romance?  I waked one morning in the
beginning of last June from a dream, of which all I could recover was,
that I had thought myself in an ancient castle (a very natural dream for
a head filled, like mine, with Gothic story), and that, on the uppermost
banister of a great staircase, I saw a gigantic hand in armor.  In the
evening I sat down and began to write, without knowing in the least what
I intended to say or relate.  The work grew on my hands. . .  In short, I
was so engrossed with my tale, which I completed in less than two months,
that one evening I wrote from the time I had drunk my tea, about six
o'clock, till half an hour after one in the morning."

"The Castle of Otranto, A Gothic Story," was published in 1765.[12]
According to the title page, it was translated from the original Italian
of Onuphrio Muralto--a sort of half-pun on the author's surname--by W.
Marshall, Gent.  This mystification was kept up in the preface, which
pretended that the book had been printed at Naples in black-letter in
1529, and was found in the library of an old Catholic family in the north
of England.  In the preface to his second edition Walpole described the
work as "an attempt to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and
the modern": declared that, in introducing humorous dialogues among the
servants of the castle, he had taken nature and Shakspere for his models;
and fell foul of Voltaire for censuring the mixture of buffoonery and
solemnity in Shakspere's tragedies.  Walpole's claim to having created a
new species of romance has been generally allowed.  "His initiative in
literature," says Mr. Stephen, "has been as fruitful as his initiative in
art.  'The Castle of Otranto,' and the 'Mysterious Mother,' were the
progenitors of Mrs. Radcliffe's romances, and probably had a strong
influence upon the author of 'Ivanhoe.'  Frowning castles and gloomy
monasteries, knights in armor and ladies in distress, and monks, and
nuns, and hermits; all the scenery and characters that have peopled the
imagination of the romantic school, may be said to have had their origin
on the night when Walpole lay down to sleep, his head crammed full of
Wardour Street curiosities, and dreamed that he saw a gigantic hand in
armor resting on the banisters of his staircase."

It is impossible at this day to take "The Castle of Otranto" seriously,
and hard to explain the respect with which it was once mentioned by
writers of authority.  Warburton called it "a master-piece in the Fable,
and a new species likewise. . .  The scene is laid in Gothic chivalry;
where a beautiful imagination, supported by strength of judgment, has
enabled the reader to go beyond his subject and effect the full purpose
of the ancient tragedy; _i.e._, to purge the passions by pity and terror,
in coloring as great and harmonious as in any of the best dramatic
writers."  Byron called Walpole the author of the last tragedy[13] and
the first romance in the language.  Scott wrote of "The Castle of
Otranto": "This romance has been justly considered, not only as the
original and model of a peculiar species of composition attempted and
successfully executed by a man of great genius, but as one of the
standard works of our lighter literature."  Gray in a letter to Walpole
(December 30, 1764), acknowledging the receipt of his copy, says: "It
makes some of us cry a little, and all in general afraid to go to bed o'
nights."  Walpole's masterpiece can no longer make anyone cry even a
little; and instead of keeping us out of bed, it sends us there--or
would, if it were a trifle longer.  For the only thing that is tolerable
about the book is its brevity, and a certain rapidity in the action.
Macaulay, who confesses its absurdity and insipidity, says that no
reader, probably, ever thought it dull.  "The story, whatever its value
may be, never flags for a single moment.  There are no digressions, or
unreasonable descriptions, or long speeches.  Every sentence carries the
action forward.  The excitement is constantly renewed."  Excitement is
too strong a word to describe any emotion which "The Castle of Otranto"
is now capable of arousing.  But the same cleverness which makes
Walpole's correspondence always readable saves his romance from the
unpardonable sin--in literature--of tediousness.  It does go along and
may still be read without a too painful effort.

There is nothing very new in the plot, which has all the stock properties
of romantic fiction, as common in the days of Sidney's "Arcadia" as in
those of Sylvanus Cobb.  Alfonso, the former lord of Otranto, had been
poisoned in Palestine by his chamberlain Ricardo, who forged a will
making himself Alfonso's heir.  To make his peace with God, the usurper
founded a church and two convents in honor of St. Nicholas, who "appeared
to him in a dream and promised that Ricardo's posterity should reign in
Otranto until the rightful owner should be grown too large to inhabit the
castle."  When the story opens, this prophecy is about to be fulfilled.
The tyrant Manfred, grandson of the usurper, is on the point of
celebrating the marriage of his only son, when the youth is crushed to
death by a colossal helmet that drops, from nobody knows where, into the
courtyard of the castle.  Gigantic armor haunts the castle piecemeal: a
monstrous gauntlet is laid upon the banister of the great staircase; a
mailed foot appears in one apartment; a sword is brought into the
courtyard on the shoulders of a hundred men.  And finally the proprietor
of these fragmentary apparitions, in "the form of Alfonso, dilated to an
immense magnitude," throws down the walls of the castle, pronounces the
words "Behold in Theodore the true heir of Alfonso," and with a clap of
thunder ascends to heaven.  Theodore is, of course, the young peasant,
grandson of the crusader by a fair Sicilian secretly espoused _en route_
for the Holy Land; and he is identified by the strawberry mark of old
romance, in this instance the figure of a bloody arrow impressed upon his
shoulder.  There are other supernatural portents, such as a skeleton with
a cowl and a hollow voice, a portrait which descends from its panel, and
a statue that bleeds at the nose.

The novel feature in the "Castle of Otranto" was its Gothic setting; the
"wind whistling through the battlements"; the secret trap-door, with iron
ring, by which Isabella sought to make her escape.  "An awful silence
reigned throughout those subterraneous regions, except now and then some
blasts of wind that shook the doors she had passed, and which, grating on
the rusty hinges, were re-echoed through that long labyrinth of darkness.
The wind extinguished her candle, but an imperfect ray of clouded
moonshine gleamed through a cranny in the roof of the vault and fell
directly on the spring of the trap-door."  But Walpole's medievalism was
very thin.  He took some pains with the description of the feudal
cavalcade entering the castle gate with the great sword, but the passage
is incorrect and poor in detail compared with similar things in Scott.
The book was not an historical romance, and the manners, sentiments,
language, all were modern.  Walpole knew little about the Middle Ages and
was not in touch with their spirit.  At bottom he was a trifler, a
fribble; and his incurable superficiality, dilettantism, and want of
seriousness, made all his real cleverness of no avail when applied to
such a subject as "The Castle of Otranto."[14]

Walpole's tragedy, "The Mysterious Mother," has not even that degree of
importance which secures his romance a niche in literary history.  The
subject was too unnatural to admit of stage presentation.  Incest, when
treated in the manner of Sophocles (Walpole justified himself by the
example of "Oedipus"), or even of Ford, or of Shelley, may possibly claim
a place among the themes which art is not quite forbidden to touch; but
when handled in the prurient and crudely melodramatic fashion of this
particular artist, it is merely offensive.  "The Mysterious Mother,"
indeed, is even more absurd than horrible.  Gothic machinery is present,
but it is of the slightest.  The scene of the action is a castle at
Narbonne and the _châtelaine_ is the heroine of the play.  The other
characters are knights, friars, orphaned damsels, and feudal retainers;
there is mention of cloisters, drawbridges, the Vaudois heretics, and the
assassination of Henri III. and Henri IV.; and the author's Whig and
Protestant leanings are oddly evidenced in his exposure of priestly

"The Castle of Otranto" was not long in finding imitators.  One of the
first of these was Clara Reeve's "Champion of Virtue" (1777), styled on
its title-page "A Gothic Story," and reprinted the following year as "The
Old English Baron."  Under this latter title it has since gone through
thirteen editions, the latest of which, in 1883, gave a portrait of the
author.  Miss Reeve had previously published (1772) "The Phoenix," a
translation of "Argenis," "a romance written in Latin about the beginning
of the seventeenth century, by John Barclay, a Scotchman, and supposed to
contain an allegorical account of the civil wars of France during the
reign of Henry III."[15]  "Pray," inquires the author of "The Champion of
Virtue" in her address to the reader, "did you ever read a book called,
'The Castle of Otranto'?  If you have, you will willingly enter with me
into a review of it.  But perhaps you have not read it?  However, you
have heard that it is an attempt to blend together the most attractive
and interesting circumstances of the ancient romance and modern
novel. . .  The conduct of the story is artful and judicious; and the
characters are admirably drawn and supported; the diction polished and
elegant; yet with all these brilliant advantages, it palls upon the
mind. . .  The reason is obvious; the machinery is so violent that it
destroys the effect it is intended to excite.  Had the story been kept
within the utmost _verge_ of probability, the effect had been
preserved. . .  For instance, we can conceive and allow of the appearance
of a ghost; we can even dispense with an enchanted sword and helmet, but
then they must keep within certain limits of credibility.  A sword so
large as to require a hundred men to lift it, a helmet that by its own
weight forces a passage through a court-yard into an arched
vault . . . when your expectation is wound up to the highest pitch, these
circumstances take it down with a witness, destroy the work of
imagination, and, instead of attention, excite laughter. . .  In the
course of my observations upon this singular book, it seemed to me that
it was possible to compose a work upon the same plan, wherein these
defects might be avoided."

Accordingly Miss Reeve undertook to admit only a rather mild dose of the
marvelous in her romance.  Like Walpole she professed to be simply the
editor of the story, which she said that she had transcribed or
translated from a manuscript in the Old English language, a now somewhat
threadbare device.  The period was the fifteenth century, in the reign of
Henry VI., and the scene England.  But, in spite of the implication of
its sub-title, the fiction is much less "Gothic" than its model, and its
modernness of sentiment and manners is hardly covered with even the
faintest wash of mediaevalism.  As in Walpole's book, there are a murder
and a usurpation, a rightful heir defrauded of his inheritance and reared
as a peasant.  There are a haunted chamber, unearthly midnight groans, a
ghost in armor, and a secret closet with its skeleton.  The tale is
infinitely tiresome, and is full of that edifying morality, fine
sentiment and stilted dialogue--that "old perfumed, powdered D'Arblay
conversation," as Thackeray called it--which abound in "Evelina,"
"Thaddeus of Warsaw," and almost all the fiction of the last quarter of
the last century.  Still it was a little unkind in Walpole to pronounce
his disciple's performance tedious and insipid, as he did.

This same lady published, in 1785, a work in two volumes entitled "The
Progress of Romance," a sort of symposium on the history of fiction in a
series of evening conversations.  Her purpose was to claim for the prose
romance an honorable place in literature; a place beside the verse epic.
She discusses the definitions of romance given in the current
dictionaries, such as Ainsworth's and Littleton's _Narratio
ficta--Scriptum eroticum--Splendida fabula_; and Johnson's "A military
fable of the Middle Ages--A tale of wild adventures of war and love."
She herself defines it as "An heroic fable," or "An epic in prose."  She
affirms that Homer is the father of romance and thinks it astonishing
that men of sense "should despise and ridicule romances, as the most
contemptible of all kinds of writing, and yet expatiate in raptures on
the beauties of the fables of the old classic poets--on stories far more
wild and extravagant and infinitely more incredible."  After reviewing
the Greek romances, like Heliodorus' "Theagenes and Chariclea," she
passes on to the chivalry tales of the Middle Ages, which, she maintains,
"were by no means so contemptible as they have been represented by later
writers."  Our poetry, she thinks, owes more than is imagined to the
spirit of romance.  "Chaucer and all our old writers abound with it.
Spenser owes perhaps his immortality to it; it is the Gothic imagery that
gives the principal graces to his work. . .  Spenser has made more poets
than any other writer of our country."  Milton, too, had a hankering
after the romances; and Cervantes, though he laughed Spain's chivalry
away, loved the thing he laughed at and preferred his serious romance
"Persiles and Sigismonda" to all his other works.

She gives a list, with conjectural dates, of many medieval romances in
French and English, verse and prose; but the greater part of the book is
occupied with contemporary fiction, the novels of Richardson, Fielding,
Smollett, Crébillon, Marivaux, Rousseau, etc.  She commends Thomas
Leland's historical romance "Longsword, Earl of Salisbury" (1762), as "a
romance in reality, and not a novel:--a story like those of the Middle
Ages, composed of chivalry, love, and religion."  To her second volume
she appended the "History of Charoba, Queen of Egypt," englished from the
French of Vattier, professor of Arabic to Louis XIV., who had translated
it from a history of ancient Egypt written in Arabic.  This was the
source of Landor's poem, "Gebir."  When Landor was in Wales in 1797, Rose

    "Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes,
    May weep but never see"--

lent him a copy of Miss Reeve's "Progress of Romance," borrowed from a
circulating library at Swansea.  And so the poor forgotten thing retains
a vicarious immortality, as the prompter of some of the noblest passages
in modern English blank verse and as associated with one of the tenderest
passages in Landor's life.

Miss Reeve quotes frequently from Percy's "Essay on the Ancient
Minstrels," mentions Ossian and Chatterton and refers to Hurd, Warton,
and other authorities.  "It was not till I had completed my design," she
writes in her preface, "that I read either Dr. Beattie's 'Dissertation on
Fable and Romance' or Mr. Warton's 'History of English Poetry.'"  The
former of these was an essay of somewhat more than a hundred pages by the
author of "The Minstrel."  It is of no great importance and follows
pretty closely the lines of Hurd's "Letters on Chivalry and Romance," to
which Beattie repeatedly refers in his footnotes.  The author pursues the
beaten track in inquiries of the kind: discusses the character of the
Gothic tribes, the nature of the feudal system, and the institutions of
chivalry and knight-errantry.  Romance, it seems, was "one of the
consequences of chivalry.  The first writers in this way exhibited a
species of fable different from all that had hitherto appeared.  They
undertook to describe the adventures of those heroes who professed
knight-errantry.  The world was then ignorant and credulous and
passionately fond of wonderful adventures and deeds of valor.  They
believed in giants, dwarfs, dragons, enchanted castles, and every
imaginable species of necromancy.  These form the materials of the old
romance.  The knight-errant was described as courteous, religious,
valiant, adventurous, and temperate.  Some enchanters befriended and
others opposed him.  To do his mistress honor, and to prove himself
worthy of her, he was made to encounter the warrior, hew down the giant,
cut the dragon in pieces, break the spell of the necromancer, demolish
the enchanted castle, fly through the air on wooden or winged horses, or,
with some magician for his guide, to descend unhurt through the opening
earth and traverse the caves in the bottom of the ocean.  He detected and
punished the false knight, overthrew or converted the infidel, restored
the exiled monarch to his dominions and the captive damsel to her
parents; he fought at the tournament, feasted in the hall, and bore a
part in the warlike processions."

There is nothing very startling in these conclusions.  Scholars like
Percy, Tyrwhitt, and Ritson, who, as collectors and editors, rescued the
fragments of ancient ministrelsy and gave the public access to concrete
specimens of mediaeval poetry, performed a more useful service than mild
clerical essayists, such as Beattie and Hurd, who amused their leisure
with general speculations about the origin of romance and whether it came
in the first instance from the troubadours or the Saracens or the
Norsemen.  One more passage, however, may be transcribed from Beattie's
"Dissertation," because it seems clearly a suggestion from "The Castle of
Otranto."  "The castles of the greater barons, reared in a rude but grand
style of architecture, full of dark and winding passages, of secret
apartments, of long uninhabited galleries, and of chambers supposed to be
haunted with spirits, and undermined by subterraneous labyrinths as
places of retreat in extreme danger; the howling of winds through the
crevices of old walls and other dreary vacuities; the grating of heavy
doors on rusty hinges of iron; the shrieking of bats and the screaming of
owls and other creatures that resort to desolate or half-inhabited
buildings; these and the like circumstances in the domestic life of the
people I speak of, would multiply their superstitions and increase their
credulity; and among warriors who set all danger at defiance, would
encourage a passion for wild adventure and difficult enterprise."

One of the books reviewed by Miss Reeve is worth mentioning, not for its
intrinsic importance, but for its early date.  "Longsword, Earl of
Salisbury, An Historical Romance," in two volumes, and published two
years before "The Castle of Otranto," is probably the first fiction of
the kind in English literature.  Its author was Thomas Leland, an Irish
historian and doctor of divinity.[16]  "The outlines of the following
story," begins the advertisement, "and some of the incidents and more
minute circumstances, are to be found in some of the ancient English
histories."  The period of the action is the reign of Henry III.  The
king is introduced in person, and when we hear him swearing "by my
Halidome," we rub our eyes and ask, "Can this be Scott?"  But we are soon
disabused, for the romance, in spite of the words of the advertisement,
is very little historical, and the fashion of it is thinly wordy and
sentimental.  The hero is the son of Henry II. and Fair Rosamond, but his
speech is Grandisonian.  The adventures are of the usual kind: the
_dramatis personae_ include gallant knights who go a-tilting with their
ladies' gloves upon their casques, usurpers, villains, pirates, a wicked
monk who tries to poison the hero, an oppressed countess, a distressed
damsel disguised as a page, a hermit who has a cave in a mountain side,
etc.  The Gothic properties are few; though the frontispiece to the first
volume represents a cowled monk raising from the ground the figure of a
swooning knight in complete armor, in front of an abbey church with an
image of the Virgin and Child sculptured in a niche above the door; and
the building is thus described in the text: "Its windows crowded with the
foliage of their ornaments, and dimmed by the hand of the painter; its
numerous spires towering above the roof, and the Christian ensign on its
front, declared it a residence of devotion and charity."  An episode in
the story narrates the death of a father by the hand of his son in the
Barons' War of Henry III.  But no farther advantage is taken of the
historic background afforded by this civil conflict, nor is Simon de
Montfort so much as named in the whole course of the book.

Clara Reeve was the daughter of a clergyman.  She lived and died at
Ipswich (1725-1803).  Walter Scott contributed a memoir of her to
"Ballantyne's Novelists' Library," in which he defended Walpole's frank
use of the supernatural against her criticisms, quoted above, and gave
the preference to Walpole's method.[17]  She acknowledged that her
romance was a "literary descendant of 'Otranto';" but the author of the
latter, evidently nettled by her strictures, described "The Old English
Baron," as "Otranto reduced to reason and probability," and declared that
any murder trial at the Old Bailey would have made a more interesting
story.  Such as it is, it bridges the interval between its model and the
novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, Lewis' "Monk" (1795), and Maturin's "Fatal
Revenge, or the Family of Montorio" (1807).[18]

Anne Radcliffe--born Ward in 1764, the year of "Otranto"--was the wife of
an editor, who was necessarily absent from home much of the time until
late at night.  A large part of her writing was done to amuse her
loneliness in the still hours of evening; and the wildness of her
imagination, and the romantic love of night and solitude which pervades
her books, are sometimes accounted for in this way.  In 1809 it was
currently reported and believed that Mrs. Radcliffe was dead.  Another
form of the rumor was that she had been insane by continually poring over
visions of horror and mystery.  Neither report was true; she lived till
1823, in full possession of her faculties, although she published nothing
after 1797.  The circulation of such stories shows how retired, and even
obscure, a life this very popular writer contrived to lead.

It would be tedious to give here an analysis of these once famous
fictions _seriatim_.[19]  They were very long, very much alike, and very
much overloaded with sentiment and description.  The plots were
complicated and abounded in the wildest improbabilities and in those
incidents which were once the commonplaces of romantic fiction and which
realism has now turned out of doors: concealments, assassinations, duels,
disguises, kidnappings, escapes, elopements, intrigues, forged documents,
discoveries of old crimes, and identifications of lost heirs.  The
characters, too, were of the conventional kind.  There were dark-browed,
crime-stained villains--forerunners, perhaps of Manfred and Lara, for the
critics think that Mrs. Radcliffe's stories were not without important
influence on Byron.[20]  There were high-born, penitent dames who retired
to convents in expiation of sins which are not explained until the
general raveling of clews in the final chapter.  There were bravoes,
banditti, feudal tyrants, monks, inquisitors, soubrettes, and simple
domestics _a la_ Bianca, in Walpole's romance.  The lover was of the type
adored by our great-grandmothers, handsome, melancholy, passionate,
respectful but desperate, a user of most choice English; with large black
eyes, smooth white forehead, and jetty curls, now sunk, Mr. Perry says,
to the covers of prune boxes.  The heroine, too, was sensitive and
melancholy.  When alone upon the seashore or in the mountains, at sunset
or twilight, or under the midnight moon, or when the wind is blowing, she
overflows into stanza or sonnet, "To Autumn," "To Sunset," "To the Bat,"
"To the Nightingale," "To the Winds," "To Melancholy," "Song of the
Evening Hour."  We have heard this pensive music drawing near in the
strains of the Miltonic school, but in Mrs. Radcliffe the romantic gloom
is profound and all-pervading.  In what pastures she had fed is manifest
from the verse captions that head her chapters, taken mainly from Blair,
Thomson, Warton, Gray, Collins, Beattie, Mason, and Walpole's "Mysterious
Mother."  Here are a few stanzas from her ode "To Melancholy":

    "Spirit of love and sorrow, hail!
      Thy solemn voice from far I hear,
    Mingling with evening's dying gale:
      Hail, with thy sadly pleasing tear!

    "O at this still, this lonely hour--
      Thine own sweet hour of closing day--
    Awake thy lute, whose charmful power
      Shall call up fancy to obey:

    "To paint the wild, romantic dream
      That meets the poet's closing eye,
    As on the bank of shadowy stream
      He breathes to her the fervid sigh.

    "O lonely spirit, let thy song
      Lead me through all thy sacred haunt,
    The minster's moonlight aisles along
      Where specters raise the midnight chant."

In Mrs. Radcliffe's romances we find a tone that is absent from
Walpole's: romanticism plus sentimentalism.  This last element had begun
to infuse itself into general literature about the middle of the century,
as a protest and reaction against the emotional coldness of the classical
age.  It announced itself in Richardson, Rousseau, and the youthful
Goethe; in the _comédie larmoyante_, both French and English; found its
cleverest expression in Sterne, and then, becoming a universal vogue,
deluged fiction with productions like Mackenzie's "Man of Feeling," Miss
Burney's "Evelina," and the novels of Jane Porter and Mrs. Opie.
Thackeray said that there was more crying in "Thaddeus of Warsaw" than in
any novel he ever remembered to have read.[21]  Emily, in the "Mysteries
of Udolpho" cannot see the moon, or hear a guitar or an organ or the
murmur of the pines, without weeping.  Every page is bedewed with the
tear of sensibility; the whole volume is damp with it, and ever and anon
a chorus of sobs goes up from the entire company.  Mrs. Radcliffe's
heroines are all descendents of Pamela and Clarissa Harlowe, but under
more romantic circumstances.  They are beset with a thousand
difficulties; carried off by masked ruffians, immured in convents, held
captive in robber castles, encompassed with horrors natural and
supernatural, persecuted, threatened with murder and with rape.  But
though perpetually sighing, blushing, trembling, weeping, fainting, they
have at bottom a kind of toughness that endures through all.  They rebuke
the wicked in stately language, full of noble sentiments and moral
truths.  They preserve the most delicate feelings of propriety in
situations the most discouraging.  Emily, imprisoned in the gloomy castle
of Udolpho, in the power of ruffians whose brawls and orgies fill night
and day with horror, in hourly fear for her virtue and her life, sends
for the lord of the castle,--whom she believes to have murdered her
aunt,--and reminds him that, as her protectress is now dead, it would not
be proper for her to stay any longer under his roof thus unchaperoned,
and will he please, therefore, send her home?

Mrs. Radcliffe's fictions are romantic, but not usually mediaeval in
subject.  In the "Mysteries of Udolpho," the period of the action is the
end of the sixteenth century; in the "Romance of the Forest," 1658; in
"The Italian," about 1760.  But her machinery is prevailingly Gothic and
the real hero of the story is commonly, as in Walpole, some haunted
building.  In the "Mysteries of Udolpho" it is a castle in the Apennines;
in the "Romance of the Forest," a deserted abbey in the depth of the
woods; in "The Italian," the cloister of the Black Penitents.  The
moldering battlements, the worm-eaten tapestries, the turret staircases,
secret chambers, underground passages, long, dark corridors where the
wind howls dismally, and distant doors which slam at midnight all derive
from "Otranto."  So do the supernatural fears which haunt these abodes of
desolation; the strains of mysterious music, the apparitions which glide
through the shadowy apartments, the hollow voices that warn the tyrant to
beware.  But her method here is quite different from Walpole's; she tacks
a natural explanation to every unearthly sight or sound.  The hollow
voices turn out to be ventriloquism; the figure of a putrefying corpse
which Emily sees behind the black curtain in the ghost chamber at Udolpho
is only a wax figure, contrived as a _memento mori_ for a former
penitent.  After the reader has once learned this trick he refuses to be
imposed upon again, and, whenever he encounters a spirit, feels sure that
a future chapter will embody it back into flesh and blood.

There is plenty of testimony to the popularity of these romances.
Thackeray says that a lady of his acquaintance, an inveterate novel
reader, names Valancourt as one of the favorite heroes of her youth.
"'Valancourt?  And who was he?' cry the young people.  Valancourt, my
dears, was the hero of one of the most famous romances which ever was
published in this country.  The beauty and elegance of Valancourt made
your young grandmamma's' gentle hearts to beat with respectful sympathy.
He and his glory have passed away. . .  Enquire at Mudie's or the London
Library, who asks for the 'Mysteries of Udolpho' now."[22]  Hazlitt said
that he owed to Mrs. Radcliffe his love of moonlight nights, autumn
leaves and decaying ruins.  It was, indeed, in the melodramatic
manipulation of landscape that this artist was most original.  "The
scenes that savage Rosa dashed" seemed to have been her model, and
critics who were fond of analogy called her the Salvator Rosa of fiction.
It is here that her influence on Byron and Chateaubriand is most
apparent.[23]  Mrs. Radcliffe's scenery is not quite to our modern taste,
any more than are Salvator's paintings.  Her Venice by moonlight, her
mountain gorges with their black pines and foaming torrents, are not
precisely the Venice and the Alps of Ruskin; rather of the operatic
stage.  Still they are impressive in their way, and in this department
she possessed genuine poetic feels and a real mastery of the art of
painting in distemper.  Witness the picture of the castle of Udolpho, on
Emily's first sight of it, and the hardly less striking description, in
the "Romance of the Forest," of the ruined abbey in which the La Motte
family take refuge: "He approached and perceived the Gothic remains of an
abbey: it stood on a kind of rude lawn, overshadowed by high and
spreading trees, which seemed coeval with the building, and diffused a
romantic gloom around.  The greater part of the pile appeared to be
sinking into ruins, and that which had withstood the ravages of time
showed the remaining features of the fabric more awful in decay.  The
lofty battlements, thickly enwreathed with ivy, were half demolished and
become the residence of birds of prey.  Huge fragments of the eastern
tower, which was almost demolished, lay scattered amid the high grass,
that waved slowly in the breeze.  'The thistle shook its lonely head: the
moss whistled to the wind.'[24]  A Gothic gate, richly ornamented with
fretwork, which opened into the main body of the edifice, but which was
now obstructed with brushwood, remained entire.  Above the vast and
magnificent portal of this gate arose a window of the same order, whose
pointed arches still exhibited fragments of stained glass, once the pride
of monkish devotion.  La Motte, thinking it possible it might yet shelter
some human being, advanced to the gate and lifted a massy knocker.  The
hollow sounds rung through the emptiness of the place.  After waiting a
few minutes, he forced back the gate, which was heavy with iron-work, and
creaked harshly on its hinges. . .  From this chapel he passed into the
nave of the great church, of which one window, more perfect than the
rest, opened upon a long vista of the forest, through which was seen the
rich coloring of evening, melting by imperceptible gradations into the
solemn gray of upper air."

Mrs. Radcliffe never was in Italy or Switzerland or the south of France;
she divined the scenery of her romances from pictures and descriptions at
second hand.  But she accompanied her husband in excursions to the Lakes
and other parts of England, and in 1794 made the tour of the Rhine.[25]
The passages in her diary, recording these travels, are much superior in
the truthfulness and local color of their nature sketching to anything in
her novels.  Mrs. Radcliffe is furthermore to be credited with a certain
skill in producing terror, by the use of that favorite weapon in the
armory of the romanticists, mystery.  If she did not invent a new
shudder, as Hugo said of Baudelaire, she gave at least a new turn to the
old-fashioned ghost story.  She creates in her readers a feeling of
impending danger, suspense, foreboding.  There is a sense of unearthly
presences in these vast, empty rooms; the silence itself is ominous;
echoes sound like footfalls, ghostly shadows lurk in dark corners,
whispers come from behind the arras, as it stirs in the gusts of
wind.[26]  The heroine is afraid to look in the glass lest she should see
another face there beside her own; her lamp expires and leaves her in the
dark just as she is coming to the critical point in the manuscript which
she has found in an old chest, etc., etc.,  But the tale loses its
impressiveness as soon as it strays beyond the shade of the battlements.
The Gothic castle or priory is still, as in Walpole, the nucleus of the

Two of these romances, the earliest and the latest, though they are the
weakest of the series, have a special interest for us as affording points
of comparison with the Waverly novels.  "The Castles of Athlin and
Dunbayne" is the narrative of a feud between two Highland clans, and its
scene is the northeastern coast of Scotland, "in the most romantic part
of the Highlands," where the castle of Athlin--like Uhland's "Schloss am
Meer"--stood "on the summit of a rock whose base was in the sea."  This
was a fine place for storms.  "The winds burst in sudden squalls over the
deep and dashed the foaming waves against the rocks with inconceivable
fury.  The spray, notwithstanding the high situation of the castle, flew
up with violence against the windows. . .  The moon shone faintly by
intervals, through broken clouds, upon the waters, illumining the white
foam which burst around. . .  The surges broke on the distant shores in
deep resounding murmurs, and the solemn pauses between the stormy gusts
filled the mind with enthusiastic awe."  Perhaps the description slightly
reminds of the picture, in "Marmion," of Tantallon Castle, the hold of
the Red Douglases on the German Ocean, a little north of Berwick, whose
frowning towers have recently done duty again in Stevenson's "David
Balfour."  The period of the action is but vaguely indicated; but, as the
weapons used in the attack on the castle are bows and arrows, we may
regard the book as mediaeval in intention.  Scott says that the scene of
the romance was Scotland in the dark ages, and complains that the author
evidently knew nothing of Scottish life or scenery.  This is true; her
castles might have stood anywhere.  There is no mention of the pipes or
the plaid.  Her rival chiefs are not Gaelic caterans, but just plain
feudal lords.  Her baron of Dunbayne is like any other baron; or rather,
he is unlike any baron that ever was on sea or land or anywhere else
except in the pages of a Gothic romance.

"Gaston de Blondville" was begun in 1802 and published posthumously in
1826, edited by Sergeant Talfourd.  Its inspiring cause was a visit which
the author made in the autumn of 1802 to Warwick Castle and the ruins of
Kenilworth.  The introduction has the usual fiction of an old manuscript
found in an oaken chest dug up from the foundation of a chapel of Black
Canons at Kenilworth: a manuscript richly illuminated with designs at the
head of each chapter--which are all duly described--and containing a
"trew chronique of what passed at Killingworth, in Ardenn, when our
Soveren Lord the Kynge kept ther his Fest of Seynt Michel: with ye
marveylous accident that there befell at the solempnissacion of the
marriage of Gaston de Blondeville.  With divers things curious to be
known thereunto purtayning.  With an account of the grete Turney there
held in the year MCCLVI.  Changed out of the Norman tongue by Grymbald,
Monk of Senct Marie Priori in Killingworth."  Chatterton's forgeries had
by this time familiarized the public with imitations of early English.
The finder of this manuscript pretends to publish a modernized version of
it, while endeavoring "to preserve somewhat of the air of the old style."
This he does by a poor reproduction, not of thirteenth-century, but of
sixteenth-century English, consisting chiefly in inversions of phrase and
the occasional use of a _certes_ or _naithless_.  Two words in particular
seem to have struck Mrs. Radcliffe as most excellent archaisms: _ychon_
and _his-self_, which she introduces at every turn.

"Gaston de Blondville," then, is a tale of the time of Henry III.  The
king himself is a leading figure and so is Prince Edward.  Other
historical personages are brought in, such as Simon de Montfort and Marie
de France, but little use is made of them.  The book is not indeed, in
any sense, an historical novel like Scott's "Kenilworth," the scene of
which is the same, and which was published in 1821, five years before
Mrs. Radcliffe's.  The story is entirely fictitious.  What differences it
from her other romances is the conscious attempt to portray feudal
manners.  There are elaborate descriptions of costumes, upholstery,
architecture, heraldic bearings, ancient military array, a tournament, a
royal hunt, a feast in the great hall at Kenilworth, a visit of state to
Warwick Castle, and the session of a baronial court.  The ceremony of the
"voide," when the king took his spiced cup, is rehearsed with a painful
accumulation of particulars.  For all this she consulted Leland's
"Collectanea," Warton's "History of English Poetry," the "Household Book
of Edward IV.," Pegge's "Dissertation on the Obsolete Office of Esquire
of the King's Body," the publications of the Society of Antiquaries and
similar authorities, with results that are infinitely tedious.  Walter
Scott's archaeology is not always correct, nor his learning always
lightly borne; but, upon the whole, he had the art to make his cumbrous
materials contributory to his story rather than obstructive of it.

In these two novels we meet again all the familiar apparatus of secret
trap-doors, sliding panels, spiral staircases in the thickness of the
walls, subterranean vaults conducting to a neighboring priory or a cavern
in the forest, ranges of deserted apartments where the moon looks in
through mullioned casements, ruinous turrets around which the night winds
moan and howl.  Here, too, once more are the wicked uncle who seizes upon
the estates of his deceased brother's wife, and keeps her and her
daughter shut up in his dungeon for the somewhat long period of eighteen
years; the heroine who touches her lute and sings in pensive mood, till
the notes steal to the ear of the young earl imprisoned in the adjacent
tower; the maiden who is carried off on horseback by bandits, till her
shrieks bring ready aid; the peasant lad who turns out to be the baron's
heir.  "His surprise was great when the baroness, reviving, fixed her
eyes mournfully upon him and asked him to uncover his arm."  Alas! the
surprise is not shared by the reader, when "'I have indeed found my
long-lost child: that strawberry,'"[27] etc., etc.  "Gaston de
Blondville" has a ghost--not explained away in the end according to Mrs.
Radcliffe's custom.  It is the spirit of Reginald de Folville, Knight
Hospitaller of St. John, murdered in the Forest of Arden by Gaston de
Blondville and the prior of St. Mary's.  He is a most robust apparition,
and is by no means content with revisiting the glimpses of the moon, but
goes in and out at all hours of the day, and so often as to become
somewhat of a bore.  He ultimately destroys both first and second
murderer: one in his cell, the other in open tournament, where his
exploits as a mysterious knight in black armor may have given Scott a
hint for his black knight at the lists of Ashby-de-la-Zouche in "Ivanhoe"
(1819).  His final appearance is in the chamber of the king, with whom he
holds quite a long conversation.  "The worm is my sister," he says: "the
mist of death is on me.  My bed is in darkness.  The prisoner is
innocent.  The prior of St. Mary's is gone to his account.  Be warned."
It is not explained why Mrs. Radcliffe refrained from publishing this
last romance of hers.  Perhaps she recognized that it was belated and
that the time for that sort of thing had gone by.  By 1802 Lewis' "Monk"
was in print, as well as several translations from German romances;
Scott's early ballads were out, and Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner."  That
very year saw the publication of the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border."
By 1826 the Waverley novels had made all previous fiction of the Gothic
type hopelessly obsolete.  In 1834 two volumes of her poems were given to
the world, including a verse romance in eight cantos, "St. Alban's
Abbey," and the verses scattered through her novels.  By this time Scott
and Coleridge were dead; Byron, Shelley, and Keats had been dead for
years, and Mrs. Radcliffe's poesies fell upon the unheeding ears of a new
generation.  A sneer in "Waverley" (1814) at the "Mysteries of Udolpho"
had hurt her feelings;[28] but Scott made amends in the handsome things
which he said of her in his "Lives of the Novelists."  It is interesting
to note that when the "Mysteries" was issued, the venerable Joseph Warton
was so much entranced that he sat up the greater part of the night to
finish it.

The warfare between realism and romance, which went on in the days of
Cervantes, as it does in the days of Zola and Howells, had its skirmished
also in Mrs. Radcliffe's time.  Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey," written
in 1803 but published only in 1817, is gently satirical of Gothic
fiction.  The heroine is devoted to the "Mysteries of Udolpho," which she
discusses with her bosom friend.  "While I have 'Udolpho' to read, I feel
as if nobody could make me miserable.  O the dreadful black veil!  My
dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina's skeleton behind it."

"When you have finished 'Udolpho,'" replies Isabella, "we will read 'The
Italian' together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of
the same kind for you. . .  I will read you their names directly.  Here
they are in my pocket-book.  'Castle of Wolfenbach,' 'Clermont,'
'Mysterious Warnings,' 'Necromancer of the Black Forest,' 'Midnight
Bell,' 'Orphan of the Rhine,' and 'Horrid Mysteries.'"

When introduced to her friend's brother, Miss Morland asks him at once,
"Have you ever read 'Udolpho,' Mr. Thorpe?"  But Mr. Thorpe, who is not a
literary man, but much given to dogs and horses, assures her that he
never reads novels; they are "full of nonsense and stuff; there has not
been a tolerably decent one come out since 'Tom Jones,' except the
'Monk.'"  The scenery about Bath reminds Miss Morland of the south of
France and "the country that Emily and her father traveled through in the
'Mysteries of Udolpho.'"  She is enchanted at the prospect of a drive to
Blaize Castle, where she hopes to have "the happiness of being stopped in
their way along narrow, winding vaults by a low, grated door; or even of
having their lamp--their only lamp--extinguished by a sudden gust of wind
and of being left in total darkness."  She visits her friends, the
Tilneys, at their country seat, Northanger Abbey, in Glouchestershire;
and, on the way thither, young Mr. Tilney teases her with a fancy sketch
of the Gothic horrors which she will unearth there: the "sliding panels
and tapestry"; the remote and gloomy guest chamber, which will be
assigned her, with its ponderous chest and its portrait of a knight in
armor: the secret door, with massy bars and padlocks, that she will
discover behind the arras, leading to a "small vaulted room," and
eventually to a "subterraneous communication between your apartment and
the chapel of St. Anthony scarcely two miles off."  Arrived at the abbey,
she is disappointed at the modern appearance of her room, but contrives
to find a secret drawer in an ancient ebony cabinet, and in this a roll
of yellow manuscript which, on being deciphered, proves to be a washing
bill.  She is convinced, notwithstanding, that a mysterious door at the
end of a certain gallery conducts to a series of isolated chambers where
General Tilney, who is supposed to be a widower, is keeping his unhappy
wife immured and fed on bread and water.  When she finally gains
admission to this Bluebeard's chamber and finds it nothing but a suite of
modern rooms, "the visions of romance were over. . .  Charming as were
all Mrs. Radcliffe's works, and charming even as were the works of all
her imitators, it was not in them, perhaps, that human nature, at least
in the midland counties of England was to be looked for."

[1] But compare the passage last quoted with the one from Warton's essay
_ante_, p. 219.

[2] See _ante_, p. 49.

[3] _Spectator_, No. 62.

[4] See _ante_, p. 211.

[5] "Works of Richard Owen Cambridge," pp. 198-99.  Cambridge was one of
the Spenserian imitators.  See _ante_, p. 89, _note_.  In Lady
Luxborough's correspondence with Shenstone there is much mention of a Mr.
Miller, a neighboring proprietor, who was devoted to Gothic.  On the
appearance of "The Scribleriad," she writes (January 28, 1751), "I
imagine this poem is not calculated to please Mr. Miller and the rest of
the Gothic gentlemen; for this Mr. Cambridge expresses a dislike to the
introducing or reviving tastes and fashions that are inferior to the
modern taste of our country."

[6] "History of the Gothic Revival," p. 43.

[7] "Works of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford," in five volumes, 1798.  "A
Description of Strawberry Hill," Vol. II. pp. 395-516.

[8] Pugin's "True Principles of Gothic Architecture" was published in 1841.

[9] "Sketches of Eminent Statesmen and Writers," A. Hayward (1880).  In a
note to "Marmion" (1808) Scott said that the ruins of Crichton Castle,
remarkable for the richness and elegance of its stone carvings, were then
used as a cattle-pen and a sheep-fold.

[10] "Hours in a Library," Second Series: article, "Horace Walpole."

[11] Letter to Bentley, February 23, 1755.

[12] Five hundred copies, says Walpole, were struck off December 24, 1764.

[13] "The Mysterious Mother," begun 1766, finished 1768.

[14] "The Castle of Otranto" was dramatized by Robert Jephson, under the
title "The Count of Narbonne," put on at Covent Garden Theater in 1781,
and afterward printed, with a dedication to Walpole.

[15] James Beattie, "Dissertation on Fable and Romance."  "Argenius," was
printed in 1621.

[16] "The Dictionary of National Biography" miscalls it "Earl of
Canterbury," and attributes it, though with a query, to _John_ Leland.

[17] See also, for a notice of this writer, Julia Kavanagh's "English
Women of Letters."

[18] Maturin's "Melmoth the Wanderer" (1820) had some influence on the
French romantic school and was utilized, in some particulars, by Balzac.

[19] Following is a list of Mrs. Radcliffe's romances: "The Castles of
Athlin and Dunbayne" (1789); "Sicilian Romance" (1790); "Romance of the
Forest" (1791); "Mysteries of Udolpho" (1794); "The Italian" (1797);
"Gaston de Blondville" (1826).  Collections of her poems were published
in 1816, 1834, and 1845.

[20] See "Childe Harold," canto iv, xviii.

[21] "Roundabout Papers," "A Peal of Bells."  "Monk" Lewis wrote at
sixteen a burlesque novel, "Effusions of Sensibility," which remained in

[22] "O Radcliffe, thou once wert the charmer
      Of girls who sat reading all night:
    They heroes were striplings in armor,
      Thy heroines, damsels in white."
           --_Songs, Ballads and Other Poems_.

By Thos. Haynes Bayly, London, 1857, p. 141.

    "A novel now is nothing more
    Than an old castle and a creaking door,
                A distant hovel,
    Clanking of chains, a gallery, a light,
    Old armor and a phantom all in white,
                And there's a novel."
                   --_George Colman, "The Will."_

[23] Several of her romances were dramatized and translated into French.
It is curious, by the way, to find that Goethe was not unaware of
Walpole's story.  See his quatrain "Die Burg von Otranto," first printed
in 1837.

    "Sind die Zimmer sämmtlich besetzt der Burg von Otranto:
    Kommt, voll innigen Grimmes, der erste Riesenbesitzer
    Stuckweis an, and verdrängt die neuen falschen Bewohner.
    Wehe! den Fliehenden, weh! den Bleibenden also geschiet es."

[24] Ossian.

[25] See her "Journey through Holland," etc. (1795)

[26] _cf._ Keats,  "The Eve of Saint Agnes":

    "The arras rich with hunt and horse and hound
    Flattered in the besieging wind's uproar,
    And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor."

[27] "Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne."

[28] See Julia Kavanagh's "English Women of Letters."


Percy and the Ballads.

The regeneration of English poetic style at the close of the last century
came from an unexpected quarter.  What scholars and professional men of
letters had sought to do by their imitations of Spenser and Milton, and
their domestication of the Gothic and the Celtic muse, was much more
effectually done by Percy and the ballad collectors.  What they had
sought to do was to recall British poetry to the walks of imagination and
to older and better models than Dryden and Pope.  But they could not jump
off their own shadows: the eighteenth century was too much for them.
While they anxiously cultivated wildness and simplicity, their diction
remained polished, literary, academic to a degree.  It is not, indeed,
until we reach the boundaries of a new century that we encounter a Gulf
Stream of emotional, creative impulse strong enough and hot enough to
thaw the classical icebergs till not a floating spiculum of them is left.

Meanwhile, however, there occurred a revivifying contact with one
department, at least, of early verse literature, which did much to clear
the way for Scott and Coleridge and Keats.  The decade from 1760 to 1770
is important in the history of English romanticism, and its most
important title is Thomas Percy's "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry:
Consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs, and Other Pieces of our Earlier
Poets," published in three volumes in 1765.  It made a less immediate and
exciting impression upon contemporary Europe than MacPherson's "Poems of
Ossian," but it was more fruitful in enduring results.  The Germans make
a convenient classification of poetry into _Kunstpoesie_ and
_Volkspoesie_, terms which may be imperfectly translated as literary
poetry and popular poetry.  The English _Kunstpoesie_ of the Middle Ages
lay buried under many superincumbent layers of literary fashion.
Oblivion had overtaken Gower and Occleve, and Lydgate and Stephen Hawes,
and Skelton, and Henryson and James I. of Scotland, and well-nigh Chaucer
himself--all the mediaeval poetry of the schools, in short.  But it was
known to the curious that there was still extant a large body of popular
poetry in the shape of narrative ballads, which had been handed down
chiefly by oral transmission, and still lived in the memories and upon
the lips of the common people.  Many of these went back in their original
shapes to the Middle Ages, or to an even remoter antiquity, and belonged
to that great store of folk-lore which was the common inheritance of the
Aryan race.  Analogues and variants of favorite English and Scottish
ballads have been traced through almost all the tongues of modern Europe.
Danish literature is especially rich in ballads and affords valuable
illustrations of our native ministrelsy.[1]  It was, perhaps, due in part
to the Danish settlements in Northumbria and to the large Scandinavian
admixture in the Northumbrian blood and dialect, that "the north
countrie" became _par excellence_ the ballad land: Lowland
Scotland--particularly the Lothians--and the English bordering counties,
Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Cumberland; with Yorkshire and
Nottinghamshire, in which were Barndale and Sherwood Forests, Robin
Hood's haunts.  It is not possible to assign exact dates to these songs.
They were seldom reduced to writing till many years after they were
composed.  In the Middle Ages they were sung to the harp by wandering
minstrels.  In later times they were chanted or recited by ballad-singers
at fairs, markets, ale-houses, street-corners, sometimes to the
accompaniment of a fiddle or crowd.  They were learned by ancient dames,
who repeated them in chimney corners to children and grandchildren.  In
this way some of them were preserved in an unwritten state, even to the
present day, in the tenacious memory of the people, always at bottom
conservative and, under a hundred changes of fashion in the literary
poetry which passes over their heads, clinging obstinately to old songs
and beliefs learned in childhood, and handing them on to posterity.
Walter Scott got much of the material for his "Ministrelsy of the Border"
from the oral recitation of pipers, shepherds, and old women in Ettrick
Forest.  Professor Child's--the latest and fullest ballad
collection--contains pieces never before given in print or manuscript,
some of them obtained in America![2]

Leading this subterranean existence, and generally thought unworthy the
notice of educated people, they naturally underwent repeated changes; so
that we have numerous versions of the same story, and incidents,
descriptions, and entire stanzas are borrowed and lent freely among the
different ballads.  The circumstance, _e.g._, of the birk and the briar
springing from the graves of true lovers and intertwisting their branches
occurs in the ballads of "Fair Margaret and Sweet William," "Lord Thomas
and Fair Annet," "Lord Lovel," "Fair Janet," and many others.  The knight
who was carried to fairyland through an entrance in a green hillside, and
abode seven years with the queen of fairy, recurs in "Tam Lin," "Thomas
Rymer,"[3] etc.  Like all folk-songs, these ballads are anonymous and may
be regarded not as the composition of any one poet, but as the property,
and in a sense the work, of the people as a whole.  Coming out of an
uncertain past, based on some dark legend of heart-break or blood-shed,
they bear no author's name, but are _ferae naturae_ and have the flavor
of wild game.  They were common stock, like the national speech; everyone
could contribute toward them: generations of nameless poets, minstrels,
ballad-singers modernized their language to suit new times, altered their
dialect to suit new places, accommodated their details to different
audiences, English or Scotch, and in every way that they thought fit
added, retrenched, corrupted, improved, and passed them on.

Folk-poetry is conventional; it seems to be the production of a guild,
and to have certain well understood and commonly expected tricks of style
and verse.  Freshness and sincerity are almost always attributes of the
poetry of heroic ages, but individuality belongs to a high civilization
and an advanced literary culture.  Whether the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey"
are the work of one poet or of a cycle of poets, doubtless the rhetorical
peculiarities of the Homeric epics, such as the recurrent phrase and the
conventional epithet (the rosy-fingered dawn, the well-greaved Greeks,
the swift-footed Achilles, the much-enduring Odysseus, etc.) are due to
this communal or associative character of ancient heroic song.  As in the
companies of architects who built the mediaeval cathedrals, or in the
schools of early Italian painters, masters and disciples, the manner of
the individual artist was subdued to the tradition of his craft.

The English and Scottish popular ballads are in various simple stanza
forms, the commonest of all being the old _septenarius_ or "fourteener,"
arranged in a four-lined stanza of alternate eights and sixes, thus:

    "Up then crew the red, red cock,
      And up and crew the gray;
    The eldest to the youngest said
      ''Tis time we were away.'"[4]

This is the stanza usually employed by modern ballad imitators, like
Coleridge in "The Ancient Mariner," Scott in "Jock o' Hazeldean,"
Longfellow in "The Wreck of the Hesperus," Macaulay in the "Lays of
Ancient Rome," Aytoun in the "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers."  Many of
the stylistic and metrical peculiarities of the ballads arose from the
fact that they were made to be sung or recited from memory.  Such are
perhaps the division of the longer ones into fits, to rest the voice of
the singer; and the use of the burden or refrain for the same purpose, as
also to give the listeners and bystanders a chance to take up the chorus,
which they probably accompanied with a few dancing steps.[5]  Sometimes
the burden has no meaning in itself and serves only to mark time with a
_Hey derry down_ or an _O lilly lally_ and the like.  Sometimes it has
more or less reference to the story, as in "The Two Sisters":

    "He has ta'en three locks o' her yellow hair--
      Binnorie, O Binnorie--
    And wi' them strung his harp sae rare--
      By the bonnie mill-dams of Binnorie."

Again it has no discoverable relation to the context, as in "Riddles
Wisely Expounded"--

    "There was a knicht riding frae the east--
      _Jennifer gentle and rosemarie_--
    Who had been wooing at monie a place--
      _As the dew flies over the mulberry tree._"

Both kinds of refrain have been liberally employed by modern balladists.
Thus Tennyson in "The Sisters":

    "We were two sisters of one race,
      _The wind is howling in turret and tree;_
_    _She was the fairer in the face,
      _O the earl was fair to see."_

While Rossetti and Jean Ingelow and others have rather favored the
inconsequential burden, an affectation travestied by the late Mr. C. S.

    "The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
      (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
    A thing she had frequently done before;
      And her spectacles lay on her aproned knees.

    "The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair
      (Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese),
    And I met with a ballad, I can't say where,
      Which wholly consisted of lines like these."[6]

A musical or mnemonic device akin to the refrain was that sing-song
species of repetend so familiar in ballad language:

    "She had na pu'd a double rose,
      a rose but only twa."

    "They had na sailed a league, a league,
      A league but barely three.

    "How will I come up?  How can I come up?
      How can I come to thee?"

An answer is usually returned in the identical words of the question; and
as in Homer, a formula of narration or a commonplace of description does
duty again and again.  Iteration in the ballads is not merely for
economy, but stands in lieu of the metaphor and other figures of literary

    "'O Marie, put on your robes o' black,
      Or else your robes o' brown,
    For ye maun gang wi' me the night,
      To see fair Edinbro town.'

    "'I winna put on my robes o' black,
      Nor yet my robes o' brown;
    But I'll put on my robes o' white,
      To shine through Edinbro town.'"

Another mark of the genuine ballad manner, as of Homer and _Volkspoesie_
in general, is the conventional epithet.  Macaulay noted that the gold is
always red in the ballads, the ladies always gay, and Robin Hood's men
are always his merry men.  Doughty Douglas, bold Robin Hood, merry
Carlisle, the good greenwood, the gray goose wing, and the wan water are
other inseparables of the kind.  Still another mark is the frequent
retention of the Middle English accent on the final syllable in words
like contrié, barón, dinére, felàwe, abbày, rivére, monéy, and its
assumption by words which never properly had it, such as ladý, harpér,
weddíng, watér, etc.[7]  Indeed, as Percy pointed out in his
introduction, there were "many phrases and idioms which the minstrels
seem to have appropriated to themselves, . . . a cast of style and
measure very different from that of contemporary poets of a higher class."

Not everything that is called a ballad belongs to the class of poetry
that we are here considering.  In its looser employment the word has
signified almost any kind of song: "a woeful ballad made to his mistress'
eyebrow," for example.  "Ballade" was also the name of a somewhat
intricate French stanza form, employed by Gower and Chaucer, and recently
reintroduced into English verse by Dobson, Lang, Goose, and others, along
with the virelay, rondeau, triolet, etc.  There is also a numerous class
of popular ballads--in the sense of something made _for_ the people,
though not _by_ the people--are without relation to our subject.  These
are the street ballads, which were and still are hawked about by
ballad-mongers, and which have no literary character whatever.  There are
satirical and political ballads, ballads versifying passages in Scripture
or chronicle, ballads relating to current events, or giving the history
of famous murders and other crimes, of prodigies, providences, and all
sorts of happenings that teach a lesson in morals: about George Barnwell
and the "Babes in the Wood," and "Whittington and his Cat," etc.: ballads
like Shenstone's "Jemmy Dawson" and Gay's "Black-eyed Susan."  Thousands
of such are included in manuscript collections like the "Pepysian," or
printed in the publications of the Roxburghe Club and the Ballad Society.
But whether entirely modern, or extant in black-letter broadsides, they
are nothing to our purpose.  We have to do here with the folk-song, the
_traditional_ ballad, product of the people at a time when the people was
homogeneous and the separation between the lettered and unlettered
classes had not yet taken place: the true minstrel ballad of the Middle
Ages, or of that state of society which in rude and primitive
neighborhoods, like the Scottish border, prolonged mediaeval conditions
beyond the strictly mediaeval period.

In the form in which they are preserved, a few of our ballads are older
than the seventeenth or the latter part of the sixteenth century, though
in their origin many of them are much older.  Manuscript versions of
"Robin Hood and the Monk" and "Robin Hood and the Potter" exist, which
are referred to the last years of the fifteenth century.  The "Lytel
Geste of Robyn Hode" was printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1489.  The
"Not-Brown Maid" was printed in "Arnold's Chronicle" in 1502.  "The
Hunting of the Cheviot"--the elder version of "Chevy Chase"--was
mentioned by Philip Sidney in his "Defence of Poesie" in 1850.[8]  The
ballad is a narrative song, naïve, impersonal, spontaneous, objective.
The singer is lost in the song, the teller in the tale.  That is its
essence, but sometimes the story is told by the lyrical, sometimes by the
dramatic method.  In "Helen of Kirkconnell" it is the bereaved lover who
is himself the speaker: in "Waly Waly," the forsaken maid.  These are
monologues; for a purely dialogue ballad it will be sufficient to mention
the power and impressive piece in the "Reliques" entitled "Edward."
Herder translated this into German; it is very old, with Danish, Swedish,
and Finnish analogues.  It is a story of parricide, and is narrated in a
series of questions by the mother and answers by the son.  The commonest
form, however, was a mixture of epic and dramatic, or direct relation
with dialogue.  A frequent feature is the abruptness of the opening and
the translations.  The ballad-maker observes unconsciously Aristotle's
rule for the epic poet, to begin _in medias res_.  Johnson noticed this
in the instance of "Johnny Armstrong," but a stronger example is found in
"The Banks of Yarrow:"

    "Late at e'en, drinking the wine,
      And ere they paid the lawing,
    They set a combat them between,
      To fight it in the dawing."

With this, an indirect, allusive way of telling the story, which Goethe
mentions in his prefatory note to "Des Sängers Fluch," as a constant note
of the "Volkslied."  The old ballad-maker does not vouchsafe explanations
about persons and motives; often he gives the history, not expressly nor
fully, but by hints and glimpses, leaving the rest to conjecture;
throwing up its salient points into a strong, lurid light against a
background of shadows.  The knight rides out a-hunting, and by and by his
riderless horse comes home, and that is all:

    "Toom[9] hame cam the saddle
      But never cam he."

Or the knight himself comes home and lies down to die, reluctantly
confessing, under his mother's questioning, that he dined with his
true-love and is poisoned.[10]  And again that is all.  Or

    "--In behint yon auld fail[11] dyke,
    I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
    And naebody kens that he lies there,
    But his hawk, his hound, and lady fair.

    "His hound is to the hunting game,
    His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
    His lady's ta'en another mate,
    So we may mak our dinner sweet."

A whole unuttered tragedy of love, treachery, and murder lies back of
these stanzas.  This method of narration may be partly accounted for by
the fact that the story treated was commonly some local country-side
legend of family feud or unhappy passion, whose incidents were familiar
to the ballad-singer's audience and were readily supplied by memory.  One
theory holds that the story was partly told and partly sung, and that the
links and expositions were given in prose.  However this may be, the
artless art of these popular poets evidently included a knowledge of the
uses of mystery and suggestion.  They knew that, for the imagination, the
part is sometimes greater than the whole.  Gray wrote to Mason in 1757,
"I have got the old Scotch ballad [Gil Maurice] on which 'Douglas'
[Home's tragedy, first played at Edinburgh in 1756] was founded.  It is
divine. . .  Aristotle's best rules are observed in it in a manner which
shews the author never had heard of Aristotle.  It begins in the fifth
act of the play.  You may read it two-thirds through without guessing
what it is about; and yet, when you come to the end, it is impossible not
to understand the whole story."

It is not possible to recover the conditions under which these folk-songs
"made themselves,"[12] as it were, or grew under the shaping hands of
generations of nameless bards.  Their naïve, primitive quality cannot be
acquired: the secret is lost.  But Walter Scott, who was steeped to the
lips in balladry, and whose temper had much of the healthy objectivity of
an earlier age, has succeeded as well as any modern.  Some of his ballads
are more perfect artistically than his long metrical romances; those of
them especially which are built up from a burden or fragment of old
minstrel song, like "Jock o' Hazeldean"[13] and the song in "Rokeby":

    "He turned his charger as he spake
      Upon the river shore,
    He gave the bride-reins a shake,
      Said 'Adieu for evermore,
            My love!
    And adieu for evermore!'"

Here Scott catches the very air of popular poetry, and the dovetailing is
done with most happy skill.  "Proud Maisie is in the Wood" is a fine
example of the ballad manner of story-telling by implication.[14]

As regards their subject-matter, the ballads admit of a rough
classification into the historical, or _quasi_-historical, and the purely
legendary or romantic.  Of the former class were the "riding-ballad" of
the Scottish border, where the forays of moss-troopers, the lifting of
blackmail, the raids and private warfare of the Lords of the Marches,
supplied many traditions of heroism and adventure like those recorded in
"The Battle of Otterburn," "The Hunting of the Cheviot," "Johnnie
Armstrong," "Kinmont Willie," "The Rising in the North" and
"Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas."  Of the fictitious class, some were
shortened, popularized, and generally degraded versions of the chivalry
romances, which were passing out of favor among educated readers in the
sixteenth century and fell into the hands of the ballad-makers.  Such, to
name only a few included in the "Reliques," were "Sir Lancelot du Lake,"
"The Legend of Sir Guy," "King Arthur's Death" and "The Marriage of Sir
Gawaine."  But the substance of these was not of the genuine popular
stuff, and their personages were simply the old heroes of court poetry in
reduced circumstances.  Much more impressive are the original folk-songs,
which strike their roots deep into the ancient world of legend and even
of myth.

In this true ballad world there is a strange commingling of paganism and
Catholic Christianity.  It abounds in the supernatural and the marvelous.
Robin Hood is a pious outlaw.  He robs the fat-headed monks, but will not
die unhouseled and has great devotion to Our Blessed Lady; who appears
also to Brown Robyn, when he is cast overboard, hears his confession and
takes his soul to Heaven.[15]  When mass has been sung and the bells of
merry Lincoln have rung, Lady Maisry goes seeking her little Hugh, who
has been killed by the Jew's daughter and thrown into Our Lady's
draw-well fifty fathom deep, and the boy answers his mother miraculously
from the well.[16]  Birds carry messages for lovers[17] and dying
men,[18] or show the place where the body lies buried and the
corpse-candles shine.[19]  The harper strings his harp with three golden
hairs of the drowned maiden, and the tune that he plays upon them reveals
the secret of her death.[20]  The ghosts of the sons that have perished
at sea come home to take farewell of their mother.[21]  The spirit of the
forsaken maid visits her false lover at midnight;[22] or "the dead comes
for the quick,"[23] as in Burger's weird poem.  There are witches,
fairies, and mermaidens[24] in the ballads: omens, dreams, spells,[25]
enchantments, transformations,[26] magic rings and charms, "gramarye"[27]
of many sorts; and all these things are more effective here than in poets
like Spenser and Collins, because they are matters of belief and not of

The ballads are prevailingly tragical in theme, and the tragic passions
of pity and fear find an elementary force of utterance.  Love is strong
as death, jealousy cruel as the grave.  Hate, shame, grief, despair speak
here with their native accent:

    "There are seven forsters at Pickeram Side,
      At Pickeram where they dwell,
    And for a drop of thy heart's bluid
      They wad ride the fords of hell."[28]

    "O little did my mother think,
      The day she cradled me,
    What lands I was to travel through,
      What death I was to dee."[29]

The maiden asks her buried lover:

    "Is there any room at your head, Sanders?
      Is there any room at your feet?
    Or any room at your twa sides,
      Where fain, fain would I sleep?"[30]

    "O waly, waly, but love be bonny
      A little time while it is new;[31]
    But when 'tis auld it waxeth cauld
      And fades awa' like morning dew. . .

    "And O! if my young babe were born,
      And set upon the nurse's knee,
    And I mysel' were dead and gane,
      And the green grass growing over me!"

Manners in this world are of a primitive savagery.  There are treachery,
violence, cruelty, revenge; but there are also honor, courage, fidelity,
and devotion that endureth to the end. "Child Waters" and "Fair Annie" do
not suffer on a comparison with Tennyson's "Enid" and Chaucer's story of
patient Griselda ("The Clerkes Tale") with which they have a common
theme.  It is the medieval world.  Marauders, pilgrims, and wandering
gleemen go about in it.  The knight stands at his garden pale, the lady
sits at her bower window, and the little foot page carries messages over
moss and moor.  Marchmen are riding through the Bateable Land "by the hie
light o' the moon."  Monks are chanting in St. Mary's Kirk, trumpets are
blowing in Carlisle town, castles are burning; down in the glen there is
an ambush and swords are flashing; bows are twanging in the greenwood;
four and twenty ladies are playing at the ball, and four and twenty
milk-white calves are in the woods of Glentanner--all ready to be stolen.
About Yule the round tables begin; the queen looks over the castle-wall,
the palmer returns from the Holy Land, Young Waters lies deep in Stirling
dungeon, but Child Maurice is in the silver wood, combing his yellow
locks with a silver comb.

There is an almost epic coherence about the ballads of the Robin Hood
cycle.  This good robber, who with his merry men haunted the forests of
Sherwood and Barnsdale, was the real ballad hero and the darling of the
popular fancy which created him.  For though the names of his confessor,
Friar Tuck; his mistress, Maid Marian; and his companions, Little John,
Scathelock, and Much the miller's son, have an air of reality,--and
though the tradition has associated itself with definite
localities,--there is nothing historical about Robin Hood.  Langland, in
the fourteenth century, mentions "rhymes of Robin Hood"; and efforts have
been made to identify him with one of the dispossessed followers of Simon
de Montfort, in "the Barons' War," or with some still earlier
free-booter, of Hereward's time, who had taken to the woods and lived by
plundering the Normans.  Myth as he is, he is a thoroughly national
conception.  He had the English love of fair play; the English readiness
to shake hands and make up when worsted in a square fight.  He killed the
King's venison, but was a loyal subject.  He took from the rich and gave
to the poor, executing thus a kind of wild justice.  He defied legal
authority in the person of the proud sheriff of Nottingham, thereby
appealing to that secret sympathy with lawlessness which marks a
vigorous, free yeomanry.[32]  He had the knightly virtues of courtesy and
hospitality, and the yeomanly virtues of good temper and friendliness.
And finally, he was a mighty archer with the national weapons, the
long-bow and the cloth-yard shaft; and so appealed to the national love
of sport in his free and careless life under the greenwood tree.  The
forest scenery give a poetic background to his exploits, and though the
ballads, like folk-poetry in general, seldom linger over natural
descriptions, there is everywhere a consciousness of this background and
a wholesome, outdoor feeling:

    "In somer, when the shawes be sheyne,
      And leves be large and long,
    Hit is full mery in feyre foreste
      To here the foulys song:

    "To se the dere draw to the dale,
      And leve the hillis hee,
    And shadow hem in the levës grene,
      Under the grene-wode tre."[33]

Although a few favorite ballads such as "Johnnie Armstrong," "Chevy
Chase," "The Children in the Wood," and some of the Robin Hood ones had
long been widely, nay almost universally familiar, they had hardly been
regarded as literature worthy of serious attention.  They were looked
upon as nursery tales, or at best as the amusement of peasants and
unlettered folk, who used to paste them up on the walls of inns,
cottages, and ale-houses.  Here and there an educated man had had a
sneaking fondness for collecting old ballads--much as people nowadays
collect postage stamps.  Samuel Pepys, the diarist, made such a
collection, and so did John Selden, the great legal antiquary and scholar
of Milton's time.  "I have heard," wrote Addison, "that the late Lord
Dorset, who had the greatest wit tempered with the greatest candor, and
was one of the finest critics as well as the best poets of his age, had a
numerous collection of old English ballads, and a particular pleasure in
the reading of them.  I can affirm the same of Mr. Dryden."  Dryden's
"Miscellany Poems" (1684) gave "Gilderoy," "Johnnie Armstrong," "Chevy
Chase," "The Miller and the King's Daughter," and "Little Musgrave and
the Lady Barnard."  The last named, as well as "Lady Anne Bothwell's
Lament" and "Fair Margaret and Sweet William,"[34] was quoted in Beaumont
and Fletcher's "Knight of the Burning Pestle," (1611).  Scraps of them
are sung by one of the _dramatis personae_, old Merrythought, whose
speciality is a damnable iteration of ballad fragments.  References to
old ballads are numerous in the Elizabethan plays.  Percy devoted the
second book of his first series to "Ballads that Illustrate Shakspere."
In the seventeenth century a few ballads were printed entire in poetic
miscellanies entitled "Garlands," higgledy-piggledy with pieces of all
kinds.  Professor Child enumerates nine ballad collections before
Percy's.  The only ones of any importance among these were "A Collection
of Old Ballads" (Vols I. and II. in 1723, Vol III. In 1725), ascribed to
Ambrose Philips; and the Scotch poet, Allan Ramsay's, "Tea Table
Miscellany," (in 4 vols., 1714-40) and "Evergreen" (2 vols., 1724).  The
first of these collections was illustrated with copperplate engravings
and supplied with introductions which were humorous in intention.  The
editor treated his ballads as trifles, though he described them as
"corrected from the best and most ancient copies extant"; and said that
Homer himself was nothing more than a blind ballad-singer, whose songs
had been subsequently joined together and formed into an epic poem.
Ramsay's ballads were taken in part from a manuscript collection of some
eight hundred pages, made by George Bannatyne about 1570 and still
preserved in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh.

In Nos. 70, 74, and 85, of the _Spectator_, Addison had praised the
naturalness and simplicity of the popular ballads, selecting for special
mention "Chevy Chase"--the later version--"which," he wrote, "is the
favorite ballad of the common people of England; and Ben Jonson used to
say he had rather have been the author of it than of all his works"; and
"the 'Two Children in the Wood,' which is one of the darling songs of the
common people, and has been the delight of most Englishmen in some part
of their age."  Addison justifies his liking for these humble poems by
classical precedents.  "The greatest modern critics have laid it down as
a rule that an heroic poem should be founded upon some important precept
of morality adapted to the constitution of the country in which the poet
writes.  Homer and Virgil have formed their plans in this view."
Accordingly he thinks that the author of "Chevy Chase" meant to point a
moral as to the mischiefs of private war.  As if it were not precisely
the _gaudium certaminis_ that inspired the old border ballad-maker!  As
if he did not glory in the fight!  The passage where Earl Percy took the
dead Douglas by the hand and lamented his fallen foe reminds Addison of
Aeneas' behavior toward Lausus.  The robin red-breast covering the
children with leaves recalls to his mind a similar touch in one of
Horace's odes.  But it was much that Addison, whose own verse was so
artificial, should have had a taste for the wild graces of folk-song.  He
was severely ridiculed by his contemporaries for these concessions.  "He
descended now and then to lower disquisitions," wrote Dr. Johnson," and
by a serious display of the beauties of 'Chevy Chase,' exposed himself to
the ridicule of Wagstaff, who bestowed a like pompous character on 'Tom
Thumb'; and to the contempt of Dennis, who, considering the fundamental
position of his criticism, that 'Chevy Chase' pleases and ought to please
because it is natural, observes that 'there is a way of deviating from
nature . . . by imbecility, which degrades nature by faintness and
diminution'. . .  In 'Chevy Chase' . . . there is a chill and lifeless
imbecility.  The story cannot possibly be told in a manner that shall
make less impression on the mind."[35]

Nicholas Rowe, the dramatist and Shakspere editor, had said a good word
for ballads in the prologue to "Jane Shore" (1713):

    "Let no nice taste despise the hapless dame
    Because recording ballads chant her name.
    Those venerable ancient song enditers
    Soared many a pitch above our modern writers. . .
    Our numbers may be more refined than those,
    But what we've gained in verse, we've lost in prose.
    Their words no shuffling double meaning knew:
    Their speech was homely, but their hearts were true. . .
    With rough, majestic force they moved the heart,
    And strength and nature made amends for art."

Ballad forgery had begun early.  To say nothing of appropriations, like
Mallet's, of "William and Margaret," Lady Wardlaw put forth her
"Hardyknut" in 1719 as a genuine old ballad, and it was reprinted as such
in Ramsay's "Evergreen."  Gray wrote to Walpole in 1760, "I have been
often told that the poem called 'Hardicanute' (which I always admired and
still admire) was the work of somebody that lived a few years ago.  This
I do not at all believe, though it has evidently been retouched by some
modern hand."  Before Percy no concerted or intelligent effort had been
made toward collecting, preserving, and editing the _corpus poetarum_ of
English minstrelsy.  The great mass of ancient ballads, so far as they
were in print at all, existed in "stall copies," _i.e._, single sheets of
broadsides, struck off for sale by balladmongers and the keepers of

Thomas Percy, the compiler of the "Reliques," was a parish clergyman,
settled at the retired hamlet of Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire.  For
years he had amused his leisure by collecting ballads.  He numbered among
his acquaintances men of letters like Johnson, Goldsmith, Garrick,
Grainger, Farmer, and Shenstone.  It was the last who suggested the plan
of the "Reliques" and who was to have helped in its execution, had not
his illness and death prevented.  Johnson spent a part of the summer of
1764 on a visit to the vicarage of Easton Maudit, on which occasion Percy
reports that his guest "chose for his regular reading the old Spanish
romance of 'Felixmarte of Hircania,' in folio, which he read quite
through."  He adds, what one would not readily suspect, that the doctor,
when a boy, "was immoderately fond of reading romances of chivalry, and
he retained his fondness for them through life. . .  I have heard him
attribute to these extravagant fictions that unsettled turn of mind which
prevented his ever fixing in any profession."  Percy talked over his
project with Johnson, who would seem to have given his approval, and even
to have added his persuasions to Shenstone's.  For in the preface to the
first edition of the "Reliques," the editor declared that "he could
refuse nothing to such judges as the author of the _Rambler_ and the late
Mr. Shenstone"; and that "to the friendship of Mr. Johnson he owes many
valuable hints for the conduct of his work."  And after Ritson had
questioned the existence of the famous "folio manuscript," Percy's nephew
in the advertisement to the fourth edition (1794), cited "the appeal
publicly made to Dr. Johnson . . . so long since as in the year 1765, and
never once contradicted by him."

In spite of these amenities, the doctor had a low opinion of ballads and
ballad collectors.  In the _Rambler_ (No. 177) he made merry over one
Cantilenus, who "turned all his thoughts upon old ballads, for he
considered them as the genuine records of the natural taste.  He offered
to show me a copy of 'The Children in the Wood,' which he firmly believed
to be of the first edition, and by the help of which the text might be
freed from several corruptions, if this age of barbarity had any claim to
such favors from him."  "The conversation," says Boswell, "having turned
on modern imitations of ancient ballads, and someone having praised their
simplicity, he treated them with that ridicule which he always displayed
when that subject was mentioned."  Johnson wrote several stanzas in
parody of the ballads; _e.g._,

    "The tender infant, meek and mild,
      Fell down upon a stone:
    The nurse took up the squealing child,
      But still the child squealed on."

And again:

    "I put my hat upon my head
      And walked into the Strand;
    And there I met another man
      Whose hat was in his hand."

This is quoted by Wordsworth,[36] who compares it with a stanza from "The
Children in the Wood":

    "Those pretty babes, with hand in hand,
      Went wandering up and down;
    But never more they saw the man
      Approaching from the town."

He says that in both of these stanzas the language is that of familiar
conversation, yet one stanza is admirable and the other contemptible,
because the _matter_ of it is contemptible.  In the essay supplementary
to his preface, Wordsworth asserts that the "Reliques" was "ill suited to
the then existing taste of city society, and Dr. Johnson . . . was not
sparing in his exertions to make it an object of contempt": and that "Dr.
Percy was so abashed by the ridicule flung upon his labors . . . that,
though while he was writing under a mask he had not wanted resolution to
follow his genius into the regions of true simplicity and genuine pathos
(as is evinced by the exquisite ballad of 'Sir Cauline' and by many other
pieces), yet when he appeared in his own person and character as a
poetical writer, he adopted, as in the tale of 'The Hermit of Warkworth,'
a diction scarcely distinguishable from the vague, the glossy and
unfeeling language of his day."  Wordsworth adds that he esteems the
genius of Dr. Percy in this kind of writing superior to that of any other
modern writer; and that even Bürger had not Percy's fine sensibility.  He
quotes, in support of this opinion, two stanzas from "The Child of Elle"
in the "Reliques," and contrasts them with the diluted and tricked-out
version of the same in Bürger's German.

Mr. Hales does not agree in this high estimate of Percy as a ballad
composer.  Of this same "Child of Elle" he says: "The present fragment of
a version may be fairly said to be now printed for the first time, as in
the 'Reliques' it is buried in a heap of 'polished' verses composed by
Percy.  That worthy prelate, touched by the beauty of it--he had a
soul--was unhappily moved to try his hand at its completion.  A
wax-doll-maker might as well try to restore Milo's Venus.  There are
thirty-nine lines here.  There are two hundred in the thing called the
'Child of Elle' in the 'Reliques.'  But in those two hundred lines all
the thirty-nine originals do not appear. . .  On the whole, the union of
the genuine and the false--of the old ballad with Percy's tawdry
feebleness--makes about as objectionable a _mésalliance_ as in the story
itself is in the eyes of the father."[37]  The modern ballad scholars, in
their zeal for the purity of the text, are almost as hard upon Percy as
Ritson himself was.  They say that he polished "The Heir of Linne" till
he could see his own face in it; and swelled out its 126 lines to 216--"a
fine flood of ballad and water."[38]  The result of this piecing and
tinkering in "Sir Cauline"--which Wordsworth thought exquisite--they
regard as a heap of tinsel, though they acknowledge that "these
additional stanzas show, indeed, an extensive acquaintance with old
balladry and a considerable talent of imitation."

From the critical or scholarly point of view, these strictures are
doubtless deserved.  It is an editor's duty to give his text as he finds
it, without interpolations or restorations; and it is unquestionable that
Percy's additions to fragmentary pieces are full of sentimentalism,
affectation, and the spurious poetic diction of his age.  An experienced
ballad amateur can readily separate, in most cases, the genuine portions
from the insertions.  But it is unfair to try Percy by modern editorial
canons.  That sacredness which is now imputed to the _ipsissima verba_ of
an ancient piece of popular literature would have been unintelligible to
men of that generation, who regarded such things as trifles at best, and
mostly as barbarous trifles--something like wampum belts, or nose-rings,
or antique ornaments in the _goût barbare et charmant des bijoux goths_.
Percy's readers did not want torsos and scraps; to present them with
acephalous or bobtailed ballads--with _cetera desunt_ and constellations
of asterisks--like the manuscript in Prior's poem, the conclusion of
which was eaten by the rats--would have been mere pedantry.  Percy knew
his public, and he knew how to make his work attractive to it.  The
readers of that generation enjoyed their ballad with a large infusion of
Percy.  If the scholars of this generation prefer to take theirs without,
they know where to get it.

The materials for the "Reliques" were drawn partly from the Pepys
collection at Magdalen College, Cambridge; from Anthony Wood's, made in
1676, in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford; from manuscript and printed
ballads in the Bodleian, the British Museum, the archives of the
Antiquarian Society, and private collections.  Sir David Dalrymple sent a
number of Scotch ballads, and the editor acknowledged obligations to
Thomas Warton and many others.  But the nucleus of the whole was a
certain folio manuscript in a handwriting of Charles I.'s time,
containing 191 songs and ballads, which Percy had begged, then still very
young, from his friend Humphrey Pitt, of Prior's-Lee in Shropshire.  When
he first saw this precious document, it was torn, unbound, and mutilated,
"lying dirty on the floor under a bureau in the parlor, being used by the
maids to light the fire."  The first and last leaves were wanting, and
"of 54 pages near the beginning, half of every leaf hath been torn
away."[39]  Percy had it bound, but the binders trimmed off the top and
bottom lines in the process.  From this manuscript he professed to have
taken "the greater part" of the pieces in the "Reliques."  In truth he
took only 45 of the 176 poems in his first edition from this source.

Percy made no secret of the fact that he filled _lacunae_ in his
originals with stanzas, and, in some cases, with nearly entire poems of
his own composition.  But the extent of the liberties that he took with
the text, although suspected, was not certainly known until Mr. Furnivall
finally got leave to have the folio manuscript copied and printed.[40]
Before this time it had been jealously guarded by the Percy family, and
access to it had been denied to scholars.  "Since Percy and his nephew
printed their fourth edition of the 'Reliques' from the manuscript in
1794," writes Mr. Furnivall in his "Forewords," "no one has printed any
piece from it except Robert Jamieson--to whom Percy supplied a copy of
'Child Maurice' and 'Robin Hood and the Old Man' for his 'Popular Ballads
and Songs' (1806)--and Sir Frederic Madden, who was allowed--by one of
Percy's daughters--to print 'The Grene Knight,' 'The Carle of Carlisle'
and 'The Turk and Gawin' in his 'Syr Gawaine' for the Bannatyne Club,
1839."  Percy was furiously assailed by Joseph Ritson for manipulating
his texts; and in the 1794 edition he made some concessions to the
latter's demand for a literal rescript, by taking off a few of the
ornaments in which he had tricked them.  Ritson was a thoroughly
critical, conscientious student of poetic antiquities and held the right
theory of an editor's functions.  In his own collection of early English
poetry he rendered a valuable service to all later inquiries.  These
included "Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry," 1791; "Ancient Songs," 1792;
"Scottish Songs," 1794; "Robin Hood," 1795; besides editions of Laurence
Minot's poems, and of "Gammer Gurton's Needle," as well as other titles.
He was an ill-tempered and eccentric man: a vegetarian, a free-thinker, a
spelling reformer,[41] and latterly a Jacobin.  He attacked Warton as
well as Percy, and used to describe any clerical antagonist as a
"stinking priest."  He died insane in 1803.  Ritson took issue with the
theory maintained in Percy's introductory "Essay on the Ancient
Minstrels," viz.: that the minstrels were not only the singers, but
likewise the authors of the ballads.  But Ritson went so far in his rage
against Percy as to deny the existence of the sacred Folio Manuscript,
until convinced by abundant testimony that there was such a thing.  It
was an age of forgeries, and Ritson was not altogether without
justification in supposing that the author of "The Hermit of Warkworth"
belonged in the same category with Chatterton, Ireland, and MacPherson.

Percy, like Warton, took an apologetic tone toward his public.  "In a
polished age, like the present," he wrote, "I am sensible that many of
these reliques of antiquity will require great allowances to be made for
them.  Yet have they, for the most part, a pleasing simplicity and many
artless graces, which, in the opinion of no mean critics, have been
thought to compensate for the want of higher beauties."  Indeed how
should it have been otherwise?  The old ballads were everything which the
eighteenth century was not.  They were rough and wild, where that was
smooth and tame; they dealt, with fierce sincerity, in the elementary
passions of human nature.  They did not moralize, or philosophize, or
sentimentalize; were never subtle, intellectual, or abstract.  They were
plain English, without finery or elegance.  They had certain popular
mannerisms, but none of the conventional figures of speech or rhetorical
artifices like personifications, periphrasis, antithesis, and climax so
dear to the Augustan heart.  They were intent on the story--not on the
style--and they just told it and let it go for what it was worth.

Moreover, there are ballads and ballads.  The best of them are noble in
expression as well as feeling, unequaled by anything in our medieval
poetry outside of Chaucer; unequaled by Chaucer himself in point of
intensity, in occasional phrases of a piercing beauty:

    "The swans-fethers that his arrowe bar
    With his hart-blood they were wet."[42]

    "O cocks are crowing a merry mid-larf,
      A wat the wild fule boded day;
    The salms of Heaven will be sung,
      And ere now I'll be missed away."[43]

    "If my love were an earthly knight,
      As he's an elfin gray,
    A wad na gie my sin true love
      For no lord that ye hae."[44]

    "She hang ae napkin at the door,
      Another in the ha,
    And a' to wipe the trickling tears,
      Sae fast as they did fa."[45]

    "And all is with one chyld of yours,
      I feel stir at my side:
    My gowne of green, it is too strait:
      Before it was too wide."[46]

Verse of this quality needs no apology.  But of many of the ballads,
Dennis' taunt, repeated by Dr. Johnson, is true; they are not merely
rude, but weak and creeping in style.  Percy knew that the best of them
would savor better to the palates of his contemporaries if he dressed
them with modern sauces.  Yet he must have loved them, himself, in their
native simplicity, and it seems almost incredible that he could have
spoken as he did about Prior's insipid paraphrase of the "Nut Brown
Maid."  "If it had no other merit," he says of that most lovely ballad,
"than the having afforded the ground-work to Prior's 'Henry and Emma,'
this ought to preserve it from oblivion."  Prior was a charming writer of
epigram, society verse, and the humorous _conte_ in the manner of La
Fontaine; but to see how incapable he was of the depth and sweetness of
romantic poetry, compare a few lines of the original with the "hubbub of
words" in his modernized version, in heroic couplets:

    "O Lord, what is this worldes blisse
    That changeth as the mone!
    The somer's day in lusty May
    Is derked before the none.
    I hear you say farewel.  Nay, nay,
    We departe not so soon:
    Why say ye so?  Wheder wyle ye goo?
    Alas! what have ye done?
    Alle my welfare to sorrow and care
    Shulde change if ye were gon;
    For in my minde, of all mankynde,
    I love but you alone."

Now hear Prior, with his Venus and flames and god of love:

    "What is our bliss that changeth with the moon,
    And day of life that darkens ere 'tis noon?
    What is true passion, if unblest it dies?
    And where is Emma's joy, if Henry flies?
    If love, alas! be pain, the pain I bear
    No thought can figure and no tongue declare.
    Ne'er faithful woman felt, nor false one feigned
    The flames which long have in my bosom reigned.
    The god of love himself inhabits there
    With all his rage and dread and grief and care,
    His complement of stores and total war,
    O cease then coldly to suspect my love
    And let my deed at least my faith approve.
    Alas! no youth shall my endearments share
    Nor day nor night shall interrupt my care;
    No future story shall with truth upbraid
    The cold indifference of the nut-brown maid;
    Nor to hard banishment shall Henry run
    While careless Emma sleeps on beds of down.
    View me resolved, where'er thou lead'st, to go:
    Friend to thy pain and partner of thy woe;
    For I attest fair Venus and her son
    That I, of all mankind, will love but thee alone."

There could be no more striking object lesson than this of the plethora
from which English poetic diction was suffering, and of the sanative
value of a book like the "Reliques."

"To atone for the rudeness of the more obsolete poems," and "to take off
from the tediousness of the longer narratives," Percy interspersed a few
modern ballads and a large number of "little elegant pieces of the lyric
kind" by Skelton, Hawes, Gascoigne, Raleigh, Marlowe, Shakspere, Jonson,
Warner, Carew, Daniel, Lovelace, Suckling, Drayton, Beaumont and
Fletcher, Wotton, and other well-known poets.  Of the modern ballads the
only one with any resemblance to folk-poetry was "The Braes o' Yarrow" by
William Hamilton of Bangour, a Scotch gentleman who was "out in the
forty-five."  The famous border stream had watered an ancient land of
song and story, and Hamilton's ballad, with its "strange, fugitive
melody," was not unworthy of its traditions.  Hamilton belongs to the
Milton imitators by virtue of his octosyllabics "Contemplation."[47]  His
"Braes o' Yarrow" had been given already in Ramsey's "Tea Table
Miscellany," The opening lines--

    "Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny bride,
      Busk ye, busk ye, my winsome marrow"--

are quoted in Wordsworth's "Yarrow Unvisited," as well as a line of the
following stanza:

    "Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the grass,
      Yellow on Yarrow's bank the gowan:
    Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
      Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowin'."

The first edition of the "Reliques" included one acknowledged child of
Percy's muse, "The Friar of Orders Grey," a short, narrative ballad made
up of song snatches from Shakspere's plays.  Later editions afforded his
longer poem, "The Hermit of Warkworth," first published independently in

With all its imperfections--perhaps partly in consequence of its
imperfections--the "Reliques" was an epoch-making book.  The nature of
its service to English letters is thus stated by Macaulay, in the
introduction to his "Lays of Ancient Rome": "We cannot wonder that the
ballads of Rome should have altogether disappeared, when we remember how
very narrowly, in spite of the invention of printing, those of our own
country and those of Spain escaped the same fate.  There is, indeed,
little doubt that oblivion covers many English songs equal to any that
were published by Bishop Percy; and many Spanish songs as good as the
best of those which have been so happily translated by Mr. Lockhart.
Eighty years ago England possessed only one tattered copy of 'Child
Waters' and 'Sir Cauline,' and Spain only one tattered copy of the noble
poem of the 'Cid.'  The snuff of a candle, or a mischievous dog, might in
a moment have deprived the world forever of any of those fine
compositions.  Sir Walter Scott, who united to the fire of a great poet
the minute curiosity and patient diligence of a great antiquary, was but
just in time to save the precious reliques of the Minstrelsy of the

But Percy not only rescued, himself, a number of ballads from
forgetfulness; what was equally important, his book prompted others to
hunt out and publish similar relics before it was too late.  It was the
occasion of collections like Herd's (1769), Scott's (1802-03), and
Motherwell's (1827), and many more, resting on purer texts and edited on
more scrupulous principles than his own.  Futhermore, his ballads helped
to bring about a reform in literary taste and to inspire men of original
genius.  Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Scott, all acknowledged the
greatest obligations to them.  Wordsworth said that English poetry had
been "absolutely redeemed" by them.  "I do not think there is a writer in
verse of the present day who would not be proud to acknowledge his
obligations to the 'Reliques.'  I know that it is so with my friends;
and, for myself, I am happy that it is so with my friends; and, for
myself, I am happy in this occasion to make a public avowal of my
own."[48]  Without the "Reliques," "The Ancient Mariner," "The Lady of
the Lake," "La Belle Dame sans Merci," "Stratton Water," and "The
Haystack in the Floods" might never have been.  Perhaps even the "Lyrical
Ballads" might never have been, or might have been something quite unlike
what they are.  Wordsworth, to be sure, scarcely ranks among romantics,
and he expressly renounces the romantic machinery:

    "The dragon's wing,
    The magic ring,
    I shall not covet for my dower."[49]

What he learned from the popular ballad was the power of sincerity and of
direct and homely speech.

As for Scott, he has recorded in an oft-quoted passage the impression
that Percy's volumes made upon him in his school-days: "I remember well
the spot where I read these volumes for the first time.  It was beneath a
huge plantain tree in the ruins of what had been intended for an
old-fashioned arbor in the garden I have mentioned.  The summer day sped
onward so fast that, notwithstanding the sharp appetite of thirteen, I
forgot the hour of dinner, was sought for with anxiety, and was still
found entranced in my intellectual banquet.  To read and to remember was,
in this instance, the same thing; and henceforth I overwhelmed my
school-fellows, and all who would hearken to me, with tragical
recitations from the ballads of Bishop Percy.  The first time, too, I
could scrape a few shillings together, I bought unto myself a copy of
these beloved volumes; nor do I believe I ever read a book so frequently,
or with half the enthusiasm."

The "Reliques" worked powerfully in Germany, too.  It was received in
Lessing's circle with universal enthusiasm,[50] and fell in with that
newly aroused interest in "Volkslieder" which prompted Herder's "Stimmen
der Völker" (1778-79).[51]  Gottfried August Bürger, in particular, was a
poet who may be said to have been made by the English ballad literature,
of which he was an ardent student.  His poems were published in 1778, and
included five translations from Percy: "The Child of Elle" ("Die
Entführung"), "The Friar of Orders Grey" ("Graurock"), "The Wanton Wife
of Bath" ("Frau Schnips"), "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury" ("Der
Kaiser und der Abt"), and "Child Waters" ("Graf Walter").  A. W. Schlegel
says that Burger did not select the more ancient and genuine pieces in
the "Reliques"; and, moreover, that he spoiled the simplicity of the
originals in his translations.  It was doubtless in part the success of
the "Reliques" that is answerable for many collections of old English
poetry put forth in the last years of the century.  Tyrwhitt's "Chaucer"
and Ritson's publications have been already mentioned.  George Ellis, a
friend and correspondent of Walter Scott, and a fellow of the Society of
Antiquaries, who was sometimes called "the Sainte Palaye of England,"
issued his "Specimens of Early English Poets" in 1790; edited in 1796 G.
L. Way's translations from French _fabliaux_ of the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries; and printed in 1805 three volumes of "Early English
Metrical Romances."

It is pleasant to record that Percy's labors brought him public
recognition and the patronage of those whom Dr. Johnson used to call "the
great."  He had dedicated the "Reliques" to Elizabeth Percy, Countess of
Northumberland.  Himself the son of a grocer, he liked to think that he
was connected by blood with the great northern house whose exploits had
been sung by the ancient minstrels that he loved.  He became chaplain to
the Duke of Northumberland, and to King George III.; and, in 1782, Bishop
of Dromore in Ireland, in which see he died in 1811.

This may be as fit a place as any to introduce some mention of "The
Minstrel, or the Progress of Genius," by James Beattie; a poem once
widely popular, in which several strands of romantic influence are seen
twisted together.  The first book was published in 1771, the second in
1774, and the work was never completed.  It was in the Spenserian stanza,
was tinged with the enthusiastic melancholy of the Wartons, followed the
landscape manner of Thomson, had elegiac echoes of Gray, and was perhaps
not unaffected, in its love of mountain scenery, by MacPherson's
"Ossian."  But it took its title and its theme from a hint in Percy's
"Essay on the Ancient Minstrels."[52]  Beattie was Professor of Moral
Philosophy in the University of Aberdeen.  He was an amiable, sensitive,
deeply religious man.  He was fond of music and of nature, and was easily
moved to rears; had "a young girl's nerves," says Taine, "and an old
maid's hobbies."  Gray, who met him in 1765, when on a visit to the Earl
of Strathmore at Glammis Castle, esteemed him highly.  So did Dr.
Johnson, partly because of his "Essay on Truth" (1770), a shallow
invective against Hume, which gained its author an interview with George
III. and a pension of two hundred pounds a year.  Beattie visited London
in 1771, and figured there as a champion of orthodoxy and a
heaven-inspired bard.  Mrs. Montagu patronized him extensively.  Sir
Joshua Reynolds painted his portrait, with his "Essay on Truth" under his
arm, and Truth itself in the background, an allegoric angel holding the
balances in one hand, and thrusting away with the other the figures of
Prejudice, Skepticism, and Folly.  Old Lord Lyttelton had the poet out to
Hagley, and declared that he was Thomson come back to earth, to sing of
virtue and of the beauties of nature.  Oxford made him an LL.D.: he was
urged to take orders in the Church of England; and Edinburgh offered him
the chair of Moral Philosophy.  Beattie's head was slightly turned by all
this success, and he became something of a tuft-hunter.  But he stuck
faithfully to Aberdeen, whose romantic neighborhood had first inspired
his muse.  The biographers tell a pretty story of his teaching his little
boy to look for the hand of God in the universe, by sowing cress in a
garden plot in the shape of the child's initials and leading him by this
gently persuasive analogy to read design in the works of nature.

The design of "The Minstrel" is to "trace the progress of a Poetical
Genius, born in a rude age," a youthful shepherd who "lived in Gothic
days."  But nothing less truly Gothic or medieval could easily be
imagined than the actual process of this young poet's education.  Instead
of being taught to carve and ride and play the flute, like Chaucer's
squire who

    "Cowde songes make and wel endite,
    Juste and eek daunce, and wel purtraye and write,"

Edwin wanders alone upon the mountains and in solitary places and is
instructed in history, philosophy, and science--and even in Vergil--by an
aged hermit, who sits on a mossy rock, with his harp beside him, and
delivers lectures.  The subject of the poem, indeed, is properly the
education of nature; and in a way it anticipates Wordsworth's "Prelude,"
as this hoary sage does the "Solitary" of "The Excursion."  Beattie
justifies his use of Spenser's stanza on the ground that it "seems, from
its Gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject
and spirit of the poem."  He makes no attempt, however, to follow
Spenser's "antique expressions."  The following passage will illustrate
as well as any the romantic character of the whole:

    "When the long-sounding curfew from afar
    Loaded with loud lament the lonely gale,
    Young Edwin, lighted by the evening star,
    Lingering and listening, wandered down the vale.
    There would he dream of graves and corses pale,
    And ghosts that to the charnel-dungeon throng,
    And drag a length of clanking chain, and wail,
    Till silenced by the owl's terrific song,
    Or blast that shrieks by fits the shuddering aisles along.

    "Or when the settling moon, in crimson dyed,
    Hung o'er the dark and melancholy deep,
    To haunted stream, remote from man, he hied,
    Where fays of yore their revels wont to keep;
    And there let Fancy rove at large, till sleep
    A vision brought to his entrancëd sight.
    And first a wildly murmuring wind gan creep
    Shrill to his ringing ear; then tapers bright,
    With instantaneous gleam, illumed the vault of night.

    "Anon in view a portal's blazing arch
    Arose; the trumpet bids the valves unfold;
    And forth a host of little warriors march,
    Grasping the diamond lance and targe of gold.
    Their look was gentle, their demeanor bold,
    And green their helms, and green their silk attire;
    And here and there, right venerably old,
    The long-robed minstrels wake the warbling wire,
    And some with mellow breath the martial pipe inspire."[53]

The influence of Thomson is clearly perceptible in these stanzas.  "The
Minstrel," like "The Seasons," abounds in insipid morality, the
commonplaces of denunciation against luxury and ambition, and the praise
of simplicity and innocence.  The titles alone of Beattie's minor poems
are enough to show in what school he was a scholar: "The Hermit," "Ode to
Peace," "The Triumph of Melancholy," "Retirement," etc., etc.  "The
Minstrel" ran through four editions before the publication of its second
book in 1774.

[1] Svend Grundtvig's great collection, "Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser," was
published in five volumes in 1853-90.

[2] Francis James Child's "English and Scottish Popular Ballads," issued
in ten parts in 1882-98 is one of the glories of American scholarship.

[3] _Cf._ The Tannhäuser legend and the Venusberg.

[4] "The Wife of Usher's Well."

[5] It should never be forgotten that the ballad (derived from
_ballare--to dance)_ was originally not a written poem, but a song and
dance.  Many of the old tunes are preserved.  A number are given in
Chappell's "Popular Music of the Olden Time," and in the appendix to
Motherwell's "Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern" (1827).

[6] "A Ballad."  One theory explains these meaningless refrains as
remembered fragments of older ballads.

[7] Reproduced by Rossetti and other moderns.  See them parodied in Robert
Buchanan's "Fleshly School of Poets":

    "When seas do roar and skies do pour,
    Hard is the lot of the sailór
    Who scarcely, as he reels, can tell
    The sidelights from the binnacle."

[8] "I never heard the old song of Percie and Douglas that I found not my
heart moved more than with a trumpet; and yet it is sung but by some
blind crouder, with no rougher voice than rude style; which being so evil
apparelled in the dust and cobwebs of that uncivil age, what would it
work, trimmed in the gorgeous eloquence of Pindar!"

[9] Empty: "Bonnie George Campbell."

[10] "Lord Randall."

[11] Turf: "The Twa Corbies."

[12] I use this phrase without any polemic purpose.  The question of
origins is not here under discussion.  Of course at some stage in the
history of any ballad the poet, the individual artist, is present, though
the precise ration of his agency to the communal element in the work is
obscure.  For an acute and learned view of this topic, see the
Introduction to "Old English Ballads," by Professor Francis B. Gummere
(Atheneum Press Series), Boston, 1894.

[13] From "Jock o' Hazel Green."  "Young Lochinvar" is derived from
"Katherine Janfarie" in the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border."

[14] "Scott has given us nothing more complete and lovely than this little
song, which unites simplicity and dramatic power to a wildwood music of
the rarest quality.  No moral is drawn, far less any conscious analysis
of feeling attempted: the pathetic meaning is left to be suggested by the
mere presentment of the situation.  Inexperienced critics have often
named this, which may be called the Homeric manner, superficial from its
apparent simple facility."--_Palgrave: "Golden Treasury"_ (Edition of
1866), p. 392.

[15] "Brown Robyn's Confession."  Robin Hood risks his life to take the
sacrament.  "Robin Hood and the Monk."

[16] "Sir Hugh."  _Cf._ Chaucer's "Prioresse Tale."

[17] "The Gay Goshawk."

[18] "Johnnie Cock."

[19] "Young Hunting."

[20] "The Twa Sisters."

[21] "The Wife of Usher's Well."

[22] "Fair Margaret and Sweet William."

[23] "Sweet William's Ghost."

[24] "Clerk Colven."

[25] "Willie's Lady."

[26] "Kemp Owyne" and "Tam Lin."

[27] "King Estmere."

[28] "Johnnie Cock."

[29] "Mary Hamilton."

[30] "Sweet William's Ghost."

[31] "The Forsaken Bride." _Cf._ Chaucer:

    "Love is noght old as when that it is newe."
            --_Clerkes Tale._

[32] What character so popular as a wild prince--like Prince Hal--who
breaks his own laws, and the heads of his own people, in a democratic way?

[33] "Robin Hood and the Monk."

[34] For a complete exposure of David Mallet's impudent claim to the
authorship of this ballad, see Appendix II. to Professor Phelps' "English
Romantic Movement."

[35] "Life of Addison."

[36] Preface to second edition of the "Lyrical Ballads."

[37] "Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript" (1867), Vol. II.  Introductory
Essay by J. W. Hales on "The Revival of Ballad Poetry in the Eighteenth

[38] _Ibid._

[39] "Advertisement to the Fourth Edition."

[40] In four volumes, 1867-68.

[41] Spelling reform has been a favorite field for cranks to disport
themselves upon.  Ritson's particular vanity was the past participle of
verbs ending in _e; e.g., perceiveed._  _Cf._ Landor's notions of a
similar kind.

[42] "The Hunting of the Cheviot."

[43] "Sweet William's Ghost."

[44] "Tam Lin."

[45] "Fair Annie."

[46] "Child Waters."

[47] See Phelps' "English Romantic Movement," pp. 33-35.

[48] Appendix to the Preface to the 2nd edition of "Lyrical Ballads."

[49] "Peter Bell."

[50] Scherer: "Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur," p. 445.

[51] In his third book Herder gave translations of over twenty pieces in
the "Reliques," besides a number from Ramsay's and other collections.
His selections from Percy included "Chevy Chase," "Edward," "The Boy and
the Mantle," "King Estmere," "Waly, Waly," "Sir Patric Spens," "Young
Waters," "The Bonny Earl of Murray," "Fair Margaret and Sweet William,"
"Sweet William's Ghost," "The Nut-Brown Maid," "The Jew's Daughter,"
etc., etc.; but none of the Robin Hood ballads.  Herder's preface
testifies that the "Reliques" was the starting-point and the kernel of
his whole undertaking.  "Der Anblick dieser Sammlung giebts offenbar dass
ich eigentlich von _Englishchen_ Volksliedern ausging und auf sie
zurückkomme.  Als vor zehn und mehr Jahren die 'Reliques of Ancient
Poetry' mir in die Hände fielen, freuten mich einzelne Stücke so sehr,
dass ich sie zu übersetzen versuchte."--_Vorrede zu den Volksliedern.
Herder's Sämmtlichee Werke_, Achter Theil, s. 89 (Carlsruhe, 1821).

[52] Stanzas 44-46, book i. bring in references to ballad literature in
general and to "The Nut-Brown Maid" and "The Children in the Wood" in

[53] Book I. stanzas 32-34.



In 1760 appeared the first installment of MacPherson's "Ossian."[1]
Among those who received it with the greatest curiosity and delight was
Gray, who had recently been helping Mason with criticisms on his
"Caractacus," published in 1759.  From a letter to Walpole (June 1760) it
would seem that the latter had sent Gray two manuscript bits of the as
yet unprinted "Fragments," communicated to Walpole by Sir David
Dalrymple, who furnished Scotch ballads to Percy.  "I am so charmed,"
wrote Gray, "with the two specimens of Erse poetry, that I cannot help
giving you the trouble to inquire a little farther about them; and should
wish to see a few lines of the original, that I may form some slight idea
of the language, the measures and the rhythm.  Is there anything known of
the author or authors; and of what antiquity are they supposed to be?  Is
there any more to be had of equal beauty, or at all approaching it?"

In a letter to Shonehewer (June 29,) he writes: "I have received another
Scotch packet with a third specimen . . . full of nature and noble wild
imagination."[2]  And in the month following he writes to Wharton: "If
you have seen Stonehewer, he has probably told you of my old Scotch
(rather Irish) poetry.  I am gone mad about them.  They are said to be
translations (literal and in prose) from the _Erse_ tongue, done by one
MacPherson, a young clergyman in the Highlands.  He means to publish a
collection he has of these specimens of antiquity, if it be antiquity;
but what plagues me, is, I cannot come at any certainty on that head.  I
was so struck, so _extasié_ with their infinite beauty, that I writ into
Scotland to make a thousand enquiries."  This is strong language for a
man of Gray's coolly critical temper; but all his correspondence of about
this date is filled with references to Ossian which enable the modern
reader to understand in part the excitement that the book created among
Gray's contemporaries.  The letters that he got from MacPherson were
unconvincing, "ill-wrote, ill-reasoned, calculated to deceive, and yet
not cunning enough to do it cleverly."  The external evidence disposed
him to believe the poems counterfeit; but the impression which they made
was such that he was "resolved to believe them genuine, spite of the
Devil and the Kirk.  It is impossible to convince me that they were
invented by the same man that writes me these letters.  On the other
hand, it is almost as hard to suppose, if they are original, that he
should be able to translate them so admirably."

On August 7 he writes to Mason that the Erse fragments have been
published five weeks ago in Scotland, though he had not received his copy
till the last week.  "I continue to think them genuine, though my reasons
for believing the contrary are rather stronger than ever."  David Hume,
who afterward became skeptical as to their authenticity, wrote to Gray,
assuring him that these poems were in everybody's mouth in the Highlands,
and had been handed down from father to son, from an age beyond all
memory and tradition.  Gray's final conclusion is very much the same with
that of the general public, to which the Ossianic question is even yet a
puzzle.  "I remain still in doubt about the authenticity of these poems,
tho' inclining rather to believe them genuine in spite of the world.
Whether they are the inventions of antiquity, or of a modern Scotchman,
either case is to me alike unaccountable.  _Je m'y perds._"

We are more concerned here with the impression which MacPherson's books,
taking them just as they stand, made upon their contemporary Europe, than
with the history of the controversy to which they gave rise, and which is
still unsettled after more than a century and a quarter of discussion.
Nevertheless, as this controversy began immediately upon their
publication, and had reference not only to the authenticity of the
Ossianic poems, but also to their literary value; it cannot be altogether
ignored in this account.  The principal facts upon which it turned may be
given in a nut-shell.  In 1759 Mr. John Home, author of the tragedy of
"Douglas," who had become interested in the subject of Gaelic poetry, met
in Dumfriesshire a young Scotchman, named James MacPherson, who was
traveling as private tutor to Mr. Graham of Balgowan.  MacPherson had in
his possession a number of manuscripts which, he said, were transcripts
of Gaelic poems taken down from the recital of old people in the
Highlands.  He translated two of these for Home, who was so much struck
with them that he sent or showed copies to Dr. Hugh Blair, Professor of
Rhetoric in the University of Edinburgh.  At the solicitation of Dr.
Blair and Mr. Home, MacPherson was prevailed upon to make further
translations from the materials in his hands; and these, to the number of
sixteen, were published in the "Fragments" already mentioned, with a
preface of eight pages by Blair.  They attracted so much attention in
Edinburgh that a subscription was started, to send the compiler through
the Highlands in search of more Gaelic poetry.

The result of the researches was "Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six
Books: Together with several other poems, composed by Ossian the son of
Fingal.  Translated from the Gaelic language by James MacPherson,"
London, 1762; together with "Temora, an Ancient Epic Poem in Eight
Books," etc., etc., London, 1763.  MacPherson asserted that he had made
his versions from Gaelic poems ascribed to Ossian or Oisin, the son of
Fingal or Finn MacCumhail, a chief renowned in Irish and Scottish song
and popular legend.  Fingal was the king of Morven, a district of the
western Highlands, and head of the ancient warlike clan or race of the
Feinne or Fenians.  Tradition placed him in the third century and
connected  him with the battle of Gabhra, fought in 281.  His son,
Ossian, the warrior-bard, survived all his kindred.  Blind and old,
seated in his empty hall, or the cave of the rock; alone save for the
white-armed Malvina, bride of his dead son, Oscar, he struck the harp and
sang the memories of his  youth: "a tale of the times of old."

MacPherson translated--or composed--his "Ossian" in an exclamatory,
abrupt, rhapsodical prose, resembling somewhat the English of Isaiah and
others of the books of the prophets.  The manners described were heroic,
the state of society primitive.  The properties were few and simple; the
cars of the heroes, their spears, helmets, and blue shields; the harp,
the shells from which they drank in the hall, etc.  Conventional compound
epithets abound, as in Homer: the "dark-bosomed" ships, the "car-borne"
heroes, the "white-armed" maids, the "long-bounding" dogs of the chase.
The scenery is that of the western Highlands; and the solemn monotonous
rhythm of MacPherson's style accorded well with the tone of his
descriptions, filling the mind with images of vague sublimity and
desolation: the mountain torrent, the dark rock in the ocean, the mist on
the hills, the ghosts of heroes half seen by the setting moon, the
thistle in the ruined courts of chieftains, the grass whistling on the
windy heath, the blue stream of Lutha, and the cliffs of sea-surrounded
Gormal.  It was noticed that there was no mention of the wolf, common in
ancient Caledonia; nor of the thrush or lark or any singing bird; nor of
the salmon of the sealochs, so often referred to in modern Gaelic poetry.
But the deer, the swan, the boar, eagle, and raven occur repeatedly.

But a passage or two will exhibit the language and imagery of the whole
better than pages of description.  "I have seen the walls of Balclutha,
but they were desolate.  The fire had resounded in the halls, and the
voice of the people is heard no more.  The stream of Clutha was removed
from its place by the fall of the walls.  The thistle shook there its
lonely head; the moss whistled to the wind.  The fox looked out from the
windows, the rank grass of the wall waved round its head.  Desolate is
the dwelling of Moina, silence is in the house of her fathers.  Raise the
song of mourning, O bards, over the land of strangers.  They have but
fallen before us; for, one day, we must fall.  Why dost thou build the
hall, son of the winged days?  Thou lookest from thy towers to-day; yet a
few years, and the blast of the desert comes; it howls in thy empty
court, and whistles round thy half-worn shield."[3]  "They rose rustling
like a flock of sea-fowl when the waves expel them from the shore.  Their
sound was like a thousand streams that meet in Cona's vale, when, after a
stormy night, they turn their dark eddies beneath the pale light of the
morn.  As the dark shades of autumn fly over hills of grass; so, gloomy,
dark, successive came the chiefs of Lochlin's[4] echoing woods.  Tall as
the stag of Morven, moved stately before them the King.[5]  His shining
shield is on his side, like a flame on the heath at night; when the world
is silent and dark, and the traveler sees some ghost sporting in the
beam.  Dimly gleam the hills around, and show indistinctly their oaks.  A
blast from the troubled ocean removed the settled mist.  The sons of Erin
appear, like a ridge of rocks on the coast; when mariners, on shores
unknown are trembling at veering winds."[6]

The authenticity of the "Fragments" of 1760 had not passed without
question; but MacPherson brought forward entire epics which, he asserted,
were composed by a Highland bard of the third century, handed down
through ages by oral tradition, and finally committed--at least in
part--to writing and now extant in manuscripts in his possession, there
ensued at once a very emphatic expression of incredulity.  Among the most
truculent of the disbelievers was Dr. Johnson.  He had little liking for
Scotland, still less for the poetry of barbarism.  In his tour of the
Western Islands with Boswell in 1773, he showed an insensibility, and
even a kind of hostility, to the wild beauties of Highland scenery, which
gradually affects the reader with a sense of the ludicrous as he watches
his sturdy figure rolling along on a small Highland pony by sequestered
Loch Ness, with its fringe of birch trees, or between the prodigious
mountains that frown above Glensheal; or seated in a boat off the Mull of
Cantyre, listening to the Erse songs of the rowers:

    "Breaking the silence of the seas
    Among the farthest Hebrides."

"Dr. Johnson," says Boswell, "owned he was now in a scene of as wild
nature as he could see; but he corrected me sometimes in my inaccurate
observations.  'There,' said I, 'is a mountain like a cone.'  Johnson:
'No, sir.  It would be called so in a book, but when a man comes to look
at it, he sees it is not so.  It is indeed pointed at the top, but one
side of it is larger than the other.'  Another mountain I called immense.
Johnson: 'No; it is no more than a considerable protuberance.'"

Johnson not only disputed the antiquity of MacPherson's "Ossian," but he
denied it any poetic merit.  Dr. Blair having asked him whether he
thought any man of a modern age could have written such poems, he
answered: "Yes, sir: many men, many women and many children."  "Sir," he
exclaimed to Reynolds, "a man might write such stuff forever, if he would
_abandon_ his mind to it."  To Mr. MacQueen, one of his Highland hosts,
he said: "I look upon MacPherson's 'Fingal' to be as gross an imposition
as ever the world was troubled with."  Johnson's arguments were mostly _a
priori_.  He asserted that the ancient Gael were a barbarous people,
incapable of producing poetry of the kind.  Long epics, such as "Fingal"
and "Temora," could not be preserved in memory and handed down by word of
mouth.  As to ancient manuscripts which MacPherson pretended to have,
there was not a Gaelic manuscript in existence a hundred years old.

It is now quite well established that Dr. Johnson was wrong on all these
points.  To say nothing of the Homeric poems, the ancient Finns,
Scandinavians, and Germans were as barbarous as the Gael; yet they
produced the Kalewala, the Edda, and the Nibelungen Lied.  The Kalewala,
a poem of 22, 793 lines--as long as the Iliad--was transmitted orally
from a remote antiquity and first printed in 1849.  As to Gaelic
manuscripts, there are over sixty in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh,
varying in age from three hundred to five hundred years.[7]  There is,
_e.g._, the "Glenmasan Manuscript" of the year 1238, containing the story
of "Darthula,"[8] which is the groundwork of the same story in
MacPherson's "Ossian."  There is the important "Dean of Lismore's Book,"
a manuscript collection made by Dean MacGregory of Lismore, Argyleshire,
between 1512 and 1529, containing 11,000 lines of Gaelic poetry, some of
which is attributed to Ossian or Oisin.  One of the poems is identical in
substance with the first book of MacPherson's "Temora;" although Mr.
Campbell says, "There is not one line in the Dean's book that I can
identify with any line in MacPherson's Gaelic."[9]

Other objections to the authenticity of MacPherson's translations rested
upon internal evidence, upon their characteristics of thought and style.
It was alleged that the "peculiar tone of sentimental grandeur and
melancholy" which distinguishes them, is false to the spirit of all known
early poetry, and is a modern note.  In particular, it was argued,
MacPherson's heroes are too sensitive to the wild and sublime in nature.
Professor William R. Sullivan, a high authority on Celtic literature,
says that in the genuine and undoubted remains of old Irish poetry
belonging to the Leinster or Finnian Cycle and ascribed to Oisin, there
is much detail in descriptions of arms, accouterments, and articles of
indoor use and ornament, but very little in descriptions of outward
nature.[10]  On the other hand, the late Principal Shairp regards this
"sadness of tone in describing nature" as a strong proof of authenticity.
"Two facts," he says, "are enough to convince me of the genuineness of
the ancient Gaelic poetry.  The truthfulness with which it reflects the
melancholy aspects of Highland scenery, the equal truthfulness with which
it expresses the prevailing sentiment of the Gael, and his sad sense of
his people's destiny.  I need no other proofs that the Ossianic poetry is
a native formation, and comes from the primeval heart of the Gaelic
race."[11]  And he quotes, in support of his view, a well-known passage
from Matthew Arnold's "Study of Celtic Literature": "The Celts are the
prime authors of this vein of piercing regret and passion, of this
Titanism in poetry.  A famous book, MacPherson's 'Ossian,' carried, in
the last century, this vein like a flood of lava through Europe.  I am
not going to criticise MacPherson's 'Ossian' here.  Make the part of what
is forged, modern, tawdry, spurious in the book as large as you please;
strip Scotland, if you like, of every feather of borrowed plumes which,
on the strength of MacPherson's 'Ossian,' she may have stolen from that
_vetus et major Scotia_--Ireland; I make no objection.  But there will
still be left in the book a residue with the very soul of the Celtic
genius in it; and which has the proud distinction of having brought this
soul of the Celtic genius into contact with the nations of modern Europe,
and enriched all our poetry by it.  Woody Morven, and echoing Lora, and
Selma with its silent halls!  We all owe them a debt of gratitude, and
when we are unjust enough to forget it, may the Muse forget us!  Choose
any one of the better passages in MacPherson's 'Ossian,' and you can see,
even at this time of day, what an apparition of newness and of power such
a strain must have been in the eighteenth century."

But from this same kind of internal evidence, Wordsworth draws just the
opposite conclusion.  "The phantom was begotten by the snug embrace of an
impudent Highlander upon a cloud of tradition.  It traveled southward,
where it was greeted with acclamation, and the thin consistence took its
course through Europe upon the breath of popular applause.[12]. . .  Open
this far-famed book!  I have done so at random, and the beginning of the
epic poem 'Temora,' in eight books, presents itself.  'The blue waves of
Ullin roll in light.  The green hills are covered with day.  Trees shake
their dusky heads in the breeze.  Gray torrents pour their noisy streams.
Two green hills with aged oaks surround a narrow plain.  The blue course
of a stream is there.  On its banks stood Cairbar of Atha.  His spear
supports the king: the red eyes of his fear are sad.  Cormac rises on his
soul with all his ghastly wounds. . .'  Having had the good fortune to be
born and reared in a mountainous country, from my very childhood I have
felt the falsehood that pervades the volumes imposed upon the world under
the name of Ossian.  From what I saw with my own eyes, I knew that the
imagery was spurious.  In nature everything is distinct, yet nothing
defined into absolute, independent singleness.  In MacPherson's work it
is exactly the reverse: everything (that is not stolen) is in this manner
defined, insulated, dislocated, deadened, yet nothing distinct.  It will
always be so when words are substituted for things.  To say that the
characters never could exist; that the manners are impossible; and that a
dream has more substance than the whole state of society, as there
depicted, is doing nothing more than pronouncing a censure which
MacPherson defied. . .  Yet, much as these pretended treasures of
antiquity have been admired, they have been wholly uninfluential upon the
literature of the country.  No succeeding writer appears to have caught
from them a ray of inspiration; no author in the least distinguished has
ventured formally to imitate them, except the boy Chatterton, on their
first appearance. . .  This incapability to amalgamate with the
literature of the Island is, in my estimation, a decisive proof that the
book is essentially unnatural; nor should I require any other to
demonstrate it to be a forgery, audacious as worthless.  Contrast, in
this respect, the effect of MacPherson's publication with the 'Reliques'
of Percy, so unassuming, so modest in their pretensions."

Other critics have pointed out a similar indistinctness in the human
actors, no less than in the landscape features of "Fingal" and "Temora."
They have no dramatic individuality, but are all alike, and all extremely
shadowy.  "Poor, moaning, monotonous MacPherson" is Carlyle's
alliterative description of the translator of "Ossian"; and it must be
confessed that, in spite of the deep poetic feeling which pervades these
writings, and the undeniable beauty of single passages, they have
damnable iteration.  The burden of their song is a burden in every sense.
Mr. Malcolm Laing, one of MacPherson's most persistent adversaries, who
published "Notes and Illustrations to Ossian" in 1805, essayed to show,
by a minute analysis of the language, that the whole thing was a
fabrication, made up from Homer, Milton, the English Bible, and other
sources.  Thus he compared MacPherson's "Like the darkened moon when she
moves, a dim circle, through heaven, and dreadful change is expected by
men," with Milton's

                "Or from behind the moon,
    In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
    On half the nations, and with fear of change
    Perplexes monarchs."

Laing's method proves too much and might be applied with like results to
almost any literary work.  And, in general, it is hazardous to draw hard
and fast conclusions from internal evidence of the sort just reviewed.
Taken altogether, these objections do leave a strong bias upon the mind,
and were one to pronounce upon the genuineness of MacPherson's "Ossian,"
as a whole, from impressions of tone and style, it might be guessed that
whatever element of true ancient poetry it contains, it had been
thoroughly steeped in modern sentiment before it was put before the
public.  But remembering Beowulf and the Norse mythology, one might
hesitate to say that the songs of primitive, heroic ages are always
insensible to the sublime in nature; or to admit that melancholy is a
Celtic monopoly.

The most damaging feature of MacPherson's case was his refusal or neglect
to produce his originals.  The testimony of those who helped him in
collecting and translating leaves little doubt that he had materials of
some kind; and that these consisted partly of old Gaelic manuscripts, and
partly of transcriptions taken down in Gaelic from the recitation of aged
persons in the Highlands.  These testimonies may be read in the "Report
of the Committee of the Highland Society," Edinburgh, 1805.[13]  It is
too voluminous to examine here, and it leaves unsettled the point as to
the precise use which MacPherson made of his materials, whether, _i.e._,
he gave literal renderings of them, as he professed to do; or whether he
manipulated them--and to what extent--by piecing fragments together,
lopping, dove-tailing, smoothing, interpolating, modernizing, as Percy
did with his ballads.  He was challenged to show his Gaelic manuscripts,
and Mr. Clerk says that he accepted the challenge.  "He deposited the
manuscripts at his publishers', Beckett and De Hondt, Strand, London.  He
advertised in the newspapers that he had done so; offered to publish them
if a sufficient number of subscribers came forward; and in the _Literary
Journal_ of the year 1784, Beckett certifies that the manuscripts had
lain in his shop for the space of a whole year."[14]

But this was more than twenty years after.  Mr. Clerk does not show that
Johnson or Laing or Shaw or Pinkerton, or any of MacPherson's numerous
critics, ever saw any such advertisement, or knew where the manuscripts
were to be seen; or that--being ignorant of Gaelic--it would have helped
them if they had known; and he admits that "MacPherson's subsequent
conduct, in postponing from time to time the publication, when urged to
it by friends who had liberally furnished him with means for the
purpose . . . is indefensible."  In 1773 and 1775, _e.g._, Dr. Johnson
was calling loudly for the production of the manuscripts.  "The state of
the question," he wrote to Boswell, February 7, 1775, "is this.  He and
Dr. Blair, whom I consider as deceived, say that he copied the poem from
old manuscripts.  His copies, if he had them--and I believe him to have
none--are nothing.  Where are thee manuscripts?  They can be shown if
they exist, but they were never shown.  _De non existentibus et non
apparentibus eadem est ratio._"  And during his Scotch trip in 1773, at a
dinner at Sir Alexander Gordon's, Johnson said: "If the poems were really
translated, they were certainly first written down.  Let Mr. MacPherson
deposit the manuscripts in one of the colleges at Aberdeen, where there
are people who can judge; and if the professors certify their
authenticity, then there will be an end of the controversy.  If he
does not take this obvious and easy method, he gives the best reason to

Indeed the subsequent history of these alleged manuscripts casts the
gravest suspicion on MacPherson's good faith.  A thousand pounds were
finally subscribed to pay for the publication of the Gaelic texts.  But
these MacPherson never published.  He sent the manuscripts which were
ultimately published in 1807 to his executor, Mr. John Mackenzie; and he
left one thousand pounds by his will to defray the expense of printing
them.  After MacPherson's death in 1796, Mr. Mackenzie "delayed the
publication from day to day, and at last handed over the manuscripts to
the Highland Society,"[15] which had them printed in 1807, nearly a half
century after the first appearance of the English Ossian.[16]  These,
however, were not the identical manuscripts which MacPherson had found,
or said that he had found, in his tour of exploration through the
Highlands.  They were all in his own handwriting or in that of his
amanuenses.  Moreover the Rev. Thomas Ross was employed by the society to
transcribe them and conform the spelling to that of the Gaelic Bible,
which is modern.  The printed text of 1807, therefore, does not represent
accurately even MacPherson's Gaelic.  Whether the transcriber took any
further liberties than simply modernizing the spelling cannot be known,
for the same mysterious fate that overtook MacPherson's original
collections followed his own manuscript.  This, after being at one time
in the Advocates' Library, has now utterly disappeared.  Mr. Campbell
thinks that under this double process of distillation--a copy by
MacPherson and then a copy by Ross--"the ancient form of the language, if
it was ancient, could hardly survive."[17]  "What would become of
Chaucer," he asks, "so maltreated and finally spelt according to modern
rules of grammar and orthography?  I have found by experience that an
alteration in 'spelling' may mean an entire change of construction and
meaning, and a substitution of whole words."

But the Gaelic text of 1807 was attacked in more vital points than its
spelling.  It was freely charged with being an out-and-out fabrication, a
translation of MacPherson's English prose into modern Gaelic.  This
question is one which must be settled by Gaelic scholars, and these still
disagree.  In 1862 Mr. Campbell wrote: "When the Gaelic 'Fingal,'
published in 1807, is compared with any one of the translations which
purport to have been made from it, it seems to me incomparably superior.
It is far simpler in diction.  It has a peculiar rhythm and assonance
which seem to repel the notion of a mere translation from English, as
something almost absurd.  It is impossible that it can be a translation
from MacPherson's English, unless there was some clever Gaelic poet[18]
then alive, able and willing to write what Eton schoolboys call
'full-sense verses.'"  The general testimony is that MacPherson's own
knowledge of Gaelic was imperfect.  Mr. Campbell's summary of the whole
matter--in 1862--is as follows: "My theory then is, that about the
beginning of the eighteenth century, or the end of the seventeenth, or
earlier, Highland bards may have fused floating popular traditions into
more complete forms, engrafting their own ideas on what they found; and
that MacPherson found their works, translated and altered them; published
the translation in 1760;[19] made the Gaelic ready for the press;
published some of it in 1763,[20] and made away with the evidence of what
he had done, when he found that his conduct was blamed.  I can see no
other way out of the maze of testimony."  But by 1872 Mr. Campbell had
come to a conclusion much less favorable to the claims of the Gaelic
text.  He now considers that the English was first composed by MacPherson
and that "he and other translators afterward worked at it and made a
Gaelic equivalent whose merit varies according to the translator's skill
and knowledge of Gaelic."[21]  On the other hand, Mr. W. F. Skene and Mr.
Archibald Clerk, are confident that the Gaelic is the original and the
English the translation.  Mr. Clerk, who reprinted the Highland Society's
text in 1870,[22] with a literal translation of his own on alternate
pages and MacPherson's English at the foot of the page, believes
implicitly in the antiquity and genuineness of the Gaelic originals.
"MacPherson," he writes, "got much from manuscripts and much from oral
recitation.  It is most probable that he has given the minor poems
exactly as he found them.  He may have made considerable changes in the
larger ones in giving them their present form; although I do not believe
that he, or any of his assistants, added much even in the way of
connecting links between the various episodes."

To a reader unacquainted with Gaelic, comparing MacPherson's English with
Mr. Clerk's, it certainly looks unlikely that the Gaelic can be merely a
translation from the former.  The reflection in a mirror cannot be more
distinct than the object it reflects; and if Mr. Clerk's version can be
trusted (it appears to be more literal though less rhetorical than
MacPherson's) the Gaelic is often concrete and sharp where MacPherson is
general; often plain where he is figurative or ornate; and sometimes of a
meaning quite different from his rendering.  Take, _e.g._, the closing
passage of the second "Duan," or book, of "Fingal."

"An arrow found his manly breast.  He sleeps with his loved Galbina at
the noise of the sounding surge.  Their green tombs are seen by the
mariner, when he bounds on the waves of the north."--_MacPherson_.

    "A ruthless arrow found his breast.
    His sleep is by thy side, Galbina,
    Where wrestles the wind with ocean.
    The sailor sees their graves as one,
    When rising on the ridge of the waves."

But again Mr. Archibald Sinclair, a Glasgow publisher, a letter from whom
is given by Mr. Campbell in his "Tales of the West Highlands," has "no
hesitation in affirming that a considerable portion of the Gaelic which
is published as the original of his [MacPherson's] translation, is
actually translated back from the English."  And Professor Sullivan says:
"The so-called originals are a very curious kind of mosaic, constructed
evidently with great labor afterward, in which sentences or parts of
sentences of genuine poems are cemented together in a very inferior
word-paste of MacPherson's own."[23]

It is of course no longer possible to maintain what Mr. Campbell says is
the commonest English opinion, viz., that MacPherson invented the
characters and incidents of his "Ossian," and that the poems had no
previous existence in any shape.  The evidence is overwhelming that there
existed, both in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands traditions, tales,
and poems popularly attributed to Oisin, the son of Finn MacCumhail.  But
no poem has been found which corresponds exactly to any single piece in
MacPherson; and Sullivan cites, as one proof of the modern and spurious
character of these versions, the fact that they mingle names from the
ancient hero-cycle, like Darthula, Cuthullin, and Conlach, with names
belonging to the Finnian cycle, as is never the case in the authentic and
undoubted remains of Celtic poetry.  Between 1760, the date of
MacPherson's "Fragments," and 1807, the date of the Highland Society's
text, there had been published independently nine hundred lines of
Ossianic verse in Gaelic in Gillie's collection, 1786, and Stewart's,
1804.  In 1780 Dr. Smith had published his "Ancient Lays," a free
translation from Gaelic fragments, which he subsequently printed (1787)
under the title "Sean Dàna," Smith frankly took liberties with his
originals, such as we may suppose that MacPherson took with his; but he
made no secret of this and, by giving the Gaelic on which his paraphrase
rested, he enabled the public to see how far his "Ancient Lays," were
really ancient, and how far they were built up into poetic wholes by his
own editorial labors.[24]

Wordsworth's assertion of the failure of MacPherson's "Ossian" to
"amalgamate with the literature of this island" needs some
qualifications.  That it did not enter into English literature in a
formative way, as Percy's ballads did, is true enough, and is easy of
explanation.  In the first place, it was professedly a prose translation
from poetry in another tongue, and could hardly, therefore, influence the
verse and diction of English poetry directly.  It could not even work
upon them as directly as many foreign literatures have worked; as the
ancient classical literatures, _e.g._, have always worked; or as Italian
and French and German have at various times worked; for the Gaelic was
practically inaccessible to all but a few special scholars.  Whatever its
beauty or expressiveness, it was in worse case than a dead language, for
it was marked with the stigma of barbarism.  In its palmiest days it had
never been what the Germans called a _Kultursprache_; and now it was the
idiom of a few thousand peasants and mountaineers, and was rapidly
becoming extinct even in its native fastnesses.

Whatever effect was to be wrought by the Ossianic poems upon the English
mind, was to be wrought in the dress which MacPherson had given them.
And perhaps, after all, the tumid and rhetorical cast of MacPherson's
prose had a great deal to do with producing the extraordinary enthusiasm
with which his "wild paraphrases," as Mr. Campbell calls them, were
received by the public.  The age was tired of polish, of wit, of
over-civilization; it was groping toward the rude, the primitive, the
heroic; had begun to steep itself in melancholy sentiment and to feel a
dawning admiration of mountain solitudes and the hoary past.  Suddenly
here was what it had been waiting for--"a tale of the times of old"; and
the solemn, dirge-like chant of MacPherson's sentences, with the peculiar
manner of his narrative, its repetitions, its want of transitions, suited
well with his matter.  "Men had been talking under their breath, and in a
mincing dialect so long," says Leslie Stephen, "that they were easily
gratified and easily imposed upon by an affectation of vigorous and
natural sentiment."

The impression was temporary, but it was immediate and powerful.
Wordsworth was wrong when he said that no author of distinction except
Chatterton had ventured formally to imitate Ossian.  A generation after
the appearance of the "Fragments" we find the youthful Coleridge alluding
to "Ossian" in the preface[25] to his first collection of poems (1793),
which contains two verse imitations of the same, as _ecce signum_:

    "How long will ye round me be swelling,
      O ye blue-tumbling waves of the sea?
    Not always in caves was my dwelling,
      Nor beneath the cold blast of the tree," etc., etc.[26]

In Byron's "House of Idleness" (1807), published when he was a Cambridge
undergraduate, is a piece of prose founded on the episode of Nisus and
Euryalus in the "Aeneid" and entitled "The Death of Calmar and Orla--An
Imitation of MacPherson's Ossian."  "What form rises on the roar of
clouds?  Whose dark ghost gleams in the red stream of tempests?  His
voice rolls on the thunder.  'Tis Orla, the brown chief of Orthona. . .
Lovely wast thou, son of blue-eyed Morla," etc.  After reading several
pages of such stuff, one comes to feel that Byron could do this sort of
thing about as well as MacPherson himself; and indeed, that Johnson was
not so very far wrong when he said that anyone could do it if he would
abandon his mind to it.  Chatterton applied the Ossianic verbiage in a
number of pieces which he pretended to have translated from the Saxon:
"Ethelgar," "Kenrick," "Cerdick," and "Gorthmund"; as well as in a
composition which he called "Godred Crovan," from the Manx dialect, and
one from the ancient British, which he entitled "The Heilas."  He did not
catch the trick quite so successfully as Byron, as a passage or two from
"Kenrick" will show: "Awake, son of Eldulph!  Thou that sleepest on the
white mountain, with the fairest of women; no more pursue the dark brown
wolf: arise from the mossy bank of the falling waters: let thy garments
be stained in blood, and the streams of life discolor thy girdle. . .
Cealwulf of the high mountain, who viewed the first rays of the morning
star, swift as the flying deer, strong as a young oak, fiery as an
evening wolf, drew his sword; glittering like the blue vapors in the
valley of Horso; terrible as the red lightning bursting from the
dark-brown clouds, his swift bark rode over the foaming waves like the
wind in the tempest."

In a note on his Ossianic imitation, Byron said that Mr. Laing had proved
Ossian an impostor, but that the merit of MacPherson's work remained,
although in parts his diction was turgid and bombastic.[27]  A poem in
the "Hours of Idleness," upon the Scotch mountain "Lachin Y Gair," has
two Ossianic lines in quotation points--

    "Shades of the dead! have I not heard your voices
      Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale?"

Byron attributed much importance to his early recollections of Highland
scenery, which he said had prepared him to love the Alps and "blue
Friuli's mountains," and "the Acroceraunian mountains of old name."  But
the influence of Ossian upon Byron and his older contemporaries was
manifested in subtler ways than in formal imitations.  It fell in with
that current of feeling which Carlyle called "Wertherism," and helped to
swell it.  It chimed with the tone that sounds through the German _Sturm
und Drang_ period; that impatience of restraint, that longing to give
full swing to the claims of the elementary passions, and that desperation
when these are checked by the arrangements of modern society, which we
encounter in Rousseau and the young Goethe.  Hence the romantic gloom,
the Byronic _Zerrissenheit_, to use Heine's word, which drove the poet
from the rubs of social life to waste places of nature and sometimes to
suicide.  In such a mood the mind recurred to the language of Ossian, as
the fit expression of its own indefinite and stormy griefs.

"Homer," writes Werther, "has been superseded in my heart by the divine
Ossian.  Through what a world does this angelic bard carry me!  With him
I wander over barren wastes and frightful wilds; surrounded by whirlwinds
and hurricanes, trace by the feeble light of the moon the shades of our
noble ancestors; hear from the mountainous heights, intermingled with the
roaring of waves and cataracts, their plaintive tones stealing from
cavernous recesses; while the pensive monody of some love-stricken
maiden, who heaves her departing sighs over the moss-clad grave of the
warrior by whom she was adored, makes up the inarticulate concert.  I
trace this bard, with his silver locks, as he wanders in the valley and
explores the footsteps of his fathers.  Alas! no vestige remains but
their tombs.  His thought then hangs on the silver moon, as her sinking
beams play upon the rippling main; and the remembrance of deeds past and
gone recurs to the hero's mind--deeds of times when he gloried in the
approach of danger, and emulation nerved his whole frame; when the pale
orb shone upon his bark, laden with the spoils of his enemy, and
illuminated his triumphant return.  When I see depicted on his
countenance a bosom full of woe; when I behold his heroic greatness
sinking into the grave, and he exclaims, as he throws a glance at the
cold sod which is to lie upon him: 'Hither will the traveler who is
sensible of my worth bend his weary steps, and seek the soul-enlivening
bard, the illustrious son of Fingal; his foot will tread upon my tomb,
but his eyes shall never behold me'; at this time it is, my dear friend,
that, like some renowned and chivalrous knight, I could instantly draw my
sword; rescue my prince from a long, irksome existence of languor and
pain; and then finish by plunging the weapon into my own breast, that I
might accompany the demi-god whom my hand had emancipated."[28]

In his last interview with Charlotte, Werther, who had already determined
upon suicide, reads aloud to her, from "The Songs of Selma," "that tender
passage wherein Armin deplores the loss of his beloved daughter.  'Alone
on the sea-beat rocks, my daughter was heard to complain.  Frequent and
loud were her cries.  What could her father do?  All night I stood on the
shore.  I saw her by the faint beam of the moon,'" etc.  The reading is
interrupted by a mutual flood of tears.  "They traced the similitude of
their own misfortune in this unhappy tale. . .  The pointed allusion of
those words to the situation of Werther rushed with all the electric
rapidity of lightning to the inmost recesses of his soul."

It is significant that one of Ossian's most fervent admirers was
Chateaubriand, who has been called the inventor of modern melancholy and
of the primeval forest.  Here is a passage from his "Génie du
Christianisme":[29] "Under a cloudy sky, on the coast of that sea whose
tempests were sung by Ossian, their Gothic architecture has something
grand and somber.  Seated on a shattered altar in the Orkneys, the
traveler is astonished at the dreariness of those places: sudden fogs,
vales where rises the sepulchral stone, streams flowing through wild
heaths, a few reddish pine trees, scattered over a naked desert studded
with patches of snow; such are the only objects which present themselves
to his view.  The wind circulates among the ruins, and their innumerable
crevices become so many tubes, which heave a thousand sighs.  Long
grasses wave in the apertures of the domes, and beyond these apertures
you behold the flitting clouds and the soaring sea-eagle. . .  Long will
those four stones which mark the tombs of heroes on the moors of
Caledonia, long will they continue to attract the contemplative traveler.
Oscar and Malvina are gone, but nothing is changed in their solitary
country.  'Tis no longer the hand of the bard himself that sweeps the
harp; the tones we hear are the slight trembling of the strings, produced
by the touch of a spirit, when announcing at night, in a lonely chamber,
the death of a hero. . .  So when he sits in the silence of noon in the
valley of his breezes is the murmur of the mountain to Ossian's ear: the
gale drowns it often in its course, but the pleasant sound returns again."

In Byron's passion for night and tempest, for the wilderness, the
mountains, and the sea, it is of course impossible to say how large a
share is attributable directly to MacPherson's "Ossian," or more
remotely, through Chateaubriand and other inheritors of the Ossianic
mood.  The influence of any particular book becomes dispersed and blended
with a hundred currents that are in the air.  But I think one has often a
consciousness of Ossian in reading such passages as the famous apostrophe
to the ocean in "Childe Harold"--

    "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll!"--

Which recalls the address to the sun in Carthous--"O thou that rollest
above, round as the shield of my fathers,"--perhaps the most hackneyed
_locus classicus_ in the entire work; or as the lines beginning,

    "O that the desert were my dwelling place;"[30]

or the description of the storm in the Jura:

    "And this is in the night: Most glorious night!
    Thou wert not sent for slumber.  Let me be
    A sharer in thy fierce and far delight
    A portion of the tempest and of thee."[30]

Walter Scott, while yet a lad, made acquaintance with Ossian through Dr.
Blacklock, and was at first delighted; but "the tawdry repetitions of the
Ossianic phraseology," he confesses, "disgusted me rather sooner than
might have been expected from my age."  He afterward contributed an essay
on the authenticity of the poems to the proceedings of the Speculative
Club of Edinburgh.  In one sense of the word Scott was the most romantic
of romanticists; but in another sense he was very little romantic, and
there was not much in his sane, cheerful, and robust nature upon which
such poetry as Ossian could fasten.[31]  It is just at this point,
indeed, that definitions diverge and the two streams of romantic tendency
part company.  These Carlyle has called "Wertherism" and "Götzism"[32]
_i.e._ sentimentalism and mediaevalism, though so mild a word as
sentimentalism fails to express adequately the morbid despair to which
"Werther" gave utterance, and has associations with works of a very
different kind, such as the fictions of Richardson and Sterne.  In
England, Scott became the foremost representative of "Götzism," and Byron
of "Wertherism."  The pessimistic, sardonic heroes of "Manfred," "Childe
Harold," and "The Corsair" were the latest results of the "Il Penseroso"
literature, and their melodramatic excesses already foretokened a

Among other testimonies to Ossian's popularity in England are the
numerous experiments at versifying MacPherson's prose.  These were not
over-successful and only a few of them require mention here.  The Rev.
John Wodrow, a Scotch minister, "attempted" "Carthon," "The Death of
Cuthullin" and "Darthula" in heroic couplets, in 1769; and "Fingal" in
1771.  In the preface to his "Fingal," he maintained that there was no
reasonable doubt of the antiquity and authenticity of MacPherson's
"Ossian."  "Fingal"--which seems to have been the favorite--was again
turned into heroic couplets by Ewen Cameron, in 1776, prefaced by the
attestations of a number of Highland gentlemen to the genuineness of the
originals; and by an argumentative introduction, in which the author
quotes Dr. Blair's _dictum_ that Ossian was the equal of Homer and Vergil
"in strength of imagination, in grandeur of sentiment, and in native
majesty of passion."  National pride enlisted most of the Scotch scholars
on the affirmative side of the question, and made the authenticity of
Ossian almost an article of belief.  Wodrow's heroics were merely
respectable.  The quality of Cameron's may be guessed from a half dozen

    "When Moran, one commissioned to explore
    The distant seas, came running from the shore
    And thus exclaimed--'Cuthullin, rise!  The ships
    Of snowy Lochlin hide the rolling deeps.
    Innumerable foes the land invade,
    And Swaran seems determined to succeed.'"

Whatever impressiveness belonged to MacPherson's cadenced prose was lost
in these metrical versions, which furnish a perfect _reductio ad
absurdum_ of the critical folly that compared Ossian with Homer.  Homer
could not be put in any dress through which the beauty and interest of
the original would not appear.  Still again, in 1786, "Fingal" was done
into heroics by a Mr. R. Hole, who varied his measures with occasional
ballad stanzas, thus:

    "But many a fair shall melt with woe
      At thy soft strain in future days,
    And many a manly bosom glow,
      Congenial to thy lofty lays."

These versions were all emitted in Scotland.  But as late as 1814
"Fingal" appeared once more in verse, this time in London, and in a
variety of meters by Mr. George Harvey; who, in his preface, expressed
the hope that Walter Scott would feel moved to cast "Ossian" into the
form of a metrical romance, like "Marmion" or "The Lay of the Last
Minstrel."  The best English poem constructed from MacPherson is "The Six
Bards of Ossian Versified," by Sir Egerton Brydges (dated in 1784).[33]
The passage selected was the one which Gray so greatly admired,[34] from
a note to "Croma," in the original "Fragments."  Six bards who have met
at the hall of a chieftain, on an October night, go out one after another
to observe the weather, and return to report their observations, each
ending with the refrain "Receive me from the night, my friends."  The
whole episode is singularly arresting, and carries a conviction of
reality too often wanting in the epic portions of MacPherson's collection.

Walpole, at first, was nearly as much charmed by the "Fragments" as Gray
had been.  He wrote to Dalrymple that they were real poetry, natural
poetry, like the poetry of the East.  He liked particularly the synonym
for an echo--"son of the rock"; and in a later letter he said that all
doubts which he might once have entertained as to their genuineness had
disappeared.  But Walpole's literary judgments were notoriously
capricious.  In his subsequent correspondence with Mason and others, he
became very contemptuous of MacPherson's "cold skeleton of an epic poem,
that is more insipid than 'Leonidas.'"  "Ossian," he tells Mason, in a
letter dated March, 1783, has become quite incredible to him; but Mrs.
Montagu--the founder of the Blue Stocking Club--still "holds her feast of
shells in her feather dressing-room."

The Celtic Homer met with an even warmer welcome abroad than at home.  He
was rendered into French,[35] German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish,
and possibly other languages.  Bonaparte was a great lover of Ossian, and
carried about with him a copy of Cesarotti's Italian version.  A
resemblance has been fancied between MacPherson's manner and the
grandiloquent style of Bonaparte's bulletins and dispatches.[36]  In
Germany Ossian naturally took most strongly.  He was translated into
hexameters by a Vienna Jesuit named Michael Denis[37] and produced many
imitations.  Herder gave three translations from "Ossian" in his "Stimmen
der Völker" (1778-79) and prefixed to the whole collection an essay
"Ueber Ossian und die Lieder alter Völker" written in 1773.  Schiller was
one of the converts; Klopstock and his circle called themselves "bards";
and an exclamatory and violent mannerism came into vogue, known in German
literary history as _Bardengebrüll_.  MacPherson's personal history need
not be followed here in detail.  In 1764 he went to Pensacola as
secretary to Governor Johnston.  He was afterward a government
pamphleteer, writing against Junius and in favor of taxing the American
colonies.  He was appointed agent to the Nabob of Arcot; sat in
Parliament for the borough of Camelford, and built a handsome Italian
villa in his native parish; died in 1796, leaving a large fortune, and
was buried in Westminster Abbey.  In 1773 he was ill-advised enough to
render the "Iliad" into Ossianic prose.  The translation was overwhelmed
with ridicule, and probably did much to increase the growing disbelief in
the genuineness of "Fingal" and "Temora."

[1] "Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland,
and translated from the Gaelic or Erse language." Edinburgh, MDCCLX. 70

[2] This was sent him by MacPherson and was a passage not given in the

[3] From "Carthon."

[4] Scandinavia

[5] An unconscious hexameter.

[6] From "Fingal" book ii.

[7] See the dissertation by Rev. Archibald Clerk in his "Poems of Ossian
in the Original Gaelic, with a literal translation into English." 2
vols., Edinburgh, 1870.

[8] This story as been retold, from Irish sources, in Dr. R. D. Joyce's
poem of "Deirdrè," Boston, 1876.

[9] See "Leabhar na Feinne, Heroic Gaelic Ballads, Collected in Scotland,
chiefly from 1512 to 1871.  Arranged by J. F. Campbell," London, 1872.
Selections from "The Dean of Lismore's Book" were edited and published at
Edinburgh in 1862, by Rev. Thomas MacLauchlan, with a learned
introduction by Mr. W. F. Skene.

[10] Article on "Celtic Literature" in the "Encyclopedia Britannica."

[11] "Aspects of Poetry," by J. C. Shairp, 1872, pp. 244-45 (American

[12] Appendix to the Preface to the Second Edition of "Lyrical Ballads."
Taine says that Ossian "with Oscar, Malvina, and his whole troop, made
the tour of Europe; and, about 1830, ended by furnishing baptismal names
for French _grisettes_ and _perruquiers_."--_English Literature_, Vol.
II. p. 220 (American Edition).

[13] The Committee found that Gaelic poems, and fragments of poems, which
they had been able to obtain, contained often the substance, and
sometimes the "literal expression (the _ipsissima verba_)" of passages
given by MacPherson.  "But," continues the "Report," "the Committee has
not been able to obtain any one poem the same in title and tenor with the
poems published by him.  It is inclined to believe that he was in use to
supply chasms and to give connection, by inserting passages which he did
not find; and to add what he conceived to be dignity and delicacy to the
original composition, by striking out passages, by softening incidents,
by refining the language: in short, by changing what he considered as too
simple or too rude for a modern ear."

[14] "Dissertation on the Authenticity of the Poems." See _ante_, p. 313.

[15] Clerk.

[16] "The Poems of Ossian in the Original Gaelic, with a Literal
Translation into Latin by the late Robert Macfarland, etc., Published
under the Sanction of the Highland Society of London," 3 vols., London,
1807.  The work included dissertations on the authenticity of the poems
by Sir Jno. Sinclair, and the Abbé Cesarotti (translated).  Four hundred
and twenty-three lines of Gaelic, being the alleged original of the
seventh book of "Temora," had been published with that epic in 1763.

[17] "Popular Tales of the West Highlands," J. F. Campbell, Edinburgh,
1862.  Vol. IV. P. 156.

[18] He suggests Lachlan MacPherson of Strathmashie, one of MacPherson's
helpers. "Popular Tales of the West Highlands."

[19] "Fragments," etc.

[20] Seventh book of "Temora." See _ante_, p. 321.

[21] "Leabhar Na Feinne," p. xii.

[22] See _ante_, p. 313, note.

[23] "Encyclopaedia Britannica": "Celtic Literature."

[24] For a further account of the state of the "authenticity" question,
see Archibald McNeil's "Notes on the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems,"
1868; and an article on "Ossian" in _Macmillan's Magazine_, XXIV. 113-25.

[25] "The sweet voice of Cona never sounds so sweetly as when it speaks of

[26] "The Complaint of Ninathoma."

[27] For some MS. Notes of Byron in a copy of "Ossian," see Phelps'
"English Romantic Movement," pp. 153-54.

[28] "Sorrows of Werther," Letter lxviii.

[29] "Caledonia, or Ancient Scotland," book ii. chapter vii. part iv.

[30] "Childe Harold," canto iii.

[31] The same is true of Burns, though references to Cuthullin's dog
Luath, in "The Twa Dogs"; to "Caric-thura" in "The Whistle"; and to
"Cath-Loda" in the notes on "The Vision," show that Burns knew his Ossian.

[32] From Goethe's "Götz von Berlichingen."

[33] See "Poems by Saml. Egerton Brydges," 4th ed., London, 1807.  pp.

[34] See _ante_, p. 117.

[35] There were French translations by Letourneur in 1777 and 1810: by
Lacaussade in 1842; and an imitation by Baour-Lormian in 1801.

[36] See Perry's "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 417.

[37] One suspects this translator to have been of Irish descent.  He was
born at Schärding, Bavaria, in 1729.


Thomas Chatterton.

The history of English romanticism has its tragedy: the life and death of
Thomas Chatterton--

                "The marvelous boy,
    The sleepless soul that perished in his pride."[1]

The story has been often told, but it may be told again here; for, aside
from its dramatic interest, and leaving out of question the absolute
value of the Rowley poems, it is most instructive as to the conditions
which brought about the romantic revival.  It shows by what process
antiquarianism became poetry.

The scene of the story was the ancient city of Bristol--old Saxon
_Bricgestowe_, "place of the bridge"--bridge, namely, over the Avon
stream, not far above its confluence with the Severn.  Here Chatterton
was born in 1752, the posthumous son of a dissipated schoolmaster, whose
ancestors for a hundred and fifty years had been, in unbroken succession,
sextons to the church of St. Mary Redcliffe.  Perhaps it may be more than
an idle fancy to attribute to heredity the bent which Chatterton's genius
took spontaneously and almost from infancy; to guess that some mysterious
ante-natal influence--"striking the electric chain wherewith we are
darkly bound"--may have set vibrating links of unconscious association
running back through the centuries.  Be this as it may, Chatterton was
the child of Redcliffe Church.  St. Mary stood by his cradle and rocked
it; and if he did not inherit with his blood, or draw in with his
mother's milk a veneration for her ancient pile; at least the waters of
her baptismal font[2] seemed to have signed him with the token of her
service.  Just as truly as "The Castle of Otranto" was sprung from
Strawberry Hill, the Rowley poems were born of St. Mary's Church.

Chatterton's father had not succeeded to the sextonship, but he was a
sub-chanter in Bristol Cathedral, and his house and school in Pile Street
were only a few yards from Redcliffe Church.  In this house Chatterton
was born, under the eaves almost of the sanctuary; and when his mother
removed soon after to another house, where she maintained herself by
keeping a little dame's school and doing needle work, it was still on
Redcliffe Hill and in close neighborhood to St. Mary's.  The church
itself--"the pride of Bristowe and the western land"--is described as
"one of the finest parish churches in England,"[3] a rich specimen of
late Gothic or "decorated" style; its building or restoration dating from
the middle of the fifteenth century.  Chatterton's uncle by marriage,
Richard Phillips, had become sexton in 1748, and the boy had the run of
the aisles and transepts.  The stone effigies of knights, priests,
magistrates, and other ancient civic worthies stirred into life under his
intense and brooding imagination; his mind took color from the red and
blue patterns thrown on the pavement by the stained glass of the windows;
and he may well have spelled out much of the little Latin that he knew
from "the knightly brasses of the tombs" and "cold _hic jacets_ of the

It is curious how early his education was self-determined to its peculiar
ends.  A dreamy, silent, solitary child, given to fits of moodiness, he
was accounted dull and even stupid.  He would not, or could not, learn
his letters until, in his seventh year, his eye was caught by the
illuminated capitals in an old music folio.  From these his mother taught
him the alphabet, and a little later he learned to read from a
black-letter Bible.  "Paint me an angel with wings and a trumpet," he
answered, when asked what device he would choose for the little
earthenware bowl that had been promised him as a gift.[4]  Colston's
Hospital, where he was put to school, was built on the site of a
demolished monastery of Carmelite Friars; the scholars wore blue coats,
with metal plates on their breasts stamped with the image of a dolphin,
the armorial crest of the founder, and had their hair cropped short in
imitation of the monkish tonsure.  As the boy grew into a youth, there
were numbered among his near acquaintances, along with the vintners,
sugar-bakers, pipe-makers, apothecaries, and other tradesmen of the
Bristol _bourgeoisie_, two church organists, a miniature painter, and an
engraver of coats-of-arms--figures quaintly suggestive of that mingling
of municipal life and ecclesiastical-mediaeval art which is reproduced in
the Rowley poems.

"Chatterton," testifies one of his early acquaintances, "was fond of
walking in the fields, particularly in Redcliffe meadows, and of talking
of his manuscripts, and sometimes reading them there.  There was one spot
in particular, full in view of the church, in which he seemed to take a
peculiar delight.  He would frequently lay himself down, fix his eyes
upon the church, and seem as if he were in a kind of trance.  Then on a
sudden he would tell me: 'That steeple was burnt down by lightning: that
was the place where they formerly acted plays.'"  "Among his early
studies," we are told, "antiquities, and especially the surroundings of
medieval life, were the favorite subjects; heraldry seems especially to
have had a fascination for him.  He supplied himself with charcoal,
black-lead, ochre, and other colors; and with these it was his delight to
delineate, in rough and quaint figures, churches, castles, tombs of
mailed warriors, heraldic emblazonments, and other like belongings of the
old world."[5]

Is there not a breath of the cloister in all this, reminding one of the
child martyr in Chaucer's "Prioresse Tale," the "litel clergeon, seven
yeer of age"?

    "This litel child his litel book lerninge,
    As he sat in the scole at his prymer,
    He 'Alma redemptoris' herde singe,
    As children lerned hir antiphoner."

A choir boy bred in cathedral closes, catching his glimpses of the sky
not through green boughs, but through the treetops of the Episcopal
gardens discolored by the lancet windows of the clear-stories; dreaming
in the organ loft in the pauses of the music, when

        "The choristers, sitting with faces aslant,
    Feel the silence to consecrate more than the chant."

Thus Chatterton's sensitive genius was taking the impress of its
environment.  As he pored upon the antiquities of his native city, the
idea of its life did sweetly creep into his study of imagination; and he
gradually constructed for himself a picture of fifteenth-century Bristol,
including a group of figures, partly historical and partly fabulous, all
centering about Master William Canynge.  Canynge was the rich Bristol
merchant who founded or restored St. Mary Redcliffe's; was several times
mayor of the city in the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV., and once
represented the borough in Parliament.  Chatterton found or fabled that
he at length took holy orders and became dean of Westbury College.  About
Canynge Chatterton arranged a number of _dramatis personae_, some of
whose names he discovered in old records and documents, such as
Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, and Sir Theobald Gorges, a knight of
Wraxhall, near Bristol; together with others entirely of his own
invention--as John a Iscam, whom he represents to have been a canon of
St. Augustine's Abbey in Bristol; and especially one Thomas Rowley,
parish priest of St. John's, employed by Canynge to collect manuscripts
and antiquities.  He was his poet laureate and father confessor, and to
him Chatterton ascribed most of the verses which pass under the general
name of the Rowley poems.  But Iscam was also a poet and Master Canynge
himself sometimes burst into song.  Samples of the Iscam and the Canynge
muse diversify the collection.  The great Bristol merchant was a
mediaeval Maecenas, and at his house, "nempned the Red Lodge," were
played interludes--"Aella," "Goddwyn," and "The Parliament of
Sprites"--composed by Rowley, or by Rowley and Iscam collaborating.
Canynge sometimes wrote the prologues; and Rowley fed his patron with
soft dedication and complimentary verses: "On Our Lady's Church," "Letter
to the dygne Master Canynge," "The Account of W. Canynges Feast," etc.
The well-known fifteenth-century poet Lydgate is also introduced into
this literary _cénacle_, as John Ladgate, and made to exchange verse
epistles with Rowley in eighteenth-century fashion.  Such is the
remarkable fiction which the marvelous boy erected, as a scaffolding for
the fabric of sham-antique poetry and prose, which he build up during the
years 1767 to 1770, _i.e._, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth year of
his age.

There is a wide distance between the achievements of this untaught lad of
humble birth and narrow opportunities, and the works of the great Sir
Walter, with his matured powers and his stores of solid antiquarian lore.
But the impulse that conducted them to their not dissimilar tasks was the
same.  In "Yarrow Revisited," Wordsworth uses, _à propos_ of Scott, the
expression "localized romance."  It was, indeed, the absorbing local
feeling of Scott, his patriotism, his family pride, his attachment to the
soil, that brought passion and poetry into his historical pursuits.  With
Chatterton, too, this absorption in the past derived its intensity from
his love of place.  Bristol was his world; in "The Battle of Hastings,"
he did not forget to introduce a Bristowan contingent, led by a certain
fabulous Alfwold, and performing prodigies of valor upon the Normans.
The image of mediaeval life which he succeeded in creating was, of
course, a poor, faint _simulacrum_, compared with Scott's.  He lacked
knowledge, leisure, friends, long life--everything that was needed to
give his work solidity.  All that he had was a creative, though
undisciplined imagination, together with an astonishing industry,
persistence, and secretiveness.  Yet with all his disadvantages, his
work, with all its imperfections, is far more striking than the imitative
verse of the Wartons, or the thin, diffused medievalism of Walpole and
Clara Reeve.  It is the product of a more original mind and a more
intense conception.

In the muniment room over the north porch of St. Mary Redcliffe's were
several old chests filled with parchments: architectural memoranda,
church-wardens' accounts, inventories of vestments, and similar parish
documents.  One of these chests, known as Master Canynge's coffer, had
been broken open some years before, and whatever was of value among its
contents removed to a place of safety.  The remainder of the parchments
had been left scattered about, and Chatterton's father had carried a
number of them home and used them to cover copy-books.  The boy's eye was
attracted by these yellow sheep-skins, with their antique script; he
appropriated them and kept them locked up in his room.

How early he conceived the idea of making this treasure-trove responsible
for the Rowley myth, which was beginning to take shape in his mind, is
uncertain.  According to the testimony of a schoolfellow, by name
Thistlethwaite, Chatterton told him in the summer of 1764 that he had a
number of old manuscripts, found in a chest in Redcliffe Church, and that
he had lent one of them to Thomas Philips, an usher in Colston's
Hospital.  Thistlethwaite says that Philips showed him this manuscript, a
piece of vellum pared close around the edge, on which was traced in pale
and yellow writing, as if faded with age, a poem which he thinks
identical with "Elinoure and Juga," afterward published by Chatterton in
the _Town and Country Magazine_ for May, 1769.  One is inclined to
distrust this evidence.  "The Castle of Otranto" was first published in
December, 1764, and the "Reliques," only in the year following.  The
latter was certainly known to Chatterton; many of the Rowley poems, "The
Bristowe Tragedie," _e.g._, and the ministrel songs in "Aella," show
ballad influence[6]; while it seems not unlikely that Chatterton was
moved to take a hint from the disguise--slight as it was--assumed by
Walpole in the preface to his romance.[7]  But perhaps this was not
needed to suggest to Chatterton that the surest way to win attention to
his poems would be to ascribe them to some fictitious bard of the Middle
Ages.  It was the day of literary forgery; the Ossian controversy was
raging, and the tide of popular favor set strongly toward the antique.  A
series of avowed imitations of old English poetry, however clever, would
have had small success.  But the discovery of a hitherto unknown
fifteen-century poet was an announcement sure to interest the learned and
perhaps a large part of the reading public.  Besides, instances are not
rare where a writer has done his best work under a mask.  The poems
composed by Chatterton in the disguise of Rowley--a dramatically imagined
_persona_ behind which he lost his own identity--are full of a curious
attractiveness; while his acknowledged pieces are naught.  It is not
worth while to bear down very heavily on the moral aspects of this kind
of deception.  The question is one of literary methods rather than of
ethics.  If the writer succeeds by the skill of his imitations, and the
ingenuity of the evidence that he brings to support them, in actually
imposing upon the public for a time, the success justifies the attempt.
The artist's purpose is to create a certain impression, and the choice of
means must be left to himself.

In the summer of 1764 Chatterton was barely twelve, and wonderful as his
precocity was, it is doubtful whether he had got so far in the evolution
of the Rowley legend as Thistlethwaite's story would imply.  But it is
certain that three years later, in the spring of 1767, Chatterton gave
Mr. Henry Burgum, a worthy pewterer of Bristol, a parchment emblazoned
with the "de Bergham," coat-of-arms, which he pretended to have found in
St. Mary's Church, furnishing him also with two copy-books, in which were
transcribed the "de Bergham," pedigree, together with three poems in
pseudo-antique spelling.  One of these, "The Tournament," described a
joust in which figured one Sir Johan de Berghamme, a presumable ancestor
of the gratified pewterer.  Another of them, "The Romaunte of the
Cnyghte," purported to be the work of this hero of the tilt-yard, "who
spent his whole life in tilting," but notwithstanding found time to write
several books and translate "some part of the Iliad under the title
'Romance of Troy.'"

All this stuff was greedily swallowed by Burgum, and the marvelous boy
next proceeded to befool Mr. William Barrett, a surgeon and antiquary who
was engaged in writing a history of Bristol.  To him he supplied copies
of supposed documents in the muniment room of Redcliffe Church: "Of the
Auntiaunte Forme of Monies," and the like: deeds, bills, letters,
inscriptions, proclamations, accounts of churches and other buildings,
collected by Rowley for his patron, Canynge: many of which this
singularly uncritical historian incorporated in his "History of Bristol,"
published some twenty years later.  He also imparted to Barrett two
Rowleian poems, "The Parliament of Sprites," and "The Battle of Hastings"
(in two quite different versions).  In September, 1768, a new bridge was
opened at Bristol over the Avon; and Chatterton, who had now been
apprenticed to an attorney, took advantage of the occasion to send
anonymously to the printer of _Farley's Bristol Journal_ a description of
the mayor's first passing over the old bridge in the reign of Henry II.
This was composed in obsolete language and alleged to have been copied
from a contemporary manuscript.  It was the first published of
Chatterton's fabrications.  In the years 1768-69 he produced and gave to
Mr. George Catcott the long tragical interude "Aella," "The Bristowe
Tragedie," and other shorter pieces, all of which he declared to be
transcripts from manuscripts in Canynge's chest, and the work of Thomas
Rowley, a secular priest of Bristol, who flourished about 1460.  Catcott
was a local book-collector and the partner of Mr. Burgum.  He was
subsequently nicknamed "Rowley's midwife."

In December, 1768, Chatterton opened a correspondence with James Dodsley,
the London publisher, saying that several ancient poems had fallen into
his hands, copies of which he offered to supply him, if he would send a
guinea to cover expenses.  He inclosed a specimen of "Aella."  "The
motive that actuates me to do this," he wrote, "is to convince the world
that the monks (of whom some have so despicable an opinion) were not such
blockheads as generally thought, and that good poetry might be wrote in
the dark days of superstition, as well as in these more enlightened
ages."  Dodsley took no notice of the letters, and the owner of the
Rowley manuscripts next turned to Horace Walpole, whose tastes as a
virtuoso, a lover of Gothic, and a romancer might be counted on to enlist
his curiosity in Chatterton's find.  The document which he prepared for
Walpole was a prose paper entitled "The Ryse of Peyncteynge yn Englande,
wroten by T. Rowleie, 1469, for Mastre Canynge," and containing _inter
alia_, the following extraordinary "anecdote of painting" about Afflem,
an Anglo-Saxon glass-stainer of Edmond's reign who was taken prisoner by
the Danes.  "Inkarde, a soldyer of the Danes, was to slea hym; onne the
Nete before the Feeste of Deathe hee founde Afflem to bee hys Broder
Affrighte chanynede uppe hys soule.  Gastnesse dwelled yn his Breaste.
Oscarre, the greate Dane, gave hest hee shulde bee forslagene with the
commeynge Sunne: no tears colde availe; the morne cladde yn roabes of
ghastness was come, whan the Danique Kynge behested Oscarre to arraie hys
Knyghtes eftsoones for Warre.  Afflem was put yn theyre flyeynge
Battailes, sawe his Countrie ensconced wyth Foemen, hadde hys Wyfe ande
Chyldrenne brogten Capteeves to hys Shyppe, ande was deieynge wythe
Soorowe, whanne the loude blautaunte Wynde hurled the battayle agaynste
an Heck.  Forfraughte wythe embolleynge waves, he sawe hys Broder, Wyfe
and Chyldrenne synke to Deathe: himself was throwen onne a Banke ynne the
Isle of Wyghte, to lyve hys lyfe forgard to all Emmoise: thus moche for

This paper was accompanied with notes explaining queer words and giving
short biographical sketches of Canynge, Rowley, and other imaginary
characters, such as John, second abbot of St. Austin's Minster, who was
the first English painter in oils and also the greatest poet of his age.
"Take a specimen of his poetry, 'On King Richard I.':

    "'Harte of Lyone! Shake thie Sworde,
      Bare this mortheynge steinede honde,' etc."

The whole was inclosed in a short note to Walpole, which ran thus:

"Sir, Being versed a little in antiquitys, I have met with several
curious manuscripts, among which the following may be of Service to you,
in any future Edition of your truly entertaining Anecdotes of
Painting.[9]  In correcting the mistakes (if any) in the Notes, you will
greatly oblige
                Your most humble Servant,
                        Thomas Chatterton."

Walpole replied civilly, thanking his correspondent for what he had sent
and for his offer of communicating his manuscripts, but disclaiming any
ability to correct Chatterton's notes.  "I have not the happiness of
understanding the Saxon language, and, without your learned notes, should
not have been able to comprehend Rowley's text."  He asks where Rowley's
poems are to be found, offers to print them, and pronounces the Abbot
John's verses "wonderful for their harmony and spirit."  This
encouragement called out a second letter from Chatterton, with another
and longer extract from the "Historie of Peyncteynge yn Englande,"
including translations into the Rowley dialect of passages from a pair of
mythical Saxon poets: Ecca, Bishop of Hereford, and Elmar, Bishop of
Selseie, "fetyve yn Workes of ghastlienesse," as _ecce signum_:

    "Nowe maie alle Helle open to golpe thee downe," etc.

But by this time Walpole had begun to suspect imposture.  He had been
lately bitten in the Ossian business and had grown wary in consequence.
Moreover, Chatterton had been incautious enough to show his hand in his
second letter (March 30).  "He informed me," said Walpole, in his history
of the affair, "that he was the son of a poor widow . . . that he was
clerk or apprentice to an attorney, but had a taste and turn for more
elegant studies; and hinted a wish that I would assist him with my
interest in emerging out of so dull a profession, by procuring him
someplace."  Meanwhile, distrusting his own scholarship, Walpole had
shown the manuscripts to his friends Gray and Mason, who promptly
pronounced them modern fabrications and recommended him to return them
without further notice.  But Walpole, good-naturedly considering that it
was no "grave crime in a young bard to have forged false notes of hand
that were to pass current only in the parish of Parnassus," wrote his
ingenious correspondent a letter of well-meant advice, counseling him to
stick to his profession, and saying that he "had communicated his
transcripts to much better judges, and that they were by no means
satisfied with the authenticity of his supposed manuscripts."  Chatterton
then wrote for his manuscripts, and after some delay--Walpole having been
absent in Parish for several months--they were returned to him.

In 1769 Chatterton had begun contributing miscellaneous articles, in
prose and verse, to the _Town and Country Magazine_, a London periodical.
Among these appeared the eclogue of "Elinoure and Juga,"[10] the only one
of the Rowley poems printed during its author's lifetime.  He had now
turned his pen to the service of politics, espousing the side of Wilkes
and liberty.  In April, 1770, he left Bristol for London, and cast
himself upon the hazardous fortunes of a literary career.  Most tragical
is the story of the poor, unfriended lad's struggle against fate for the
next few months.  He scribbled incessantly for the papers, receiving
little or no pay.  Starvation confronted him; he was too proud to ask
help, and on August 24 he took poison and died, at the age of seventeen
years and nine months.

With Chatterton's acknowledged writings we have nothing here to do; they
include satires in the manner of Churchill, political letters in the
manner of Junius, squibs, lampoons, verse epistles, elegies, "African
eclogues," a comic burletta, "The Revenge"--played at Marylebone Gardens
shortly after his death--with essays and sketches in the style that the
_Spectator_ and _Rambler_ had made familiar: "The Adventures of a Star,"
"The Memoirs of a Sad Dog," and the like.  They exhibit a precocious
cleverness, but have no value and no interest today.  One gets from
Chatterton's letters and miscellanies an unpleasant impression of his
character.  There is not only the hectic quality of too early ripeness
which one detects in Keats' correspondence; and the defiant swagger, the
affectation of wickedness and knowingness that one encounters in the
youthful Byron, and that is apt to attend the stormy burst of irregular
genius upon the world; but there are things that imply a more radical
unscrupulousness.  But it would be harsh to urge any such impressions
against one who was no more than a boy when he perished, and whose brief
career had struggled through cold obstruction to its bitter end.  The
best traits in Chatterton's character appear to have been his proud
spirit of independence and his warm family affections.

The death of an obscure penny-a-liner, like young Chatterton, made little
noise at first.  But gradually it became rumored about in London literary
coteries that manuscripts of an interesting kind existed at Bristol,
purporting to be transcripts from old English poems; and that the finder,
or fabricator, of the same was the unhappy lad who had taken arsenic the
other day, to anticipate a slower death from hunger.  It was in April,
1771, that Walpole first heard of the fate of his would-be _protégé_.
"Dining," he says, "at the Royal Academy, Dr. Goldsmith drew the
attention of the company with an account of a marvelous treasure of
ancient poems lately discovered at Bristol, and expressed enthusiastic
belief in them; for which he was laughed at by Dr. Johnson, who was
present.  I soon found this was the _trouvaille_ of my friend Chatterton,
and I told Dr. Goldsmith that this novelty was known to me, who might, if
I had pleased, have had the honor of ushering the great discovery to the
learned world.  You may imagine, sir, we did not all agree in the measure
of our faith; but though his credulity diverted me, my mirth was soon
dashed; for, on asking about Chatterton, he told me he had been in London
and had destroyed himself."

With the exception of "Elinour and Juga," already mentioned, the Rowley
poems were still unprinted.  The manuscripts, in Chatterton's
handwriting, were mostly in the possession of Barrett and Catcott.  They
purported to be copies of Rowley's originals; but of these alleged
originals, the only specimens brought forward by Chatterton were a few
scraps of parchment containing, in one instance, the first thirty-four
lines of the poem entitled "The Storie of William Canynge"; in another a
prose account of one "Symonne de Byrtonne," and, in still others, the
whole of the short-verse pieces, "Songe to Aella" and "The Accounte of W.
Canynge's Feast."  These scraps of vellum are described as about six
inches square, smeared with glue or brown varnish, or stained with ochre,
to give them an appearance of age.  Thomas Warton had seen one of them,
and pronounced it a clumsy forgery; the script not of the fifteenth
century, but unmistakably modern.  Southey describes another as written,
for the most part, in an attorney's regular engrossing hand.  Mr. Skeat
"cannot find the slightest indication that Chatterton had ever seen a MS.
of early date; on the contrary, he never uses the common contractions,
and he was singularly addicted to the use of capitals, which in old MSS.
are rather scarce."

Boswell tells how he and Johnson went down to Bristol in April, 1776,
"where I was entertained with seeing him inquire upon the spot into the
authenticity of Rowley's poetry, as I had seen him inquire upon the spot
into the authenticity of Ossian's poetry.  Johnson said of Chatterton,
'This is the most extraordinary young man that has encountered my
knowledge.  It is wonderful how the whelp has written such things.'"

In 1777, seven years after Chatterton's death, his Rowley poems were
first collected and published by Thomas Tyrwhitt, the Chaucerian editor,
who gave, in an appendix, his reasons for believing that Chatterton was
their real author, and Rowley a myth.[11]  These reasons are convincing
to any modern scholar.  Tyrwhitt's opinion was shared at the time by all
competent authorities--Gray, Thomas Warton, and Malone, the editor of the
_variorum_ Shakspere, among others.  Nevertheless, a controversy sprang
up over Rowley, only less lively than the dispute about Ossian, which had
been going on since 1760.  Rowley's most prominent champions were the
Rev. Dr. Symmes, who wrote in the _London Review_; the Rev. Dr. Sherwin,
in the _Gentleman's Magazine_; Dr. Jacob Bryant,[12] and Jeremiah Milles,
D.D., Dean of Exeter, who published a sumptuous quarto edition of the
poems in 1782.[13]  These asserters of Rowley belonged to the class of
amateur scholars whom Edgar Poe used to speak of as "cultivated old
clergymen."  They had the usual classical training of Oxford and
Cambridge graduates, but no precise knowledge of old English literature.
They had the benevolent curiosity of Mr. Pickwick, and the
gullibility--the large, easy swallow--which seems to go with the
clerico-antiquarian habit of mind.

Nothing is so extinct as an extinct controversy; and, unlike the Ossian
puzzle, which was a harder nut to crack, this Rowley controversy was
really settled from the start.  It is not essential to our purpose to
give any extended history of it.  The evidence relied upon by the
supporters of Rowley was mainly of the external kind:  personal
testimony, and especially the antecedent unlikeliness that a boy of
Chatterton's age and imperfect education could have reared such an
elaborate structure of deceit; together with the inferiority of his
acknowledged writings to the poems that he ascribed to Rowley.  But
Tyrwhitt was a scholar of unusual thoroughness and acuteness; and, having
a special acquaintance with early English, he was able to bring to the
decision of the question evidence of an internal nature which became more
convincing in proportion as the knowledge necessary to understand his
argument increased; _i.e._, as the number of readers increased, who knew
something about old English poetry.  Indeed, it was nothing but the
general ignorance of the spelling, flexions, vocabulary, and scansion of
Middle English verse, that made the controversy possible.

Tyrwhitt pointed out that the Rowleian dialect was not English of the
fifteenth century, nor of any century, but a grotesque jumble of archaic
words of very different periods and dialects.  The orthography and
grammatical forms were such as occurred in no old English poet known to
the student of literature.  The fact that Rowley used constantly the
possessive pronominal form _itts_, instead of _his_; or the other fact
that he used the termination _en_ in the singular of the verb, was alone
enough to stamp the poems as spurious.  Tyrwhitt also showed that the
syntax, diction, idioms, and stanza forms were modern; that if modern
words were substituted throughout for the antique, and the spelling
modernized, the verse would read like eighteenth-century work.  "If
anyone," says Scott, in his review of the Southey and Cottle edition,
"resists the internal evidence of the style of Rowley's poems, we make
him welcome to the rest of the argument; to his belief that the Saxons
imported heraldry and gave armorial bearings (which were not known till
the time of the Crusades); that Mr. Robert [_sic_] Canynge, in the reign
of Edward IV., encouraged drawing and had private theatricals."  In this
article Scott points out a curious blunder of Chatterton's which has
become historic, though it is only one of a thousand.  In the description
of the cook in the General Prologue to the "Canterbury Tales," Chaucer
had written:

    "But gret harm was it, as it thoughte me,
    That on his schyne a mormal hadde he,
    For blankmanger he made with the beste."

_Mormal_, in this passage, means a cancerous sore, and _blankmanger_ is a
certain dish or confection--the modern _blancmange_.  But a confused
recollection of the whole was in Chatterton's mind, when among the
fragments of paper and parchment which he covered with imitations of
ancient script, and which are now in the British Museum,--"The Yellow
Roll," "The Purple Roll," etc.,--he inserted the following title in "The
Rolls of St. Bartholomew's Priory," purporting to be old medical
prescriptions; "The cure of mormalles and the waterie leprosie; the rolle
of the blacke mainger"; turning Chaucer's innocent _blankmanger_ into
some kind of imaginary _black mange_.

Skeat believes that Chatterton had read very little of Chaucer, probably
only a small portion of the Prologue to the "Canterbury Tales."  "If he
had really taken pains," he thinks, "To _read_ and _study_ Chaucer of
Lydgate or any old author earlier than the age of Spenser, the Rowley
poems would have been very different.  They would then have borne some
resemblance to the language of the fifteenth century, whereas they are
rather less like the language of that period than of any other.  The
spelling of the words is frequently too late, or too bizarre, whilst many
of the words themselves are too archaic or too uncommon."[14]  But this
internal evidence, which was so satisfactory to Scott, was so little
convincing to Chatterton's contemporaries that Tyrwhitt felt called upon
to publish in 1782 a "Vindication" of his appendix; and Thomas Warton put
forth in the same year an "Enquiry," in which he reached practically the
same conclusions with Tyrwhitt.  And yet Warton had devoted the
twenty-sixth section of the second volume of his "History of English
Poetry" (1778,) to a review of the Rowley poems, on the ground that "as
they are held to be real by many respectable critics, it was his duty to
give them a place in this series": a curious testimony to the uncertainty
of the public mind on the question, and a half admission that the poems
might possibly turn out to be genuine.[15]

Tyrwhitt proved clearly enough that Chatterton wrote the Rowley poems,
but it was reserved for Mr. Skeat to show just _how_ he wrote them.  The
_modus operandi_ was about as follows:  Chatterton first made, for his
private use, a manuscript glossary, by copying out the words in the
glossary to Speght's edition of Chaucer, and those marked as old in
Bailey's and Kersey's English Dictionaries.  Next he wrote his poem in
modern English, and finally rewrote it, substituting the archaic words
for their modern equivalents, and altering the spelling throughout into
an exaggerated imitation of the antique spelling in Speght's Chaucer.
The mistakes that the he made are instructive, as showing how closely he
followed his authorities, and how little independent knowledge he had of
genuine old English.  Thus, to give a few typical examples of the many in
Mr. Skeat's notes: in Kersey's dictionary occurs the word _gare_, defined
as "cause."  This is the verb _gar_, familiar to all readers of
Burns,[16] and meaning to cause, to make; but Chatterton, taking it for
the _noun_, cause, employs it with grotesque incorrectness in such
connections as these:

    "Perchance in Virtue's gare rhyme might be then":
    "If in this battle luck deserts our gare."

Again the Middle English _howten_ (Modern English, _hoot_) is defined by
Speght as "hallow," _i.e._, halloo.  But Kersey and Bailey misprint this
"hollow"; and Chatterton, entering it so in his manuscript list of old
words, evidently takes it to be the _adjective_ "hollow" and uses it thus
in the line:

    "Houten are wordes for to telle his doe," _i.e._,
    Hollow are words to tell his doings.

Still again, in a passage already quoted,[17] it is told how the "Wynde
hurled the Battayle"--Rowleian for a small boat--"agaynste an Heck."
_Heck_ in this and other passages was a puzzle.  From the context it
obviously meant "rock," but where did Chatterton get it?  Mr. Skeat
explains this.  _Heck_ is a provincial word signifying "rack," i.e.,
"hay-rack"; but Kersey misprinted it "rock," and Chatterton followed him.
A typical instance of the kind of error that Chatterton was perpetually
committing was his understanding the "Listed, bounded," _i.e., edged_ (as
in the "list" or selvage of cloth) for "bounded" in the sense of
_jumped,_ and so coining from it the verb "to liss"=to jump:

    "The headed javelin lisseth here and there."

Every page in the Rowley poems abounds in forms which would have been as
strange to an Englishman of the fifteenth as they are to one of the
nineteenth century.  Adjectives are used for nouns, nouns for verbs, past
participles for present infinitives; and derivatives and variants are
employed which never had any existence, such as _hopelen_=hopelessness,
and _anere_=another.  Skeat says, that "an analysis of the glossary in
Milles's edition shows that the genuine old English words correctly used,
occurring in the Rowleian dialect, amount to only about _seven_ per cent,
of all the old words employed."  It is probable that, by constant use of
his manuscript glossary, the words became fixed in Chatterton's memory
and he acquired some facility in composing at first hand in this odd
jargon.  Thus he uses the archaic words quite freely as rhyme words,
which he would not have been likely to do unless he had formed the habit
of thinking to some degree, in Rowleian.

The question now occurs, apart from the tragic interest of Chatterton's
career, from the mystery connected with the incubation and hatching of
the Rowley poems, and from their value as records of a very unusual
precocity--what independent worth have they as poetry, and what has been
the extent of their literary influence?  The dust of controversy has long
since settled, and what has its subsidence made visible?  My own belief
is that the Rowley poems are interesting principally as literary
curiosities--the work of an infant phenomenon--and that they have little
importance in themselves, or as models and inspirations to later poets.
I cannot help thinking that, upon this subject, many critics have lost
their heads.  Malone, _e.g._, pronounced Chatterton the greatest genius
that England had produced since Shakspere.  Professor Masson permits
himself to say: "The antique poems of Chatterton are perhaps as worthy of
being read consecutively as many portions of the poetry of Byron,
Shelley, or Keats.  There are passages in them, at least, quite equal to
any to be found in these poets."[18]  Mr. Gosse seems to me much nearer
the truth: "Our estimate of the complete originality of the Rowley poems
must be tempered by a recollection of the existence of 'The Castle of
Otranto' and 'The Schoolmistress,' of the popularity of Percy's
'Reliques' and the 'Odes' of Gray, and of the revival of a taste for
Gothic literature and art which dates from Chatterton's infancy.  Hence
the claim which has been made for Chatterton as the father of the
romantic school, and as having influenced the actual style of Coleridge
and Keats, though supported with great ability, appears to be
overcharged.  So also the positive praise given to the Rowley poems, as
artistic productions full of rich color and romantic melody, may be
deprecated without any refusal to recognize these qualities in measure.
There are frequent flashes of brilliancy in Chatterton, and one or two
very perfectly sustained pieces; but the main part of his work, if
rigorously isolated from the melodramatic romance of his career, is
surely found to be rather poor reading, the work of a child of exalted
genius, no doubt, yet manifestly the work of a child all through."[19]

Let us get a little closer to the Rowley poems, as they stand in Mr.
Skeat's edition, stripped of their sham-antique spelling and with their
language modernized wherever possible; and we shall find, I think, that
tried by an absolute standard, they are markedly inferior not only to
true mediaeval work like Chaucer's poems and the English and Scottish
ballads, but also to the best modern work conceived in the same spirit:
to "Christabel" and "The Eve of St. Agnes," and "Jock o'Hazeldean" and
"Sister Helen," and "The Haystack in the Flood."  The longest of the
Rowley poems is "Aella," "a tragycal enterlude or discoorseynge tragedie"
in 147 stanzas, and generally regarded as Chatterton's masterpiece.[20]
The scene of this tragedy is Bristol and the neighboring Watchet Mead;
the period, during the Danish invasions.  The hero is the warden of
Bristol Castle.[21]  While he is absent on a victorious campaign against
the Danes, his bride, Bertha, is decoyed from home by his treacherous
lieutenant, Celmond, who is about to ravish her in the forest, when he is
surprised and killed by a band of marauders.  Meanwhile Aella has
returned home, and finding that his wife has fled, stabs himself
mortally.  Bertha arrives in time to hear his dying speech and make the
necessary explanations, and then dies herself on the body of her lord.
It will be seen that the plot is sufficiently melodramatic; the
sentiments and dialogue are entirely modern, when translated out of
Rowleian into English.  The verse is a modified form of the Spenserian, a
ten-line stanza which Mr. Skeat says is an invention of Chatterton and a
striking instance of his originality.[22]  It answers very well in
descriptive passages and soliloquies; not so well in the "discoorseynge"
parts.  As this is Chatterton's favorite stanza, in which "The Battle of
Hastings," "Goddwyn," "English Metamorphosis" and others of the Rowley
series are written, an example of it may be cited here, from "Aella."

        _Scene_, Bristol.  Celmond, _alone_.
    The world is dark with night; the winds are still,
    Faintly the moon her pallid light makes gleam;
    The risen sprites the silent churchyard fill,
    With elfin fairies joining in the dream;
    The forest shineth with the silver leme;
    Now may my love be sated in its treat;
    Upon the brink of some swift running stream,
    At the sweet banquet I will sweetly eat.
    This is the house; quickly, ye hinds, appear.

        _Enter_ a servant.

    _Cel._ Go tell to Bertha straight, a stranger waiteth here.

The Rowley poems include, among other things, a number of dramatic or
quasi-dramatic pieces, "Goddwyn," "The Tournament," "The Parliament of
Sprites"; the narrative poem of "The Battle of Hastings," and a
collection of "eclogues."  These are all in long-stanza forms, mostly in
the ten-lined stanza.  "English Metamorphosis" is an imitation of a
passage in "The Faërie Queene," (book ii. canto x. stanzas 5-19).  "The
Parliament of Sprites" is an interlude played by Carmelite friars at
William Canynge's house on the occasion of the dedication of St. Mary
Redcliffe's.  One after another the _antichi spiriti dolenti_ rise up and
salute the new edifice: Nimrod and the Assyrians, Anglo-Saxon ealdormen
and Norman knights templars, and citizens of ancient Bristol.  Among
others, "Elle's sprite speaks":

    "Were I once more cast in a mortal frame,
    To hear the chantry-song sound in mine ear,
    To hear the masses to our holy dame,
    To view the cross-aisles and the arches fair!
    Through the half-hidden silver-twinkling glare
    Of yon bright moon in foggy mantles dressed,
    I must content this building to aspere,[23]
    Whilst broken clouds the holy sight arrest;
    Till, as the nights grow old, I fly the light.
    Oh! were I man again, to see the sight!"

Perhaps the most engaging of the Rowley poems are "An Excelente Balade of
Charitie," written in the rhyme royal; and "The Bristowe Tragedie," in
the common ballad stanza, and said by Tyrwhitt to be founded on an
historical fact: the excecution at Bristol, in 1461, of Sir Baldwin
Fulford, who fought on the Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses.
The best quality in Chatterton's verse is its unexpectedness,--sudden
epithets or whole lines, of a wild and artless sweetness,--which goes far
to explain the fascination that he exercised over Coleridge and Keats.  I
mean such touches as these:

    "Once as I dozing in the witch-hour lay."

    "Brown as the filbert dropping from the shell."

    "My gorme emblanchèd with the comfreie plant."

    "Where thou may'st here the sweetè night-lark chant,
    Or with some mocking brooklet sweetly glide."

    "Upon his bloody carnage-house he lay,
    Whilst his long shield did gleam with the sun's rising ray."

    "The red y-painted oars from the black tide,
    Carved with devices rare, do shimmering rise."

    "As elfin fairies, when the moon shines bright,
    In little circles dance upon the green;
    All living creatures fly far from their sight,
    Nor by the race of destiny be seen;
    For what he be that elfin fairies strike,
    Their souls will wander to King Offa's dyke."

The charming wildness of Chatterton's imagination--which attracted the
notice of that strange, visionary genius William Blake[24]--is perhaps
seen at its best in one of the minstrel songs in "Aella."  This is
obviously an echo of Ophelia's song in "Hamlet," but Chatterton gives it
a weird turn of his own:

    "Hark! the raven flaps his wing
      In the briared dell below;
    Hark! the death owl loud doth sing
      To the nightmares, as they go.
            My love is dead.
          Gone to his death-bed
          All under the willow tree.

    "See the white moon shines on high,[25]
      Whiter is my true-love's shroud,
    Whiter than the morning sky,
      Whiter than the evening cloud.
            My love is dead," etc.

It remains to consider briefly the influence of Chatterton's life and
writings upon his contemporaries and successors in the field of romantic
poetry.  The dramatic features of his personal career drew, naturally,
quite as much if not more attention than his literary legacy to
posterity.  It was about nine years after his death that a clerical
gentleman, Sir Herbert Croft, went to Bristol to gather materials for a
biography.  He talked with Barrett and Catcott, and with many of the
poet's schoolmates and fellow-townsmen, and visited his mother and
sister, who told him anecdotes of the marvelous boy's childhood and gave
him some of his letters.  Croft also traced Chatterton's footsteps in
London, where he interviewed, among others, the coroner who had presided
at the inquest over the suicide's body.  The result of these inquiries he
gave to the world in a book entitled "Love and Madness" (1780).[26]
Southey thought that Croft had treated Mrs. Chatterton shabbily, in
making her no pecuniary return from the profits of his book; and
arraigned him publicly for this in the edition of Chatterton's works
which he and Joseph Cottle--both native Bristowans--published in three
volumes in 1803.  This was at first designed to be a subscription edition
for the benefit of Chatterton's mother and sister, but, the subscriptions
not being numerous enough, it was issued in the usual way, through "the

It was in 1795, just a quarter of a century after Chatterton's death,
that Southey and Coleridge were married in St. Mary Redcliffe's Church to
the Misses Edith and Sara Fricker.  Coleridge was greatly interested in
Chatterton.  In his "Lines on Observing a Blossom on the First of
February, 1796," he compares the flower to

    "Bristowa's bard, the wondrous boy,
    An amaranth which earth seemed scarce to own,
    Blooming 'mid poverty's drear wintry waste."

And a little earlier than this, when meditating his pantisocracy scheme
with Southey and Lovell, he had addressed the dead poet in his indignant
"Monody on the Death of Chatterton," associating him in imagination with
the abortive community on the Susquehannah:

    "O Chatterton, that thou wert yet alive!
    Sure thou would'st spread thy canvas to the gale,
    And love with us the tinkling team to drive
    O'er peaceful freedom's undivided dale;
    And we at sober eve would round thee throng,
    Hanging enraptured on thy stately song,
    And greet with smiles the young-eyed poesy
    All deftly masked as hoar antiquity. . .
    Yet will I love to follow the sweet dream
    Where Susquehannah pours his untamed stream;
    And on some hill, whose forest-frowning side
    Waves o'er the murmurs of his calmer tide,
    Will raise a solemn cenotaph to thee,
    Sweet harper of time-shrouded ministrelsy."

It might be hard to prove that the Rowley poems had very much to do with
giving shape to Coleridge's own poetic output.  Doubtless, without them,
"Christabel," and "The Ancient Mariner," and "The Darke Ladye" would
still have been; and yet it is possible that they might not have been
just what they are.  In "The Ancient Mariner" there is the ballad strain
of the "Reliques," but _plus_ something of Chatterton's.  In such lines
as these:

    "The bride hath paced into the hall
      Red as a rose is she:
    Nodding their heads before her, goes
      The merry minstrelsy;"

or as these:

    "The wedding guest here beat his breast
      For he heard the loud bassoon:"

one catches a far-away reverberation from certain stanzas of "The
Bristowe Tragedie:" this, _e.g._,

    "Before him went the council-men
      In scarlet robes and gold,
    And tassels spangling in the sun,
      Much glorious to behold;"

and this:

    "In different parts a godly psalm
      Most sweetly they did chant:
    Behind their backs six minstrels came,
      Who tuned the strung bataunt."[27]

Among all the young poets of the generation that succeeded Chatterton,
there was a tender feeling of comradeship with the proud and passionate
boy, and a longing to admit him of their crew.  Byron, indeed, said that
he was insane; but Shelley, in "Adonais," classes him with Keats among
"the inheritors of unfulfilled renown."  Lord Houghton testifies that
Keats had a prescient sympathy with Chatterton in his early death.  He
dedicated "Endymion" to his memory.  In his epistle "To George Felton
Mathew," he asks him to help him find a place

    "Where we may soft humanity put on,
    And sit, and rhyme, and think on Chatterton."[28]

Keats said that he always associated the season of autumn with the memory
of Chatterton.  He asserted, somewhat oddly, that he was the purest
writer in the English language and used "no French idiom or particles,
like Chaucer."  In a letter from Jane Porter to Keats about the reviews
of his "Endymion," she wrote: "Had Chatterton possessed sufficient
manliness of mind to know the magnanimity of patience, and been aware
that great talents have a commission from Heaven, he would not have
deserted his post, and his name might have been paged with Milton."

Keats was the poetic child of Spenser, but some traits of manner--hard to
define, though not to feel--he inherited from Chatterton.  In his
unfinished poem, "The Eve of St. Mark," there is a Rowleian accent in the
passage imitative of early English, and in the loving description of the
old volume of saints' legends whence it is taken, with its

                "--pious poesies
    Written in smallest crow-quill size
    Beneath the text."

And we cannot but think of the shadow of St. Mary Redcliffe falling
across another young life, as we read how

    "Bertha was a maiden fair
    Dwelling in th' old Minster-square;
    From her fireside she could see,
    Sidelong, its rich antiquity,
    Far as the Bishop's garden-wall";

and of the footfalls that pass the echoing minster-gate, and of the
clamorous daws that fall asleep in the ancient belfry to the sound of the
drowsy chimes.  Rossetti, in so many ways a continuator of Keats'
artistry, devoted to Chatterton the first of his sonnet-group, "Five
English Poets,"[29] of which the sestet runs thus:

    "Thy nested home-loves, noble Chatterton;
      The angel-trodden stair thy soul could trace
      Up Redcliffe's spire; and in the world's armed space
    Thy gallant sword-play:--these to many an one
    Are sweet for ever; as thy grave unknown
      And love-dream of thine unrecorded face."

The story of Chatterton's life found its way into fiction and upon the
stage.  Afred de Vigny, one of the French romanticists, translator of
"Othello" and "The Merchant of Venice," introduced it as an episode into
his romance, "Stello ou les Diables Bleus," afterward dramatized as
"Chatterton," and first played at Paris on February 12, 1835, with great
success.  De Vigny made a love tragedy out of it, inventing a sweetheart
for his hero, in the person of Kitty Bell, a role which became one of
Madame Dorval's chief triumphs.  On the occasion of the revival of De
Vigny's drama in December, 1857, Théophile Gautier gave, in the
_Moniteur_,[30] some reminiscences of its first performance, twenty-two
years before.

"The parterre before which Chatterton declaimed was full of pale,
long-haired youths, who firmly believed that there was no other worthy
occupation on earth but the making of verses or of pictures--art, as they
called it; and who looked upon the bourgeois with a disdain to which the
disdain of the Heidelberg or Jena 'fox' for the 'philistine' hardly
approaches. . .  As to money, no one thought of it.  More than one, as in
that assembly of impossible professions which Theodore de Banville
describes with so resigned an irony, could have cried without falsehood
'I am a lyric poet and I live by my profession.'  One who has not passed
through that mad, ardent, over-excited but generous epoch, cannot imagine
to what a forgetfulness of material existence the intoxication, or, if
you prefer, infatuation of art pushed the obscure and fragile victims who
would rather have died than renounce their dream.  One actually heard in
the night the crack of solitary pistols.  Judge of the effect produced in
such an environment by M. Afred Vigney's 'Chatterton'; to which, if you
would comprehend it, you must restore the contemporary atmosphere."[31]

[1] Wordsworth, "Resolution and Independence."

[2] January 1, 1753.

[3] "The Poetical Works of Thos. Chatterton.  With an Essay on the Rowley
Poems by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat and a Memoir by Edward Bell"; in two
volumes.  London, 1871, Vol. I. p. xv.

[4] Willcox's edition of "Chatterton's Poetical Works," Cambridge, 1842,
Vol. I. p. xxi.

[5] "Memoir by Edward Bell," p. xxiv.

[6] _Cf._ ("Battle of Hastings," i. xx)

    "The grey-goose pinion, that theron was set,
    Eftsoons with smoking crimson blood was wet"

With the lines from "Chevy Chase" (_ante_, p. 295).  To be sure the
ballad was widely current before the publication of the "Reliques."

[7] See _ante_, p. 237.

[8] Walter Scott quotes this passage in his review of Southey and Cottle's
edition of Chatterton in the Edinburgh _Review_ for April, 1804, and
comments as follows: "While Chatterton wrote plain narrative, he imitated
with considerable success the dry, concise style of an antique annalist;
but when anything required a more dignified or sentimental style, he
mounted the fatal and easily recognized car of the son of Fingal."

[9] Publication begun 1761: 2d edition 1768.  Chatterton's letter was
dated March 25 [1769].

[10] See _ante_, p. 346.

[11] "Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol by Thomas Rowley and
others in the fifteenth century.  The greatest part now first published
from the most authentic copies, with engraved specimens of one of the
MSS.  To which are added a preface, an introductory account of the
several pieces, and a glossary.  London: Printed for T. Payne & Son at
the Mews Gate. MDCCLXXVII."

[12] "Observations upon the Poems of Thomas Rowley," 2 vols. 1781.

[13] Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol in the fifteenth
century by Thomas Rowley, Priest, etc.  With a commentary in which the
antiquity of them is considered and defended.

[14] "Essay on the Rowley Poems:" Skeat's edition of "Chatterton's
Poetical Works," Vol. II. p. xxvii.

[15] For a bibliography of the Rowley controversy, consult the article on
Chatterton in the "Dictionary of National Biography."

[16] "Ah, gentle dames!  It gars me greet."
               --_Tam o'Shanter_

[17] _Ante_, p. 350.

[18] "Chatterton.  A Story of the Year 1770," by David Masson London, 1874.

[19] "Eighteenth Century Literature," p. 334.

[20] A recent critic, the Hon. Roden Noel ("Essays on Poetry and Poets,"
London, 1886), thinks that "'Aella' is a drama worthy of the
Elizabethans" (p. 44).  "As to the Rowley series," as a whole, he does
"not hesitate to say that they contain some of the finest poetry in our
language" (p. 39).  The Choric "Ode to Freedom" in "Goddwyn" appears to
Mr. Noel to be the original of a much admired passage in "Childe Harold,"
in which war is personified, "and at any rate is finer"!

[21] See in Wm. Howitt's "Homes of the Poets," Vol. I. pp. 264-307, the
description of a drawing of this building in 1138, done by Chatterton and
inserted in Barrett's "History."

[22] For some remarks on Chatterton's metrical originality, see "Ward's
English Poets," Vol. III, pp. 400-403.

[23] Look at.

[24] Blake was an early adherent of the "Gothic artists who built the
Cathedrals in the so-called Dark Ages . . . of whom the world was not
worthy."  Mr. Rossetti has pointed out his obligations to Ossian and
possibly to "The Castle of Otranto."  See Blake's poems "Fair Eleanor"
and "Gwin, King of Norway."

[25] Chatterton's sister testifies that he had the romantic habit of
sitting up all night and writing by moonlight.  Cambridge Ed. p. lxi.

[26] Other standard lives of Chatterton are those by Gregory, 1789,
(reprinted and prefixed to the Southey and Cottle edition): Dix, 1837;
and Wilson, 1869.

[27] Rowleian: there is no such instrument known unto men.  The romantic
love of _color_ is observable in this poem, and is strong everywhere in

[28] See also the sonnet: "O Chatterton, how very sad thy fate"--Given in
Lord Houghton's memoir.  "Life and Letters of John Keats": By R. Monckton
Milnes, p. 20 (American Edition, New York, 1848).

[29] Chatterton, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley.  "The absolutely
miraculous Chatterton," Rossetti elsewhere styles him.

[30] "Historie du Romantisme," pp. 153-54.

[31] "Chatterton," a drama by Jones and Herman, was played at the
Princess' Theater, London, May 22, 1884.


The German Tributary

Up to the last decade of the eighteenth century the romantic movement in
Great Britain had been self-developed and independent of foreign
influence, except for such stimulus as it had found, once and again, in
the writings of continental scholars like Sainte Palaye and Mallet.  But
now the English literary current began to receive a tributary stream from
abroad.  A change had taken place in the attitude of the German mind
which corresponds quite closely to that whose successive steps we have
been following.  In Germany, French classicism had got an even firmer
hold than in England.  It is well-known that Frederick the Great
(1740-86) regarded his mother-tongue as a barbarous dialect, hardly fit
for literary use.  In his own writings, prose and verse, he invariably
employed French; and he boasted to Gottsched that from his youth up he
had not read a German book.[1]

But already before the middle of the century, and just about the time of
the publication of Thomason's "Seasons," the so-called Swiss school,
under the leadership of the Züricher, Johann Jacob Bodmer, had begun a
national movement and an attack upon Gallic influences.  Bodmer fought
under Milton's banner, and in the preface to his prose translation of
"Paradise Lost" (1732), he praised Shakspere as the English Sophocles.
In his "Abhandlung von dem Wunderbaren" ("Treatise on the Marvelous,"
1740) he asserted the claims of freedom, nature, and the inspired
imagination against the rules of French critics, very much as the Wartons
and Bishop Hurd did a few years later in England.  _Deutscheit,
Volkspoesie_, the German past, the old Teutonic hero-age, with the
_Kaiserzeit_ and the Middle Ages in general, soon came into fashion.  "As
early as 1748 Bodmer had published specimens from the Minnesingers, in
1757 he had brought out a part of the Nibelungenlied, in 1758 and 1759 a
more complete collection of the Minnesingers, and till 1781, till just
before his death, he continued to produce editions of the Middle
High-German poems.  Another Swiss writer, Christian Heinrich Myller, a
pupil of Bodmer's . . . published in 1784 and 1785 the whole of the
Nibelungenlied and the most important of the chivalrous epics.  Lessing,
in his preface to Gleim's 'War-songs,' called attention to the Middle
High German poets, of whom he continued to be throughout his life an
ardent admirer.  Justus Möser took great interest in the Minnesingers.
About the time when 'Götz' appeared, this enthusiasm for early German
poetry was at its strongest, and Bürger, Voss, Miller, and Höltz wrote
Minnesongs, in which they imitated the old German lyric poets.  In 1773
Gleim published 'Poems after the Minnesingers,' and in 1779 'Poems after
Walther von der Vogelweide.'  Some enthusiasts had already hailed the
Nibelungenlied as the German Iliad, and Bürger, who vied hard with the
rest, but without much success, in turning Homer into German, insisted on
dressing up the Greek heroes a little in the Nibelungen style.  He and a
few other poets loved to give their ballads a chivalrous character.
Fritz Stolberg wrote the beautiful song of a German boy, beginning, 'Mein
Arm wird stark und gross mein Muth, gib, Vater, mir ein Schwert'; and the
song of the old Swabian knight--'Sohn, da hast du meinen Speer; meinem
Arm wird er zu schwer.'  Lessing's 'Nathan,' too, appealed to this
enthusiasm for the times of chivalry, and must have strengthened the
feeling.  An historian like the Swiss, Johannes Müller, began to show the
Middle Ages in a fairer light, and even to ascribe great merits to the
Papacy.  But in doing so, Johannes Müller was only following in Herder's
steps.  Herder . . . had written against the self-conceit of his age, its
pride in its enlightenment and achievements.  He found in the Middle Ages
the realization of his aesthetic ideas, namely, strong emotion, stirring
life and action, everything guided by feeling and instinct, not by morbid
thought: religious ardor and chivalrous honor, boldness in love and
strong patriotic feeling."[2]

When the founders of a truly national literature in Germany cut loose
from French moorings, they had an English pilot aboard; and in the
translations from German romances, dramas, and ballads that were made by
Scott, Coleridge, Taylor, Lewis, and others, English literature was
merely taking back with usury what it had lent its younger sister.
Mention has already been made of Bürger's and Herder's renderings from
Percy's "Reliques,"[3] an edition of which was published at Göttingen in
1767; as well as of the strong excitement aroused in Germany by
MacPherson's "Ossian."[4]  This last found--besides the Viennese
Denis--another translator in Fritz Stolberg, who carried his medievalism
so far as to join the Roman Catholic Church in 1800.  Klopstock's
"Kriegslied," written as early as 1749, was in the meter of "Chevy
Chase," which Klopstock knew through Addison's _Spectator_ papers.
Through Mallet, the Eddaic literature made an impression in Germany as in
England; and Gerstenberg's "Gedicht eines Skalden" (1766), one of the
first-fruits of the German translation of the "Historire de Dannemarc,"
preceded by two years the publication--though not the composition--of
Gray's poems from the Norse.

But the spirit which wrought most mightily upon the new German literature
was Shakspere's.  During the period of French culture there had been
practically no knowledge of Shakspere in Germany.  In 1741 Christian von
Borck, Prussian ambassador to London, had translated "Julius Caesar."
This was followed, a few years later, by a version of "Romeo and Juliet."
In 1762-66 Wieland translated, in whole or in part, twenty-two
Shakspere's plays.  His translation was in prose and has been long
superseded by the Tieck-Schlegel translation (1797-1801-1810).  Goethe
first made acquaintance with Shakspere, when a student at Leipsic,
through the detached passages given in "Dodd's Beauties of Shakspere."[5]
He afterward got hold of Wieland's translation, and when he went to
Strassburg he fell under the influence of Herder, who inspired him with
his own enthusiasm for "Ossian," and the _Volkslieder_, and led him to
study Shakspere in the original.

Young Germany fastened upon and appropriated the great English dramatist
with passionate conviction.  He became an object of worship, an article
of faith.  The Shakspere _cultus_ dominated the whole _Sturm- und
Drangperoide_.  The stage domesticated him: the poets imitated him: the
critics exalted him into the type and representative (_Urbild_) of
Germanic art, as opposed to and distinguished from the art of the Latin
races, founded upon a false reproduction of the antique.[6]  It was a
recognition of the essential kinships between the two separated branches
of the great Teutonic stock.  The enthusiastic young patriots of the
Göttinger _Hain_,--who hated everything French and called each other by
the names of ancient bards,--accustomed themselves to the use of
Shaksperian phrases in conversation; and on one occasion celebrated the
dramatist's birthday so uproariously that they were pounced upon by the
police and spent the night in the lockup.  In Goethe's circle at
Strassburg, which numbered, among others, Lenz, Klinger, and H. L.
Wagner, this Shakspere mania was _de rigueur_.  Lenz, particularly, who
translated "Love's Labour's Lost," excelled in whimsical imitations of
"such conceits as clownage keeps in pay."[7]  Upon his return to
Frankfort, Goethe gave a feast in Shakspere's honor at his father's house
(October 14, 1771), in which healths were drunk to the "Will of all
Wills," and the youthful host delivered an extravagant eulogy.  "The
first page of Shakspere's that I read," runs a sentence of this oration,
"made me his own for life, and when I was through with the first play, I
stood like a man born blind, to whom sight has been given by an instant's
miracle.  I had a most living perception of the fact that my being had
been expanded a whole infinitude.  Everything was new and strange; my
eyes ached with the unwonted light."[8]

Lessing, in his onslaught upon the French theater in his "Hamburgische
Dramaturgie" (1767-69), maintained that there was a much closer agreement
between Sophocles and Shakspere in the essentials of dramatic art than
between Sophocles and Racine or Voltaire in their mechanical copies of
the antique.  In their own plays, Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller all took
Shakspere as their model.  But while beginning with imitation, they came
in time to work freely in the spirit of Shakspere rather than in his
manner.  Thus the first draught of Goethe's "Götz von Berlichingen"
conforms in all externals to the pattern of a Shaksperian "history."  The
unity of action went overboard along with those of time and place; the
scene was shifted for a monologue of three lines or a dialogue of six;
tragic and comic were interwoven; the stage was thronged with a motley
variety of figures, humors, and conditions--knights, citizens, soldiers,
horse-boys, peasants; there was a court-jester; songs and lyric passages
were interspersed; there were puns, broad jokes, rant, Elizabethan
metaphors, and swollen trunk-hose hyperboles, with innumerable
Shakesperian reminiscences in detail.  But the advice of Herder, to whom
he sent his manuscript, and the example of Lessing, whose "Emilia
Galotti" had just appeared, persuaded Goethe to recast the piece and give
it a more independent form.

Scherer[9] says that the pronunciamento of the new national movement in
German letters was the "small, badly printed anonymous book" entitled
"Von Deutscher Art und Kunst, einige fliegende Blätter" ("Some Loose
Leaves about German Style and Art"), which appeared in 1773 and contained
essays by Justus Möser, who "upheld the liberty of the ancient Germans as
a vanished ideal"; by Johann Gottfried Herder, who "celebrated the merits
of popular song, advocated a collection of the German _Volkslieder_,
extolled the greatness of Shakspere, and prophesied the advent of a
German Shakspere"; and Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who praised the Strassburg
Minster and Gothic architecture[10] in general, and "asserted that art,
to be true, must be characteristic.  The reform, or revolution, which
this little volume announced was connected with hostility to France, and
with a friendly attitude toward England. . .  This great movement was, in
fact, a revulsion from the spirit of Voltaire to that of Rousseau, from
the artificiality of society to the simplicity of nature, from doubt and
rationalism to feeling and faith, from _a priori_ notions[11] to history,
from hard and fast aesthetic rules to the freedom of genius.  Goethe's
'Götz' was the first revolutionary symptom which really attracted much
attention, but the 'Fly-sheets on German Style and Art' preceded the
publication of 'Götz,' as a kind of programme or manifesto."  Even
Wieland, the mocking and French-minded, the man of consummate
talent but shallow genius, the representative of the _Aufklärung_
(_Éclaircissement_, Illumination) was carried away by this new stream of
tendency, and saddled his hoppogriff for a ride _ins alte romantische
Land_.  He availed himself of the new "Library of Romance" which Count
Tressan began publishing in France in 1775, studied Hans Sachs and
Hartmann von Aue, experiments with Old German meters, and enriched his
vocabulary from Old German sources.  He poetized popular fairy tales,
chivalry stories, and motives from the Arthurian epos, such as "Gandalin"
and "Geron der Adeliche" ("Gyron le Courteois").  But his best and
best-known work in this temper was "Oberon" (1780) a rich composite of
materials from Chaucer, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and the French
romance of "Huon of Bordeaux."[12]

From this outline--necessarily very imperfect and largely at second
hand--of the course of the German romantic movement in the eighteenth
century, it will nevertheless appear that it ran parallel to the English
most of the way.  In both countries the reaction was against the
_Aufklärung_, _i.e._, against the rationalistic, prosaic, skeptical,
common-sense spirit of the age, represented in England by deistical
writers like Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Bolingbroke, and Tindal in the
department of religious and moral philosophy; and by writers like
Addison, Swift, Prior, and Pope in polite letters; and represented most
brilliantly in the literatures of Europe by Voltaire.  In opposition to
this spirit, an effort was now made to hark back to the ages of faith; to
recover the point of view which created mythology, fairy lore, and
popular superstitions; to _believe_, at all hazards, not only in God and
the immortal soul of man, but in the old-time corollaries of these
beliefs, in ghosts, elves, demons, and witches.

In both countries, too, the revolution, as it concerned form, was a break
with French classicism and with that part of the native literature which
had followed academic traditions.  Here the insurrection was far more
violent in Germany than in England,[13] partly because Gallic influence
had tyrannized there more completely and almost to the supplanting of the
vernacular by the foreign idiom, for literary uses; and partly because
Germany had nothing to compare with the shining and solid achievements of
the Queen Anne classics in England.  It was easy for the new school of
German poets and critics to brush aside _perruques_ like Opitz,
Gottsched, and Gellert--authors of the fourth and fifth class.  But Swift
and Congreve, and Pope and Fielding, were not thus to be disposed of.  We
have noted the cautious, respectful manner in which such innovators as
Warton and Percy ventured to question Pope's supremacy and to recommend
older English poets to the attention of a polite age; and we have seen
that Horace Walpole's Gothic enthusiasms were not inconsistent with
literary prejudices more conservation than radical, upon the whole.  In
England, again, the movement began with imitations of Spenser and Milton,
and, gradually only, arrived at the resuscitation of Chaucer and medieval
poetry and the translation of Bardic and Scaldic remains.  But in Germany
there was no Elizabethan literature to mediate between the modern mind
and the Middle Age, and so the Germans resorted to England and Shakspere
for this.

In Germany, as in England, though for different reasons, the romantic
revival did not culminate until the nineteenth century, until the
appearance of the _Romantische Schule_ in the stricter sense--of Tieck,
Novalis, the Schlegel brothers, Wackenroder, Fouqué, Von Arnim, Brentano,
and Uhland.  In England this was owing less to arrested development than
to the absence of genius. There the forerunners of Scott, Coleridge, and
Keats were writers of a distinctly inferior order: Akenside, Shenstone,
Dyer, the Wartons, Percy, Walpole, Mrs. Radcliffe, "Monk" Lewis, the boy
Chatterton.  If a few rise above this level, like Thomason, Collins, and
Gray, the slenderness of their performance, and the somewhat casual
nature of their participation in the movement, diminish their relative
importance.  Gray's purely romantic work belongs to the last years of his
life.  Collins' derangement and early death stopped the unfolding of many
buds of promise in this rarely endowed lyrist.  Thomson, perhaps, came
too early to reach any more advanced stage of evolution than Spenserism.
In Germany, on the contrary, the pioneers were men of the highest
intellectual stature, Lessing, Herder, Goethe, Schiller.  But there the
movement was checked for a time by counter-currents, or lost in broader
tides of literary life.  English romanticism was but one among many
contemporary tendencies: sentimentalism, naturalism, realism.  German
romanticism was simply an incident of the _sturm- und Drangperiode_,
which was itself but a temporary phase of the swift and many-sided
unfolding of the German mind in the latter half of the last century; one
element in the great intellectual ferment which threw off, among other
products, the Kantian philosophy, the "Laocoön," "Faust," and "Wilhelm
Meister"; Winckelmann's "Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums" and
Schiller's "Wallenstein" and "Wilhelm Tell."  Men like Goethe and
Schiller were too broad in their culture, too versatile in their talents,
too multifarious in their mental activities and sympathies to be
classified with a school.  The temper which engendered "Götz" and "Die
Räuber" was only a moment in the history of their _Entwickelung_; they
passed on presently into other regions of thought and art.

In Goethe especially there ensued, after the time of his _Italienische
Reise_, a reversion to the classic; not the exploded pseudo-classic of
the eighteenth-century brand, but the true Hellenic spirit which
expressed itself in such work as "Iphigenie auf Tauris," "Hermann und
Dorothea," and the "Schöne Helena" and "Classische Walpurgis-Nacht"
episodes in the second part of "Faust."  "In his youth," says Scherer, "a
love for the historical past of Germany had seized on the minds of many.
Imaginative writers filled the old Teutonic forests with Bards and Druids
and cherished an enthusiastic admiration for Gothic cathedrals and for
the knights of the Middle Ages and of the sixteenth century. . .  In
Goethe's mature years, on the contrary, the interest in classical
antiquity dwarfed all other aesthetic interests, and Germany and Europe
were flooded by the classical fashion for which Winckelmann had given the
first strong impulse.  The churches became ancient temples, the
mechanical arts strove after classical forms, and ladies affected the
dress and manners of Greek women. The leaders of German poetry, Goethe
and Schiller, both attained the summit of their art in the imitation of
classical models."[14]  Still the ground recovered from the Middle Age
was never again entirely lost; and in spite of this classical
prepossession, Goethe and Schiller, even in the last years of the
century, vied with one another in the composition of romantic ballads,
like the former's "Der Erlkonig," "Der Fischer," "Der Todtentanz," and
"Der Zauberlehrling," and the latter's "Ritter Toggenburg," "Der Kampf
mit dem Drachen," and "Der Gang nach dem Eisenhammer."

On comparing the works of a romantic temper produced in England and in
Germany during the last century, one soon becomes aware that, though the
original impulse was communicated from England, the continental movement
had greater momentum.  The _Gründlichkeit_, the depth and thoroughness of
the German mind, impels it to base itself in the fine arts, as in
politics and religion, on foundation principles; to construct for its
practice a theoria, an _aesthetik_.  In the later history of German
romanticism, the medieval revival in letters and art was carried out with
a philosophic consistency into other domains of thought and made
accessory to reactionary statecraft and theology, to Junkerism and
Catholicism.  Meanwhile, though the literary movement in Germany in the
eighteenth century did not quite come to a head, it was more critical,
learned, and conscious of its own purposes and methods than the kindred
movement in England.  The English mind, in the act of creation, works
practically and instinctively.  It seldom seeks to bring questions of
taste or art under the domain of scientific laws.  During the classical
period it had accepted its standards of taste from France, and when it
broke away from these, it did so upon impulse and gave either no reasons,
or very superficial ones, for its new departure.  The elegant
dissertations of Hurd and Percy, and the Wartons, seem very dilettantish
when set beside the imposing systems of aesthetics propounded by Kant,
Fichte, and Schelling; or beside thorough-going _Abhandlungen_ like the
"Laocoön," the "Hamburgische Dramaturgie," Schiller's treatise "Ueber
naïve and sentimentalische Dichtung," or the analysis of Hamlet's
character in "Wilhelm Meister."  There was no criticism of this kind in
England before Coleridge; no Shakspere criticism, in particular, to
compare with the papers on that subject by Lessing, Herder, Gerstenberg,
Lenz, Goethe, and many other Germans.  The only eighteenth-century
Englishman who would have been capable of such was Gray.  He had the
requisite taste and scholarship, but even he wanted the philosophic
breadth and depth for a fundamental and _eingehend_ treatment of
underlying principles.

Yet even in this critical department, German literary historians credit
England with the initiative.  Hettner[15] mentions three English critics,
in particular, as predecessors of Herder in awakening interest in popular
poetry.  These were Edward Young, the author of "Night Thoughts," whose
"Conjectures on Original Composition" was published in 1759: Robert Wood,
whose "Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer" (1768) was
translated into German, French, Spanish, and Italian; and Robert Lowth,
Bishop of Oxford, who was Professor of Poetry at Oxford delivered there
in 1753 his "Praelectiones de Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum," translated into
English and German in 1793.  The significance of Young's brilliant little
essay, which was in form a letter addressed to the author of "Sir Charles
Grandison," lay in its assertion of the superiority of genius to learning
and of the right of genius to be free from rules and authorities.  It was
a sort of literary declaration of independence; and it asked, in
substance, the question asked in Emerson's "Nature": "Why should not we
also enjoy an original relation to the universe?"  Pope had said, in his
"Essay on Criticism,"[16] "follow Nature," and in order to follow Nature,
learn the rules and study the ancients, particularly Homer.  "Nature and
Homer were the same."  Contrariwise, Young says: "The less we copy the
renowned ancients, we shall resemble them the more. . .
Learning . . . is a great lover of rules and boaster of famed
examples . . . and sets rigid bounds to that liberty to which genius
often owes its supreme glory. . .  Born _originals_, how comes it to pass
that we die _copies_?. . .  Let not great examples or authorities
browbeat thy reason into too great a diffidence of thyself. . .  While
the true genius is crossing all public roads into fresh untrodden ground;
he [the imitative writer], up to the knees in antiquity, is treading the
sacred footsteps of great examples with the blind veneration of a bigot
saluting the sacred toe."  Young asserts that Shakspere is equal in
greatness to the ancients: regrets that Pope did not employ blank verse
in his translation of Homer, and calls Addison's "Cato" "a piece of

Robert Wood, who visited and described the ruins of Balbec and Palmrya,
took his Iliad to the Troad and read it on the spot.  He sailed in the
track of Menelaus and the wandering Ulysses; and his acquaintance with
Eastern scenery and life helped to substitute a fresher apprehension of
Homer for the somewhat conventional conception that had prevailed through
the classical period.  What most forcibly struck Herder and Goethe in
Wood's essay was the emphasis laid upon the simple, unlettered, and even
barbaric state of society in the heroic age: and upon the primitive and
popular character (_Ursprünglichkeit, Volksthümlichkeit_) of the Homeric
poems.[17]  This view of Homer, as essentially a minstrel or
ballad-maker, has been carried so far in Professor Newman's translations
as to provoke remonstrance from Matthew Arnold, who insists upon Homer's
"nobility" and "grand style."[18]  But with whatever exaggeration it may
have latterly been held, it was wholesomely corrective and stimulating
when propounded in 1768.

Though the final arrival of German romanticism, in its fullness, was
postponed too late to modify the English movement, before the latter had
spent its first strength, yet the prelude was heard in England and found
an echo there.  In 1792 Walter Scott was a young lawyer at Edinburgh and
had just attained his majority.

    "Romance who loves to nod and sing
    With drowsy head and folded wing,
    To _him_ a painted paroquet
    Had been--a most familiar bird--
    Taught _him_ his alphabet to say,
    To lisp his very earliest word."[19]

He had lain from infancy "in the lap of legends old," and was already
learned in the antiquities of the Border.  For years he had been making
his collection of _memorabilia_; claymores, suits of mail, Jedburgh axes,
border horns, etc.  He had begun his annual raids into Liddesdale, in
search of ballads and folk lore, and was filling notebooks with passages
from the Edda, records of old Scotch law-cases, copies of early English
poems, notes on the "Morte Darthur," on the second sight, on fairies and
witches; extracts from Scottish chronicles, from the Books of Adjournal,
from Aubrey, and old Glanvil of superstitious memory; tables of the
Moeso-Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Runic alphabets and transcripts relating
to the history of the Stuarts.  In the autumn or early winter of that
year, a class of six or seven young men was formed at Edinburgh for the
study of German, and Scott joined it.  In his own account of the matter
he says that interest in German literature was first aroused in Scotland
by a paper read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh in April, 1788, by
Henry Mackenzie, the "Addison of the North," and author of that most
sentimental fictions, "The Man of Feeling."  "The literary persons of
Edinburgh were then first made aware of the existence of works of genius
in a language cognate with the English, and possessed of the same manly
force of expressions; they learned at the same time that the taste which
dictated the German compositions was of a kind as nearly allied to the
English as their language; those who were from their youth accustomed to
admire Shakspere and Milton became acquainted for the first time with a
race of poets who had the same lofty ambition to spurn the flaming
boundaries of the universe and investigate the realms of Chaos and old
Night; and of dramatists who, disclaiming the pedantry of the unities,
sought, at the expense of occasional improbabilities and extravagance, to
present life on the stage in its scenes of wildest contrast, and in all
its boundless variety of character. . .  Their fictitious narratives,
their ballad poetry, and other branches of their literature which are
particularly apt to bear the stamp of the extravagant and the
supernatural, began also to occupy the attention of the British
literati."  Scott's German studies were much assisted by Alexander Frazer
Tytler, whose version of Schiller's "Robbers" was one of the earliest
English translations from the German theater.[20]

In the autumn of 1794 Miss Aikin, afterward Mrs. Barbauld, entertained a
party at Dugald Stewart's by reading a translation of Bürger's ghastly
ballad "Lenore."  The translation was by William Taylor of Norwich; it
had not yet been published, and Miss Aikin read it from a manuscript
copy.  Scott was not present, but his friend Mr. Cranstoun described the
performance to him; and he was so much impressed by his description that
he borrowed a volume of Burger's poems from his young kinswoman by
marriage, Mrs. Scott of Harden, a daughter of Count Brühl of Martkirchen,
formerly Saxon ambassador at London, who had a Scotchwoman for his second
wife, the dowager Countess of Egremont.  Scott set to work in 1795 to
make a translation of the ballad for himself, and succeeded so well in
pleasing his friends that he had a few copies struck off for private
circulation in the spring of 1796.  In the autumn of the same year he
published his version under the title "William and Helen," together with
"The Chase," a translation of Bürger's "Der Wilde Jäger."  The two poems
made a thin quarto volume.  It was printed at Edinburgh, was anonymous,
and was Walter Scott's first published book.  Meanwhile Taylor had given
his rendering to the public in the March number of the _Monthly
Magazine_, introducing it with a notice of Burger's poems; and the very
same year witnessed the appearance of three other translations, one by J.
T. Stanley (with copperplate engravings), one by Henry James Pye, the
poet laureate, and one by the Hon. William Robert Spencer,--author of
"Beth Gelert."  "Too Late I Stayed," etc.,--with designs by Lady Diana
Beauclerc.  (A copy of this last, says Allibone, in folio, on vellum,
sold at Christie's in 1804 for L25 4s.)  A sixth translation, by the Rev.
James Beresford, who had lived some time in Berlin, came out about 1800;
and Schlegel and Brandl unite in pronouncing this the most faithful, if
not the best, English version of the ballad.[21]

The poem of which England had taken such manifold possession, under the
varied titles "Lenore," "Leonore," "Leonora," "Lenora," "Ellenore,"
"Helen," etc., was indeed a noteworthy one.  In the original, it remains
Bürger's masterpiece, and in its various English dresses it gained
perhaps as many graces as it lost.  It was first printed at Göttingen in
Boie's "Musen Almanach" in 1773.  It was an uncanny tale of a soldier of
Frederick the Great, who had perished in the Seven Years' War, and who
came at midnight on a spectral steed to claim his ladylove and carry her
off a thousand miles to the bridal bed.  She mounts behind him and they
ride through the phantasms of the night till, at cock-crow, they come to
a churchyard.  The charger vanishes in smoke, the lover's armor drops
from him, green with the damps of the grave, revealing a skeleton within,
and the maiden finds that her nuptial chamber is the charnel vault, and
her bridegroom is Death.  "This poem," says Scherer, "leaves on us, to
some degree, the impression of an unsolved mystery; all the details are
clear, but at the end we have to ask ourselves what has really happened;
was it a dream of the girl, a dream in which she died, or did the ghost
really appear and carry her away?"[22]  The story is managed, indeed,
with much of that subtle art which Coleridge used in "The Ancient
Mariner" and "Christabel"; so that the boundary between the earthly and
the unearthly becomes indefinite, and the doubt continually occurs
whether we are listening to a veritable ghost-story, or to some finer
form of allegory.  "Lenore" drew for its materials upon ballad motives
common to many literatures.  It will be sufficient to mention "Sweet
William's Ghost," as an English example of the class.

Scott's friends assured him that his translation was superior to
Taylor's, and Taylor himself wrote to him: "The ghost nowhere makes his
appearance so well as with you, or his exit so well as with Mr. Spencer."
But Lewis was right in preferring Taylor's version, which has a wildness
and quaintness not found in Scott's more literal and more polished
rendering, and is wonderfully successful in catching the _Grobheit_, the
rude, rough manner of popular poetry.  A few stanzas from each will
illustrate the difference:

    [From Scott's "William and Helen."]

    "Dost fear? dost fear? The moon shines clear:--
      Dost fear to ride with me?
    Hurrah! Hurrah! the dead can ride"--
      "O William, let them be!"

    "See there! see there!  What yonder swings
       And creaks 'mid whistling rain?"
    "Gibbet and steel, the accursed wheel;
       A murd'rer in his chain.

    "Halloa!  Thou felon, follow here:
      To bridal bed we ride;
    And thou shalt prance a fetter dance
      Before me and my bride."

    And hurry! hurry! clash, clash, clash!
      The wasted form descends,[23]
    And fleet as wind through hazel bush
      The wild career attends.[23]

    Tramp, tramp! along the land they rode,
      Splash, splash! along the sea:
    The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
      The flashing pebbles flee.

    [From Taylor's "Lenora."]

    Look up, look up, an airy crewe
      In roundel dances reele.
    The moone is bryghte and blue the night,
      May'st dimly see them wheel.[24]

    "Come to, come to, ye ghostlie crewe,
      Come to and follow me.
    And daunce for us the wedding daunce
      When we in bed shall be."

    And brush, brush, brush, the ghostlie crew
      Come wheeling o'er their heads,
    All rustling like the withered leaves
      That wyde the whirlwind spreads.

    Halloo! halloo! Away they goe
      Unheeding wet or drye,
    And horse and rider snort and blowe,
      And sparkling pebbles flye.

    And all that in the moonshine lay
      Behynde them fled afar;
    And backward scudded overhead
      The skye and every star.

    Tramp, tramp across the land they speede,
      Splash, splash across the sea:
    "Hurrah! the dead can ride apace,
      Dost fear to ride with me?"

It was this stanza which fascinated Scott, as repeated from memory by Mr.
Cranstoun; and he retained it without much change in his version.  There
is no mention of the sea in Bürger, whose hero is killed in the battle of
Prague and travels only by land.  But Taylor nationalized and
individualized the theme by making his William a knight of Richard the
Lion Heart's, who had fallen in Holy Land.  Scott followed him and made
his a crusader in the army of Frederic Barbarossa.  Bürger's poem was
written in an eight-lined stanza, but Taylor and Scott both chose the
common English ballad verse, with its folkloreish associations, as the
best vehicle for reproducing the grewsome substance of the story; and
Taylor gave an archaic cast to his diction, still further to heighten the
effect.  Lewis considered his version a masterpiece of translation, and,
indeed, "far superior, both in spirit and in harmony, to the German."
Taylor showed almost equal skill in his rendering of Bürger's next most
popular ballad, "Des Pfarrer's Tochter von Taubenhain," first printed in
the _Monthly Magazine_ for April, 1796, under the somewhat odd title of
"The Lass of Fair Wone."

Taylor of Norwich did more than any man of his generation, by his
translations and critical papers in the _Monthly Magazine_ and _Monthly
Review_, to spread a knowledge of the new German literature in England.
When a lad of sixteen he had been sent to study at Detmold, Westphalia,
and had spent more than a year (1781-82) in Germany, calling upon Goethe
at Weimar, with a letter of introduction, on his way home to England.
"When his acquaintance with this literature began," wrote Lucy Aikin,
"there was probably no English translation of any German author but
through the medium of the French, and he is very likely to have been the
first Englishman of letters to read Goethe, Wieland, Lessing, and Bürger
in the originals."[25]  Some years before the publication of his "Lenora"
he had printed for private distribution translations of Lessing's "Nathan
der Weise" (1791) and Goethe's "Iphigenie auf Tauris" (1793).  In 1829-30
he gathered up his numerous contributions to periodicals and put them
together in a three-volume "Historic Survey of German Poetry," which was
rather roughly, though not disrespectfully, handled by Carlyle in the
_Edinburgh Review_.  Taylor's tastes were one-sided, not to say
eccentric; he had not kept up with the later movement of German thought;
his critical opinions were out of date, and his book was sadly wanting in
unity and a proper perspective.  Carlyle was especially scandalized by
the slight space accorded to Goethe.[26]  But Taylor's really brilliant
talent in translation, and his important service as an introducer and
interpreter of German poetry to his own countrymen, deserve always to be
gratefully remembered.  "You have made me hunger and thirst after German
poetry," wrote Southey to him, February 24, 1799.[27]

The year 1796, then, marks the confluence of the English and German
romantic movements.  It seems a little strange that so healthy a genius
as Walter Scott should have made his _dèbut_ in an exhibition of the
horrible.  Lockhart reports him, on the authority of Sir Alexander Wood,
as reading his "William and Helen" over to that gentleman "in a very slow
and solemn tone," and then looking at the fire in silence and presently
exclaiming.  "I wish to Heaven I could get a skull and two crossbones."
Whereupon Sir Alexander accompanied him to the house of John Bell,
surgeon, where the desired articles were obtained and mounted upon the
poet's bookcase.  During the next few years, Scott continued to make
translations of German ballads, romances, and chivalry dramas.  These
remained for the present in manuscript; and some of them, indeed, such as
his versions of Babo's "Otto von Wittelsbach" (1796-97) and Meier's
"Wolfred von Dromberg" (1797) were never permitted to see the light.  His
second publication (February, 1799) was a free translation of Goethe's
tragedy, "Götz von Berlichingen mit der Eisernen Hand."  The original was
a most influential work in Germany.  It had been already twenty-six years
before the public and had produced countless imitations, with some of
which Scott had been busy before he encountered this, the fountain head
of the whole flood of _Ritterschauspiele_.[28]  Götz was an historical
character, a robber knight of Franconia in the fifteenth century, who had
championed the rights of the free knights to carry on private warfare and
had been put under the ban of the empire for engaging in feuds.  "It
would be difficult," wrote Carlyle, "to name two books which have
exercised a deeper influence on the subsequent literature of
Europe"--than "The Sorrows of Werther" and "Gotz."  "The fortune of
'Berlichingen with the Iron Hand,' though less sudden"--than
Werther's--"was by no means less exalted.  In his own country 'Götz,'
though he now stands solitary and childless, became the parent of an
innumerable progeny of chivalry plays, feudal delineations, and
poetico-antiquarian performances; which, though long ago deceased, made
noise enough in their day and generation; and with ourselves his
influence has been perhaps still more remarkable.  Sir Walter Scott's
first literary enterprise was a translation of 'Götz von Berlichingen';
and if genius could be communicated, like instruction, we might call this
work of Goethe's the prime cause of 'Marmion' and 'The Lady of the Lake,'
with all that has since followed from the same creative hand. . .  How
far 'Götz von Berlichingen' actually affected Scott's literary
destination, and whether without it the rhymed romances, and then the
prose romances of the author of Waverly, would not have followed as they
did, must remain a very obscure question; obscure and not important.  Of
the fact, however, there is no doubt, that these two tendencies, which
may be named Götzism and Wertherism, of the former of which Scott was
representative with us, have made and are still in some quarters making
the tour of all Europe.  In Germany, too, there was this affectionate,
half-regretful looking-back into the past: Germany had its buff-belted,
watch-tower period in literature, and had even got done with it before
Scott began."[29]

Elsewhere Carlyle protests against the common English notion that German
literature dwells "with peculiar complacency among wizards and ruined
towers, with mailed knights, secret tribunals, monks, specters, and
banditti. . .  If any man will insist on taking Heinse's 'Ardinghello'
and Miller's 'Siegwart,' the works of Veit Weber the Younger, and above
all the everlasting Kotzebue,[30] as his specimens of German literature,
he may establish many things.  Black Forests and the glories of
Lubberland, sensuality and horror, the specter nun and the charmed
moonshine shall not be wanting.  Boisterous outlaws also, with huge
whiskers and the most cat-o'-mountain aspect; tear-stained
sentimentalists, the grimmest man-haters, ghosts and the like suspicious
characters will be found in abundance.  We are little read in this
bowl-and-dagger department; but we do understand it to have been at one
time rather diligently cultivated; though at present it seems to be
mostly relinquished. . .  What should we think of a German critic that
selected his specimens of British literature from 'The Castle Specter,'
Mr. Lewis' 'Monk,' or the 'Mysteries of Udolpho,' and 'Frankenstein, or
the Modern Prometheus'?. . .  'Faust,' for instance, passes with many of
us for a mere tale of sorcery and art magic.  It would scarcely be more
unwise to consider 'Hamlet' as depending for its main interest on the
ghost that walks in it."[31]

Now for the works here named, as for the whole class of melodramas and
melodramatic romances which swarmed in Germany during the last quarter of
the century and made their way into English theaters and circulating
libraries, in the shape of translations, adaptations, imitations, two
plays were remotely responsible: Goethe's "Götz" (1773), with its robber
knights, secret tribunal, imperialist troopers, gypsies, and insurgent
peasants; and Schiller's "Die Räuber" (1781), with its still more violent
situations and more formidable _dramatis personae_.  True, this spawn of
the _Sturm- und Drangzeit_, with its dealings in banditti, monks,
inquisitors, confessionals, torture and poison, dungeon and rack, the
haunted tower, the yelling ghost, and the solitary cell, had been
anticipated in England by Walpole's "Castle of Otranto" and "Mysterious
Mother"; but this slender native stream was now quite overwhelmed in the
turbid flood of sensational matter from the Black Forest and the Rhine.
Mrs. Radcliffe herself had drunk from foreign sources.  In 1794 she made
the tour of the Rhine and published a narrative of her journey in the
year following.  The knightly river had not yet become hackneyed;
Brentano had not invented nor Heine sung the seductive charms of the
Lürlei; nor Byron mused upon "the castled crag of Drachenfels."  The
French armies were not far off, and there were alarums and excursions all
along the border.  But the fair traveler paused upon many a spot already
sacred to legend and song: the Mouse Tower and Rolandseck and the Seven
Mountains.  She noted the peasants, in their picturesque costumes,
carrying baskets of soil to the steep vineyard terraces: the ruined keeps
of robber barons on the heights, and the dark sweep of the romantic
valleys, bringing in their tributary streams from north and south.

Lockhart says that Scott's translations of "Götz" should have been
published ten years sooner to have had its full effect.  For the English
public had already become sated with the melodramas and romances of
Kotzebue and the other German _Kraftmänner_; and the clever parody of
"The Robbers," under the title of "The Rovers," which Canning and Ellis
had published in the _Anti-Jacobin_, had covered the entire species with
ridicule.  The vogue of this class of fiction, the chivalry romance, the
feudal drama, the robber play and robber novel, the monkish tale and the
ghost story (_Ritterstück, Ritteroman, Räuberstuck, Räuberroman,
Klostergeschichte, Gespensterlied_) both in Germany and England,
satisfied, however crudely, the longing of the time for freedom,
adventure, strong action, and emotion.  As Lowell said of the
transcendental movement in New England, it was a breaking of windows to
get at the fresh air.  Laughable as many of them seem today, with their
improbable plots and exaggerated characters, they met a need which had
not been met either by the rationalizing wits of the Augustan age or by
the romanticizing poets who followed them with their elegiac refinement,
and their unimpassioned strain of reflection and description.  They
appeared, for the moment, to be the new avatar of the tragic muse whereof
Akenside and Collins and Warton had prophesied, the answer to their
demand for something wild and primitive, for the return into poetry of
the _Naturton_, and the long-absent power of exciting the tragic
emotions, pity and terror.  This spirit infected not merely the
department of the chivalry play and the Gothic romance, but prose fiction
in general.  It is responsible for morbid and fantastic creations like
Beckford's "Vathek," Godwin's "St. Leon" and "Caleb Williams," Mrs.
Shelley's "Frankenstein," Shelley's "Zastrozzi" and "St. Irvine the
Rosicrucian," and the American Charles Brockden Brown's "Ormond" and
"Wieland," forerunners of Hawthorne and Poe; tales of sleep-walkers and
ventriloquists, of persons who are in pursuit of the _elixir vitae_, or
who have committed the unpardonable sin, or who manufacture monsters in
their laboratories, or who walk about in the Halls of Eblis, carrying
their burning hearts in their hands.

Lockhart, however, denies that "Götz von Berlichingen" had anything in
common with the absurdities which Canning made fun of in the
_Anti-Jacobin_.  He says that it was a "broad, bold, free, and most
picturesque delineation of real characters, manners, and events."  He
thinks that in the robber barons of the Rhine, with "their forays upon
each other's domains, the besieged castles, the plundered herds, the
captive knights, the brow-beaten bishop and the baffled liege-lord,"
Scott found a likeness to the old life of the Scotch border, with its
moss-troopers, cattle raids, and private warfare; and that, as Percy's
"Reliques" prompted the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," so "Götz"
prompted the "Lay of the Last Minstrel" and "Marmion."  He quotes the
passage from "Götz" where Selbiss is borne in, wounded, by two troopers
who ascend a watch-tower and describe to their leader the further
progress of the battle; and he asks "who does not recognize in Goethe's
drama the true original of the death scene in 'Marmion' and the storm in

A singular figure now comes upon our stage, Matthew Gregory Lewis,
commonly nicknamed "Monk" Lewis, from the title of his famous romance.
It is a part of the irony of things that so robust a muse as Walter
Scott's should have been nursed in infancy by a little creature like
Lewis.  His "Monk" had been published in 1795, when the author was only
twenty.  In 1798 Scott's friend William Erskine meet Lewis in London.
The latter was collecting materials for his "Tales of Wonder," and when
Erskine showed him Scott's "William and Helen" and "The Wild Huntsman,"
and told him that he had other things of the kind in manuscript, Lewis
begged that Scott would contribute to his collection.  Erskine
accordingly put him in communication with Scott, who felt highly
flattered by the Monk's request, and wrote to him that his ballads were
quite at his service.  Lewis replied, thanking him for the offer.  "A
ghost or a witch," he wrote, "is a _sine qua non_ ingredient in all the
dishes of which I mean to compose my hobgoblin repast."  Later in the
same year Lewis came to Edinburgh and was introduced to Scott, who found
him an odd contrast to the grewsome horrors of his books, being a
cheerful, foppish, round-faced little man, a follower of fashion and an
assiduous tuft-hunter.  "Mat had queerish eyes," writes his _protégé_:
"they projected like those of some insects, and were flattish on the
orbit.  His person was extremely small and boyish--he was indeed the
least man I ever saw, to be strictly well and neatly made. . .  This
boyishness went through life with him.  He was a child and a spoiled
child, but a child of high imagination; and so he wasted himself on ghost
stories and German romances.  He had the finest ear for rhythm I ever met
with--finer than Byron's."

Byron, by the way, had always a kindly feeling for Lewis, though he
laughed at him in "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers":

    "O wonder-working Lewis, Monk or Bard,
    Who fain would'st make Parnassus a churchyard;
    Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow;
    Thy muse a sprite, Apollo's sexton thou;
    Whether on ancient tombs thou tak'st thy stand,
    By gibbering specters hailed, thy kindred band,
    Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page,
    To please the females of our modest age--
    All hail, M. P.,[32] from whose infernal brain
    Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train;
    At whose command grim women thron in crowds,
    And kings of fire, of water and of clouds,
    With 'small gray men,' wild yagers and what not,
    To crown with honor thee and Walter Scott!"

In 1816, while on his way to Italy, Lewis sojourned for a space with
Byron and Shelley in their Swiss retreat and set the whole company
composing goblin stories.  The most remarkable outcome of this queer
symposium was Mrs. Shelley's abnormal romance, "Frankenstein."  The
signatures of Byron and Shelley are affixed, as witnesses, to a codicil
to Lewis' will, which he drew at this time and dated at Maison Diodati,
Geneva; a somewhat rhetorical document in which he provided for the
protection of the slaves on his Jamaica plantations.  It was two years
after this, and on his return voyage from a visit to these West Indian
estates, that Lewis died of yellow fever and was buried at sea.  Byron
made this note of it in his diary:

    "I'd give the lands of Deloraine
    Dark Musgrave were alive again,"

that is,

    "I would give many a sugar cane
    Monk Lewis were alive again."

Scott's modesty led him to depreciate his own verses as compared with
Lewis', some of which he recited to Ballantyne, in 1799, speaking of
their author, says Lockhart, "with rapture."  But however fine an ear for
rhythm Lewis may have had, his verse is for the most part execrable; and
his jaunty, jiggling anapaests and pragmatic manner are ludicrously out
of keeping with the horrors of his tale, increasing the air of bathos
which distinguishes his poetry:

    "A toad still alive in the liquor she threw,
    And loud shrieked the toad as in pieces it flew:
    And ever, the cauldron as over she bent,
    She muttered strange words of mysterious intent:"

or this from the same ballad:[33]

    "Wild laughing, the Fiend caught the hand from the floor,
    Releasing the babe, kissed the wound, drank the gore;
    A little jet ring from her finger then drew,
    Thrice shrieked a loud shriek and was borne from their view."

Lewis would appear to have inherited his romantic turn from his mother, a
sentimental little dame whose youthful looks caused her often to be taken
for Mat's sister, and whose reading was chiefly confined to novels.  The
poor lady was something of a blue-stocking and aspired, herself, to
literary honors.  Lewis' devotion to her is very charming, and the
elder-brotherly tone of his letters to her highly amusing.  But he had a
dislike of "female authorship": and the rumor having reached his ear that
his mother had written a novel and a tragedy and was preparing to print
them, he wrote to her in alarm, begging her to stay her hand.  "I hold
that a woman has no business to be a public character, and that, in
proportion as she acquires notoriety, she loses delicacy.  I always
consider a female author as a sort of half-man."  He was also, quite
properly, shocked at some gossip which attributed "The Monk," to his
mother instead of to his mother's son.

We read in the "Life and Correspondence of Matthew Gregory Lewis" (2
vols., London, 1839), that one of Mrs. Lewis' favorite books was "Glanvil
on Witches."  Glanvil was the seventeenth-century writer whose "Vanity of
Dogmatizing,"[34] and "Sadduceismus Triumphatus" rebuked the doubter and
furnished arguments for Cotton Mather's "Wonders of the Invisible World"
(1693), an apology for his share in the Salem witchcraft trials; and
whose description of a ghostly drum, that was heard to beat every night
in a Wiltshire country house, gave Addison the hint for his comedy of
"The Drummer."  Young Lewis gloated with a pleasing horror over Glanvil's
pages and the wonderful copperplates which embellished them; particularly
the one which represents the devil beating his airy tympanum over Mr.
Mompesson's house.  In the ancient mansion of Stanstead Hall, belonging
to a kinsman of his father, where the boy spent a part of his childhood,
there was a haunted chamber known as the cedar room.  "In maturer years,"
says his biographer, "Lewis has frequently been heard to declare that at
night, when he was conducted past that gloomy chamber, on the way to his
dormitory, he would cast a glance of terror over his shoulder, expecting
to see the huge and strangely carved folding doors fly open and disclose
some of those fearful shapes that afterward resolved themselves into the
ghastly machinery of his works."

Lewis' first and most celebrated publication was "Ambrosio, or the Monk"
(1795), a three-volume romance of the Gothic type, and a lineal
descendant of Walpole and Mrs. Radcliffe.  He began it at Oxford in 1792,
describing it in a letter to his mother as "a romance in the style of
'The Castle of Otranto.'"  But in the summer of the same year he went to
Germany and took up his residence at Weimar, where he was introduced to
Goethe and made eager acquaintance with the bizarre productions of the
_Sturm- und Drangperiode_.  For years Lewis was one of the most active
intermediaries between the German purveyors of the terrible and the
English literary market.  He fed the stage with melodramas and operas,
and stuffed the closet reader with ballads and prose romances.[35]
Meanwhile, being at The Hague in the summer of 1794, he resumed and
finished his "Monk," in ten weeks.  "I was induced to go on with it," he
wrote to his mother, "by reading the 'Mysteries of Udolpho,' which is, in
my opinion, one of the most interesting books that has ever been
published. . .  When you read it, tell me whether you think there is any
resemblance between the character given of Montoni . . . and my own.  I
confess that it struck me."  This innocent vanity of fancying a likeness
between Anne Radcliffe's dark-browed villain and his own cherubic
personality recalls Scott's story about the picture of Lewis, by
Saunders, which was handed round at Dalkeith House.  "The artist had
ingeniously flung a dark folding-mantle around the form, under which was
half-hid a dagger, a dark lantern, or some cut-throat appurtenance; with
all this, the features were preserved and ennobled.  It passed from hand
to hand into that of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch, who, hearing the general
voice affirm that it was very like, said aloud, 'Like Mat Lewis!  Why,
that picture's like a man.'"  "The Monk" used, and abused, the now
familiar apparatus of Gothic romance.  It had Spanish grandees, heroines
of dazzling beauty, bravoes and forest banditti, foolish duennas and
gabbling domestics, monks, nuns, inquisitors, magic mirrors, enchanted
wands, midnight incantations, sorcerers, ghosts, demons; haunted
chambers, wainscoated in dark oak; moonlit castles with ruined towers and
ivied battlements, whose galleries rang with the shrieks and blasphemies
of guilty spirits, and from whose portals issued, when the castle clock
tolled one, the specter of a bleeding nun, with dagger and lamp in hand.
There were poisonings, stabbings, and ministrations of sleeping potions;
beauties who masqueraded as pages, and pages who masqueraded as wandering
harpers; secret springs that gave admittance to winding stairs leading
down into the charnel vaults of convents, where erring sisters were
immured by cruel prioresses and fed on bread and water among the
loathsome relics of the dead.

With all this, "The Monk" is a not wholly contemptible work.  There is a
certain narrative power about it which puts it much above the level of
"The Castle of Otranto."  And though it partakes of the stilted dialogue
and false conception of character that abound in Mrs. Radcliffe's
romances, it has neither the excess of scenery nor of sentiment which
distinguishes that very prolix narrator.  There is nothing strictly
mediaeval about it.  The knight in armor cuts no figure and the
historical period is not precisely indicated.  But the ecclesiastical
features lend it a semblance of mediaevalism; and one is reminded, though
but faintly, by the imprisonment of the offending sister in the sepulcher
of the convent, of the scene in "Marmion" where Constance is immured in
the vaults of Lindisfarne--a frank anachronism, of course, on Scott's
part, since Lindisfarne had been in ruins centuries before the battle of
Flodden.  The motto from Horace on the title page of "The Monk" sums up
its contents, and indeed the contents of most of its author's writings,
prose and verse--

    "Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas,
    Nocturnos lemures portentaque."

The hero Ambrosio is the abbot of St. Francis' Capuchin monastery in
Madrid; a man of rigid austerity, whose spiritual pride makes him an easy
prey to the temptations of a female demon, who leads him by degrees
through a series of crimes, including incest and parricide, until he
finally sells his soul to the devil to escape from the dungeons of the
Inquisition and the _auto da fe_, subscribing the agreement, in approved
fashion, upon a parchment scroll with an iron pen dipped in blood from
his own veins.  The fiend, who enters with thunder and lightning, over
whose shoulders "waved two enormous sable wings," and whose hair "was
supplied by living snakes," then snatches up his victim and soars with
him to a peak of the Sierra Morena, where in a Salvator Rosa landscape of
torrents, cliffs, caverns, and pine forests, by the light of an opera
moon, and to the sound of the night wind sighing hoarsely and "the shrill
cry of mountain eagles," he drops him over a precipice and makes an end
of him.

A passage from the episode of Agnes de Medina, the incarcerated nun, will
illustrate Lewis' wonder-working arts:  "A faint glimmering of light
which strained through the bars permitted me to distinguish the
surrounding horrors.  I was oppressed by a noisome, suffocating smell;
and perceiving that the grated door was unfastened, I thought that I
might possibly effect my escape.  As I raised myself with this design, my
hand rested upon something soft.  I grasped it and advanced it toward the
light.  Almighty God! what was my disgust! my consternation!  In spite of
its putridity and the worms which preyed upon it, I perceived a corrupted
human head, and recognized the features of a nun who had died some months
before. . .  A sepulchral lamp was suspended from the roof by an iron
chain and shed a gloomy light through the dungeon.  Emblems of death were
seen on every side; skills, shoulder-blades, thigh-bones and other relics
of mortality were scattered upon the dewy ground. . .  As I shrunk from
the cutting wind which howled through my subterraneous dwelling, the
change seemed so striking, so abrupt, that I doubted its reality. . .
Sometimes I felt the bloated toad, hideous and pampered with the
poisonous vapors of the dungeon, dragging his loathsome length along my
bosom; sometimes the quick, cold lizard roused me, leaving his slimy
track upon my face, and entangling itself in the tresses of my wild and
matted hair.  Often have I, at waking, found my fingers ringed with the
long worms which bred in the corrupted flesh of my infant."

"The Monk" won for its author an immediate and wide celebrity, assisted
no doubt by the outcry against its immorality.  Lewis tried to defend
himself by pleading that the outline and moral of his story were borrowed
from "The History of Santon Barsisa" in the _Guardian_ (No. 148).  But
the voluptuous nature of some of the descriptions induced the Attorney
General to enjoin the sale of the book, and Lewis bowed to public opinion
so far as to suppress the objectionable passages in later editions.
Lewis' melodrama "The Castle Specter" was first performed December 14,
1797, at Drury Lane, ran sixty nights and "continued popular as an acting
play," says the biographer, "up to a very recent period."[36]  This is
strong testimony to the contemporary appetite for nightmare, for the play
is a trumpery affair.  Sheridan, who had a poor opinion of it, advised
the dramatist to keep the specter out of the last scene.  "It had been
said," explains Lewis in his preface, "that if Mr. Sheridan had not
advised me to content myself with a single specter, I meant to have
exhibited a whole regiment of ghosts."  The prologue, spoken by Mr.
Wroughton, invokes "the fair enchantress, Romance":

    "The moonstruck child of genius and of woe,"


    "--Loathes the sun or blazing taper's light:
    The moonbeamed landscape and tempestuous night
    Alone she loves; and oft with glimmering lamp
    Near graves new opened, or midst dungeons damp,
    Drear forests, ruined aisles and haunted towers,
    Forlorn she roves and raves away the hours."

The scene of the drama is Conway Castle in Wales, where abides Earl
Osmond, a feudal tyrant of the "Otranto" type, who is planning an
incestuous marriage with his own niece, concerning which he thus
soliloquizes: "What though she prefer a basilisk's kiss to mine?  Because
my short-lived joy may cause her eternal sorrow, shall I reject those
pleasures sought so long, desired so earnestly?  That will I not, by
Heaven!  Mine she is, and mine she shall be, though Reginald's bleeding
ghost flit before me and thunder in my ear 'Hold! Hold!'--Peace, stormy
heart, she comes."  Reginald's ghost does not flit, because Reginald is
still in the flesh, though not in very much flesh.  He is Osmond's
brother and Angela's father, and the wicked Earl thought that he had
murdered him.  It turns out, however, that, though left for dead, he had
recovered of his hurts and has been kept unbeknown in solitary
confinement, in a dungeon vault under the castle, for the somewhat long
period of sixteen years.  He is discovered in Act V., "emaciated, in
coarse garments, his hair hanging wildly about his face, and a chain
bound round his body."

Reginald's ghost does not flit, but Evelina's does.  Evelina is
Reginald's murdered wife, and her specter in "white and flowing garments,
spotted with blood," appears to Angela in the oratory communicating with
the cedar room, which is furnished with an antique bedstead and the
portrait of a lady on a sliding panel.  In truth, the castle is
uncommonly well supplied with apparitions.  Earl Herbert rides around it
every night on a white horse; Lady Bertha haunts the west pinnacle of the
chapel tower; and Lord Hildebrand may be seen any midnight in the great
hall, playing football with his own head.  So says Motley the jester, who
affords the comedy element of the play, with the help of a fat friar who
guzzles sack and stuffs venison pasties, and a soubrette after the
"Otranto" pattern.

A few poems were scattered through the pages of "The Monk," including a
ballad from the Danish, and another from the Spanish.  But the most
famous of these was "Alonzo the Brave and the Fair Imogene," original
with Lewis, though evidently suggested by "Lenore."  It tells how a lover
who had gone to Palestine presented himself at the bridal feast of his
faithless fair one, just as the clock struck one and the lights burned
blue.  At the request of the company, the strange knight raises his visor
and discloses a skeleton head:

    "All present then uttered a terrified shout;
      All turned with disgust from the scene;
    The worms they crept in and the worms they crept out,
    And sported his eyes and his temples about
      While the spectre addressed Imogene."

He winds his arms about her and sinks with his prey through the yawning
ground; and

    "At midnight four times in each year does her sprite,
      When mortals in slumber are bound.
    Arrayed in her bridal apparel of white,
    Appear in the hall with a skeleton knight
      And shriek as he whirls her around.

    "While they drink out of skulls newly torn from the grave,
      Dancing round them pale spectres are seen.
    Their liquor is blood, and this horrible stave
    They how: 'To the health of Alonzo the Brave
      And his consort, the Fair Imogene!'"

Lewis' own contributions to his "Tales of Terror" and "Tales of Wonder,"
were of his same raw-head and bloody-bones variety.  His imagination
rioted in physical horrors.  There are demons who gnash with iron fangs
and brandish gore-fed scorpions; maidens are carried off by the Winter
King, the Water King, the Cloud King, and the Sprite of the Glen; they
are poisoned or otherwise done to death, and their wraiths revisit their
guilty lovers in their shrouds at midnight's dark hour and imprint clammy
kisses upon them with livid lips; gray friars and black canons abound;
requiem and death knell sound through the gloom of the cloisters; echo
roars through high Gothic arches; the anchorite mutters in his mossy
cell; tapers burn dim, torches cast a red glare on vaulted roofs; the
night wind blows through dark aisles; the owl hoots in the turret, and
dying groans are heard in the lonely house upon the heath, where the
black and tattered arras molders on the wall.

The "Tales of Wonder" included translations by Lewis from Goethe's
"Fisher" and "Erl-King," and from German versions of Runic ballads in
Herder's "Stimmen der Völker."  Scott's "Wild Huntsman," from Bürger, was
here reprinted, and he contributed, in addition, "Frederick and Alice,"
paraphrased from a romance-fragment in Goethe's opera "Claudina von Villa
Bella"; and three striking ballads of his own, "The Fire King," a story
of the Crusades, and "Glenfinlas" and "The Eve of St. John," Scottish
tales of "gramarye."  There were two or three old English ballads in the
collection, such as "Clerk Colvin" and "Tam Lin"; a contribution from
George Colman, Jr., the dramatist, and one from Scott's eccentric friend
Leyden; and the volume concluded with Taylor's "Lenora."[37]

It is comical to read that the Monk gave Scott lectures in the art of
versification and corrected the Scotticisms and false rhymes in his
translations from Bürger; and that Scott respectfully deferred to his
advice.  For nothing can be in finer contrast with Lewis' penny dreadful,
than the martial ring of the verse and the manly vigor of the style in
Scott's part of the book.  This is how Lewis writes anapaests, _e.g._:

    "All shrouded she was in the garb of the tomb,
      Her lips they were livid, her face it was wan;
    A death the most horrid had rifled her bloom
      And each charm of beauty was faded and gone."

And this is how Scott writes them:

    "He clenched his set teeth and his gauntleted hand,
    He stretched with one buffet that page on the sand. . .
    For down came the Templars like Cedron in flood,
    And dyed their long lances in Saracen blood."

It is no more possible to take Monk Lewis seriously than to take Horace
Walpole seriously.  They are both like children telling ghost-stories in
the dark and trying to make themselves shudder.  Lewis was even frivolous
enough to compose paradies on his own ballads.  A number of these
_facetiae_--"The Mud King," "Giles Jollup the Grave and Brown Sally
Green," etc.--diversify his "Tales of Wonder."

Scott soon found better work for his hands to do than translating German
ballads and melodramas; but in later years he occasionally went back to
these early sources of romantic inspiration.  Thus his poem "The Noble
Moringer" was taken from a "Sammlung Deutscher Volkslieder" published at
Berlin in 1807 by Busching and Von der Hagen.  In 1799 he had made a
_rifacimento_ of a melodrama entitles "Der Heilige Vehme" in Veit Weber's
"Sagen der Vorzeit."  This he found among his papers thirty years after
(1829) and printed in "The Keepsake," under the title of "The House of
Aspen."  Its most telling feature is the description of the Vehm-Gericht
or Secret Tribunal, but it has little importance.  In his "Historic
Survey," Taylor said that "Götz von Berlichingen" was "translated into
English in 1799 at Edinburgh, by Wm. Scott, Advocate; no doubt the same
person who, under the poetical but assumed name of Walter, had since
become the most extensively popular of the British writers"!  This
amazing statement is explained by a blunder on the title-page of Scott's
"Götz," where the translator's name is given as _William_ Scott.  But it
led to a slightly acrimonious correspondence between Sir Walter and the
Norwich reviewer.[38]

The tide of German romance had begun to ebb before the close of the
century.  It rose again a few years later, and left perhaps more lasting
tokens this second time; but the ripple-marks of its first invasion are
still discernible in English poetry and prose.  Southey was clearly in
error when he wrote to Taylor, September 5, 1798: "Coleridge's ballad,
'The Ancient Mariner' is, I think, the clumsiest attempt at German
sublimity I ever saw."[39]  The "Mariner" is not in the least German, and
when he wrote it, Coleridge had not been in Germany and did not know the
language.  He had read "Die Rauber," to be sure, some years before in
Tytler's translation.  He was at Cambridge at the time, and one night in
winter, on leaving the room of a college friend, carelessly picked up and
took away with him a copy of the tragedy, the very name of which he had
never heard before.  "A winter midnight, the wind high and 'The Robbers'
for the first time.  The readers of Schiller will conceive what I felt."
He recorded, in the sonnet "To Schiller" (written December, 1794, or
January, 1795), the terrific impression left upon his imagination by

               --"The famished father's cry
    From the dark dungeon of the tower time-rent,"

and wish that he might behold the bard himself, wandering at eve--

    "Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood."

Coleridge was destined to make the standard translation of "Wallenstein";
and there are motives borrowed from "The Robbers" and "The Ghost-Seer" in
his own very rubbishy dramas, "Zapolya"--of which Scott made some use in
"Peveril of the Peak"--and "Osorio" (1797).  The latter was rewritten as
"Remorse," put on at Drury Lane January 23, 1813, and ran twenty nights.
It had been rejected by Sheridan, who expressed a very proper contempt
for it as an acting play.  The Rev. W. L. Bowles and Byron, who had read
it in manuscript and strangely overvalued it, both made interest with the
manager to have it tried on the stage.  "Remorse" also took some hints
from Lewis' "Monk."

But Coleridge came in time to hold in low esteem, if not precisely "The
Robbers" itself, yet that school of German melodrama of which it was the
grand exemplar.  In the twenty-third chapter of the "Biographia
Literaria" (1817) he reviewed with severity the Rev. Charles Robert
Maturin's tragedy "Bertram, or the Castle of St. Aldobrand,"[40] and
incidentally gave the genesis of that whole theatric species "which it
has been the fashion, of late years, at once to abuse and to enjoy under
the name of the German Drama.  Of this latter Schiller's 'Robbers' was
the earliest specimen, the first-fruits of his youth. . .  Only as _such_
did the maturer judgment of the author tolerate the play."  Coleridge
avows that "The Robbers" and its countless imitations were due to the
popularity in Germany of the translations of Young's "Night Thoughts,"
Hervey's "Meditations," and Richardson's "Clarissa Harlowe."  "Add the
ruined castles, the dungeons, the trap-doors, the skeletons, the
flesh-and-blood ghosts, and the perpetual moonshine of a modern
author[41] (themselves the literary brood of the 'Castle of Otranto,' the
translations of which, with the imitations and improvements aforesaid,
were about that time beginning to make as much noise in Germany as their
originals were making in England), and, as the compound of these
ingredients duly mixed, you will recognize the so-called _German_ Drama,"
which "is English in its origin, English in its materials, and English by
readoption; and till we can prove that Kotzebue, or any of the whole
breed of Kotzebues, whether dramatists or romantic writers or writers of
romantic dramas, were ever admitted to any other shelf in the libraries
of well-educated Germans than were occupied by their originals . . . in
their mother country, we should submit to carry our own brat on our own

Germany, rather than Italy or Spain, became under these influences for a
time the favored country of romance.  English tale-writers chose its
forests and dismantled castles as the scenes of their stories of
brigandage and assassination.  One of the best of a bad class of
fictions, _e.g._, was Harriet Lee's "The German's Tale: Kruitzner," in
the series of "Canterbury Tales" written in conjunction with her sister
Sophia (1797-1805).  Byron read it when he was fourteen, was profoundly
impressed by it, and made it the basis of "Werner," the only drama of his
which had any stage success.  "Kruitzner" is conceived with some power,
but monotonously and ponderously written.  The historic period is the
close of the Thirty Years' War.  It does not depend mainly for its effect
upon the time-honored "Gothic" machinery, though it makes a moderate use
of the sliding panel and secret passage once again.

We are come to the gate of the new century, to the date of the "Lyrical
Ballads" (1798) and within sight of the Waverly novels.  Looking back
over the years elapsed since Thomson put forth his "Winter," in 1726, we
ask ourselves what the romantic movement in England had done for
literature; if indeed that deserves to be called a "movement" which had
no leader, no programme, no organ, no theory of art, and very little
coherence.  True, as we have learned from the critical writings of the
time, the movement, such as it was, was not all unconscious of its own
aims and directions.  The phrase "School of Warton" implies a certain
solidarity, and there was much interchange of views and some personal
contact between men who were in literary sympathy; some skirmishing, too,
between opposing camps.  Gray, Walpole, and Mason constitute a group,
encouraging each other's studies in their correspondence and occasional
meetings.  Shenstone was interested in Percy's ballad collections, and
Gray in Warton's "History of English Poetry."  Akenside read Dyer's
"Fleece," and Gray read Beattie's "Minstrel" in MS.  The Wartons were
friends of Collins; Collins a friend and neighbor of Thomson; and Thomson
a frequent visitor at Hagley and the Leasowes.  Chatterton sought to put
Rowley under Walpole's protection, and had his verses examined by Mason
and Gray.  Still, upon the whole, the English romanticists had little
community; they worked individually and were scattered and isolated as to
their residence, occupations, and social affiliation.  It does not appear
that Gray ever met Collins, or the Wartons, or Shenstone or Akenside; nor
that MacPherson, Clara Reeve, Mrs. Radcliffe, and Chatterton ever saw
each other or any of those first mentioned.  There was none of that
united purpose and that eager partisanship which distinguished the
Parisian _cénacle Romantische Schule_ whose members have been so
brilliantly sketched by Heine.

But call it a movement, or simply a drift, a trend; what had it done for
literature?  In the way of stimulus and preparation, a good deal.  It had
relaxed the classical bandages, widened the range of sympathy, roused a
curiosity as to novel and diverse forms of art, and brought the literary
mind into a receptive, expectant attitude favorable to original creative
activity.  There never was a generation more romantic in temper than that
which stepped upon the stage at the close of the eighteenth century: a
generation fed upon "Ossian" and Rousseau and "The Sorrows of Werther"
and Percy's "Reliques" and Mrs. Radcliffe's romances.  Again, in the
department of literary and antiquarian scholarship much had been
accomplished.  Books like Tyrwhitt's "Chaucer" and Warton's "History of
English Poetry" had a real importance, while the collection and
preservation of old English poetry, before it was too late, by scholars
like Percy, Ritson, Ellis, and others was a pious labor.

But if we inquire what positive additions had been made to the modern
literature of England, the reply is disappointing.  No one will maintain
that the Rowley poems, "Caractacus," "The Monk," "The Grave of King
Arthur," "The Friar of Orders Gray," "The Castle of Otranto," and "The
Mysteries of Udolpho" are things of permanent value: or even that "The
Bard," "The Castle of Indolence," and the "Poems of Ossian" take rank
with the work done in the same spirit by Coleridge, Scott, Keats,
Rossetti, and William Morris.  The two leading British poets of the _fin
du siècle_, Cowper and Burns, were not among the romanticists.  It was
left for the nineteenth century to perform the work of which the
eighteenth only prophesied.

[1] Scherer's "History of German Literature," Conybeare's Translation,
Vol. II, p. 26.

[2] Scherer, Vol. II. pp. 123-24.

[3] See _ante_, pp. 300-301.

[4] See _ante_, pp. 337-38.

[5] "The Beauties of Shakspere.  Regularly selected from each Play.  With
a general index.  Digesting them under proper heads."  By the Rev. Wm.
Dodd, 1752.

[6] "Es war nicht blos die Tiefe der Poesie, welche sie zu Shakespeare
zog, es war ebenso sehr das sichere Gefühl, das hier germanische Art und
Kunst sei."--_Hettner's Geschichte der deutschen Literatur_, 3.3.1. s.
51.  "Ist zu sagen, dass die Abwendung von den Franzosen zu den
stammverwandten Engländern . . . in ihrem geschichtlichen Ursprung und
Wachsthum wesentlich die Auflehnung des erstarkten germanischen
Volksnaturells gegen die erdrückende Uebermacht der romanischen
Formenwelt war," etc.--_Ibid._ s. 47.  See also, ss. 389-95, for a review
of the interpretation of the great Shaksperian roles by German actors
like Schröder and Fleck.

[7] "Wir hören einen Nachklang jener fröhlichen Unterhaltungen, in denen
die Freunde sich ganz und gar in Shakepear'schen Wendungen und Wortwitzen
ergingen, in seiner Uebersetzung von Shakespeare's 'Love's Labour's
Lost'"--_Hettner_, s. 244.

[8] See the whole oration (in Hettner, s. 120,) which gives a most vivid
expression of the impact of Shakspere upon the newly aroused mind of

[9] "German Literature," Vol. II. pp. 82-83

[10] "Unter allen Menschen des Achtzehnten Jahrhunderts war Geothe wieder
der Erste, weicher die lang verachtete Herrlichkeit der gothischen
Baukunst empfand und erfasste."--_Hettner_, 3.3.1., s. 120.

[11] _Construirtes Ideal_.

[12] Scherer, II. 129-31.  "Oberon" was englished by William Sotheby in

[13] "Vor den classischen Dichtarten fängt mich bald an zu ekeln," wrote
Bürger in 1775.  "Charakteristiken": von Erich Schmidt (Berlin, 1886) s.
205.  "O, das verwünschte Wort: Klassisch!" exclaims Herder.  "Dieses
Wort war es, das alle wahre Bildung nach den Alten als noch lebenden
Mustern verdrangte. . .  Dies Wort hat manches Genie unter einen Schutt
von Worten vergraben. . .  Es hat dem Vaterland blühende Fruchtbäume
entzogen!"--_Hettner_ 3.3.1. s. 50.

[14] "German Literature," Vol. II. p. 230.

[15] "Literaturegeschichte," 3.3.1. s. 30-31.

[16] See _ante_, p. 48.

[17] "Our polite neighbors the French seem to be most offended at certain
pictures of primitive simplicity, so unlike those refined modes of modern
life in which they have taken the lead; and to this we may partly impute
the rough treatment which our poet received from them"--_Essay on Homer_
(Dublin Edition, 1776), p. 127.

[18] See Francis W. Newman's "Iliad" (1856) and Arnold's "Lectures on
Translating Homer" (1861).

[19] "Romance," Edgar Poe.

[20] "Lockhart's Life of Scott," Vol. I. p. 163.

[21] For full titles and descriptions of these translations, as well as
for the influence of Bürger's poems in England, see Alois Brandl: "Lenore
in England," in "Charakteristiken," by Erich Schmidt (Berlin, 1886) ss.
244-48.  Taylor said in 1830 that no German poem had been so often
translated: "eight different versions are lying on my table and I have
read others."  He claimed his to be the earliest, as written in 1790,
though not printed till 1796.  "Lenore" won at once the honors of
parody--surest proof of popularity.  Brandl mentions two--"Miss Kitty,"
Edinburgh, 1797, and "The Hussar of Magdeburg, or the Midnight Phaeton,"
Edinburgh, 1800, and quotes Mathias' satirical description of the piece
("Pursuits of Literature," 1794-97) as "diablerie tudesque" and a "'Blue
Beard' story for the nursery."  The bibliographies mention a new
translation in 1846 by Julia M. Cameron, with illustrations by Maclise;
and I find a notice in Allibone of "The Ballad of Lenore: a Variorum
Monograph," 4to, containing thirty metrical versions in English,
announced as about to be published at Philadelphia in 1866 by Charles
Lukens.  _Quaere_ whether this be the same as Henry Clay Lukens ("Erratic
Enrico"), who published "Lean 'Nora" (Philadelphia, 1870; New York,
1878), a title suggestive of a humorous intention, but a book which I
have not seen.

[22] "History of German Literature," Vol. II. p. 123.

[23] These are book phrases, not true ballad diction.

[24] _Cf_. The "Ancient Mariner":

    "The feast is set, the guests are met,
    May'st hear the merry din."

[25] "Memoir of Wm. Taylor of Norwich," by J. W. Robberds (1843), Vol. II.
p. 573.

[26] For Taylor's opinion of Carlyle's papers on Goethe in the _Foreign
Review_, see "Historic Survey," Vol. III. pp. 378-79.

[27] "Memoir of Taylor," Vol. I. p. 255.

[28] Among the most notable of these was "Maler" (Friedrich) Müller's
"Golo und Genoveva" (written 1781; published 1811); Count Törring's
"Agnes Bernauerin" (1780); and Jacob Meyer's "Sturm von Borberg" (1778),
and "Fust von Stromberg" (1782).  Several of these were very successful
on the stage.

[29] "Essay on Walter Scott."

[30] Kotzebue's "The Stranger" ("Menschenhass und Reue") still keeps the
English stage.  Sheridan's "Pizarro"--a version of Katzebue's "Spaniards
in Peru"-was long a favorite; and "Monk" Lewis made another translation
of the same in 1799, entitled "Rolla," which, however, was never acted.

[31] "State of German Literature."

[32] Lewis sat in Parliament for Hindon, Wilts, succeeding Beckford of
"Vathek" and Fonthill Abbey fame.

[33] "The Grim White Woman," in "Tales of Wonder."

[34] Matthew Arnold's lovely "Scholar Gypsy" was suggested by a passage in

[35] The following is a list of his principal translations: "The Minister"
(1797), from Schiller's "Kabale and Liebe"; played at Covent Garden in
1803, as "The Harper's Daughter."  "Rolla" (1799), from Kotzebue's
"Spaniards in Peru."  "Adelmorn, or the Outlaw" (1800), played at Drury
Lane, 1801.  "Tales of Terror" (1801) and "Tales of Wonder" (1801).
(There seems to be some doubt as to the existence of the alleged Kelso
editions of these in 1799 and 1800, respectively.  See article on Lewis
in the "Dict. Nat. Biog.")  "The Bravo of Venice" (1804), a prose
romance, dramatized and played at Covent Garden, as "Rugantino," in 1805.
"Feudal Tyrants" (1807), a four-volume romance.  "Romantic Tales" (1808),
4 vols. From German and French.

[36] The printed play had reached its eleventh edition in 1803.

[37] The "Tales of Terror," and "Tales of Wonder" are reprinted in a
single volume of "Morley's Universal Library," 1887.

[38] See "Memoir of Wm. Taylor," Vol. II. Pp. 533-38.

[39] "Memoir of Taylor," Vol. I. p. 223.

[40] This was one of the latest successes of the kind.  It was played at
Drury Lane in 1816 for twenty-two nights, bringing the author 1000
pounds, and the printed play reached the seventh edition within the year.
Among Maturin's other works were "The Fatal Revenge" (1807), "Manuel"
(Drury Lane, 1817) "Fredolfo" (Covent Garden, 1817), and his once famous
romance, "Melmoth the Wanderer" (1820), see _ante_, p. 249.

[41] Mrs. Radcliffe.


[This bibliography is intended to give practical aid to any reader who
may wish to follow up the history of the subject for himself.  It by no
means includes all the books and authors referred to in the text; still
less, all that have been read or consulted in the preparation of the

  Addison, Joseph.  Works.  New York, 1856. 6 vols.
  Akenside, Mark.  Poetical Works.  Gilfillan's ed.  Edinburgh, 1837.
  Amherst, Alicia.  "History of Gardening in England."  London, 1896.
  Arnold, Matthew.  "The Study of Celtic Literature," and "Lectures on
    Translating Homer."  London, 1893.
  Austen, Jane.  "Northanger Abbey,"  London, 1857.

  Bagehot, Walter.  "Literary Studies."  London, 1879.  2 vols.
  Beattie, James.  Poetical Works.  Gilfillan's ed.  Edinburgh, 1854.
  Beckford, William.  "History of the Caliph Vathek."  New York, 1869.
  Bell, John.  "Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry."  London,
    1790-97.  18 vols.
  Blair, Robert.  Poetical works.  Gilfillan's ed.  Edinburgh, 1854.
  Boswell, James.  "Life of Samuel Johnson."  Fitzgerald's ed. London,
    1874.  3 vols.
  Boswell, James. "Life of Samuel Johnson." Abridged ed.  New York, 1878.
  Boyesen, H.H. "Essays on German Literature."  New York, 1892.
  Brandl, Alois.  "Lenore in England," in "Characteristiken," by Erich
    Schmidt.  Berlin, 1886.
  Brunetière, Ferdinand.  "Études Critiques."  Troisième Série.  Tome III.
    Paris, 1890.
  Bryant, Jacob.  "Observations upon the Poems of Thomas Rowley."  London,
    1781.  2 vols.
  Brydges, Samuel Egerton.  Poems.  4th ed. London, 1807.
  Bürger, Gottfriend August.  "Sämmtliche Werke."  Gottingen, 1844. 4 vols.
  Byron, Geo. Gordon Noel.  Works.  London, 1832-33.  15 vols.

  Cambridge, Richard Owen.  Works.  London, 1803.
  Cameron, Ewen.  "The Fingal of Ossian, rendered into Heroic Verse,"
    Warrington, 1776.
  Campbell, J. F.  "Leabhar na Feinne."  London, 1872.
  Campbell, J. F.  "Popular Tales of the West Highlands."  Edinburgh, 1862.
    4 vols.
  Canning, George, Ellis, and Frere.  "The Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin."
    London, 1890.  (Carisbrooke Library, Vol. VI.)
  Carlyle, Thomas.  Works.  London, 1869-72.  31 vols.
  Chateaubriand, F. A. R. de.  "The Beauties of Christianity."  Translation
    of F. Shoberl.  Philadelphia, 1815.
  Chatterton, Thomas.  Poetical Works.  Skeat's ed. London, 1871.  2 vols.
  Chatterton, Thomas.  "The Rowley Poems."  Tyrwhitt's ed.  London, 1777.
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  Abhandlung von dem Wunderbaren, 374
  Abuse of Traveling, The, 84, 89
  Account of the English Dramatic Poets, An, 69
  Account of the Greatest English Poets, An, 80
  Account of Wm. Canynge's Feast, 344, 355
  Adams, Jean, 95
  Addison, Joseph, 35, 37, 40-42, 45, 46, 49-52, 55-57, 80, 120,
    126, 139, 141, 148, 152, 178, 179, 181, 210, 218, 219, 223,
    226-28, 283-85, 377, 382, 388, 408
  Adelmorn, 409
  Adonais, 98, 370
  Adventurer, The, 207
  Adventures of a Star, 353
  Aella, 344, 346, 349, 363-65, 367
  Aeneid, The, 56, 328
  Aesop's Fables, 84
  Agamemnon, 75
  Agnes Bernauerin, 399
  Aiken, Lucy, 391, 397
  Akenside, Mark, 52, 75, 84, 85, 91, 102, 106, 124, 136, 139-42,
    145, 157, 159, 168, 215, 228, 235, 403, 422, 423
  Albion's Triumph, 85
  Alfieri, Vittorio, 3
  Alley, The, 80
  Allibone's Dictionary of Authors, 392, 393
  Alonzo the Brave, 415
  Alps, The, 182
  Ambrosio, see the Monk.
  Amherst, Alicia, 119, 123
  Amis et Amile, 64
  Ancient Armor, 189
  Ancient Lays, 326
  Ancient Mariner, The, 18, 262, 269, 299, 369, 394, 419
  Ancient Songs, 293
  Anecdotes of Painting, 230, 351
  Annus Mirabilis, 137
  Another Original Canto, 84
  Anti-Jacobin, The, 402, 403
  Antiquities of Scotland, 187
  Apology for Smectymnuus, 146
  Apuleius, Lucius, 16, 220
  Arcadia, The Countess of Pembroke's, 239
  Archimage, 84
  Architectura Gothica, 181
  Ardinghello, 400
  Argenis, 241, 242
  Argument against Abolishing Christianity, 42
  Ariosto, Lodovico, 25, 100, 219, 222, 225, 226
  Aristotle, 19, 38, 51, 55, 274, 276
  Arme Heinrich, Der, 64
  Armstrong, Jno., 106, 124
  Arnold's Chronicle, 274
  Arnold, Matthew, 71, 173, 315, 389, 408
  Ars Poetica, 47
  Art of Preserving Health, 124
  Art Poétique, L', 47
  Aspects of Poetry, 315
  Atalanta in Calydon, 35
  Athalie, 217
  Atlantic Monthly, The, 11
  Aucassin et Nicolete, 64, 189, 221
  Austen, Jane, 263
  Aytoun, Wm. E., 269

  Babes in the Wood, see Children in the Wood.
  Babo, Joseph M., 398
  Bacon, Francis, 8, 120
  Bagehot, Walter, 17
  Bailey's Dictionary, 360
  Ballads that Illustrate Shakspere, 284
  Ballantyne's Novelist's Library, 249
  Balzac, Honoré de, 249
  Banks of Yarrow, The, 274
  Bannatyne, Geo., 284
  Banville, Théodore F. de, 373
  Baour-Lormian, P. M. F. L., 337
  Barbauld, Anna L., 391
  Barclay, Jno., 241
  Bard, The, 173, 193, 194, 196, 424
  Barrett, Wm., 348, 354, 364, 367
  Bartholin, Thos., 191, 196
  Battle of Hastings, The, 345, 346, 348, 364, 365
  Battle of Otterburn, The, 278
  Bayly, T. H., 254
  Beattie, Jas., 85, 97, 166, l86, 242, 245-47, 251, 302-05, 422
  Beaumont and Fletcher, 284
  Beauties of Shakspere, The, 377
  Beckford, Wm., 403, 405
  Bedingfield, Thos., 85, 97, 215
  Bell, Edward, 340, 342
  Bell of Arragon, The, 172
  Belle Dame sans Merci, La, 299
  Bell's Fugitive Poetry, 159, 161
  Bentham, Jas, 180
  Beowulf, 25, 318
  Beresford, Jas., 391
  Berkeley, Geo., 31
  Bernart de Ventadour, 64
  Bertram, 420
  Both Gélert, 391
  Biographia Literaria, 59, 420
  Black-eyed Susan, 57, 273
  Blacklock, Thos., 85, 333
  Blair, Hugh, 309, 313, 320. 335
  Blair, Robert, 163, 164, 251
  Blake, Wm., 28, 164, 365, 366, 372
  Blenheim, 104
  Boccaccio, Giovanni, 28, 29, 49
  Bodmer, J. J., 374, 375
  Boiardo, M. M., 25, 100
  Boileau-Despreaux, N., 35, 38, 47, 49, 65, 212, 214, 226, 227
  Bolingbroke, Henry St. John, Viscount, 41, 135, 382
  Bonny Earl of Murray, The, 300
  Bonny George Campbell, 275
  Borck, C. von, 377
  Bossuet, J. B., 38
  Boswell, Jas., 94, 105, 139, 150, 174, 288, 312, 320, 355
  Botanic Garden, The, 99
  Bouhours, Dominique, 49, 227
  Bowles, W. L., 420
  Boy and the Mantle, The, 300
  Boyesen, H. H., 23
  Braes of Yarrow, The, 61, 297
  Brandl, Alois, 391-93
  Bravo of Venice, The, 409
  Brentano, Clemens, 384, 402
  Bristowe Tragedy, The, 346, 349, 366, 370
  Brockes, B. H., 106
  Brown, "Capability," 124, 130
  Brown, Chas. B., 403
  Brown Robyn's Confession, 278
  Browne, Sir Thos., 40, 66
  Browne, Wm., 79
  Browning, Robert, 43
  Brunetière, Ferdinand, 2, 5, 11, 14
  Bryant, Jacob, 356
  Brydges, Saml. Egerton, 336
  Buchanan, Robt., 272
  Bürger, G. A., 279, 289, 301, 375, 376, 382, 389-97, 416, 417
  Burney, Francis, 252
  Burning Babe, The, 41
  Burns, Robt., 57, 95. 112, 187, 334, 360, 424
  Burton, J. H., 178
  Burton, Robt., 162
  Byron, Geo. Gordon, Lord, 5, 16, 24, 36, 49, 78, 98, 107, 135,
    181, 222, 229, 238, 250, 255, 262, 328-30, 333, 353, 362, 370,
    402, 405, 406, 420, 421

  Calderon de la Barca, Pedro, 25
  Caleb Williams, 403
  Calverley. C. S., 270
  Cambridge, R. O., 84, 89, 92, 98, 151, 228, 229
  Cameron, Ewen, 335
  Cameron, Julia M., 393
  Campbell, Thos., 142, 143
  Campbell, J. F., 314, 322, 323, 325, 327
  Canning, Geo., 402, 403
  Canterbury Tales (Chaucer), 27, 63, 358, 359
  Canterbury Tales (Lee), 421
  Caractacus, 190, 194, 195, 306, 424
  Carádoc, 195
  Carew, Thos., 66
  Carey, Henry, 57
  Caric-thura, 334
  Carle of Carlisle, The, 293
  Carlyle, Thos., 317, 330, 334, 397-400
  Carmen Seculare, 35
  Carter, Jno., 189
  Carthon, 311, 333, 335
  Castle of Indolence, the, 75, 85, 92-94, 97, 104, 114, 165,
    219, 424
  Castle of Otranto, The, 188, 211, 215, 223, 129, 231, 236-43,
    247, 249, 253, 255, 340, 346, 362, 367, 401, 409, 411,
    414, 415, 421, 424
  Castle Spectre, The, 401, 413-15
  Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, The, 250, 258, 261
  Cath-Loda, 334
  Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, 230
  Cato, 51, 218, 388
  Celtic Literature (Sullivan), 315, 325
  Celtic Literature, on the Study of (Arnold), 315
  Cerdick, 329
  Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 244
  Cesarotti, M., 321, 337
  Champion of Virtue, The, 241-43
  Chanson de Roland, The, 27, 64
  Chappell, Wm., 270
  Charakteristiken, 382, 391
  Chase, The (Scott), 391
  Chase, The (Somerville), 124
  Chateaubriand, F. A. de., 255, 332, 333
  Chatterton (Jones and Herman), 373
  Chatterton (Masson), 362
  Chatterton (Vigny), 372, 373
  Chatterton, Thos., 152, 188, 211, 235, 245, 294, 317, 328,
    339-73, 384, 422, 423
  Chaucer, Geoffrey, 27, 28, 30, 63, 66, 69, 108, 154, 188, 199,
    212, 213, 244, 266, 272, 279, 280, 294, 301, 304, 322, 342,
    358-60, 363, 371, 382, 383, 433
  Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of, 40, 50, 137
  Chevy Chase, 274, 283-86, 300, 346, 377
  Child, F. J., 267, 284
  Child Maurice, 292
  Child of Elle, The, 289, 290, 301
  Child Waters, 281, 295, 298, 301
  Childe Harold, 98, 250, 333, 334, 364
  Children in the Wood, The, 273, 283, 285, 288, 302
  Choice of Hercules, The, 85
  Chrestien de Troyes, 27
  Christabel, 363, 369, 394
  Christian Ballads, 165
  Christ's Kirk o' the Green, 66
  Churchill, Chas., 353
  Cibber, Colley, 74, 176
  Cid, The, 298
  City of Dreadful Night, The, 162
  Clarissa Harlowe, 352, 421
  Classic and Romantic, 11
  Classiques et Romantiques, 2
  Classische Walpurgisnacht, 385
  Claudina von Villa Bella, 417
  Clerk, Archibald, 313, 320, 321, 323, 324
  Clerk Colvin, 279, 417
  Clerkes Tale, The, 280, 281
  Coleridge, S. T., 59, 66, 73, 108, 110, 161, 188, 262, 265,
    269, 299, 328, 363, 366, 368, 369, 372, 376, 387, 388, 394,
    419-21, 424
  Colin's Mistakes, 84
  Collins, Wm., 25, 75, 104, 110, 112, 114, 118, 129, 136, 142,
    151, 155, 156, 158, 163, 165, 166, 168-72, 175, 184, 186, 193,
    197, 215, 251, 279, 281, 384, 403, 422, 423
  Collection of Old Ballads, A., 284
  Colman, Geo., Jr., 176, 254, 417
  Colvin, Sidney, 16-18
  Companion to the Oxford Guide Book, 202
  Complaint of Ninathoma, The, 328
  Complete Art of Poetry, The, 69, 72
  Comus, 16, 144, 149, 150, 215
  Conan, 195
  Concubine, The, 85, 95
  Conjectures on Original Composition, 387
  Conquest of Granada, The, 44
  Contemplation, 297
  Cooper's Hill, 39
  Coriolanus, 72, 74
  Corneille, Pierre, 38, 65, 67
  Corsair, The, 334
  Cottle, Joseph, 350, 358, 368
  Count of Narbonne, The, 240
  Country Walk, The, 142
  Cowley, Abraham, 37, 38, 53, 66, 79, 120, 228
  Cowper, Wm., 53, 57, 103, 108, 110, 112, 115, 424
  Coxe, A. C., 165
  Crabbe, Geo., 103
  Crashaw, Richard, 41
  Croft. Herbert, 367, 368
  Croma, 336
  Cromwell, 19, 35
  Croxall, Saml., 84
  Crusade, The, 199
  Cumberland, Richard, 74, 177
  Cumnor Hall, 94
  Cyder, 104, 124

  Dacier, Anne L., 49
  Dalrymple, Sir David, 291, 306, 336
  Danmarks Gamie Folkeviser, 266
  Dante Alighieri, 22, 28, 29, 64, 235
  Darke Ladye, The, 369
  Darthula, 314, 335
  Darwin, Erasmus, 99
  Davenant, Wm., 67, 74, 137, 226
  David Balfour, 258
  Davies, John, 137
  De Anglorum Gentis Origine, 192
  De Causis Contemnendae Mortis, 191
  De Imitatione Christi, 64
  Dean of Lismore's Book, The, 314
  Death of Calmar and Orla, The, 328
  Death of Cuthullen, The, 335
  Death of Hoel, The, 195
  Death of Mr. Pope, 85
  Defence of Poesy, 72, 274
  Defence of the Epilogue to the Conquest of Granada, 71
  De Foe, Daniel, 40
  Demonology and Witchcraft, 42, 189
  Demosthenes, 3
  Deirdrè, 314
  Denham, Sir Jno., 39
  Denis, Michael, 337, 377
  Dennis, Jno., 49, 62, 69, 72, 74, 285
  Descent of Odin, The, 191, 192, 220
  Deschanel, Émile, 2
  Description of the Leasowes, 133, 139
  Descriptive Poem, A, 185
  Deserted Farm-house, The, 177
  Deserted Village, The, 91, 207
  Deutscher Art und Kunst, Einige Fliegende Blätter, von, 380, 381
  Dictionary of French Antiquities, 221
  Dictionary of National Biography, 359
  Dies Irae, 64
  Dirge in Cymbeline, The, 75, 163
  Dissertatio de Bardis, 195
  Dissertation on Fable and Romance, 242, 245-47
  Dissertation on the Authenticity of Ossian, 320
  Divine Comedy, The, 27
  Divine Emblems, 164
  Dobson, Austin, 272
  Dobson, Susannah,221
  Dodd, Wm., 377
  Doddington, Geo. Bubb, 111
  Dodsley, Jas., 349
  Dodsley, Robert, 84, 85, 132, 133, 135, 139, 209
  Dodsley's Miscellany, 137, 159, 165
  Don Juan, 5, 49
  Donne, Jno., 28, 37, 66
  Dorset, Chas. Sackville, Earl of, 283
  Douglas, 170, 276, 308
  Dream, A, 85
  Dream of Gerontius, The, 41
  Drummer, The, 408
  Dryden, Jno., 27, 41, 44, 49, 50-53, 62, 63, 66-68, 70, 71, 74,
    79, 80, 104, 137, 148, 149, 177, 192, 209, 210, 212, 213, 216,
    265, 283
  Dugdale, Wm., 198
  Dunciad, The, 34, 56
  Dürer, Albrecht, 162
  D'Urfey, Thos., 74
  Dyer, Jno., 75, 102, 103, 106, 119, 124, 142-45, 168, 215, 422

  Early English Metrical Romances, 301
  Eastlake, Sir Chas., 54, 55, 199, 231-33
  Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 145
  Edda, The, 64, 190, 196, 220, 313, 390
  Edinburgh Review, The, 350, 397
  Education, 85, 89, 90, 126
  Education of Achilles, The, 85, 97
  Edward, 274, 300
  Edwards, Thos., 53, 89, 161
  Effusions of Sensibility, 250
  Eighteenth Century Literature (Gosse), 84, 104, 106, 163,
    l69, 362
  Elegant Extracts, 211
  Elegies (Shenstone's), 137, 138
  Elegy on the Death of Prince Frederick, 85
  Elegy to Thyrza, 135
  Elegy Written in a Churchyard in South Wales, 176
  Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, 103, 137, 157,
    163, 167, 173-77, 204
  Elinoure and Juga, 346, 352, 354
  Ellis, Geo., 188, 301, 402, 423
  Elstob, Elizabeth, 192
  Emerson, R, W., 66, 388
  Emilia Galotti, 380
  Endymion, 370
  English and Scottish Popular Ballads, The, 267
  English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, 405
  English Garden, The, 123-27, 151
  English Literature in the Eighteenth Century (Perry), 7, 163,
    307, 211, 337
  English Metamorphosis, 364, 365
  English Romantic Movement, The (Phelps), 84, 85, l97,
    283, 297, 329
  English Women of Letters, 249, 262
  Enid, 281
  Enquiry into the Authenticity of the Rowley Poems, 359
  Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning, 208
  Enthusiast, The, 151-53, 160
  Epigoniad, the, 89
  Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard, 56, 157, 163, 218, 220
  Epistle to Augustus, 66, 69, 72, 115
  Epistle to Mathew, 370
  Epistle to Sacheverel, 80
  Epistle to the Earl of Burlington, 120, 129
  Epitaphium Damonis, 146
  Epithalamium, 84
  Erl-King, The, 386, 416
  Erskine, Wm., 203, 404
  Essay of Dramatic Poesy, 68, 70
  Essay on Ancient and Modern Learning, 69
  Essay on Criticism, 47, 50, 388
  Essay on Gothic Architecture, 180
  Essay on Gray (Lowell), 209
  Essay on Homer, 387, 389
  Essay on Man, 34, 41, 113, 175
  Essay on Poetry, 47
  Essay on Pope (Lowell), 60, 169, 173
  Essay on Pope (Warton), 97, 118, 149, 160, 163, 185, 193,
    206, 212-20, 224
  Essay on Satire, 47, 80
  Essay on Scott, 400
  Essay on Shakspere, 69, 72
  Essay on the Ancient Minstrels, 245, 293, 302
  Essay on the Rowley Poems, 359
  Essay on Truth, 303
  Essays on German Literature, 23
  Essays on Men and Manners, 127
  Essays on Poetry and Poets, 363
  Ethelgar, 328
  Etherege, Geo., 38
  Evans, Evan, 195
  Eve of St. Agnes, The, 98, 257, 363
  Eve of St. John, The, 417
  Eve of St. Mark, The, 177, 371
  Evelina, 243, 252
  Evelyn, Jno., 7
  Evergreen, The, 284, 286
  Excellente Ballade of Charitie, An, 366
  Excursion, The (Mallet), 134
  Excursion, The (Wordsworth), 304

  Fables, (Aesop), 84
  Fables (Dryden), 63
  Faërie Queene, The, 16, 37, 66, 77-101, 154, 215, 225, 365
  Fair Annie, 281, 295
  Fair Circassian, The, 84
  Fair Eleanor, 367
  Fair Janet, 268
  Fair Margaret and Sweet William, 268, 279, 283, 286, 300
  Farewell Hymn to the Country, A, 85
  Fatal Revenge, The, 249, 420
  Fatal Sisters, The, 191
  Faust, 27, 141, 384, 385, 401
  Fergusson, Jas., 233
  Feudal Tyrants, 409
  Fichte, J. G., 387
  Fielding, Henry, 26, 40, 76, 383
  Filicaja, Vincenzio, 49
  Fingal, 309, 311, 313, 317, 322, 324, 335, 336, 338
  Fire King, The, 417
  First Impressions of England, 109, 133
  Fischer, Der, 386
  Fisher, The, 416
  Five English Poets, 372
  Five Pieces of Runic Poetry, 190
  Flaming Heart, The, 41
  Fleece, The, 124, 144, 145, 422
  Fleshly School of Poets, The, 272
  Fletcher, Giles, 78
  Fletcher, Jno., 25, 51, 79, 117, 162, 210
  Fletcher, Phineas, 78
  Ford, Jno., 241
  Foreign Review, The, 398
  Forsaken Bride, The, 280
  Fouqué, F. de la M., 4, 26, 384
  Fragments of Ancient Poetry, 306, 307, 309, 311, 323, 326,
    328, 336
  Frankenstein, 401, 403, 406
  Frederick and Alice, 416
  Frederick, Prince of Wales, 84, 137
  Fredolfo, 420
  Freneau, Philip, 177
  Friar of Orders Grey, The, 298, 301, 424
  Froissart, Jean, 27, 64, 236
  From Shakspere to Pope, 39, 60
  Frühling, Der, 106
  Fuller, Thos., 28
  Furnivall, F. J.,292
  Fust von Stromberg, 399

  Gammer Gurton's Needle, 293
  Gandalin, 381
  Gang nach dem Eisenhammer, Der, 386
  "Garlands," The, 284
  Garrick, David, 162, 209, 287
  Gaston de Blondville, 250, 259-62
  Gates, L. E., 41, 44
  Gautier, Théophile, 372, 423
  Gay Goshawk, The, 279
  Gay, Jno., 35, 57, 273
  Gebir, 18, 245
  Gedicht eines Skalden, 190, 377
  Génie du Christianisme, Le, 332
  Gentle Shepherd, The, 79
  Georgics, The, 111
  German's Tale, The, 421
  Geron der Adeliche, 381
  Gerstenberg, H. W. von, 190, 377, 387
  Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur (Hettner) 300, 378, 387
  Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums, 384
  Ghost-Seer, The, 419
  Gierusalemme Liberata, 214, 225
  Gilderoy, 283
  Gildon, Chas., 49, 62, 69, 72
  Giles Jollop, 418
  Gil Maurice, 276
  Gilpin, Wm., 185
  Glanvil, Joseph, 390, 408
  Gleim, J. W. L., 375
  Glenfinlas, 417
  Goddwyn, 344, 363-65
  Godred Crovan, 329
  Godwin, Wm., 403
  Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, 3, 4, 11, 31, 141, 252, 255, 275,
    330, 334, 377-81, 384-87, 389, 397-99, 404, 409, 416, 417
  "Göttinger Hain," The, 378
  Gotz von Berlichingen, 334, 375, 380, 381, 385, 398-404, 418
  Golden Ass, The, 16
  Golden Treasury, The, 57, 277
  Golo und Genoveva, 399
  Goldsmith, Oliver, 76, 91, 112, 113, 162, 177, 186, 207-11,
    287, 354
  Gondibert, 137
  Gorthmund, 329
  Gosse, Edmund, 39, 53, 60, 84, 103, 106, 163, 169, 192, 272, 362
  Gottfried of Strassburg, 3, 64
  Gottsched, J. C., 374, 383
  Gower, Jno., 266, 272
  Grainger, James, 124, 287
  Granville, Geo., 47
  Grave, The, 104, 163, 164, 175
  Grave of King Arthur, The, 199-201, 424
  Graves, Richard, 130-33, 137
  Gray, Thos., 25, 32, 52, 53, 75, 89, 103, 117-19, 123, 136,
    137, 139, 145, 151, 155, 157-60, 163, 164, 166-69, 172-85,
    190-206, 199, 201, 204, 206, 209, 211, 215, 2l6, 2l8, 220,
    221, 229, 235, 238, 251, 276, 286, 302, 306-08, 336, 352,
    356, 362, 377, 384, 387, 422, 423
  Green, Matthew, 136
  Grene Knight, The, 293
  Grim White Woman, The, 407
  Grongar Hill, 104, 119, 142, 143, 145
  Grose, Francis, 187
  Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, The, 71
  Grundtvig, Svend, 266
  Guardian, The, 120, 126, 413
  Guest, Lady Charlotte, 189
  Gulliver's Travels, 26
  Gummere, F. B., 276
  Gwin, King of Norway, 367

  Hagley, 108, 109, 122, 127, 131, 133, 136, 183, 303, 422
  Hales, J. W., 289, 290
  Hallam, Henry, 189
  Hamburgische  Dramaturgie, 379, 387
  Hamilton, Wm., 61, 279
  Hamlet, 387, 401
  Hammond, Jas., 137
  Hardyknut, 286
  Harper's Daughters, The, 409
  Hartmann von Aue, 64, 381
  Harvey, Geo., 336
  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 403
  Haystack in the Flood, The, 299, 363
  Hayward, A., 234
  Hazlitt, Wm., 161, 254
  Hazlitt, W. C., 205
  Hearne, Thos., 201
  Hedge, F. H., 11, 14, 16
  Heilas, The, 329
  Heilige Vehm, Der, 418
  Heine, Heinrich, 2, 24, 330, 409, 423
  Heir of Lynne, The, 290
  Helen of Kirkconnell, 274
  Heliodorus, 244
  Hellenics, 3
  Henriade, The, 50, 214, 216, 217
  Henry and Emma, 295, 296
  Herbert, Geo., 28, 66, 228
  Herd, David, 299
  Herder, J. G. von, 274, 300, 301, 337, 376, 378, 380, 384,
    387, 389, 416
  Hermann und Dorothea, 4, 385
  Hermit of Warkworth, The, 186, 289, 294, 298
  Hermit, The (Beattie), 186, 305
  Hermit, The (Goldsmith), 113, 186
  Hermit, The (Parnell), 186
  Herrick, Robert, 66
  Hervarer Saga, The, 192
  Hervey, Jas., 421
  Hettner, H. J. T., 378, 379, 38l, 383, 387
  Hicks, Geo., 192, 193
  Hill, Aaron, 217
  Hind and the Panther, The, 41
  Histoire de Dannemarc, 190, 221, 377
  Histoire des Troubadours, 221, 222
  Histoire du Romantisme, 372
  Historical Anecdotes of Heraldry, and Chivalry, 221
  Historic Doubts, 230
  Historic Survey of German Poetry, 397, 398, 418
  Historic of Peyncteynge in England, 351
  History of Architecture, 233
  History of Bristol, 348, 364
  History of Charoba, Queen of Egypt, 245
  History of England (Hume), 100
  History of English Literature (Taine), 316
  History of English Poetry (Warton), 36, 205, 206, 211, 245,
    260, 359, 422, 423
  History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 32, 41
  History of Gardening, 119, 123
  History of German Literature (Scherer), 374, 380, 382, 385, 394
  History of Opinion on the Writings of Shakspere, 74
  History of Santon Barsisa, 413
  History of the Gothic Revival, 54, 55, 231
  Hobbes, Thos., 226
  Hölty, L. H. C., 375
  Hole, R., 336
  Home, Jno., 132, 170, 276, 308, 309
  Homer, 3, 25, 35, 37, 50, 55, 100, 110, 215, 222-24, 271, 284,
    285, 310, 313, 318, 330, 335, 376, 387-89
  Homes of the Poets, 133, 364
  Horace, 38, 47, 55, 72, 156, 223, 285, 411
  Houghton, J. Monckton Milnes, Lord, 370
  Hours in a Library, 235
  Hours of Idleness, 329
  House of Aspen, The, 418
  House of Superstition, The, 85
  "How Sleep the Brave," 168
  Howitt, Wm., 133, 134, 364
  Hugo, Victor Marie, 3, 19, 35, 36, 77, 115, 209
  Hume, Robert, 100, 303, 308
  Hunting of the Cheviot, The, 274, 278.295
  Huon of Bordeaux, 382
  Hurd, Richard, 221-26, 245, 246, 375, 387
  Hussar of Magdeburg, The, 393
  Hymn (Thomson), 106
  Hymn to Adversity, 167, 173
  Hymn to Divine Love, 85
  Hymn to May, 85
  Hymn to the Supreme Being, 85
  Hypenon, 35

  Idler, The, 207
  Idyls of the King, The, 146
  Il Bellicoso, 153
  Il Pacifico, 153, 154
  Il Penseroso, 104, 115, 142, 147, 149, 150, 154, 162, 170,
    175, 334
  Iliad, The, 16, 36, 56, 58, 214, 269, 313, 338, 388, 389
  Imaginary Conversations, 18, 43
  Immortality, 85
  Indian Burying Ground, The, 177
  Indian Emperor, The, 44
  Ingelow, Jean, 270
  Inscription for a Grotto, 136
  Institution of the Order of the Garter, 159, 193, 194
  Introduction to the Lusiad, 85
  Iphigenie auf Tauris, 3, 385, 397
  Ireland, Wm. H., 77, 294
  Irene, 51
  Isis, 176
  Italian, The, 250, 252, 263
  Italienische Reise, 385
  Ivanhoe, 4, 23, 188, 237, 262, 404

  Jamieson, Robert, 292
  Jane Shore, 286
  January and May, 63
  Jemmy Dawson, 273
  Jephson, Robert, 240
  Jew's Daughter, The, 300
  Jock o' Hazeldean, 269, 277, 363
  Johnnie Armstrong, 274, 278, 283
  Johnnie Cock, 279, 280
  Johnson, Saml., 37, 40, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 59, 66, 68, 70, 71,
    89, 90, 94, 97, 99, 104, 105, 113, 131, 132, 136-39, 144, 145,
    150, 151, 172-75, 177, 179, 186, 196-98, 207, 224, 243, 274,
    285, 287-89, 295, 302, 303, 312, 313, 320, 328, 354, 355
  Joinville, Jean Sire de, 27, 64
  Jones, Inigo, 121, 230
  Jonson, Ben, 25, 50, 71, 79, 97, 210, 285
  Jordan, The, 85
  Journal in the Lakes, 183, 184
  Journey through Holland, 257
  Joyce, R. D., 314
  Julius Caesar, 377
  Junius, Letters of, 353

  Kabale mid Liebe, 409
  Kalewala, The, 313
  Kampf mit dem Drachen, Der, 386
  Kant, Immanuel, 31, 387
  Katharine Janfarie, 277
  Kavanagh, Julia, 249, 262
  Keate, Geo., 182
  Keats. Jno., 18, 35, 94, 107, 169, 177, 257, 263, 265, 353, 362,
    363, 370-72, 434
  Keepsake, The, 418
  Kemp Owen, 279
  Kenilworth, 94, 260
  Kenrick, 329
  Kent, Wm., 129, 135, 152
  Kersey's Dictionary, 360, 361
  King Arthur's Death, 278
  King Estmere, 279, 300
  King John and the Abbot, 301
  Kinmont Willie, 278
  Kittridge, G. L., 191, 192
  Kleist, E. C. von, 106
  Klinger, F. M., 379
  Klopstock, P. G., 338, 377
  Knight, Chas., 74
  Knight of the Burning Pestle, The, 284
  Knox, V., 211, 212, 228
  Knythinga Saga, The, 196
  Kotzebue, A. F. F. von, 400, 409, 421
  Kriegslied, 377
  Kruitzner, 421, 423

  La Bruyère, Jean de, 138
  La Calprenède, G. de C. Chevalier de, 6
  Lachin Y Gair, 329
  Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament, 283
  Lady of the Lake, The, 96, 299, 399
  La Fontaine, Jean de, 38
  Laing, Malcolm, 318, 320, 329
  L'Allegro, 104, 129, 142, 144, 147, 149, 150, 154, 158, 170
  Lamartine, A. M. L. de, 176
  Lamb, Chas., 28, 161, 199
  Land of Liberty, 85
  Land of the Muses, The, 85
  Landor, W. S., 3, 18, 34, 42, 136, 245, 293
  Lang, Andrew, 272
  Langbaine, Gerard, 49, 62, 69, 71
  Langley, Batty, 54, 121, 233
  Lansdowne, Geo. Granville, Earl of, 47, 74
  Laocoön, 384, 387
  Lass of Fair Wone, The, 397
  Lay of the Last Minstrel, The, 165, 191, 336, 404
  Lays of Ancient Rome, 269, 298
  Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers, 269
  Leabhar na Feinne, 314, 323
  Lear, 217
  Leasowes, The, 127, 130-37, 139, 152, 183, 213, 422
  Le Bossu, René, 49
  Lectures on Translating Homer, 389
  Legend of Sir Guy, 278
  Legenda Aurea, 3
  Lee, Harriet and Sophia, 421
  Le Lac, 176
  Leiand, Thos., 244, 247
  Leland's Collectanea, 260
  Lenora, 391-97, 415, 417
  Lenox, Charlotte, 70
  Lenz, J. M. R., 379, 387
  Leonidas, 337
  Lessing, G. E., 56, 300, 375, 376, 379, 380, 384, 387, 397
  Letourneur, Pierre, 337
  Letter from Italy, 57, 218
  Letter to Master Canynge, 344
  Letters on Chivalry and Romance, 221-26, 245
  Letters to Shenstone, Lady Luxborough's, 135, 229
  Lettres de Dupuis et Cotonet, 18-22
  Lewis, M. G., 249, 252, 262, 376,
  394, 396, 400, 401, 404-18, 420
  Leyden, Jno., 417
  Library of Romance, 381
  Life of Lyttelton (Phillimore), 74, 108
  Lines on Observing a Blossom, 368
  Lines Written at Tintern Abbey, 140
  Literary Movement in France, The, 35, 44, 61
  Literatura Runica, 191
  Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard, 283
  Lives of the English Poets (Winstanley), 69
  Lives of the Novelists (Scott), 262
  Lives of the Poets (Johnson), 51, 68, 90, 97, 105, 114, 131,
    139, 150, 172, 196, 286
  Lloyd, Robert, 85, 91, 98, 151, 176
  Lockhart, J. G., 298, 391, 398, 402, 403, 406
  Longfellow, H. W., 198, 199, 269
  Longinus, 38
  Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, 244, 247, 248
  Lord Lovel, 268
  Lord Randall, 275
  Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, 268
  Lotus Eaters, The, 18, 92
  Love and Madness, 368
  Love's Labour's Lost, 379
  Lowell, J. R., 27, 59, 114, 139, 144, 169, 173, 206, 209, 403
  Lowth, Robert, 85, 387
  Lürlei, Die, 402
  Lukens, Chas., 393
  Lusiad, The, 85, 94
  Lycidas, 37, 115, 145, 149, 150, l54, 192
  Lydgate, Jno., 206, 266, 344, 359
  Lyrical Ballads, 58, 109, 112, 160, 183, 218, 288, 299, 316, 422
  Lytel Geste of Robyn Hode, The, 274
  Lyttelton, Geo. Lord, 90, 91, 95, 108, 111, 121, 127, 131, 132,
    135-37, 303

  Mabinogion, The, 189
  Macaulay, T. B., 69, 238, 269, 272, 298
  Macbeth, 223
  McClintock, W. D., 102
  Mackenzie, Henry, 252, 390
  Mackenzie. Jno., 321
  McLauchlan, Thos., 314
  Macmillan's Magazine, 326
  McNeil, Archibald, 326
  MacPherson, Jas., 24, 195, 294, 302, 306-38, 377, 423
  Madden, Sir Frederick, 292
  Malherbe, François de, 38
  Mallet, David, 75, 105, 106, 124, 235, 283, 286
  Mallet, P. H., 190, 191, 196, 221, 374, 377
  Malone, Edmond, 32, 356, 362
  Malory, Sir Thos., 27
  Manfred, 334
  Man of Feeling, The, 352, 390
  Mansus, 146
  Manuel, 420
  Map, Walter, 27
  Marbie Faun, The, 23
  Mariner's Wife, The, 95
  Marlowe, Christopher, 66
  Marmion, 203, 234, 258, 336, 399, 404, 411
  Marriage of Frederick, 84
  Marriage of Gawaine, The, 278
  Mary Hamilton, 280
  Mason, Wm., 85, 91, 123-27, 129, 151, 153-55, 160, 165, 167,
    176, 180, 183, 190, 194-96, 211, 213, 215, 221, 251, 276, 306,
    307, 337, 352, 422, 423
  Masson, David, 148, 362
  Mather, Cotton, 408
  Mathias, Thos. J., 393
  Maturin, Chas. Robert, 249, 420
  Meditations (Harvey), 421
  Melmoth the Wanderer, 249, 420
  Mémoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie, 221, 222
  Memoirs of a Sad Dog, 353
  Mendez, Moses, 85, 91, 159
  Menschenhass und Reue, 400

  Merchant of Venice, The, 372
  Meyrick, Sir Saml. R., 189
  Michael, 4
  Mickle, Wm. J., 85, 94-96
  Middle Ages, The (Hallam) 189
  Midsummer Night's Dream, A, 76, 235, 382
  Miller and the King's Daughter, The, 283
  Miller, Johann M., 375, 400
  Miller, Hugh, 108, 109, 130, 133, 136
  Milles, Jeremiah, 356, 361
  Milnes, R. Monckton, 370
  Milton, Jno., 16, 34, 37, 40, 52, 53, 55, 56, 63, 66, 69,78,
    79, 94, 104, 110, 111, 115, 129, 140, 142, 144, 146-62, 170,

    173, 193, 199, 212, 213, 215, 216, 218, 219, 222, 225, 244,
    265, 283, 297, 318, 371, 374, 391
  Miltonic Imitations in Dodsley, List of, 159-61
  Minister, The, 409
  Minnesingers, The, 375
  Minot, Lawrence, 293
  Minstrel, The, 85, 97, 345, 302-05, 422.
  Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern, 270
  Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 262, 267, 377, 299, 404.
  Mirror, The, 85
  Miscellany Poems (Dryden), 192, 283
  Miss Kitty, 393
  Modern Painters, 26, 34
  Möser, Justus, 375, 380
  Molière, J. B. P., 38
  Monasticon, Anglicanum, 198
  Monk, The, 249, 262, 263, 401, 404, 407-13, 420, 424
  Monody on the Death of Chatterton, 368
  Monody Written near Stratford-upon-Avon, 201
  Monologue, A, 176
  Montagu, Elizabeth R., 303, 337
  Monthly Magazine, The, 391, 392
  Monthly Review, The, 397
  Moral Essays, 220
  More, Hannah, 151
  Morning, 85
  Morris, Wm., 191, 203, 424
  Morte Artus, 64, 390
  Motherwell, Wm., 270, 299
  Mud King, The, 418
  Mütler, Friedrich, 399
  Müller, Johannes, 376
  Mulgrave, Jno. Sheffield, Earl of, 47, 63
  Murdoch, Patrick, 105
  Musaeus, 85, 153-55
  Musen Almanach, 393
  Musset, Alfred de, 18-22
  Myller, C. H., 375
  Mysterious Mother, The, 237, 238, 241, 251, 253, 401, 409
  Mysteries of Udolpho, The, 250, 252-55, 262, 263, 401, 424

  Nares' and Halliwell's Glossary, 189
  Nathan der Weise, 376, 397
  Nativity, The, 85
  Nature, 388
  Nature of Poetry, The, 162
  New Canto of Spenser's Fairy Queen, A, 84, 85
  Newman, F. W., 389
  Newman, J. H., 41
  New Memoirs of Milton, 149
  New Principles of Gardening, 121
  Nibelungen Lied, The, 25, 64, 313, 375, 376
  Nichols' Anecdotes, 192
  Night Piece on Death, 61, 177
  Night Thoughts, 104, 163, l75, 387, 421
  Noble Moringer, The, 418
  Nocturnal Reverie, 57, 61
  Noel, Roden. 363
  Nonnë Prestës Tale, The, 28
  Northanger Abbey, 263, 264
  Northern Antiquities, 190
  Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas, 278
  Nosce Teipsum, 137
  Not-brown Maid, The, 274, 295, 296, 300, 302
  Notes and Illustrations to Ossian, 318
  Notes on the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems, 326
  Nôtre Dame de Paris, 3
  Nouvelle Héloise, La, 31
  Novalis, 384

  Oberon, 382
  Observations on English Meter, 206
  Observations on Modern Gardening (Whately), 123
  Observations on The Faëry Queene, 99-101, 204, 213, 223
  Observations on The Scenery of Great Britain, 185
  Observations upon the Poems of Thomas Rowley, 356
  Odes, (Akenside's), 142
  Odes, (Collins'), 142, 155, 156
  Odes, (Gray's), 362
  Odes, (J. Warton's), 142, 155, 156
  Odes, For the New Year, 199.  On a Distant Prospect of Eton
    College, 167, 173, 216.  On His Majesty's Birthday, 199.
    On the Approach of Summer, 158.  On the Death of Thomson, 163,
    165, 194. On the First of April, 158.  On the Installation of
    the Duke of Grafton, 159.  On the Morning of Christ's Nativity,
    147, 149, 150, 156.  On the Passions, 166, 169, 175.  On the
    Spring, 167, 173.  On the Superstitions of the Scottish
    Highlands, 25, 114, 170-72.  Sent to Mr. Upton, 201.  To a
    Grecian Urn, 18.  To a Nightingale (Keats) 18.  To an Aeolus
    Harp, 165.  To Curio, 85.  To Evening (Collins), 156, 165, 168.
    To Evening (Warton), 165.  To Fear, 156.  To Freedom, 363.
    To Liberty, 194.  To Oblivion, 176.  To Obscurity, 176.  To
    Peace, 305.  To Pyrrha, 156.  To Simplicity, 156.  To Solitude,
    165.  To the Hon. Charles Townsend, 84.  To the Marquis of
    Tavistock, 84.  To the Nightingale (Warton), 165.  To the
    Queen, 84.  Written at Vale Royal Abbey, 204
  Odyssey, The, 16, 269
  Oedipus Rex, 3, 19, 241
  Of Heroic Virtue, 192, 197
  Of Poetry, 192
  Old English Ballads, 276
  Old English Baron, The, 241-43, 249
  Oldmixon, Jno., 62
  Old Plays (Dodsley) 209

  Olive, The, 84
  On King Arthur's Round Table, 201
  On Modern Gardening (Walpole), 123, 130
  On Myself, 79
  On Our Lady's Church, 344
  On the Prevailing Taste for the Old English Poets, 211
  On the River Duddon, 162
  On Witches (Glanvil), 408
  Opie, Amelia, 252
  Orcades, 191
  Origin of Romantic Fiction, The, 205
  Original Canto of Spenser, An, 84
  Ormond, 403
  Osorio, 420
  Ossian (MacPherson's), 25, 117, 178, 195, 235, 245, 256, 302,
    306-38, 355, 356, 377, 378, 423, 424
  Ossian, Poems of, in the Original Gaelic (Clerk), 313
  Ossian, Poems of, in the Original Gaelic (In Gillie's
    Collection), 326
  Ossian, Poems of, in the Original Gaelic (Highland Society's
    Text), 321, 324, 326
  Ossian, Poems of, in the Original Gaelic (In Stewart's
    Collection), 326
  Othello, 372
  Otto von Wittelsbach, 398
  Otway, Thos., 74, 210
  Ovid, 25
  Oxford Sausage, The, 199

  Pain and Patience, 84
  Palamon and Arcite, 28, 215
  Palgrave. F. T., 57, 277
  Pamela, 252
  Paradise Lost, 50, 52, 55-57, 104, 110, 129, 145, 147, 148,
    151, 217, 375
  Paradise Regained, 147, 148
  Parliament of Sprites, The, 344, 365
  Parnell, Thos., 58, 61, 177, 186, 210
  Parzival, 64
  Pastoral Ballad, A., 138
  Pastoral in the Manner of Spenser, A., 85
  Pastoral Ode, A., 133
  Pastorals (Philips'), 80
  Pastorals (Pope's), 57, 112, 193, 215, 216
  Pater, Walter, 7, 8, 16
  Paul and Virginia, 22, 112
  Pearch's Collection, 159, i82, 185
  Peck, F., 149
  Pellissier, George, 35, 44, 61, 65
  Pepys, Saml., 283, 291
  Percy Folio MS., The, 288, 290-93
  Percy, Thos., 186, 196, 212, 235, 246, 272, 284, 306, 319,
    326, 383, 387, 422.  See also Reliques.
  Perigrine Pickle, 139
  Perle, The, 189
  Perry, T. S., 7, 163, 176, 211, 212, 251, 337
  Persiles and Sigismonda, 244
  Peter Bell, 299
  Petrarca, Francesco, 29
  Peveril of the Peak, 420
  Pfarrers Tochter, Des, 396
  Phelps, W. L., 84, 85, 191, 197, 283, 297, 329
  Philander, 85
  Philantheus, 85
  Philips, Ambrose, 80, 102, 284
  Philips, Edward, 67, 80
  Philips, Jno., 104, 124
  Phillimore's Life of Lyttelton, 74, 108
  Phoenix, The, 241
  Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, 293
  Pilgrim's Progress, The, 5
  Pindar, 35, 54, 89
  Pitt, Christopher, 85
  Pitt, Wm., 90, 132, 133
  Pizarro, 400
  Plato, 42, 47
  Pleasures of Hope, The, 142, 143
  Pleasures of Imagination, The, 124, 139-42, 157
  Pleasures of Melancholy, The, 142, 156-58, 160, 161, 194
  Pleasures of Memory, The, 142
  Poe, Edgar A., 202, 356, 390, 403
  Poem in Praise of Blank Verse, 217
  Poems after the Minnesingers, 375
  Poems after Walther von der Vogelweide, 375
  Pope, Alexander, 33, 36, 39, 41, 47, 50-54, 56-59, 61, 63, 65,
    66, 69, 72, 75, 77-79, 92, 93, 99, 102, 105, 108, 111-13, 115,
    120, 121, 126, 129, 136, 149, 150, 154, 157, 159, 162, 163,
    193, 210, 212-20, 228, 235, 265, 382, 383, 388
  Popular Ballads and Songs (Jamieson), 292
  Popular Tales of the West Highlands, 322, 323, 325
  Porter, Jane, 252, 371
  Portuguese Letters, The, 22
  Praelectiones de Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum, 387
  Preface to Johnson's Shakspere, 70
  Preface to Pope's Shakspere, 72
  Prelude, The, 304
  Price, Richard, 205
  Prior, Matthew, 35, 57, 63, 84, 159, 291, 295, 296, 382
  Prioresse Tale, The, 279, 342
  Progress of Envy, The, 85, 91
  Progress of Poesy, The, 173
  Progress of Romance, The, 243-45
  Prologue at the Opening of Drury Lane, 59, 70
  Proud Maisie, 277
  Psalm XLII., 84
  Pugin, A. N. W., 234
  Pure, Ornate and Grotesque Art, 17
  Pursuits of Literature, 393
  Pye, H. J., 392

  Quarles, Francis, 164

  Racine, J. B., 38, 44, 65, 379
  Radcliffe, Anne, 232, 237, 249-64, 402, 408, 409, 411, 421, 423
  Rambler, The, 97, 287, 288, 353
  Ramsay, Allan, 61, 79, 284, 286, 297, 300
  Rape of the Lock, The, 36, 220
  Rapin, René, 49
  Rasselas, 186
  Räuber, Die.  See Robbers.
  Reeve, Clara, 241-45, 247, 249-64, 423
  Regnier, Mathurin, 38
  Reliques of Ancient English
  Poetry, 139, 188, 190, 206, 209, 211, 223, 265, 274, 278,
    287-302, 317, 346, 362, 369, 376, 423
  Remorse, 420
  Report of the Committee of the Highland Society on Ossian, 319
  Resolution and Independence, 339
  Retirement, 305
  Revenge, The, 353
  Revival of Ballad Poetry in the Eighteenth Century, 290
  Revolt of Islam, The, 5
  Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 202, 303
  Richardson, Saml., 31, 32, 40, 76, 252, 421
  Riddles Wisely Expounded, 270
  Ridley, G., 85
  Rime of Sir Thopas, The, 28
  Rising in the North, The, 278
  Ritson, Joseph, 188, 205, 246, 287, 290, 293, 294, 301, 423
  Ritter Toggenburg, 386
  Robbers, The, 385, 391, 402, 417, 418, 420
  Robin Hood and the Monk, 273, 278, 283
  Robin Hood and the Old Man, 292
  Robin Hood and the Potter, 273
  Robin Hood Ballads, The, 281-83, 301
  Robin Hood (Ritson's), 292
  Robinson Crusoe, 5, 26
  Rogers, Saml., 142, 181
  Rokeby, 277
  Rolla, 400, 409
  Rolls of St. Bartholomew's Priory, The, 358
  Roman de la Rose, The, 37, 64
  Romance, 390
  Romance of the Forest, The, 250, 253, 255, 256
  Romancero, The, 64
  Romantic and Classical in English Literature, The, 102
  Romantic Tales, 409
  Romanticism (Pater), 7
  Romantische Schule, Die, 2, 423
  Romaunt of the Rose, The, 27
  Romaunte of the Cnyghte, The, 348
  Romeo and Juliet, 377
  Ronsard, Pierre de, 22
  Roscommon, W. Dillon, Earl of, 47
  Ross, Thos., 321, 333
  Rossetti, D. G., 4, 270, 272, 367, 372, 424
  Roundabout Papers, 252
  Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 31, 112, 252, 330, 381, 423
  Rovers, The, 402
  Rowe, Nicholas, 210, 219, 286
  Rowley Poems, The, 211, 339-67, 424
  Rudiments of Anglo-Saxon Grammar, 192
  Rugantino, 409
  Ruins of Netley Abbey, The, 182
  Ruins of Rome, The, 144, 145
  Ruskin, Jno., 26, 34, 102, 255
  Rymer, Thos., 49, 62, 70
  Reyse of Peyncteynge yn Englande, The, 349

  Sachs, Hans, 381
  Sadduceismus  Triumphatus, 408
  Sagen der Vorzeit, 418
  Sängers Fluch, Der, 275
  Saint Alban's Abbey, 262
  Sainte-Beuve, C. A, 56
  Sainte Palaye, J. B. de la C., 221, 222, 374
  St. Irvine the Rosicrucian, 403
  Saint Lambert, C. F., 106
  St. Leon, 403
  St. Pierre, J. H. B. de, 112
  Saintsbury, Geo., 111, 131
  Saisons, Les, 106
  Sally in our Alley, 57
  Salvator Rosa, 255
  Sammlung Deutscher Volkslieder, 418
  Samson Agonistes, 148, 184
  "Saturday Papers," Addison's, 148
  Schelling, F. W. J. von, 387
  Scherer, Wilhelm, 300, 374, 376, 380, 382, 394
  Schiller, J. C. F. von, 11, 76, 379, 384-87, 391, 401, 409,
    419, 420
  Schlegel, A. W. von, 14, 73, 301, 377, 384, 392
  Schmidt, Erich, 382, 392
  Schöne Helena, Die, 385
  Scholar Gypsy, The, 408
  Schoolmistress, The, 84, 91, 92, 97, 104, 130, 136, 138, 362
  Schopenhauer, Arthur, 119
  Scott, Sir Walter, 3, 16, 24, 26, 27, 42, 94, 96, 139, 187-89,
    191, 200, 203, 223, 232, 234, 238, 248, 249, 258, 260, 262,
    267, 269, 277, 298-301, 333, 334, 344, 350, 358, 359, 376,
    389-96, 398-400, 402, 404-06, 410, 411, 416-18, 420, 424
  Scottish Songs (Ritson's), 293
  Scribleriad, The, 228, 229
  Scudéry, Madeleine de, 6
  Sean Dàna, 326
  Seasons, The (Mendez), 85
  Seasons, The (Thomson), 52, 75, 79, 103, 105-20, 124, 170, 152,
    305, 374
  Selden, John, 283
  Selections from Gray (Phelps), 191
  Selections from Newman (Gates), 41, 44
  Seven Champions of Christendom, The, 37
  Shadwell, Thos., 74
  Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of, 41, 62, 226, 382
  Shairp, J. C., 315
  Shakspere Alterations, List of, 74
  Shakspere Editions, List of, 74

  Shakspere Illustrated, 70
  Shakspere, Wm., 18, 25, 40, 50, 51, 63, 68-78, 89, 111, 117,
    140, 170, 171, 198, 208-10, 213, 216-19, 225, 237, 298, 362,
    375, 377-80, 383, 391
  Shelley, Mary, 403, 406
  Shelley, P. B., 5, 43, 107, 241, 362, 370, 372, 403, 406
  Shenstone, Wm., 75, 84, 91, 97, 98, 102, 103, 110, 127, 130-39,
    151, 152, 159, 162, 168, 184, 186, 215, 229, 273, 287, 422, 423
  Shepherd's Calendar, The, 154
  Sheridan, R. B., 76, 162, 400, 413, 420
  Sheridan, Thos., 74
  Sheringham, Robert, 192
  Sicilian Romance, The, 250, 253
  Sidney, Sir Philip, 25, 71, 72, 239, 274
  Siegwart, 400
  Sigurd the Volsung, 191
  Sim, Jno., 94
  Sinclair, Archibald, 325
  Sinclair. Sir Jno., 321

  Sir Cauline, 289, 200, 298
  Sir Charles Grandison, 388
  Sir Hugh, 279
  Sir Lancelot du Lake, 278
  Sir Patrick Spens, 300
  Sister Helen, 363
  Sisters, The, 270
  Six Bards of Ossian Versified, The, 336
  Skeat, W. W., 340, 355, 358-61, 364
  Skene, W. F., 314, 323
  Sketches of Eminent Statesmen, 234
  Smart, Christopher, 85
  Smith, Adam, 105
  Smollett, Tobias, 76, 139
  Solitary Reaper, The, 115
  Somerville, Wm., 106, 124, 135
  Song of Harold the Valiant, 196
  Song of Ragner Lodbrog, 197
  Song to Aella, 355
  Songs of Selma, The, 331
  Sonnet to Chatterton, 370
  Sonnet to Mr. Gray, 201
  Sonnet to Schiller, 419
  Sonnet to the River Lodon, 161
  Sophocles, 3, 19, 241, 379
  Sophonisba, 75
  Sorrows of Werther, The, 31, 330-32, 399, 423
  Sotheby, Wm., 382
  Southey, Robert, 206, 299, 350, 355, 358, 368, 398, 419
  Southwell, Robert, 41
  Spaniards in Peru, The, 400, 409
  Specimens of Ancient Sculpture, 189
  Specimens of Early English Poets, 301
  Specimens of the Welsh Bards, 195
  Spectator, The, 35, 37, 42, 49, 51, 55, 62, 120, 126, 139,
     141, 148, 178, 227, 284, 353, 377
  Speght's Chaucer, 360
  Spence, Joseph, 132
  Spencer, W. R., 392, 394
  Spenser, Edmund, 16, 25, 33, 37, 63, 68, 69, 77-101, 129, 151,
    154, 157, 159, 163, 170, 198, 199, 212, 213, 216, 219, 222,
    224-26, 235, 244, 265, 279, 304, 359, 371
  Spleen, The, 104, 136
  Splendid Shilling, The, 104
  Squire of Dames, The, 85, 91
  Stanley, J. T., 392
  State of German Literature, The, 401
  Stedman, E. C., 162
  Steevens, Geo., 32
  Stello, 372
  Stephen, Leslie, 32-34, 40, 102, 234, 237, 327
  Sterne, Lawrence, 31, 32, 252
  Stevenson, R, L., 258
  Stillingfleet, Benjamin, 53, 161
  Stimmen der Völker, 300, 337, 416
  Stolberg, Friedrich Leopold, Count, 376, 377
  Storie of William Canynge, The, 355
  Stranger, The, 400
  Stratton Water, 299
  Strawberry Hill, 173, 179, 229, 230, 232, 234, 236, 340
  Sturm von Borberg, 399
  Suckling, Sir Jno., 57
  Sugar Cane, The, 124
  Sullivan, Wm. R., 314, 325
  Sweet William's Ghost, 279, 280, 295, 300, 394
  Swift, Jonathan, 40, 42, 162, 382
  Swinburne, A. C., 35, 168
  Syr Gawaine, 293
  Syr Martyn, 95, 96
  System of Runic Mythology, 191

  Taine, H. A., 302, 316
  Tale of a Tub, 42
  Tales of Terror, 409, 417
  Tales of Wonder, 404, 409, 416-18
  Talisman, The, 188
  Tam Lin, 268, 279, 295, 417
  Tam o'Shanter, 187, 360
  Tannhäuser, 268
  Tasso, Torquato, 25, 49, 50, 170, 319, 222-26
  Tate, Nahum, 74
  Tatler, The, 62
  Taylor, Jeremy, 40
  Taylor, Wm., 376, 391-98, 417-18
  Tea Table Miscellany, The, 284, 297
  Temora, 309, 313, 314, 316, 321, 323, 338
  Tempest, The, 70, 76, 171, 215
  Temple, Sir Wm., 69, 120, 192, 197
  Tennyson, Alfred, 18, 27, 35, 92, 93, 146, 200, 270, 28l
  Thackeray, W. M., 56, 80, 252, 254
  Thaddeus of Warsaw, 243, 252
  Thales, 85
  Theagenes and Chariclea, 244
  Theatrum Poetarum, 67, 81
  Theocritus, 36
  Thesaurus (Hicks'), 192, 193
  Thomas à Kempis, 64
  Thomas Rymer, 268
  Thompson, Wm., 84
  Thomson, Jas., 52, 74, 75, 79, 84, 85, 92-95, 97, 98, 102-19,
    124, 133-36, 142, 151, 157, 159, 168, 184, 198, 215, 235, 251,
    302, 303, 305, 374, 384, 422
  Thomson, Jas. (2d), 162
  Thoreau, H. D., 107
  Tieck, Ludwig, 22, 377, 384
  To Country Gentlemen of England, 85
  Todtentanz, Der, 386
  To Helen, 202
  To Melancholy, 251
  Tom Jones, 186, 263
  Tom Thumb, 285
  "Too Late I Stayed," 392
  Torfaeus Thormodus, 191
  To the Nightingale (Lady Winchelsea), 61
  To the Nightingale (Mrs. Radcliffe), 251
  To the Nightingale.  See Odes.
  To the River Otter, 161
  Tournament, The, 348, 365
  Town and Country Magazine, The, 346, 352
  Tragedies of the Last Age Considered, The, 70
  Tressan, L. E. de L., Comte de, 381
  Triumph of Isis, The, 199
  Triumph of Melancholy, The, 305
  Triumphs of Owen, The, 195
  Tristan und Isolde, 3, 64
  Trivia, 35
  Troilus and Cresseide, 28
  True Principles of Gothic Architecture, 234
  Turk and Gawin, The, 293
  Twa Corbies, The, 275
  Two Sisters, The, 270, 279
  Tyrwhitt, Thos., 63, 188, 211, 213, 246, 30l, 355-57, 359, 423
  Tytler, Sir A. F., 391, 419

  Ueber naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, 11, 387
  Ueber Ossian und die Lieder alter Völker, 338
  Uhland, Ludwig, 384
  Ulysses, 18, 35
  Unconnected Thoughts on Gardening, 127, 132
  Universal Prayer, The, 41
  Unnatural Flights in Poetry, 47
  Upton, John, 85
  Uz, J. P., 106

  Vanity of Dogmatizing, The, 408
  Vathek, 403, 405
  Vergil, 25, 37, 49, 50, 55, 110, 223, 285, 335
  Verses to Sir Joshua Reynolds, 202
  Verses Written in 1748, 133
  Vicar of Wakefield, The, 209
  Vigny, Alfred Victor, Comte de, 372, 373
  Villehardouin, Geoffrey de, 27, 64
  Villon, Francois, 64, 216
  Vindication (Tyrwhitt's), 359
  Virtuoso, The, 84, 91, 141, 228
  Vision, The (Burns), 334
  Vision, The (Croxall), 84
  Vision of Patience, The, 84
  Vision of Solomon, The, 84
  Voltaire, F. M. A. de, 214, 216, 237, 379, 381, 382
  Von Arnim, Achim (L. J.), 384
  Voragine, Jacobus de, 3
  Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Literatur, 14
  Voss, J. H., 375

  Wackenroder, W. H., 384
  Wagner, H. L., 379
  Waking of Angantyr, The, 192
  Wallenstein, 385, 419
  Waller, Edmund, 38, 39, 52, 53, 80, 216
  Walpole, Horace, 32, 89, 120, 122, 129, 130, 135, 145, 159,
    166, 173, 178, 179, 181, 229-43, 249-55, 258, 286, 306, 336,
    337, 349-52, 354, 383, 401, 408, 417, 422
  Walsh, Wm., 50, 53
  Walther von der Vogelweide, 64
  "Waly, Waly," 374, 300
  Wanton Wife of Bath, The, 301
  Warburton, Wm., 237
  Wardlaw, Lady, 286
  Ward's English Poets, 53, 111, 131, 169, 364
  Warton, Joseph, 32, 75, 118, 142, 149, 151-53, 155, 156, l60,
    163, 168, 171, 185, 193, 197-99, 206, 207, 212-20, 223, 226,
    262, 302, 355, 375, 383, 387, 422, 423
  Warton, Thos., Jr., 32, 36, 53, 75, 84, 85, 99-101, 150, 151,
    156-58, 161, 163, 168, 171, 194, 197-207, 211, 213, 221,
    224, 226, 245, 251, 260, 291, 293, 294, 302, 356, 359, 375,
    387, 403, 422, 423
  Warton, Thos., Sr., 85, 197
  Waverley Novels, The, 188, 258, 262, 400, 422
  Way, G. L., 301
  Weber's Metrical Romances, 188
  Weber, Veit, 400, 418
  Webster, Jno., 66
  Werner, 421
  Wesley, Jno., 31
  West, Gilbert, 84, 85, 89-91, 98, 126, 133, 151, 160, 193, 194
  Whately, Thos., 122
  Whistle, The, 334
  White Doe of Rylstone, The, 184
  Whitefield, Geo., 31
  Whitehead, Wm., 84, 197
  Whittington and his Cat, 273
  Wieland, 403
  Wieland, C. M., 106, 377, 378, 381, 397
  Wife of Usher's Well, The, 269, 279
  Wilde Jäger, Der, 391
  Wild Huntsman, The, 404, 416
  Wilkie, Wm., 85
  Wilhelm Meister, 384, 387
  Wilhelm Tell, 385
  William and Helen, 391, 398, 404
  Willie Drowned in Yarrow, 170
  Willie's Lady, 279
  Wilson's Life of Chatterton, 368
  Winchelsea, Anne Finch, Countess of, 57, 61
  Winckelmann, J. J., 384, 385
  Windsor Forest, 57, 58, 2l5, 220
  Winstanley, William, 62, 69
  Winter, 103-106, 142, 422
  Wither, Geo., 57
  Wodrow, Jno., 334, 335
  Wolfram  von Eschenbach, 64
  Wolfred von Dromberg, 398
  Wonders of the  Invisible World, 408
  Wood, Anthony, 291
  Wood, Robert, 387-89
  Worde, Wynkyn de, 274
  Wordsworth, Wm., 4, 5, 43, 58, 103, 107, 109, 112, 115, 135,
    143-45, 160, 162, 183, 184, 218, 220, 288-90, 298, 299, 304,
    316, 326, 328, 339, 344
  Worm, Ole, 191, 193
  Wreck of the Hesperus, The, 269
  Wren, Sir Christopher, 121, 230
  Written at an Inn at Henley, 138
  Written at Stonhenge, 201
  Written in Dugdale's Monasticon, 198

  Yarrow Revisited, 344
  Yarrow Unvisited, 298
  Young, Edward, 56, 149, 163, 213, 387, 388, 421
  Young Hunting, 279
  Young Lochinvar, 277
  Young Waters, 300

  Zapolya, 420
  Zastrozzi, 403
  Zauberlehrling, Der, 386
  Zauberring, Der, 4

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