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Title: A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century
Author: Beers, Henry A. (Henry Augustin), 1847-1926
Language: English
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Author of _A Suburban Pastoral_, _The Ways of Yale_, etc.

New York
Henry Holt and Company



  My love dwelt in a Northern land.
    A grey tower in a forest green
  Was hers, and far on either hand
    The long wash of the waves was seen,
  And leagues on leagues of yellow sand,
    The woven forest boughs between.

  And through the silver Northern light
    The sunset slowly died away,
  And herds of strange deer, lily-white,
    Stole forth among the branches grey;
  About the coming of the light,
    They fled like ghosts before the day.

  I know not if the forest green
    Still girdles round that castle grey;
  I know not if the boughs between
    The white deer vanish ere the day;
  Above my love the grass is green,
    My heart is colder than the clay.



The present volume is a sequel to "A History of English Romanticism in
the Eighteenth Century" (New York; Henry Holt & Co., 1899).  References
in the footnotes to "Volume I." are to that work.  The difficulties of
this second part of my undertaking have been of a kind just opposite to
those of the first.  As it concerns my subject, the eighteenth century
was an age of beginnings; and the problem was to discover what latent
romanticism existed in the writings of a period whose spirit, upon the
whole, was distinctly unromantic.  But the temper of the nineteenth
century has been, until recent years, prevailingly romantic in the wider
meaning of the word.  And as to the more restricted sense in which I have
chosen to employ it, the mediaevalising literature of the nineteenth
century is at least twenty times as great as that of the eighteenth, both
in bulk and in value.  Accordingly the problem here is one of selection;
and of selection not from a list of half-forgotten names, like Warton and
Hurd, but from authors whose work is still the daily reading of all
educated readers.

As I had anticipated, objection has been made to the narrowness of my
definition of _romanticism_.  But every writer has a right to make his
own definitions; or, at least, to say what his book shall be about.  I
have not written a history of the "liberal movement in English
literature"; nor of the "renaissance of wonder"; nor of the "emancipation
of the ego."  Why not have called the book, then, "A History of the
Mediaeval Revival in England"?  Because I have a clear title to the use
of _romantic_ in one of its commonest acceptations; and, for myself, I
prefer the simple dictionary definition, "pertaining to the style of the
Christian and popular literature of the Middle Ages," to any of those
more pretentious explanations which seek to express the true inwardness
of romantic literature by analysing it into its elements, selecting one
of these elements as essential, and rejecting all the rest as accidental.

M. Brunetière; for instance, identifies romanticism with lyricism.  It is
the "emancipation of the ego."  This formula is made to fit Victor Hugo,
and it will fit Byron.  But M. Brunetière would surely not deny that
Walter Scott's work is objective and dramatic quite as often as it is
lyrical.  Yet what Englishman will be satisfied with a definition of
_romantic_ which excludes Scott?  Indeed, M. Brunetière himself is
respectful to the traditional meaning of the word.  "Numerous
definitions," he says, "have been given of Romanticism, and still others
are continually being offered; and all, or almost all of them, contain a
part of the truth.  Mme. de Staël was right when she asserted in her
'Allemagne' that Paganism and Christianity, the North and the South,
antiquity and the Middle Ages, having divided between them the history of
literature, Romanticism in consequence, in contrast to Classicism, was a
combination of chivalry, the Middle Ages, the literatures of the North,
and Christianity.  It should be noted, in this connection, that some
thirty years later Heinrich Heine, in the book in which he will rewrite
Mme. de Staël's, will not give such a very different idea of
Romanticism."  And if, in an analysis of the romantic movement throughout
Europe, any single element in it can lay claim to the leading place, that
element seems to me to be the return of each country to its national
past; in other words, mediaevalism.

A definition loses its usefulness when it is made to connote too much.
Professor Herford says that the "organising conception" of his "Age of
Wordsworth" is romanticism.  But if Cowper and Wordsworth and Shelley are
romantic, then almost all the literature of the years 1798-1830 is
romantic.  I prefer to think of Cowper as a naturalist, of Shelley as an
idealist, and of Wordsworth as a transcendental realist, and to reserve
the name romanticist for writers like Scott, Coleridge, and Keats; and I
think the distinction a serviceable one.  Again, I have been censured for
omitting Blake from my former volume.  The omission was deliberate, not
accidental, and the grounds for it were given in the preface.  Blake was
not discovered until rather late in the nineteenth century.  He was not a
link in the chain of influence which I was tracing.  I am glad to find my
justification in a passage of Mr. Saintsbury's "History of Nineteenth
Century Literature" (p. 13): "Blake exercised on the literary _history_
of his time no influence, and occupied in it no position. . . .  The
public had little opportunity of seeing his pictures, and less of reading
his books. . . .  He was practically an unread man."

But I hope that this second volume may make more clear the unity of my
design and the limits of my subject.  It is scarcely necessary to add
that no absolute estimate is attempted of the writers whose works are
described in this history.  They are looked at exclusively from a single
point of view.                         H. A. B.

APRIL, 1901.













Walter Scott.[1]

It was reserved for Walter Scott, "the Ariosto of the North," "the
historiographer royal of feudalism," to accomplish the task which his
eighteenth-century forerunners had essayed in vain.  He possessed the
true enchanter's wand, the historic imagination.  With this in his hand,
he raised the dead past to life, made it once more conceivable, made it
even actual.  Before Scott no genius of the highest order had lent itself
wholly or mainly to retrospection.  He is the middle point and the
culmination of English romanticism.  His name is, all in all, the most
important on our list.  "Towards him all the lines of the romantic
revival converge." [2]  The popular ballad, the Gothic romance, the
Ossianic poetry, the new German literature, the Scandinavian discoveries,
these and other scattered rays of influence reach a focus in Scott.  It
is true that his delineation of feudal society is not final.  There were
sides of mediaeval life which he did not know, or understand, or
sympathize with, and some of these have been painted in by later artists.
That his pictures have a coloring of modern sentiment is no arraignment
of him but of the _genre_.  All romanticists are resurrectionists; their
art is an elaborate make-believe.  It is enough for their purpose if the
world which they re-create has the look of reality, the _verisimile_ if
not the _verum_.  That Scott's genius was _in extenso_ rather than _in
intenso_, that his work is largely improvisation, that he was not a
miniature, but a distemper painter, splashing large canvasses with a
coarse brush and gaudy pigments, all these are commonplaces of criticism.
Scott's handling was broad, vigorous, easy, careless, healthy, free.  He
was never subtle, morbid, or fantastic, and had no niceties or secrets.
He was, as Coleridge said of Schiller, "master, not of the intense drama
of passion, but the diffused drama of history."  Therefore, because his
qualities were popular and his appeal was made to the people, the general
reader, he won a hearing for his cause, which Coleridge or Keats or
Tieck, with his closer workmanship, could never have won.  He first and
he alone _popularised_ romance.  No literature dealing with the feudal
past has ever had the currency and the universal success of Scott's.  At
no time has mediaevalism held so large a place in comparison with other
literary interests as during the years of his greatest vogue, say from
1805 to 1830.

The first point to be noticed about Scott is the thoroughness of his
equipment.  While never a scholar in the academic sense, he was, along
certain chosen lines, a really learned man.  He was thirty-four when he
published "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805), the first of his series
of metrical romances and the first of his poems to gain popular favour.
But for twenty years he had been storing his mind with the history,
legends, and ballad poetry of the Scottish border, and was already a
finished antiquarian.  The bent and limitations of his genius were early
determined, and it remained to the end wonderfully constant to its
object.  At the age of twelve he had begun a collection of manuscript
ballads.  His education in romance dated from the cradle.  His lullabies
were Jacobite songs; his grandmother told him tales of moss-troopers, and
his Aunt Janet read him ballads from Ramsay's "Tea-table Miscellany,"
upon which his quick and tenacious memory fastened eagerly.  The ballad
of "Hardiknute," in this collection, he knew by heart before he could
read.  "It was the first poem I ever learnt--the last I shall ever
forget."  Dr. Blacklock introduced the young schoolboy to the poems of
Ossian and of Spenser, and he committed to memory "whole duans of the one
and cantos of the other."  "Spenser," he says, "I could have read
forever.  Too young to trouble myself about the allegory, I considered
all the knights and ladies and dragons and giants in their outward and
exoteric sense, and God only knows how delighted I was to find myself in
such society."  A little later Percy's "Reliques" fell into his hands,
with results that have already been described.[3]

As soon as he got access to the circulating library in Edinburgh, he
began to devour its works of fiction, characteristically rejecting love
stories and domestic tales, but laying hold upon "all that was
adventurous and romantic," and in particular upon "everything which
touched on knight-errantry."  For two or three years he used to spend his
holidays with his schoolmate, John Irving, on Arthur's Seat or Salisbury
Crags, where they read together books like "The Castle of Otranto" and
the poems of Spenser and Ariosto; or composed and narrated to each other
"interminable tales of battles and enchantments" and "legends in which
the martial and the miraculous always predominated."  The education of
Edward Waverley, as described in the third chapter of Scott's first
novel, was confessedly the novelist's own education.  In the "large
Gothic room" which was the library of Waverley Honour, the young
book-worm pored over "old historical chronicles" and the writings of
Pulci, Froissart, Brantome, and De la Noue; and became "well acquainted
with Spenser, Drayton, and other poets who have exercised themselves on
romantic fiction--of all themes the most fascinating to a youthful

Yet even thus early, a certain solidity was apparent in Scott's studies.
"To the romances and poetry which I chiefly delighted in," he writes, "I
had always added the study of history, especially as connected with
military events."  He interested himself, for example, in the art of
fortification; and when confined to his bed by a childish illness, found
amusement in modelling fortresses and "arranging shells and seeds and
pebbles so as to represent encountering armies. . . .  I fought my way
thus through Vertot's 'Knights of Malta'--a book which, as it hovered
between history and romance, was exceedingly dear to me."

Every genius is self-educated, and we find Scott from the first making
instinctive selections and rejections among the various kinds of
knowledge offered him.  At school he would learn no Greek, and wrote a
theme in which he maintained, to the wrath of his teacher, that Ariosto
was a better poet than Homer.  In later life he declared that he had
forgotten even the letters of the Greek alphabet.  Latin would have fared
as badly, had not his interest in Matthew Paris and other monkish
chroniclers "kept up a kind of familiarity with the language even in its
rudest state."  "To my Gothic ear, the 'Stabat Mater,' the 'Dies
Irae,'[4] and some of the other hymns of the Catholic Church are more
solemn and affecting than the fine classical poetry of Buchanan."  In our
examination of Scott's early translations from the German,[5] it has been
noticed how exclusively he was attracted by the romantic department of
that literature, passing over, for instance, Goethe's maturer work, to
fix upon his juvenile drama "Götz von Berlichingen."  Similarly he
learned Italian just to read in the original the romantic poets Tasso,
Ariosto, Boiardo, and Pulci.  When he first went to London in 1799, "his
great anxiety," reports Lockhart, "was to examine the antiquities of the
Tower and Westminster Abbey, and to make some researches among the MSS.
of the British Museum."  From Oxford, which he visited in 1803, he
brought away only "a grand but indistinct picture of towers and chapels
and oriels and vaulted halls", having met there a reception which, as he
modestly acknowledges, "was more than such a truant to the classic page
as myself was entitled to expect at the source of classic learning."
Finally, in his last illness, when sent to Rome to recover from the
effects of a paralytic stroke, his ruling passion was strong in death.
He examined with eagerness the remains of the mediaeval city, but
appeared quite indifferent to that older Rome which speaks to the
classical student.  It will be remembered that just the contrary of this
was true of Addison, when he was in Italy a century before.[6]  Scott was
at no pains to deny or to justify the one-sidedness of his culture.  But
when Erskine remonstrated with him for rambling on

          "through brake and maze
  With harpers rude, of barbarous days,"

and urged him to compose a regular epic on classical lines, he
good-naturedly but resolutely put aside the advice.

  "Nay, Erskine, nay--On the wild hill
  Let the wild heath-bell[7] flourish still . . . .
  Though wild as cloud, as stream, as gale,
  Flow forth, flow unrestrained, my tale!" [8]

Scott's letters to Erskine, Ellis, Leyden, Ritson, Miss Seward, and other
literary correspondents are filled with discussions of antiquarian
questions and the results of his favourite reading in old books and
manuscripts.  He communicates his conclusions on the subject of "Arthur
and Merlin" or on the authorship of the old metrical romance of "Sir
Tristram." [9]  He has been copying manuscripts in the Advocates' Library
at Edinburgh.  In 1791 he read papers before the Speculative Society on
"The Origin of the Feudal System," "The Authenticity of Ossian's Poems,"
"The Origin of the Scandinavian Mythology."  Lockhart describes two
note-books in Scott's hand-writing, with the date 1792, containing
memoranda of ancient court records about Walter Scott and his wife, Dame
Janet Beaton, the "Ladye" of Branksome in the "Lay"; extracts from
"Guerin de Montglave"; copies of "Vegtam's Kvitha" and the "Death-Song of
Regner Lodbrog," with Gray's English versions; Cnut's verses on passing
Ely Cathedral; the ancient English "Cuckoo Song," and other rubbish of
the kind.[10]  When in 1803 he began to contribute articles to the
_Edinburgh Review_, his chosen topics were such as "Amadis of Gaul,"
Ellis' "Specimens of Ancient English Poetry," Godwin's "Chaucer,"
Sibbald's "Chronicle of Scottish Poetry," Evans' "Old Ballads," Todd's
"Spenser," "The Life and Works of Chatterton," Southey's translation of
"The Cid," etc.

Scott's preparation for the work which he had to do was more than
adequate.  His reading along chosen lines was probably more extensive and
minute than any man's of his generation.  The introductions and notes to
his poems and novels are even overburdened with learning.  But this,
though important, was but the lesser part of his advantage.  "The
old-maidenly genius of antiquarianism" could produce a Strutt[11] or even
perhaps a Warton; but it needed the touch of the creative imagination to
turn the dead material of knowledge into works of art that have delighted
millions of readers for a hundred years in all civilised lands and

The key to Scott's romanticism is his intense local feeling.[12]  That
attachment to place which, in most men, is a sort of animal instinct, was
with him a passion.  To set the imagination at work some emotional
stimulus is required.  The angry pride of Byron, Shelley's revolt against
authority, Keats' almost painfully acute sensitiveness to beauty,
supplied the nervous irritation which was wanting in Scott's slower,
stronger, and heavier temperament.  The needed impetus came to him from
his love of country.  Byron and Shelley were torn up by the roots and
flung abroad, but Scott had struck his roots deep into native soil.  His
absorption in the past and reverence for everything that was old, his
conservative prejudices and aristocratic ambitions, all had their source
in this feeling.  Scott's Toryism was of a different spring from
Wordsworth's and Coleridge's.  It was not a reaction from disappointed
radicalism; nor was it the result of reasoned conviction.  It was inborn
and was nursed into a sentimental Jacobitism by ancestral traditions and
by an early prepossession in favour of the Stuarts--a Scottish
dynasty--reinforced by encounters with men in the Highlands who had been
out in the '45.  It did not interfere with a practical loyalty to the
reigning house and with what seems like a somewhat exaggerated deference
to George IV.  Personally the most modest of men, he was proud to trace
his descent from "auld Wat of Harden" [13] and to claim kinship with the
bold Buccleuch.  He used to make annual pilgrimages to Harden Tower, "the
_incunabula_ of his race"; and "in the earlier part of his life," says
Lockhart, "he had nearly availed himself of his kinsman's permission to
fit up the dilapidated _peel_ for his summer residence."

Byron wrote: "I twine my hope of being remembered in my line with my
land's language."  But Scott wished to associate his name with the land
itself.  Abbotsford was more to him than Newstead could ever have been to
Byron; although Byron was a peer and inherited his domain, while Scott
was a commoner and created his.  Too much has been said in condemnation
of Scott's weakness in this respect; that his highest ambition was to
become a _laird_ and found a family; that he was more gratified when the
King made him a baronet than when the public bought his books, that the
expenses of Abbotsford and the hospitalities which he extended to all
comers wasted his time and finally brought about his bankruptcy.  Leslie
Stephen and others have even made merry over Scott's Gothic,[14]
comparing his plaster-of-Paris 'scutcheons and ceilings in imitation of
carved oak with the pinchbeck architecture of Strawberry Hill, and
intimating that the feudalism in his romances was only a shade more
genuine than the feudalism of "The Castle of Otranto."  Scott was
imprudent; Abbotsford was his weakness, but it was no ignoble weakness.
If the ideal of the life which he proposed to himself there was scarcely
a heroic one, neither was it vulgar or selfish.  The artist or the
philosopher should perhaps be superior to the ambition of owning land and
having "a stake in the country," but the ambition is a very human one and
has its good side.  In Scott the desire was more social than personal.
It was not that title and territory were feathers in his cap, but that
they bound him more closely to the dear soil of Scotland and to the
national, historic past.

The only deep passion in Scott's poetry is patriotism, the passion of
place.  In his metrical romances the rush of the narrative and the vivid,
picturesque beauty of the descriptions are indeed exciting to the
imagination; but it is only when the chord of national feeling is touched
that the verse grows lyrical, that the heart is reached, and that tears
come into the reader's eyes, as they must have done into the poet's.  A
dozen such passages occur at once to the memory; the last stand of the
Scottish nobles around their king at Flodden; the view of
Edinburgh--"mine own romantic town "--from Blackford Hill;

  "Fitz-Eustace' heart felt closely pent:
  As if to give his rapture vent,
  The spur he to his charger lent,
    And raised his bridle-hand,
  And, making demi-volte in air,
  Cried, 'Where's the coward that would not dare
    To fight for such a land?'"

and the still more familiar opening of the sixth canto in the
"Lay"--"Breathes there the man," etc.:

  "O Caledonia! stern and wild,
  Meet nurse for a poetic child!
  Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
  Land of the mountain and the flood,
  Land of my sires! what mortal hand
  Can e'er untie the filial band
  That knits me to thy rugged strand?"

In such a mood geography becomes poetry and names are music.[15]  Scott
said to Washington Irving that if he did not see the heather at least
once a year, he thought he would die.

Lockhart tells how the sound that he loved best of all sounds was in his
dying ears--the flow of the Tweed over its pebbles.

Significant, therefore, is Scott's treatment of landscape, and the
difference in this regard between himself and his great contemporaries.
His friend, Mr. Morritt of Rokeby, testifies; "He was but half satisfied
with the most beautiful scenery when he could not connect it with some
local legend."  Scott had to the full the romantic love of mountain and
lake, yet "to me," he confesses, "the wandering over the field of
Bannockburn was the source of more exquisite pleasure than gazing upon
the celebrated landscape from the battlements of Stirling Castle.  I do
not by any means infer that I was dead to the feeling of picturesque
scenery. . . .  But show me an old castle or a field of battle and I was
at home at once."  And again: "The love of natural beauty, more
especially when combined with ancient ruins or remains of our fathers'
piety[16] or splendour, became with me an insatiable passion."  It was
not in this sense that high mountains were a "passion" to Byron, nor yet
to Wordsworth.  In a letter to Miss Seward, Scott wrote of popular
poetry: "Much of its peculiar charm is indeed, I believe, to be
attributed solely to its _locality_. . . .  In some verses of that
eccentric but admirable poet Coleridge[17] he talks of

  "'An old rude tale that suited well
    The ruins wild and hoary.'

"I think there are few who have not been in some degree touched with this
local sympathy.  Tell a peasant an ordinary tale of robbery and murder,
and perhaps you may fail to interest him; but, to excite his terrors, you
assure him it happened on the very heath he usually crosses, or to a man
whose family he has known, and you rarely meet such a mere image of
humanity as remains entirely unmoved.  I suspect it is pretty much the
same with myself."

Scott liked to feel solid ground of history, or at least of legend, under
his feet.  He connected his wildest tales, like "Glenfinlas" and "The Eve
of St. John," with definite names and places.  This Antaeus of romance
lost strength, as soon as he was lifted above the earth.  With Coleridge
it was just the contrary.  The moment his moonlit, vapory enchantments
touched ground, the contact "precipitated the whole solution."  In 1813
Scott had printed "The Bridal of Triermain" anonymously, with a preface
designed to mislead the public; having contrived, by way of a joke, to
fasten the authorship of the piece upon Erskine.  This poem is as pure
fantasy as Tennyson's "Day Dream," and tells the story of a knight who,
in obedience to a vision and the instructions of an ancient sage "sprung
from Druid sires," enters an enchanted castle and frees the Princess
Gyneth, a natural daughter of King Arthur, from the spell that has bound
her for five hundred years.  But true to his instinct, the poet lays his
scene not _in vacuo_, but near his own beloved borderland.  He found, in
Burns' "Antiquities of Westmoreland and Cumberland" mention of a line of
Rolands de Vaux, lords of Triermain, a fief of the barony of Gilsland;
and this furnished him a name for his hero.  He found in Hutchinson's
"Excursion to the Lakes" the description of a cluster of rocks in the
Vale of St. John's, which looked, at a distance, like a Gothic castle,
this supplied him with a hint for the whole adventure.  Meanwhile
Coleridge had been living in the Lake Country.  The wheels of his
"Christabel" had got hopelessly mired, and he now borrowed a horse from
Sir Walter and hitched it to his own wagon.  He took over Sir Roland de
Vaux of Triermain and made him the putative father of his mysterious
Geraldine, although, in compliance with Scott's romance, the embassy that
goes over the mountains to Sir Roland's castle can find no trace of it.
In Part I. Sir Leoline's own castle stood nowhere in particular.  In Part
II. it is transferred to Cumberland, a mistake in art almost as grave as
if the Ancient Mariner had brought his ship to port at Liverpool.

Wordsworth visited the "great Minstrel of the Border" at Abbotsford in
1831, shortly before Scott set out for Naples, and the two poets went in
company to the ruins of Newark Castle.  It is characteristic that in
"Yarrow Revisited," which commemorates the incident, the Bard of Rydal
should think it necessary to offer an apology for his distinguished
host's habit of romanticising nature--that nature which Wordsworth,
romantic neither in temper nor choice of subject, treated after so
different a fashion.

  "Nor deem that localised Romance
    Plays false with our affections;
  Unsanctifies our tears--made sport
    For fanciful dejections:
  Ah no! the visions of the past
    Sustain the heart in feeling
  Life as she is--our changeful Life,
    With friends and kindred dealing."

The apology, after all, is only half-hearted.  For while Wordsworth
esteemed Scott highly and was careful to speak publicly of his work with
a qualified respect, it is well known that, in private, he set little
value upon it, and once somewhat petulantly declared that all Scott's
poetry was not worth sixpence.  He wrote to Scott, of "Marmion": "I think
your end has been attained.  That it is not the end which I should wish
you to propose to yourself, you will be aware."  He had visited Scott at
Lasswade as early as 1803, and in recording his impressions notes that
"his conversation was full of anecdote and averse from disquisition."
The minstrel was a _raconteur_ and lived in the past, the bard was a
moralist and lived in the present.

There are several poems of Wordsworth's and Scott's touching upon common
ground which serve to contrast their methods sharply and to illustrate in
a striking way the precise character of Scott's romanticism.  "Helvellyn"
and "Fidelity" were written independently and celebrate the same
incident.  In 1805 a young man lost his way on the Cumberland mountains
and perished of exposure.  Three months afterwards his body was found,
his faithful dog still watching beside it.  Scott was a lover of
dogs--loved them warmly, individually; so to speak, personally; and all
dogs instinctively loved Scott.[18]

Wordsworth had a sort of tepid, theoretical benevolence towards the
animal creation in general.  Yet as between the two poets, the advantage
in depth of feeling is, as usual, with Wordsworth.  Both render, with
perhaps equal power, though in characteristically different ways, the
impression of the austere and desolate grandeur of the mountain scenery.
But the thought to which Wordsworth leads up is the mysterious divineness
of instinct

          ". . . that strength of feeling, great
  Above all human estimate:"--

while Scott conducts his story to the reflection that Nature has given
the dead man a more stately funeral than the Church could have given, a
comparison seemingly dragged in for the sake of a stanzaful of his
favourite Gothic imagery.

  "When a Prince to the fate of the Peasant has yielded,
    The tapestry waves dark round the dim-lighted hall;
  With 'scutcheons of silver the coffin is shielded,
    And pages stand mute by the canopied pall:
  Through the courts at deep midnight the torches are gleaming,
  In the proudly arched chapel the banners are beaming,
  Far adown the long aisle sacred music is streaming,
    Lamenting a chief of the people should fall."

Wordsworth and Landor, who seldom agreed, agreed that Scott's most
imaginative line was the verse in "Helvellyn":

  "When the wind waved his garment how oft didst thou start!"

In several of his poems Wordsworth handled legendary subjects, and it is
most instructive here to notice his avoidance of the romantic note, and
to imagine how Scott would have managed the same material.  In the
prefatory note to "The White Doe of Rylstone," Wordsworth himself pointed
out the difference.  "The subject being taken from feudal times has led
to its being compared to some of Sir Walter Scott's poems that belong to
the same age and state of society.  The comparison is inconsiderate.  Sir
Walter pursued the customary and very natural course of conducting an
action, presenting various turns of fortune, to some outstanding point on
which the mind might rest as a termination or catastrophe.  The course I
attempted to pursue is entirely different.  Everything that is attempted
by the principal personages in 'The White Doe' fails, so far as its
object is external and substantial.  So far as it is moral and spiritual
it succeeds."

This poem is founded upon "The Rising in the North," a ballad given in
the "Reliques," which recounts the insurrection of the Earls of
Northumberland and Westmoreland against Elizabeth in 1569.  Richard
Norton of Rylstone, with seven stalwart sons, joined in the rising,
carrying a banner embroidered with a red cross and the five wounds of
Christ.  The story bristled with opportunities for the display of feudal
pomp, and it is obvious upon what points in the action Scott would have
laid the emphasis; the muster of the tenantry of the great northern
Catholic houses of Percy and Neville; the high mass celebrated by the
insurgents in Durham Cathedral; the march of the Nortons to Brancepeth;
the eleven days' siege of Barden Tower; the capture and execution of
Marmaduke and Ambrose; and--by way of episode--the Battle of Neville's
Cross in 1346.[19]  But in conformity to the principle announced in the
preface to the "Lyrical Ballads"--that the feeling should give importance
to the incidents and situation, not the incidents and situation to the
feeling--Wordsworth treats all this outward action as merely preparatory
to the true purpose of his poem, a study of the discipline of sorrow, of
ruin and bereavement patiently endured by the Lady Emily, the only
daughter and survivor of the Norton house.

  "Action is transitory--a step, a blow. . . .
  Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
  And has the nature of infinity.
  Yet through that darkness (infinite though it seem
  And irremoveable) gracious openings lie. . . .
  Even to the fountain-head of peace divine."

With the story of the Nortons the poet connects a local tradition which
he found in Whitaker's "History of the Deanery of Craven"; of a white doe
which haunted the churchyard of Bolton Priory.  Between this gentle
creature and the forlorn Lady of Rylstone he establishes the mysterious
and soothing sympathy which he was always fond of imagining between the
soul of man and the things of nature.[20]

Or take again the "Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle," an incident in
the Wars of the Roses.  Lord Clifford, who had been hidden away in
infancy from the vengeance of the Yorkists and reared as a shepherd, is
restored to the estates and honours of his ancestors.  High in the festal
hall the impassioned minstrel strikes his harp and sings the triumph of
Lancaster, urging the shepherd lord to emulate the warlike prowess of his

  "Armour rusting in his halls
  On the blood of Clifford calls;
  'Quell the Scot,' exclaims the Lance--
  Bear me to the heart of France
  Is the longing of the Shield."

Thus far the minstrel, and he has Sir Walter with him; for this is
evidently the part of the poem that he liked and remembered, when he
noted in his journal that "Wordsworth could be popular[21] if he
would--witness the 'Feast at Brougham Castle'--'Song of the Cliffords,' I
think, is the name."  But the exultant strain ceases and the poet himself
speaks, and with the transition in feeling comes a change in the verse;
the minstrel's song was in the octosyllabic couplet associated with
metrical romance.  But this Clifford was no fighter--none of Scott's
heroes.  Nature had educated him.

  "In him the savage virtue of the Race" was dead.

  "Love had he found in huts where poor men lie;
  His daily teachers had been woods and rills,
  The silence that is in the starry sky,
  The sleep that is among the lonely hills."

Once more, consider the pronounced difference in sentiment between the
description of the chase in "Hartleap Well" and the opening passage of
"The Lady of the Lake":

  "The stag at eve had drunk his fill.
  Where danced the moon on Monan's rill," etc.[22]

Scott was a keen sportsman, and his sympathy was with the hunter.[23]
Wordsworth's, of course, was with the quarry.  The knight in his
poem--who bears not unsuggestively the name of "Sir Walter"--has
outstripped all his companions, like Fitz James, and is the only one in
at the death.  To commemorate his triumph he frames a basin for the
spring whose waters were stirred by his victim's dying breath; he plants
three stone pillars to mark the creature's hoof-prints in its marvellous
leap from the mountain to the springside; and he builds a pleasure house
and an arbour where he comes with his paramour to make merry in the
summer days.  But Nature sets her seal of condemnation upon the cruelty
and vainglory of man.  "The spot is curst"; no flowers or grass will grow
there; no beast will drink of the fountain.  Part I. tells the story
without enthusiasm but without comment.  Part II. draws the lesson

  "Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
  With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."

The song of Wordsworth's "Solitary Reaper" derives a pensive sorrow from
"old, unhappy, far-off things and battles long ago."  But to Scott the
battle is not far off, but a vivid and present reality.  When he visited
the Trosachs glen, his thought plainly was, "What a place for a fight!"
And when James looks down on Loch Katrine his first reflection is, "What
a scene were here . . .

  "For princely pomp or churchman's pride!
  On this bold brow a lordly tower;
  In that soft vale a lady's bower;
  On yonder meadow, far away,
  The turrets of a cloister grey," etc.

The most romantic scene was not romantic enough for Scott till his
imagination had peopled it with the life of a vanished age.

The literary forms which Scott made peculiarly his own, and in which the
greater part of his creative work was done, are three: the popular
ballad, the metrical romance, and the historical novel in prose.  His
point of departure was the ballad.[24]  The material amassed in his
Liddesdale "raids"--begun in 1792 and continued for seven successive
years--was given to the world in the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border"
(Vols. I. and II. in 1802; Vol. III. in 1803), a collection of ballads
historical, legendary, and romantic, with an abundant apparatus in the
way of notes and introductions, illustrating the history, antiquities,
manners, traditions, and superstitions of the Borderers.  Forty-three of
the ballads in the "Minstrelsy" had never been printed before; and of the
remainder the editor gave superior versions, choosing with sureness of
taste the best among variant readings, and with a more intimate knowledge
of local ways and language than any previous ballad-fancier had
commanded.  He handled his texts more faithfully than Percy, rarely
substituting lines of his own.  "From among a hundred corruptions," says
Lockhart, "he seized, with instinctive tact, the primitive diction and
imagery, and produced strains in which the unbroken energy of
half-civilised ages, their stern and deep passions, their daring
adventures and cruel tragedies, and even their rude wild humour are
reflected with almost the brightness of a Homeric mirror."

In the second volume of the "Minstrelsy" were included what Scott calls
his "first serious attempts in verse," viz., "Glenfinlas" and "The Eve of
St. John," which had been already printed in Lewis' "Tales of Wonder."
Both pieces are purely romantic, with a strong tincture of the
supernatural; but the first--Scott himself draws the distinction--is a
"legendary poem," and the second alone a proper "ballad."
"Glenfinlas," [25] founded on a Gaelic legend, tells how a Highland
chieftain while hunting in Perthshire, near the scene of "The Lady of the
Lake," is lured from his bothie at night and torn to pieces by evil
spirits.  There is no attempt here to preserve the language of popular
poetry; stanzas abound in a diction of which the following is a fair

  "Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart,
  And dropp'd the tear and heaved the sigh:
  But vain the lover's wily art
  Beneath a sister's watchful eye."

"The Eve of St. John" employs common ballad stuff, the visit of a
murdered lover's ghost to his lady's bedside--

  "At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have power"--

but the poet, as usual, anchors his weird nightmares firmly to real names
and times and places, Dryburgh Abbey, the black rood of Melrose, the
Eildon-tree, the bold Buccleuch, and the Battle of Ancram Moor (1545).
The exact scene of the tragedy is Smailholme Tower, the ruined keep on
the crags above his grandfather's farm at Sandynowe, which left such an
indelible impression on Scott's childish imagination.[26]  "The Eve" is
in ballad style and verse:

  "Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot page,
  Loud dost thou lie to me!
  For that knight is cold, and low laid in the mould,
    All under the Eildon tree."

In his "Essay on the Imitation of Popular Poetry," Scott showed that he
understood the theory of ballad composition.  When he took pains, he
could catch the very manner as well as the spirit of ancient minstrelsy;
but if his work is examined under the microscope it is easy to detect
flaws.  The technique of the Pre-Raphaelites and other modern balladists,
like Rossetti and Morris, is frequently finer, they reproduce more
scrupulously the formal characteristics of popular poetry: the burden,
the sing-song repetitions, the quaint turns of phrase, the imperfect
rimes, the innocent, childlike air of the mediaeval tale-tellers.
Scott's vocabulary is not consistently archaic, and he was not always
careful to avoid locutions out of keeping with the style of
_Volkspoesie_.[27]  He was by no means a rebel against eighteenth-century
usages.[28]  In his prose he is capable of speaking of a lady as an
"elegant female."  In his poetry he will begin a ballad thus:

  "The Pope he was saying the high, high mass
    All on St. Peter's day";

and then a little later fall into this kind of thing:

  "There the rapt poet's step may rove,
    And yield the muse the day:
  There Beauty, led by timid Love,
    May shun the tell-tale ray," etc.[29]

It is possible to name single pieces like "The Ancient Mariner," and "La
Belle Dame sans Merci," and "Rose-Mary," of a rarer imaginative quality
and a more perfect workmanship than Scott often attains; yet upon the
whole and in the mass, no modern balladry matches the success of his.
The Pre-Raphaelites were deliberate artists, consciously reproducing an
extinct literary form; but Scott had lived himself back into the social
conditions out of which ballad poetry was born.  His best pieces of this
class do not strike us as imitations but as original, spontaneous, and
thoroughly alive.  Such are, to particularise but a few, "Jock o'
Hazeldean," "Cadyow Castle," on the assassination of the Regent Murray;
"The Reiver's Wedding," a fragment preserved in Lockhart's "Life";
"Elspeth's Ballad" ("The Red Harlow") in "The Antiquary"; Madge
Wildfire's songs in "The Heart of Mid-Lothian," and David Gellatley's in
"Waverley"; besides the other scraps and snatches of minstrelsy too
numerous for mention, sown through the novels and longer poems.  For in
spite of detraction, Walter Scott remains one of the foremost British
lyrists.  In Mr. Palgrave's "Treasury" he is represented by a larger
number of selections than either Milton, Byron, Burns, Campbell, Keats,
or Herrick; making an easy fourth to Wordsworth, Shakspere, and Shelley.
And in marked contrast with Shelley especially, it is observable of
Scott's contributions to this anthology that they are not the utterance
of the poet's personal emotion; they are coronachs, pibrochs, gathering
songs, narrative ballads, and the like--objective, dramatic lyrics
touched always with the light of history or legend.

The step from ballad to ballad-epic is an easy one, and it was by a
natural evolution that the one passed into the other in Scott's hands.
"The Lay of the Last Minstrel" (1805) was begun as a ballad on the local
tradition of Gilpin Horner and at the request of the Countess of
Dalkeith, who told Scott the story.  But his imagination was so full that
the poem soon overflowed its limits and expanded into a romance
illustrative of the ancient manners of the Border.  The pranks of the
goblin page run in and out through the web of the tale, a slender and
somewhat inconsequential thread of _diablerie_.  Byron had his laugh at
it in "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers";[30] and in a footnote on the
passage, he adds: "Never was any plan so incongruous and absurd as the
groundwork of this production."  The criticism was not altogether
undeserved; for the "Lay" is a typical example of romantic, as
distinguished from classic, art both in its strength and in its weakness;
brilliant in passages, faulty in architechtonic, and uneven in execution.
Its supernatural machinery--Byron said that it had more "gramarye" than
grammar--is not impressive, if due exception be made of the opening of
Michael Scott's tomb in Canto Second.

When the "Minstrelsy" was published, it was remarked that it "contained
the elements of a hundred historical romances."  It was from such
elements that Scott built up the structure of his poem about the nucleus
which the Countess of Dalkeith had given him.  He was less concerned, as
he acknowledged, to tell a coherent story than to paint a picture of the
scenery and the old warlike life of the Border; that _tableau large de la
vie_ which the French romanticists afterwards professed to be the aim of
their novels and dramas.  The feud of the Scotts and Carrs furnished him
with a historic background; with this he enwove a love story of the Romeo
and Juliet pattern.  He rebuilt Melrose Abbey, and showed it by
moonlight; set Lords Dacre and Howard marching on a Warden-raid, and
roused the border clans to meet them; threw out dramatic character
sketches of "stark moss-riding Scots" like Wat Tinlinn and William of
Deloraine; and finally enclosed the whole in a _cadre_ most happily
invented, the venerable, pathetic figure of the old minstrel who tells
the tale to the Duchess of Monmouth at Newark Castle.

The love story is perhaps the weakest part of the poem.  Henry Cranstoun
and Margaret of Branksome are nothing but lay figures.  Scott is always a
little nervous when the lover and the lady are left alone together.  The
fair dames in the audience expect a tender scene, but the harper pleads
his age, by way of apology, gets the business over as decently as may be,
and hastens on with comic precipitation to the fighting, which he
thoroughly enjoys.[31]

The "light-horseman stanza" which Scott employed in his longer poems was
caught from the recitation by Sir John Stoddart of a portion of
Coleridge's "Christabel," then still in manuscript.  The norm of the
verse was the eight-syllabled riming couplet used in most of the English
metrical romances of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.  It is a
form of verse which moves more swiftly than blank verse or the heroic
couplet, and is perhaps better suited for romantic poetry.[32]  But it is
liable to grow monotonous in a long poem, and Coleridge's unsurpassed
skill as a metrist was exerted to give it freedom, richness, and variety
by the introduction of anapaestic lines and alternate rimes and triplets,
breaking up the couplets into a series of irregular stanzas.

With "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" romanticism came of age and entered
on its career of triumph.  One wishes that Collins and Tom Warton might
have lived to hail it as the light, at last, towards which they had
struggled through the cold obstruction of the eighteenth century.  One
fancies Dr. Johnson's disgust over this new Scotch monstrosity, which had
every quality that he disliked except blank verse; or Gray's delight in
it, tempered by a critical disapproval of its loose construction and
irregularity.  Scott's romances in prose and verse are still so
universally known as to make any review of them here individually an
impertinence.  Their impact on contemporary Europe was instantaneous and
wide-spread.  There is no record elsewhere in literary history of such
success.  Their immense sales, the innumerable editions and translations
and imitations of them, are matters of familiar knowledge.  Poem followed
poem, and novel, novel in swift and seemingly exhaustless succession, and
each was awaited by the public with unabated expectancy.  Here once more
was a poet who could tell the world a story that it wanted to hear; a poet

  "Such as it had
  In the ages glad,
      Long ago."

The Homeric[33] quality which criticism has attributed or denied to these
poems is really there.  The difference, the inferiority is obvious of
course.  They are not in the grand style; they are epic on a lower plane,
ballad-epic, bastard-epic perhaps, but they are epic.  No English verse
narrative except Chaucer's ranks, as a whole, above Scott's.  Chaucer's
disciple, William Morris, has an equal flow and continuity, and keeps a
more even level of style; but his story-telling is languid compared with
Scott's.  The latter is greater in the dynamic than in the static
department--in scenes of rapid action and keen excitement.  His show
passages are such as the fight in the Trosachs, Flodden Field, William of
Deloraine's ride to Melrose, the trial of Constance, the muster on the
Borough Moor, Marmion's defiance to Douglas, the combat of James and
Roderick Dhu, the summons of the fiery cross, and the kindling of the
need-fires--those romantic equivalents of the lampadephoroi in the

In the series of long poems which followed the "Lay," Scott deserted the
Border and brought in new subjects of romantic interest, the traditions
of Flodden and Bannockburn, the manners of the Gaelic clansmen, and the
wild scenery of the Perthshire Highlands, the life of the Western
Islands, and the rugged coasts of Argyle.  Only two of these tales are
concerned with the Middle Ages, strictly speaking: "The Lord of the
Isles" (1813), in which the action begins in 1307; and "Harold the
Dauntless" (1817), in which the period is the time of the Danish
settlements in Northumbria.  "Rokeby" (1812) is concerned with the Civil
War.  The scene is laid in Yorkshire, "Marmion" (1808), and "The Lady of
the Lake" (1810), like "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," had to do with the
sixteenth century, but the poet imported mediaeval elements into all of
these by the frankest anachronisms.  He restored St. Hilda's Abbey and
the monastery at Lindisfarne, which had been in ruins for centuries, and
peopled them again with monks and nuns, He revived in De Wilton the
figure of the palmer and the ancient custom of pilgrimage to Palestine.
And he transferred "the wondrous wizard, Michael Scott" from the
thirteenth century to the end of the fifteenth.  But, indeed, the state
of society in Scotland might be described as mediaeval as late as the
middle of the sixteenth century.  It was still feudal, and in great part
Catholic.  Particularly in the turbulent Borderland, a rude spirit of
chivalry and a passion for wild adventure lingered among the Eliots,
Armstrongs, Kerrs, Rutherfords, Homes, Johnstons, and other marauding
clans, who acknowledged no law but march law, and held slack allegiance
to "the King of Lothian and Fife."  Every owner of a half-ruinous "peel"
or border keep had a band of retainers within call, like the
nine-and-twenty knights of fame who hung their shields in Branksome Hall;
and he could summon them at short notice, for a raid upon the English or
a foray against some neighbouring proprietor with whom he was at feud.

But the literary form under which Scott made the deepest impression upon
the consciousness of his own generation and influenced most permanently
the future literature of Europe, was prose fiction.  As the creator of
the historical novel and the ancestor of Kingsley, Ainsworth, Bulwer, and
G. P. R. James; of Manzoni, Freytag, Hugo, Mérimée, Dumas, Alexis
Tolstoi, and a host of others, at home and abroad, his example is potent
yet.  English fiction is directly or indirectly in his debt for "Romola,"
"Hypatia," "Henry Esmond," and "The Cloister and the Hearth."  In several
countries the historical novel had been trying for centuries to get
itself born, but all its attempts had been abortive.  "Waverley" is not
only vastly superior to "Thaddeus of Warsaw" (1803) and "The Scottish
Chiefs" (1809); it is something quite different in kind.[34]  The
Waverley Novels, twenty-nine in number, appeared in the years 1814-31.
The earlier numbers of the series, "Waverley," "Guy Mannering," "The
Antiquary," "Old Mortality," "The Black Dwarf," "Rob Roy," "The Heart of
Mid-Lothian," "The Bride of Lammermoor," and "A Legend of Montrose," were
Scotch romances of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  In
"Ivanhoe" (1819) the author went to England for his scene, and back to
the twelfth century for his period.  Thenceforth he ranged over a wide
region in time and space; Elizabethan England ("Kenilworth"), the France
and Switzerland of Louis XI. and Charles the Bold ("Quentin Durward" and
"Anne of Geierstein"), Constantinople and Syria ("Count Robert of Paris,"
"The Betrothed," and "The Talisman") in the age of the Crusades.  The
fortunes of the Stuarts, interested him specially and engaged him in
"Woodstock," "The Fortunes of Nigel," "The Monastery," and its sequel,
"The Abbot."  He seems to have had, in the words of Mr. R. H. Hutton,
"something very like personal experience of a few centuries."

Scott's formula for the construction of a historical romance was original
with himself, and it has been followed by all his successors.  His story
is fictitious, his hero imaginary.  Richard I. is not the hero of
"Ivanhoe," nor Louis XI. of "Quentin Durward."  Shakspere dramatised
history; Scott romanticised it.  Still it is history, the private story
is swept into the stream of large public events, the fate of the lover or
the adventurer is involved with battles and diplomacies, with the rise
and fall of kings, dynasties, political parties, nations.  Stevenson
says, comparing Fielding with Scott, that "in the work of the
latter . . .  we become suddenly conscious of the background. . . .  It
is curious enough to think that 'Tom Jones' is laid in the year '45, and
that the only use he makes of the rebellion is to throw a troop of
soldiers in his hero's way." [35]  And it is this background which is,
after all, the important thing in Scott--the leading impression; the
broad canvas, the swarm of life, the spirit of the age, the
reconstitution of an extinct society.  This he was able to give with
seeming ease and without any appearance of "cram."  Chronicle matter does
not lie about in lumps on the surface of his romance, but is decently
buried away in the notes.  In his comments on "Queenhoo Hall" he adverts
to the danger of a pedantic method, and in his "Journal" (October 18th,
1826) he writes as follows of his own numerous imitators: "They have to
read old books and consult antiquarian collections, to get their
knowledge.  I write because I have long since read such works and
possess, thanks to a strong memory, the information which they have to
seek for.  This leads to a dragging in historical details by head and
shoulders, so that the interest of the main piece is lost in minute
description of events which do not affect its progress."

Of late the recrudescence of the historical novel has revived the
discussion as to the value of the _genre_.  It may be readily admitted
that Scott's best work is realistic, and is to be looked for in such
novels as "The Antiquary," "Old Mortality," "The Heart of Mid-Lothian,"
and in characters like Andrew Fairservice, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, Dandie
Dinmont, Dugald Dalgetty, Jeanie Deans, Edie Ochiltrie, which brought
into play his knowledge of men, his humour, observation of life, and
insight into Scotch human nature.  Scott knew these people; he had to
divine James I., Louis XI., and Mary Stuart.  The historical novel is a
_tour de force_.  Exactly how knights-templars, burgomasters, friars,
Saracens, and Robin Hood archers talked and acted in the twelfth century,
we cannot know.  But it is just because they are strange to our
experience that they are dear to our imagination.  The justification of
romance is its unfamiliarity--"strangeness added to beauty"--"the
pleasure of surprise" as distinguished from "the pleasure of
recognition."  Again and again realism returns to the charge and demands
of art that it give us the present and the actual; and again and again
the imagination eludes the demand and makes an ideal world for itself in
the blue distance.

Two favourite arts, or artifices, of all romantic schools, are "local
colour" and "the picturesque."  "Vers l'an de grâce 1827," writes Prosper
Mérimée, "j'étais _romantique_.  Nous disions aux _classiques_; vos Grecs
ne sont pas des Grecs, vos Romains ne sont pas des Romains; vous ne savez
pas donner à vos compositions la _couleur locale_.  Point de salut sans
la _couleur locale_." [36]

As to the picturesque--a word that connotes, in its critical uses, some
quality in the objects of sense which strikes us as at once novel, and
characteristic in its novelty--while by no means the highest of literary
arts, it is a perfectly legitimate one.[37]  Creçy is not, at bottom, a
more interesting battle than Gettysburg because it was fought with bows
and arrows, but it is more picturesque to the modern imagination just for
that reason.  Why else do the idiots in "MacArthur's Hymn" complain that
"steam spoils romance at sea"?  Why did Ruskin lament when the little
square at the foot of Giotto's Tower in Florence was made a stand for
hackney coaches?  Why did our countryman Halleck at Alnwick Towers resent
the fact that "the Percy deals in salt and hides, the Douglas sells red
herring"?  And why does the picturesque tourist, in general, object to
the substitution of naphtha launches for gondolas on the Venetian canals?
Perhaps because the more machinery is interposed between man and the
thing he works on, the more impersonal becomes his relation to nature.

Carlyle, in his somewhat grudging estimate of Scott, declares that "much
of the interest of these novels results from contrasts of costume.  The
phraseology, fashion of arms, of dress, of life belonging to one age is
brought suddenly with singular vividness before the eyes of another.  A
great effect this; yet by the very nature of it an altogether temporary
one.  Consider, brethren, shall not we too one day be antiques and grow
to have as quaint a costume as the rest? . . .  Not by slashed breeches,
steeple hats, buff belts, or antiquated speech can romance-heroes
continue to interest us; but simply and solely, in the long run, by being
_men_.  Buff belts and all manner of jerkins and costumes are transitory;
man alone is perennial." [38]  Carlyle's dissatisfaction with Scott
arises from the fact that he was not a missionary nor a transcendental
philosopher, but simply a teller of stories.  Heine was not troubled in
the same way, but he made the identical criticism, "Like the works of
Walter Scott, so also do Fouqué's romances of chivalry[40] remind us of
the fantastic tapestries known as Gobelins, whose rich texture and
brilliant colors are more pleasing to our eyes than edifying to our
souls.  We behold knightly pageantry, shepherds engaged in festive
sports, hand-to-hand combats, and ancient customs, charmingly
intermingled.  It is all very pretty and picturesque, but shallow;
brilliant superficiality.  Among the imitators of Fouqué, as among the
imitators of Walter Scott, this mannerism of portraying--not the inner
nature of men and things, but merely the outward garb and appearance--was
carried to still greater extremes.  This shallow art and frivolous style
is still [1833] in vogue in Germany as well as in England and
France. . . .  In lieu of a knowledge of mankind, our recent novelists
evince a profound acquaintance with clothes." [39]

Elsewhere Heine acknowledges a deeper reason for the popularity of the
Scotch novels.  "Their theme . . .  is the mighty sorrow for the loss of
national peculiarities swallowed up in the universality of the newer
culture--a sorrow which is now throbbing in the hearts of all peoples.
For national memories lie deeper in the human breast than is generally
thought."  But whatever rank may be ultimately assigned to the historical
novel as an art form, Continental critics are at one with the British in
crediting its invention to Scott.  "It is an error," says Heine, "not to
recognise Walter Scott as the founder of the so-called historical
romance, and to endeavour to trace it to German imitation."  He adds that
Scott was a Protestant, a lawyer and a Scotchman, accustomed to action
and debate, in whose works the aristocratic and democratic elements are
in wholesome balance; "whereas our German romanticists eliminated the
democratic element entirely from their novels, and returned to the ruts
of those crazy romances of knight-errantry that flourished before
Cervantes." [41]  "Quel est Fouvrage littéraire," asks Stendhal in
1823,[42] "qui a le plus réussi en France depuis dix ans?  Les romans de
Walter Scott. . . .  On s'est moqué à Paris pendant vingt ans du roman
historique; l'Académie a prouvé doctement le ridicule de ce genre; nous y
croyions tous, lorsque Walter Scott a paru, son Waverley à la main; et
Balantyne, son libraire vient de mourir millionaire." [43]

Lastly the service of the Waverley Novels to history was an important
one.  Palgrave says that historical fiction is the mortal enemy of
history, and Leslie Stephen adds that it is also the enemy of fiction.
In a sense both sayings are true.  Scott was not always accurate as to
facts and sinned freely against chronology.  But he rescued a wide realm
from cold oblivion and gave it back to human consciousness and sympathy.
It is treating the past more kindly to misrepresent it in some
particulars, than to leave it a blank to the imagination.  The
eighteenth-century historians were incurious of life.  Their spirit was
general and abstract; they were in search of philosophical formulas.
Gibbon covers his subject with a lava-flood of stately rhetoric which
stiffens into a uniform stony coating over the soft surface of life.
Scott is primarily responsible for that dramatic, picturesque treatment
of history which we find in Michelet and Carlyle.  "These historical
novels," testifies Carlyle, "have taught all men this truth, which looks
like a truism, and yet was as good as unknown to writers of history and
others, till so taught; that the bygone ages of the world were actually
filled by living men, not by protocols, state papers, controversies, and
abstractions of men. . . .  It is a great service, fertile in
consequences, this that Scott has done; a great truth laid open by
him." [44]  In France, too, historians like Barante and Augustin Thierry,
were Scott's professed disciples.  The latter confesses, in a well-known
passage, that "Ivanhoe" was the inspirer of his "Conquête d'Angleterre,"
and styles the novelist "le plus grand maître qu'il y ait jamais eu en
fait de divination historique." [45]

Scott apprehended the Middle Ages on their spectacular, and more
particularly, their military side.  He exhibits their large, showy
aspects: battles, processions, hunts, feasts in hall, tourneys,[46]
sieges, and the like.  The motley mediaeval world swarms in his pages,
from the king on his throne down to the jester with his cap and bells.
But it was the outside of it that he saw; the noise, bustle, colour,
stirring action that delighted him.  Into its spiritualities he did not
penetrate far; its scholasticisms, strange casuistries, shuddering
faiths, grotesque distortions of soul, its religious mysticisms,
asceticisms, agonies; the ecstactic reveries of the cloister, terrors of
hell, and visions of paradise.  It was the literature of the knight, not
of the monk, that appealed to him.  He felt the awfulness and the beauty
of Gothic sacred architecture and of Catholic ritual.  The externalities
of the mediaeval church impressed him, whatever was picturesque in its
ceremonies or august in its power.  He pictured effectively such scenes
as the pilgrimage to Melrose in the "Lay"; the immuring of the renegade
nun in "Marmion"; the trial of Rebecca for sorcery by the Grand Master of
the Temple in "Ivanhoe."  Ecclesiastical figures abound in his pages,
jolly friars, holy hermits, lordly prelates, grim inquisitors, abbots,
priors, and priests of all descriptions, but all somewhat conventional
and viewed _ab extra_.  He could not draw a saint.[47]  Significant,
therefore, is his indifference to Dante, the poet _par excellence_ of the
Catholic Middle Age, the epitomizer of mediaeval thought.  "The plan" of
the "Divine Comedy," "appeared to him unhappy; the personal malignity and
strange mode of revenge presumptuous and uninteresting."  Scott's genius
was antipathetic to Dante's; and he was as incapable of taking a lasting
imprint from his intense, austere, and mystical spirit, as from the
nebulous gloom of the Ossianic poetry.  Though conservative, he was not
reactionary after the fashion of the German "throne-and-altar"
romanticists, but remained always a good Church of England man and an
obstinate opponent of Catholic emancipation.[48]  "Creeds are data in his
novels," says Bagehot; "people have different creeds but each keeps his

Scott's interest in popular superstitions was constant.  As a young
man--in his German ballad period--they affected his imagination with a
"pleasing horror."  But as he grew older, they engaged him less as a poet
than as a student of _Cultur geschichte_.

A wistful sense of the beauty of these old beliefs--a rational smile at
their absurdity--such is the tone of his "Letters on Demonology and
Witchcraft" (1830), a passage or two from which will give his attitude
very precisely; an attitude, it will be seen, which is after all not so
very different from Addison's, allowing for the distance in time and
place, and for Scott's livelier imagination.[49]  Scott had his laugh at
Mrs. Radcliffe, and in his reviews of Hoffmann's "Tales" and Maturin's
"Fatal Revenge" [50] he insists upon the delicacy with which the
supernatural must be treated in an age of disbelief.  His own management
of such themes, however, though much superior to Walpole's or Mrs.
Radcliffe's, has not the subtle art of Coleridge.  The White Lady of
Avenel, _e.g._, in "The Abbot," is a notorious failure.  There was too
much daylight in his imagination for spectres to be quite at home.  "The
shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses"; the "night side of things";
the real shudder are not there, as in Hawthorne or in Poe.  Walter
Pater[51] says that Meinhold's "Amber Witch" has more of the true
romantic spirit than Tieck, who was its professional representative.  On
the contrary, it has less of the romantic spirit, but more of the
mediaeval fact.  It is a literal, realistic handling of the witch
superstition, as Balzac's "Succube," in the "Contes Drolatiques" is a
satirical version of similar material.  But Tieck's "Märchen" are the
shadows thrown by mediaeval beliefs across a sensitive, modern
imagination, and are in result, therefore, romantic.  Scott's dealing
with subjects of the kind is midway between Meinhold and Tieck.  He does
not blink the ugly, childish, stupid, and cruel features of popular
superstition, but throws the romantic glamour over them, precisely as he
does over his "Charlie over the water" Jacobites.[52]

Again Scott's apprehension of the spirit of chivalry, though less
imperfect than his apprehension of the spirit of mediaeval Catholicism,
was but partial.  Of the themes which Ariosto sang--

  "Le donne, i cavalier, l'arme, gli amori,
  Le cortesie, l'audaci imprese io canto"--

the northern Ariosto sang bravely the _arme_ and the _audaci imprese_;
less confidently the _amori_ and the _cortesie_.  He could sympathise
with the knight-errant's high sense of honour and his love of bold
emprise; not so well with his service of dames.  Mediaeval courtship or
"love-drurye," the trembling self-abasement of the lover before his lady,
the fantastic refinements and excesses of gallantry, were alien to
Scott's manly and eminently practical turn of mind.  It is hardly
possible to fancy him reading the "Roman de la Rose" with patience--he
thought "Troilus and Creseyde" tedious, which Rossetti pronounces the
finest of English love poems; or selecting for treatment the story of
Heloise or Tristram and Iseult, or of "Le Chevalier de la Charette"; or
such a typical mediaeval life as that of Ulrich von Liechtenstein.[53]
These were quite as truly beyond his sphere as a church legend like the
life of Saint Margaret or the quest of the Sangreal.  In the "Talisman"
he praises in terms only less eloquent than Burke's famous words, "that
wild spirit of chivalry which, amid its most extravagant and fantastic
nights, was still pure from all selfish alloy--generous, devoted, and
perhaps only thus far censurable, that it proposed objects and courses of
action inconsistent with the frailties and imperfections of man."  In
"Ivanhoe," too, there is something like a dithyrambic lament over the
decay of knighthood--"The 'scutcheons have long mouldered from the
walls," etc.; but even here, enthusiasm is tempered by good sense, and
Richard of the Lion Heart is described as an example of the "brilliant
but useless character of a knight of romance."  All this is but to say
that the picture of the Middle Age which Scott painted was not complete.
Still it was more nearly complete than has yet been given by any other
hand; and the artist remains, in Stevenson's phrase, "the king of the


"Jamais homme de génie n'a eu l'honneur et le bonheur d'être imité par
plus d'hommes de genié, si tous les grands écrivains de l'époque
romantique depuis Victor Hugo jusqu'à Balzac et depuis Alfred de Vigny
jusqu'à Mérimée, lui doivent tous et se sont tous glorifiés de lui devoir
quelque chose. . . .  Il doit nous suffire pour l'instant d'affirmer que
l'influence de Walter Scott est à la racine même des grandes oeuvres qui
ont donné au nouveau genre tant d'éclat dans notre littérature; que c'est
elle qui les a inspirées, suscitées, fait éclore; que sans lui nous
n'aurions ni 'Hans d'Islande,' ni 'Cinq-Mars,' ni 'Les Chouans,' ni la
'Chronique de Charles IX.,' ni 'Notre Dame de Paris,' . . .  Ce n'est
rien moins que le romantisme lui-même dont elle a hâté l'incubation,
facilité l'eclosion, aidé le développement."--MAIGRON, "Le Roman
Historique," p. 143.

"Il nous faut d'abord constater que c'est véritablement de Walter Scott,
et de Walter Scott seul, que commence cette fureur des choses du moyen
âge, cette manie de couleur locale qui sévit avec tant d'intensité
quelque temps avant et longtemps après 1830, et donc qu'il reste, au
moins pour ce qui est de la description, le principal initiateur de la
génération nouvelle.  Sans doute et de toute part, cette résurrection du
moyen âge était des long-temps préparée.  Le 'Génie du Christianisme,' le
'Cours de litterature dramatique' de Schlegel, l''Allemagne' de Mme. de
Staël avaient fait des moeurs chrétiennes et chevaleresques le fondement
et la condition de renouvellement de l'art français.  Et, en effet, dès
1802, le moyen âge était découvert, la cathédrale gothique restaurée,
l'art chretien remis à la place éminente d'où il aurait fallu ne jamais
le laisser choir.  Mais où sont les oeuvres exécutées d'après ce modèle
et ces principes?  S'il est facile d'apercevoir et de déterminer la
cathédrale religieuse de Chateaubriand, est il donc si aisé de distinguer
sa cathédrale poétique? . . .  Un courant vigoureux, que le 'Genie du
Christianisme' et les 'Martyrs' ont puissamment contribué à detérminer,
fait dériver les imaginations vers les choses gothiques; volontiers,
l'esprit français se retourne alors vers le passé comme vers la seule
source de poésie; et voici qu'un étranger vient se faire son guide et
fait miroiter, devant tous les yeux éblouis, la fantasmagorie du moyen
âge, donjons et créneaux, cuirasses et belles armures, haquenées et
palefrois, chevaliers resplendissants et mignonnes et délicates
chatelaines. . . .  Sur ses traces, on se précipita avec furie dans la
voie qu'il venait subitement d'élargir.  Ce moyen age, jusqu'à lui si
convoité et si infécond, devinait enfin une source inépuisable d'émotions
et de productions artistiques.  La 'cathédrale' était bien restaurée
cette fois.  Elle le fut même trop, et borda trop obstinement tous les
sentiers littéraires.   Mais de cet excès, si vite fatigant, c'est Walter
Scott et non Chateaubriand, quoi qu'il en ait pu dire, qui reste le grand
coupable.  Il fit plus que découvrir le moyen âge; il le mit à la mode
parmi les Français."--_Ibid_., pp. 195 _ff_.


"The magical touch and the sense of mystery and all the things that are
associated with the name romance, when that name is applied to 'The
Ancient Mariner,' or 'La Belle Dame sans Merci,' or 'The Lady of
Shalott,' are generally absent from the most successful romances of the
great mediaeval romantic age. . . .  The true romantic interest is very
unequally distributed over the works of the Middle Ages, and there is
least of it in the authors who are most representative of the 'age of
chivalry.'  There is a disappointment prepared for any one who looks in
the greater romantic authors of the twelfth century for the music of 'The
Faery Queene' or 'La Belle Dame sans Merci.' . . .  The greater authors
of the twelfth century have more affinity to the 'heroic romance' of the
school of the 'Grand Cyrus' than to the dreams of Spenser or
Coleridge. . . .  The magic that is wanting to the clear and elegant
narrative of Benoit and Chrestien will be found elsewhere; it will be
found in one form in the mystical prose of the 'Queste del St. Graal'--a
very different thing from Chrestien's 'Perceval'--it will be found, again
and again, in the prose of Sir Thomas Malory; it will be found in many
ballads and ballad burdens, in 'William and Margaret,' in 'Binnorie,' in
the 'Wife of Usher's Well,' in the 'Rime of the Count Arnaldos,' in the
'Königskinder'; it will be found in the most beautiful story of the
Middle Ages, 'Aucassin and Nicolette,' one of the few perfectly beautiful
stories in the world."--"Epic and Romance," W. P. Ker, London, 1897, p.
371 _ff_.

[1] Scott's translations from the German are considered in the author's
earlier volume, "A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth
Century."  Incidental mention of Scott occurs throughout the same volume;
and a few of the things there said are repeated, in substance though not
in form, in the present chapter.  It seemed better to risk some
repetition than to sacrifice fulness of treatment here.

[2] "The Development of the English Novel," by Wilbur L. Cross, p. 131.

[3] Vol. i., p. 300.

[4] The sixth canto of the "Lay" closes with a few lines translated from
the "Dies Irae" and chanted by the monks in Melrose Abbey.

[5] Vol. i., pp. 389-404.

[6] Vol. i., pp. 48-49.

[7] "Scott was entirely incapable of entering into the spirit of any
classical scene.  He was strictly a Goth and a Scot, and his sphere of
sensation may be almost exactly limited by the growth of
heather."--Ruskin, "Modern Painters," vol. iii., p. 317.

[8] "Marmion": Introduction to Canto third.  In the preface to "The
Bridal of Triermain," the poet says: "According to the author's idea of
Romantic Poetry, as distinguished from Epic, the former comprehends a
fictitious narrative, framed and combined at the pleasure of the writer;
beginning and ending as he may judge best; which neither exacts nor
refuses the use of supernatural machinery; which is free from the
technical rules of the _Epée_. . . .  In a word, the author is absolute
master of his country and its inhabitants."

[9] Scott's ascription of "Sir Tristram" to Thomas the Rhymer, or Thomas
of Erceldoune, was doubtless a mistake.  His edition of the romance was
printed in 1804.  In 1800 he had begun a prose tale, "Thomas the Rhymer,"
a fragment of which is given in the preface to the General Edition of the
Waverley Novels (1829).  This old legendary poet and prophet, who
flourished _circa_ 1280, and was believed to have been carried off by the
Queen of Faerie into Eildon Hill, fascinated Scott's imagination
strongly.  See his version of the "True Thomas'" story in the
"Minstrelsy," as also the editions of this very beautiful romance in
Child's "Ballads," in the publications of the E. E. Text So.; and by
Alois Brandl, Berlin: 1880.

[10] See vol. i., p. 390.

[11] See the General Preface to the Waverley Novels for some remarks on
"Queenhoo Hall" which Strutt began and Scott completed.

[12] _Cf._ vol. i., p. 344.

[13] "I am therefore descended from that ancient chieftain whose name I
have made to ring in many a ditty, and from his fair dame, the Flower of
Yarrow--no bad genealogy for a Border minstrel."

[14] "He neither cared for painting nor sculpture, and was totally
incapable of forming a judgment about them.  He had some confused love of
Gothic architecture because it was dark, picturesque, old and like
nature; but could not tell the worst from the best, and built for himself
probably the most incongruous and ugly pile that gentlemanly modernism
ever devised."--Ruskin.  "Modern Painters," vol. iii., p. 271.

[15] See vol. i., p. 200.

[16] The _Abbey_ of Tintern was irrelevant to Wordsworth.--Herford.  "The
Age of Wordsworth," Int., p. xx.

[17] "Dear Sir Walter Scott and myself were exact, but harmonious,
opposites in this:--that every old ruin, hill, river or tree called up in
his mind a host of historical or biographical associations; . . .
whereas, for myself . . . I believe I should walk over the plain of
Marathon without taking more interest in it than in any other plain of
similar features."--Coleridge, "Table Talk," August 4, 1833.

[18] See the delightful anecdote preserved by Carlyle about the little
Blenheim cocker who hated the "genus acrid-quack" and formed an immediate
attachment to Sir Walter.  Wordsworth was far from being an acrid quack,
or even a solemn prig--another genus hated of dogs--but there was
something a little unsympathetic in his personality.  The dalesmen liked
poor Hartley Coleridge better.

[19] Scott could scarcely have forborne to introduce the figure of the
Queen of Scots, to insure whose marriage with Norfolk was one of the
objects of the rising.

[20] For a full review of "The White Doe" the reader should consult
Principal Shairp's "Aspects of Poetry," 1881.

[21] Scott averred that Wordsworth offended public taste on system.

[22] This is incomparable, not only as a masterpiece of romantic
narrative, but for the spirited and natural device by which the hero is
conducted to his adventure.  R. L. Stevenson and other critics have been
rather hard upon Scott's defects as an artist.  He was indeed no stylist:
least of all a _precieux_.  There are no close-set mosaics in his
somewhat slip-shod prose, and he did not seek for the right word "with
moroseness," like Landor.  But, in his large fashion, he was skilful in
inventing impressive effects.  Another instance is the solitary trumpet
that breathed its "note of defiance" in the lists of Ashby-de-la-Zouch,
which has the genuine melodramatic thrill--like the horn of Hernani or
the bell that tolls in "Venice Preserved."

[23] See the "Hunting Song" in his continuation of "Queenhoo Hall"--

    "Waken, lords and ladies gay,
    On the mountain dawns the day."

[24] See vol. i., pp. 277 and 390.

[25] The Glen of the Green Women.

[26] "And still I thought that shattered tower
     The mightiest work of human power;
     And marvelled as the aged hind
     With some strange tale bewitched my mind,
     Of foragers who, with headlong force,
     Down from that strength had spurred their horse,
     Their Southern rapine to renew,
     Far in the distant Cheviots blue;
     And, home returning, filled the hall
     With revel, wassail-rout and brawl."--"Marmion."  Introduction
to Canto Third.  See Lockhart for a description of the view from
Smailholme, _à propos_ of the stanza in "The Eve of St. John":

  "That lady sat in mournful mood;
    Looked over hill and vale:
  O'ver Tweed's fair flood, and Mertoun's wood,
    And all down Teviot dale."

[27] See vol. i., pp. 394-395.

[28] Scott's verse "is touched both with the facile redundance of the
mediaeval romances in which he was steeped, and with the meretricious
phraseology of the later eighteenth century, which he was too genuine a
literary Tory wholly to put aside."--"The Age of Wordsworth," C. H.
Herford, London.  1897.

[29] "The Gray Brother" in vol. iii. of the "Minstrelsy."

[30] "And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner's brood,
     Decoy young border-nobles through the wood,
     And skip at every step, Lord knows how high,
     And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why."

[31] "Now leave we Margaret and her knight
     To tell you of the approaching fight."--Canto Fifth, xiii.

[32] Landor says oddly of Warton that he "had lost his ear by laying it
down on low swampy places, on ballads and sonnets."

[33] Does not the quarrel of Richard and Philip in "The Talisman" remind
one irresistibly of Achilles and Agamemnon in the "Iliad"?

[34] For a review of English historical fiction before Scott, consult
Professor Cross' "Development of the English Novel," pp. 110-114.

[35] "Familiar Studies of Men and Books," by R. L. Stevenson.  Article,
"Victor Hugo's Romances."

[36] "Le Roman Historique à l'Epoque Romantique."  Essai sur l'influence
de Walter Scott.  Par Louis Maigron.  Paris (Hachette). 1898, p. 331,
_note_.  And _ibid_., p. 330: "Au lieu que les classiques s'efforçaient
toujours, à travers les modifications que les pays, les temps et les
circonstances peuvent apporter aux sentiments et aux passions des hommes,
d'atteindre à ce que ces passions et ces sentiments conservent de
permanent, d'immuable et d'éternel, c'est au contraire à l'expression de
l'accidentel et du relatif que les novateurs devaient les efforts de leur
art.  Plus simplement, à la place de la vérité humaine, ils devaient
mettre la vérité locale."  Professor Herford says that what Scott "has in
common with the Romantic temper is simply the feeling for the
picturesque, for colour, for contrast."  "Age of Wordsworth," p. 121.

[37] De Quincey defines _picturesque_ as "the characteristic pushed into
a sensible excess."  The word began to excite discussion in the last
quarter of the eighteenth century.  See vol. i., p. 185, for Gilpin's
"Observations on Picturesque Beauty."  See also Uvedale Price, "Essays on
the Picturesque as Compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful," three
vols., 1794-96.  Price finds the character of the picturesque to consist
in roughness, irregularity, intricacy, and sudden variation.  Gothic
buildings are more picturesque than Grecian, and a ruin than an entire
building.  Hovels, cottages, mills, interiors of old barns are
picturesque.  "In mills particularly, such is the extreme intricacy of
the wheels and the wood work: such is the singular variety of forms and
of lights and shadows, of mosses and weather stains from the constant
moisture, of plants springing from the rough joints of the stones--that,
even without the addition of water, an old mill has the greatest charm
for a painter" (i., 55).  He mentions, as a striking example of
picturesque beauty, a hollow lane or by-road with broken banks, thickets,
old neglected pollards, fantastic roots bared by the winter torrents,
tangled trailers and wild plants, and infinite variety of tints and
shades (i., 23-29).  He denounces the improvements of Capability Brown
(see "Romanticism," vol. i., p. 124): especially the clump, the belt and
regular serpentine walks with smooth turf edges, the made water with
uniformly sloping banks--all as insipidly formal, in their way, as the
old Italian gardens which Brown's landscapes displaced.

[38] "Essay on Walter Scott."

[39] Andrew Lang reminds us that, after all, only three of the Waverley
Novels are "chivalry romances."  The following are the only numbers of
the series that have to do with the Middle Ages: "Count Robert of Paris,"
_circa_ 1090 A.D.; "The Betrothed," 1187; "The Talisman," 1193;
"Ivanhoe," 1194; "The Fair Maid of Perth," 1402; "Quentin Durward," 1470;
"Anne of Geierstein," 1474-77.

[40] "The Romantic School in Germany," p. 187.  _Cf._ Stendhal, "Walter
Scott et la Princesse de Clèves."  "Mes reflexions seront mal accueilles.
Une immense troupe de littérateurs est intéressée à porter aux nues Sir
Walter Scott et sa maniere.  L'habit et le collier de cuivre d'un serf du
moyen âge sont plus facile à décrire que les mouvements du coeur
humain. . . .  N'oublions pas un autre avantage de l'école de Sir Walter
Scott: la description d'un costume et la _pose_ d'un personnage . . .
prennent au moins deux pages.  Les mouvements de l'âme fourniraient à
peine quelques lignes.  Ouvrez au hazard un cies volumes de la 'Princesse
de Clèves,' prenez dix pages au hasard, et ensuite comparez les aux dix
pages d'Ivanhoe' ou de 'Quentin Durward': ces derniers ouvrages ont un
_mérite historique_.  Ils apprennent quelques petites choses sur
l'histoire aux gens qui l'ignorent ou qui le savent mal.  Ce mérite
historique a causé un grand plaisir: je ne le nie pas, mais c'est ce
mérite historique qui se fanera le premier. . . .  Dans 146 ans, Sir
Walter Scott ne sera pas à la hauteur où Corneille nous apparait 146 ans
après sa mort."  "To write a modern romance of chivalry." says Jeffrey,
in his review of "Marmion" in the _Edinburgh_, "seems to be much such a
phantasy as to build a modern abbey or an English pagoda. . . .
[Scott's] genius, seconded by the omnipotence of fashion, has brought
chivalry again into temporary favor.  Fine ladies and gentlemen now talk,
indeed, of donjons, keeps, tabards, 'scutcheons, tressures, caps of
maintenance, portcullises, wimples, and we know not what besides; just as
they did, in the days of Dr. Darwin's popularity, of gnomes, sylphs,
oxygen, gossamer, polygynia, and polyandria.  That fashion, however,
passed rapidly away, and Mr. Scott should take care that a different sort
of pedantry," etc.

[41] For an exhaustive review of Scott's influence on the evolution of
historical fiction in France, consult Maigron, "Le Roman Historique,"
etc.  A longish passage from this work will be found at the end of the
present chapter.  For English imitators and successors of the Waverley
Novels, see Cross, "Development of the English Novel," pp. 136-48.  See
also De Quincey's "Literary Reminiscences," vol. iii., for an amusing
account of "Walladmor" (1824), a pretended German translation of a
non-existent Waverley novel.

[42] "Racine et Shakespeare."

[43] "Don Quixote."

[44] "Sir Walter Scott."

[45] "Dix ans d'études historiques": preface.

[46] Walter Bagehot says that "Ivanhoe" "describes the Middle Ages as we
should have wished them to be," ignoring their discomforts and harsh
barbarism.  "Every boy has heard of tournaments and has a firm persuasion
that in an age of tournaments life was thoroughly well understood.  A
martial society where men fought hand to hand on good horses with large
lances," etc.  ("The Waverley Novels").

[47] "Of enthusiasm in religion Scott always spoke very severely. . . .
I do not think there is a single study in all his romances of what may be
fairly called a pre-eminently spiritual character" (R. H. Hutton: "Sir
Walter Scott," p. 126).

[48] "Unopposed, the Catholic superstition may sink to dust, with all its
absurd ritual and solemnities.  Still it is an awful risk.  The world is
in fact as silly as ever, and a good competence of nonsense will always
find believers." ("Diary" for 1829).

[49] See vol. i., p. 42.  "We almost envy the credulity of those who in
the gentle moonlight of a summer night in England, amid the tangled
glades of a deep forest, or the turfy swell of her romantic commons,
could fancy they saw the fairies tracing their sportive ring.  But it is
in vain to regret illusions which, however engaging, must of necessity
yield their place before the increase of knowledge, like shadows at the
advance of morn."  ("Demonology." p. 183).  "Tales of ghosts and
demonology are out of date at forty years of age and upward. . . .  If I
were to write on the subject at all, it should have been during a period
of life when I could have treated it with more interesting
vivacity. . . .  Even the present fashion of the world seems to be
ill-suited for studies of this fantastic nature: and the most ordinary
mechanic has learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in former
times were believed by persons far advanced in the deepest knowledge of
the age." (_Ibid_., p. 398).

[50] See vol. i., pp. 249 and 420.

[51] "Postscript" to "Appreciations."

[52] For the rarity of the real romantic note in mediaeval writers see
vol. i., pp. 26-28, and Appendix B to the present chapter.

[53] See "Studies in Mediaeval Life and Literature," by Edward T.
McLaughlin, p. 34.


Coleridge, Bowles, and the Pope Controversy.

While Scott was busy collecting the fragments of Border minstrelsy and
translating German ballads,[1] two other young poets, far to the south,
were preparing their share in the literary revolution.  In those same
years (1795-98) Wordsworth and Coleridge were wandering together over the
Somerset downs and along the coast of Devon, catching glimpses of the sea
towards Bristol or Linton, and now and then of the skeleton masts and
gossamer sails of a ship against the declining sun, like those of the
phantom bark in "The Ancient Mariner."  The first fruits of these walks
and talks was that epoch-making book, the "Lyrical Ballads"; the first
edition of which was published in 1798, and the second, with an
additional volume and the famous preface by Wordsworth, in 1800.  The
genesis of the work and the allotment of its parts were described by
Coleridge himself in the "Biographia Literaria" (1817), Chapter XIV.

"During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbours our
conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of poetry, the
power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to
the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by
the modifying colours of imagination. . . .  The thought suggested itself
that a series of poems might be composed of two sorts.  In the one, the
incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; . . .
for the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary
life. . . .  It was agreed that my endeavours should be directed to
persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic. . . .  With
this view I wrote 'The Ancient Mariner,' and was preparing, among other
poems, 'The Dark Ladie' and the 'Christabel,' in which I should have more
nearly realized my ideal than I had done in my first attempt."

Coleridge's contributions to romantic poetry are few though precious.
Weighed against the imposing array of Scott's romances in prose and
verse,[2] they seem like two or three little gold coins put into the
scales to balance a handful of silver dollars.  He stands for so much in
the history of English thought, he influenced his own and the following
generation on so many sides, that his romanticism shows like a mere
incident in his intellectual history.  His blossoming time was short at
the best, and ended practically with the century.  After his return from
Germany in 1799 and his settlement at Keswick in 1800, he produced little
verse of any importance beyond the second part of "Christabel" (written
in 1800, published in 1816).  His creative impulse failed him, and he
became more and more involved in theology, metaphysics, political
philosophy, and literary criticism.

It appears, therefore, at first sight, a little odd that Coleridge's
German biographer, Professor Brandl, should have treated his subject
under this special aspect,[3] and attributed to him so leading a place in
the romantic movement.  Walter Scott, if we consider his life-long and
wellnigh exclusive dedication of himself to the work of historic
restoration--Scott, certainly, and not Coleridge was the "high priest of
Romanticism." [4]  Brandl is dissatisfied with the term Lake School, or
Lakers, commonly given to Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, and
proposes instead to call them the Romantic School, Romanticists
(_Romantiker_), surely something of a misnomer when used of an eclectic
versifier like Southey, or a poet of nature, moral reflection, and humble
life like Wordsworth.  Southey, in casting about him for a theme,
sometimes became for the nonce and so far as subject goes, a romancer; as
in "Joan of Arc" (1799), "Madoc" (1805), and "Roderick the Goth" (1814);
not to speak of translations like "Amadis of Gaul," "Palmerin of
England," and "The Chronicle of the Cid."  But these were not due to the
compelling bent of his genius, as in Scott.  They were miscellaneous
jobs, undertaken in the regular course of his business as a manufacturer
of big, irregular epics, Oriental, legendary, mythological, and what not;
and as an untiring biographer, editor, and hack writer of all
descriptions.  Southey was a mechanical poet, with little original
inspiration, and represents nothing in particular.  Wordsworth again,
though innovating in practice and theory against eighteenth-century
tradition, is absolutely unromantic in contrast with Scott and Coleridge.

But it will be fair to let the critic defend his own nomenclature; and
the passage which I shall quote will serve not only as another attempt to
define romanticism, but also to explain why Brandl regards the Lake poets
as our romantic school _par excellence_.  "'Lake School' is a name, but
no designation.  This was felt in England, where many critics have
accordingly fallen into the opposite extreme, and maintained that the
members of this group of poets had nothing in common beyond their
personal and accidental conditions.  As if they had only lived together,
and not worked together!  In truth they were bound together by many a
strong tie, and above all by one of a polemical kind, namely, by the
aversion for the monotony that had preceded them, and by the struggle
against merely dogmatic rules.  Unbending uniformity is death!  Let us be
various and individual as life itself is. . . .  Away with dry
Rationalism!  Let us fight it with all the powers we possess; whether by
bold Platonism or simple Bible faith; whether by enthusiastic hymns, or
dreamy fairy tales; whether by the fabulous world of distant times and
zones, or by the instincts of the children in the next village.  Let us
abjure the ever-recommended nostrum of imitation of the old masters in
poetry, and rather attach ourselves to homely models, and endeavour, with
their help, lovingly and organically to develop their inner life.  These
were the aims of Walter Scott and his Scotch school, only with such
changes as local differences demanded.  Individuality in person,
nationality, and subject, and therefore the emphasis of all natural
unlikeness, was the motto on both sides of the Tweed.  And, as these men,
when confronted by elements peculiar, rare, and marvellous, designated
such elements as 'romantic,' so may they themselves be justly called the
'Romantic School.'  But the term is much misused, and requires a little
elucidation.  Shakespeare is usually called a romantic poet.  He,
however, never used the expression, and would have been surprised if any
one had applied it to him.  The term presupposes opposition to the
classic style, to rhetorical deduction, and to measured periods, all of
which were unknown in the time of the Renaissance, and first imported in
that of the French Revolution.  On the other hand, Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Southey, Lamb, and Walter Scott's circle all branched off from the
classical path with a directness and consistency which sharply
distinguish them from their predecessors, contemporaries, and successors.
Their predecessors had not broken with the Greek and Latin school, nor
with the school of Pope; Chatterton copied Homer; Cowper translated him;
Burns in his English verses, and Bowles in his sonnets, adhered to what
is called the 'pig-tail period'!  The principal poems composed in the
last decennium of the eighteenth century . . . adhered still more to
classic tradition.  In London the satires of Mathias and Gifford renewed
the style of the 'Dunciad,' and the moral poems of Rogers that of the
'Essay on Man.'  Landor wrote his youthful 'Gebir' in the style of
Virgil, and originally in Latin itself.  The amateur in German
literature, William Taylor of Norwich, and Dr. Sayers, interested
themselves especially for those works by Goethe which bear an antique
character--for 'Iphigenia,' 'Proserpina,' 'Alexis and Dora.'  Only when
the war with France drew near was the classical feeling interrupted.
Campbell, the Scotchman, and Moore, the Irishman, both well schooled by
translations from the Greek, recalled to mind the songs of their own
people, and rendered them popular with the fashionable world--though only
by clothing them in classic garb.  How different to the 'artificial rust'
of 'Christabel'; to the almost exaggerated homeliness of 'We Are Seven';
and to the rude 'Lay of the Last Minstrel'!  When at last, with the fall
of Napoleon, the great stars--Byron, Shelley, Keats, and later the mature
Landor--rose in the hemisphere, they had all imbibed from the Romantic
school a warmer form of thought and feeling, and a number of productive
impulses; though, Euphorion-like, they still regarded the antique as
their parent.  They expressed much appreciation of the Romantic school,
but their hearts were with Aeschylus and Pindar.  They contended for
national character, but only took pleasure in planting it on classic
soil.  Byron's enthusiasm for Pope was not only caprice; nor was it mere
chance that Byron should have died in Greece, and Shelley and Keats in
Italy.  Compared with what we may call these classical members of the
Romantic school, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Scott . . . may be said to
have taken nothing, whether in the form of translation or imitation, from
classical literature; while they drew endless inspiration from the Middle
Ages.  In their eyes Pope was only a lucid, able, and clever journeyman.
It is therefore fair to consider them, and them alone, as exponents of
the Romantic school." [5]

As to Byron and Shelley this criticism may do; as to Chatterton and Keats
it is misleading.   Wordsworth more romantic than Chatterton!  More
romantic than Keats, because the latter often, and Wordsworth seldom,
treats subjects from the antique!  On the contrary, if "the name is
graven on the workmanship," "Michael" and "The Brothers" are as classical
as "Hyperion" or "Laodamia" or "The Hamadryad"; "bald as the bare
mountain-tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur."  Bagehot
expressly singles Wordsworth out as an example of pure or classic art, as
distinguished from the ornate art of such poets as Keats and Tennyson.
And Mr. Colvin hesitates to classify him with Landor only because of his
"suggestive and adumbrative manner"--not, indeed, he acknowledges, a
romantic manner, and yet "quite distinct from the classical"; i.e.,
because of the transcendental character of a portion of his poetry.  But
whatever may be true of the other members of the group, Coleridge at his
best was a romantic poet.  "Christabel" and "The Ancient Mariner,"
creations so exquisite sprung from the contact of modern imagination with
mediaeval beliefs, are enough in themselves to justify the whole romantic

Among the literary influences which gave shape to Coleridge's poetry,
Percy's ballads and Chatterton's "Rowley Poems" are obvious and have
already been mentioned.  In his first volume of verse (1796), there is
manifest a still stronger impulse from the sonnets of the Rev. William
Lisle Bowles.  We have noticed the reappearance of this discarded stanza
form in the work of Gray, Mason, Edwards, Stillingfleet, and Thomas
Warton, about the middle of the last century.[6]  In 1782 Mrs. Charlotte
Smith published a volume of sonnets, treating motives from Milton, Gray,
Collins, Pope's "Eloisa" and Goethe's "Werther."  But the writer
who--through his influence upon Wordsworth more especially--contributed
most towards the sonnet revival, was Bowles.  In 1789 he had published a
little collection of fourteen sonnets,[7] which reached a second edition
with six pieces additional, in the same year.  "His sonnets came into
Wordsworth's hands (1793)," says Brandl, "just as he was leaving London
with some friends for a morning's excursion; he seated himself in a
recess on Westminster Bridge, and was not to be moved from his place till
he had finished the little book.  Southey, again, owned in 1832 that for
forty years, he had taken the sweet and artless style of Bowles for a
model." [8]  In the first chapter of his "Biographia Literaria" (1817)
Coleridge tells how, when he had just entered on his seventeenth year,
"the sonnets of Mr. Bowles, twenty in number and just then published in a
quarto pamphlet, were first made known and presented" to him by his
school-fellow at Christ's Hospital, Thomas Middleton, afterwards Bishop
of Calcutta.  "It was a double pleasure to me . . . that I should have
received, from a friend so revered, the first knowledge of a poet by
whose works, year after year, I was so enthusiastically delighted and
inspired.  My earliest acquaintances will not have forgotten the
undisciplined eagerness and impetuous zeal with which I laboured to make
proselytes, not only of my companions, but of all with whom I conversed,
of whatever rank and in whatever place.  As my school finances did not
permit me to purchase copies, I made, within less than a year and a half,
more than forty transcriptions, as the best presents I could offer to
those who had in any way won my regard.  And with almost equal delight
did I receive the three or four following publications of the same
author."  To Bowles' poems Coleridge ascribes the credit of having
withdrawn him from a too exclusive devotion to metaphysics and also a
strengthened perception of the essentially unpoetic character of Pope's
poetry.  "Among those with whom I conversed there were, of course, very
many who had formed their taste and their notions of poetry from the
writings of Pope and his followers; or, to speak more generally, in that
school of French poetry, condensed and invigorated by English
understanding, which had predominated from the last century.  I was not
blind to the merits of this school, yet . . . they gave me little
pleasure. . . .  I saw that the excellence of this kind consisted in just
and acute observations on men and manners in an artificial state of
society, as its matter and substance; and in the logic of wit, conveyed
in smooth and strong epigrammatic couplets, as its form. . . .  The
matter and diction seemed to me characterized not so much by poetic
thoughts as by thoughts translated into the language of poetry."
Coleridge goes on to say that, in a paper written during a Cambridge
vacation, he compared Darwin's "Botanic Garden" to a Russian ice palace,
"glittering, cold, and transitory"; that he expressed a preference for
Collins' odes over those of Gray; and that in his defence of the lines
running into each other, instead of closing at each couplet; and of
natural language . . . such as "_I will remember thee_," instead of

      ". . . Thy image on her wing
  Before my fancy's eye shall memory bring"

he had continually to appeal to the example of the older English poets
from Chaucer to Milton.  "The reader," he concludes, "must make himself
acquainted with the general style of composition that was at that time
deemed poetry, in order to understand and account for the effect produced
on me by the sonnets, the 'Monody at Matlock' and the 'Hope' of Mr.
Bowles; for it is peculiar to original genius to become less and less
striking, in proportion to its success in improving the taste and
judgment of its contemporaries.  The poems of West, indeed, had the merit
of chaste and manly diction, but they were cold, and, if I may so express
it, only dead-coloured; while in the best of Warton's, there is a
stiffness which too often gives them the appearance of imitations from
the Greek.  Whatever relation, therefore, of cause or impulse, Percy's
collection of ballads may bear to the most popular poems of the present
day, yet in the more sustained and elevated style of the then living
poets, Cowper and Bowles were, to the best of my knowledge, the first who
combined natural thoughts with natural diction; the first who reconciled
the heart with the head."  Coleridge adds in a note that he was not
familiar with Cowper's "Task" till many years after the publication of
Bowles' sonnets, though it had been published before them (1785).

It would be hard to account for the effect of Bowles' sonnets on
Coleridge, did we not remember that it is not necessarily the greatest
literature that comes home to us most intimately, but that which, for
some reason, touches us where we are peculiarly sensitive.  It is a
familiar experience with every reader, that certain books make an appeal
to him which is personal and individual, an appeal which they make to few
other readers--perhaps to no other reader--and which no other books make
to him.  It is something in them apart from their absolute value or
charm, or rather it is something in him, some private experience of his
own, some occult association in depths below consciousness.  He has a
perfectly just estimate of their small importance in the abstract, they
are not even of the second or third rank.  Yet they speak to him; they
seem written to him--are more to him, in a way, than Shakspere and Milton
and all the public library of the world.  In the line of light bringers
who pass from hand to hand the torch of intelligential fire, there are
men of most unequal stature, and a giant may stoop to take the precious
flambeau from a dwarf.  That Scott should have admired Monk Lewis, and
Coleridge reverenced Bowles, only proves that Lewis and Bowles had
something to give which Scott and Coleridge were peculiarly ready to

Bowles' sonnets, though now little read, are not unreadable.  They are
tender in feeling, musical in verse, and pure in diction.  They were
mostly suggested by natural scenery, and are uniformly melancholy.
Bowles could suck melancholy out of a landscape as a weasel sucks eggs.
His sonnets continue the elegiac strain of Shenstone, Gray, Collins,
Warton, and the whole "Il Penseroso" school, but with a more personal
note, explained by a recent bereavement of the poet.  "Those who know
him," says the preface, "know the occasions of them to have been real, to
the public he might only mention the sudden death of a deserving young
woman with whom

  "Sperabat longos heu! ducere soles,
  Et fido acclinis consumuisse sinu. . . .

"This is nothing to the public; but it may serve in some measure to
obviate the common remark on melancholy poetry, that it has been very
often gravely composed, when possibly the heart of the writer had very
little share in the distress he chose to describe.  But there is a great
difference between _natural_ and _fabricated_ feelings even in poetry."
Accordingly while the Miltonic group of last-century poets went in search
of dark things--grots, caverns, horrid shades, and twilight vales;
Bowles' mood bestowed its color upon the most cheerful sights and sounds
of nature.  The coming of summer or spring; the bells of Oxford and
Ostend; the distant prospect of the Malvern Hills, or the chalk cliffs of
Dover; sunrise on the sea, touching "the lifted oar far off with sudden
gleam"; these and the like move him to tears equally with the glimmer of
evening, the sequestered woods of Wensbeck, the ruins of Netley Abbey,[9]
or the frowning battlements of Bamborough Castle, where

  "Pity, at the dark and stormy hour
  Of midnight, when the moon is hid on high,
    Keeps her lone watch upon the topmost tower."

In "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" Byron calls Bowles "the maudlin
prince of mournful sonneteers," whose

        ". . . muse most lamentably tells
  What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells." [10]

Bowles' attitude had thus something more modern than that of the
eighteenth-century elegiacs, and in unison with Coleridge's doctrine, that

        ". . . we receive but what we give,
  And in our life alone does nature live:
  Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud." [11]

A number of Bowles' sonnets were addressed to rivers, the Tweed, the
Cherwell at Oxford, the Wensbeck, and the Itchin near Winton, poems which
stand midway between Thomas Warton's "To the River Lodon" and Coleridge's
"To the River Otter," with Wordsworth's sonnet sequence, "On the River
Duddon."  A single sonnet of Bowles will be enough to give a taste of his
quality and to show what Coleridge got from him.[12]

Bowles was a disciple in the "School of Warton."  He was "one of Joseph
Warton's Winchester wonders," says Peter Cunningham, in a note in the
second edition of Campbell's "Specimens of the British Poets"; "and the
taste he imbibed there for the romantic school of poetry was strengthened
and confirmed by his removal to Trinity College, Oxford, when Tom Warton
was master there."  Bowles was always prompt to own that he had learned
his literary principles from the Wartons; and among his poems is a monody
written on the death of his old teacher, the master of Winchester
College.  His verses abound in Gothic imagery quite in the Wartonian
manner; the "castle gleaming on the distant steep"; "the pale moonlight
in the midnight aisle"; "some convent's ancient walls," along the Rhine.
Weak winds complain like spirits through the ruined arches of Netley

          "The beam
  Of evening smiles on the gray battlement,
  And yon forsaken tower that time has rent."

His lines on Shakspere recall Collins in their insistence upon the
"elvish" things in the plays; "The Tempest," "Midsummer Night's Dream,"
the weird sisters in "Macbeth," Ophelia's songs, the melancholy Jacques.
The lines to Burke on his "Reflections on the Revolution in France," echo
his celebrated dirge over fallen chivalry:

  "Though now no more proud chivalry recalls
  The tourneys bright and pealing festivals;
  Though now on high her idle spear is hung,
  Though time her mouldering harp has half unstrung," etc.[13]

The "Hymn to Woden" alludes to Gray's "Fatal Sisters."  "St. Michael's
Mount" summons up the forms of the ancient Druids, and sings how Fancy,

  "Sick of the fluttering fancies that engage
  The vain pursuits of a degenerate age, . . .
  Would fain the shade of elder days recall,
  The Gothick battlements, the bannered hall;
  Or list of elfin harps the fabling rhyme;
  Or, wrapt in melancholy trance sublime,
  Pause o'er the working of some wondrous tale,
  Or bid the spectres of the castle hail!"

Bowles' influence is traceable in Coleridge's earliest volume of verse
(1796) in a certain diffused softness and gentle sensibility.  This
elegiac tone appears particularly in effusions like "Happiness," "The
Sigh," "To a Young Ass," "To the Autumnal Moon," "Lines on an Autumnal
Evening," "To the Nightingale"; in "Melancholy: A Fragment" and "Elegy;
imitated from Akenside," both in the "Sibylline Leaves" (1797); and in
numerous "lines," "monodies," "epitaphs," "odes," and "stanzas." [14]
Coleridge soon came to recognise the weakness of his juvenile verses, and
parodied himself--and incidentally Bowles--in three sonnets printed at
the end of Chapter I. of the "Biographia Literaria," designed to
burlesque his own besetting sins, a "doleful egotism," an affected
simplicity, and the use of "elaborate and swelling language and imagery."
He never attained much success in the use of the sonnet form.  A series
of twelve sonnets in his first collection opens with one to Bowles:

  "My heart has thanked thee, Bowles! for those soft strains
  Whose sadness soothes me, like the murmuring
  Of wild bees in the sunny showers of spring," etc.

More important to our inquiries than the poetry of Bowles is the occasion
which he gave to the revival, under new conditions, of the Pope
controversy.  For it was over the body of Pope that the quarrel between
classic and romantic was fought out in England, as it was fought out in
France, a few years later, over the question of the dramatic unities and
the mixture of tragedy and comedy in the _drame_.  In 1806, just a half
century after Joseph Warton published the first volume of his "Essay on
Pope," Bowles' edition of the same poet appeared.  In the life of Pope
which was prefixed, the editor made some severe strictures on Pope's
duplicity, jealousy, and other disagreeable traits, though not more
severe than have been made by Pope's latest editor, Mr. Elwin, who has
backed up his charges with an array of evidence fairly overwhelming.  The
edition contained likewise an essay on "The Poetical Character of Pope,"
in which Bowles took substantially the same ground that had been taken by
his master, Joseph Warton, fifty years before.  He asserted in brief
that, as compared with Spenser, Shakspere, and Milton, Pope was a poet of
the second order; that in his descriptions of nature he was inferior to
Thomson and Cowper, and in lyrical poetry to Dryden and Gray; and that,
except in his "Eloisa" and one or two other pieces, he was the poet of
artificial manners and of didactic maxims, rather than of passions.
Bowles' chief addition to Warton's criticism was the following paragraph,
upon which the controversy that ensued chiefly hinged: "All images drawn
from what is beautiful or sublime in the works of nature are more
beautiful and sublime than any images drawn from art, and they are
therefore _per se_ (abstractedly) more poetical.  In like manner those
passions of the human heart, which belong to nature in general, are _per
se_ more adapted to the higher species of poetry than those derived from
incidental and transient manners."

The admirers of Pope were not slow in joining issue with his critic, not
only upon his general estimate of the poet, but upon the principle here
laid down.  Thomas Campbell, in his "Specimens of the British Poets"
(1819), defended Pope both as a man and a poet, and maintained that
"exquisite descriptions of artificial objects are not less characteristic
of genius than the description of simple physical appearances."  He
instanced Milton's description of Satan's spear and shield, and gave an
animated picture of the launching of a ship of the line as an example of
the "sublime objects of artificial life."  Bowles replied in a letter to
Campbell on "The Invariable Principles of Poetry."  He claimed that it
was the appearances of nature, the sea and the sky, that lent sublimity
to the launch of the ship, and asked: "If images derived from art are as
beautiful and sublime as those derived from nature, why was it necessary
to bring your ship off the stocks?"  He appealed to his adversary whether
the description of a game of ombre was as poetical as that of a walk in
the forest, and whether "the sylph of Pope, 'trembling over the fumes of
a chocolate pot,' be an image as poetical as that of delicate and quaint
Ariel, who sings 'Where the bee sucks, there lurk (_sic_) I.'"  Campbell
replied in the _New Monthly Magazine_, of which he was editor, and this
drew out another rejoinder from Bowles.  Meanwhile Byron had also
attacked Bowles in two letters to Murray (1821), to which the
indefatigable pamphleteer made elaborate replies.  The elder Disraeli,
Gifford, Octavius Gilchrist, and one Martin M'Dermot also took a hand in
the fight--all against Bowles--and William Roscoe, the author of the
"Life of Lorenzo de Medici," attacked him in an edition of Pope which he
brought out in 1824.  The rash detractor of the little Twitnam
nightingale soon found himself engaged single-handed against a host; but
he was equal to the occasion, in volubility if not in logic, and poured
out a series of pamphlets, covering in all some thousand pages, and
concluding with "A Final Appeal to the Literary Public" (1825), followed
by "more last words of Baxter," in the shape of "Lessons in Criticism to
William Roscoe" (1825).

The opponents of Bowles maintained, in general, that in poetry the
subject is nothing, but the execution is all; that one class of poetry
has, as such, no superiority over another; and that poets are to be
ranked by their excellence as artists, and not according to some
imaginary scale of dignity in the different orders of poetry, as epic,
didactic, satiric, etc.  "There is, in fact," wrote Roscoe, "no poetry in
any subject except what is called forth by the genius of the poet. . . .
There are no great subjects but such as are made so by the genius of the
artist."  Byron said that to the question "whether 'the description of a
game of cards be as poetical, supposing the execution of the artists
equal, as a description of a walk in a forest,' it may be answered that
the materials are certainly not equal, but that the _artist_ who has
rendered the game of cards poetical is by far the greater of the two.
But all this 'ordering' of poets is purely arbitrary on the part of Mr.
Bowles.  There may or may not be, in fact, different 'orders' of poetry,
but the poet is always ranked according to his execution, and not
according to his branch of the art."  Byron also contended, like
Campbell, that art is just as poetical as nature, and that it was not the
water that gave interest to the ship but the ship to the water.  "What
was it attracted the thousands to the launch?  They might have seen the
poetical 'calm water' at Wapping or in the London lock or in the
Paddington Canal or in a horse-pond or in a slop-basin."  Without natural
accessories--the sun, the sky, the sea, the wind--Bowles had said, the
ship's properties are only blue bunting, coarse canvas, and tall poles.
"So they are," admits Byron, "and porcelain is clay, and man is dust, and
flesh is grass; and yet the two latter at least are the subjects of much
poesy. . . .  Ask the traveller what strikes him as most poetical, the
Parthenon or the rock on which it stands. . . .  Take away Stonehenge
from Salisbury plain and it is nothing more than Hounslow Heath or any
other unenclosed down. . . .  There can be nothing more poetical in its
aspect than the city of Venice; does this depend upon the sea or the
canals? . . .  Is it the Canal Grande or the Rialto which arches it, the
churches which tower over it, the palaces which line and the gondolas
which glide over the waters, that render this city more poetical than
Rome itself? . . .  Without these the water would be nothing but a
clay-coloured ditch. . . .  There would be nothing to make the canal of
Venice more poetical than that of Paddington."

There was something futile about this whole discussion.  It was marked
with that fatally superficial and mechanical character which
distinguished all literary criticism in Europe before the time of Lessing
in Germany, and of Wordsworth and Coleridge in England.  In particular,
the cardinal point on which Pope's rank as a poet was made to turn was
really beside the question.  There is no such essential distinction as
was attempted to be drawn between "natural objects" and "objects of
artificial life," as material for poetry.  In a higher synthesis, man and
all his works are but a part of nature, as Shakspere discerned:

  "Nature is made better by no mean
  But nature makes that mean: so over that art
  Which you say adds to nature, is an art
  That nature made: the art itself is nature."

Shakspere, as well as Pope, dealt with artificial life, _i.e._, with the
life of man in society, but how differently!  The reason why Pope's
poetry fails to satisfy the heart and the imagination resides not in his
subjects--so far Campbell and Byron were right--but in his mood; in his
imperfect sense of beauty and his deficiency in the highest qualities of
the poet's soul.  I may illustrate this by an arrow from Byron's own
quiver.  To prove how much poetry may be associated with "a simple,
household, 'indoor,' artificial, and ordinary image," he cites the famous
stanza in Cowper's poem to Mrs. Unwin:

  "Thy needles, once a shining store,
  For my sake restless heretofore.
  Now rust disused and shine no more,
        My Mary."

Let us contrast with this a characteristic passage from "The Rape of the
Lock," which also contains an artificial image:

  "On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore
  Which Jews might kiss and infidels adore."

What is the difference?  It is in the feeling of the poet Pope's couplet
is very charming, but it is merely gallantry, a neatly turned compliment,
playful, only half sincere, a spice of mockery lurking under the sugared
words; while in Cowper's lines the humble domestic implement is made
sacred by the emotions of pity, sorrow, gratitude, and affection with
which it is associated.  The reason why Pope is not a high poet--or
perhaps a poet at all in the best sense of the word--is indicated by
Coleridge with his usual acuteness and profundity in a sentence already
quoted; that Pope's poetry both in matter and diction was "characterised
not so much by poetic thoughts, as by thoughts _translated_ into the
language of poetry."

Bowles, on the whole, had hold of the right end of the controversy; his
instinct was correct, but he was a wretched controversialist.  As a poet
in the minor key, he was tolerable, but as a prose writer, he was a very
dull person and a bore.  He was rude and clumsy; he tried to be sarcastic
and couldn't, he had damnable iteration.  Lowell speaks of his
"peculiarly helpless way," and says: "Bowles, in losing his temper, lost
also what little logic he had, and though, in a vague way, aesthetically
right, contrived always to be argumentatively wrong.  Anger made worse
confusion in a brain never very clear, and he had neither the scholarship
nor the critical faculty for a vigorous exposition of his own thesis.
Never was wilder hitting than his, and he laid himself open to dreadful
punishment, especially from Byron, whose two letters are masterpieces of
polemic prose."  Indeed, the most interesting feature of the Pope
controversy is Byron's part in it and the light which it sheds on his
position in relation to the classic and romantic schools.  Before the
definite outbreak of the controversy, Byron had attacked Bowles for his
depreciation of Pope, in "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" (1809), in
a passage in which he wished that Bowles had lived in Pope's time, so
that Pope might have put him into the "Dunciad."

It seems at first sight hard to reconcile Byron's evidently sincere
admiration for Pope with the ultra-romantic cast of his own
poetry--romantic, as Pater says, in mood if not in subject.  In his early
fondness for Ossian, his intense passion, his morbid gloom, his
exaltation in wild and solitary places, his love of night and storm, of
the desert and the ocean, in the careless and irregular outpour of his
verse, in his subjectivity, the continual presence of the man in the
work--in all these particulars Byron was romantic and would seem to have
had little in common with Pope.  But there was another side to Byron--and
William Rossetti thinks his most characteristic side--viz., his wit and
understanding; and this side sympathised heartily with Pope.  It is well
known that when Byron came back from the East he had in his trunk besides
the manuscript of "Childe Harold," which he thought little of, certain
"Hints from Horace" which the world thinks less of, but which he was
eager to have published, while Dallas was urging him to print "Childe
Harold."  "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" is a thoroughly Popeian
satire, and "The Vision of Judgment," though not in couplets but in
_ottava rima_, is one of the best personal satires in English.  It has
all of Pope's malicious wit, with a sweep and glow, which belonged to
Byron as a poet rather than as a satirist, and which Pope never had.
Lowell thinks, too, that what Byron admired in Pope was "that patience in
careful finish which he felt to be wanting in himself and in most of his

With all this there probably mingled something of perversity and
exaggeration in Byron's praises of Pope.  He hated the Lakers, and he
delighted to use Pope against them as a foil and a rod.  He at least was
everything that they were not.  Doubtless in the Pope controversy, his
"object was mainly mischief," as Lowell says.  Byron loved a fight; he
thought the Rev. W. L. Bowles an ass, and he determined to have some fun
with him.  Besides the two letters to Murray in 1821, an open letter of
Byron's to Isaac Disraeli, dated March 15, 1820, and entitled "Some
Observations upon an article in _Blackwood's Magazine_," [15] contains a
long passage in vindication of Pope and in denunciation of contemporary
poetry--a passage which is important not only as showing Byron's
opinions, but as testifying to the very general change in taste which had
taken place since 1756, when Joseph Warton was so discouraged by the
public hostility to his "Essay on Pope" that he withheld the second
volume for twenty-six years.  "The great cause of the present deplorable
state of English poetry," writes Byron, "is to be attributed to that
absurd and systematic depreciation of Pope in which, for the last few
years, there has been a kind of epidemical concurrence.  Men of the most
opposite opinions have united upon this topic."  He then goes on to
praise Pope and abuse his own contemporaries, especially the Lake poets,
both in the most extravagant terms.  Pope he pronounces the most perfect
and harmonious of poets.  "Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge," he says,
"had all of them a very natural antipathy to Pope . . . but they have
been joined in it by . . . the whole heterogeneous mass of living English
poets excepting Crabbe, Rogers, Gifford, and Campbell, who, both by
precept and practice, have proved their adherence; and by me, who have
shamefully deviated in practice, but have ever loved and honoured Pope's
poetry with my whole soul."  There is ten times more poetry, he thinks,
in the "Essay on Man" than in the "Excursion"; and if you want passion,
where is to be found stronger than in the "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard"?
To the sneer that Pope is only the "poet of reason" Byron replies that he
will undertake to find more lines teeming with _imagination_ in Pope than
in any two living poets.  "In the mean time," he asks, "what have we got
instead? . . .  The Lake school," and "a deluge of flimsy and
unintelligible romances imitated from Scott and myself."  He prophesies
that all except the classical poets, Crabbe, Rogers, and Campbell, will
survive their reputation, acknowledges that his own practice as a poet is
not in harmony with his principles, and says; "I told Moore not very long
ago, 'We are all wrong except Rogers, Crabbe, and Campbell.'"  In the
first of his two letters to Murray, Byron had taken himself to task in
much the same way.  He compared the romanticists to barbarians who had
"raised a mosque by the side of a Grecian temple of the purest
architecture"; and who were "not contented with their own grotesque
edifice unless they destroy the prior and purely beautiful fabric which
preceded, and which shames them and theirs for ever and ever.  I shall be
told that amongst those I _have_ been (or it may be still _am_)
conspicuous--true, and I am ashamed of it.  I _have_ been amongst the
builders of this Babel . . . but never among the envious destroyers of
the classic temple of our predecessor."  "Neither time nor distance nor
grief nor age can ever diminish my veneration for him who is the great
moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all
stages of existence.  The delight of my boyhood, the study of my manhood,
perhaps he may be the consolation of my age.  His poetry is the Book of
Life." [16]

Strange language this from the author of "Childe Harold" and "The
Corsair"!  But the very extravagance of Byron's claims for Pope makes it
plain that he was pleading a lost cause.  When Warton issued the first
volume of his "Essay on Pope," it was easy for leaders of literary
opinion, like Johnson and Goldsmith, to pooh-pooh the critical canons of
the new school.  But when Byron wrote, the aesthetic revolution was
already accomplished.  The future belonged not to Campbell and Gifford
and Rogers and Crabbe, but to Wordsworth and Scott and Coleridge and
Shelley and Keats; to Byron himself, the romantic poet, but not to Byron
the _laudator temporis acti_.  The victory remained with Bowles, not
because he had won it by argument, but because opinion had changed, and
changed probably once and for all.[17]

Coleridge's four contributions to the "Lyrical Ballads" included his
masterpiece, "The Ancient Mariner."  This is the high-water mark of
romantic poetry; and, familiar as it is, cannot be dismissed here without
full examination.  As to form, it is a long narrative ballad in seven
"fyts" or parts, and descends from that "Bible of the romantic
reformation," Bishop Percy's "Reliques."  The verse is the common ballad
stanza--eights and sixes--enriched by a generous use of medial rhyme and

  "The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
    The furrow followed free:
  We were the first that ever burst
    Into that silent sea";

varied and prolonged, moreover, by the introduction of additional lines
with alternate riming, with couplets and sometimes with triplets.  There
are many five-lined and six-lined stanzas, and one--the longest in the
poem--of nine lines.  But these metric variations are used with
temperance.  The stanza form is never complex; it is built up naturally
from the ballad stanza upon which it rests and to which it constantly
returns as its norm and type.  Of the one hundred and forty-two stanzas
in the poem, one hundred and six are the ordinary four-lined stanzas of
popular poetry.  The language, too, is not obtrusively archaic as it is
in Chatterton and some of the Spenserians; at most an occasional "wist"
or "eftsoons"; now and then a light accent, in ballad fashion, on the
final syllable of a rime-word like mariner or countrie.  There is no
definite burden, which would have been out of place in a poem that is
narrative and not lyrical; but the ballad habits of phrase repetition and
question and answer are sparingly employed.[18]  In reproducing the
homely diction of old popular minstrelsy, Coleridge's art was nicer than
Scott's and more perfect at every point.  How skilfully studied, _e.g._
is the simplicity of the following:

  "The moving moon went up the sky
  And nowhere did abide:
  _Softly she was going up_."

    "Day after day, day after day
    _We stuck_."

"The naive artlessness of the Middle Ages," says Brandl, "became in
the hands of the Romantic school, an intentional form of art."  The
impression of antiquity is heightened by the marginal gloss which
the poet added in later editions, composed in a prose that has a
quaint beauty of its own, in its mention of "the creatures of the
calm"; its citation of "the learned Jew Josephus and the Platonic
Constantinopilitan, Michael Psellus," as authorities on invisible
spirits; and in passages like that Dantesque one which tells how the
mariner "in his loneliness and fixedness yearneth towards the journeying
moon, and the stars that still sojourn, yet still move onwards; and
everywhere the blue sky belongs to them, and is their appointed rest, and
their native country, and their own natural homes, which they enter
unannounced, as lords that are certainly expected, and yet there is a
silent joy at their arrival."

In "The Ancient Mariner" there are present in the highest degree the
mystery, indefiniteness, and strangeness which are the marks of romantic
art.  The period is not strictly mediaeval, for mariners in the Middle
Ages did not sail to the south polar regions or lie becalmed in the
equatorial seas.  But the whole atmosphere of the poem is mediaeval.  The
Catholic idea of penance or expiation is the moral theme enwrought with
the story.  The hermit who shrives the mariner, and the little vesper
bell which biddeth him to prayer are Catholic touches, and so are the
numerous pious oaths and ejaculations;

  "By him who died on cross":

  "Heaven's mother send us grace":

  "The very deep did rot.  O Christ
    That ever this should be!"

The albatross is hung about the mariner's neck instead of the crucifix,
and drops off only when he blesses the creatures of the calm and is able
to pray.  The sleep which refreshes him is sent by "Mary Queen" from
heaven.  The cross-bow with which he shoots the bird is a mediaeval
property.  The loud bassoon and the bride's garden bower and the
procession of merry minstrels who go nodding their heads before her are
straight out of the old land of balladry.  One cannot fancy the wedding
guest dressed otherwise than in doublet and hose, and perhaps wearing
those marvellous pointed shoes and hanging sleeves which are shown in
miniature paintings of the fifteenth century.  And it is thus that
illustrators of the poem have depicted him.  Place is equally indefinite
with time.  What port the ill-fated ship cleared from we do not know or
seek to know; only the use of the word _kirk_ implies that it was
somewhere in "the north countree"--the proper home of ballad poetry.

Coleridge's romances were very differently conceived from Scott's.  He
wove them out of "such stuff as dreams are made on."  Industrious
commentators have indeed traced features of "The Ancient Mariner" to
various sources.  Coleridge's friend, Mr. Cruikshank.  had a dream of a
skeleton ship.  Wordsworth told him the incident, which he read in
Shelvocke's voyages, of a certain Captain Simon Hatley who shot a black
albatross south of Terra del Fuego, in hopes that its death might bring
fair weather.  Brandl thinks that the wedding banquet in Monk Lewis'
"Alonzo the Brave and the Fair Imogene," furnished a hint; and
surmises--what seems unlikely--that Coleridge had read a certain epistle
by Paulinus, a bishop of the fourth century, describing a vessel which
came ashore on the coast of Lucania with only one sailor on board, who
reported that the ship had been deserted, as a wreck, by the rest of the
crew, and had since been navigated by spirits.

But all this is nothing and less than nothing.  "The Ancient Mariner" is
the baseless fabric of a vision.  We are put under a spell, like the
wedding guest, and carried off to the isolation and remoteness of
mid-ocean.  Through the chinks of the narrative, the wedding music sounds
unreal and far on.  What may not happen to a man alone on a wide, wide
sea?  The line between earthly and unearthly vanishes.  Did the mariner
really see the spectral bark and hear spirits talking, or was it all but
the phantasmagoria of the calenture, the fever which attacks the sailor
on the tropic main, so that he seems to see green meadows and water
brooks on the level brine?  No one can tell; for he is himself the only
witness, and the ship is sunk at the harbour mouth.  One conjectures that
no wreckers or divers will ever bring it to the top again.  Nay, was not
the mariner, too, a spectre?  Now he is gone, and what was all this that
he told me, thinks the wedding guest, as he rises on the morrow morn.  Or
did he tell me, or did I only dream it?  A light shadow cast by some
invisible thing swiftly traverses the sunny face of nature and is gone.
Did we see it, or imagine it?  Even so elusive, so uncertain, so shadowy
and phantom-like is the spiriting of this wonderful poem.  "Poetry," says
Coleridge, "gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly
understood.  It was so by me with Gray's 'Bard' and Collins' odes.  'The
Bard' once intoxicated me, and now I read it without pleasure." [19]
There is no danger that his own poem will ever lose its attractiveness in
this way.  Something inexplicable will remain to tease us, like the white
Pater Noster and St. Peter's sister in Chaucer's night-spell.[20]

Pater subtly connects Coleridge's poetic method with his philosophical
idealism.  "The too palpable intruders from a spiritual world, in almost
all ghost literature, in Scott and Shakespeare even, have a kind of
coarseness or crudeness, . . .  'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' has the
plausibility, the perfect adaptation to reason and life, which belongs to
the marvellous, when actually presented as part of a credible experience
in our dreams. . . .  The spectral object, so crude, so impossible, has
become plausible, as 'the spot upon the brain that will show itself
without,' and is understood to be but a condition of one's own mind, for
which--according to the scepticism latent at least in so much of our
modern philosophy--the so-called real things themselves are but _spectra_
after all.  It is this finer, more delicately marvellous supernaturalism,
the fruit of his more delicate psychology, which Coleridge infuses into
romantic narrative, itself also then a new or revived thing in English
literature; and with a fineness of weird effect in 'The Ancient Mariner'
unknown in those old, more simple, romantic legends and ballads.  It is a
flower of mediaeval, or later German romance, growing up in the
peculiarly compounded atmosphere of modern psychological speculation, and
putting forth in it wholly new qualities."

In "The Ancient Mariner," as in most purely romantic poetry, the appeal
is more to the imagination than to the heart or the conscience.  Mrs.
Barbauld complained that it was improbable and had no moral.  Coleridge
admitted its improbability, but said that it had too much moral; that,
artistically speaking, it should have had no more moral than a fairy
tale.  The lesson of course is that of kindness to animals--"He prayeth
well who loveth well," etc.  But the punishment of the mariner, and still
more of the mariner's messmates, is so out of proportion to the gravity
of the offence as to be slightly ludicrous when stated by Leslie Stephen
thus: "People who approve of the unnecessary killing of an albatross will
die a lingering death by starvation."  The moral, as might be guessed,
was foisted upon the poem by Wordsworth, and is identical with that of
"Hart-Leap Well."  Wordsworth and Coleridge started to write "The Ancient
Mariner" jointly; and two or three lines in the poem, as it stands, were
contributed by Wordsworth.  But he wanted to give the mariner himself
"character and profession"; and to have the dead seamen come to life and
sail the ship into port; and in other ways laid so heavy a hand upon
Coleridge's airy creation that it became plain that a partnership on
these terms was out of the question, and Wordsworth withdrew altogether.
If we must look for spiritual sustenence in the poem, we shall find it
perhaps not so much in any definite warning against cruelty to creatures,
as in the sentiment of the blessedness of human companionship and the
omnipresence of God's mercy; in the passage, _e.g._,

  "O wedding guest! this soul hath been
  Alone on a wide, wide sea," etc.--

where the thought is the same as in Cowper's "Soliloquy of Alexander
Selkirk," even to the detail of the "church-going bell."

The first part of "Christabel" was written in 1797; the second in 1800;
and the poem, in its unfinished state, was given to the press in 1816.
Meanwhile it had become widely known in manuscript.  Coleridge used to
read it to literary circles, and copies of it had got about.  We have
seen its influence upon Scott.  Byron too admired it greatly, and it was
by his persuasion that Coleridge finally published it as a fragment,
finding himself unable to complete it, and feeling doubtless that the
public regarded him much as the urchins in Keats' poem regarded the crone

  "Who keepeth close a wondrous riddle book,
  As spectacled she sits in chimney nook."

"Christabel" is more distinctly mediaeval than "The Ancient Mariner," and
is full of Gothic elements: a moated castle, with its tourney court and
its great gate

          . . . "ironed within and without,
  Where an army in battle array had marched out":

a feudal baron with a retinue of harpers, heralds, and pages; a lady who
steals out at midnight into the moon-lit oak wood, to pray for her
betrothed knight; a sorceress who pretends to have been carried off on a
white palfrey by five armed men, and who puts a spelt upon the maiden.

If "The Ancient Mariner" is a ballad, "Christabel" is, in form, a _roman
d'aventures_, or metrical chivalry tale, written in variations of the
octosyllabic couplet.  These variations, Coleridge said, were not
introduced wantonly but "in correspondence with some transition, in the
nature of the imagery or passion."  A single passage will illustrate this:

  "They passed the hall that echoes still,
  Pass as lightly as you will.
  The brands were flat, the brands were dying
  Amid their own white ashes lying;
  But when the lady passed, there came
  A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
  And Christabel saw the lady's eye,
  And nothing else saw she thereby,
  Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
  Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall.
  O softly tread, said Christabel,
  My father seldom sleepeth well."

When, after the hurrying anapaests, the verse returns to the strict
iambic measure in the last couplet, the effect is a hush, in harmony with
the meaning of the words.[21]

"Christabel" is not so unique and perfect a thing as "The Ancient
Mariner," but it has the same haunting charm, and displays the same
subtle art in the use of the supernatural.  Coleridge protested that it
"pretended to be nothing more than a common fairy tale." [22]  But Lowell
asserts that it is "tantalising in the suggestion of deeper meanings than
were ever there."  There is, in truth, a hint of allegory, like that
which baffles and fascinates in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market"; a
hint so elusive that the comparison often made between Geraldine and
Spenser's Duessa, is distressing to a reader of sensitive nerves.  That
mystery which is a favourite weapon in the romanticist armoury is used
again here with consummate skill.  What was it that Christabel saw on the
lady's bosom?  We are left to conjecture.  It was "a sight to dream of,
not to tell," [23] and the poet keeps his secret.  Lamb, whose taste was
very fine in these matters, advised Coleridge never to finish the poem.
Brandl thinks that the idea was taken from the curtained picture in the
"Mysteries of Udolpho"; and he also considers that the general
situation--the castle, the forest, the old father and his young daughter,
and the strange lady--are borrowed from Mrs. Radcliffe's "Romance of the
Forest"; and that Bürger's "Lenore," Lewis' "Alonzo," and some of the
Percy ballads contributed a detail here and there.  But
_Quellenforschungen_ of this kind are very unimportant.  It is more
important to note the superior art with which the poet excites curiosity
and suspends--not simply, like Mrs. Radcliffe, postpones--the
gratification of it to the end, and beyond the end, of the poem.  Was
Geraldine really a witch, or did she only seem so to Christabel?  The
angry moan of the mastiff bitch and the tongue of flame that shot up as
the lady passed--were they omens, or accidents which popular superstition
interprets into omens?  Was the malignant influence which Geraldine
exerted over the maiden supernatural possession, or the fascination of
terror and repugnance?  Did she really utter the words of a charm, or did
her sweet bedfellow dream them?  And once more, what was that upon her
breast--"that bosom old--that bosom cold"?  Was it a wound, or the mark
of a serpent, or some foul and hideous disfigurement--or was it only the
shadows cast by the swinging lamp?

That isolation and remoteness, that preparation of the reader's mind for
the reception of incredible things, which Coleridge secured in "The
Ancient Mariner" by cutting off his hero from all human life amid the
solitude of the tropic sea, he here secured--in a less degree, to be
sure--by the lonely midnight in Sir Leoline's castle.  Geraldine and her
victim are the only beings awake except the hooting owls.  There is dim
moonlight in the wood, dim firelight in the hall, and in Christabel's
chamber "the silver lamp burns dead and dim."

The second part of the poem was less successful, partly for the reason,
as the reviewers pointed out, that it undertakes the hardest of tasks,
"witchery by daylight."  But there were other reasons.  Three years had
passed since the poem was begun.  Coleridge had been to Germany and had
settled at Keswick.  The poet had been lost in the metaphysician, and he
took up his interrupted task without inspiration, putting force upon
himself.  The signs of effort are everywhere visible, and it is painfully
manifest that the poet cannot recover the genial, creative mood in which
he had set out.  In particular it is observable that, while there is no
mention of place in the first part, now we have frequent references to
Windermere, Borrowdale, Dungeon Ghyll, and other Lake Country localities
familiar enough in Wordsworth's poetry, but strangely out of place in
"Christabel."  It was certainly an artistic mistake to transfer Sir
Leoline's castle from fairyland to Cumberland.[24]  There is one noble
passage in the second part, the one which Byron prefixed to his
"Farewell" to Lady Byron:

  "Alas! they had been friends in youth," etc.

But the stress of personal emotion in these lines is not in harmony with
the romantic context.  They are like a patch of cloth of gold let into a
lace garment and straining the delicate tissue till it tears.

The example of "The Ancient Mariner," and in a still greater degree of
"Christabel," was potent upon all subsequent romantic poetry.  It is seen
in Scott, in Byron, and in Keats, not only in the modelling of their
tales, but in single lines and images.  In the first stanza of the "Lay"
Scott repeats the line which occurs so often in "Christabel"--"Jesu Maria
shield her well!"  In the same poem, the passage where the Lady Margaret
steals out of Branksome Tower at dawn to meet her lover in the wood,
gliding down the secret stair and passing the bloodhound at the portal,
will remind all readers of "Christabel."  The dialogue between the river
and mountain spirits will perhaps remind them of the ghostly antiphonies
which the "Mariner" hears in his trance.  The couplet

  "The seething pitch and molten lead
  Reeked like a witch's caldron red."

is, of course, from Coleridge's

  "The water, like a witch's oils,
  Burned green and blue and white."

In "The Lord of the Isles" Scott describes the "elvish lustre" and "livid
flakes" of the phosphorescence of the sea, and cites, in a note, the
description, in "The Ancient Mariner," of the sea snakes from which

  "The elvish light
  Fell off in hoary flakes."

The most direct descendant of "Christabel" was "The Eve of St. Agnes."
Madeline's chamber, "hushed, silken, chaste," recalls inevitably the
passage in the older poem:

  "The moon shines dim in the open air,
  And not a moonbeam enters here.
  But they without its light can see
  The chamber carved so curiously,
  Carved with figures strange and sweet,
  All made out of the carver's brain,
  For a lady's chamber meet:
  The lamp with twofold silver chain
  Is fastened to an angel's feet."

The rest of Coleridge's ballad work is small in quantity and may be
dismissed briefly.  "Alice du Clos" has good lines, but is unimportant as
a whole.  The very favourite poem "Love" is a modern story enclosing a
mediaeval one.  In the moonshine by the ruined tower the guileless
Genevieve leans against the statue of an armed man, while her lover sings
her a tale of a wandering knight who bore a burning brand upon his shield
and went mad for the love of "The Lady of the Land." [25]

The fragment entitled "The Dark Ladie" was begun as a "sister tale" to
"Love."  The hero is a "knight that wears the griffin for his crest."
There are only fifteen stanzas of it, and it breaks off with a picture of
an imaginary bridal procession, whose "nodding minstrels" recall "The
Ancient Mariner," and incidentally some things of Chatterton's.  Lines of
a specifically romantic colouring are of course to be found scattered
about nearly everywhere in Coleridge; like the musical little song that
follows the invocation to the soul of Alvar in "Remorse":

  "And at evening evermore,
  In a chapel on the shore,
  Shall the chanters sad and saintly--
  Yellow tapers burning faintly--
  Doleful masses chant for thee,
  _Miserere Domine_!"

or the wild touch of folk poesy in that marvellous opium dream, "Kubla
Khan"--the "deep romantic chasm":

  "A savage place, as holy and enchanted
  As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
  By woman wailing for her demon lover."

Or the well-known ending of "The Knight's Grave":

  "The knight's bones are dust,
  And his good sword rust;
  His soul is with the saints, I trust."

In taking account of Coleridge's services to the cause of romanticism,
his critical writings should not be overlooked.  Matthew Arnold declared
that there was something premature about the burst of creative activity
in English literature at the opening of the nineteenth century, and
regretted that the way had not been prepared, as in Germany, by a
critical movement.  It is true that the English romantics put forth no
body of doctrine, no authoritative statement of a theory of literary art.
Scott did not pose as the leader of a school, or compose prefaces and
lectures like Hugo and Schlegel.[26]  As a contributor to the reviews on
his favourite topics, he was no despicable critic; shrewd, good-natured,
full of special knowledge, anecdote, and illustration.  But his criticism
was never polemic, and he had no quarrel with the classics.  He cherished
an unfeigned admiration for Dryden, whose life he wrote and whose works
he edited.  Doubtless he would cheerfully have admitted the inferiority
of his own poetry to Dryden's and Pope's.  He had no programme to
announce, but just went ahead writing romances; in practice an innovator,
but in theory a literary conservative.

Coleridge, however, was fully aware of the scope of the new movement.  He
represented, theoretically as well as practically, the reaction against
eighteenth-century academicism, the Popean tradition[27] in poetry, and
the maxims of pseudo-classical criticism.  In his analysis and
vindication of the principles of romantic art, he brought to bear a
philosophic depth and subtlety such as had never before been applied in
England to a merely belletristic subject.  He revolutionised, for one
thing, the critical view of Shakspere, devoting several lecture courses
to the exposition of the thesis that "Shakspere's judgment was
commensurate with his genius."  These lectures borrowed a number of
passages from A. W. von Schlegel's "Vorlesungen über Dramatische Kunst
und Litteratur," delivered at Vienna in 1808, but engrafted with original
matter of the highest value.  Compared with these Shakspere notes, with
the chapters on Wordsworth in the "Biographia Literaria," and with the
_obiter dicta_, sown through Coleridge's prose, all previous English
criticism appears crude and superficial, and the contemporary squabble
over Pope like a scolding match in the nursery.

Coleridge's acute and sympathetic insight into the principles of
Shaksperian drama did not save him from producing his abortive "Zapolya"
in avowed imitation of the "Winter's Tale."  What curse is on the English
stage that men who have done work of the highest grade in other
departments, as soon as they essay playwriting, become capable of
failures like "The Borderers" and "John Woodville" and "Manfred" and
"Zapolya"?  As for "Remorse," with its Moorish sea-coasts, wild
mountains, chapel interiors with painted windows, torchlight and
moonlight, dripping caverns, dungeons, daggers and poisoned goblets, the
best that can be said of it is that it is less bad than "Zapolya."  And
of both it may be said that they are romantic not after the fashion of
Shakspere, but of those very German melodramas which Coleridge ridiculed
in his "Critique on Bertram." [28]

[1] For Coleridge's relations with German romance, see vol. i., pp.
419-21.  For his early interest in Percy, Ossian, and Chatterton, ibid.,
pp. 299, 328, 368-70.

[2] "There is as much difference between Coleridge's brief poem
'Christabel' and all the narrative poems of Walter Scott . . . as between
a precious essence and a coarse imitation of it got up for sale."  (Leigh
Hunt's "Autobiography," p. 197).

[3] "Samuel Taylor Coleridge und die Englische Romantik," Alois Brandl,
Berlin, 1886.

[4] It is in view of his critical attitude, not of his poetry, that
Saintsbury applies this title to Coleridge.  "The attitude was that of a
mediaevalism inspired by much later learning, but still more by that
intermediate or decadent Greek philosophy which had so much influence on
the Middle Ages themselves.  This is, in other words, the Romantic
attitude, and Coleridge was the high priest of Romanticism, which,
through Scott and Byron, he taught to Europe, repreaching it even to
Germany, from which it had partly come."  ("A Short History of English
Literature," by George Saintsbury, London, 1898, p. 656).

[5] "Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the English Romantic School," by Alois
Brandl.  Lady Eastlake's translation, London, 1887, pp. 219-23.

[6] See vol. i., pp. 160-61.

[7] "Fourteen Sonnets, written chiefly on Picturesque Spots."  Bath, 1789.

[8] "Samuel Taylor Coleridge," p. 37.  _Cf._ Wordsworth's Sonnets "Upon
Westminster Bridge" (1802) and "Scorn Not the Sonnet."

[9] _Cf._ vol. i., p. 182.

[10] See Sonnet xvii., "On Revisiting Oxford."

See also Sonnet xi., "At Ostend:"

  "The mournful magic of their mingled chimes
  First waked my wondrous childhood into tears."

And _Cf._ Francis Mahony's "The Bells of Shandon"--

  "Whose sounds so wild would, in the days of childhood,
  Fling round my cradle their magic spells."

And Moore's "Those Evening Bells."  The twang of the wind-harp also
resounds through Bowles' Sonnets.  See for the Aeolus' harp, vol. i., p.
165. and _Cf._ Coleridge's poem, "The Eolian Harp."

[11] "Dejection: An Ode" (1802).


    _November, 1792_.

    "There is strange music in the stirring wind
      When lowers the autumnal eve, and all alone
      To the dark wood's cold covert thou art gone
    Whose ancient trees, on the rough slope reclined,
    Rock, and at times scatter their tresses sear.
      If in such shades, beneath their murmuring,
      Thou late hast passed the happier hours of spring,
    With sadness thou wilt mark the fading year;
      Chiefly if one with whom such sweets at morn
        Or eve thou'st shared, to distant scenes shall stray.
        O Spring, return! return, auspicious May!
      But sad will be thy coming, and forlorn,
        If she return not with thy cheering ray,
        Who from these shades is gone, gone far away."

[13] _Cf._ Scott's "Harp of the North, that mouldering long hast hung,"
etc.  "Lady of the Lake," Canto I.

[14] "Shall gentle Coleridge pass unnoticed here,
     To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear?"
             --"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers."

[15] No. xxix., August, 1819, "Remarks on Don Juan."

[16] "Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days
    Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise.
    When sense and wit with poesy allied,
    No fabled graces, nourished side by side. . . .
    Then, in this happy isle, a Pope's pure strain
    Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain;
    A polished nation's praise aspired to claim,
    And raised the people's, as the poet's fame. . . .
    [But] Milton, Dryden, Pope, alike forgot,
    Resign their hallowed bays to Walter Scott."
          --"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers."

[17] For the benefit of any reader who may wish to follow up the steps of
the Pope controversy, I give the titles of Bowles' successive pamphlets.
"The Invariable Principles of Poetry: A Letter to Thomas Campbell, Esq.,"
1819.  "A Reply to an 'Unsentimental Sort of Critic,'" Bath, 1820.  [This
was in answer to a review of "Spence's Anecdotes" in the _Quarterly_ in
October, 1820.]  "A Vindication of the Late Editor of Pope's Works,"
London, 1821, second edition.  [This was also a reply to the _Quarterly_
reviewer and to Gilchrist's letters in the _London Magazine_, and was
first printed in vol. xvii., Nos. 33, 34, and 35 of the _Pamphleteer_.]
"An Answer to Some Observations of Thomas Campbell, Esq., in his
Specimens of British Poets" (1822).  "An Address to Thomas Campbell,
Esq., Editor of the _New Monthly Magazine_, in Consequence of an Article
in that Publication" (1822).  "Letters to Lord Byron on a Question of
Poetical Criticism," London, 1822.  "A Final Appeal to the Literary
Public Relative to Pope, in Reply to Certain Observations of Mr. Roscoe,"
London, 1823.  "Lessons in Criticism to William Roscoe, Esq., with
Further Lessons in Criticism to a Quarterly Reviewer," London, 1826.
Gilchrist's three letters to Bowles were published in 1820-21.
M'Dermot's "Letter to the Rev. W. L. Bowles in Reply to His Letter to
Thomas Campbell, Esq., and to His Two Letters to Lord Byron," was printed
at London, in 1822.

[18] "With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
     We could not laugh nor wail," etc.

     "With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
     Agape they heard me call," etc.

     "Are those her sails that glance in the sun
       Like restless gossamers?
     Are those her ribs," etc.

_Cf._ "Christabel":

        "Is the night chilly and dark?
        The night is chilly, but not dark."

And see vol. i., p. 271.

[19] "Anima Poetae," 1895, p. 5.  This recent collection of marginalia
has an equal interest with Coleridge's well-known "Table Talk."  It is
the English equivalent of Hawthorne's "American Note Books," full of
analogies, images, and reflections--topics and suggestions for possible
development in future romances and poems.  In particular it shows an
abiding prepossession with the psychology of dreams, apparitions, and
mental illusions of all sorts.

[20] "Jesu Crist and Seint Benedight
    Blisse this hous from every wicked wight,
    Fro the nightes mare, the white Pater Noster;
    Where wonest thou, Seint Peter's suster."
            --"The Miller's Tale."

[21] _Vide supra_, p. 27.

[22] "Biographia Literaria," chap. xxiv.

[23] Keats quotes this line in a letter about Edmund Kean.  Forman's ed.,
vol. iii., p. 4.

[24] _Vide supra_, p. 14.

[25] Brandl thinks that this furnished Keats with a hint or two for his
"Belle Dame sans Merci."  Coleridge's "Dejection: An Ode" is headed with
a stanza from "the grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence."

[26] "The English Romantic critics did not form a school.  Like
everything else in the English Romantic movement, its criticism was
individual, isolated, sporadic, unsystematised.  It had no official
mouthpiece, like Sainte-Beuve and the _Globe_; its members formed no
compact phalanx like that which, towards the close of our period, threw
itself upon the 'classiques' of Paris.  Nor did they, with the one
exception of Coleridge, approach the Romantic critics of Germany in range
of ideas, in grasp of the larger significance of their own movement.  It
was only in Germany that the ideas implicit in the great poetic revival
were explicitly thought out in all their many-sided bearing upon society,
history, philosophy, religion; and that the problem of criticism, in
particular, was presented in its full depth and richness of
meaning. . . .  As English Romanticism achieved greater things on its
creative than on its critical side, so its criticism was more remarkable
on that side which is akin to creation--in the subtle appreciation of
literary quality--than in the analysis of the principles on which its
appreciation was founded."  (C. H. Herford: "The Age of Wordsworth," p.

[27] See "Biographia Literaria." chap. i.  "From the common opinion that
the English style attained its greatest perfection in and about Queen
Anne's reign, I altogether dissent."  (Lecture "On Style," March 13,

[28] See vol. i., p. 421 ff.


Keats, Leigh Hunt, and the Dante Revival.

In the interchange of literary wares between England and Germany during
the last years of the eighteenth century, it is observable that the
English romantics went no further back than to their own contemporaries
for their knowledge of the _Deutsche Vergangenheit_.  They translated or
imitated robber tragedies, chivalry tales, and ghost ballads from the
modern restorers of the Teutonic _Mittelalter_; but they made no draughts
upon the original storehouse of German mediaeval poetry.  There was no
such reciprocity as yet between England and the Latin countries.  French
romanticism dates, at the earliest, from Chateaubriand's "Genie du
Christianisme" (1802), and hardly made itself felt as a definite force,
even in France, before Victor Hugo's "Cromwell" (1828).  But in the first
quarter of the nineteenth century, Italy, Spain, and France began to
contribute material to the English movement in the shape of translations
like Cary's "Divine Comedy" (1814), Lockhart's "Spanish Ballads" (1824);
Southey's "Amadis of Gaul" (1803), "Palmerin of England" (1807), and "The
Chronicle of the Cid" (1808); and Rose's[1] "Partenopex of Blois" (1807).
By far the most influential of these was Cary's "Dante."

Hitherto the Italian Middle Age had impressed itself upon the English
imagination not directly but through the richly composite art of the
Renaissance schools of painting and poetry; through Raphael and his
followers; through the romances of Ariosto and Tasso and their English
scholar, Spenser.  Elizabethan England had been supplied with versions of
the "Orlando Furioso" [2] and the "Gierusalemme Liberata," by Harrington
and Fairfax--the latter still a standard translation and a very
accomplished piece of versification.  Warton and Hurd and other
romanticising critics of the eighteenth century were perpetually
upholding Ariosto and Tasso against French detraction:

  "In face of all his foes, the Cruscan quire,
  And Boileau, whose rash envy could allow
  No strain which shamed his country's creaking lyre,
  That whetstone of the teeth--monotony in wire!" [3]

Scott's eager championship of Ariosto has already been mentioned.[4]  But
the stuff of the old Charlemagne epos is sophisticated in the brilliant
pages of Ariosto, who follows Pulci and Boiardo, if not in burlesquing
chivalry outright, yet in treating it with a half irony.  Tasso is
serious, but submits his romantic matter--Godfrey of Boulogne and the
First Crusade--to the classical epic mould.  It was pollen from Italy,
but not Italy of the Middle Ages, that fructified English poetry in the
sixteenth century.  Two indeed of _gli antichi_, "the all Etruscan
three," communicated an impulse both earlier and later.  Love
sonneteering, in emulation of Petrarca, began at Henry VIII.'s court.
Chaucer took the substance of "Troilus and Creseyde" and "The Knightes
Tale" from Boccaccio's "Filostrato" and "Teseide"; and Dryden, who never
mentions Dante, versified three stories from the "Decameron."  But
Petrarch and Boccaccio were not mediaeval minds.  They represent the
earlier stages of humanism and the new learning.  Dante was the genuine
_homme du moyen âge_, and Dante was the latest of the great revivals.
"Dante," says Carlyle, "was the spokesman of the Middle Ages; the thought
they lived by stands here in everlasting music."

The difficulty, not to say obscurity, of the "Divine Comedy"; its
allusive, elliptical style; its scholasticism and allegorical method; its
multitudinous references to local politics and the history of
thirteenth-century Italy, defied approach.  Above all, its profound,
austere, mystical spirituality was abhorrent to the clear, shallow
rationalism of the eighteenth century, as well as to the religious
liberalism of the seventeenth and the joyous sensuality of the sixteenth.
Goethe the pagan disliked Dante, no less than Scott the Protestant.[5]
In particular, deistic France, _arbiter elegantiarum_, felt with a shiver
of repulsion,

  "How grim the master was of Tuscan song."

"I estimate highly," wrote Voltaire to an Italian correspondent, "the
courage with which you have dared to say that Dante was a madman[6] and
his work a monster. . . .  There are found among us and in the eighteenth
century, people who strive to admire imaginations so stupid and
barbarous."  A French translation of the "Divine Comedy" had been printed
by the Abbé Grangier[7] at Paris in 1596; but Rivarol, whose "Inferno"
was published in 1783, was the first Frenchman, says Lowell, to divine
Dante's greatness.  The earliest German version was Bachenschwanz's prose
translation of the "Commedia" (Leipsic, 1767-69),[8] but the German
romantic school were the first to furnish a sympathetic interpretation of
Dante to their countrymen.

Chaucer was well acquainted with the work of "the grete poet of
Florence," and drew upon him occasionally, though by no means so freely
as upon Boccaccio.  Thus in "The Monkes Tale" he re-tells, in a very
inferior fashion, the tragedy of Ugolino.  In "The Parliament of Foules"
and "The Hous of Fame" there are distinct imitations of Dante.  A passage
from the "Purgatory" is quoted in the "Wif of Bathes Tale," etc.  Spenser
probably, and Milton certainly, knew their Dante.  Milton's sonnet to
Henry Lawes mentions Dante's encounter with the musician Casella "in the
milder shades of Purgatory."  Here and there a reference to the "Divine
Comedy" occurs in some seventeenth-century English prose writer like Sir
Thomas Browne or Jeremy Taylor.  It is thought that the description of
Hell in Sackville's "Mirror for Magistrates" shows an acquaintance with
the "Inferno."  But Dante had few readers in England before the
nineteenth century.  He was practically unknown there and in all of
Europe outside of Italy.  "His reputation," said Voltaire, "will go on
increasing because scarce anybody reads him."  And half a century later
Napoleon said the same thing in the same words: "His fame is increasing
and will continue to increase because no one ever reads him."

In the third volume of his "History of English Poetry" (1781), Thomas
Warton had spoken of the "Divine Comedy" as "this wonderful compound of
classical and romantic fancy, of pagan and Christian theology, of real
and fictitious history, of tragical and comic incidents, of familiar and
heroic manners, and of satirical and sublime poetry.  But the grossest
improprieties of this poem discover an originality of invention, and its
absurdities often border on sublimity.  We are surprised that a poet
should write one hundred cantos on hell, paradise, and purgatory.  But
this prolixity is partly owing to the want of art and method, and is
common to all early compositions, in which everything is related
circumstantially and without rejection, and not in those general terms
which are used by modern writers."  Warton is shocked at Dante's
"disgusting fooleries" and censures his departure from Virgilian grace.
Milton "avoided the childish or ludicrous excesses of these bold
inventions . . . but rude and early poets describe everything."  But
Warton felt Dante's greatness.  "Hell," he wrote, "grows darker at his
frown."  He singled out for special mention the Francesca and Ugolino

If Warton could write thus it is not surprising to discover among
classical critics either a total silence as to Dante, or else a
systematic depreciation.  Addison does not mention him in his Italian
travels; and in his "Saturday papers" misses the very obvious chance for
a comparison between Dante and Milton such as Macaulay afterwards
elaborated in his essay on Milton.  Goldsmith, who knew nothing of Dante
at first hand, wrote of him with the usual patronising ignorance of
eighteenth-century criticism as to anything outside of the Greek and
Latin classics: "He addressed a barbarous people in a method suited to
their apprehension, united purgatory and the river Styx, St. Paul and
Virgil, heaven and hell together; and shows a strange mixture of good
sense and absurdity.  The truth is, he owes most of his reputation to the
obscurity of the times in which he lived." [1]

In 1782, William Hayley, the biographer of Cowper and author of that very
mild poem "The Triumphs of Temper," published a verse "Essay on Epic
Poetry" in five epistles.  In his notes to the third epistle, he gave an
outline of Dante's life with a translation of his sonnet to Guido
Cavalcanti and of the first three cantos of the "Inferno."  "Voltaire,"
he says, has spoken of Dante "with that precipitate vivacity which so
frequently led the lively Frenchman to insult the reputation of the
noblest writers."  He refers to the "judicious and spirited summary"  of
the "Divine Comedy" in Warton, and adds, "We have several versions of the
celebrated story of Ugolino; but I believe no entire canto of Dante has
hitherto appeared in our language. . . .  The author has been solicited
to execute an entire translation of Dante, but the extreme inequality of
this poet would render such a work a very laborious undertaking; and it
appears very doubtful how far such a version would interest our country.
Perhaps the reception of these cantos may discover to the translator the
sentiments of the public."  Hayley adopted "triple rhyme," _i.e._, the
_terza rima_, and said that he did not recollect it had ever been used
before in English.  His translation is by no means contemptible--much
better than Boyd's,--but fails entirely to catch Dante's manner or to
keep the strange precision and picturesqueness of his phrase.  Thus he

  "Chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco,"

  "Whose voice was like the whisper of a lute";

and the poet is made to address Beatrice--O donna di virtu--as "bright
fair," as if she were one of the belles in "The Rape of the Lock."  In
this same year a version of the "Inferno" was printed privately and
anonymously by Charles Rogers, a book and art collector and a friend of
Sir Joshua Reynolds.  But the first complete translation of the "Comedy"
into English was made by Henry Boyd, a clergyman of the Irish Church; the
"Inferno" in 1785 (with a specimen from Ariosto); the whole in 1802.
Boyd was a quite obscure person, author among other things of a
Spenserian poem entitled "The Woodman's Tale," and his translation
attracted little notice.  In his introduction he compares Dante with
Homer, and complains that "the venerable old bard . . . has been long
neglected"; perhaps, he suggests, because his poem could not be tried by
Aristotle's rules or submitted to the usual classical tests.

"Since the French, the restorers of the art of criticism, cast a damp
upon original invention, the character of Dante has been thrown under a
deeper shade.  That agreeable and volatile nation found in themselves an
insuperable aversion to the gloomy and romantic bard, whose genius,
ardent, melancholy, and sublime, was so different from their own."

Boyd used a six-lined stanza, a singularly ill chosen medium for
rendering the _terza rima_; and his diction was as wordy and vague as
Dante's is concise and sharp of edge.  A single passage will illustrate
his manner:

  "So full the symphony of grief arose,
  My heart, responsive to the lovers' woes,
    With thrilling sympathy convulsed my breast.
  Too strong at last for life my passion grew,
  And, sickening at the lamentable view,
    I fell like one by mortal pangs oppressed." [10]

The first opportunity which the mere English reader had to form any real
notion of Dante, was afforded by Henry Francis Cary's translation in
blank verse (the "Inferno," with the Italian text in 1805; the entire
"Commedia" in 1814, with the title "The Vision of Hell, Purgatory, and
Paradise").  This was a work of talent, if not of genius; and in spite of
the numerous versions in prose and verse that have since appeared, it
continues the most current and standard Dante in England, if not in
America, where Longfellow naturally challenges precedence.  The public
was as yet so unprepared to appreciate Dante that Cary's work received
little attention until brought into notice by Coleridge; and the
translator was deeply chagrined by the indifference, not to say
hostility, with which his labours were acknowledged.  In the memoir[11]
of Cary by his son there is a letter from Anne Seward--the Swan of
Lichfield--which throws a singular light upon the critical taste of the
"snug coterie and literary lady" of the period.  She writes: "How can you
profess to be charmed with the few faint outlines of landscape painting
in Dante, who are blind to the beautiful, distinct, and profuse scenery
in the pages of Ossian?"  She goes on to complain that the poem, in its
English dress, is vulgar and obscure.

Coleridge devoted to Dante a part of his series of lectures given at
London in 1818, reading copious selections from Cary's version.  The
translator had claimed, in his introduction, that the Florentine poet
"leaves to Homer and Shakespeare alone the power of challenging the
preeminence or equality."  Coleridge emphasized the "endless, subtle
beauties of Dante"; the vividness, logical connection, strength, and
energy of his style.  In this he pronounced him superior to Milton; and
in picturesqueness he affirmed that he surpassed all other poets ancient
or modern.  With characteristic penetration he indicated the precise
position of Dante in mediaeval literature; his poetry is "the link
between religion and philosophy"; it is "christianized, but without the
further Gothic accession of proper chivalry"; it has that "inwardness
which . . . distinguishes all the classic from all the modern poetry."
It was perhaps in consequence of Coleridge's praise that Cary's
translation went into its second edition in 1819, the year following this
lecture course.  A third was published in 1831.  Italians used to
complain that the foreign reader's knowledge of the "Divine Comedy" was
limited to the "Inferno," and generally to the Ugolino and Francesca
passages.  Coleridge's quotations are all from the "Inferno," and Lowell
thinks that he had not read beyond it.  He testified that the Ugolino and
Francesca stories were already "so well known and admired that it would
be pedantry to analyse them."  Sir Joshua Reynolds had made a painting of
the former subject.  In 1800 William Blake produced a series of seven
engravings in illustration of the "Inferno."  In 1817 Flaxman began his
illustrations of the whole "Commedia," extending to a hundred plates.[12]

In 1819-20 Byron was living at Ravenna, the place of Dante's death and
burial[13] and of the last years of his exile.  He used to ride for hours
together through Ravenna's "immemorial wood," [14] and the associations
of the scene prompted him to put into English (March, 1820) the Francesca
episode, that "thing woven as out of rainbows on a ground of eternal
black."  In the letter to Murray, sent with his translation, he wrote:
"Enclosed you will find, line for line, in third rhyme (_terza rima_), of
which your British blackguard reader as yet understands nothing, Fanny of
Rimini.  You know that she was born here, and married and slain, from
Cary, Boyd, and such people."  In his diary, Byron commented scornfully
on Frederick Schlegel's assertions that Dante had never been a favourite
with his own countrymen; and that his main defect was a want of gentle
feelings.  "_Not_ a favourite!  Why they talk Dante--write Dante--and
think and dream Dante at this moment (1821) to an excess which would be
ridiculous, but that he deserves it. . . .  Of gentle feelings!--and
Francesca of Rimini--and the father's feelings in Ugolino--and
Beatrice--and 'La Pia'!  Why there is a gentleness in Dante beyond all
gentleness."  Byron had not the patience to be a good translator.  His
rendering is closer and, of course, more spirited than Hayley's; but
where long search for the right word was needed, and a delicate shading
of phrase to reproduce without loss the meaning of this most meaning and
least translatable of masters, Byron's work shows haste and imperfection.

  "Love, who to none beloved to love again

is neither an idiomatic nor in any way an adequate englishing of

  "Amor, che a nullo amato amar perdona."

Nor does

  "_Accursed_ was the book and he who wrote,"

fully give the force of the famous

  "Galeotto fu il libro, e chi lo scrisse." [15]

The year before Byron had composed "The Prophecy of Dante," an original
poem in four cantos, in _terza rima_,

          ". . . imitative rhyme,
  Harsh Runic copy of the Soutb's sublime." [16]

The poem foretells "the fortunes of Italy in the ensuing centuries," and
is a rheotorical piece, diffuse and declamatory, and therein quite the
opposite of Dante.  It manifests Byron's self-conscious habit of
submitting his theme to himself, instead of losing himself in his theme.
_He_ is Dante in exile, and Gemma Donati is Lady Byron--

          "That fatal she,
  Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought
  Destruction for a dowry--this to see
  And feel and know without repair, hath taught
  A bitter lesson; but it leaves me free:
  I have not vilely found nor basely sought,
  They made an exile not a slave of me."

Dante's bitter and proud defiance found a response in Byron's nature, but
his spirit, as a whole, the English poet was not well fitted to
interpret.  In the preface to "The Prophecy," Byron said that he had not
seen the _terza rima_ tried before in English, except by Hayley, whose
translation he knew only from an extract in the notes to Beckford's

Shelley's knowledge and appreciation of Dante might be proved from
isolated images and expressions in many parts of his writings.  He
translated the sonnet to Guido Cavalcanti with greater freedom and
elegance than Hayley, and wrote a short copy of verses on the Hunger
Tower at Pisa, the scene of Ugolino's sufferings.  In the preface to
"Epipsychidion" he cites the "Vita Nuova" as the utterance of an
idealised and spiritualised love like that which his own poem records.
In the "Defence of Poetry" he pays a glowing tribute to Dante as the
second of epic poets and "the first awakener of entranced Europe."  His
poetry is the bridge "which unites the modern and the ancient world."
Contrary to the prevailing critical tradition, Shelley preferred the
"Purgatory" and the "Paradise" to the "Hell."  Shelley also employed
_terza rima_ in his fragmentary pieces, "Prince Athanase," "The Triumph
of Life," "The Woodman and the Nightingale," and in one of his best
lyrics, the "Ode to the West Wind," [17] written in 1819 "in a wood that
skirts the Arno, near Florence."  This linked measure, so difficult for
the translator and which gives a hampered movement to Byron's and
Hayley's specimens of the "Inferno," Shelley may be said to have really
domesticated in English verse by his splendid handling of it in original

  "Make me thy lyre even as the forest is:
  What if my leaves are falling, like its own?
  The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
  Will take from both a deep autumnal tone,
  Sweet though in sadness.  Be thou, spirit fierce,
  My spirit!  Be thou me, impetuous one!"

Shelley expressed to Medwin his dissatisfaction with all English
renderings from Dante--even with Cary--and announced his intention, or
desire, to translate the whole of the "Divine Comedy" in _terza rima_.
Two specimens of this projected version he gave in "Ugolino," and
"Matilda Gathering Flowers" ("Purg.," xxviii., 1-51).  He also made a
translation of the first canzone of the "Convito."

After the appearance of Cary's version, critical comprehension of Dante
grew rapidly.  In the same year when Coleridge gave his lectures, Hallam
published his "Middle Ages," which contained a just though somewhat
coldly worded estimate of the great Italian.  This was amplified in his
later work, "The Literature of Europe" (1838-39).  Hallam said that Dante
was the first name in the literature of the Middle Ages, the creator of
his nation's poetry, and the most original of all writers, and the most
concise.  But he blamed him for obscurity, forced and unnatural turns of
expression, and barbarous licenses of idiom.  The "Paradise" seemed to
him tedious, as a whole, and much of the "Purgatory" heavy.  Hallam
repeated, if he did not originate that nice bit of discernment, that in
his "Paradise" Dante uses only three leading ideas--light, music, and
motion.  Then came Macaulay's essay "Milton," in the _Edinburgh_ for
1825, with the celebrated parallel between the "Divine Comedy" and the
"Paradise Lost," and the contrast between Dante's "picturesque" and
Milton's "imaginative" method.  Macaulay's analysis has been questioned
by Ruskin and others; some of his positions were perhaps mistaken, but
they were the most advanced that English Dante criticism had as yet taken
up.  And finally came Carlyle's vivid piece of portrait painting in "Hero
Worship" (1841).  The first literal prose translation of any extent from
the "Commedia" was the "Inferno" by Carlyle's brother John (1849).

Since the middle of the century Dante study and Dante literature in
English-speaking lands have waxed enormously.  Dante societies have been
founded in England and America.  Almost every year sees another edition,
a new commentary or a fresh translation in prose, in blank verse, in
_terza rima_, or in some form of stanza.  It is not exaggerating to say
that there is more public mention of Dante now in a single year than in
all the years of the eighteenth century together.  It would be
interesting, if it were possible, to count the times that Dante's name
occurs in English writings of the eighteenth and then of the nineteenth
century; afterwards to do the same with Ariosto and Tasso and compare the
results.  It would be found that, while the eighteenth century set no
very high value on Ariosto and Tasso, it ignored Dante altogether; and
that the nineteenth has put aside the superficial mediaevalism of the
Renaissance romancers and gone back to the great religious romancer of
the Italian Middle Age.  There is no surer plummet than Dante's to sound
the spiritual depth of a time.  It is in the nineteenth century first
that Shakspere and Dante took possession of the European mind.  In 1800
Shakspere was an English, or at most an English and German poet, and
Dante exclusively an Italian.  In 1900 they had both become world poets.
Shakspere's foreign conquests were the earlier and are still the wider,
as wide perhaps as the expanse--

  "That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne."

But the ground that Dante has won he holds with equal secureness.  Not
that he will ever be popular, in Shakspere's way; and yet it is far gone
when the aesthete in a comic opera is described as a "Francesca da Rimini
young man."

As a stimulus to creative work the influence of Dante, though not
entirely absent, is not conspicuous in the first half of the century.  It
is not until the time of the Rossettis in England and of Longfellow and
Dr. Parsons in America that any poetry of a really Dantesque inspiration
and, at the same time, of high original value was added to our

The first fruits of the Dante revival in England, in the shape of
original production, was Leigh Hunt's "Story of Rimini" (1816)--"Mr.
Hunt's smutty story of Rimini," as the Tory wits of _Blackwood_ were fond
of calling it in their onslaughts upon the Cockney school.  This was a
romaunt in four cantos upon the already familiar episode of Francesca,
that "lily in the mouth of Tartarus."  Hunt took Dryden's "Fables" as his
model in versification, employing the heroic couplet with the frequent
variation of the triplet and the alexandrine.  The poem is not at all
Dantesque in its lax and fluent sweetness, and in that colloquial,
familiar manner which is constant in all Hunt's writing, both prose and
verse; reminding one, at its best, of Chaucer, who was, indeed, one of
his favourite masters.  Hunt softens the ferocity of the tale as given by
Boccaccio, according to whom the husband Giovanni Malatesta was a
cripple, and killed the lovers _in flagrante delicto_.  Hunt makes him a
personable man, though of proud and gloomy temper.  He slays his brother
Paolo in chivalrous fashion and in single combat, and Francesca dies of a
broken heart.  The descriptive portions of the "Story of Rimini" are
charming: the feudal procession with trumpeters, heralds, squires, and
knights, sent to escort home the bride, the pine forest outside Ravenna,
and the garden at Rimini in which the lovers used to meet--

  "Places of nestling green for poets made."

Hunt had a quick eye for colour; a fondness, not altogether free from
affectation, for dainty phrases; and a feminine love of little niceties
in dress, tapestry, needlework, and furnishings.  The poem was written
mostly in prison where its author spent two years for a libel on the
Prince Regent.  Byron used to visit him there and bring him books bearing
on Francesca's history.  Hunt brought into the piece romantic stuff from
various sources, including a summary of the book which betrayed the
lovers to their fatal passion, the romance of "Lancelot du Lac."  And
Giovanni speaks to his dying brother a paraphrase of the celebrated
eulogy pronounced over Lancelot by Sir Ector in the "Morte Darthur":

  "And, Paulo, thou wert the completest knight
  That ever rode with banner to the fight;
  And thou wert the most beautiful to see,
  That ever came in press of chivalry:
  And of a sinful man thou wert the best
  That ever for his friend put spear in rest;
  And thou wert the most meek and cordial
  That ever among ladies eat in hall;
  And thou wert still, for all that bosom gored,
  The kindest man that ever struck with sword."

Hunt makes the husband discover his wife's infidelity by overhearing her
talking in her sleep.  In many other particulars he enfeebles, dandifies,
and sentimentalises Dante's fierce, abrupt tragedy; holding the reader by
the button while he prattles in his garrulous way of Paulo's "taste"--

  "The very nose, lightly yet firmly wrought,
  Showed taste"--

and of

  "The two divinest things in earthly lot,
  A lovely woman in a rural spot!"

a couplet which irresistibly suggests suburban picnics.

Yet no one in his generation did more than Leigh Hunt to familiarise the
English public with Italian romance.  He began the study of Italian when
he was a schoolboy at Christ Hospital, being attracted to Ariosto by a
picture of Angelica and Medoro, in West's studio.  Like his friend Keats,
on whose "Eve of St. Agnes" he wrote an enthusiastic commentary,[19] Hunt
was eclectic in his choice of material, drawing inspiration impartially
from the classics and the romantics; but, like Keats, he became early a
declared rebel against eighteenth-century traditions and asserted impulse
against rule.  "In antiquarian corners," he says, in writing of the
influences of his childish days, "Percy's 'Reliques' were preparing a
nobler age both in poetry and prose."  At school he fell passionately in
love with Collins and Gray, composed a "Winter" in imitation of Thomson,
one hundred stanzas of a "Fairy King" in emulation of Spenser, and a long
poem in Latin inspired by Gray's odes and Malet's "Northern Antiquities."
In 1802 [aetate 18] he published a volume of these _juvenilia_--odes
after Collins and Gray, blank verse after Thomson and Akenside, and a
"Palace of Pleasure" after Spenser's "Bower of Bliss." [20] It was in
this same year that on a visit to Oxford, he was introduced to Kett, the
professor of poetry, who expressed a hope that the youthful bard might be
inspired by "the muse of Warton," whom Hunt had never read.  There had
fallen in Hunt's way when he was a young man, Bell's edition of the
poets, which included Chaucer and Spenser.  "The omission of these in
Cooke's edition," he says, "was as unpoetical a sign of the times as the
present familiarity with their names is the reverse.  It was thought a
mark of good sense; as if good sense, in matters of literature, did not
consist as much in knowing what was poetical poetry, as brilliant wit."
Of his "Feast of the Poets" (1814) he writes:[21] "I offended all the
critics of the old or French school, by objecting to the monotony of
Pope's versification, and all the critics of the new or German school by
laughing at Wordsworth."  In the preface to his collected poems [1832]
occurs the following interesting testimony to the recentness of the new
criticism.  "So long does fashion succeed in palming its petty instincts
upon the world for those of a nation and of nature, that it is only of
late years that the French have ceased to think some of the most
affecting passages in Shakespeare ridiculous. . . .  Yet the English
themselves, no great while since, half blushed at these criticisms, and
were content if the epithet 'bizarre' ('_votre bizarre Shakespeare_') was
allowed to be translated into 'a wild, irregular genius.'  Everything was
wild and irregular except rhymesters in toupees.  A petty conspiracy of
decorums took the place of what was becoming to humanity."  In the summer
of 1822 Hunt went by sailing vessel through the Mediterranean to Italy.
The books which he read chiefly on board ship were "Don Quixote,"
Ariosto, and Berni; and his diary records the emotion with which he
coasted the western shores of Spain, the ground of Italian romance, where
the Paynim chivalry used to land to go against Charlemagne: the scene of
Boiardo's "Orlando Inamorato" and Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso."  "I
confess I looked at these shores with a human interest, and could not
help feeling that the keel of our vessel was crossing a real line, over
which knights and lovers had passed.  And so they have, both real and
fabulous; the former not less romantic, the latter scarcely less
real. . . .  Fair speed your sails over the lucid waters, ye lovers, on a
lover-like sea!  Fair speed them, yet never land; for where the poet has
left you, there ought ye, as ye are, to be living forever--forever
gliding about a summer sea, touching at its flowery islands and reposing
beneath its moon."

Hunt's sojourn in Italy, where he lived in close association with Byron
and Shelley, enabled him to _préciser_ his knowledge of the Italian
language and literature.  In 1846 he published a volume of "Stories from
the Italian Poets," containing a summary or free paraphrase in prose of
the "Divine Comedy" and the poems of Pulci, Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso,
"with comments throughout, occasional passages versified and critical
notices of the lives and genius of the authors."  Like our own
romanticist poet Longfellow, who rediscovered Europe for America, Leigh
Hunt was a sympathetic and interpretative rather than a creative genius;
and like Longfellow, an admirable translator.  Among his collected poems
are a number of elegant and spirited versions from various mediaeval
literatures.  "The Gentle Armour" is a playful adaptation of a French
fabliau "Les Trois Chevaliers et la Chemise," which tells of a knight
whose hard-hearted lady set him the task of fighting his two rivals in
the lists, armed only in her smock; and, in contrition for this harsh
imposure, went to the altar with her faithful champion, wearing only the
same bloody sark as her bridal garment.  At least this is the pretty turn
which Hunt gave to the story.  In the original it had a coarser ending.
There are also, among these translations from mediaeval sources, the
Latin drinking song attributed to Walter Map--

  Mihi est propositum in taberna mori--

and Andrea de Basso's terrible "Ode to a Dead Body," in fifteenth-century
Italian; which utters, with extraordinary power, the ascetic thought of
the Middle Age, dwelling with a kind of gloomy exultation on the foulness
of the human frame in decay.

In the preface to his "Italian Poets," Hunt speaks of "how widely Dante
has re-attracted of late the attention of the world."  He pronounces him
"the greatest poet for intensity that ever lived," and complains that his
metrical translators have failed to render his "passionate, practical,
and creative style--a style which may be said to write things instead of
words."  Hunt's introduction is a fine piece of critical work.  His
alert, sparkling, and nimble intellect--somewhat lacking in concentration
and seriousness--but sensitive above all things to the picturesque, was
keenly awake to Dante's poetic greatness.  On the other hand, his
cheerful philosophy and tolerant, not to say easy-going moral nature, was
shocked by the Florentine's bitter pride, and by what he conceives to be
his fanaticism, bigotry, superstition, and personal vindictiveness, when

  "Hell he peoples with his foes,
  Dark scourge of many a guilty line."

Hunt was a Universalist, and Dante was a Catholic Calvinist.   There was
a determined optimism about Hunt, and a buoyancy as of a cork or other
light body, sometimes a little exasperating to men of less sanguine
temperament.[22]  He ends by protesting that Dante is a semi-barbarian
and his "Divine Comedy" too often an infernal tragedy.  "Such a vision as
that of his poem (in a theological point of view) seems no better than
the dream of an hypochondriacal savage."  It was some years before this,
in his lecture on "The Hero as Poet," delivered in 1840, that a friend of
Leigh Hunt, of a temperament quite the opposite of his, had spoken a very
different word touching this cruel scorn--this _saeva indignatio_ of
Dante's.  Carlyle, like Hunt, discovered _intensity_ to be the prevailing
character of Dante's genius, emblemed by the pinnacle of the city of Dis;
that "red-hot cone of iron glowing through the dim immensity of gloom."
Hunt, the Universalist, said of Dante, "when he is sweet-natured once he
is bitter a hundred times."  "Infinite pity," says Carlyle, the
Calvinist, "yet also infinite rigour of law, it is so nature is made; it
is so Dante discerned that she was made.  What a paltry notion is that of
his 'Divine Comedy's' being a poor splenetic, impotent terrestrial libel;
putting those into hell whom he could not be avenged upon on earth!  I
suppose if ever pity tender as a mother's was in the heart of any man, it
was in Dante's.  But a man who does not know rigour cannot pity either.
His very pity will be cowardly, egoistic--sentimentality, or little
better. . . .  Morally great above all we must call him; it is the
beginning of all.  His scorn, his grief are as transcendent as his love;
as, indeed, what are they but the _inverse_ or _converse_ of his love?"

It is interesting to note that, antipathetic as Hunt's nature was, in
many ways, not only to the individual Dante but to the theological
thought of which he was the spokesman, in his view of the sacred art of
the Italian Middle Age he anticipated the Pre-Raphaelites and the modern
interpreters of Dante.  Here is a part of what he says of the paintings
in the Campo Santo at Pisa: "The best idea, perhaps, which I can give an
Englishman of the general character of the painting is by referring him
to the engravings of Albert Durer and the serious parts of Chaucer.
There is the same want of proper costume--the same intense feeling of the
human being, both in body and soul--the same bookish, romantic, and
retired character--the same evidences, in short, of antiquity and
commencement, weak (where it is weak) for want of a settled art and
language, but strong for that very reason in first impulses, and in
putting down all that is felt. . . .  The manner in which some of the
hoary saints in these pictures pore over their books and carry their
decrepit old age, full of a bent and absorbed feebleness--the set limbs
of the warriors on horseback--the sidelong unequivocal looks of some of
the ladies playing on harps and conscious of their ornaments--the people
of fashion seated in rows, with Time coming up unawares to destroy
them--the other rows of elders and doctors of the Church, forming part of
the array of heaven--the uplifted hand of Christ denouncing the wicked at
the day of judgment--the daring satires occasionally introduced against
monks and nuns--the profusion of attitudes, expressions, incidents, broad
draperies, ornaments of all sorts, visions, mountains, ghastly looking
cities, fiends, angels, sibylline old women, dancers, virgin brides,
mothers and children, princes, patriarchs, dying saints, it would be
simply blind injustice to the superabundance and truth of conception in
all this multitude of imagery not to recognize the real inspirers as well
as harbingers of Raphael and Michael Angelo, instead of confining the
honour to the Masaccios and Peruginos, [who] . . . are no more to be
compared with them than the sonneteers of Henry VIII.'s time are to be
compared with Chaucer.  Even in the very rudest of the pictures, where
the souls of the dying are going out of their mouths, in the shape of
little children, there are passages not unworthy of Dante and Michael
Angelo. . . .  Giotto, be thou one to me hereafter, of a kindred brevity,
solidity, and stateliness with that of thy friend, Dante!" [23]

Among all the writers of his generation, Keats was most purely the poet,
the artist of the beautiful.  His sensitive imagination thrilled to every
touch of beauty from whatever quarter.  That his work is mainly
retrospective and eclectic in subject is because a young poet's mind
responds more readily to books than to life, and this young poet did not
outlive his youth.  In the Greek mythology he found a world of lovely
images ready to his hand, in the poetry of Spenser, Chaucer, and Ariosto,
he found another such world.  Arcadia and Faeryland--"the realms of
gold"--he rediscovered them both for himself, and he struck into the
paths that wound through their enchanted thickets with the ardour of an
explorer.  This was the very mood of the Renaissance--this genial heat
which fuses together the pagan and the Christian systems--this
indifference of the creative imagination to the mere sources and
materials of its creations.  Indeed, there is in Keats' style a "natural
magic" which forces us back to Shakspere for comparison, a noticeable
likeness to the diction of the Elizabethans, when the classics were still
a living spring of inspiration, and not a set of copies held _in
terrorem_ over the head of every new poet.

Keats' break with the classical tradition was early and decisive.  In his
first volume (1817) there is a piece entitled "Sleep and Poetry,"
composed after a night passed at Leigh Hunt's cottage near Hampstead,
which contains his literary declaration of faith.  After speaking of the
beauty that fills the universe, and of the office of Imagination to be
the minister and interpreter of this beauty, as in the old days when
"here her altar shone, even in this isle," and "the muses were nigh
cloyed with honours," he asks:

  "Could all this be forgotten?  Yes, a schism
  Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
  Made great Apollo blush for this, his land.
  Men were thought wise who could not understand
  His glories: with a puling infant's force,
  They swayed about upon a rocking horse
  And thought it Pegasus.  Ah, dismal-souled!
  The winds of heaven blew, the ocean rolled
  Its gathering waves--ye felt it not.  The blue
  Bowed its eternal bosom, and the dew
  Of summer night collected still, to make
  The morning precious.  Beauty was awake!
  Why were ye not awake?  But ye were dead
  To things ye knew not of--were closely wed
  To musty laws, lined out with wretched rule
  And compass vile: so that ye taught a school
  Of dolts to smooth, inlay and clip and fit;
  Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
  Their verses tallied.  Easy was the task:
  A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
  Of Poesy.  Ill-fated, impious race!
  That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
  And did not know it,--no, they went about,
  Holding a poor decrepit standard out,
  Marked with most flimsy mottoes, and, in large,
  The name of one Boileau!"

This complaint, so far as it relates to the _style_ of the rule-ridden
eighteenth-century poetry, had been made before: by Cowper, by
Wordsworth, by Coleridge.  But Keats, with his instinct for beauty,
pierces to the core of the matter.  It was because of Pope's defective
sense of the beautiful that the doubt arose whether he was a poet at all.
It was because of its

        ". . . forgetting the great end
  Of Poetry, that it should be a friend
  To soothe the cares and lift the thoughts of man,"

that the poetry of the classical school was so unsatisfying.  This is one
of the very few passages of Keats that are at all doctrinal[24] or
polemic; and as such it has been repeatedly cited by biographers and
essayists and literary historians.  Lowell quotes it, in his essay on
Dryden, and adds; "Keats was the first resolute and wilful heretic, the
true founder of the modern school, which admits no cis-Elizabethan
authority save Milton."  Mr. Gosse quotes it and says, "in these lines he
has admirably summed up the conceptions of the first half of the present
century with regard to classical poetry." [25]  The passage was still
fresh when Byron, in the letter to Disraeli already quoted[26] (March
15th, 1820), held it up to scorn as the opinion of "a young person
learning to write poetry and beginning by teaching the art. . . .  The
writer of this is a tadpole of the Lakes, a young disciple of the six or
seven new schools, in which he has learned to write such lines and such
sentiments as the above.  He says 'easy were the task' of imitating Pope,
or it may be of equalling him, I presume.  I recommend him to try before
he is so positive on the subject, and then compare what he will have
_then_ written, and what he has now written, with the humblest and
earliest compositions of Pope, produced in years still more youthful than
those of Mr. Keats when he invented his new 'Essay on Criticism,'
entitled 'Sleep and Poetry' (an ominous title) from whence the above
canons are taken."

In a manuscript note on this passage made after Keats' death, Byron
wrote: "My indignation at Mr. Keats' depreciation of Pope has hardly
permitted me to do justice to his own genius. . . .  He is a loss to our
literature, and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to
have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was
reforming his style upon the more classical models of the language,"
Keats made a study of Dryden's versification before writing "Lamia"; but
had he lived to the age of Methusaleh, he would not have "reformed his
style" upon any such classical models as Lord Byron had in mind.
Classical he might have become, in the sense in which "Hyperion" is
classical; but in the sense in which Pope was classical--never.  Pope's
Homer he deliberately set aside for Chapman's--

  "Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
  Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold." [27]

Keats had read Virgil, but seemingly not much Latin poetry besides, and
he had no knowledge of Greek.  He made acquaintance with the Hellenic
world through classical dictionaries and a study of the casts in the
British Museum.  But his intuitive grasp of the antique ideal of beauty
stood him in as good stead as Landor's scholarship.  In such work as
"Hyperion" and the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" he mediates between the ancient
and the modern spirit, from which Landor's clear-cut marbles stand aloof
in chill remoteness.  As concerns his equipment, Keats stands related to
Scott in romance learning much as he does to Landor in classical
scholarship.  He was no antiquary, and naturally made mistakes of detail.
In his sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," he makes Cortez,
and not Balboa, the discoverer of the Pacific.  _À propos_ of a line in
"The Eve of St. Agnes"--

  "And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor"--

Leigh Hunt called attention to the fact that rushes and not carpets
covered the floors in the Middle Ages.  In the same poem, Porphyro sings
to his lute an ancient ditty,

  "In Provençe called 'La Belle Dame sans Merci.'"

The ditty was by Alain Chartier, who was not a troubadour, but a Norman
by birth and a French court poet of the fifteenth century.  The title,
which Keats found in a note in an edition of Chaucer, pleased his fancy
and suggested his ballad,[28] of the same name, which has nothing in
common with Chartier's poem.  The latter is a conventional love _estrif_
in the artificial taste of the time.  But errors of this sort, which any
encyclopaedia can correct, are perfectly unimportant.

Byron's sneer at Keats, as "a tadpole of the Lakes," was ridiculously
wide of the mark.  He was nearly of the second generation of romantics;
he was only three years old when "The Ancient Mariner" was published;
"Christabel" and Scott's metrical romances had all been issued before he
put forth his first volume.  But though he owes much to Coleridge[29] and
more perhaps to Chatterton, he took no imprint from Wordsworth, and cared
nothing for Scott.  Keats, like his friend Hunt, turned instinctively
away from northern to southern Gothic; from rough border minstrelsy to
the mythology and romance of the races that dwelt about the midland sea.
Keats' sensuous nature longed for "a beaker full of the warm South."  "I
have tropical blood in my veins," wrote Hunt, deprecating "the criticism
of a Northern climate" as applied to his "Story of Rimini."  Keats' death
may be said to have come to him from Scotland, not only by reason of the
brutal attacks in _Blackwood's_--to which there is some reason for
believing that Scott was privy--but because the hardships and exposure of
his Scotch tour laid the foundation of his fatal malady.  He brought back
no literary spoils of consequence from the North, and the description of
the journey in his letters makes it evident that his genius could not
find itself there.  This uncomfortable feeling of alienation is expressed
in his "Sonnet on Visiting the Tomb of Burns."  The Scotch landscape
seems "cold--strange."

  "The short-lived paly Summer is but won
      From Winter's ague."

And in the letter from Dumfries, enclosing the sonnet he writes: "I know
not how it is, the clouds, the sky, the houses, all seem anti-Grecian and
anti-Charlemagnish."  _Charlemagnish_ is Keats' word for the true
mediaeval-romantic.  It is noteworthy that Keats avoided Scott's
favourite verse forms.  "La Belle Dame sans Merci" is not in the minstrel
ballad measure; and when Keats uses the eight-syllabled couplet, he uses
it very differently from Scott, without the alternate riming which
prevails in "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" and all the rest of the series.

A spark from Spenser kindled the flame of poetry in Keats.  His friend,
Cowden Clarke, read him the "Epithalamium" one day in 1812 in an arbour
in the old school garden at Enfield, and lent him a copy of "The Faëry
Queene" to take home with him.  "He romped through the scenes of the
romance," reports Mr. Clarke, "like a young horse turned into a spring
meadow."  There is something almost uncanny--like the visits of a
spirit--about these recurrent appearances of Spenser in English literary
history.  It must be confessed that nowadays we do not greatly romp
through "The Faëry Queene."  There even runs a story that a certain
professor of literature in an American college, being consulted about
Spenser by one of his scholars, exclaimed impatiently, "Oh, damn
Spenser!"  But it is worth while to have him in the literature, if only
as a starter for young poets.  Keats' earliest known verses are an
"Imitation of Spenser" in four stanzas.  His allusions to him are
frequent, and his fugitive poems include a "Sonnet to Spenser" and a
number of "Spenserian Stanzas."  But his only really important experiment
in the measure of "The Faëry Queene" was "The Eve of St. Agnes."  It was
with fine propriety that Shelley chose that measure for his elegy on
Keats in "Adonais."  Keats made a careful study of Spenser's verse, the

  "Spenserian vowels that elope with ease"--

and all the rest of it.  His own work in this kind is thought to resemble
most closely the "Psyche" of the Irish poetess, Mary Tighe, published in
1805[30] on the well-known fable of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius.  It is
inferred that Keats knew the poem from a mention of the author in one of
his pieces.  He also wrote an "Ode to Psyche," which seems, however, to
have been inspired by an engraving in Spenser's "Polymetis."  Mrs. Tighe
was one of the latest and best of the professed imitators of Spenser.
There is beauty of a kind in her languidly melodious verse and
over-profuse imagery, but it is not the passionate and quintessential
beauty of Keats.  She is quite incapable of such choice and pregnant word
effects as abound in every stanza of "St. Agnes":

  "Unclasps her _warmed_ jewels, one by one":

  "_Buttressed_ from moonlight":

  "The music, _yearning_ like a God in pain":

  "The boisterous, _midnight_, festive clarion."

Keats' intimate association with Leigh Hunt, whose acquaintance he made
in 1816, was not without influence on his literary development.  He
admired the "Story of Rimini," [31] and he adopted in his early verse
epistles and in "Endymion" (1818), that free ante-Popean treatment of the
couplet with _enjambement_, or overflow, double rimes, etc., which Hunt
had practised in the poem itself and advocated in the preface.  Many
passages in "Rimini" and in Keats' couplet poems anticipate, in their
easy flow, the relaxed versification of "The Earthly Paradise."  This was
the Elizabethan type of heroic couplet, and its extreme instance is seen
in William Chamberlayne's "Pharonnida" (1659).  There is no proof of
Keats' alleged indebtedness to Chamberlayne, though he is known to have
been familiar with another specimen of the type, William Browne's
"Britannia's Pastorals."  Hunt also confirmed Keats in the love of
Spenser, and introduced him to Ariosto whom he learned to read in the
Italian, five or six stanzas at a time.  Dante he read in Cary's
translation, a copy of which was the only book that he took with him on
his Scotch trip.  "The fifth canto of Dante," he wrote (March, 1819),
"pleases me more and more; it is that one in which he meets with Paulo
and Francesca."  He afterwards dreamed of the story and wrote a sonnet
upon his dream, which Rossetti thought "by far the finest of Keats'
sonnets" next to that on Chapman's "Homer." [32]  Mr. J. M. Robertson
thinks that the influence of Gary's "Dante" is visible in "Hyperion,"
especially in the recast version "Hyperion: A Vision." [33]  And Leigh
Hunt suggests that in the lines in "The Eve of St. Agnes"--

  "The sculptured dead on each side seem to freeze,
  Emprisoned in black, purgatorial rails:
  Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries,
  He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
  To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails"--

the germ of the thought is in Dante.[34]  Keats wished that Italian
might take the place of French in English schools.  To Hunt's example
was also due, in part, that fondness for neologisms for which the
latter apologises in the preface to "Rimini," and with which Keats was
wont to enrich his diction, as well as with Chattertonian archaisms,
Chapmanese compounds, "taffeta phrases, silken terms precise" from
Elizabethan English, and coinages like _poesied_, _jollying_,
_eye-earnestly_--licenses and affectations which gave dire offence to
Gifford and the classicals generally.

In the 1820 volume, which includes Keats' maturest work, there was a
story from the "Decameron," "Isabella, or the Pot of Basil," which tells
how a lady exhumes the body of her murdered lover, cuts off the head and
buries it in a pot of sweet basil, which she keeps in her chamber and
waters with her tears.  It was perhaps symptomatic of a certain morbid
sensibility in Keats to select this subject from so cheerful a writer as
Boccaccio.  This intensity of love surviving in face of leprosy, torment,
decay, and material horrors of all kinds; this passionate clinging of
spirit to body, is a mediaeval note, and is repeated in the neo-romantic
school which derives from Keats; in Rossetti, Swinburne, Morris,
O'Shaughnessy, Marzials, and Paine.  Think of the unshrinking gaze which
Dante fixes upon the tortures of the souls in pain; of the wasted body of
Christ upon the cross; of the fasts, flagellations, mortifications of
penitents; the unwashed friars, the sufferings of martyrs.  Keats
apologises for his endeavour "to make old prose in modern rime more
sweet," and for his departure from the even, unexcited narrative of his

  "O eloquent and famed Boccaccio,
  Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon. . . .
  For venturing syllables that ill beseem
  The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme. . . .

  "Ah! wherefore all this wormy circumstance?
  Why linger at the yawning tomb so long?
  O for the gentleness of old Romance,
  The simple plaining of the minstrel's song."

But it is just this wormy circumstance that rivets the poet's attention;
his imagination lingers over Isabella kissing the dead face, pointing
each eyelash, and washing away the loam that disfigures it with her
tears; over the basil tufts growing rankly from the mouldering head,

  "The thing was vile with green and livid spot,"

but Keats' tenderness pierces the grave.

It is instructive to compare "Isabella" with Dryden's "Sigismonda and
Guiscardo," also from the "Decameron" and surcharged with the physically
horrible.  In this tale Tancred sends his daughter her lover's heart in a
golden goblet.  She kisses the heart, fills the cup with poison, drinks,
and dies.  The two poems are typical examples of romantic and classical
handling, though neither is quite a masterpiece in its kind.  The
treatment in Dryden is cool, unimpassioned, objective--like Boccaccio's,
in fact.  The story is firmly told, with a masculine energy of verse and
language.  Sigismonda and Tancred are characters, confronted wills, as in
drama, and their speeches are like _tirades_ from a tragedy of Racine.
But here Dryden's rhetorical habit and his fondness for reasoning in rime
run away with him, and make his art inferior to Boccaccio's.  Sigismonda
argues her case like counsel for the defendant.  She even enjoys her own
argument and carries it out with a gusto into abstractions.

  "But leaving that: search we the secret springs,
  And backward trace the principles of things;
  There shall we find, that when the world began
  One common mass composed the mould of man," etc.

Dryden's grossness of taste mars his narrative at several points.  The
satirist in him will not let him miss the chance for a sneer at priests
and another at William III.'s standing army.  He makes his heroine's love
ignobly sensual.  She is a widow, who having "tasted marriage joys," is
unwilling to live single.  Dryden's _bourgeois_ manner is capable even of
ludicrous descents.

  "The sudden bound awaked the sleeping sire,
  And showed a sight no parent can desire."

In Keats' poem there are no characters dramatically opposed.  Lorenzo and
Isabella have no individuality apart from their love; passion has
absorbed character.  The tale is not evolved firmly and continuously, but
with lyrical outbursts, a poignancy of sympathy at the points of highest
tragic tensity and a swooning sensibility all through, that sometimes
breaks into weakness.  There can be no question, however, which poem is
the more _felt_; no question, either, as to which method is superior--at
least as between these two artists, and as applied to subjects of this
particular kind.

"Isabella" is in _ottava rima_, "The Eve of St. Agnes" in the Spenserian
stanza.  This exquisite creation has all the insignia of romantic art and
has them in a dangerous degree.  It is brilliant with colour, richly
ornate, tremulous with emotion.  Only the fine instinct of the artist
saved it from the overladen decoration and cloying sweetness of
"Endymion," and kept it chaste in its warmth.  As it is, the story is
almost too slight for its descriptive mantle "rough with gems and gold."
Such as it is, it is of Keats' invention and of the "Romeo and Juliet"
variety of plot.  A lover who is at feud with his mistress' clan ventures
into his foemen's castle while a revel is going on, penetrates by the aid
of her nurse to his lady's bower, and carries her off while all the
household are sunk in drunken sleep.  All this in a night of wild weather
and on St. Agnes' Eve, when, according to popular belief, maidens might
see their future husbands in their dreams, on the performance of certain
conditions.  The resemblance of this poem to "Christabel" at several
points, has already been mentioned,[35] and especially in the description
of the heroine's chamber.  But the differences are even more apparent.
Coleridge's art is temperate and suggestive, spiritual, too, with an
unequalled power of haunting the mind with a sense of ghostly presences.
In his scene the touches are light and few; all is hurried, mysterious,
shadowy.  But Keats was a word painter, his treatment more sensuous than
Coleridge's, and fuller of imagery.  He lingers over the figure of the
maiden disrobing, and over the furnishings of her room.  The Catholic
elegancies of his poem, as Hunt called them, and the architectural
details are there for their own sake--as pictures; the sculptured dead in
the chapel, the foot-worn stones, the cobwebbed arches, broad hall
pillar, and dusky galleries; the "little moonlight room, pale,
_latticed_, chill"; the chain-drooped lamp:

  "The carven angels ever eager-eyed"


  "Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests,
  With hair blown back and wings put crosswise on their breasts."

Possibly "La Belle Dame sans Merci" borrows a hint from the love-crazed
knight in Coleridge's "Love," who is haunted by a fiend in the likeness
of an angel; but here the comparison is to Keats' advantage.  Not even
Coleridge sang more wildly well than the singer of this weird ballad
strain, which has seemed to many critics[36] the masterpiece of this
poet, wherein his "natural magic" reaches its most fascinating subtlety
and purity of expression.

The famous picture of the painted "casement, high and triple-arched" in
Madeline's chamber, "a burst of richness, noiseless, coloured, suddenly
enriching the moonlight, as if a door of heaven were opened," [37] should
be compared with Scott's no less famous description of the east oriel of
Melrose Abbey by moonlight, and the comparison will illustrate a
distinction similar to that already noted between the romanticism of
Coleridge and Scott.  The latter is here depicting an actual spot, one of
the great old border abbeys; national pride and the pathos of historic
ruins mingle with the description.  Madeline's castle stood in the
country of dream; and it was an "elfin storm from fairyland" that came to
aid the lovers' flight,[38] and all the creatures of his tale are but the

    "Shadows haunting fairily
  The brain new stuffed in youth with triumphs gay
  Of old Romance."

In Keats is the romantic escape, the longing to

        "leave the world unseen.
  And with thee fade away into the forest dim." [39]

Keats cared no more for history than he did for contemporary politics.
Courthope[40] quotes a passage from "Endymion" to illustrate his
indifference to everything but art;

  "Hence, pageant history!  Hence, gilded cheat! . . .
  Many old rotten-timbered boats there be
  Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified
  To goodly vessels, many a sail of pride,
  And golden-keeled, is left unlaunched and dry.
  But wherefore this?  What care, though owl did fly
  About the great Athenian admiral's mast?
  What care though striding Alexander past
  The Indus with his Macedonian numbers?
        . . . Juliet leaning
  Amid her window-flowers,--sighing,--weaning
  Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow,
  Doth more avail than these: the silver flow
  Of Hero's tears, the swoon of Imogen,
  Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den,
  Are things to brood on with more ardency
  Than the death-day of empires."

This passage should be set beside the complaint in "Lamia" of the
disenchanting touch of science:

  "There was an awful rainbow once in heaven," etc.

Keats is the poet of romantic emotion, as Scott of romantic action.
Professor Gates says that Keats' heroes never _do_ anything.[41]  It
puzzles the reader of "The Eve of St. Agnes" to know just why Porphyro
sets out the feast of cates on the little table by Madeline's bedside
unless it be to give the poet an opportunity for his luscious description
of "the lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon" and other like delicacies.  In
the early fragment "Calidore," the hero--who gets his name from
Spenser--does nothing in some hundred and fifty lines but assist two
ladies to dismount from their palfreys.  To revert, as before, to
Ariosto's programme, it was not the _arme_ and _audaci imprese_ which
Keats sang, but the _donne_, the _amori_, and the _cortesie_.  Feudal war
array was no concern of his, but the "argent revelry" of masque and
dance, and the "silver-snarling trumpets" in the musicians' gallery.  He
was the poet of the lute and the nightingale, rather than of the shock of
spear in tourney and crusade.  His "Specimen of an Induction to a Poem"

  "Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry."

But he never tells it.  The piece evaporates in visions of pure
loveliness; "large white plumes"; sweet ladies on the worn tops of old
battlements; light-footed damsels standing in sixes and sevens about the
hall in courtly talk.  Meanwhile the lance is resting against the wall.

  "Ah! shall I ever tell its cruelty,
  When the fire flashes from a warrior's eye,
  And his tremendous hand is grasping it?"

"No," answers the reader, "I don't think you ever will.  Leave that sort
of thing to Walter Scott, and go on and finish your charming fragment of
'The Eve of St. Mark,' which stops provokingly just where Bertha was
reading the illuminated manuscript, as she sat in her room of an April
evening, when

        "'On the western window panes,
  The chilly sunset faintly told
  Of unmatured green valleys cold.'" [42]

This quaintly attractive fragment of Keats was written while he was
living in the old cathedral and college city of Winchester.  "Some time
since," he writes to his brother George, September, 1819, "I began a poem
called 'The Eve of St. Mark,' quite in the spirit of town quietude.  I
think it will give you the sensation of walking about an old country town
in a coolish evening."  The letter describes the maiden-lady-like air of
the side streets, with doorsteps fresh from the flannel, the doors
themselves black, with small brass handles and lion's head or ram's head
knockers, seldom disturbed.  He speaks of his walks through the cathedral
yard and two college-like squares, grassy and shady, dwelling-places of
deans and prebendaries, out to St. Cross Meadows with their Gothic tower
and Alms Square.  Mr. Colvin thinks that Keats "in this piece anticipates
in a remarkable degree the feeling and method of the modern
pre-Raphaelite schools"; and that it is "perfectly in the spirit of
Rossetti (whom we know that the fragment deeply impressed and
interested)."  Mr. Forman, indeed, quotes Rossetti's own _dictum_ (works
of John Keats, vol. ii., p. 320) that the poem "shows astonishingly real
mediaevalism for one not bred as an artist."

It is in the Pre-Raphaelites that Keats' influence on our later poetry is
seen in its most concentrated shape.  But it is traceable in Tennyson, in
Hood, in the Brownings, and in many others, where his name is by no means
written in water.  "Wordsworth," says Lowell, "has influenced most the
ideas of succeeding poets; Keats their forms."

[1] Scott's friend, William Stewart Rose--to whom the first verse epistle
in "Marmion" is addressed.  He also translated the "Orlando Furioso"
(1823-31).  His "Partenopex" was made from a version in modern French.

[2] A new translation of the "Orlando," by Hoole, appeared in 1773-83; of
Tasso's "Jerusalem" in 1763; and of Metastasio's dramas in 1767.  These
were in the heroic couplets of Pope.

[3] "Childe Harold," Canto iv., xxxviii.  And _Cf._ vol. i., pp. 25, 49,
100, 170, 219, 222-26.

[4] _Vide supra_, p. 5.

[5] _Vide supra_, p. 40.  Goethe pronounced the "Inferno" abominable, the
"Purgatorio" doubtful, and the "Paradise" tiresome (Plumptre's "Dante,"
London, 1887, vol. ii., p. 484).

[6] See Walpole's opinion, vol. i., p. 235.

[7] For early manuscript renderings see "Les Plus Anciennes Traductions
Françaises de la Divine Comédie," par C. Morel, Paris, 1897.

[8] Lowell says Kannegiesser's, 1809.

[9] "Present State of Polite Learning" (1759).

[10] "Mentre che l'uno spirto questo disse,
       L'altro piangeva sì, che di pietade
     I venni men, così com' io morisse:
       E cadde come corpo morte cade."
             --"Inferno," Canto v.

[11] Vol. i., p. 236.

[12] Plumptre's "Dante," vol. ii., p. 439.

[13] "Ungrateful Florence!  Dante sleeps afar,
     Like Scipio, buried, by the upbraiding shore."
            --"Childe Harold," iv., 57.

[14] See vol. i., p. 49; and "Purgatorio," xxviii., 19-20.

      "Tal, qual di ramo in ramo si raccoglie
      Per la pineta in sal lito di Chiassi."

[15] He did better in free paraphrase than in literal translation.  _Cf._
Stanza cviii., in "Don Juan," Canto iii.--

  "Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts the heart"--

with its original in the "Purgatorio," viii., 1-6.

[16] Dedication to La Guiccioli.

[17] But in this poem each thirteenth and fourteenth line make a couplet,
thus breaking up the whole into a series of loose sonnets.

[18] T. W. Parsons' "Lines on a Bust of Dante" appeared in the Boston
_Advertiser_ in 1841.  His translation of the first ten cantos of the
"Inferno" was published in 1843: later instalments in 1867 and 1893.
Longfellow's version of the "Divine Comedy" with the series of sonnets by
the translator came out in 1867-70.  For the Dante work of the Rossettis,
_vide infra_, pp. 282 ff.

[19] "The Seer."

[20] He named a daughter, born while he was in prison, after Spenser's

[21] "Autobiography," p. 200 (ed. of 1870).

[22] See Dickens' caricature of him as Harold Skimpole in "Bleak House."

[23] "When I was last at Haydon's," wrote Keats to his brother George in
1818-19, "I looked over a book of prints taken from the fresco of the
church at Milan, the name of which I forget.  In it were comprised
specimens of the first and second age of art in Italy.  I do not think I
ever had a greater treat out of Shakespeare; full of romance and the most
tender feeling; magnificence of drapery beyond everything I ever saw, not
excepting Raphael's--but grotesque to a curious pitch--yet still making
up a fine whole, even finer to me than more accomplished works, as there
was left so much room for imagination."

[24] Against the hundreds of maxims from Pope, Keats furnishes a single
motto--the first line of "Endymion"--

    "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

[25] "From Shakespeare to Pope."  See also Sidney Colvin's "Keats."  New
York, 1887, pp. 61-64.

[26] _Vide supra_, p. 70.

[27] That he knew Pope's version is evident from a letter to Haydon of
May, 1817, given in Lord Houghton's "Life."

[28] He could have known extremely little of mediaeval literature; yet
there is nothing anywhere, even in the far more instructed Pre-Raphaelite
school which catches up the whole of the true mediaeval romantic
spirit--the spirit which animates the best parts of the Arthurian legend,
and of the wild stories which float through mediaeval tale-telling, and
make no small figure in mediaeval theology--as does the short piece of
'La Belle Dame sans Merci'.  (Saintsbury: "A Short History of English
Literature," p. 673).

[29] _Vide supra_, p. 85.  And for Keats' interest in Chatterton see vol.
i., pp. 370-72.

[30] The Dict. Nat. Biog. mentions doubtfully an earlier edition in 1795.

[31] See "Sonnet on Leigh Hunt's Poem 'The Story of Rimini.'"  Forman's
ed., vol. ii., p. 229.

[32] See Forman's ed., vol. ii., p. 334.

[33] "New Essays toward a Critical Method," London, 1897, p. 256.

[34] "Come, per sostentar solaio o tetto,
      Per mensola talvolta una figura
    Si vede giunger le ginocchia al petto,
      La qual fa del non ver vera rancura
    Nascere in chi la vede."
            --"Purgatorio," Canto x., 130-34.

[35] _Vide supra_, p. 85.

[36] Rossetti, Colvin, Gates, Robertson, Forman, and others.

[37] Leigh Hunt.  It has been objected to this passage that moonlight is
not strong enough to transmit _colored_ rays, like sunshine (see Colvin's
"Keats," p. 160).  But the mistake--if it is one--is shared by Scott.

    "The moonbeam kissed the holy pane
    And threw on the pavement a bloody stain."
            --"Lay of the Last Minstrel," Canto ii., xi.

[38] It is interesting to learn that the line

      "For o'er the Southern moors
      I have a home for thee"

read in the original draught "Over the bleak Dartmoor," etc.  Dartmoor
was in sight of Teignmouth where Keats once spent two months; but he
cancelled the local allusion in obedience to a correct instinct.

[39] "Ode to a Nightingale,"

[40] "The Liberal Movement in English Literature," London, 1885, p. 181.

[41] "Studies and Appreciations."  Lewis G. Gates.  New York, 1890, p. 17.

[42] See vol. i., p. 371, and for Cumberland's poem, on the same
superstition, _ibid._, 177.


The Romantic School in Germany.[1]

Cross-fertilization, at least in these modern eras, is as necessary in
the life of a literature as in that of an animal or a plant.  English
romanticism, though it started independently, did not remain an isolated
phenomenon; it was related to the general literary movement in Europe.
Even Italy had its romantic movement; Manzoni began, like Walter Scott,
by translating Bürger's "Lenore" and "Wild Huntsman", and afterwards,
like Schlegel in Germany and Hugo in France, attacked the classical
entrenchments in his "Discourse of the Three Unities."  It is no part of
our undertaking to write the history of the romantic schools in Germany
and France.  But in each of those countries the movement had points of
likeness and unlikeness which shed light upon our own; and an outline
sketch of the German and French schools will help the reader better to
understand both what English romanticism was, and what it was not.

In Germany, as in England, during the eighteenth century, the history of
romanticism is a history of arrested development.  Romanticism existed in
solution, but was not precipitated and crystallised until the closing
years of the period.  The current set flowing by Bürger's ballads and
Goethe's "Götz," was met and checked by a counter-current, the new
enthusiasm for the antique promoted by Winckelmann's[2] works on classic
art, by the neo-paganism of Goethe's later writings, and by the influence
of Lessing's[3] clear, rationalising, and thoroughly Protestant spirit.[4]

We may note, at the outset, the main features in which the German
romanticism differed from the English.  First, then, it was more
definitely a _movement_.  It was organised, self-conscious, and critical.
Indeed, it was in criticism and not in creative literature that its
highest successes were won.  Coleridge, Scott, and Keats, like their
English forerunners in the eighteenth century,[5] worked independently of
one another.  They did not conspire to a common end; had little personal
contact--were hardly acquaintances, and in no sense a "school."  But the
German romanticists constituted a compact group with coherent aims.  They
were intimate friends and associates; travelled, lived, and worked
together; edited each other's books and married each other's sisters.[6]
They had a theory of art, a programme, and a propaganda, were aggressive
and polemical, attacking their adversaries in reviews, and in satirical
tales,[7] poems, and plays.  Their headquarters were at Jena, "the
central point," says Heine, "from which the new aesthetic dogma radiated.
I advisedly say dogma, for this school began with a criticism of the art
productions of the past, and with recipes for the art works of the
future."  Their organ was the _Athenaeum_, established by Friedrich
Schlegel at Berlin in 1798, the date of Wordsworth's and Coleridge's
"Lyrical Ballads," and the climacteric year of English and German

The first number of the _Athenaeum_ contained the manifesto of the new
school, written by Friedrich Schlegel, the seminal mind of the coterie.
The terms of this pronunciamento are somewhat rapt and transcendental;
but through its mist of verbiage, one discerns that the ideal of romantic
art is announced to be: beauty for beauty's sake, the union of poetry and
life, and the absolute freedom of the artist to express himself.
"Romantic poetry," says Schlegel--"and, in a certain sense, all poetry
ought to be romantic--should, in representing outward objects, also
represent itself."  There is nothing here to indicate the precise line
which German romantic poetry was to take, but there is the same rejection
of authority, the same assertion of the right of original genius to break
a path for itself, which was made, in their various ways, by Wordsworth
and Coleridge in the "Lyrical Ballads," by Keats in "Sleep and Poetry,"
and by Victor Hugo in the preface to "Cromwell."

A second respect in which German romanticism differed from English was in
its thoroughgoing character.  It is the disposition of the German mind to
synthesise thought and life, to carry out theory into practice.  Each of
those imposing systems of philosophy, Kant's, Fichte's, Schelling's,
Hegel's, has its own _aesthetik_ as well as its own _ethik_.  It seeks to
interpret all human activities from a central principle; to apply its
highest abstractions to literature, government, religion, the fine arts,
and society.  The English mind is practical rather than theoretical.  It
is sensible, cautious, and willing to compromise; distrusting alike the
logical habit of the French to push out premises into conclusions at all
hazards; and the German habit of system-building.  The Englishman has no
system, he has his whim, and is careless of consistency.  It is quite
possible for him to have an aesthetic liking for the Middle Ages, without
wishing to restore them as an actual state of society.  It is hard for an
Englishman to understand to what degree a literary man, like Schiller,
was influenced in his writings by the critical philosophy of Kant; or how
Schelling's transcendental idealism was used to support Catholicism, and
Hegel made a prop to Protestant orthodoxy and Junkerism.  "Tragedies and
romances," wrote Mme. de Staël, "have more importance in Germany than in
any other country.  They take them seriously there; and to read such and
such a book, or see such and such a play, has an influence on the destiny
and the life.  What they admire as art, they wish to introduce into real
life; and poetry, philosophy, the ideal, in short, have often an even
greater empire over the Germans than nature and the passions."  In proof
of this, she adduces the number of young Germans who committed suicide in
consequence of reading "Werther"; or took to highway robbery in emulation
of "Die Räuber."

In England, accordingly, romanticism was a merely literary revolution and
kept strictly within the domain of art.  Scott's political conservatism
was indeed, as we have seen, not unrelated to his antiquarianism and his
fondness for the feudal past; but he remained a Protestant Tory.  And as
to his Jacobitism, if a Stuart pretender had appeared in Scotland in
1815, we may be sure that the canny Scott would not have taken arms in
his behalf against the Hanoverian king.  Coleridge's reactionary politics
had nothing to do with his romanticism; though it would perhaps be going
too far to deny that his reverence for what was old and tested by time in
the English church and constitution may have had its root in the same
temper of mind which led him to compose archaic ballad-romances like
"Christabel" and "The Dark Ladye."  But in Germany "throne and altar"
became the shibboleth of the school; half of the romanticists joined the
Catholic Church, and the new literature rallied to the side of
aristocracy and privilege.

A third respect in which the German movement differed from the English is
partly implied in what has been said above.  In Germany the romantic
revival was contemporaneous with a great philosophical development which
influenced profoundly even the lighter literature of the time.  Hence the
mysticism which is found in the work of many of the romanticists, and
particularly in the writings of Novalis.  Novalis was a disciple of
Schelling, and Schelling the continuator of Fichte.  Fichte's
"Wissenschaftslehre" (1794) is the philosophical corner-stone of the
German romantic school.  The freedom of the fancy from the thraldom of
the actual world; the right of the Ego to assert itself fully; the
principle formulated by Friedrich Schlegel, that "the caprice of the poet
knows no law"; all these literary doctrines were corollaries of Fichte's
objective idealism.[8]  It is needless to say that, while romantic art
usually partakes of the mysterious, there is nothing of this
philosophical or transcendental mysticism in the English romanticists.
If we were to expect it anywhere it would be in Coleridge, who became the
mediator between German and English thought.  But Coleridge's poetry was
mainly written before he visited Germany and made acquaintance with the
systems of Kant and Schelling; and in proportion as his speculative
activity increased, his creative force declined.  There is enough of the
marvellous and the unexplained in "Christabel," and "The Ancient
Mariner"; but the "mystic ruby" and the "blue flower" of the Teutonic
symbolists are not there.

The German romantic school, in the limited and precise sense of the term,
consisted of the brothers August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, Ludwig
Tieck, Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis), Johann Dietrich Gries, Tieck's
friend Wackenroder, and--at a distance--Zacharias Werner, the dramatist;
besides a few others, their associates or disciples, whose names need not
here be mentioned.  These were, as has been said, personal friends, they
began to be heard of about 1795; and their quarters were at Jena and
Berlin.  A later or younger group (_Spätromantiker_) gathered in 1808
about the _Zeitung für Einsiedler_, published at Heidelberg.  These were
Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim, Ludwig Uhland, Joseph Görres, and the
brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.  Arnim, Brentano, and Görres were
residing at the time at Heidelberg; the others contributed from a
distance.  Arnim edited the _Einsiedler_; Görres was teaching in the
university.  There were, of course, many other adherents of the school,
working individually at different times and places, scattered indeed all
over Germany, and of various degrees of importance or unimportance, of
whom I need mention only Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, the popular
novelist and author of "Undine."

The history of German romanticism has been repeatedly told.  There are
exhaustive treatments of the subject by Julian Schmidt, Koberstein,
Hettner ("Die Romantische Schule," Braunschweig, 1850); Haym ("Die
Romantische Schule," Berlin, 1870); by the Danish critic, Georg Brandes
("Den Romantiske Skole i Tydskland").  But the most famous review of this
passage of literary history is the poet Heine's brilliant little book,
"Die Romantische Schule," [9] published at Paris in 1833.  This was
written as a kind of supplement to Mme. de Staël's "L'Allemagne" (1813),
and was intended to instruct the French public as to some
misunderstandings in Mme. de Staël's book, and to explain what German
romanticism really was.  Professor Boyesen cautions us to be on our guard
against the injustice and untrustworthiness of Heine's report.  The
warning is perhaps not needed, for the animus of his book is sufficiently
obvious.  Heine had begun as a romantic poet, but he had parted company
with the romanticists because of the reactionary direction which the
movement took.  He had felt the spell, and he renders it with wonderful
vividness in his history of the school.  But, at the same time, the
impatience of the political radical and the religious sceptic--the
"valiant soldier in the war for liberty"--and the bitterness of the exile
for opinion's sake, make themselves felt.  His sparkling and malicious
wit turns the whole literature of romanticism into sport; and his abuse
of his former teacher, A. W. Schlegel, is personal and coarse beyond
description.  Twenty years ago, he said, when he was a lad, what
overflowing enthusiasm he would have lavished upon Uhland!  He used to
sit on the ruins of the old castle at Düsseldorf declaiming Uhland's poem

  "A wandering shepherd young and fair
  Beneath the royal castle strayed."

"But so much has happened since then!  What then seemed to me so grand;
all that chivalry and Catholicism; those cavaliers that hack and hew at
each other in knightly tournaments; those gentle squires and virtuous
dames of high degree; the Norseland heroes and minnesingers; the monks
and nuns; ancestral tombs thrilling with prophetic powers; colourless
passion, dignified by the high-sounding title of renunciation, and set to
the accompaniment of tolling bells; a ceaseless whining of the
'Miserere'; how distasteful all that has become to me since then!"
And--of Fouqué's romances--"But our age turns away from all fairy
pictures, no matter how beautiful. . . .  This reactionary tendency, this
continual praise of the nobility, this incessant glorification of the
feudal system, this everlasting knight-errantry balderdash . . .  this
everlasting sing-song of armours, battle-steeds, high-born virgins,
honest guild-masters, dwarfs, squires, castles, chapels, minnesingers,
faith, and whatever else that rubbish of the Middle Ages may be called,
wearied us."

It is a part of the irony of things that this satirist of romance should
have been precisely the one to compose the most popular of all romantic
ballads; and that the most current of all his songs should have been the
one in which he sings of the enchantress of the Rhine,

  "Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten
  Dass ich so traurig bin."

The "Loreley" is translated into many tongues, and is sung everywhere.
In Germany it is a really national song.  And yet the tale on which it is
founded is not an ancient folk legend--"ein Mährchen aus alten
Zeiten"--but a modern invention of Clemens Brentano, who first published
it in 1802 in the form of a ballad inserted in one of his novels:

  "Zu Bacharach am Rheine
    Wohnt' eine Zauberin:
  Sie war so schön und feine
    Und riss viel Herzen hin."

A certain forgotten romanticist, Graf Loeben, made a lyrical tale out of
it in 1821, and Heine composed his ballad in 1824, afterwards set to the
mournful air in which it is now universally familiar.

It has been mentioned that Heine's "Romantische Schule" was a sort of
continuation and correction of Mme. de Staël's "L'Allemagne."  That very
celebrated book was the result of the distinguished lady's residence in
Germany, and of her determination to reveal Germany to France.  It has
been compared in its purpose to the "Germania" of Tacitus, in which the
historian held up the primitive virtues of the Teutonic race as a lesson
and a warning to corrupt Rome.  Mme. de Staël had arranged to publish her
book in 1810, and the first impression of ten thousand copies had already
been printed, when the whole edition was seized and destroyed by the
police, and the author was ordered to quit France within twenty-four
hours.  All this, of course, was at the instance of Napoleon, who was by
no means above resenting the hostility of a lady author.  But the
Minister of Police, General Savary, assumed the responsibility of the
affair; and to Mme. de Staël's remonstrance he wrote in reply: "It
appeared to me that the air of this country did not agree with you, and
we are not yet reduced to seek for models amongst the people you admire
[the Germans].  Your last work is not French."  It was not, accordingly,
until 1813 that Mme. de Staël's suppressed work on Germany saw the light.

The only passages in it that need engage our attention are those in which
the author endeavours to interpret to a classical people the literature
of a Gothic race.  In her chapter entitled "Of Classic and Romantic
Poetry," she says: "The word romantic has been lately introduced in
Germany to designate that kind of poetry which is derived from the songs
of the troubadours; that which owes its birth to the union of chivalry
and Christianity."  She mentions the comparison--evidently derived from
Schlegel's lectures which she had attended--of ancient poetry to
sculpture and modern to painting; explains that the French incline
towards classic poetry, and the English--"the most illustrious of the
Germanic nations"--towards "that which owes its birth to chivalry and
romance."  "The English poets of our times, without entering into concert
with the Germans, have adopted the same system.  Didactic poetry has
given place to the fictions of the Middle Ages."  She observes that
simplicity and definiteness, that a certain corporeality and
externality--or what in modern critical dialect we would call
objectivity--are notes of antique art; while variety and shading of
colour, and a habit of self-reflection developed by Christianity
[subjectivity], are the marks of modern art.  "Simplicity in the arts
would, among the moderns, easily degenerate into coldness and
abstraction, while that of the ancients was full of life and animation.
Honour and love, valour and pity, were the sentiments which distinguished
the Christianity of chivalrous ages; and those dispositions of the soul
could only be displayed by dangers, exploits, love, misfortunes--that
romantic interest, in short, by which pictures are incessantly varied."
Mme. de Staël's analysis here does not go very deep, and her expression
is lacking in precision; but her meaning will be obvious to those who
have well considered the various definitions and expositions of these
contrasted terms with which we set out.  Without deciding between the
comparative merits of modern classic and romantic work, Mme. de Staël
points out that the former must necessarily be imitative.  "The
literature of the ancients is, among the moderns, a transplanted
literature; that of chivalry and romance is indigenous. . . .  The
literature of romance is alone capable of further improvement, because,
being rooted in our own soil, that alone can continue to grow and acquire
fresh life; it expresses our religion; it recalls our history."  Hence
she notes the fact that while the Spaniards of all classes know by heart
the verses of Calderon; while Shakspere is a popular and national poet
among the English; and the ballads of Goethe and Bürger are set to music
and sung all over Germany, the French classical poets are quite unknown
to the common people, "because the arts in France are not, as elsewhere,
natives of the very country in which their beauties are displayed."  In
her review of German poetry she gives a brief description, among other
things, of the "Nibelungen Lied," and a long analysis of Bürger's
"Leonora" and "Wilde Jäger."  She says that there are four English
translations of "Leonora," of which William Spenser's is the best.  "The
analogy between the English and German allows a complete transfusion of
the originality of style and versification of Bürger. . . .  It would be
difficult to obtain the same result in French, where nothing strange or
odd seems natural."  She points out that terror is "an inexhaustible
source of poetical effect in Germany. . . .  Stories of apparitions and
sorcerers are equally well received by the populace and by men of more
enlightened minds."  She notes the fondness of the new school for Gothic
architecture, and describes the principles of Schlegelian criticism.  She
transcribes A. W. Schlegel's praises of the ages of faith and the
generous brotherhood of chivalry, and his lament that "the noble energy
of ancient times is lost," and that "our times alas! no longer know
either faith or love."  The German critics affirm that the best traits of
the French character were effaced during the reign of Louis XIV.; that
"literature, in ages which are called classical, loses in originality
what it gains in correctness"; that the French tragedies are full of
pompous affectation; and that from the middle of the seventeenth century,
a constrained and affected manner had prevailed throughout Europe,
symbolised by the wig worn by Louis XIV. in pictures and bas-reliefs,
where he is portrayed sometimes as Jupiter and sometimes as Hercules clad
only in his lion's skin--but always with the perruque.  Heine complains
that Mme. de Staël fell into the hands of the Schlegels, when in Germany,
and that her account of German literature was coloured by their
prejudices; that William Schlegel, in particular, became her escort at
all the capitals of Europe and won great _éclat_ thereby

Schlegel's elegiac lament over the decay of chivalry may remind the
English reader of the famous passage in Burke[10] about Marie Antoinette.
"Little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen
upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of
cavaliers.  I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their
scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.  But the
age of chivalry is gone.  That of sophisters, economists, and calculators
has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.  Never,
never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that
proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the
heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an
exalted freedom.  The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of
nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone!  It
is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which
felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated
ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself
lost half its evil by losing all its grossness." [11]

But Burke's reaction against the levelling spirit of French democracy was
by no means so thoroughgoing as the romanticist protest in Germany.  It
was manifestly impossible to revive the orders of chivalry, as a
practical military system; or to recreate the feudal tenures in their
entirety.  Nor did even the most romantic of the German romanticists
dream of this.  They appealed, however, to the knightly principles of
devotion to church and king, of honour, of religious faith, and of
personal loyalty to the suzerain and the nobility.  It was these
political and theological aspects of the movement that disgusted Heine.
He says that just as Christianity was a reaction against Roman
materialism; and the Renaissance a reaction against the extravagances of
Christian spiritualism; and romanticism in turn a reaction against the
vapid imitations of antique classic art, "so also do we now behold a
reaction against the re-introduction of that Catholic, feudal mode of
thought, of that knight-errantry and priestdom, which were being
inculcated through literature and the pictorial arts. . . .  For when the
artists of the Middle Ages were recommended as models . . . the only
explanation of their superiority that could be given was that these men
believed in that which they depicted. . . .  Hence the artists who were
honest in their devotion to art, and who sought to imitate the pious
distortions of those miraculous pictures, the sacred uncouthness of those
marvel-abounding poems, and the inexplicable mysticisms of those olden
works . . . made a pilgrimage to Rome, where the vicegerent of Christ was
to re-invigorate consumptive German art with asses' milk."

A number of the romanticists were Catholic by birth.  There was Joseph
von Eichendorff, _e.g._, who had a strong admiration for the Middle Ages,
wrote sacred poetry, and published in 1815 a novel entitled "Ahnung und
Gegenwart," the hero of which ends by retiring to a monastery.  And
Joseph Görres, who published a work on German _Volksbücher_[12] (1807); a
follower of Schelling and editor of _Der Rheinische Merkur_, a violent
anti-Gallican journal during the war of liberation.  Görres, according to
Heine, "threw himself into the arms of the Jesuits," and became the
"chief support of the Catholic propaganda at Munich"; lecturing there on
universal history to an audience consisting chiefly of pupils from the
Romish seminaries.  Another _Spätromantiker_, born Catholic, was Clemens
Brentano, whom Heine describes in 1833 as having lived at Frankfort for
the last fifteen years in hermit-like seclusion, as a corresponding
member of the propaganda.  For six years (1818-24) Brentano was
constantly at the bedside of the invalid nun, Anna Katharina Emmerich, at
Dülmen.  She was a "stigmatic," afflicted, _i.e._, with a mysterious
disease which impressed upon her body marks thought to be miraculous
counterfeits of the wounds of Christ.  She had trances and visions, and
uttered revelations which Brentano recorded and afterwards published in
several volumes, that were translated into French and Italian and widely
circulated among the faithful.

As adherents of the romantic school who were born and bred Protestants,
but became converts to the Catholic faith, Heine enumerates Friedrich
Schlegel, Tieck, Novalis, Werner, Schütz, Carové, Adam Müller, and Count
Stolberg.  This list, he says, includes only authors, "the number of
painters who in swarms simultaneously abjured Protestantism and reason
was much larger."  But Tieck and Novalis never formally abjured
Protestantism.  They detested the Reformation and loved the mediaeval
Church, but looked upon modern Catholicism as a degenerate system.  Their
position here was something like that of the English Tractarians in the
earlier stages of the Oxford movement.  Novalis composed "Marienlieder."
Tieck complained of the dryness of Protestant ritual and theology, and
said that in the Middle Ages there was a unity (_Einheit_) which ought to
be again recovered.  All Europe was then one fatherland with a single
faith.  The period of the Arthursage was the blossoming time of romance,
the vernal season of love, religion, chivalry, and--sorcery!  He pleaded
for the creation of a new Christian, Catholic mythology.

In 1808 Friedrich Schlegel became a Roman Catholic--or, as Heine puts
it--"went to Vienna, where he attended mass daily and ate broiled fowl."
His wife, a daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, a Jewess by race, followed her
husband into the Catholic Church.  Zacharias Werner, author of a number
of romantic melodramas, the heroes of which are described as monkish
ascetics, religious mystics, and "spirits who wander on earth in the
guise of harp-players"--Zacharias Werner also went to Vienna and joined
the order of Ligorians.  This conversion made a prodigious noise in
Germany.  It occurred at Rome in 1811, and the convert afterwards
witnessed the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples, that
annual miracle in which Newman expresses so firm a belief.  Werner then
spent two years in the study of theology, visited Our Lady's Chapel at
Loretto in 1813; was ordained priest at Aschaffenburg in 1814; and
preached at St. Stephen's Church, Vienna, on the vanity of worldly
pleasures, with fastings many, with castigations and mortifications of
the flesh.  The younger Voss declared that Werner's religion was nothing
but a poetic coquetting with God, Mary, the wounds of Christ, and the
holy carbuncle (_Karfunkelstein_).  He had been a man of dissolute life
and had been divorced from three wives.  "His enthusiasm for the
restoration of the Middle Ages," says Heine, "was one-sided; it applied
only to the hierarchical, Catholic phase of mediaevalism; feudalism did
not so strongly appeal to his fancy. . . .  Pater Zacharias died in 1823,
after sojourning for fifty-four years in this wicked, wicked world."
Carlyle contributed to the _Foreign Review_ in 1828 an essay on "Werner's
Life and Writings," with translations of passages from his drama, "The
Templars in Cyprus."

But the conversion which caused the greatest scandal was that of Count
Friedrich Stolberg, whose apostasy was denounced by his early friend
Voss, the translator of Homer, in a booklet entitled "Wie ward Fritz
Stolberg ein Unfreier?"  Voss showed, says Heine, that "Stolberg had
secretly joined an association of the nobility which had for its purpose
to counteract the French ideas of liberty; that these nobles entered into
a league with the Jesuits; that they sought, through the re-establishment
of Catholicism, to advance also the interests of the nobility." [13]

The German literary historians agree that the fresh outbreak of
romanticism in the last decade of the eighteenth century was the
resumption of an earlier movement which had been interrupted; that it was
furthered by the new feeling of German nationality aroused by the
Bonapartist tyranny; and finally that it was a protest against the flat
mediocrity which ruled in the ultra-evangelical circle headed by Nicolai,
the Berlin bookseller and editor.  Into this mere Philistinism had
narrowed itself the nobler rationalism of Lessing, with its distrust of
_Träumerei_ and _Schwärmerei_--of superstition and fanaticism.  "Dry
light is best," says Bacon, but the eye is hungry for colour, that has
looked too steadily on the _lumen siccum_ of the reason; and then
imagination becomes the prism which breaks the invisible sunbeam into
beauty.  Hence the somewhat extravagant romantic love of colour, and the
determination to believe, at all hazards and even in the teeth of reason.
Hence the imperfectly successful attempt to force back the modern mind
into a posture of child-like assent to the marvellous.  Tieck's
"Mährchen" and the Grimm brothers' nursery tales belong to this
"renascence of wonder," like Lewis' "Tales of Terror," Scott's
"Demonology," and Coleridge's "Christabel" in England.  "The tendencies
of 1770 to 1780," says Scherer, "which had now quite disappeared,
asserted themselves with new and increased force.  The nations which were
groaning under Napoleon's oppression sought comfort in the contemplation
of a fairer and grander past.  Patriotism and mediaevalism became for a
long time the watchwords and the dominating fashion of the day."

Allowing for the differences mentioned, the romantic movements in England
and Germany offer, as might be expected, many interesting parallels.
Carlyle, writing in 1827,[14] says that the recent change in German
literature is only a part of a general change in the whole literature of
Europe.  "Among ourselves, for instance, within the last thirty years,
who has not lifted up his voice with double vigour in praise of
Shakespeare and nature, and vituperation of French taste and French
philosophy?  Who has not heard of the glories of old English literature;
the wealth of Queen Elizabeth's age; the penury of Queen Anne's; and the
inquiry whether Pope was a poet?  A similar temper is breaking out in
France itself, hermetically sealed as that country seemed to be against
all foreign influences; and doubts are beginning to be entertained, and
even expressed, about Corneille and the three unities.  It seems to be
substantially the same thing which has occurred in Germany, and been
attributed to Tieck and his associates; only that the revolution which is
here proceeding, and in France commencing, appears in Germany to be

In Germany, as in England--in Germany more than in England--other arts
beside literature partook of the new spirit.  The brothers Boisserée
agitated for the completion of the "Kölner Dom," and collected their
famous picture gallery to illustrate the German, Dutch, and Flemish art
of the fifteenth century; just as Gothic came into fashion in England
largely in consequence of the writings of Walpole, Scott, and Ruskin.
Like our own later Pre-Raphaelite group, German art critics began to
praise the naive awkwardness of execution and devout spirituality of
feeling in the old Florentine painters, and German artists strove to
paint like Fra Angelico.  Friedrich Schlegel gave a strong impulse to the
study of mediaeval art, and Heine scornfully describes him and his friend
Joseph Görres, rummaging about "among the ancient Rhine cities for the
remains of old German pictures and statuary which were superstitiously
worshipped as holy relics."  Tieck and his friend Wackenroder brought
back from their pilgrimage to Dresden in 1796 a devotion, a kind of
sentimental Mariolatry, to the celebrated Madonnas of Raphael and Holbein
in the Dresden gallery; and from their explorations in Nürnberg, that
_Perle des Mittelalters_, an enthusiasm for Albrecht Dürer.  This found
expression in Wackenroder's "Herzensergiessungen eines Kunstliebenden
Klosterbruders"; and in Tieck's novel, "Sternbald's Wanderungen," in
which he accompanies a pupil of Dürer to Rome.  Wackenroder, like Tieck's
other friend, Novalis, was of a consumptive, emotional, and somewhat
womanish constitution of mind and body, and died young.  Tieck edited his
remains, including letters on old German art.  The standard editions of
their joint writings are illustrated by engravings after Dürer, one of
which in particular, the celebrated "Knight, Death, and the Devil,"
symbolizes the mysterious terrors of Tieck's own tales, and of German
romance in general.  The knight is in complete armour, and is riding
through a forest.  On a hilltop in the distance are the turrets of a
castle; a lean hound follows the knight; on the ground between his
horse's hoofs sprawls a lizard-like reptile; a figure on horseback
approaches from the right, with the face half obliterated or eaten away
to the semblance of a skull, and snakes encircling the temples.  Behind
comes on a demon or goblin shape, with a tall curving horn, which is
"neither man nor woman, neither beast nor human," but one of those
grotesque and obscene monsters which the mediaeval imagination sculptured
upon the cathedrals.  This famous copperplate prompted Fouqué's romance,
"Sintram and his Companions."  He had received a copy of it for a
birthday gift, and brooded for years over its mysterious significance;
which finally shaped itself in his imagination into an allegory of the
soul's conflict with the powers of darkness.  His whole narrative leads
up to the description of Dürer's picture, which occupies the
twenty-seventh and climacteric chapter.  The school of young German
Pre-Raphaelite art students, associated at Rome in 1810 under the
leadership of Overbeck and Cornelius, was considerably influenced by
Wackenroder's "Herzensergiessungen."

Music, too, and particularly church music, was affected by the new taste.
The ancient music of the "Dies Irae" and other Latin hymns was revived;
and it would not be far wrong to say that the romantic school sowed the
seed of Wagner's great music-dramas, profoundly Teutonic and romantic in
their subject matter and handling and in their application of the united
arts of poetry, music, and scene-painting to old national legends such as
"Parzival," "Tannhäuser," [15] "The Knight of the Swan," and the
"Nibelungen Hoard."

History, too, and Germanic philology took impulse from this fresh
interest in the past.  Johannes Müller, in his "History of the Swiss
Confederation" (1780-95), drew the first appreciative picture of
mediaeval life, and caught, in his diction, something of the manner of
the old chroniclers.  As in England ancient stores of folklore and
popular poetry were gathered and put forth by Percy, Ritson, Ellis,
Scott, and others, so in Germany the Grimm brothers' universally known
collections of fairy tales, legends, and mythology began to appear.[16]
Tieck published in 1803 his "Minnelieder aus dem Schwabischen Zeitalter."
Karl Simrock made modern versions of Middle High German poetry.  Uhland,
whose "Walther von der Vogelweide," says Scherer, "gave the first
complete picture of an old German singer," carried the war into Africa by
going to Paris in 1810 and making a study of the French Middle Age.  He
introduced the old French epics to the German public, and is regarded,
with A. W. Schlegel, as the founder of romance philology in Germany.

A pupil of Bodmer,[17] the Swiss Christian Heinrich Myller, had issued a
complete edition of the "Nibelungenlied" in 1784-85.  The romantic school
now took up this old national epic and praised it as a German Iliad,
unequalled in sublimity and natural power.  Uhland gave a great deal of
study to it, and A. W. Schlegel lectured upon it at Berlin in 1801-2.
Both Schlegel and Tieck made plans to edit it; and Friedrich von der
Hagen, inspired by the former's lectures, published four editions of it,
and a version in modern German.  "For a long time," testifies Heine, "the
'Nibelungenlied' was the sole topic of discussion among us. . . .  It is
difficult for a Frenchman to form a conception of this work, or even of
the language in which it is written.  It is a language of stone, and the
verses are, as it were, blocks of granite."  By way of giving his French
readers a notion of the gigantic passions and rude, primitive strength of
the poem, he imagines a battle of all the Gothic cathedrals of Europe on
some vast plain, and adds, "But no! even then you can form no conception
of the chief characters of the 'Nibelungenlied'; no steeple is so high,
no stone so hard as the fierce Hagen, or the revengeful Chrimhilde."

Another work which corresponds roughly with Percy's "Reliques," as the
"Nibelungenlied" with Macpherson's "Ossian," was "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"
(The Boy's Magic Trumpet), published in 1806-8 by Clemens Brentano and
Achim von Arnim, with a dedication to Goethe.  This was a three-volume
collection of German songs, and although it came much later than Percy's,
and after the imitation of old national balladry in Germany was already
well under way, so that its relation to German romanticism is not of an
initial kind, like that of Percy's collection in England; still its
importance was very great.  It influenced all the lyrical poetry of the
Romantic school, and especially the ballads of Uhland.  "I cannot
sufficiently extol this book," says Heine.  "It contains the sweetest
flowers of German poesy. . . .  On the title page . . . is the picture of
a lad blowing a horn; and when a German in a foreign land views this
picture, he almost seems to hear the old familiar strains, and
homesickness steals over him. . . .  In these ballads one feels the
beating of the German popular heart.  Here is revealed all its sombre
merriment, all its droll wit.  Here German wrath beats furiously the
drum; here German satire stings, here German love kisses.  Here we behold
the sparkling of genuine German wine, and genuine German tears."

The German romantic school, like the English, but more learnedly and
systematically, sought to reinforce its native stock of materials by
_motifs_ drawn from foreign literatures, and particularly from Norse
mythology and from Spanish romance.  Percy's translation of Malet: Gray's
versions from the Welsh and the Scandinavian: Southey's "Chronicles of
the Cid" and Lockhart's translations of the Spanish ballads are
paralleled in Germany by William Schlegel's, and Uhland's, and others'
studies in old Norse mythology and poetry; by Tieck's translation of "Don
Quixote" [18] and by Johann Dietrich Gries' of Calderon.  The
romanticists, indeed, and especially Tieck and A. W. Schlegel, were most
accomplished translators.  Schlegel's great version of Shakspere is
justly esteemed one of the glories of the German tongue.  Heine affirms
that it was undertaken solely for polemical purposes and at a time (1797)
when the enthusiasm for the Middle Ages had not yet reached an
extravagant height, "Later, when this did occur, Calderon was translated
and ranked far above Shakespeare. . . .  For the works of Calderon bear
most distinctly the impress of the poetry of the Middle Ages,
particularly of the two principal epochs, knight-errantry and
monasticism.  The pious comedies of the Castilian priest-poet, whose
poetical flowers had been besprinkled with holy water and canonical
perfumes . . . were now set up as models, and Germany swarmed with
fantastically pious, insanely profound poems, over which it was the
fashion to work one's self into a mystic ecstasy of admiration, as in
'The Devotion to the Cross'; or to fight in honour of the Madonna, as in
'The Constant Prince.' . . .  Our poetry, said the Schlegels, is
superannuated. . . .  Our emotions are withered; our imagination is dried
up. . . .  We must seek again the choked-up springs of the naive, simple
poetry of the Middle Ages, where bubbles the elixir of youth."  Heine
adds that Tieck, following out this prescription, drank so deeply of the
mediaeval folk tales and ballads that he actually became a child again
and fell to lisping.

There is a suggestive analogy between the position of the Warton brothers
in England and the Schlegel brothers in Germany.  The Schlegels, like the
Wartons, were leaders in the romantic movement of their time and country,
and were the inspirers of other men.  The two pairs were alike also in
that their best service was done in the field of literary history,
criticism, and exposition, while their creative work was imitative and of
comparatively small value.  Friedrich Schlegel's scandalous romance
"Lucinde" is of much less importance than his very stimulating lectures
on the "History of Literature" and the "Wisdom and Languages of
India";[19] and his elder brother, though an accomplished metrist and
translator, was not successful in original verse.  But this resemblance
between the Wartons and the Schlegels must not be pressed too far.  Here,
as at many other points, the German movement had greater momentum.  The
Wartons were men of elegant scholarship after their old-fashioned kind, a
kind which joined the usual classical culture of the English universities
to a liberal--and in their century somewhat paradoxical--enthusiasm in
antiquarian pursuits.  But the Schlegels were men of really wide learning
and of depth in criticism.  Compared with their scientific method and
grasp of principles, the "Observations" and "Essays" of the Wartons are
mere dilettantism.  To the influence of the Schlegels is not unfairly
attributed the origin in Germany of the sciences of comparative philology
and comparative mythology, and the works of scholars like Bopp, Diez, and
the brothers Grimm.  Herder[20] had already traced the broad cosmopolitan
lines which German literary scholarship was to follow, with German
thoroughness and independence.  And Heine acknowledges that "in
reproductive criticism, where the beauties of a work of art were to be
brought out clearly; where a delicate perception of individualities was
required; and where these were to be made intelligible, the Schlegels
were far superior to Lessing."  The one point at which the English
movement outweighed the German was Walter Scott, whose creative vigour
and fertility made an impact upon the mind of Europe to which the
romantic literature of the Continent affords no counterpart.

The principles of the Schlegelian criticism were first communicated to
the English public by Coleridge; who, in his lectures on Shakspere and
other dramatists, helped himself freely to William Schlegel's
"Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Litteratur." [21]  Heine
denounces the shallowness of these principles and their failure to
comprehend the modern mind.  "When Schlegel seeks to depreciate the poet
Bürger, he compares his ballads with the old English ballads of the Percy
collection, and he shows that the latter are more simple, more naïve,
more antique, and consequently more poetical. . . .  But death is not
more poetical than life.  The old English ballads of the Percy collection
exhale the spirit of their age, and Bürger's ballads breathe the spirit
of _our_ time.  The latter, Schlegel never understood. . . .  What
increased Schlegel's reputation still more was the sensation which he
excited in France, where he also attacked the literary authorities of the
French, . . . showed the French that their whole classical literature was
worthless, that Molière was a buffoon and no poet, that Racine likewise
was of no account . . . that the French are the most prosaic people of
the world, and that there is no poetry in France."  It is well known that
Coleridge detested the French, as "a light but cruel race", that he
undervalued their literature and even affected an ignorance of the
language.  The narrowness of Schlegelian criticism was only the excess of
Teutonism reacting against the previous excesses of Gallic classicism.

The deficiency of creative imagination in the Schlegels was supplied by
their disciple Ludwig Tieck, who made the "Mährchen," or popular
traditionary tale, his peculiar province.  It was Wackenroder who first
drew his attention to "those old, poorly printed _Volksbücher_, with
their coarse wood-cuts which had for centuries been circulating among the
peasantry, and which may still be picked up at the book-stalls of the
Leipzig fairs." [22]  Tieck's volume of "Volksmährchen" (1797) gave
reproductions of a number of these old tales, such as the
"Haimonskinder," the "Schöne Magelone," "Tannhäuser," and the
"Schildbürger."  His "Phantasus" (1812) contained original tales
conceived in the same spirit.  Scherer says that Tieck uttered the
manifesto of German romanticism in the following lines from the overture
of his "Kaiser Octavianus":

  "Mondbeglänzte Zaubernacht,
  Die den Sinn gefangen hält,
  Wundervolle Mährchenwelt,
  Steig auf in der alten Pracht!"

"Forest solitude" [_Waldeinsamkeit_], says Boyesen,[23] "churchyards at
midnight, ruins of convents and baronial castles; in fact, all the things
which we are now apt to call romantic, are the favourite haunts of
Tieck's muse. . . .  Tieck was excessively fond of moonlight and
literally flooded his tales with its soft, dim splendour; therefore
moonlight is now romantic. . . .  He never allows a hero to make a
declaration of love without a near or distant accompaniment of a bugle
(_Schalmei_ or _Waldhorn_); accordingly the bugle is called a romantic

"The true tone of that ancient time," says Carlyle,[24] "when man was in
his childhood, when the universe within was divided by no wall of adamant
from the universe without, and the forms of the Spirit mingled and dwelt
in trustful sisterhood with the forms of the Sense, was not easy to seize
and adapt with any fitness of application to the feelings of modern
minds.  It was to penetrate into the inmost shrines of Imagination, where
human passion and action are reflected in dim and fitful, but deeply
significant resemblances, and to copy these with the guileless, humble
graces which alone can become them. . . .  The ordinary lovers of witch
and fairy matter will remark a deficiency of spectres and enchantments,
and complain that the whole is rather dull.  Cultivated free-thinkers,
again, well knowing that no ghosts or elves exist in this country, will
smile at the crack-brained dreamer, with his spelling-book prose and
doggerel verse, and dismiss him good-naturedly as a German Lake poet."
"In these works," says Heine, "there reigns a mysterious intenseness, a
peculiar sympathy with nature, especially with the vegetable and mineral
kingdoms.  The reader feels himself transported into an enchanted forest;
he hears the melodious gurgling of subterranean waters; at times he seems
to distinguish his own name in the rustling of the trees.  Ever and anon
a nameless dread seizes upon him as the broad-leaved tendrils entwine his
feet; strange and marvellous wild flowers gaze at him with their bright,
languishing eyes; invisible lips mockingly press tender kisses on his
cheeks; gigantic mushrooms, which look like golden bells, grow at the
foot of the trees; large silent birds sway to and fro on the branches
overhead, put on a sapient look and solemnly nod their heads.  Everything
seems to hold its breath; all is hushed in awed expectation; suddenly the
soft tones of a hunter's horn are heard, and a lovely female form, with
waving plumes on head and falcon on wrist, rides swiftly by on a
snow-white steed.  And this beautiful damsel is so exquisitely lovely, so
fair; her eyes are of the violet's hue, sparkling with mirth and at the
same time earnest, sincere, and yet ironical; so chaste and yet so full
of tender passion, like the fancy of our excellent Ludwig Tieck.  Yes,
his fancy is a charming, high-born maiden, who in the forests of
fairyland gives chase to fabulous wild beasts; perhaps she even hunts the
rare unicorn, which may only be caught by a spotless virgin."

In 1827 Carlyle[25] published translations of five of Tieck's "Mährchen,"
viz.: "The Fair-Haired Eckbert," "The Trusty Eckart," "The Elves," "The
Runenberg," and "The Goblet."  He mentioned that another tale had been
already Englished--"The Pictures" (Die Gemälde).  This version was by
Connop Thirwall, who had also rendered "The Betrothal" in 1824.  In spite
of Carlyle's recommendations, Tieck's stories seem to have made small
impression in England.  Doubtless they came too late, and the romantic
movement, by 1827, had spent its first force in a country already sated
with Scott's poems and novels.  Sarah Austin, a daughter of William
Taylor of Norwich, went to Germany to study German literature in this
same year 1827.  In her "Fragments from German Prose Writers" (1841), she
speaks of the small success of Tieck's stories in England, but testifies
that A. W. Schlegel's dramatic lectures had been translated early and the
translation frequently reprinted.  Another of the Norwich
Taylors--Edgar--was the translator of Grimm's "Haus- und
Kinder-Mährchen."  Julius Hare, who was at school at Weimar in the winter
of 1804-5, rendered three of Tieck's tales, as well as Fouqué's "Sintram"

It is interesting to note that Tieck was not unknown to Hawthorne and
Poe.  The latter mentions his "Journey into the Blue Distance" in his
"Fall of the House of Usher", and in an early review of Hawthorne's
"Twice-Told Tales" (1842) and "Mosses from an Old Manse" (1846), at a
time when their author was still, in his own words, "the obscurest man of
letters in America."  Poe acutely pointed out a resemblance between
Hawthorne and Tieck; "whose manner," he asserts, "in some of his works,
is absolutely identical with that _habitual_ to Hawthorne."  One finds a
confirmation of this _aperçu_--or finds, at least, that Hawthorne was
attracted by Tieck--in passages of the "American Note-Books," where he
speaks of grubbing out several pages of Tieck at a sitting, by the aid of
a German dictionary.  Colonel Higginson ("Short Studies"), _à propos_ of
Poe's sham learning and his habit of mystifying the reader by imaginary
citations, confesses to having hunted in vain for this fascinatingly
entitled "Journey into the Blue Distance"; and to having been laughed at
for his pains by a friend who assured him that Poe could scarcely read a
word of German.  But Tieck did really write this story, "Das Alte Buch:
oder Reise ins Blaue hinein," which Poe misleadingly refers to under its
alternate title.  There is, indeed, a hint of allegory in Tieck's
"Mährchen"--which are far from being mere fairy tales--that reminds one
frequently of Hawthorne's shadowy art--of such things as "Ethan Brand,"
or "The Minister's Black Veil," or "The Great Carbuncle of the White
Mountains."  There is, _e.g._, "The Elves," in which a little girl does
but step across the foot-bridge over the brook that borders her father's
garden, to find herself in a magic land where she stays, as it seems to
her, a few hours, but returns home to learn that she has been absent
seven years.  Or there is "The Runenberg," where a youth wandering in the
mountains, receives from a sorceress, through the casement of a ruined
castle, a wondrous tablet set with gems in a mystic pattern; and years
afterward wanders back into the mountains, leaving home and friends to
search for fairy jewels, only to return again to his village, an old and
broken-down man, bearing a sackful of worthless pebbles which appear to
him the most precious stones.  And there is the story of "The Goblet,"
where the theme is like that of Hawthorne's "Shaker Bridal," a pair of
lovers whose union is thwarted and postponed until finally, when too
late, they find that only the ghost or the memory of their love is left
to mock their youthful hope.

But the mystic, _par excellence_, among the German romanticists was
Novalis, of whose writings Carlyle gave a sympathetic account in the
_Foreign Review_ for 1829.  Novalis' "Hymns to the Night," written in
Ossianic prose, were perhaps not without influence on Longfellow ("Voices
of the Night"), but his most significant work was his unfinished romance
"Heinrich von Ofterdingen."  The hero was a legendary poet of the time of
the Crusades, who was victor in a contest of minstrelsy on the Wartburg.
But in Novalis' romance there is no firm delineation of mediaeval
life--everything is dissolved in a mist of transcendentalism and
allegory.  The story opens with the words: "I long to see the blue
flower; it is continually in my mind, and I can think of nothing else."
Heinrich falls asleep, and has a vision of a wondrous cavern and a
fountain, beside which grows a tall, light blue flower that bends towards
him, the petals showing "like a blue spreading ruff in which hovered a
lovely face."  This blue flower, says Carlyle, is poetry, "the real
object, passion, and vocation of young Heinrich."  Boyesen gives a
subtler interpretation.  "This blue flower," he says, "is the watchword
and symbol of the school.  It is meant to symbolise the deep and nameless
longings of a poet's soul.  Romantic poetry invariably deals with
longing; not a definite formulated desire for some attainable object, but
a dim mysterious aspiration, a trembling unrest, a vague sense of kinship
with the infinite,[26] a consequent dissatisfaction with every form of
happiness which the world has to offer.  The object of the romantic
longing, therefore, so far as it has any object, is the ideal. . . .  The
blue flower, like the absolute ideal, is never found in this world, poets
may at times dimly feel its nearness, and perhaps even catch a brief
glimpse of it in some lonely forest glade, far from the haunts of men,
but it is in vain to try to pluck it.  If for a moment its perfume fills
the air, the senses are intoxicated and the soul swells with poetic
rapture." [27]  It would lead us too far afield to follow up the traces
of this mystical symbolism in the writings of our New England
transcendentalists.  One is often reminded of Novalis' blue flower in
such a poem as Emerson's "Forerunners," or Lowell's "Footpath," or
Whittier's "Vanishers," or in Thoreau's little parable about the horse,
the hound, and the dove which he had long ago lost and is still seeking.
And again one is reminded of Tieck when Thoreau says: "I had seen the red
election birds brought from their recesses on my comrades' strings and
fancied that their plumage would assume stranger and more dazzling
colours in proportion as I advanced farther into the darkness and
solitude of the forest."  Heinrich von Ofterdingen travels to Augsburg to
visit his grandfather, conversing on the way with various shadowy
persons, a miner, a hermit, an Eastern maiden named Zulma, who represent
respectively, according to Boyesen, the poetry of nature, the poetry of
history, and the spirit of the Orient.  At Augsburg he meets the poet
Klingsohr (the personification, perhaps, of poetry in its full
development).  With his daughter Matilda he falls in love, whose face is
that same which he had beheld in his vision, encircled by the petals of
the blue flower.  Then he has a dream in which he sees Matilda sink and
disappear in the waters of a river.  Then he encounters her in a strange
land and asks where the river is.  "Seest thou not its blue waves above
us?" she answers.  "He looked up and the blue river was flowing softly
over their heads."  "This image of Death, and of the river being the sky
in that other and eternal country" [28]--does it not once more remind us
of the well-known line in Channing's "A Poet's Hope"--

  "If my bark sink, 'tis to another sea";

or of Emerson's "Two Rivers":

  "Thy summer voice, Musketaquit,
    Repeats the music of the rain,
  But sweeter rivers pulsing flit
    Through thee, as thou through Concord plain"?

But transcendentalism is one thing and romanticism is another, and we may
dismiss Novalis with a reminder of the fact that the _Journal of
Speculative Philosophy_, once published at Concord, took for its motto a
sentence from his "Blüthenstaub" (Flower-pollen): "Philosophy can bake no
bread, but she can procure for us God, freedom, and immortality." [29]

Brentano and Von Arnim have had practically no influence in England.
Brentano's most popular story was translated by T. W. Appell, under the
title, "Honour, or the Story of the Brave Casper and the Fair Annerl:
With an Introduction and Biographical Notice" (London, 1847).  The same
story was rendered into French in the _Correspondant_ for 1859 ("Le Brave
Kasperl et la Belle Annerl").  Three tales of Arnim were translated by
Théophile Gautier, as "Contes Bizarres" (Paris, 1856).  Arnim's best
romance is "Die Kronenwächter" (1817).  Scherer testifies that this
"combined real knowledge of the Reformation period with graphic power";
and adds: "It was Walter Scott's great example which, in the second
decade of this century, first made conscientious faithfulness and study
of details the rule in historical novel-writing."  Longfellow's "German
Poets and Poetry" (1845) includes nothing from Arnim or Brentano.  Nor
did Thomas Roscoe's "German Novelists" (four volumes), nor George Soane's
"Specimens of German Romance," both of which appeared in 1826.

The most popular of the German romanticists was Friedrich Baron de la
Motte Fouqué, the descendant of a family exiled from France by the
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and himself an officer in the Prussian
army in the war of liberation.  Fouqué's numerous romances, in all of
which he upholds the ideal of Christian knighthood, have been, many of
them, translated into English.  "Aslauga's Knight" appeared in Carlyle's
"Specimens of German Romance" (1827); "Sintram," "Undine," and "Der
Zauberring" had been translated even earlier.  "Thiodolf the Icelander"
and others have also been current in English circulating libraries.
Carlyle acknowledges that Fouqué's notes are few, and that he is
possessed by a single idea.  "The chapel and the tilt yard stand in the
background or the foreground in all the scenes of his universe.  He gives
us knights, soft-hearted and strong-armed; full of Christian self-denial,
patience, meekness, and gay, easy daring; they stand before us in their
mild frankness, with suitable equipment, and accompaniment of squire and
dame. . . .  Change of scene and person brings little change of subject;
even when no chivalry is mentioned, we feel too clearly the influence of
its unseen presence.  Nor can it be said that in this solitary department
his success is of the very highest sort.  To body forth the spirit of
Christian knighthood in existing poetic forms; to wed that old
_sentiment_ to modern _thoughts_, was a task which he could not attempt.
He has turned rather to the fictions and machinery of former days."
Heine says that Fouqué's Sigurd the Serpent Slayer has the courage of a
hundred lions and the sense of two asses.  But Fouqué's "Undine" (1811)
is in its way a masterpiece and a classic.  This story of the lovely
water-sprite, who received a soul when she fell in love with the knight,
and with a soul, a knowledge of human sorrow, has a slight resemblance to
the conception of Hawthorne's "Marble Faun."  Coleridge was greatly
fascinated by it.  He read the original several times, and once the
American translation, printed at Philadelphia.  He said that it was
beyond Scott, and that Undine resembled Shakspere's Caliban in being a
literal _creation_.

But in general Fouqué's chivalry romances, when compared with Scott's,
have much less vigour, variety, and dramatic force, though a higher
spirituality and a softer sentiment.  The Waverley novels are solid with
a right materialistic treatment.  It was Scott's endeavour to make the
Middle Ages real.  The people are there, as well as chevaliers and their
ladies.  The history of the times is there.  But in Fouqué the Middle
Ages become even more unreal, fairy-like, fantastic than they are in our
imaginations.  There is nothing but tourneying, love-making, and
enchantment.  Compare the rumour of the Crusades and Richard the Lion
Heart in "Der Zauberring" with the stalwart flesh-and-blood figures in
"Ivanhoe" and "The Talisman."  A wavering moonshine lies all over the
world of the Fouqué romances, like the magic light which illumines the
Druda's castle in "Der Zauberring," on whose battlements grow tall white
flowers, and whose courts are filled with unearthly music from the
perpetual revolution of golden wheels.  "On the romantic side," wrote
Richter, in his review of "L'Allemagne" in the _Heidelberg Jahrbücher_
for 1815, "we could not wish the Briton to cast his first glance at us;
for the Briton--to whom nothing is so poetical as the common
weal--requires (being used to the weight of gold), even for a golden age
of poetry, the thick golden wing-cases of his epithet-poets; not the
transparent gossamer wings of the Romanticists; no many-coloured
butterfly dust; but, at lowest, flower-dust that will grow to something."

Another _Spätromantiker_ who has penetrated to the English literary
consciousness is the Swabian Ludwig Uhland, the sweetest lyric poet of
the romantic school.  Uhland studied the poems of Ossian, the Norse
sagas, the "Nibelungenlied" and German hero legends, the Spanish
romances, the poetry of the trouveres and the troubadours, and treated
motives from all these varied sources.  His true field, however, was the
ballad, as Tieck's was the popular tale; and many of Uhland's ballads are
favourites with English readers, through excellent translations.  Sarah
Austin's version of one of them is widely familiar:

  "Many a year is in its grave
  Since I crossed this restless wave," etc.

Longfellow translated three: "The Black Knight," "The Luck of Edenhall,"
and "The Castle by the Sea."  It is to be feared that the last-named
belongs to what Scherer calls that "trivial kind of romanticism, full of
sadness and renunciation, in which kings and queens with crimson mantles
and golden crowns, kings' daughters and beautiful shepherds, harpers,
monks, and nuns play a great part."  But it has a haunting beauty, and a
dreamy melody like Goethe's "Es war ein König in Thule."  The mocking
Heine, who stigmatises Fouqué's knights as combinations of iron and
sentimentality, complains that in Uhland's writings too "the naive, rude,
powerful tones of the Middle Ages are not reproduced with idealised
fidelity, but rather they are dissolved into a sickly, sentimental
melancholy. . . .  The women in Uhland's poems are only beautiful
shadows, embodied moonshine; milk flows in their veins, and sweet tears
in their eyes, _i.e._, tears which lack salt.  If we compare Uhland's
knights with the knights in the old ballads, it seems to us as if the
former were composed of suits of leaden armour, entirely filled with
flowers, instead of flesh and bones.  Hence Uhland's knights are more
pleasing to delicate nostrils than the old stalwarts, who wore heavy iron
trousers and were huge eaters and still huger drinkers."

Upon the whole it must be concluded that this second invasion of England
by German romance, in the twenties and early thirties of the nineteenth
century, made a lesser impression than the first irruption in, say, 1795
to 1810, in the days of Bürger and "Götz," and "The Robbers," and Monk
Lewis and the youthful Scott.  And the reason is not far to seek.  The
newcomers found England in possession of a native romanticism of a very
robust type, by the side of which the imported article showed like a
delicate exotic.  Carlyle affirms that Madame de Staël's book was the
precursor of whatever acquaintance with German literature exists in
England.  He himself worked valiantly to extend that acquaintance by his
articles in the _Edinburgh_ and _Foreign Review_, and by his translations
from German romance.  But he found among English readers an invincible
prejudice against German mysticism and German sentimentality.  The
romantic _chiaroscuro_, which puzzled Southey even in "The Ancient
Mariner," became dimmest twilight in Tieck's "Mährchen" and midnight
darkness in the visionary Novalis.  The _Weichheit_, _Wehmuth_, and
_Sehnsucht nach der Unendlichkeit_ of the German romanticists were moods
not altogether unfamiliar in English poetry.  "Now stirs the feeling
infinite," sings Byron.

  "Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,"

cries Keats.  But when Novalis, in his _Todessehnsucht_, exclaims, "Death
is the romance of life," the sentiment has an alien sound.  There was
something mutually repellent between the more typical phases of English
and German romanticism.  Tieck and the Schlegels, we know, cared little
for Scott.  We are told that Scott read the _Zeitung für Einsiedler_, but
we are not told what he thought of it.  Perhaps romanticism, like
transcendentalism, found a more congenial soil in New than in Old
England.  Longfellow spent the winter of 1835-36 in Heidelberg, calling
on A. W. Schlegel at Bonn, on his way thither.  "Hyperion" (1839) is
saturated with German romance.  Its hero, Paul Flemming, knew "Des Knaben
Wunderhorn" almost by heart.  No other German book had ever exercised
such "wild and magic influence upon his imagination."

[1] Besides the authorities quoted or referred to in the text, the
materials used in this chapter are drawn mainly from the standard
histories of German literature; especially from Georg Brandes'
"Hauptströmungen in der Litteratur des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts"
(1872-76); Julian Schmidt's "Geschichte der Deutschen Litteratur"
(Berlin, 1890); H. J. T. Hettner's "Litteraturgeschichte" (Braunschweig,
1872); Wilhelm Scherer's "History of German Literature" (Conybeare's
translation, New York, 1886); Karl Hillebrand's "German Thought" (trans.,
New York, 1880); Vogt und Koch's "Geschichte der Deutschen Litteratur"
(Leipzig and Wien, 1897).  My own reading in the German romantics is by
no means extensive.  I have read, however, a number of Tieck's "Märchen"
and of Fouqué's romances; Novalis' "Hymns to the Night" and "Heinrich von
Ofterdingen"; A. W. Schlegel's "Lectures on Dramatic Literature" and F.
Schlegel's "Lucinde"; all of Uhland's ballads and most of Heine's
writings in verse and prose; a large part of "Des Knaben Wunderhorn," and
the selections from Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, and Joseph Görres
contained in Koch's "Deutsche National Litteratur," 146 Band (Stuttgart,
1891).  These last include Brentano's "Die Erfindung des Rosenkranzes,"
"Kasperl und Annerl," "Gockel und Hinkerl," etc., and Arnim's
"Kronenwächter," a scene from "Die Päpstin Johanna," etc.  I have, of
course, read Madame de Staël's "L'Allemagne"; all of Carlyle's papers on
German literature, with his translations; the Grimm fairy tales and the

[2] "Gedanken über die Nachahmung der Griechischen Werke in der Malerei
und Bildhauerkunst," 1755.  "Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums," 1764.

[3] "Laocoon," 1766.

[4] See vol. i., chap. xi.; and particularly pp. 383-87.

[5] See vol. i., pp. 422-23.

[6] Novalis' and Wackenroder's remains were edited by Tieck and F.
Schlegel.  Arnim married Brentano's sister Bettina--Goethe's Bettina.

[7] _E.g._, Tieck's "Der Gestiefelte Kater," against Nicolai and the

[8] As to the much-discussed romantic irony, the theory of which played a
part in the German movement corresponding somewhat to Hugo's doctrine of
the grotesque, it seems to have made no impression in England.  I can
discover no mention of it in Coleridge.  Carlyle, in the first of his two
essays on Richter (1827), expressly distinguishes true humour from irony,
which he describes as a faculty of caricature, consisting "chiefly in a
certain superficial distortion or reversal of objects"--the method of
Swift or Voltaire.  That is, Carlyle uses irony in the common English
sense; the Socratic irony, the irony of the "Modest Proposal."  The
earliest attempt that I have encountered to interpret to the English
public what Tieck and the Schlegels meant by "irony" is an article in
_Blackwood's_ for September, 1835, on "The Modern German School of
Irony"; but its analysis is not very _eingehend_.

[9] An English translation was published in this country in 1882.  See
also H. H. Boyesen's "Essays on German Literature" (1892) for three
papers on the "Romantic School in Germany."

[10] Gentz, "The German Burke," translated the "Reflections on the
Revolution in France" into German in 1796.

[11] See also in the same tract, Burke's tribute to the value of
hereditary nobility, and remember that these were the words of a Whig

[12] Dream books, medicine books, riddle books, almanacs, craftsmen's
proverbs, fabulous travels, prophecies, legends, romances and the like,
hawked about at fairs.

[13] For Stolberg see also vol. i., pp. 376-77.

[14] "Ludwig Tieck": Introductions to "German Romance."

[15] Brentano's fragment "Die Erfindung des Rosenkranzes," begun in 1803,
deals with the Tannhäuser story.

[16] "Kinder and Hausmährchen" (1812-15).  "Deutsche Sagen" (1816).
"Deutsche Mythologie" (1835).

[17] See vol. i., pp. 375-76.

[18] "If Cervantes' purpose," says Heine, "was merely to describe the
fools who sought to restore the chivalry of the Middle Ages, . . . then
it is a peculiarly comic irony of accident that the romantic school
should furnish the best translation of a book in which their own folly is
most amusingly ridiculed."

[19] F. Schlegel's declamations against printing and gun powder in his
Vienna lectures of 1810 foretoken Ruskin's philippics against railways
and factories.

[20] See vol. i., pp. 300, 337, 416.

[21] _Vide supra_, p. 88.  A. W. Schlegel was in England in 1823.  Tieck
met Coleridge in England in 1818, having made his acquaintance in Italy
some ten years before.

[22] Boyesen: "Aspects of the Romantic School."

[23] _Ibid_.

[24] "Ludwig Tieck," in "German Romance."

[25] "German Romance," four vols., Edinburgh.

[26] A. W. Schlegel says that romantic poetry is the representation
(_Darstellung_) of the infinite through symbols.

[27] "Novalis and the Blue Flower."

[28] Carlyle.

[29] Selections from Novalis in an English translation were published at
London in 1891.


The Romantic Movement in France.[1]

French romanticism had aspects of its own which distinguished it from the
English and the German alike.  It differed from the former and agreed
with the latter in being organised.  In France, as in Germany, there was
a romantic school, whose members were united by common literary
principles and by personal association.  There were sharply defined and
hostile factions of classics and romantics, with party cries, watchwords,
and shibboleths; a propaganda carried on and a polemic waged in
pamphlets, prefaces, and critical journals.  Above all there was a
leader.  Walter Scott was the great romancer of Europe, but he was never
the head of a school in his own country in the sense in which Victor Hugo
was in France, or even in the sense in which the Schlegels were in
Germany.  Scott had imitators, but Hugo had disciples.

One point in which the French movement differed from both the English and
the German was in the suddenness and violence of the outbreak.  It was
not so much a gradual development as a revolution, an explosion.  The
reason of this is to be found in the firmer hold which academic tradition
had in France, the fountainhead of eighteenth-century classicism.
Romanticism had a special work to do in the land of literary convention
in asserting the freedom of art and the unity of art and life.
Everything that is in life, said Hugo, is, or has a right to be in art.
The French, in political and social matters the most revolutionary people
of Europe, were the most conservative in matters of taste.  The
Revolution even intensified the reigning classicism by giving it a
republican turn.  The Jacobin orators appealed constantly to the examples
of the Greek and Roman democracies.  The Goddess of Reason was enthroned
in place of God, Sunday was abolished, and the names of the months and of
the days of the week were changed.  Dress under the Directory was
patterned on antique modes--the liberty cap was Phrygian--and children
born under the Republic were named after Roman patriots, Brutus, Cassius,
etc.  The great painter of the Revolution was David,[2] who painted his
subjects in togas, with backgrounds of Greek temples.  Voltaire's
classicism was monarchical and held to the Louis XIV. tradition; David's
was republican.  And yet the recognised formulae of taste and criticism
were the same in 1800 as in 1775, or in 1675.

A second distinction of the French romanticism was its local
concentration at Paris.  The centripetal forces have always been greater
in France than in England and Germany.  The earlier group of German
_Romantiker_ was, indeed, as we have seen, united for a time at Jena and
Berlin; and the _Spätromantiker_ at Heidelberg.  But this was dispersion
itself as compared with the intense focussing of intellectual rays from
every quarter of France upon the capital.  In England, I hardly need
repeat, there was next to no cohesion at all between the widely scattered
men of letters whose work exhibited romantic traits.

In one particular the French movement resembled the English more nearly
than the German.  It kept itself almost entirely within the domain of
art, and did not carry out its principles with German thoroughness and
consistency into politics and religion.  It made no efforts towards a
practical restoration of the Middle Ages.  At the beginning, indeed,
French romanticism exhibited something analogous to the Toryism of Scott,
and the reactionary _Junkerism_ and neo-Catholicism of the Schlegels.
Chateaubriand in his "Génie du Christianisme" attempted a sort of
aesthetic revival of Catholic Christianity, which had suffered so heavily
by the deistic teachings of the last century and the atheism of the
Revolution.  Victor Hugo began in his "Odes et Ballades" (1822) as an
enthusiastic adherent of monarchy and the church.  "L'histoire des
hommes," he wrote, "ne présente de poésie que jugée du haut des idées
monarchiques et religieuses."  But he advanced quite rapidly towards
liberalism both in politics and religion.  And of the young men who
surrounded him, like Gautier, Labrunie, Sainte-Beuve, Musset, De Vigny,
and others, it can only be affirmed that they were legitimist or
republican, Catholic or agnostic, just as it happened and without
affecting their fidelity to the literary canons of the new school.[3]
The German romanticism was philosophical; the French was artistic and
social.  The Parisian _ateliers_ as well as the Parisian _salons_ were
nuclei of revolt against classical traditions.  "This intermixture of art
with poetry," says Gautier,[4] "was and remains one of the characteristic
marks of the new school, and enables us to understand why its earliest
recruits were found more among artists than among men of letters.  A
multitude of objects, images, comparisons, which were believed to be
irreducible to words, entered into the language and have stayed there.
The sphere of literature was enlarged, and now includes the sphere of art
in its measureless circle."  "At that time painting and poetry
fraternised.  The artists read the poets and the poets visited the
artists.  Shakspere, Dante, Goethe, Lord Byron, and Walter Scott were to
be found in the studio as in the study.  There were as many splotches of
colour as of ink on the margins of those beautiful volumes that were so
incessantly thumbed.  Imaginations, already greatly excited by
themselves, were heated to excess by the reading of those foreign
writings of a colouring so rich, of a fancy so free and so strong.
Enthusiasm mounted to delirium.  It seemed as if we had discovered
poetry, and that was indeed the truth.  Now that this fine flame has
cooled and that the positive-minded generation which possesses the world
is preoccupied with other ideas, one cannot imagine what dizziness, what
_éblouissement_ was produced in us by such and such a picture or poem,
which people nowadays are satisfied to approve by a slight nod of the
head.  It was so new, so unexpected, so lively, so glowing!" [5]

The romantic school in France had not only its poets, dramatists, and
critics, but its painters, architects, sculptors, musical composers, and
actors.  The romantic artist _par excellence_ was Eugène Delacroix, the
painter of "The Crusaders Entering Jerusalem."  "The Greeks and Romans
had been so abused by the decadent school of David that they fell into
complete disrepute at this time.  Delacroix's first manner was purely
romantic, that is to say, he borrowed nothing from the recollections or
the forms of the antique.  The subjects that he treated were relatively
modern, taken from the history of the Middle Ages, from Dante, Shakspere,
Goethe, Lord Byron, or Walter Scott."  He painted "Hamlet," "The Boat of
Dante," "Tasso in Bedlam," "Marino Faliero," "The Death of Sardanapalus,"
"The Combat of the Giaour and the Pasha," "The Massacre of the Bishop of
Liége," and similar subjects.  Goethe in his conversations with Eckerman
expressed great admiration of Delacroix's interpretations of scenes in
"Faust" (the brawl in Auerbach's cellar, and the midnight ride of Faust
and Mephistopheles to deliver Margaret from prison).  Goethe hoped that
the French artist would go on and reproduce the whole of "Faust," and
especially the sorceress' kitchen and the scenes on the Brocken.  Other
painters of the romantic school were Camille Roqueplan, who treated
motives drawn from "The Antiquary" and other novels of Walter Scott;[6]
and Eugène Devéria, whose "Birth of Henry IV.," executed in 1827, when
the artist was only twenty-two years of age, was a masterpiece of
colouring and composition.  The house of the Devéria brothers was one of
the rallying points of the Parisian romanticists.  And then there was
Louis Boulanger, who painted "Mazeppa" and "The Witches' Sabbath" ("La
Ronde du Sabbat" [7]); and the water-colour painter and engraver,
Celestin Nanteuil, who furnished innumerable designs for vignettes,
frontispieces, and book illustrations to the writers of the romantic

"Of all the arts," says Gautier, "the one that lends itself least to the
expression of the romantic idea is certainly sculpture.  It seems to have
received from antiquity its definitive form. . . .  What can the statuary
art do without the gods and heroes of mythology who furnish it with
plausible pretexts for the nude, and for such drapery as it needs; things
which romanticism prescribes, or did at least prescribe at that time of
its first fervour?  Every sculptor is of necessity a classic." [8]
Nevertheless, he says that the romantic school was not quite unprovided
of sculptors.  "In our inner circle (_cénacle_), Jehan du Seigneur
represented this art, austere and rebellious to the fancy. . . .  Jehan
du Seigneur--let us leave in his name of Jean this mediaeval _h_ which
made him so happy and made him believe that he wore the apron of Ervein
of Steinbach at work on the sculptures of Strasburg minster."  Gautier
mentions among the productions of this Gothic-minded statuary an "Orlando
Furioso," a bust of Victor Hugo, and a group from the latter's romance,
"Notre Dame de Paris," the gipsy girl Esmeralda giving a drink to the
humpback Quasimodo.  It was the endeavour of the new school, in the arts
of design as well as in literature, to introduce colour, novelty,
picturesqueness, character.  They studied the great Venetian and Flemish
colourists, neglected under the reign of David, and "in the first moments
of their fury against _le poncif classique_, they seemed to have adopted
the theory of art of the witches in 'Macbeth'--Fair is foul and foul is
fair",[9] _i.e._, they neglected a traditional beauty in favour of the
_characteristic_.  "They sought the true, the new, the picturesque
perhaps more than the ideal; but this reaction was certainly permissible
after so many Ajaxes, Achilleses, and Philocteteses."

It is not quite so easy to understand what is meant by romanticism in
music as in literature.   But Gautier names a number of composers as
adhering to the romantic school, among others, Hippolyte Monpon, who set
to music "the leaping metres, the echo-rimes, the Gothic counter-points
of Hugo's 'Odes et Ballades' and songs like Musset's 'L'Andalouse'--

  "'Avez vous vu dans Barcelone,'

"He believed like us in serenades, alcaldes, mantillas, castinets; in all
that Italy and that Spain, a trifle conventional, which was brought into
fashion by the author of 'Don Paëz,' of 'Portia,' and of the 'Marchioness
of Amalgui,' . . . 'Gastibelza, the Man with the Carabine,' and that
guitar, so profoundly Spanish, of Victor Hugo, had inspired Monpon with a
savage, plaintive air, of a strange character, which long remained
popular, and which no romanticist--if any such is left--has forgotten."
A greater name than Monpon was Hector Berlioz, the composer of "Romeo and
Juliette" and "The Damnation of Faust."  Gautier says that Berlioz
represented the romantic idea in music, by virtue of his horror of common
formulas, his breaking away from old models, the complex richness of his
orchestration, his fidelity to local colour (whatever that may mean in
music), his desire to make his art express what it had never expressed
before, "the tumultuous and Shaksperian depth of the passions, reveries
amorous or melancholy, the longings and demands of the soul, the
indefinite and mysterious feelings which words cannot render."  Berlioz
was a passionate lover of German music and of the writings of Shakspere,
Goethe, and Scott.  He composed overtures to "Waverley," "King Lear," and
"Rob Roy"; a cantata on "Sardanapalus," and music for the ghost scene in
"Hamlet" and for Goethe's ballad, "The Fisher."  He married an English
actress whom he had seen in the parts of Ophelia, Portia, and Cordelia.
Berlioz _en revanche_ was better appreciated in Germany than in France,
where he was generally considered mad; where his "Symphonic fantastique"
produced an effect analogous to that of the first pieces of Richard
Wagner; and where "the symphonies of Beethoven were still thought
barbarous, and pronounced by the classicists not to be music, any more
than the verses of Victor Hugo were poetry, or the pictures of Delacroix
painting."  And finally there were actors and actresses who came to fill
their roles in the new romantic dramas, of whom I need mention only
Madame Dorval, who took the part of Hugo's Marion Delorme.  What Gautier
tells us of her is significant of the art that she interpreted, that her
acting was by sympathy, rather than calculation; that it was intensely
emotional; that she owed nothing to tradition; her tradition was
essentially modern, dramatic rather than tragic.[10]

Romanticism in France was, in a more special sense than in Germany and
England, an effort for freedom, passion, originality, as against rule,
authority, convention.  "Romanticism," says Victor Hugo,[11] "so many
times poorly defined, is nothing else than _liberalism_ in
literature. . . .  Literary liberty is the child of political
liberty. . . .  After so many great things which our fathers have done
and which we have witnessed, here we are, issued forth from old forms of
society; why should we not issue out of the old forms of poetry?  A new
people, a new art.  While admiring the literature of Louis XIV., so well
adapted to his monarchy, France will know how to have its own literature,
peculiar, personal, and national--this actual France, this France of the
nineteenth century to which Mirabeau has given its freedom and Napoleon
its power."  And again:[12] "What I have been pleading for is the liberty
of art as against the despotism of systems, codes, and rules.  It is my
habit to follow at all hazards what I take for inspiration, and to change
the mould as often as I change the composition.  Dogmatism in the arts is
what I avoid above all things.  God forbid that I should aspire to be of
the number of those, either romantics or classics, who make works
_according to their system_; who condemn themselves never to have more
than one form in mind, to always be _proving_ something, to follow any
other laws than those of their organization and of their nature.  The
artificial work of such men as those, whatever talents they may possess,
does not exist for art.  It is a theory, not a poetry."  It is manifest
that a literary reform undertaken in this spirit would not long consent
to lend itself to the purposes of political or religious reaction, or to
limit itself to any single influence like mediaevalism, but would strike
out freely in a multitude of directions; would invent new forms and adapt
old ones to its material, and would become more and more modern, various,
and progressive.  And such, in fact, was the history of Victor Hugo's
intellectual development and of the whole literary movement in France
which began with him and with De Stendhal (Henri Beyle).  This assertion
of the freedom of the individual artist was naturally accompanied with
certain extravagances.  "To develop freely all the caprices of thought,"
says Gautier,[13] "even if they shocked taste, convention, and rule, to
hate and repel to the utmost what Horace calls the _profanum vulgus_, and
what the moustached and hairy _rapins_ call grocers, philistines, or
bourgeois; to celebrate love with warmth enough to burn the paper (that
they wrote on); to set it up as the only end and only means of happiness;
to sanctify and deify art, regarded as a second creator; such are the
_données_ of the programme which each sought to realise according to his
strength; the ideal and the secret postulations of the young

Inasmuch as the French romantic school, even more than the English and
the German, was a breach with tradition and an insurrection against
existing conditions, it will be well to notice briefly what the
particular situation was which the romanticists in France confronted.
"To understand what this movement was and what it did," says
Saintsbury,[14] "we must point out more precisely what were the faults of
the older literature, and especially of the literature of the late
eighteenth century.  They were, in the first place, an extremely
impoverished vocabulary, no recourse being had to the older tongue for
picturesque archaisms, and little welcome being given to new phrases,
however appropriate and distinct.  In the second place, the adoption,
especially in poetry, of an exceedingly conventional method of speech,
describing everything where possible by an elaborate periphrasis, and
avoiding direct and simple terms.  Thirdly, in all forms of literature,
but especially in poetry and drama, the acceptance for almost every kind
of work of cut-and-dried patterns,[15] to which it was bound to conform.
We have already pointed out that this had all but killed the tragic
drama, and it was nearly as bad in the various accepted forms of poetry,
such as fables, epistles, odes, etc.  Each piece was expected to resemble
something else, and originality was regarded as a mark of bad taste and
insufficient culture.  Fourthly, the submission to a very limited and
very arbitrary system of versification, adapted only to the production of
tragic alexandrines, and limiting even that form of verse to one
monotonous model.  Lastly, the limitation of the subject to be treated to
a very few classes and kinds."  If to this description be added a
paragraph from Gautier's "Histoire du Romantisme," we shall have a
sufficient idea of the condition of French literature and art before the
appearance of Victor Hugo's "Odes et Ballades" (1826).  "One cannot
imagine to what a degree of insignificance and paleness literature had
come.  Painting was not much better.  The last pupils of David were
spreading their wishywashy colours over the old Graeco-Roman patterns.
The classicists found that perfectly beautiful; but in the presence of
these masterpieces, their admiration could not keep them from putting
their hands before their mouths to cover a yawn; a circumstance, however,
that failed to make them any more indulgent to the artists of the new
school, whom they called tattooed savages and accused of painting with a
drunken broom."  One is reminded by Mr. Saintsbury's summary of many
features which we have observed in the English academicism of the
eighteenth century; the impoverished vocabulary, _e.g._, which makes
itself evident in the annotations on the text of Spenser and other old
authors; the horror of common terms, and the constant abuse of the
periphrasis--the "gelid cistern," the "stercoraceous heap," the
"spiculated palings," and the "shining leather that encased the limb."
And the heroic couplet in English usage corresponds very closely to the
French alexandrine.  In their dissatisfaction with the paleness and
vagueness of the old poetic diction, and the monotony of the classical
verse, the new school innovated boldly, introducing archaisms,
neologisms, and all kinds of exotic words and popular locutions, even
_argot_ or Parisian slang; and trying metrical experiments of many sorts.
Gautier mentions in particular one Théophile Dondey (who, after the
fashion of the school, anagrammatised his name into Philothée O'Neddy) as
presenting this _caractère d'outrance et de tension_.  "The word
_paroxyste_, employed for the first time by Nestor Roqueplan, seems to
have been invented with an application to Philothée.  Everything is
_poussé_ in tone, high-coloured, violent, carried to the utmost limits of
expression, of an aggressive originality, almost dripping with the
unheard-of (_ruissilant d'inouïsme_); but back of the double-horned
paradoxes, sophistical maxims, incoherent metaphors, swoln hyperboles,
and words six feet long, are the poetic feeling of the time and the
harmony of rhythm."  One hears much in the critical writings of that
period, of the _mot propre_, the _vers libre_, and the _rime brisé_.  It
was in tragedy especially that the periphrasis reigned most tyrannically,
and that the introduction of the _mot propre_, _i.e._, of terms that were
precise, concrete, familiar, technical even, if needful, horrified the
classicists.  It was beneath the dignity of the muse--the elegant muse of
the Abbé Delille--Hugo tells us, to speak naturally.  "She underlines,"
in sign of disapprobation, "the old Corneille for his way of saying

  "'Ah, ne me brouillez pas avec la république.'

"She still has heavy on her heart his _Tout beau, monsieur_.  And many a
_seigneur_ and many a _madame_ was needed to make her forgive our
admirable Racine his _chiens_ so monosyllabic. . . .  History in her eyes
is in bad tone and taste.  How, for example, can kings and queens who
swear be tolerated?  They must be elevated from their royal dignity to
the dignity of tragedy. . . .  It is thus that the king of the people
(Henri IV.) polished by M. Legouvé, has seen his _ventre-saint-gris_
shamefully driven from his mouth by two sentences, and has been reduced,
like the young girl in the story, to let nothing fall from this royal
mouth, but pearls, rubies, and sapphires--all of them false, to say the
truth."  It seems incredible to an Englishman, but it is nevertheless
true that at the first representations of "Hernani" in 1830, the simple
question and answer

  "Est il minuit?--Minuit bientot"

raised a tempest of hisses and applause, and that the opposing factions
of classics and romantics "fought three days over this hemistich.  It was
thought trivial, familiar, out of place; a king asks what time it is like
a common citizen, and is answered, as if he were a farmer, _midnight_.
Well done!  Now if he had only used some fine periphrasis, _e.g._:

  Atteindra bientot sa dernière demeure.[16]

"If they could not away with definite words in the verse, they endured
very impatiently, too, epithets, metaphors, comparisons, poetic
words--lyricism, in short; those swift escapes into nature, those
soarings of the soul above the situation, those openings of poetry
athwart drama, so frequent in Shakspere, Calderon, and Goethe, so rare in
our great authors of the eighteenth century."  Gautier gives, as one
reason for the adherence of so many artists to the romantic school, the
circumstance that, being accustomed to a language freely intermixed with
technical terms, the _mot propre_ had nothing shocking for them; while
their special education as artists having put them into intimate relation
with nature, "they were prepared to feel the imagery and colours of the
new poetry and were not at all repelled by the precise and picturesque
details so disagreeable to the classicists. . . .  You cannot imagine the
storms that broke out in the parterre of the Théâtre Français, when the
'Moor of Venice,' translated by Alfred de Vigny, grinding his teeth,
reiterated his demands for that handkerchief (_mouchoir_) prudently
denominated _bandeau_ (head-band, fillet) in the vague Shakspere
imitation of the excellent Ducis.  A bell was called 'the sounding
brass'; the sea was 'the humid element,' or 'the liquid element,' and so
on.  The professors of rhetoric were thunderstruck by the audacity of
Racine, who in the 'Dream of Athalie' had spoken of dogs as dogs--molossi
would have been better--and they advised young poets not to imitate this
license of genius.  Accordingly the first poet who wrote bell (_cloche_)
committed an enormity; he exposed himself to the risk of being cut by his
friends and excluded from society." [17]

As to the alexandrine, the recognised verse of French tragedy, Victor
Hugo tells us,[18] that many of the reformers, wearied by its monotony,
advocated the writing of plays in prose.  He makes a plea, however, for
the retention of the alexandrine, giving it greater richness and
suppleness by the displacement of the caesura, and the free use of
_enjambement_ or run-over lines; just as Leigh Hunt and Keats broke up
the couplets of Pope into a freer and looser form of verse.  "Hernani"
opened with an _enjambement_

  "Serait ce déja lui?  C'est bien à l'escalier

This was a signal of fight--a challenge to the classicists--and the
battle began at once, with the very first lines of the play.[19]  In his
dramas Hugo used the alexandrine, but in his lyric poems, his wonderful
resources as a metrist were exhibited to the utmost in the invention of
the most bizarre, eccentric, and original verse forms.  An example of
this is the poem entitled "The Djinns" included in "Les Orientales"
(1829).  The coming and going of the flying cohort of spirits is
indicated by the crescendo effect of the verse, beginning with a stanza
in lines of two syllables, rising gradually to the middle stanza of the
poem in lines of ten syllables, and then dying away by exactly graded
diminutions to the final stanza:

  "On doute
  La nuit--
  Tout fuit,
  Tout passe:
  Le bruit." [20]

But the earlier volume of "Odes et Ballades" (1826) offers many instances
of metrical experiments hardly less ingenious.  In "La Chasse du
Burgrave" every rime is followed by an echo word, alike in sound but
different in sense:

  "Il part, et Madame Isabelle,
  Dit gaiement du haut des remparts:
  Tous las chasseurs sont dans la plaine,
  D'ardents seigneurs, de sénéchaux

The English reader is frequently reminded by Hugo's verses of the queer,
abrupt, and _outré_ measures, and fantastic rimes of Robert Browning.
Compare with the above, _e.g._, his "Love among the Ruins."

  "Where the quiet coloured end of evening smiles
        Miles and miles
  On the solitary pastures where our sheep,
        Half asleep," etc.

From the fact, already pointed out, that the romantic movement in France
was, more emphatically than in England and Germany, a breach with the
native literary tradition, there result several interesting
peculiarities.  The first of these is that the new French school, instead
of fighting the classicists with weapons drawn from the old arsenal of
mediaeval France, went abroad for allies; went especially to the modern
writers of England and Germany.  This may seem strange when we reflect
that French literature in the Middle Ages was the most influential in
Europe; and that, from the old heroic song of Roland in the eleventh
century down to the very popular court allegory, the "Roman de la Rose",
in the fourteenth, and to the poems of Villon in the fifteenth, it
afforded a rich treasure-house of romantic material in the shape of
chronicles, _chansons de geste_, _romans d'aventures_, _fabliaux_,
_lais_, legends of saints, homilies, miracles, songs, farces,
_jeuspartis_, _pastourelles_, _ballades_--of all the literary forms in
fact which were then cultivated.  Nor was this mass of work entirely
without influence on the romanticists of 1830.  Théophile Dondey, wrote a
poem on Roland, and Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie) hunted up the old popular
songs and folklore of Touraine and celebrated their naïveté and truly
national character.  Attention was directed to the Renaissance group of
poets who preceded the Louis XIV. writers--to Ronsard and "The Pleiade."
Later the Old French Text Society was founded for the preservation and
publication of mediaeval remains.  But in general the innovating school
sought their inspiration in foreign literatures.  Antony Deschamps
translated the "Inferno"; Alfred de Vigny translated "Othello" as the
"Moor of Venice" (1829), and wrote a play on the story of Chatterton,[21]
and a novel, "Cinq Mars," which is the nearest thing in French literature
to the historical romances of Scott.[22]  Chateaubriand and Victor Hugo
were both powerfully impressed by Macpherson's "Ossian."  Gérard de
Nerval made, at the age of eighteen, a translation of "Faust" (1828),
which Goethe read with admiration, and wrote to the translator, saying
that he had never before understood his own meaning so well.  "It was a
difficult task at that time," says Gautier, "to render into our tongue,
which had become excessively timid, the bizarre and mysterious beauties
of this ultra-romantic drama. . . .  From his familiarity with Goethe,
Uhland, Bürger and L. Tieck, Gérard retained in his turn of mind a
certain dreamy tinge which sometimes made his own works seem like
translations of unknown poets beyond the Rhine. . . .  The sympathies and
the studies of Gérard de Nerval drew him naturally towards Germany, which
he often visited and where he made fruitful sojourns; the shadow of the
old Teutonic oak hovered more than once above his brow with confidential
murmurs; he walked under the lindens with their heart-shaped leaves; on
the margin of fountains he saluted the elf whose white robe trails a hem
bedewed by the green grass; he saw the ravens circling around the
mountain of Kyffhausen; the kobolds came out before him from the rock
clefts of the Hartz, and the witches of the Brocken danced their grand
Walpurgisnight round about the young French poet, whom they took for a
Jena student. . . .  He knows how to blow upon the postillion's horn,[23]
the enchanted melodies of Achim von Arnim and Clement Brentano; and if he
stops at the threshold of an inn embowered in hop vines, the _Schoppen_
becomes in his hands the cup of the King of Thule."  Among the French
romanticists of Hugo's circle there was a great enthusiasm for wild
German ballads like Bürger's "Lenore" and Goethe's "Erl-King."  The
translation of A. W. Schlegel's "Vorlesungen über Dramatische Kunst und
Litteratur," by Madame Necker de Saussure, in 1814, was doubtless the
first fruits of Madame de Staël's "Allemagne," published the year before.
Gautier himself and his friend Augustus Mac-Keat (Auguste Maguet)
collaborated in a drama founded on Byron's "Parisina."  "Walter Scott was
then in the full flower of his success.  People were being initiated into
the mysteries of Goethe's 'Faust,' . . . and discovering Shakspere under
the translation, a little dressed up, of Letourneur; and the poems of
Lord Byron, 'The Corsair,' 'Lara,' 'The Giaour,' 'Manfred,' 'Beppo,' 'Don
Juan,' were coming to us from the Orient, which had not yet grown
commonplace."  Gautier said that in _le petit cénacle_--the inner circle
of the initiated--if you admired Racine more than Shakspere and Calderon,
it was an opinion that you would do well to keep to yourself.
"Toleration is not the virtue of neophytes."  As for himself, who had set
out as a painter--and only later deviated into letters--he was all for
the Middle Ages: "An old iron baron, feudal, ready to take refuge from
the encroachments of the time, in the castle of Goetz von Berlichingen."
Of Bouchardy, the extraordinary author of "Le Sonneur de Saint Paul," who
"was to Hugo what Marlowe was to Shakspere"--and who was playfully
accused of making wooden models of the plots of his melodramas--Gautier
says that he "planned his singular edifice in advance, like a castle of
Anne Radcliffe, with donjon, turrets, underground chambers, secret
passages, corkscrew stairs, vaulted halls, mysterious closets, hiding
places in the thickness of the walls, oubliettes, charnel-houses, crypts
where his heroes and heroines were to meet later on, to love, hate,
fight, set ambushes, assassinate, or marry. . . .  He cut masked doors in
the walls for his expected personage to appear through, and trap doors in
the floor for him to disappear through."

The reasons for this resort to foreign rather than native sources of
inspiration are not far to seek.  The romantic movement in France was
belated; it was twenty or thirty years behind the similar movements in
England and Germany.  It was easier and more natural for Stendhal or Hugo
to appeal to the example of living masters like Goethe and Scott, whose
works went everywhere in translation and who held the ear of Europe, than
to revive an interest all at once in Villon or Guillaume de Lorris or
Chrestien de Troyes.  Again, in no country had the divorce between
fashionable and popular literature been so complete as in France; in none
had so thick and hard a crust of classicism overlain the indigenous
product of the national genius.  It was not altogether easy for Bishop
Percy in 1765 to win immediate recognition from the educated class for
Old English minstrelsy; nor for Herder and Bürger in 1770 to do the same
thing for the German ballads.  In France it would have been impossible
before the Bourbon restoration of 1815.  In England and in Germany,
moreover, the higher literature had always remained more closely in touch
with the people.  In both of those countries the stock of ballad poetry
and folklore was much more extensive and important than in France, and
the habit of composing ballads lasted later.  The only French writers of
the classical period who produced anything at all analogous to the German
"Mährchen" were Charles Perrault, who published between 1691-97 his
famous fairy tales, including "Blue Beard," "The Sleeping Beauty,"
"Little Red Riding-Hood," "Cinderella," and "Puss in Boots"; and the
Countess d'Aulnoy (died 1720), whose "Yellow Dwarf" and "White Cat"
belong to the same department of nursery tales.[24]

A curious feature of French romanticism was the way in which the
new-found liberty of art asserted itself in manners, costume, and
personal habits.  Victor Hugo himself was scrupulously correct and
subdued in dress, but his young disciples affected bright colours and
rich stuffs.  They wore Spanish mantillas, coats with large velvet
lapels, pointed doublets or jerkins of satin or damask velvet in place of
the usual waistcoat, long hair after the Merovingian fashion, and pointed
beards.  We have seen that Shenstone was regarded as an eccentric, and
perhaps somewhat dangerous, person when at the university, because he
wore his own hair instead of a wig.  In France, half a century later, not
only the _perruque_, but the _menton glabre_ was regarded as symptomatic
of the classicist and the academician; while the beard became a badge of
romanticism.  At the beginning of the movement, Gautier informs us,
"there were only two full beards in France, the beard of Eugène Devéria
and the beard of Petrus Borel.  To wear them required a courage, a
coolness, and a contempt for the crowd truly heroic. . . .  It was the
fashion then is the romantic school to be pale, livid, greenish, a trifle
cadaverous, if possible.  It gave one an air of doom, Byronic,
_giaourish_, devoured by passion and remorse."  It will be remembered
that the rolling Byronic collar, open at the throat, was much affected at
one time by young persons of romantic temperament in England; and that
the conservative classes, who adhered to the old-fashioned stock and high
collar, looked askance upon these youthful innovators as certainly
atheists and libertines, and probably enemies to society--would-be
corsairs or banditti.  It is interesting, therefore, to discover that in
France, too, the final touch of elegance among the romantics was not to
have any white linen in evidence; the shirt collar, in particular, being
"considered as a mark of the grocer, the bourgeois, the philistine."  A
certain _gilet rouge_ which Gautier wore when he led the _claque_ at the
first performance of "Hernani" has become historic.  This flamboyant
garment--a defiance and a challenge to the academicians who had come to
hiss Hugo's play--was, in fact, a _pourpoint_ or jerkin of
cherry-coloured satin, cut in the shape of a Milanese cuirass, pointed,
busked, and arched in front, and fastened behind the back with hooks and
eyes.  From the imperturbable disdain with which the wearer faced the
opera-glasses and laughter of the assembly it was evident that it would
not have taken much urging to induce him to come to the second night's
performance decked in a daffodil waistcoat.[25]  The young enthusiasts of
_le petit cénacle_ carried their Byronism so far that, in imitation of
the celebrated revels at Newstead, they used to drink from a human skull
in their feasts at _le Petit Moulin Rouge_.  It had belonged to a
drum-major, and Gérard de Nerval got it from his father, who had been an
army surgeon.  One of the neophytes, in his excitement, even demanded
that it be filled with sea water instead of wine, in emulation of the
hero of Victor Hugo's novel, "Han d'Islande," who "drank the water of the
seas in the skull of the dead."  Another _caput mortuum_ stood on Hugo's
mantelpiece in place of a clock.[26]  "If it did not tell the hour, at
least it made us think of the irreparable flight of time.  It was the
verse of Horace translated into romantic symbolism."  There was a decided
flavour of Bohemianism about the French romantic school, and the spirit
of the lives which many of them led may best be studied in Merger's
classic, "La Vie de Boheme." [27]

As another special feature of French romanticism, we may note the
important part taken by the theatre in the history of the movement.  The
stage was the citadel of classical prejudice, and it was about it that
the fiercest battles were fought.  The climacteric year was 1830, in
which year Victor Hugo's tragedy, "Hernani, or Castilian Honour," was put
on at the Theatre Français on February 25th, and ran for thirty nights.
The representation was a fight between the classics and the romantics,
and there was almost a mob in the theatre.  The dramatic censorship under
Charles X., though strict, was used in the interest of political rather
than aesthetic orthodoxy.  But it is said that some of the older
Academicians actually applied to the king to forbid the acting of
"Hernani."  Gautier has given a mock-heroic description of this famous
literary battle _quorum pars magna fuit_.  He had received from his
college friend, Gérard de Nerval--who had been charged with the duty of
drumming up recruits for the Hugonic _claque_--six tickets to be
distributed only to tried friends of the cause--sure men and true.  The
tickets themselves were little squares of red paper, stamped in the
corner with a mysterious countersign--the Spanish word _hierro_, iron,
not only symbolizing the hero of the drama, but hinting that the
ticket-holder was to bear himself in the approaching fray frankly,
bravely, and faithfully like the sword.  The proud recipient of these
tokens of confidence gave two of them to a couple of artists--ferocious
romantics, who would gladly have eaten an Academician, if necessary; two
he gave to a brace of young poets who secretly practised _la rime riche_,
_le mot propre_, and _la metaphore exacte_: the other two he reserved for
his cousin and himself.  The general attitude of the audience on the
first nights was hostile, "two systems, two parties, two armies, two
civilizations even--it is not saying too much--confronted one
another, . . . and it was not hard to see that yonder young man with long
hair found the smoothly shaved gentleman opposite a disastrous idiot; and
that he would not long be at pains to conceal his opinion of him."  The
classical part of the audience resented the touches of Spanish local
colour in the play, the mixture of pleasantries and familiar speeches
with the tragic dialogue, and of heroism and savagery in the character of
Hernani, and they made all manner of fun of the species of pun--_de ta
suite, j'en suis_--which terminated the first act.  "Certain lines were
captured and recaptured, like disputed redoubts, by each army with equal
obstinacy.  On one day the romantics would carry a passage, which the
enemy would retake the next day, and from which it became necessary to
dislodge them.  What uproar, what cries, cat-calls, hisses, hurricanes of
bravos, thunders of applause!  The heads of parties blackguarded each
other like Homer's heroes before they came to blows. . . .  For this
generation 'Hernani' was what the 'Cid' was for the contemporaries of
Corneille.  All that was young, brave, amorous, poetic, caught the
inspiration of it.  Those fine exaggerations, heroic, Castilian, that
superb Spanish emphasis; that language so proud and high even in its
familiarity, those images of a dazzling strangeness, threw us into an
ecstasy and intoxicated us with their heady poetry."  The victory in the
end was with the new school.  Musset, writing in 1838, says that the
tragedies of Corneille and Racine had disappeared from the French stage
for ten years.

Another triumphant battlefield--a veritable _fête romantique_--was the
first representation in 1831 of Alexandre Dumas' "Anthony."  "It was an
agitation, a tumult, an effervescence. . . .  The house was actually
delirious; it applauded, sobbed, wept, shouted.  A certain famous green
coat was torn from the author's back and rent into shreds by his too
ardent admirers, who wanted pieces of it for memorabilia." [28]

The English reader who hears of the stubborn resistance offered to the
performance of 'Hernani' will naturally suppose that there must have been
something about it contrary to public policy--some immorality, or some
political references, at least, offensive to the government; and he will
have a difficulty in understanding that the trouble was all about affairs
purely literary.  "Hernani" was fought because it violated the unities of
place and time; because its hero was a Spanish bandit; because in the
dialogue a spade was called a spade, and in the verse the lines overlap.
The French are often charged with frivolity in matters of conduct, but to
the discussion of matters of art they bring a most serious conscience.
The scene in "Hernani" shifts from Saragossa to the castle of Don Ruy
Gomez de Silva in the mountains of Arragon, and to the tomb of
Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle.  The time of the action, though not
precisely indicated, covers at least a number of months.  The dialogue
is, in many parts, nervous, simple, direct, abrupt; in others running
into long _tirades_ and soliloquies, rich with all the poetic resources
of the greatest poet who has ever used the French tongue.  The spirit of
the drama, as well as its form, is romantic.  The point of honour is
pushed to a fantastic excess; all the characters display the most
delicate chivalry, the noblest magnanimity, the loftiest Castilian pride.
Don Ruy Gomez allows the King to carry off his bride, rather than yield
up the outlaw who has taken refuge in his castle; and that although he
has just caught this same outlaw paying court to this same bride, whose
accepted lover he is.  Hernani, not to be outdone in generosity, offers
his life to his enemy and preserver, giving him his horn and promising to
come to meet his death at its summons.  There is the same fault here
which is felt in Hugo's novels.  Motives are exaggerated, the _dramatis
personae_ strut.  They are rather over-dramatic in their
poses---melodramatic, in fact--and do unlikely things.  But this fault is
the fault of a great nature, grandeur exalted into grandiosity, till the
heroes of these plays, "Hernani," "Marion Delorme," "Le Roi d'Amuse,"
loom and stalk across the scene like epic demigods of more than mortal
stature and mortal passions.  But Hugo was not only a great dramatist and
a great poet, but a most clever playwright.  "Hernani" is full of
effective stage devices, crises in the action which make an audience hold
its breath or shudder; moments of intense suspense like that in the third
act, where the old hidalgo pauses before his own portrait, behind which
the outlaw is hidden; or that in the fifth, where Hernani hears at first,
faint and far away, the blast of the fatal horn that summons him to leave
his bride at the altar and go to his death.  The young romantics of the
day all got "Hernani" by heart and used to rehearse it at their
assemblies, each taking a part; and the famous trumpet, the _cor
d'Hernani_, became a symbol and a rallying call.

No such scene would have been possible in an English playhouse as that
which attended the first representation of "Hernani" at the Théâtre
Français.  For not only is an English audience comparatively indifferent
to rules of art and canons of taste, but the unities had never prevailed
in practice in England, though constantly recommended in theory.  The
French had no Shakspere, and the English no Academy.  We may construct an
imaginary parallel to such a scene if we will suppose that all reputable
English tragedies from 1600 down to 1830 had been something upon the
model of Addison's "Cato" and Johnson's "Irene", or better still upon the
model of Dryden's heroic plays in rimed couplets; and that then a drama
like "Romeo and Juliet" had been produced upon the boards of Drury Lane,
and a warm spurt of romantic poetry suddenly injected into the icy
current of classic declamation.

Having considered the chief points in which the French romantic movement
differed from the similar movements in England and Germany, let us now
glance at the history of its beginnings, and at the work of a few of its
typical figures.  The presentation of "Hernani" in 1830 was by no means
the first overt act of the new school.  Discussion had been going on for
years in the press.  De Stendhal says that the classicists had on their
side two-thirds of the Académie Française, and all of the French
journalists; that their leading organ, however, was the very influential
_Journal des Débats_ and its editor, M. Dussant, the general-in-chief of
the classical party.  The romanticists, however, were not without organs
of their own; among which are especially mentioned _Le Conservateur
Littéraire_, begun in 1819, _Le Globe_ in 1824, and the _Annales
Romantiques_ in 1823, the last being "practically a kind of annual of the
Muse Française (1823-24), which had pretty nearly the same contributors."
All of these journals were Bourboniste, except _Le Globe_, which was
liberal in politics.[29]  The Academy denounced the new literary doctrine
as a heresy and its followers as a sect, but it made head so rapidly that
as early as 1829, a year before "Hernani" was acted, a "Histoire du
Romantisme en France" appeared, written by a certain M. de Toreinx.[30]
It agrees with other authorities in dating the beginning of the movement
from Chateaubriand's "Le Génie du Christianisme" (1802).
"Chateaubriand," says Gautier, "may be regarded as the grandfather, or,
if you prefer it, the sachem of romanticism in France.  In the 'Genius of
Christianity' he restored the Gothic cathedral, in the 'Natchez' he
reopened the sublimity of nature, which had been closed, in 'René' he
invented melancholy and modern passion."

Sprung from an ancient Breton family, Chateaubriand came to America in
1790 with the somewhat singular and very French idea of travelling
overland to the northwest passage.  He was diverted from this enterprise,
however, fell in with an Indian tribe and wandered about with them in the
wilderness.  He did not discover the north-west passage, but, according
to Lowell, he invented the forest primeval.  Chateaubriand gave the first
full utterance to that romantic note which sounds so loudly in Byron's
verse; the restless dissatisfaction with life as it is, the longing for
something undefined and unattainable, the love for solitude and the
desert, the "passion incapable of being converted into action"--in short,
the _maladie du siécle_--since become familiar in "Childe Harold" and in
Sénancour's "Obermann."  In one of the chapters[31] of "Le Génie du
Christianisme" he gives an analysis of this modern melancholy, this
Byronic satiety and discontent, which he says was unknown to the
ancients.  "The farther nations advance in civilization, the more this
unsettled state of the passions predominates, for then our imagination is
rich, abundant, and full of wonders; but our existence is poor, insipid,
and destitute of charms.  With a full heart we dwell in an empty world."
"Penetrate into those forests of America coeval with the world; what
profound silence pervades these retreats when the winds are husht!  What
unknown voices when they begin to rise!  Stand still and everything is
mute; take but a step and all nature sighs.  Night approaches, the shades
thicken; you hear herds of wild beasts passing in the dark; the ground
murmurs under your feet; the pealing thunder rebellows in the deserts;
the forest bows, the trees fall, an unknown river rolls before you.  The
moon at length bursts forth in the east; as you proceed at the foot of
the trees, she seems to move before you on their tops and solemnly to
accompany your steps.  The wanderer seats himself on the trunk of an oak
to await the return of day; he looks alternately at the nocturnal
luminary, the darkness, and the river; he feels restless, agitated, and
in expectation of something extraordinary; a pleasure never felt before,
an unusual fear, cause his heart to throb, as if he were about to be
admitted to some secret of the Divinity; he is alone in the depth of the
forests, but the mind of man is equal to the expanse of nature, and all
the solitudes of the earth are not too vast for the contemplations of his
heart.  There is in man an instinctive melancholy, which makes him
harmonise with the scenery of nature.  Who has not spent whole hours
seated on the bank of a river, contemplating its passing waves?  Who has
not found pleasure on the seashore in viewing the distant rock whitened
by the billows?  How much are the ancients to be pitied, who discovered
in the ocean naught but the palace of Neptune and the cavern of Proteus;
it was hard that they should perceive only the adventures of the Tritons
and the Nereids in the immensity of the seas, which seems to give an
indistinct measure of the greatness of our souls, and which excites a
vague desire to quit this life, that we may embrace all nature and taste
the fulness of joy in the presence of its Author." [32]

The outbreak of the Revolution recalled Chateaubriand to France.  He
joined the army of the _emigrées_ at Coblentz, was wounded at the siege
of Thionville, and escaped into England where he lived (1793-1800) until
the time of the Consulate, when he made his peace with Napoleon and
returned to France.  He had been a free-thinker, but was converted to
Christianity by a dying message from his mother who was thrown into
prison by the revolutionists.  "I wept," said Chateaubriand, "and I
believed."  "Le Génie du Christianisme" was an expression of that
reactionary feeling which drove numbers of Frenchmen back into the
Church, after the blasphemies and horrors of the Revolution.  It came out
just when Napoleon was negotiating his _Concordat_ with the Pope, and was
trying to enlist the religious and conservative classes in support of his
government; and it reinforced his purposes so powerfully that he
appointed the author, in spite of his legitimism, to several diplomatic
posts.  "Le Génie du Christianisme" is indeed a plea for Christianity on
aesthetic grounds--an attempt, as has been sneeringly said, to recommend
Christianity by making it look pretty.  Chateaubriand was not a close
reasoner; his knowledge was superficial and inaccurate; his character was
weakened by vanity and shallowness.  He was a sentimentalist and a
rhetorician, but one of the most brilliant of rhetoricians; while his
sentiment, though not always deep or lasting, was for the nonce
sufficiently sincere.  He had in particular a remarkable talent for
pictorial description; and his book, translated into many tongues,
enjoyed an extraordinary vogue.  The English version, made in 1815, was
entitled "The Beauties of Christianity."  For Chateaubriand undertook to
show that the Christian religion had influenced favorably literature and
the fine arts; that it was more poetical than any other system of belief
and worship.  He compared Homer and Vergil with Dante, Tasso, Milton, and
other modern poets, and awarded the palm to the latter in the treatment
of the elementary relations and stock characters, such as husband and
wife, father and child, the priest, the soldier, the lover, etc.;
preferring Pope's Eloisa, _e.g._, to Vergil's Dido, and "Paul and
Virginia" to the idyls of Theocritus.  He pronounced the Christian
mythology--angels, devils, saints, miracles--superior to the pagan; and
Dante's Hell much more impressive to the imagination than Tartarus.  He
dwelt eloquently upon the beauty and affecting significance of Gothic
church architecture, of Catholic ritual and symbolism, the dress of the
clergy, the crucifix, the organ, the church bell, the observances of
Christian festivals, the monastic life, the orders of chivalry, the
country churchyards where the dead were buried, and even upon the
superstitions which the last century had laughed to scorn; such as the
belief in ghosts, the adoration of relics, vows to saints and pilgrimages
to holy places.  In his chapter on "The Influence of Christianity upon
Music," he says that the "Christian religion is essentially melodious for
this single reason, that she delights in solitude"; the forests are her
ancient abode, and her musician "ought to be acquainted with the
melancholy notes of the waters and the trees; he ought to have studied
the sound of the winds in cloisters, and those murmurs that pervade the
Gothic temple, the grass of the cemetery, and the vaults of death."  He
repeats the ancient fable that the designers of the cathedrals were
applying forest scenery to architecture; "Those ceilings sculptured into
foliage of different kinds, those buttresses which prop the walls and
terminate abruptly like the broken trunks of trees, the coolness of the
vaults, the darkness of the sanctuary, the dim twilight of the aisles,
the chapels resembling grottoes, the secret passages, the low doorways,
in a word everything in a Gothic church reminds you of the labyrinths of
a wood, everything excites a feeling of religious awe, of mystery, and of
the Divinity."  The birds perch upon the steeples and towers as if they
were trees, and "the Christian architect, not content with building
forests, has been desirous to retain their murmurs, and by means of the
organ and of bells, he has attached to the Gothic temple the very winds
and the thunders that roll in the recesses of the woods.  Past ages,
conjured up by these religious sounds, raise their venerable voices from
the bosom of the stones and sigh in every corner of the vast cathedral.
The sanctuary re-echoes like the cavern of the ancient Sibyl;
loud-tongued bells swing over your head; while the vaults of death under
your feet are profoundly silent."  He praises the ideals of chivalry;
gives a sympathetic picture of the training and career of a
knight-errant, and asks: "Is there then nothing worthy of admiration in
the times of a Roland, a Godfrey, a Coucey, and a Joinville; in the times
of the Moors and the Saracens; . . . when the strains of the Troubadours
were mingled with the clash of arms, dances with religious ceremonies,
and banquets and tournaments with sieges and battles?"  Chateaubriand
says that the finest Gothic ruins are to be found in the English lake
country, on the Scotch mountains, and in the Orkney Islands; and that
they are more impressive than classic ruins because in the latter the
arches are parallel with the curves of the sky, while in the Gothic or
pointed architecture the arches "form a contrast with the circular arches
of the sky and the curvatures of the horizon.  The Gothic being,
moreover, entirely composed of _voids_, the more readily admits of the
decoration of herbage and flowers than the fulness of the Grecian orders.
The clustered columns, the domes carved into foliage, or scooped out in
the form of a fruit-basket, offered so many receptacles into which the
winds carry, with the dust, the seeds of vegetables.  The house-leek
fixes itself in the mortar, the mosses cover rugged masses with their
elastic coating; the thistle projects its brown burrs from the embrasure
of a window; and the ivy creeping along the northern cloisters falls in
festoons over the arches."

All this is romantic enough; we have the note of Catholic mediaevalism
and the note of Ossianic melancholy combined; and this some years before
"The Lay of the Last Minstrel," and when Byron was a boy of fourteen and
still reading his Ossian.[33]  But we are precluded from classifying
Chateaubriand among full-fledged romanticists.  His literary taste was by
no means emancipated from eighteenth-century standards.  In speaking of
Milton, _e.g._, he says that if he had only been born in France in the
reign of Louis XIV., and had "combined with the native grandeur of his
genius the taste of Racine and Boileau," the "Paradise Lost" might have
equalled the "Iliad."

Chateaubriand never called himself a romantic.  It is agreed upon all
hands that the expressions _romantisme_ and _littérature romantique_ were
first invented or imported by Madame de Staël in her "L'Allemagne"
(1813), "pour exprimer l'affranchissement des vieilles formes
littéraires." [34]  Some ten years later, or by 1823, when Stendhal
published his "Racine et Shakspere," the issue between the schools had
been joined and the question quite thoroughly agitated in the Parisian
journals.  Stendhal announced himself as an adherent of the new, but his
temper was decidedly cool and unromantic.  I have quoted his epigrammatic
definition of romanticism.[35]

In this _brochure_ Stendhal announces that France is on the eve of a
literary revolution and that the last hour of classicism has struck,
although as yet the classicists are in possession of the theatres, and of
all the salaried literary positions under government; and all the
newspapers of all shades of political opinion are shut to the
romanticists.  A company of English actors who attempted to give some of
Shakspere's plays at the Porte-Saint-Martin in 1822 were mobbed.  "The
hisses and cat-calls began before the performance, of which it was
impossible to hear a single word.  As soon as the actors appeared they
were pelted with apples and eggs, and from time to time the audience
called out to them to talk French, and shouted, '_À bas Shakspere! c'est
un aide de camp du duc de Wellington_.'"  It will be remembered that in
our own day the first representations of Wagner's operas at Paris were
interrupted with similar cries: "_Pas de Wagner_!," "_À bas les
Allemands_!," etc.

In 1827 Kemble's company visited Paris and gave, in English, "Hamlet,"
"Romeo and Juliet," "Othello," and "The Merchant of Venice."  Dumas went
to see them and described the impression made upon him by Shakspere, in
language identical with that which Goethe used about himself.[36]  He was
like a man born blind and suddenly restored to sight.  Dumas' "Henry
III." (1829), a _drame_ in the manner of Shakspere's historical plays,
though in prose, was the immediate result of this new vision.  English
actors were in Paris again in 1828 and 1829; and in 1835 Macready
presented "Hamlet," "Othello," and "Henry IV." with great success.
Previous to these performances, the only opportunities that the French
public had to judge of Shakspere's dramas as acting plays were afforded
by the wretched adaptations of Ducis and other stage carpenters.  Ducis
had read Shakspere only in Letourneur's very inadequate translation
(revised by Guizot in 1821).  His "Hamlet" was played in 1769; "Macbeth,"
1784, "King John," 1791; "Othello" (turned into a comedy), 1792.
Mercier's "Timon" was given in 1794; and Dejaure's "Imogènes"--an
"arrangement" of "Cymbeline"--in 1796.  The romanticists labored to put
their countrymen in possession of better versions of Shakspere.  Alfred
de Vigny rendered "Othello" (1827), and Emile Deschamps, "Romeo and
Juliet" and "Macbeth."

Stendhal interviewed a director of one of the French theatres and tried
to persuade him that there would be money in it for any house which would
have the courage to give a season of romantic tragedy.  But the director,
who seemed to be a liberal-minded man, assured him that until some stage
manager could be found rich enough to buy up the dramatic criticism of
the _Constitutionnel_ and two or three other newspapers, the law students
and medical students, who were under the influence of those journals,
would never suffer the play to get as far as the third act.  "If it were
otherwise," he said, "don't you suppose that we would have tried
Schiller's 'William Tell'?  The police would have cut out a quarter of
it; one of our adapters another quarter; and what was left would reach a
hundred representations, _provided it could once secure three_."

To this the author replied that the immense majority of young society
people had been converted to romanticism by the eloquence of M. Cousin.

"Sir," said the director, "your young society people don't go into the
parterre to engage in fisticuffs [_faire le coup de poing_], and at the
theatre, as in politics, we despise philosophers who don't fight."
Stendhal adds that the editors of influential journals found their
interest in this state of things, since many of them had pieces of their
own on the stage, written of course in alexandrine verse and on the
classic model; and what would become of these masterpieces if Talma
should ever get permission to play in a prose translation of "Macbeth,"
abridged, say, one-third?  "I said one day to one of these gentlemen,
28,000,000 men, _i.e._, 18,000,000 in England and 10,000,000 in America,
admire 'Macbeth' and applaud it a hundred times a year.  'The English,'
he answered me with great coolness, 'cannot have real eloquence or poetry
truly admirable; the nature of their language, which is not derived from
the Latin, makes it quite impossible.'"  A great part of "Racine et
Shakspere" is occupied with a refutation of the doctrine of the unities
of time and place, and with a discussion of the real nature of dramatic
illusion, on which their necessity was supposed to rest.  Stendhal
maintains that the illusion is really stronger in Shakspere's tragedies
than in Racine's.  It is not essential here to reproduce his argument,
which is the same that is familiar to us in Lessing and in Coleridge,
though he was an able controversialist, and his logic and irony give a
freshness to the treatment of this hackneyed theme which makes his little
treatise well worth the reading.  To illustrate the nature of _real_
stage illusion, he says that last year (August, 1822) a soldier in a
Baltimore theatre, seeing Othello about to kill Desdemona, cried out, "It
shall never be said that a damned nigger killed a white woman in my
presence," and at the same moment fired his gun and broke an arm of the
actor who was playing Othello.  "_Eh bien_, this soldier had illusion: he
believed that the action which was passing on the stage was true."

Stendhal proposes the following as a definition of romantic tragedy: "It
is written in prose; the succession of events which it presents to the
eyes of the spectators lasts several months, and they happen in different
places."  He complains that the French comedies are not funny, do not
make any one laugh; and that the French tragic dialogue is epic rather
than dramatic.  He advises his readers to go and see Kean in "Richard"
and "Othello"; and says that since reading Schlegel and Dennis (!) he has
a great contempt for the French critics.  He appeals to the usages of the
German and English stage in disregarding the rules of Aristotle, and
cites the great popularity of Walter Scott's romances, which, he says,
are nothing more than romantic tragedies with long descriptions
interspersed, to support his plea for a new kind of French prose-tragedy;
for which he recommends subjects taken from national history, and
especially from the mediaeval chroniclers like Froissart.  Nevertheless,
he does not advise the direct imitation of Shakspere.  He blames Schiller
for copying Shakspere, and eulogizes Werner's "Luther" as nearer to the
masterpieces of Shakspere than Schiller's tragedies are.  He wants the
new French drama to resemble Shakspere only in dealing freely with modern
conditions, as the latter did with the conditions of his time, without
having the fear of Racine or any other authority before its eyes.

In 1824 the Academy, which was slowly constructing its famous dictionary
of the French language, happened to arrive at the new word _romanticism_
which needed defining.  This was the signal for a heated debate in that
venerable body, and the director, M. Auger, was commissioned to prepare a
manifesto against the new literary sect, to be read at the meeting of the
Institute on the 24th of April next.  It was in response to this
manifesto that Stendhal wrote the second part of his "Racine et
Shakspere" (1825), attached to which is a short essay entitled "Qu'est ce
que le Romanticisme?" [37] addressed to the Italian public, and intended
to explain to them the literary situation in France, and to enlist their
sympathies on the romantic side.  "Shakspere," he says, "the hero of
romantic poetry, as opposed to Racine, the god of the classicists, wrote
for strong souls; for English hearts which were what Italian hearts were
about 1500, emerging from that sublime Middle Age _questi tempi della
virtu sconosciutta_."  Racine, on the contrary, wrote for a slavish and
effeminate court.  The author disclaims any wish to impose Shakspere on
the Italians.  The day will come, he hopes, when they will have a
national tragedy of their own; but to have that, they will do better to
follow in the footprints of Shakspere than, like Alfieri, in the
footprints of Racine.  In spite of the pedants, he predicts that Germany
and England will carry it over France; Shakspere, Schiller, and Lord
Byron will carry it over Racine and Boileau.  He says that English poetry
since the French Revolution has become more enthusiastic, more serious,
more passionate.  It needed other subjects than those required by the
witty and frivolous eighteenth century, and sought its heroes in the
rude, primitive, inventive ages, or even among savages and barbarians.
It had to have recourse to time or countries when it was permitted to the
higher classes of society to have passions.  The Greek and Latin classics
could give no help; since most of them belonged to an epoch as
artificial, and as far removed from the naïve presentation of the
passions, as the eighteenth century itself.  The court of Augustus was no
more natural than that of Louis XIV.  Accordingly the most successful
poets in England, during the past twenty years, have not only sought
deeper emotions than those of the eighteenth century, but have treated
subjects which would have been scornfully rejected by the age of _bel
esprit_.  The anti-romantics can't cheat us much longer.  "Where, among
the works of our Italian pedants, are the books that go through seven
editions in two months, like the romantic poems that are coming out in
London at the present moment?  Compare, _e.g._, the success of Moore's
'Lalla Rookh,' which appeared in June, 1817, and the eleventh edition of
which I have before me, with the success of the 'Camille' of the highly
classical Mr. Botta!'"

In 1822, a year before the appearance of Stendhal's "Racine et
Shakspere," Victor Hugo had published his "Odes et Poésies Diverses," and
a second collection followed in 1824.  In the prefaces to these two
volumes he protests against the use of the terms classic and romantic, as
_mots de guerre_ and vague words which every one defines in accordance
with his own prejudices.  If romanticism means anything, he says, it
means the literature of the nineteenth century, and all the anathemas
launched at the heads of contemporary writers reduce themselves to the
following method of argument.  "We condemn the literature of the
nineteenth century because it is romantic.  And why is it romantic?
Because it is the literature of the nineteenth century."  As to the false
taste which disfigured the eighteenth-century imitations of Racine and
Boileau, he would prefer to distinguish that by the name _scholastic_, a
style which is to the truly classic what superstition and fanaticism are
to religion.  The intention of these youthful poems of Hugo was partly
literary and partly political and religious: "The history of mankind
affords no poetry," he says, "except when judged from the vantage-ground
of monarchical ideas and religious beliefs. . . .  He has thought
that . . . in substituting for the outworn and false colours of pagan
mythology the new and truthful colours of the Christian theogony, one
could inject into the ode something of the interest of the drama, and
could make it speak, besides, that austere, consoling, and religious
language which is needed by an old society that issues still trembling
from the saturnalia of atheism and anarchy. . . .  The literature of the
present, the actual literature, is the expression, by way of
anticipation, of that religious and monarchical society which will issue,
doubtless, from the midst of so many ancient debris, of so many recent
ruins. . . .  If the literature of the great age of Louis XIV. had
invoked Christianity in place of worshipping heathen gods . . . the
triumph of the sophistical doctrines of the last century would have been
much more difficult, perhaps even impossible. . . .  But France had not
that good fortune; its national poets were almost all pagan poets, and
our literature was rather the expression of an idolatrous and democratic,
than of a monarchical and Christian society."  The prevailing note,
accordingly, in these early odes is that of the Bourbon Restoration of
1815-30, and of the Catholic reaction against the sceptical
Éclaircissement of the eighteenth century.  The subjects are such as
these: "The Poet in the Times of Revolution"; "La Vendée"; "The Maidens
of Verdun," which chants the martyrdom of three young royalist sisters
who were put to death for sending money and supplies to the _emigres_;
"Quibiron," where a royalist detachment which had capitulated under
promise of being treated like prisoners of war, were shot down in squads
by the Convention soldiery; "Louis XVII."; "The Replacement of the Statue
of Henry IV."; "The Death of the Duke of Berry"; "The Birth of the Duke
of Bourdeaux" and his "Baptism"; "The Funeral of Louis XVIII."; "The
Consecration of Charles X."; "The Death of Mlle. de Sombreuil," the
royalist heroine who saved her father's life by drinking a cupful of
human blood in the days of the Terror; and "La Bande Noire," which
denounces with great bitterness the violation of the tombs of the kings
of France by the regicides, and pleads for the preservation of the ruins
of feudal times:

  "O murs! ô créneaux! ô tourelle!
  Remparts, fossés aux ponts mouvants!
  Lourds faisceaux de colonnes frêles!
  Fiers chateaux! modestes couvents!
  Cloîtres poudreux, salles antiques,
  Où gémissaient les saints cantiques,
  Où riaient les banquets joyeux!
  Lieux où le coeur met ses chimères!
  Églises où priaient nos mères
  Tours où combattaient nos aïeux!"

In these two ode collections, though the Catholic and legitimist
inspiration is everywhere apparent, there is nothing revolutionary in the
language or verse forms.  But in the "Odes et Ballades" of 1826, "the
romantic challenge," says Saintsbury, "is definitely thrown down.  The
subjects are taken by preference from times and countries which the
classical tradition had regarded as barbarous.  The metres and rhythm are
studiously broken, varied, and irregular; the language has the utmost
possible glow of colour, as opposed to the cold correctness of classical
poetry, the completest disdain of conventional periphrasis, the boldest
reliance on exotic terms and daring neologisms."  This description
applies more particularly to the Ballades, many of which, such as "La
Ronde du Sabbat," "La Légende de la Nonne," "La Chasse du Burgrave," and
"Le Pas d'Armes du Roi Jean" are mediaeval studies in which the lawless
_grotesquerie_ of Gothic art runs riot.  "The author, in composing them,"
says the preface, "has tried to give some idea of what the poems of the
first troubadours of the Middle Ages might have been; those Christian
rhapsodists who had nothing in the world but their swords and their
guitars, and went from castle to castle paying for their entertainment
with their songs."  To show that liberty in art does not mean disorder,
the author draws an elaborate contrast between the garden of Versailles
and a primitive forest, in a passage which will remind the reader of
similar comparisons in the writings of Shenstone, Walpole, and other
English romanticists of the eighteenth century.  There is as much order,
he asserts, in the forest as in the garden, but it is a live order, not a
dead regularity.  "Choose then," he exclaims, "between the masterpiece of
gardening and the work of nature; between that which is beautiful by
convention and that which is beautiful without rule; between an
artificial literature and an original poetry. . . .  In two words--and we
shall not object to have judgment passed in accordance with this
observation on the two kinds of literature that are called _classic_ and
_romantic_,--regularity is the taste of mediocrity, order is the taste of
genius. . . .  It will be objected to us that the virgin forest hides in
its magnificent solitudes a thousand dangerous animals, while the marshy
basins of the French garden conceal at most a few harmless creatures.
That is doubtless a misfortune; but, taking it all in all, we like a
crocodile better than a frog; we prefer a barbarism of Shakspere to an
insipidity of Campistron."  But above all things--such is the doctrine of
this preface--do not imitate anybody--not Shakspere any more than Racine.
"He who imitates a _romantic_ poet becomes thereby a _classic_, and just
because he imitates."  In 1823 Hugo had published anonymously his first
prose romance, "Han d'Islande," the story of a Norwegian bandit.  He got
up the local colour for this by a careful study of the Edda and the
Sagas, that "poésie sauvage" which was the admiration of the new school
and the horror of the old.  But it was in the preface to "Cromwell,"
published in 1827, that Hugo issued the full and, as it were, official
manifesto of romanticism.  The play itself is hardly actable.  It is
modelled, in a sense, upon the historical plays of Shakspere, but its
Cromwell is a very melodramatic person, and its Puritans and Cavaliers
strike the English reader with the same sense of absurdity produced by
the pictures of English society in "L'Homme qui Rit."  But of the famous
preface Gautier says: "The Bible among Protestants, the Koran among
Mahometans are not the object of a deeper veneration.  It was, indeed,
for us the book of books, the book which contained the pure doctrine."
It consisted in great part of a triumphant attack upon the unities, and
upon the verse and style which classic usage had consecrated to French
tragedy.  I need not repeat the argument here.  It is already familiar,
and some sentences[38] from this portion of the essay I have quoted

The preface also contained a plea for another peculiarity of the romantic
drama, its mixture, viz., of tragedy and comedy.  According to Hugo, this
is the characteristic trait, the fundamental difference, which separates
modern from ancient art, romantic from classical literature.  Antique
art, he says, rejected everything which was not purely beautiful, but the
Christian and modern spirit feels that there are many things in creation
besides that which is, humanly speaking, beautiful; and that everything
which is in nature is--or has the right to be--in art.  It includes in
its picture of life the ugly, the misshapen, the monstrous.  Hence
results a new type, the grotesque, and a new literary form, romantic
comedy.  He proceeds to illustrate this thesis with his usual wealth of
imaginative detail and pictorial language.  The Middle Ages, more than
any other period, are rich in instances of that intimate blending of the
comic and the horrible which we call the grotesque; the witches' Sabbath,
the hoofed and horned devil, the hideous figures of Dante's hell; the
Scaramouches, Crispins, Harlequins of Italian farce; "grimacing
silhouettes of man, quite unknown to grave antiquity"; and "all those
local dragons of our legends, the gargoyle of Rouen, the Taras of
Tarascon, etc. . . .  The contact of deformity has given to the modern
sublime something purer, grander, more sublime, in short, than the
antique beauty. . . .  Is it not because the modern imagination knows how
to set prowling hideously about our churchyards, the vampires, the ogres,
the erl-kings, the _psylles_, the ghouls, the _brucolaques_, the
_aspioles_, that it is able to give its fays that bodiless form, that
purity of essence which the pagan nymphs approach so little?  The antique
Venus is beautiful, admirable, no doubt; but what has spread over the
figures of Jean Goujon that graceful, strange, airy elegance?  What has
given them that unfamiliar character of life and grandeur, unless it be
the neighbourhood of the rude and strong carvings of the Middle
Ages? . . .  The grotesque imprints its character especially upon that
wonderful architecture which in the Middle Ages takes the place of all
the arts.  It attaches its marks to the fronts of the cathedrals;
enframes its hells and purgatories under the portal arches, and sets them
aflame upon the windows; unrolls its monsters, dogs, demons around the
capitals, along the friezes, on the eaves."  We find this same bizarre
note in the mediaeval laws, social usages, church institutions, and
popular legends, in the court fools, in the heraldic emblems, the
religious processions, the story of "Beauty and the Beast."  It explains
the origin of the Shaksperian drama, the high-water mark of modern art.

Shakspere does not seem to me an artist of the grotesque.  He is by turns
the greatest of tragic and the greatest of comic artists, and his tragedy
and comedy lie close together, as in life, but without that union of the
terrible and the ludicrous in the same figure, and that element of
deformity which is the essence of the proper grotesque.  He has created,
however, one specimen of true grotesque, the monster Caliban.  Caliban is
a comic figure, but not purely comic; there is something savage, uncouth,
and frightful about him.  He has the dignity and the poetry which all
rude, primitive beings have: which the things of nature, rocks and trees
and wild beasts have.  It is significant, therefore, that Robert Browning
should have been attracted to Caliban.  Browning had little comic power,
little real humour; in him the grotesque is an imperfect form of the
comic.  The same criticism applies to Hugo.  He gave a capital example of
the grotesque in the four fools in the third act of "Cromwell" and in
Triboulet, the Shaksperian jester of "Le Roi s'Amuse."  Their songs and
dialogues are bizarre and fantastic in the highest degree, but they are
not funny; they do not make us laugh like the clowns of Shakspere--they
are not comic, but merely queer.  Hugo's defective sense of humour is
shown in the way in which he frequently takes that one step which,
Napoleon said, separates the sublime from the ridiculous--exaggerating
character and motive till the heroic passes into melodrama and melodrama
into absurdity.  This fault is felt in his great prose romance
"Notre-Dame de Paris" (1831), a picture of mediaeval Paris, in which the
humpback Quasimodo affords an exact illustration of what the author meant
by the grotesque; another of the same kind is furnished by the hero of
his later romance "L'Homme qui Rit."

Gautier has left a number of sketches, written in a vein lovingly
humorous, of some of the eccentrics--the _curiosités romantiques_--whose
oddities are perhaps even more instructive as to the many directions
which the movement took, than the more ordered enthusiasm of the less
extreme votaries.  There was the architect Jule Vabre, _e.g._, whose
specialty was Shakspere.  Shakspere "was his god, his idol, his passion,
a wonder to which he could never grow accustomed."  Vabre's life-project
was a French translation of his idol, which should be absolutely true to
the text, reproducing the exact turn and movement of the phrase,
following the alternations of prose, rime, and blank verse in the
original, and shunning neither its euphemistic subtleties nor its
barbaric roughnesses.  To fit himself for this task, he went to London
and lived there, striving to submit himself to the atmosphere and the
_milieu_, and learning to think in English; and there Gautier encountered
him about 1843, in a tavern at High-Holborn, drinking stout and eating
_rosbif_ and speaking French with an English accent.  Gautier told him
that all he had to do now, to translate Shakspere, was to learn French.
"I am going to work at it," he answered, more struck with the wisdom than
the wit of the suggestion.  A few years later Vabre turned up in France
with a project for a sort of international seminary.  "He wanted to
explain 'Hernani' to the English and 'Macbeth' to the French.  It made
him tired to see the English learning French in 'Telemaque,' and the
French learning English in the 'Vicar of Wakefield.'"  Poor Vabre's great
Shakspere translation never materialised; but François-Victor Hugo, the
second son of the great romancer, carried out many of Vabre's principles
of translation in his version of Shakspere.

Another curious figure was the water-colour painter, Célestin Nanteuil,
who suggested to Gautier the hero of an early piece of his own, written
to accompany an engraving in an English keepsake, representing the Square
of St. Sebald at Nuremberg.  This hero, Elias Wildman-stadius, or l'Homme
Moyen-âge, was "in a sort, the Gothic genius of that Gothic town"--a
_retardataire_ or man born out of his own time--who should have been born
in 1460, in the days of Albrecht Dürer.  Célestin Nanteuil "had the air
of one of those tall angels carrying a censer or playing on the
_sambucque_, who inhabit the gable ends of cathedrals; and he seemed to
have come down into the city among the busy townsfolk, still wearing his
nimbus plate behind his head in place of a hat, and without having the
least suspicion that it is not perfectly natural to wear one's aureole in
the street."  He is described as resembling in figure "the spindling
columns of the church naves of the fifteenth century. . . .  The azure of
the frescoes of Fiesole had furnished the blue of his eyes; his hairs, of
the blond of an aureole, seemed painted one by one, with the gold of the
illuminators of the Middle Ages. . . .  One would have said, that from
the height of his Gothic pinnacle Célestin Nanteuil overlooked the actual
town, hovering above the sea of roofs, regarding the eddying blue smoke,
perceiving the city squares like a checkerboard, the streets like the
notches of a saw in a stone bench, the passers-by like mice; but all that
confusedly athwart the haze, while from his airy observatory he saw,
close at hand and in all their detail, the rose windows, the bell towers
bristling with crosses, the kings, patriarchs, prophets, saints, angels
of all the orders, the whole monstrous army of demons or chimeras,
nailed, scaled, tushed, hideously winged; _guivres_, taresques,
gargoyles, asses' heads, apes' muzzles, all the strange bestiary of the
Middle Age."  Nanteuil furnished illustrations for the books of the
French romanticists.  "Hugo's' Notre-Dame de Paris' was the object of his
most fervent admiration, and he drew from it subjects for a large number
of designs and aquarelles."  Gautier mentions, as among his rarest
vignettes, the frontispiece of "Albertus," recalling Rembrandt's manner;
and his view of the Palazzo of San Marc in Royer's "Venezia la bella."
Gautier says that one might apply to Nanteuil's aquarelles what Joseph
Delorme[39] said of Hugo's ballads, that they were Gothic window
paintings.  "The essential thing in these short fantasies is the
carriage, the shape, the clerical, monastic, royal, seignorial
_awkwardness_ of the figures and their high colouring. . . .  Célestin
had made his own the angular anatomy of coats-of-arms, the extravagant
contours of the mantles, the chimerical or monstrous figures of heraldry,
the branchings of the emblazoned skirts, the lofty attitude of the feudal
baron, the modest air of the chatelaine, the sanctimonious physiognomy of
the big Carthusian Carmelite, the furtive mien of the young page with
parti-coloured pantaloons. . . .  He excelled also in setting the persons
of poem, drama, or romance in ornamented frames like the Gothic shrines
with triple colonettes, arches, canopied and bracketed niches, with
statuettes, figurines, emblematic animals, male and female saints on a
background of gold.  He entered so deeply into the sentiment of the old
Gothic imagery that he could make a Lady of the Pillar in a brocade
dalmatica, a Mater Dolorosa with the seven swords in her breast, a St.
Christopher with the child Jesus on his shoulder and leaning on a palm
tree, worthy to serve as types to the Byzantine painters of Epinal. . . .
Nothing resembled less the clock face and troubadour Middle Age which
flourished about 1825.  It is one of the main services of the romantic
school to have thoroughly disembarrassed art from this."  Gautier
describes also a manuscript piece of Nerval, for which he furnished a
prologue, and which was an imitation of one of the _Diableries_, or
popular farces of the Middle Ages, in which the devil was introduced.  It
contained a piece within the piece, in the fashion of an old mystery
play, with scenery consisting of the mouth of hell, painted red and
surmounted by a blue paradise starred with gold.  An angel came down to
play at dice with the devil for souls.  In his excess of zeal, the angel
cheated and the devil grew angry and called him a "big booby, a celestial
fowl," and threatened to pull his feathers out ("Le Prince des Sots").

In France, as in England and Germany, the romantic revival promoted and
accompanied works of erudition like Raynouard's researches in Provençal
and old French philology and the poetry of the troubadours (1816); Creuzé
de Lesser's "Chevaliers de la Table Ronde"; Marchangy's "La Gaule
Poétique."  History took new impulse from that _sens du passé_ which
romanticism did so much to awaken.  Augustin Thierry's obligations to
Scott have already been noticed.  It was the war chant of the Prankish
warriors in Chateaubriand's "Les Martyrs"--

  "Pharamond! Pharamond! nous avons combattu avec l'épée"--

which first excited his historical imagination and started him upon the
studies which issued in the "Récits Mérovingiens" and the "Conquéte
d'Angleterre."  Barante's "Ducs de Bourgogne" (1814-28) confessedly owes
much of its inception to Scott.  Michaud's "History of the Crusades"
(1811-22) and the "History of France" (1833-67) by that most romantic of
historians, Michelet, may also be credited to the romantic movement.  The
end of the movement, as a definite period in the history of French
literature, is commonly dated from the failure upon the stage of Victor
Hugo's "Les Burgraves" in 1843.  The immediate influence of the French
romantic school upon English poetry or prose was slight.  Like the German
school, it came too late.  The first generation of English romantics was
drawing to its close.  Scott died two years after "Hernani" stormed the
French theatre.  Two years later still died Coleridge, long since fallen
silent--as a poet--and always deaf to Gallic charming.  We shall find the
first impress of French romance among younger men and in the latter half

In France itself the movement passed on into other phases.  Many early
adherents of Hugo's _cénacle_ and _entourage_ fell away from their
allegiance and, like Sainte-Beuve and Musset, took up a critical or even
antagonistic attitude.  Musset's "Lettres de Dupuis et Cotonet" [40]
turns the whole romantic contention into mockery.  Yet no work more
fantastically and gracefully romantic, more Shaksperian in quality, was
produced by any member of the school than Musset produced in such dramas
as "Fantasio" and "Lorenzaccio."

[1] It is scarcely necessary to say that no full-length picture of the
French romantic movement is attempted in this chapter, but only such a
sketch as should serve to illustrate its relation to English romanticism.
For the history of the movement, besides the authorities quoted or
referred to in the text, I have relied principally upon the following:
Petit de Julleville: "Histoire de la Littérature Française," Tome vii.,
Paris, 1899.  Brunetière: "Manual of the History of French Literature"
(authorized translation), New York, 1898.  L. Bertrand; "La Fin du
Classicisme," Paris, 1897.  Adolphe Jullien: "Le Romantisme et L'Editeur
Renduel," Paris, 1897.  I have also read somewhat widely, though not
exhaustively, in the writings of the French romantics themselves,
including Hugo's early poems and most of his dramas and romances;
Nodier's "Contes en prose et en verse "; nearly all of Musset's works in
prose and verse; ditto of Théophile Gautier's; Stendhal's "La Chartreuse
de Parme," "Le Rouge et le Noir," "Racine et Shakespeare," "Lord Byron en
Italie," etc.; Vigny's "Chatterton," "Cinq-Mars," and many of his
Scriptural poems; Balzac's "Les Chouans"; Mérimée's "Chronique de Charles
IX.," and most of his "Nouvelles "; Chateaubriand's "Le Genie du
Christianisme"; some of Lamartine's "Meditations"; most of George Sand's
novels, and a number of Dumas'; many of Sainte-Beuve's critical writings;
and the miscellanies of Gérard de Nerval (Labrunie).  Of many of these,
of course, no direct use or mention is made in the present chapter.

[2] "Il a pour l'art du moyen âge, un mepris voisin de la demence et de
la frénésie. . . .  Voir le discours où il propose de mutiler les statues
des rois de la facade de Notre-Dame, pour en former un piédestal à la
statue du peuple français."  Bertrand: "La Fin du Classicisme," pp. 302-3
and _note_.

[3] But see, for the Catholic reaction in France, the writings of Joseph
de Maistre, especially "Du Pape" (1819).

[4] "Histoire du Romantisme" (1874).

[5] _ibid._, 210.

[6] Heine counted, in the Salon of 1831, more than thirty pictures
inspired by Scott.

[7] Also "Le Roi Lear" (Salon of 1836) and "La Procession du Pape des
Fous" (aquarelle) for Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris."

[8] Recall Schlegel's saying that the genius of the classic drama was
plastic and that of the romantic picturesque.

[9] Gautier, 192.

[10] This is a distinction more French than English: _la tragédie_ vs.
_le drame_.

[11] Preface to "Hernani."

[12] Preface to "Cromwell."

[13] "Histoire du Romantisme," p. 64.

[14] "Primer of French Literature," p. 115.

[15] One of the principles of the romanticists was the _mélange des
genres_, whereby the old lines between tragedy and comedy, _e.g._, were
broken down, lyricism admitted into the drama, etc.

[16] Stendhal, writing in 1823 ("Racine et Shakspere"), complains that
"it will soon be thought bad form to say, on the French stage, 'Fermez
cette fenêtre' [window]: we shall have to say, 'Fermez cette croisée'
[casement].  Two-thirds of the words used in the parlours of the best
people (_du meilleur ton_) cannot be reproduced in the theatre.  M.
Legouvé, in his tragedy 'Henri IV.,' could not make use of the patriot
king's finest saying, 'I could wish that the poorest peasant in my
kingdom might, at the least, have a chicken in his pot of a Sunday.'
English and Italian verse allows the poet to say everything; and this
good French word _pot_ would have furnished a touching scene to
Shakspere's humblest pupil.  But _la tragédie racinienne_, with its
_style noble_ and its artificial dignity, has to put it thus,--in four

  "'Je veux enfin qu'au jour marqué pour le repos,
  L'hôte laborieux des modestes hameaux,
  Sur sa table moins humble, ait, par ma bienfaisance,
  Quelques-uns de ces mets réservés à l'aisance.'"

It was Stendhal (whose real name was Henri Beyle) who said that Paris
needed a chain of mountains on its horizon.

[17] Gautier, 188.

[18] "Cromwell," 1827,

[19] Gautier, 107.

[20] Musset's fantastic "Ballade à la Lune," exaggerates the romantic so
decidedly as to seem ironical.  It is hard to say whether it is hyperbole
or parody.  See Petit de Julleville, vol. vii., p. 652.

[21] See vol. i., pp. 372-73.

[22] Gautier, 163.

[23] "Des Knaben Wunderhorn."

[24] Charles Nodier vindicated the literary claims of Perrault.

[25] Gautier, 93.

[26] Rue Jean-Gougon, where the _cénacle_ met often.

[27] Nerval hanged himself at Paris, in January, 1855, in the rue de la
Vielle Lanterne.

[28] Gautier, 167.

[29] The romanticism of the _Globe_ was of a more conservative stripe
than that of the Muse Française, which was the organ of the group of
young poets who surrounded Hugo.  The motto of the latter was _Jam nova
progenies coelo demittitur alto_.  The _Globe_ defined romanticism as
Protestantism in letters.  The critical battle was on as early as 1824.
On April 24, in that year, Auger, director of the Academy, read at the
annual session of the Institute a discourse on romanticism, which he
denounced as a literary schism.  The prospectus of the _Globe_, an
important document on the romantic side, dates from the same year.  The
_Constitutionnel_, the most narrowly classical of the opposing journals,
described romanticism as an epidemic malady.  To the year 1825, when the
_Cénacle_ had its headquarters at Victor Hugo's house, belong, among
others, the following manifestoes on both sides of the controversy; "Les
Classiques Vengés," De la Touche; "Le Temple du Romantisme," Morel; "Le
Classique et le Romantique" (a satirical comedy in the classical
interest), Baour-Lormian.  Cyprien Desmarais' "Essais sur les classiques
et les romantiques" had appeared at Paris in 1823.  At Rouen was printed
in 1826 "Du Classique et du Romantique," a collection of papers read at
the Rouen Academy during the year, rather favorable, on the whole, to the
new movement.

[30] This is now a somewhat rare book; I have never seen a copy of it;
but it was reviewed in The Saturday Review (vol. lxv., p. 369).

[31] Part ii., Book iii., chap ix.

[32]Part ii., Book iv., chap. i.

[33] For Chateaubriand and Ossian see vol. i., pp. 332-33.  He made
translations from Ossian, Gray, and Milton.

[34] "Victor Hugo," par Paul Boudois, p. 32.

[35] Vol. i., p. 10.

[36] See vol. i., p. 379.

[37] The use of this form instead of _romantisme_ is perhaps worth

[38] See vol. i., pp. 19-20.

[39] Sainte-Beuve's "Confessions de Joseph Delorme," 1829.

[40] See vol. i., pp. 18-23.


Diffused Romanticism in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century.

Most of the poetry of the century that has just closed has been romantic
in the wider or looser acceptation of the term.  Emotional stress,
sensitiveness to the picturesque, love of natural scenery, interest in
distant times and places, curiosity of the wonderful and mysterious,
subjectivity, lyricism, intrusion of the ego, impatience of the limits of
the _genres_, eager experiment with new forms of art--these and the like
marks of the romantic spirit are as common in the verse literature of the
nineteenth century as they are rare in that of the eighteenth.  The same
is true of imaginative prose, particularly during the first half of the
century, the late Georgian and early Victorian period.  In contrast with
Addison, Swift, and Goldsmith, De Quincey, Carlyle, and Ruskin are
romanticists.  In contrast with Hume, Macaulay is romantic, concrete,
pictorial.  The critical work of Hazlitt and Lamb was in line with
Coleridge's.  They praised the pre-Augustan writers, the Elizabethan
dramatists, the seventeenth-century humorists and moralists, the Sidneian
amourists and fanciful sonneteers, at the expense of their classical

But in the narrower sense of the word--the sense which controls in these
inquiries--the great romantic generation ended virtually with the death
of Scott in 1832.  Coleridge followed in 1834, Wordsworth in 1850.  Both
had long since ceased to contribute anything of value to imaginative
literature.  Byron, Shelley, and Keats had died some years before
Coleridge; Leigh Hunt survived until 1859.  The mediaevalism of
Coleridge, Scott, and Keats lived on in dispersed fashion till it
condensed itself a second time, and with redoubled intensity, in the work
of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which belongs to the last half of the
century.  The direct line of descent was from Keats to Rossetti; and the
Pre-Raphaelites bear very much such a relation to the elder group, as the
romantic school proper in Germany bears to Bürger and Herder, and to
Goethe and Schiller in their younger days.  That is to say, their
mediaevalism was more concentrated, more exclusive, and more final.

We have come to a point in the chronology of our subject where the
material is so abundant that we must narrow the field of study to
creative work, and to work which is romantic in the strictest meaning.
Henceforth we may leave out of account all works of mere erudition as
such; all those helps which the scholarship of the century has furnished
to a knowledge of the Middle Ages; histories, collections, translations,
reprints of old texts, critical editions.  Middle English lexicons and
grammars, studies of special subjects, such as popular myths or miracle
plays or the Arthurian legends, and the like.  Numerous and valuable as
these publications have been, they concern us only indirectly.  They have
swelled the material available for the student; they have not necessarily
stimulated the imagination of the poet; which sometimes--as in the case
of Chatterton and of Keats--goes off at a touch and carries but a light
charge of learning.  In literary history it is the beginnings that count.
Child's great ballad collection is, beyond comparison, more important
from the scholar's point of view than Percy's "Reliques."  But in the
history of romanticism it is of less importance, because it came a
century later.  Mallet's "Histoire de Dannemarc" has been long since
superseded, and the means now accessible in English for a study of Norse
mythology are infinitely greater than when Gray read and Percy translated
the "Northern Antiquities."  But it is not the history of the revival of
the _knowledge_ of mediaeval life that we are following here; it is
rather the history of that part of our modern creative literature which
has been kindled by contact--perhaps a very slight and casual
contact--with the transmitted _image_ of mediaeval life.

Nor need we concern ourselves further with literary criticism or the
history of opinion.  This was worth considering in the infancy of the
movement, when Warton began to question the supremacy of Pope; when Hurd
asserted the fitness for the poet's uses of the Gothic fictions and the
institution of chivalry; and when Percy ventured to hope that cultivated
readers would find something deserving attention in old English
minstrelsy.  It was still worth considering a half-century later, when
Coleridge explained away the dramatic unities, and Byron once more took
up the lost cause of Pope.  But by 1832 the literary revolution was
complete.  Romance was in no further need of vindication, when all
Scott's library of prose and verse stood back of her, and

  "High-piled books in charactery
  Held, like rich garners, the full-ripened grain."

As to Scott's best invention, the historical romance, I shall not pursue
its fortunes to the end.  The formula once constituted, its application
was easy, whether the period chosen was the Middle Ages or any old period
B.C. or A.D.  Here and there an individual stands forth from the class,
either for its excellent conformity with the Waverley type or for its
originality in deviation.  Of the former kind is Charles Reade's "The
Cloister and the Hearth" (1861); and of the latter Mr. Maurice Hewlett's
"The Forest Lovers" (1898).  The title page of Reade's novel describes
the book as "a matter-of-fact romance."  It is as well documented as any
of Scott's, and reposes especially upon the "Colloquies" of Erasmus, the
betrothal of whose parents, with their subsequent separation by the
monastic vow of celibacy, is the subject of the story.  This is somewhat
romanticised, but keeps a firm grip upon historical realities.  The
period of the action is the fifteenth century, yet the work is as far as
possible from being a chivalry tale, like the diaphanous fictions of
Fouqué.  "In that rude age," writes the novelist, "body prevailing over
mind, all sentiments took material forms.  Man repented with scourges,
prayed by bead, bribed the saints with wax tapers, put fish into the body
to sanctify the soul, sojourned in cold water for empire over the
emotions, and thanked God for returning health in 1 cwt, 2 stone, 7 lbs.,
3 oz., 1 dwt.  of bread and cheese."  There is no lack in "The Cloister
and the Hearth" of stirring incident and bold adventure; encounters with
bears and with bandits, sieges, witch trials, gallows hung with thieves,
archery with long bow and arbalest--everywhere fighting enough, as in
Scott; and, also as in Scott, behind the private drama of true love,
intrigue, persecution, the broad picture of society.  It is no idealised
version of the Middle Ages.  The ugly, sordid side of mediaeval life is
turned outwards; its dirt, discomfort, ignorance, absurdity, brutality,
unreason and insecurity are rendered with crass realism.  The burgher is
more in evidence than the chevalier.  Less after the manner of the
Waverley novels, and more after that of "Hypatia," "Romola," and "Fathers
and Sons," it depicts the intellectual unrest of the time, the
conflicting ideals of the old and new generations.  The printing-press is
being set up, and the hero finds his art of calligraphy, learned in the
scriptorium, no longer in request.  The Pope and many of the higher
clergy are infected with the religious scepticism and humanitarian
enthusiasm of the Renaissance.  The child Erasmus is the new birth of
reason, destined to make war on monkery and superstition and thereby
avenge his parents' wrongs.  Of quite another fashion of mediaevalism is
Mr. Hewlett's story--sheer romance.  The wonderful wood of Morgraunt,
with its charcoal burners and wayside shrines, black meres frowned over
by skeleton castles, and gentle hinds milked by the heroine to get food
for her wounded lover, is of no time or country, but almost as unreal as
Spenser's fairy forest.  Through its wild ways Isoult la Desirous and
Prosper le Gai go adventuring like Una and her Red Cross knight, or Enid
and Geraint.  Or, again, Isoult in her page's dress, and forsaken by her
wedded lord, is like Viola or Imogen or Rosalind, or Constance in
"Marmion," or any lady of old romance.  Or sometimes again she is like a
wood spirit, or an elemental creature such as was Undine.  The invented
place names, High March, Wanmeeting, Market Basing, etc., with their
transparent air of actuality, sound an echo from William Morris' prose
romances, like "The House of the Wolfings" and "The Sundering Flood."  As
in the last named, and in Thomas Hardy's "Return of the Native," the
reader's imagination is assisted by a map of the Morgraunt forest and the
river Wan.  Mr. Hewlett has evidently profited, too, by recent romances
of various schools: by "Prince Otto," _e.g._, and "The Prisoner of
Zenda," and possibly by others.  His Middle Ages are not the Middle Ages
of history, but of poetic convention; a world where anything may happen
and where the facts of any precise social state are attenuated into
"atmosphere" for the use of the imagination.  "The Forest Lovers" is
nearer to "Christabel" or "La Belle Dame sans Merci" than to "Ivanhoe":
is, indeed, a prose poem, though not quite an allegory like "Sintram and
his Companions."

Among Scott's contemporaries, Byron and Shelley, profoundly romantic in
temper, were not retrospective in their habit of mind; and the Middle
Ages, in particular, had little to say to them.  Scott stood for the
past; Byron--a man of his time, a modern man--for the present; Shelley--a
visionary, with a system of philosophical perfectionism--for the future.
Memory, Mnemosyne, mother of the muses, was the nurse of Scott's genius.
Byron lived intensely in the world which he affected to despise.  Shelley
prophesied, with eyes fixed upon the coming age.  We have found, in
Byron's contributions to the Pope controversy, one expression of his
instinctive sympathy with the classical and contempt for the Gothic.
Shelley, too, was a Hellenist; and to both, in their angry break with
authority and their worship of liberty, the naked freedom, the clear
light, the noble and harmonious forms of the antique were as attractive
as the twilight of the "ages of faith," with their mysticism, asceticism,
and grotesque superstitions, were repulsive.  Remote as their own
feverish and exuberant poetry was from the unexcited manner of classical
work, the latter was the ideal towards which they more and more inclined.
The points at which these two poets touch our history, then, are few.
Byron, to be sure, cast "Childe Harold" into Spenserian verse, and gave
it a ballad title.[1]  In the first canto there are a few archaisms;
words like _fere_, _shent_, and _losel_ occur, together with Gothic
properties, such as the "eremite's sad cell" and "Paynim shores" and
Newstead's "monastic dome."  The ballad "Adieu, adieu my native shore,"
was suggested by "Lord Maxwell's Good-Night" in the "Border Minstrelsy,"
and introduces some romantic appurtenances: the harp, the falcon, and the
little foot-page.  But this kind of falsetto, in the tradition of the
last-century Spenserians, evidently hampered the poet; so he shook
himself free from imitation after the opening stanzas, and spoke in his
natural voice.[2]  "Lara" is a tale of feudal days, with a due proportion
of knights, dames, vassals, and pages; and an ancestral hall with gloomy
vaults and portrait galleries, where

        "--the moonbeam shone
  Through the dim lattice o'er the floor of stone,
  And the high fretted roof and saints that there
  O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer. . . .
  The waving banner and the clapping door,
  The rustling tapestry and the echoing floor;
  The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
  The flapping bats, the night-song of the breeze,
  Aught they behold or hear their thought appalls,
  As evening saddens o'er the dark grey walls."

But these things are unimportant in Byron--mere commonplaces of
description inherited from Scott and Lewis and Mrs. Radcliffe.  Neither
is it of importance that "Parisina" is a tale of the year 1405, and has
an echo in it of convent bells and the death chant of friars; nor that
the first scene of "Manfred" passes in a "Gothic gallery," and includes
an incantation of spirits upon the model of "Faust"; nor that "Marino
Faliero" and "The Two Foscari" are founded on incidents of Venetian
history which happened in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
respectively; nor yet that Byron translated the Spanish ballad "Woe is me
Alhama" and a passage from Pulci's "Morgante Maggiore." [3]  Similarly
Shelley's experimental versions of the "Prolog im Himmel," and
"Walpurgisnacht" in "Faust," and of scenes from Calderon's "Magico
Prodigioso" are felt to be without special significance in comparison
with the body of his writings.  "Faust" impressed him, as it did Byron,
and he urged Coleridge to translate it, speaking of the current English
versions as wretched misrepresentations of the original.  But in all of
Shelley's poetry the scenery, architecture, and imagery in general are
sometimes Italian, sometimes Asiatic, often wholly fantastic, but never
mediaeval.  Their splendour is a classic splendour, and not what Milton
contemptuously calls "a Hunnish and Norwegian stateliness."  His
favourite names are Greek: Cythna, Ianthe, and the like.  The ruined
cathedral in "Queen Mab"--a poem only in its title romantic--is coupled
with the ruined dungeon, in whose courts the children play; both alike
"works of faith and slavery," symbols of the priestcraft and kingcraft
which Shelley hated, now made harmless by the reign of Reason and Love in
a regenerated universe.  How different is the feeling which the empty
cathedral inspires in Lowell; once thronged with worshippers, now
pathetically lonely--a cliff, far inland, from which the sea of faith has
forever withdrawn!  At the time when "Queen Mab" was written, Coleridge,
Southey, and Landor's "Gebir" were Shelley's favourite reading.  "He was
a lover of the wonderful and wild in literature," says Mrs. Shelley, in
her notes on the poem; "but had not fostered these tastes at their
genuine sources--the romances and chivalry of the Middle Ages--but in the
perusal of such German works as were current in those days.[4] . . .  Our
earlier English poetry was almost unknown to him."

"Queen Mab" begins with a close imitation of the opening lines of
Southey's "Thalaba the Destroyer."  The third member of the Lake School
is a standing illustration of Mr. Colvin's contention that the
distinction between classic and romantic is less in subject than in
treatment.  Southey regarded himself as, equally with Wordsworth and
Coleridge, an innovator and a rebel against poetic conventions.  His big
Oriental epics, "Thalaba" and "The Curse of Kehama," are written in verse
purposely irregular, but so inferior in effect to the irregular verse of
Coleridge and Scott as to prove that irregularity, as such, is only
tolerable when controlled by the subtly varying lyric impulse--not when
it is adopted as a literary method.  Southey's worth as a man, his
indefatigable industry, his scholarship, and his excellent work in prose
make him an imposing figure in our literature.  But his poetical
reputation has faded more rapidly than that of his greater
contemporaries.  He ranged widely in search of subjects and experimented
boldly in forms of verse; but his poems are seldom inspired; they are
manufactures rather than creations, and to-day Southey, the poet,
represents nothing in particular.

But, like Taylor of Norwich, Southey, by his studies in foreign
literature, added much to the romantic material constantly accumulating
in the English tongue.  In his two visits to the Peninsula he made
acquaintance with Spanish and Portuguese; and afterwards by his
translations and otherwise, helped his countrymen to a knowledge of the
old legendary poetry of Spain, the country above all others of chivalry
and romance.  Mention has already been made of his versions of "Amadis of
Gaul," "Palmerin of England," and the "Chronicle of the Cid."  The last
named was not a translation from any single source, but was put together
from the "Poem of the Cid," which the translator considered to be
"unquestionably the oldest poem in the language" and probably by a writer
contemporary with the great Campeador himself; from the prose "Chronicle"
assigned to the thirteenth century; and from the ballads, which Southey
thought mainly worthless, _i.e._, from the historical point of view.

Southey's long blank verse poems on mediaeval subjects, partly
historical, partly legendary, "Joan of Arc" (1795), "Madoc" (1805), and
"Roderick, the Last of the Goths" (1814), like his friend Landor's
"Gebir," are examples of romantic themes with classical or, at least,
unromantic handling.  The last of them was the same in subject, indeed,
with Landor's drama, "Count Julian."  I have spoken of "Thalaba" and "The
Curse of Kehama" as epics; but Southey rejected "the degraded title of
epic" and scouted the rules of Aristotle.  Nevertheless, the best
qualities of these blank verse narratives are of the classic-epic kind.
The story is not badly told; the measure is correct if not distinguished;
and the style is simple, clear, and in pure taste.  But the spell of
romance, the witchery of Coleridge and Keats is absent; and so are the
glow and movement of Scott.

Southey got up his history and local colour conscientiously, and his
notes present a formidable array of authorities.  While engaged upon
"Madoc," he went to Wales to verify the scenery and even came near to
leasing a cottage and taking up his residence there.  "The manners of the
poem," he asserted, "will be found historically true."  The hero of
"Madoc" was a legendary Welsh prince of the twelfth century who led a
colony to America.  The _motif_ of the poem is therefore nearly the same
as in William Morris's "Earthly Paradise," and it is curious to compare
the two.  In Southey's hands the blank verse, which in the last century
had been almost an ear-mark of the romanticising schools, is far more
classical than the heroic couplet which Morris writes.  In the Welsh
portion of "Madoc" the historical background is carefully studied from
Giraldus Cambrensis, Evans' "Specimens," the "Triads of Bardism," the
"Cambrian Biography," and similar sources, and in the Aztec portion, from
old Spanish chronicles of the conquest of Mexico and the journals of
modern travellers in America.  In "The Earthly Paradise" nothing is
historical except the encounter with Edward III.'s fleet in the channel.
Over all, the dreamlike vagueness and strangeness of romance.  Yet the
imaginative impression is more distinct, not an impression of reality,
but as of a soft, bright miniature painting in an old manuscript.

In common with his literary associates, Southey was prompted by Percy's
"Reliques" to try his hand at the legendary ballad and at longer metrical
tales like "All for Love" and "The Pilgrim to Compostella."  Most of
these pieces date from the last years of the century.  One of them, "St.
Patrick's Purgatory," was inserted by Lewis in his "Tales of Wonder."
Another of the most popular, and a capital specimen of grotesque, "The
Old Woman of Berkeley," was upon a theme which was also undertaken by
Taylor of Norwich and Dr. Sayers of the same city, when Southey was on a
visit to the former in 1798.  The story, told by Olaus Magnus as well as
by William of Malmesbury, was of a witch whose body was carried off by
the devil, though her coffin had been sprinkled with holy water and bound
with a triple chain.  For material Southey drew upon Spanish chronicles,
French _fabliaux_, the "Acta Sanctorum," Matthew of Westminster, and many
other sources.  His ballads do not compare well with those of Scott and
Coleridge.  They abound in the supernatural--miracles of saints,
sorceries, and apparitions; but the matter-of-fact narrative,
common-place diction, and jog-trot verse are singularly out of keeping
with the subject matter.  The most wildly romantic situations become
tamely unromantic under Southey's handling.  Though in better taste than
Lewis' grisly compositions, yet, as in Lewis, the want of "high
seriousness" or any finer imagination in these legendary tales makes them
turn constantly towards the comic; so that Southey was scandalised to
learn that Mr. Payne Collier had taken his "Old Woman of Berkeley" for a
"mock ballad" or parody.  He affected especially a stanza which he
credited to Lewis' invention:

  "Behind a wide column, half breathless with fear
    She crept to conceal herself there;
  That instant the moon o'er a dark cloud shone clear,
  And she saw in the moonlight two ruffians appear,
    And between them a corpse did they bear." [5]

Southey employs no archaisms, no refrains, nor any of the stylistic marks
of ancient minstrelsy.  His ballads have the metrical roughness and plain
speech of the old popular ballads, but none of their frequent, peculiar
beauties of thought and phrase,

Spain, no less than Germany and Italy, was laid under contribution by the
English romantics.  Southey's work in this direction was followed by such
things as Lockhart's "Spanish Ballads" (1824), Irving's "Alhambra," and
Bryant's and Longfellow's translations from Spanish lyrical poetry.  But
these exotics did not stimulate original creative activity in England in
equal degree with the German and Italian transplantings.  They were
imported, not appropriated.  Of all European countries Spain had remained
the most Catholic and mediaeval.  Her eight centuries of struggle against
the Moors had given her a rich treasure of legendary song and story.  She
had a body of popular ballad poetry larger than either England's or
Germany's.[6]  But Spain had no modern literature to mediate between the
old and new; nothing at all corresponding with the schools of romance in
Germany, from Herder to Schlegel, which effected a revival of the
Teutonic Middle Age and impressed it upon contemporary England and
France.  Neither could the Spanish Middle Age itself show any such
supreme master as Dante, whose direct influence on English poetry has
waxed with the century.  There was a time when, for the greater part of a
century, England and Spain were in rather close contact, but it was
mainly a hostile contact, and its tangential points were the ill-starred
marriage of Philip and Mary, the Great Armada of 1588, and the abortive
"Spanish Marriage" negotiations of James I.'s reign.  Readers of our
Elizabethan literature, however, cannot fail to remark a knowledge of,
and interest in, Spanish affairs now quite strange to English writers.
The dialogue of the old drama is full of Spanish phrases of convenience
like _bezo los manos_, _paucas palabras_, etc., which were evidently
quite as well understood by the audience as was later the colloquial
French--_savoir faire_, _coup de grâce_, etc.--which began to come in
with Dryden, and has been coming ever since.  The comedy Spaniard, like
Don Armado in "Love's Labour's Lost," was a familiar figure on the
English boards.  Middleton took the double plot of his "Spanish Gipsy"
from two novels of Cervantes; and his "Game of Chess," a political
allegorical play, aimed against Spanish intrigues, made a popular hit and
was stopped, after a then unexampled run, in consequence of the
remonstrances of Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador.  Somewhat later the
Restoration stage borrowed situations from the Spanish love-intrigue
comedy, not so much directly as by way of Molière, Thomas Corneille, and
other French playwrights; and the duenna and the _gracioso_ became stock
figures in English performances.  The direct influence of Calderon and
Lope de Vega upon our native theatre was infinitesimal.  The Spanish
national drama, like the English, was self-developed and unaffected by
classical rules.  Like the English, it was romantic in spirit, but was
more religious in subject and more lyrical in form.  The land of romance
produced likewise the greatest of all satires upon romance.  "Don
Quixote," of course, was early translated and imitated in England; and
the _picaro_ romances had an important influence upon the evolution of
English fiction in De Foe and Smollett; not only directly through books
like "The Spanish Rogue," but by way of Le Sage.[7]  But upon the whole,
the relation between English and Spanish literature had been one of
distant respect rather than of intimacy.  There was never any such inrush
of foreign domination from this quarter as from Italy in the sixteenth
century, or from France in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and latter half of
the seventeenth.

The unequalled wealth of Spanish literature in popular ballads is
partially explained by the facility with which such things were composed.
The Spanish ballad, or _romance_, was a stanza (_redondilla_, roundel) of
four eight-syllable lines with a prevailing trachaic movement--just the
metre, in short, of "Locksley Hall."  Only the second and fourth lines
rimed, and the rime was merely assonant or vowel rime.  Given the subject
and the lyrical impulse, and verses of this sort could be produced to
order and in infinite number by poets of the humblest capacity.  The
subjects were furnished mainly by Spanish history and legend, the
exploits of national heroes like the Cid (Ruy Diaz de Bivar), the seven
Princes of Lara, Don Fernán Gonzalez, and Bernaldo del Carpio, the leader
in the Spanish versions of the great fight by Fontarabbia

  "When Rowland brave and Olivier,
  And every paladin and peer
  On Roncesvalles died."

Southey thought the Spanish ballads much inferior to the English and
Scotch, a judgment to which students of Spanish poetry will perhaps
hardly agree.[8]  The Spanish ballads, like the British, are partly
historical and legendary, partly entirely romantic or fictitious.  They
record not only the age-long wars against the Saracen, the common enemy,
but the internecine feuds of the Spanish Christian kingdoms, the quarrels
between the kings and their vassals, and many a dark tale of domestic
treachery or violence.  In these respects their resemblance to the
English and Scotch border ballads is obvious; and it has been pointed out
that they sprang from similar conditions, a frontier war for national
independence, maintained for centuries against a stubborn foe.  The
traditions concerning Wallace and the Bruce have some analogy with the
chronicles of the Cid; but as to the border fights celebrated in Scott's
"Minstrelsy," they were between peoples of the same race, tongue, and
faith; and were but petty squabbles in comparison with that epic crusade
in which the remnants of the old Gothic conquerors slowly made head
against, and finally overthrew and expelled, an Oriental religion, a
foreign blood, and a civilisation in many respects more brilliant than
anything which Europe could show.  The contrast between Castile and
Granada is more picturesque than the difference between Lothian and
Northumberland.  The Spanish ballads have the advantage, then, of being
connected with imposing passages of history.  In spirit they are
intensely national.  Three motives animate them all: loyalty to the king,
devotion to the cross, and the _pundonor_: that sensitive personal
honour--the "Castilian pride" of "Hernani,"--which sometimes ran into
fantastic excess.  A rude chivalry occasionally softens the ferocity of
feudal manners in Northern ballad-poetry, as in the speech of Percy over
the dead Douglas in "Chevy Chase."  But in the Spanish _romances_ the
knightly feeling is all-pervading.  The warriors are _hidalgos_,
gentlemen of a lofty courtesy; the Moorish chieftains are not "heathen
hounds," but chivalrous adversaries, to be treated, in defeat, with a
certain generosity.  This refinement and magnanimity are akin to that
ideality of temper which makes Don Quixote at once so noble and so
ridiculous, and which is quite remote from the sincere realism of the
British minstrelsy.  In style the Spanish ballads are simple, forcible,
and direct, but somewhat monotonous in their facility.  The English and
Scotch have a wider range of subject; the best of them have a condensed
energy of expression and a depth of tragic feeling which is more potent
than the melancholy grace of the Spanish.  Women take a more active part
in the former, the Christians of the Peninsula having caught from their
Saracen foes a prejudice in favour of womanly seclusion and retirement.
There is also a wilder imagination in Northern balladry; a much larger
element of the mythological and supernatural.  Ghosts, demons, fairies,
enchanters are rare in the Spanish poems.  Where the marvellous enters
into them at all, it is mostly in the shape of saintly miracles.  St.
James of Compostella appears on horseback among the Christian hosts
battling with the Moors, or even in the army of the Conquistadores in
Mexico--an incident which Macaulay likens to the apparition of the "great
twin Brethren" in the Roman battle of Lake Regillus.  The mediaeval
Spaniards were possibly to the full as superstitious as their Scottish
contemporaries, but their superstitions were the legends of the Catholic
Church, not the inherited folklore of Gothic and Celtic heathendom.  I
will venture to suggest, as one reason of this difference, the absence of
forests in Spain.  The shadowy recesses of northern Europe were the
natural haunts of mystery and unearthly terrors.  The old Teutonic
forest, the Schwarzwald and the Hartz, were peopled by the popular
imagination with were-wolves, spectre huntsmen, wood spirits, and all
those nameless creatures which Tieck has revived in his "Mährchen" and
Hauptmann in the Rautendelein of his "Versunkene Glocke."  The treeless
plateaus of Spain, and her stony, denuded sierras, all bare and bright
under the hot southern sky, offered no more shelter to such beings of the
mind than they did to the genial life of Robin Hood and his merry men
"all under the greenwood tree."  And this mention of the bold archer of
Sherwood recalls one other difference--the last that need here be touched
upon--between the ballads of Spain and of England.  Both constitute a
body of popular poetry, _i.e._, of folk poetry.  They recount the doings
of the upper classes, princes, nobles, knights, and ladies, as seen from
the angle of observation of humble minstrels of low degree.  But the
people count for much more in the English poems.  The Spanish are more
aristocratic, more public, less domestic, and many of them composed, it
is thought, by lordly makers.  This is perhaps, in part, a difference in
national character; and, in part, a difference in the conditions under
which the social institutions of the two countries were evolved.

Spain collected her ballads early in numerous songbooks--_cancioneros_,
_romanceros_--the first of which, the "Cancionero" of 1510, is "the
oldest collection of popular poetry, properly so-called, that is to be
found in any European literature." [9]  But modern Spain had gone through
her classic period, like England and Germany.  She had submitted to the
critical canons of Boileau, and was in leading-strings to France till the
end of the eighteenth century.  Spain, too, had her romantic movement,
and incidentally her ballad revival, but it came later than in England
and Germany, later even than in France.  Historians of Spanish literature
inform us that the earliest entry of French romanticism into Spain took
place in Martinez de la Rosa's two dramas, "The Conspiracy of Venice"
(1834) and "Aben-Humeya," first written in French and played at Paris in
1830; and that the representation of Duke de Rivas' play, "Don Alvaro"
(1835), was "an event in the history of the modern Spanish drama
corresponding to the production of 'Hernani' at the Theatre Francais" in
1830.[10]  Both of these authors had lived in France and had there made
acquaintance with the works of Chateaubriand, Byron, and Walter Scott.
Spain came in time to have her own Byron and her own Scott, the former in
José de Espronceda, author of "The Student of Salamanca," who resided for
a time in London; the latter in José Zorrilla, whose "Granada," "Legends
of the Cid," etc., "were popular for the same reason that 'Marmion' and
'The Lady of the Lake' were popular; for their revival of national
legends in a form both simple and picturesque." [11]  Scott himself is
reported to have said that if he had come across in his younger days
Perez de Hita's old historical romance, "The Civil Wars of Granada"
(1595), "he would have chosen Spain as the scene of a Waverley
novel." [12]

But when Lockhart, in 1824, set himself to

  In high-born words the worth of many a knight
  From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate"--

her ballad poetry had fallen into disfavour at home, and "no Spanish
Percy, or Ellis, or Ritson," he complains, "has arisen to perform what no
one but a Spaniard can entertain the smallest hope of achieving." [13]
Meanwhile, however, the German romantic school had laid eager hands upon
the old romantic literature of Spain.  A. W. Schlegel (1803) and Gries
had made translations from Calderon in assonant verse; and Friedrich
Schlegel--who exalted the Spanish dramatist above Shakspere, much to
Heine's disgust--had written, also in _asonante_, his dramatic poem
"Conde Alarcos" (1802), founded on the well-known ballad.  Brentano and
others of the romantics went so far as to practise assonance in their
original as well as translated work.  Jacob Grimm (1815) and Depping
(1817) edited selections from the "Romancero" which Lockhart made use of
in his "Ancient Spanish Ballads."  With equal delight the French
romanticists--Hugo and Musset in particular--seized upon the treasures of
the "Romancero"; but this was somewhat later.

Lockhart's "Spanish Ballads," which were bold and spirited paraphrases
rather than close versions of the originals, enjoyed a great success, and
have been repeatedly reprinted.  Ticknor pronounced them undoubtedly a
work of genius, as much so as any book of the sort in any literature with
which he was acquainted.[14]  In the very same year Sir John Bowring
published his "Ancient Poetry and Romance of Spain."  Hookham Frere, that
most accomplished of translators, also gave specimens from the
"Romancero."  Of late years versions in increasing numbers of Spanish
poetry of all kinds, ancient and modern, by Ormsby, Gibson, and others
too numerous to name, have made the literature of the country largely
accessible to English readers.  But to Lockhart belongs the credit of
having established for the English public the convention of romantic
Spain--the Spain of lattice and guitar, of mantilla and castanet,
articles now long at home in the property room of romance, along with the
gondola of Venice, the "clock-face" troubadour, and the castle on the
Rhine.  The Spanish brand of mediaevalism would seem, for a number of
years, to have substituted itself in England for the German, and
doubtless a search through the annuals and gift books and fashionable
fiction and minor poetry generally, of the years from 1825 to 1840, would
disclose a decided Castilian colouring.  To such effect, at least, is the
testimony of the Edinburgh reviewer--from whom I have several times
quoted--reviewing in January, 1841, the new and sumptuously illustrated
edition of "Ancient Spanish Ballads."  "Mr. Lockhart's success," he
writes, "rendered the subject fashionable; we have, however, no space to
bestow on the minor fry who dabbled in these . . . fountains.  Those who
remember their number may possibly deprecate our re-opening the
floodgates of the happily subsided inundation."

The popular ballad, indeed, is, next after the historical romance, the
literary form to which the romantic movement has given, in the highest
degree, a renewal of prosperous life.  Every one has written ballads, and
the "burden" has become a burden even as the grasshopper is such.  The
very parodists have taken the matter in hand.  The only Calverley made
excellent sport of the particular variety cultivated by Jean Ingelow.
And Sir Frederick Pollock, as though actuated by Lowell's hint, about "a
declaration of love under the forms of a declaration in trover," cast the
law reports into ballad phrase in his "Leading Cases Done into English

  "It was Thomas Newman and five his feres
  (Three more would have made them nine),
  And they entered into John Vaux's house,
  That had the Queen's Head to sign.
  The birds on the bough sing loud and sing low,
  What trespass shall be _ab initio_."

Of course the great majority of these poems in the ballad form, whether
lyric or narrative, or a mixture of both, are in no sense romantic.  They
are like Wordsworth's "Lyrical Ballads," idyllic; songs of the
affections, of nature, sentiment, of war, the sea, the hunting field,
rustic life, and a hundred other moods and topics.  Neither are the
historical or legendary ballads, deriving from Percy and reinforced by
Scott, prevailingly romantic in the sense of being mediaeval.  They are
such as Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome," in which--with ample
acknowledgment in his introduction both to Scott and to the
"Reliques"--he applies the form of the English minstrel ballad to an
imaginative re-creation of the lost popular poetry of early Rome.  Or
they continue Scott's Jacobite tradition, like "Aytoun's Lays of the
Scottish Cavaliers," Browning's "Cavalier Tunes," Thornbury's "Songs of
the Cavaliers and Roundheads" (1857), and a few of Motherwell's ditties.
These last named, except Browning, were all Scotchmen and staunch Tories;
as were likewise Lockhart and Hogg; and, for obvious reasons, it is in
Scotland that the simpler fashion of ballad writing, whether in dialect
or standard English, and more especially as employed upon martial
subjects, has flourished longest.  Artifice and ballad preciosity have
been cultivated more sedulously in the south, with a learned use of the
repetend, archaism of style, and imitation of the quaint mediaeval habit
of mind.

Of the group most immediately connected with Scott and who assisted him,
more or less, in his "Minstrelsy" collection, may be mentioned the
eccentric John Leyden, immensely learned in Border antiquities and
poetry, and James Hogg, the "Ettrick Shepherd."  The latter was a peasant
bard, an actual shepherd and afterward a sheep farmer, a self-taught man
with little schooling, who aspired to become a second Burns, and composed
much of his poetry while lying out on the hills, wrapped in his plaid and
tending his flocks like any Corydon or Thyrsis.  He was a singular
mixture of genius and vanity, at once the admiration and the butt of the
_Blackwood's_ wits, who made him the mouthpiece of humour and eloquence
which were not his, but Christopher North's.  The puzzled shepherd hardly
knew how to take it; he was a little gratified and a good deal nettled.
But the flamboyant figure of him in the _Noctes_ will probably do as much
as his own verses to keep his memory alive with posterity.  Nevertheless,
Hogg is one of the best of modern Scotch ballad poets.  Having read the
first two volumes of the "Border Minstrelsy," he was dissatisfied with
some of the modern ballad imitations therein and sent his criticisms to
Scott.  They were sound criticisms, for Hogg had an intimate knowledge of
popular poetry and a quick perception of what was genuine and what was
spurious in such compositions.  Sir Walter called him in aid of his third
volume and found his services of value.

As a Border minstrel, Hogg ranks next to Scott--is, in fact, a sort of
inferior Scott.  His range was narrower, but he was just as thoroughly
saturated with the legendary lore of the countryside, and in some
respects he stood closer to the spirit of that peasant life in which
popular poetry has its source.  As a ballad poet, indeed, he is not
always Scott's inferior, though even his ballads are apt to be too long
and without the finish and the instinct for selection which marks the
true artist.  When he essayed metrical romances in numerous cantos, his
deficiencies in art became too fatally evident.  Scott, in his longer
poems, is often profuse and unequal, but always on a much higher level
than Hogg.  The latter had no skill in conducting to the end a fable of
some complexity, involving a number of varied characters and a really
dramatic action.  "Mador of the Moor," _e.g._, is a manifest and not very
successful imitation of "The Lady of the Lake"; and it requires a strong
appetite for the romantic to sustain a reader through the six parts of
"Queen Hynde" and the four parts of "The Pilgrims of the Sun."  By
general consent, the best of Hogg's more ambitious poems is "The Queen's
Wake," and the best thing in it is "Kilmeny."  "The Queen's Wake" (1813)
combines, in its narrative plan, the framework of "The Lay of the Last
Minstrel" with the song competition in its sixth canto.  Mary Stuart, on
landing in Scotland, holds a Christmas wake at Holyrood, where seventeen
bards contend before her for the prize of song.  The lays are in many
different moods and measures, but all enclosed in a setting of
octosyllabic couplets, closely modelled upon Scott, and the whole ends
with a tribute to the great minstrel who had waked once more the long
silent Harp of the North.  The thirteenth bard's song--"Kilmeny"--is of
the type of traditionary tale familiar in "Tarn Lin" and "Thomas of
Ercildoune," and tells how a maiden was spirited away to fairyland, where
she saw a prophetic vision of her country's future (including the
Napoleonic wars) and returned after a seven years' absence.

  "Late, late in a gloamin' when all was still,
  When the fringe was red on the westlin hill,
  The wood was sere, the moon i' the wane,
  The reek o' the cot hung o'er the plain,
  Like a little wee cloud in the world its lane;
  When the ingle lowed wi' an eiry leme,
  Late, late in the gloamin' Kilmeny came hame."

The Ettrick Shepherd's peculiar province was not so much the romance of
national history as the field of Scottish fairy lore and popular
superstition.  It was he, rather than Walter Scott, who carried out the
suggestions long since made to his countryman, John Home, in Collins'
"Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands."  His poems are full of
bogles, kelpies, brownies, warlocks, and all manner of "grammarie."  "The
Witch of Fife" in "The Queen's Wake," a spirited bit of grotesque, is
repeatedly quoted as authority upon the ways of Scotch witches in the
notes to Croker's "Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland."
Similar themes engaged the poet in his prose tales.  Some of these were
mere modern ghost stories, or stories of murder, robbery, death warnings,
etc.  Others, like "The Heart of Eildon," dealt with ancient legends of
the supernatural.  Still others, like "The Brownie of Bodsbeck: a Tale of
the Covenanters," were historical novels of the Stuart times.  Here Hogg
was on Scott's own ground and did not shine by comparison.  He
complained, indeed, that in the last-mentioned tale, he had been accused
of copying "Old Mortality", but asserted that he had written his book the
first and had been compelled by the appearance of Sir Walter's, to go
over his own manuscript and substitute another name for Balfour of
Burley, his original hero.  Nanny's songs, in "The Brownie of Bodsbeck,"
are among Hogg's best ballads.  Others are scattered through his various
collections--"The Mountain Bard," "The Forest Minstrel," "Poetical Tales
and Ballads," etc.

Another Scotch balladist was William Motherwell, one of the most
competent of ballad scholars and editors, whose "Minstrelsy: Ancient and
Modern," was issued at Glasgow in 1827, and led to a correspondence
between the collector and Sir Walter Scott.[15]  In 1836 Motherwell was
associated with Hogg in editing Burns' works.  His original ballads are
few in number, and their faults and merits are of quite an opposite
nature from his collaborator's.  The shepherd was a man of the people,
and lived, so far as any modern can, among the very conditions which
produced the minstrel songs.  He inherited the popular beliefs.  His
great-grandmother on one side was a notorious witch; his grandfather on
the other side had "spoken with the fairies."  His poetry, such as it is,
is fluent and spontaneous.  Motherwell's, on the contrary, is the work of
a ballad fancier, a student learned in lyric, reproducing old modes with
conscientious art.  His balladry is more condensed and skilful than
Hogg's, but seems to come hard to him.  It is literary poetry trying to
be _Volkspoesie_, and not quite succeeding.  Many of the pieces in the
southern English, such as "Halbert the Grim," "The Troubadour's Lament,"
"The Crusader's Farewell," "The Warthman's Wail," "The Demon Lady," "The
Witches' Joys," and "Lady Margaret," have an echo of Elizabethan music,
or the songs of Lovelace, or, now and then, the verse of Coleridge or
Byron.  "True Love's Dirge," _e.g._, borrows a burden from
Shakspere--"Heigho! the Wind and Rain."  Others, like "Lord Archibald: A
Ballad," and "Elfinland Wud: An Imitation of the Ancient Scottish
Romantic Ballad," are in archaic Scotch dialect with careful ballad
phrasing.  Hogg employs the broad Scotch, but it is mostly the vernacular
of his own time.  A short passage from "The Witch of Fife" and one from
"Elfin Wud" will illustrate two very different types of ballad manner:

  "He set ane reid-pipe till his muthe
    And he playit se bonnileye,
  Till the gray curlew and the black-cock flew
    To listen his melodye.

  "It rang se sweit through the grim Lommond,
    That the nycht-winde lowner blew:
  And it soupit alang the Loch Leven,
    And wakenit the white sea-mew.

  "It rang se sweit through the grim Lommond,
    Se sweitly but and se shill,
  That the wezilis laup out of their mouldy holis,
    And dancit on the mydnycht hill."

  "Around her slepis the quhyte muneschyne,
    (Meik is mayden undir kell),
  Hir lips bin lyke the blude reid wyne;
    (The rois of flouris hes sweitest smell).

  "It was al bricht quhare that ladie stude,
    (Far my luve fure ower the sea).
  Bot dern is the lave of Elfinland wud,
    (The Knicht pruvit false that ance luvit me).

  "The ladie's handis were quhyte als milk,
    (Ringis my luve wore mair nor ane).
  Hir skin was safter nor the silk;
    (Lilly bricht schinis my luve's halse bane)."

Upon the whole, the most noteworthy of Motherwell's original additions to
the stores of romantic verse were his poems on subjects from Norse legend
and mythology, and particularly the three spirited pieces that stand
first in his collection (1832)--"The Battle-Flag of Sigurd," "The Wooing
Song of Jarl Egill Skallagrim," and "The Sword Chant of Thorstein Randi."
These stand midway between Gray's "Descent of Odin" and the later work of
Longfellow, William Morris and others.  Since Gray, little or nothing of
the kind had been attempted; and Motherwell gave perhaps the first
expression in English song of the Berserkir rage and the Viking passion
for battle and sea roving.

During the nineteenth century English romance received new increments of
heroic legend and fairy lore from the Gaelic of Ireland.  It was not
until 1867 that Matthew Arnold, in his essay "On the Study of Celtic
Literature," pleading for a chair of Celtic at Oxford, bespoke the
attention of the English public to those elements in the national
literature which come from the Celtic strain in its blood.  Arnold knew
very little Celtic, and his essay abounds in those airy generalisations
which are so irritating to more plodding critics.  His theory, e.g., that
English poetry owes its sense for colour to the Celts, when taken up and
stated nakedly by following writers, seems too absolute in its ascription
of colour-blindness to the Teutonic races.  Still, Arnold probably
defined fairly enough the distinctive traits of the Celtic genius.  He
attributes to a Celtic source much of the turn of English poetry for
style, much of its turn for melancholy, and nearly all its turn for
"natural magic."  "The forest solitude, the bubbling spring, the wild
flowers, are everywhere in romance.  They have a mysterious life and
grace there; they are Nature's own children, and utter her secret in a
way which makes them something quite different from the woods, waters,
and plants of Greek and Latin poetry.  Now, of this delicate magic,
Celtic romance is so pre-eminent a mistress that it seems impossible to
believe the power did not come into romance from the Celts."

In 1825 T. Crofton Croker published the first volume of his delightful
"Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland."  It was
immediately translated into German by the Grimm brothers, and was
received with enthusiasm by Walter Scott, who was introduced to the
author in London in 1826, and a complimentary letter from whom was
printed in the preface to the second edition.

Croker's book opened a new world of romance, and introduced the English
reader to novel varieties of elf creatures, with outlandish Gaelic names;
the Shefro; the Boggart; the Phooka, or horse-fiend; the Banshee, a
familiar spirit which moans outside the door when a death impends; the
Cluricaune,[16] or cellar goblin; the Fir Darrig (Red Man); the Dullahan,
or Headless Horseman.  There are stories of changelings, haunted castles,
buried treasure, the "death coach," the fairy piper, enchanted lakes
which cover sunken cities, and similar matters not unfamiliar in the
folk-lore of other lands, but all with an odd twist to them and set
against a background of the manners and customs of modern Irish
peasantry.  The Celtic melancholy is not much in evidence in this
collection.  The wild Celtic fancy is present, but in combination with
Irish gaiety and light-heartedness.  It was the day of the comedy
Irishman--Lover's and Lever's Irishman--Handy Andy, Rory O'More, Widow
Machree and the like.  It took the famine of '49 and the strenuous work
of the Young Ireland Party which gathered about the _Nation_ in 1848, to
displace this traditional figure in favour of a more earnest and tragical
national type.  But a single quotation will illustrate the natural magic
of which Arnold speaks: "The Merrow (mermaid) put the comb in her pocket,
and then bent down her head and whispered some words to the water that
was close to the foot of the rock.  Dick saw the murmur of the words upon
the top of the sea, going out towards the wide ocean, just like a breath
of wind rippling along, and, says he, in the greatest wonder, 'Is it
speaking you are, my darling, to the salt water?'

"'It's nothing else,' says she, quite carelessly; 'I'm just sending word
home to my father not to be waiting breakfast for me.'"  Except for its
lack of "high seriousness," this is the imagination that makes myths.

Catholic Ireland still cherishes popular beliefs which in England, and
even in Scotland, have long been merely antiquarian curiosities.  In her
poetry the fairies are never very far away.

  "Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen
  We daren't go a-hunting
    For fear of little men." [17]

Irish critics, to be sure, tell us that Allingham's fairies are English
fairies, and that he had no Gaelic, though he knew and loved his Irish
countryside.  He was a Protestant and a loyalist, and lived in close
association with the English Pre-Raphaelites--with Rossetti especially,
who made the illustration for "The Maids of Elfin-Mere" in Allingham's
volume "The Music Master" (1855).  The Irish fairies, it is said, are
beings of a darker and more malignant breed than Shakspere's elves.  Yet
in Allingham's poem they stole little Bridget and kept her seven years,
till she died of sorrow and lies asleep on the lake bottom; even as in
Ferguson's weird ballad, "The Fairy Thorn," the good people carry off
fair Anna Grace from the midst of her three companions, who "pined away
and died within the year and day."

To the latter half of the century belongs the so-called Celtic revival,
which connects itself with the Nationalist movement in politics and is
partly literary and partly patriotic.  It may be doubted whether, for
practical purposes, the Gaelic will ever come again into general use.
But the concerted endeavour by a whole nation to win back its ancient,
wellnigh forgotten speech is a most interesting social phenomenon.  At
all events, both by direct translations of the Gaelic hero epics and by
original work in which the Gaelic spirit is transfused through English
ballad and other verse forms, a lost kingdom of romance has been
recovered and a bright green thread of Celtic poetry runs through the
British anthology of the century.  The names of the pioneers and leading
contributors to this movement are significant of the varied strains of
blood which compose Irish nationality.  James Clarence Mangan was a Celt
of the Celts; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and Aubrey de Vere were of
Norman-Irish stock, and the former was the son of a dean of the
Established Church, and himself the editor of a Tory newspaper; Sir
Samuel Ferguson was an Ulster Protestant of Scotch descent; Dr. George
Sigerson is of Norse blood; Whitley Stokes, the eminent Celtic scholar,
and Dr. John Todhunter, author of "Three Bardic Tales" (1896), bear
Anglo-Saxon surnames; the latter is the son of Quaker parents and was
educated at English Quaker schools.

Mangan's paraphrases from the Gaelic, "Poets and Poetry of Munster,"
appeared posthumously in 1850.  They include a number of lyrics, wildly
and mournfully beautiful, inspired by the sorrows of Ireland: "Dark
Rosaleen," "Lament for the Princes of Tir-Owen and Tir-Connell,"
"O'Hussey's Ode to the Maguire," etc.  The ballad form was not practised
by the ancient Gaelic epic poets.  In choosing it as the vehicle for
their renderings from vernacular narrative poetry, the modern Irish poets
have departed widely from the English and Scottish model, employing a
variety of metres and not seeking to conform their diction to the manner
of the ballads in the "Reliques" or the "Border Minstrelsy."  Ferguson's
"Lays of the Western Gael" (1865) is a series of historical ballads,
original in effect, though based upon old Gaelic chronicles.  "Congal"
(1872) is an epic, founded on an ancient bardic tale, and written in
Chapman's "fourteener" and reminding the reader frequently of Chapman's
large, vigorous manner, his compound epithets and spacious Homeric
similes.  The same epic breadth of manner was applied to the treatment of
other hero legends, "Conary," "Deirdré," etc., in a subsequent volume
(1880).  "Deirdré," the finest of all the old Irish stories, was also
handled independently by the late Dr. R. D. Joyce in the verse and manner
of William Morris' "Earthly Paradise." [18]  Among other recent workers
in this field are Aubrey de Vere, a volume of selections from whose
poetry appeared at New York in 1894, edited by Prof. G. E. Woodberry;
George Sigerson, whose "Bards of the Gael and the Gall," a volume of
translations from the Irish in the original metres, was issued in 1897;
Whitley Stokes, an accomplished translator, and the joint editor (with
Windisch) of the "Irische Texte "; John Todhunter, author of "The Banshee
and Other Poems" (1888) and "Three Bardic Tales" (1896); Alfred Perceval
Graves, author of "Irish Folk Songs" (1897), and many other volumes of
national lyrics; and William Larminie--"West Irish Folk Tales and
Romances" (1893), etc.

The Celtism of this Gaelic renascence is of a much purer and more genuine
character than the Celtism of Macpherson's "Ossian." Yet with all its
superiority in artistic results, it is improbable that it will make any
such impression on Europe or England as Macpherson made.  "Ossian" was
the first revelation to the world of the Celtic spirit: sophisticated,
rhetorical, yet still the first; and it is not likely that its success
will be repeated.  In the very latest school of Irish verse, represented
by such names as Lionel Johnson, J. B. Yeats, George W. Russell, Nora
Hopper, the mystical spirit which inhabits the "Celtic twilight" turns
into modern symbolism, so that some of their poems on legendary subjects
bear a curious resemblance to the contemporary work of Maeterlinck: to
such things as "Aglivaine et Salysette" or "Les Sept Princesses." [19]

The narrative ballad is hardly one of the forms of high art, like the
epic, the tragedy, the Pindaric ode.  It is simple and not complex like
the sonnet: not of the aristocracy of verse, but popular--not to say
plebeian--in its associations.  It is easy to write and, in its commonest
metrical shape of eights and sixes, apt to run into sing-song.  Its
limitations, even in the hands of an artist like Coleridge or Rossetti,
are obvious.  It belongs to "minor poetry."  The ballad revival has not
been an unmixed blessing and is responsible for much slip-shod work.  If
Dr. Johnson could come back from the shades and look over our recent
verse, one of his first comments would probably be: "Sir, you have too
many ballads."  Be it understood that the romantic ballad only is here in
question, in which the poet of a literary age seeks to catch and
reproduce the tone of a childlike, unself-conscious time, so that his art
has almost inevitably something artificial or imitative.  Here and there
one stands out from the mass by its skill or luck in overcoming the
difficulty.  There is Hawker's "Song of the Western Men," which Macaulay
and others quoted as historical, though only the refrain was old:

  "And shall Trelawney die?
  Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
  Will know the reason why!" [20]

There is Sydney Dobell's "Keith of Ravelston," [21] which haunts the
memory with the insistent iteration of its refrain:--

  "The murmur of the mourning ghost
    That keeps the shadowy kine;
  Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
    The sorrows of thy line!"

And again there is Robert Buchanan's "Ballad of Judas Iscariot" which Mr.
Stedman compares for "weird impressiveness and power" with "The Ancient
Mariner."  The mediaeval feeling is most successfully captured in this
poem.  It recalls the old "Debate between the Body and Soul," and still
more the touches of divine compassion which soften the rigours of
Catholic theology in the legends of the saints.  It strikes the keynote,
too, of that most modern ballad mode which employs the narrative only to
emphasize some thought of universal application.  There is salvation for
all, is the thought, even for the blackest soul of the world, the soul
that betrayed its Maker.[22]  Such, though after a fashion more subtly
intellectual, is the doctrinal use to which this popular form is put by
one of the latest English ballad makers, Mr. John Davidson.  Read, e.g.,
his "Ballad of a Nun," [23] the story of which was told in several shapes
by the Spanish poet Alfonso the Learned (1226-84).  A runaway nun returns
in penitence to her convent, and is met at the gate by the Virgin Mary,
who has taken her likeness and kept her place for her during the years of
her absence.  Or read "A New Ballad of Tannhäuser," [24] which
contradicts "the idea of the inherent impurity of nature" by an
interpretation of the legend in a sense quite the reverse of Wagner's.
Tannhäuser's dead staff blossoms not as a sign of forgiveness, but to
show him that "there was no need to be forgiven."  The modern balladist
attacks the ascetic Middle Age with a shaft from its own quiver.

But it is time to turn from minor poets to acknowledged masters; and
above all to the greatest of modern English artists in verse, the
representative poet of the Victorian era.  Is Tennyson to be classed with
the romantics?  His workmanship, when most truly characteristic, is
romantic in the sense of being pictorial and ornate, rather than
classically simple or severe.  He assimilated the rich manner of Keats,
whose influence is perceptible in his early poems.  His art, like Keats',
is eclectic and reminiscent, choosing for its exercise with equal
impartiality whatever was most beautiful in the world of Grecian fable or
the world of mediaeval legend.  But unlike Keats, he lived to add new
strings to his lyre; he went on to sing of modern life and thought, of
present-day problems in science and philosophy, of contemporary politics,
the doubt, unrest, passion, and faith of his own century.  To find work
of Tennyson's that is romantic throughout, in subject, form, and spirit
alike, we must look among his earlier collections (1830, 1832, 1842).
For this was a phase which he passed beyond, as Millais outgrew his
youthful Pre-Raphaelitism, or as Goethe left behind him his "Götz" and
"Werther" period and widened out into larger utterance.  Mr. Stedman
speaks of the "Gothic feeling" in "The Lady of Shalott," and in ballads
like "Oriana" and "The Sisters," describing them as "work that in its
kind is fully up to the best of those Pre-Raphaelites who, by some arrest
of development, stop precisely where Tennyson made his second step
forward, and censure him for having gone beyond them." [25]  This
estimate may be accepted so far as it concerns "The Lady of Shalott,"
which is known to have worked strongly upon Rossetti's imagination; but
surely "The Sisters" and "Oriana" do not rank with the best
Pre-Raphaelite work.  The former is little better than a failure; and the
latter, which provokes a comparison, not to Tennyson's advantage, with
the fine old ballad, "Helen of Kirkconnell," is a weak thing.  The name
Oriana has romantic associations--it is that of the heroine of "Amadis de
Gaul"--but the damnable iteration of it as a ballad burden is irritating.
Mediaeval _motifs_ are rather slightly handled in "The Golden Supper"
(from the "Decameron," 4th novel, 10th day); "The Beggar Maid" (from the
ballad of "King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid" in the "Reliques"); and
more adequately in "Godiva," a blank-verse rendering of the local legend
of Coventry, in which an attempt is made to preserve something of the
antique roughness under the smooth Vergilian elegance of Tennyson's
diction.  "The Day Dream" was a recasting of one of Perrault's fairy
tales, "The Sleeping Beauty," under which title a portion of it had
appeared in the "Poems Chiefly Lyrical" of 1830.  Tennyson has written
many greater poems than this, but few in which the special string of
romance vibrates more purely.  The tableau of the spellbound palace, with
all its activities suspended, gave opportunity for the display of his
unexampled pictorial power in scenes of still life; and the legend itself
supplied that charmed isolation from the sphere of reality which we
noticed as so important a part of the romantic poet's stock-in-trade in
"Christabel" and "The Eve of St. Agnes"--

  "The hall-door shuts again and all is still."

Poems like "The Day Dream" and "The Princess" make it evident that Scott
and Coleridge and Keats had so given back the Middle Ages to the
imagination that any future poet, seeking free play in a realm unhampered
by actual conditions--"apart from place, withholding time"--was apt to
turn naturally, if not inevitably, to the feudal times.  The action of
"The Day Dream" proceeds no-where and no-when.  The garden--if we
cross-examine it--is a Renaissance garden:

  "Soft lustre bathes the range of urns
    On every slanting terrace-lawn:
  The fountain to its place returns,
    Deep in the garden lake withdrawn."

The furnishings of the palace are a mixture of mediaeval and Louis
Quatorze--clocks, peacocks, parrots, golden mantle pegs:--

  "Till all the hundred summers pass,
    The beams that through the oriel shine
  Make prisms in every carven glass
    And beaker brimm'd with noble wine."

But the impression, as a whole, is of the Middle Age of poetic
convention, if not of history; the enchanted dateless era of romance and
fairy legend.

"St. Agnes" and "Sir Galahad," its masculine counterpart, sound the old
Catholic notes of saintly virginity and mystical, religious rapture, the
_Gottesminne_ of mediaeval hymnody.  Not since Southwell's "Burning Babe"
and Crashaw's "Saint Theresa" had any English poet given such expression
to those fervid devotional moods which Sir Thomas Browne describes as
"Christian annihilation, ecstasies, exolution, liquefaction,
transformation, the kiss of the spouse, gustation of God and ingression
into the divine shadow."  This vein, we have noticed, is wanting in
Scott.  On the other hand, it may be noticed in passing, Tennyson's
attitude towards nature is less exclusively romantic--in the narrow
sense--than Scott's.  He, too, is conscious of the historic associations
of place.  In Tennyson, as in Scott,--

  "The splendour falls on castle walls
    And snowy summits old in story"--[26]

but, in general, his treatment of landscape, in its human relations, is
subtler and more intimate.

"St. Agnes" and "Sir Galahad" are monologues, but lyric and not dramatic
in Browning's manner.  There is a dramatic falsity, indeed, in making Sir
Galahad say of himself--

  "My strength is as the strength of ten
    Because my heart is pure,"

and the poem would be better in the third person.  "St. Simeon Stylites"
is a dramatic monologue more upon Browning's model, _i.e._, a piece of
apologetics and self-analysis.  But in this province Tennyson is greatly
Browning's inferior.

"The Princess" (1847) is representative of that "splendid composite of
imagery," and that application of modern ideas to legendary material, or
to invented material arbitrarily placed in an archaic setting, which are
characteristic of this artist.  The poem's sub-title is "A Medley,"
because it is

        "--made to suit with time and place,
  A Gothic ruin and a Grecian house,
  A talk of college and of ladies' rights,
  A feudal knight in silken masquerade,
  And, yonder, shrieks and strange experiments."

The problem is a modern one--the New Woman.  No precise historic period
is indicated.  The female university is full of classic lore and art, but
withal there are courts of feudal kings, with barons, knights, and
squires, and shock of armoured champions in the lists.

But the special service of Tennyson to romantic poetry lay in his being
the first to give a worthy form to the great Arthurian saga; and the
modern masterpiece of that poetry, all things considered, is his "Idylls
of the King."  Not so perfect and unique a thing as "The Ancient
Mariner"; less freshly spontaneous, less stirringly alive than "The Lay
of the Last Minstrel," Tennyson's Arthuriad has so much wider a range
than Coleridge's ballad, and is sustained at so much higher a level than
Scott's romance, that it outweighs them both in importance.  The
Arthurian cycle of legends, emerging from Welsh and Breton mythology;
seized upon by French romancers of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
who made of Arthur the pattern king, of Lancelot the pattern knight, and
of the Table Round the ideal institute of chivalry; gathering about
itself accretions like the Grail Quest and the Tristram story; passing by
translation into many tongues, but retaining always its scene in Great or
Lesser Britain, the lands of its origin, furnished the modern English
romancer with a groundwork of national, though not Anglo-Saxon epic
stuff, which corresponds more nearly with the Charlemagne epos in France,
and the Nibelung hero Saga in Germany, than anything else which our
literature possesses.  And a national possession, in a sense, it had
always remained.  The story in outline and in some of its main episodes
was familiar.  Arthur, Lancelot, Guinivere, Merlin, Modred, Iseult,
Gawaine, were well-known figures, like Robin Hood or Guy of Warwick, in
Shakspere's time as in Chaucer's.  But the epos, as a whole, had never
found its poet.  Spenser had evaporated Arthur into allegory.  Milton had
dallied with the theme and put it by.[27]  The Elizabethan drama, which
went so far afield in search of the moving accident, had strangely missed
its chance here, bringing the Round Table heroes upon its stage only in
masque and pageant (Justice Shallow "was Sir Dagonet in Arthur's show"),
or in some such performance as the rude old Seneca tragedy of "The
Misfortunes of Arthur."  In 1695 Sir Richard Blackmore published his
"Prince Arthur," an epic in ten books and in rimed couplets, enlarged in
1697 into "King Arthur" in twelve books.  Blackmore professed to take
Vergil as his model.  A single passage from his poem will show how much
chance the old chivalry tale had in the hands of a minor poet of King
William's reign.  Arthur and his company have landed on the shores of
Albion, where

  "Rich wine of Burgundy and choice champagne
  Relieve the toil they suffered on the main;
  But what more cheered them than their meats and wine,
  Was wise instruction and discourse divine
  From Godlike Arthur's mouth."

There is no need, in taking a summary view of Tennyson's "Idylls," to go
into the question of sources, or to inquire whether Arthur was a
historical chief of North Wales, or whether he signified the Great Bear
(Arcturus) in Celtic mythology, and his Round Table the circle described
by that constellation about the pole star.[28]  Tennyson went no farther
back for his authority than Sir Thomas Malory's "Morte Darthur," printed
by Caxton in 1485, a compilation principally from old French Round Table
romances.  This was the final mediaeval shape of the story in English.
It is somewhat wandering and prolix as to method, but written in
delightful prose.  The story of "Enid," however (under its various titles
and arrangements in successive editions), he took from Lady Charlotte
Guest's translation of the Welsh "Mabinogion" (1838-49).

Before deciding upon the heroic blank verse and a loosely epic form, as
most fitting for his purpose, Tennyson had retold passages of Arthurian
romance in the ballad manner and in various shapes of riming stanza.  The
first of these was "The Lady of Shalott" (1832), identical in subject
with the later idyll of "Lancelot and Elaine," but fanciful and even
allegorical in treatment.  Shalott is from Ascalot, a variant of Astolat,
in the old _metrical_ romance--not Malory's--of the "Morte Arthur."  The
fairy lady, who sees all passing sights in her mirror and weaves them
into her magic web, has been interpreted as a symbol of art, which has to
do properly only with the reflection of life.  When the figure of
Lancelot is cast upon the glass, a personal emotion is brought into her
life which is fatal to her art.  She is "sick of shadows," and looks
through her window at the substance.  Then her mirror cracks from side to
side and the curse is come upon her.  Other experiments of the same kind
were "Sir Galahad" and "Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinivere" (both in 1842).
The beauty of all these ballad beginnings is such that one is hardly
reconciled to the loss of so much romantic music, even by the noble blank
verse and the ampler narrative method which the poet finally adopted.
They stand related to the "Idylls" very much as Morris' "Defence of
Guenevere" stands to his "Earthly Paradise."

Thoroughly romantic in content, the "Idylls of the King" are classical in
form.  They may be compared to Tasso's "Gierusalemme Liberata," in which
the imperfectly classical manner of the Renaissance is applied to a
Gothic subject, the history of the Crusades.  The first specimen given
was the "Morte d'Arthur" of 1842, set in a framework entitled "The Epic,"
in which "the poet, Everard Hall," reads to his friends a fragment from
his epic, "King Arthur," in twelve books.  All the rest he has burned.

  "Why take the style of those heroic times?
  For nature brings not back the Mastodon,
  Nor we those times; and why should any man
  Remodel models? these twelve books of mine
  Were faint Homeric echoes."

The "fragment" is thus put forward tentatively and with
apologies--apologies which were little needed; for the "Morte d'Arthur,"
afterwards embedded in "The Passing of Arthur," remains probably the
best, and certainly the most Homeric passage in the "Idylls."  Tennyson's
own quality was more Vergilian than Homeric, but the models which he here
remodels were the Homeric epics.  He chose for his measure not the
Spenserian stanza, nor the _ottava rima_ of Tasso, nor the octosyllables
of Scott and the chivalry romances, but the heroic blank verse which
Milton had fixed as the vehicle of English classical epic.  He adopts
Homer's narrative practices: the formulated repetitions of phrase, the
pictorial comparisons, the conventional epithets (in moderation), and his
gnomic habit--

  "O purblind race of miserable men," etc.

The original four idylls were published in 1859.[29]  Thenceforth the
series grew by successive additions and rearrangements up to the
completed "Idylls" of 1888, twelve in number--besides prologue and
epilogue--according to the plan foreshadowed in "The Epic."  The story of
Arthur had thus occupied Tennyson for over a half century.  Though
modestly entitled "Idylls," by reason of the episodic treatment, the poem
when finished was, in fact, an epic; but an epic that lacked the formal
unity of the "Aeneid" and the "Paradise Lost," or even of the "Iliad." It
resembled the Homeric heroic poems more than the literary epics of Vergil
and Milton, in being not the result of a single act of construction, but
a growth from the gradual fitting together of materials selected from a
vast body of legend.  This legendary matter he reduced to an epic unity.
The adventures in Malory's romance are of very uneven value, and it
abounds in inconsistencies and repetitions.  He also redistributed the
ethical balance.  Lancelot is the real hero of the old "Morte Darthur,"
and Guinivere--the Helen of romance--goes almost uncensured.  Malory's
Arthur is by no means "the blameless king" of Tennyson, who makes of him
a nineteenth-century ideal of royal knighthood, and finally an
allegorical type of Soul at war with Sense.  The downfall of the Round
Table, that order of spiritual knight-errantry through which the king
hopes to regenerate society, happens through the failure of his knights
to rise to his own high level of character; in a degree, also, because
the emprise is diverted from attainable practical aims to the fantastic
quest of the Holy Grail.  The sin of Lancelot and the Queen, drawing
after it the treachery of Modred, brings on the tragic catastrophe.  This
conception is latent in Malory, but it is central in Tennyson; and
everywhere he subtilises, refines, elevates, and, in short, modernises
the _Motivirung_ in the old story.  Does he thereby also weaken it?
Censure and praise have been freely bestowed upon Tennyson's dealings
with Malory.  Thus it is complained that his Arthur is a prig, a curate,
who preaches to his queen and lectures his court, and whose virtue is too
conscious; that the harlot Vivien is a poor substitute for the damsel of
the lake who puts Merlin to sleep under a great rock in the land of
Benwick; that the gracious figure of Gawain suffers degradation from the
application of an effeminate moral standard to his shining exploits in
love and war, that modern _convenances_ are imposed upon a society in
which they do not belong and whose joyous, robust _naïveté_ is hurt by

The allegorical method tried in "The Lady of Shalott," but abandoned in
the earlier "Idylls," creeps in again in the later; particularly in
"Gareth and Lynette" (1872), in the elaborate symbolism of the gates of
Camelot, and in the guardians of the river passes, whom Gareth
successively overcomes, and who seem to represent the temptations
incident to the different ages of man.  The whole poem, indeed, has been
interpreted in a parabolic sense, Merlin standing for the intellect, the
Lady of the Lake for religion, etc.  Allegory was a favourite mediaeval
mode, and the Grail legend contains an element of mysticism which invites
an emblematic treatment.  But the attraction of this fashion for minds of
a Platonic cast is dangerous to art: the temptation to find a meaning in
human life more esoteric than any afforded by the literal life itself.  A
delicate balance must be kept between that presentation of the concrete
which makes it significant by making it representative and typical, and
that other presentation which dissolves the individual into the general,
by making it a mere abstraction.  Were it not for Dante and Hawthorne and
the second part of "Faust," one would incline to say that no creative
genius of the first order indulges in allegory.  Homer is never
allegorical except in the episode of Circe; Shakspere never, with the
doubtful exception of "The Tempest."  The allegory in the "Idylls of the
King" is not of the obvious kind employed in the "Faëry Queene"; but
Tennyson, no less than Spenser, appeared to feel that the simple
retelling of an old chivalry tale, without imparting to it some deeper
meaning, was no work for a modern poet.

Tennyson has made the Arthur Saga, as a whole, peculiarly his own.  But
others of the Victorian poets have handled detached portions of it.
William Morris' "Defence of Guenevere" (1858) anticipated the first group
of "Idylls."  Swinburne's "Tristram of Lyonesse" (1882) dealt at full
length, and in a very different spirit, with an epicyclic legend which
Tennyson touched incidentally in "The Last Tournament."  Matthew Arnold's
"Tristram and Iseult" was a third manipulation of the legend, partly in
dramatic, partly in narrative form, and in changing metres.  It follows
another version of Tristram's death, and the story of Vivian and Merlin
which Iseult of Brittany tells her children is quite distinct from the
one in the "Idylls."  Iseult of Brittany--not Iseult of Cornwall--is the
heroine of Arnold's poem.  Thomas Westwood's "Quest of the Sancgreall" is
still one more contribution to Arthurian poetry of which a mere mention
must here suffice.

For our review threatens to become a catalogue.  To such a degree had
mediaevalism become the fashion, that nearly every Georgian and Victorian
poet of any pretensions tried his hand at it.  Robert Browning was not
romantic in Scott's way, nor in Tennyson's.  His business was with the
soul.  The picturesqueness of the external conditions in which soul was
placed was a matter of indifference.  To-day was as good as yesterday.
Now and then occurs a title with romantic implications--"Childe Roland to
the Dark Tower Came," _e.g._, borrowed from a ballad snatch sung by the
Fool in "Lear" (Roland is Roland of the "Chanson").  But the poem proves
to be a weird study in landscape symbolism and the history of some dark
emprise, the real nature of which is altogether undiscoverable.  "Count
Gismond," again, is the story of a combat in the lists at Aix in
Provence, in which a knight vindicates a lady's honour with his lance,
and slays her traducer at her feet.  But this is a dramatic monologue
like any other, and only accidentally mediaeval.  "The Heretic's Tragedy:
A Middle Age Interlude," is mediaeval without being romantic.  It
recounts the burning, at Paris, A.D. 1314, of Jacques du Bourg-Molay,
Grand Master of the Templars; and purports to be a sort of canticle, with
solo and chorus, composed two centuries after the event by a Flemish
canon of Ypres, to be sung at hocktide and festivals.  The childishness
and devout buffoonery of an old miracle play are imitated here, as in
Swinburne's "Masque of Queen Bersabe."  This piece and "Holy Cross Day"
are dramatic, or monodramatic, grotesques; and in their apprehension of
this trait of the mediaeval mind are on a par with Hugo's "Pas d'armes du
Roi Jean" and "La Chasse du Burgrave."  But Browning's mousings in the
Middle Ages after queer freaks of conscience or passion were occasional.
If any historical period, more than another, had special interest for
him, it was the period of the Italian Renaissance.  Yet Ruskin said:
"Robert Browning is unerring in every sentence he writes of the Middle

Among Mrs. Browning's poems, which, it needs hardly be said, are not
prevailingly "Gothic," there are three interesting experiments in ballad
romance: "The Romaunt of the Page," "The Lay of the Brown Rosary," and
"The Rime of the Duchess May."  In all of these she avails herself of the
mediaeval atmosphere, simply to play variations on her favourite theme,
the devotedness of woman's love.  The motive is the same as in poems of
modern life like "Bertha in the Lane" and "Aurora Leigh."  The vehemence
of this nobly gifted woman, her nervous and sometimes almost hysterical
emotionalism, are not without a disagreeable quality.  With greater range
and fervour, she had not the artistic poise of the Pre-Raphaelite
poetess, Christina Rossetti.  In these romances, as elsewhere, she is
sometimes shrill and often mannerised.  "The Romaunt of the Page" is the
tale of a lady who attends her knight to the Holy Land, disguised as a
page, and without his knowledge.  She saves his life several times, and
finally at the cost of her own.  A prophetic accompaniment or burden
comes in ever and anon in the distant chant of nuns over the dead abbess.

  "Beati! beati mortui."

"The Lay of the Brown Rosary" is a charming but uneven piece, in four
parts and a variety of measures, about a girl who, while awaiting her
lover's return from the war, learns in a dream that she must die, and
purchases seven years of life from the ghost of a wicked nun whose body
has been immured in an old convent wall.  The spirit gives the bride a
brown rosary which she wears under her dress, but her kiss kills the
bridegroom at the altar.  The most spirited and well-sustained of these
ballad poems is "The Rime of the Duchess May," in which the heroine rides
off the battlements with her husband.  "Toll slowly," runs the refrain.
Mrs. Browning employs some archaisms, such as _chapélle_, _chambére_,
_ladié_.  The stories are seemingly of her own invention, and have not
quite the genuine accent of folk-song.

Even Matthew Arnold and Thomas Hood, representatives in their separate
spheres of anti-romantic tendencies, made occasional forays into the
Middle Ages.  But who thinks of such things as "The Plea of the Midsummer
Fairies" or "The Two Peacocks of Bedfont" when Hood is mentioned; and not
rather of "The Bridge of Sighs" and "The Song of the Shirt"?  Or who, in
spite of "Balder Dead" and "Tristram and Iseult," would classify Arnold's
clean-cut, reserved, delicately intellectual work as romantic?  Hood was
an artist of the terrible as well as of the comic; witness his "Last
Man," "Haunted House," and "Dream of Eugene Aram."  If he could have
welded the two moods into a more intimate union, and applied them to
legendary material, he might have been a great artist in mediaeval
grotesque--a species of Gothic Hoffman perhaps.  As it is, his one
romantic success is the charming lyric "Fair Ines."  His longer poems in
this kind, in modifications of _ottava rima_ or Spenserian stanza, show
Keats' influence very clearly.  The imagery is profuse, but too distinct
and without the romantic _chiaroscuro_.  "The Water Lady" is a manifest
imitation of "La Belle Dame sans Merci," and employs the same somewhat
unusual stanza form.  Hood--incorrigible punster--who had his jest at
everything, jested at romance.  He wrote ballad parodies--"The Knight and
the Dragon," etc.--and an ironical "Lament for the Decline of Chivalry":

  "Well hast thou cried, departed Burke,
  All chivalrous romantic work
    Is ended now and past!
  That iron age--which some have thought
  Of mettle rather overwrought--
    Is now all overcast."

And finally, "The Saint's Tragedy" (1848) of Charles Kingsley affords a
case in which mediaeval biography is made the pretext for an assault upon
mediaeval ideas.  It is a _tendenz_ drama in five acts, founded upon the
"Life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary," as narrated by her contemporary,
Dietrich the Thuringian.  Its militant Protestantism is such as might be
predicted from Kingsley's well-known resentment of the Romanist attitude
towards marriage and celibacy; from his regard for freedom of thought;
and from that distrust and contempt of Popish priestcraft which involved
him in his controversy with Newman.  "The Middle Age," says the
Introduction, "was, in the gross, a coarse, barbarous, and profligate
age. . . .  It was, in fact, the very ferocity and foulness of the time
which, by a natural revulsion, called forth at the same time the
Apostolic holiness and the Manichean asceticism of the mediaeval
saints. . . .  So rough and common a life-picture of the Middle Age will,
I am afraid, whether faithful or not, be far from acceptable to those who
take their notions of that period principally from such exquisite dreams
as the fictions of Fouqué, and of certain moderns whose graceful
minds . . . are, on account of their very sweetness and simplicity,
singularly unfitted to convey any true likeness of the coarse and stormy
Middle Age. . . .  But really, time enough has been lost in ignorant
abuse of that period, and time enough also, lately, in blind adoration of
it.  When shall we learn to see it as it was?"

Polemic in its purpose and anti-Catholic in temper, "The Saint's Tragedy"
then seeks to dispel the glamour which romance had thrown over mediaeval
life.  Kingsley's Middle Age is not the holy Middle Age of the German
"throne-and-altar" men; nor yet the picturesque Middle Age of Walter
Scott.  It is the cruel, ignorant, fanatical Middle Age of "The Amber
Witch" and "The Succube."  But Kingsley was too much of a poet not to
feel those "last enchantments" which whispered to Arnold from Oxford
towers, maugre his "strong sense of the irrationality of that period."
The saintly, as well as the human side, of Elizabeth's character is
portrayed with sympathy, though poetically the best thing in the drama
are the songs of the Crusaders.

Kingsley, in effect, was always good at a ballad.  His finest work in
this kind is modern, "The Last Buccaneer," "The Sands of Dee," "The Three
Fishers," and the like.  But there are the same fire and swing in many of
his romantic ballads on historical or legendary subjects, such as "The
Swan-Neck," "The Red King," "Ballad of Earl Haldan's Daughter," "The Song
of the Little Baltung," and a dozen more.  Without the imaginative
witchery of Coleridge, Keats, and Rossetti, in the ballad of action
Kingsley ranks very close to Scott.  The same manly delight in outdoor
life and bold adventure, love of the old Teutonic freedom and strong
feeling of English nationality inspire his historical romances, only one
of which, however, "Hereward the Wake" (1866), has to do with the period
of the Middle Ages.

[1] "It is almost superfluous to mention that the appellation 'Childe,'
as 'Childe Waters,' 'Childe Childers,' etc., is used as more consonant
with the old structure of versification which I have adopted."--Preface
to "Childe Harold."  Byron appeals to a letter of Beattie relating to
"The Minstrel," to justify his choice of the stanza.

[2] See vol. i., p. 98.

[3] For Byron's and Shelley's dealings with Dante, _vide supra_, pp.

[4] For the type of prose romance essayed by Shelley, see Vol. i., p. 403.

[5] "Mary, the Maid of the Inn."

[6] Duran's great collection, begun in 1828, embraces nearly two thousand

[7] It is hardly necessary to mention early English translations of
"Palmerin of England" (1616) and "Amadis de Gaul" (1580), or to point out
the influence of Montemayor's "Diana Enamorada" upon Sidney, Shakspere,
and English pastoral romance in general.

[8] "The English and Scotch ballads, with which they may most naturally
be compared, belong to a ruder state of society, where a personal
violence and coarseness prevailed which did not, indeed, prevent the
poetry it produced from being full of energy, and sometimes of
tenderness; but which necessarily had less dignity and elevation than
belong to the character, if not the condition, of a people who, like the
Spanish, were for centuries engaged in a contest ennobled by a sense of
religion and loyalty--a contest which could not fail sometimes to raise
the minds and thoughts of those engaged in it far above such an
atmosphere as settled round the bloody feuds of rival barons or the gross
maraudings of a border warfare.  The truth of this will at once be felt,
if we compare the striking series of ballads on Robin Hood with those on
the Cid and Bernardo de Carpio; or if we compare the deep tragedy of Edom
O'Gordon with that of the Conde Alarcos; or, what would be better than
either, if we should sit down to the 'Romancero General,' with its
poetical confusion of Moorish splendours and Christian loyalty, just when
we have come fresh from Percy's 'Reliques' or Scott's 'Minstrelsy'."
("History of Spanish Literature," George Ticknor, vol. i., p. 141, third
American ed., 1866).  The "Romancero General" was the great collection of
some thousand ballads and lyrics published in 1602-14.

[9] "The Ancient Ballads of Spain."  R. Ford, in Edinburgh Review, No.

[10] "A History of Spanish Literature."  By James Fitz-Maurice Kelly, New
York, 1898, pp. 366-67.

[11] _Ibid._, pp. 368-73.

[12] Kelly, p. 270.

[13] The collection of Sanchez (1779) is described as an imitation of the
"Reliques" (Edinburgh Review, No. 146).

[14] He preferred, however, Sir Edmund Head's rendering of the ballad
"Lady Alda's Dream" to Lockhart's version.

[15] Scott and Motherwell never met in person.

[16] Mr. Churton Collins thinks that the lines in "Guinevere"--

    "Down in the cellars merry bloated things
    Shouldered the spigot, straddling on the butts
    While the wine ran"--

was suggested by Croker's description of the Cluricaune.  ("Illustrations
of Tennyson" (1891), p. 152.)

[17] "The Fairies."  William Allingham.

[18] See vol. i., p. 314.  Dr. Joyce was for some years a resident of
Boston, where his "Ballads of Irish Chivalry" were published in 1872.
His "Deirdré" received high praise from J. R. Lowell.  Tennyson's "Voyage
of Maeldune" (1880) probably had its source in Dr. P. W. Joyce's "Old
Celtic Romances" (1879) (Collins' "Illustrations of Tennyson," p. 163).
Swinburne pronounced Ferguson's "Welshmen of Tirawley" one of the best of
modern ballads.

[19] For a survey of this department of romantic literature the reader is
referred to "A Treasury of Irish Poetry in the English Tongue."  Edited
by Stopford A. Brooke and T. W. Rolleston (New York, 1900).  There are a
quite astonishing beauty and force in many of the pieces in this
collection, though some of the editors' claims seem excessive; as,
_e.g._, that Mr. Yeats is "the first of living writers in the English

[20] Robert Stephen Hawker was vicar of Morwenstow, near "wild Tintagil
by the Cornish Sea," where Tennyson visited him in 1848.  Hawker himself
made contributions to Arthurian poetry, "Queen Gwynnevar's Round" and
"The Quest of the Sangreal" (1864).  He was converted to the Roman
Catholic faith on his death-bed.

[21] Given in Palgrave's "Golden Treasury," second series.  Rossetti
wrote of Dobell's ballad in 1868: "I have always regarded that poem as
being one of the finest, of its length, in any modern poet; ranking with
Keats' 'La Belle Dame sans Merci' and the other masterpieces of the
condensed and hinted order so dear to imaginative minds."  The use of the
family name Keith in Rossetti's "Rose Mary" was a coincidence.  His poem
was published (1854) some years before Dobell's.  He thought of
substituting some other name for Keith, but could find none to suit him,
and so retained it.

[22] _Cf._ Matthew Arnold's "St. Brandan," suggested by a passage in the
old Irish "Voyage of Bran."  The traitor Judas is allowed to come up from
hell and cool himself on an iceberg every Christmas night because he had
once given his cloak to a leper in the streets of Joppa.

[23] "Ballads and Songs," London, 1895.

[24] "New Ballads," London, 1897.

[25] "Victorian Poets."  By E. C. Stedman.  New York, 1886 (tenth ed.),
p. 155.

[26] This famous lyric, one of the "inserted" songs in "The Princess,"
was inspired by the note of a bugle on the Lakes of Killarney.

[27] See vol. i., pp. 146-47.  Dryden, like Milton, had designs upon
Arthur.  See introduction to the first canto of "Marmion":

        "--Dryden, in immortal strain,
  Had raised the Table Round again,
  But that a ribald king and court
  Bade him toil on, to make them sport."

[28] For a discussion of these and similar matters and a bibliography of
Arthurian literature, the reader should consult Dr. H. Oskar Sommer's
scholarly reprint and critical edition of "Le Morte Darthur.  By Syr
Thomas Malory," three vols., London, 1889-91.

[29] Two of them, however, had been printed privately in 1857 under the
title of "Enid and Nimuë": the true and the false.  "Nimuë" was the first
form of Vivien.

[30] Matthew Arnold writes in one of his letters; "I have a strong sense
of the irrationality of that period [the Middle Ages] and of the utter
folly of those who take it seriously and play at restoring it; still it
has poetically the greatest charm and refreshment possible for me.  The
fault I find with Tennyson, in his 'Idylls of the King,' is that the
peculiar charm of the Middle Age he does not give in them.  There is
something magical about it, and I will do something with it before I have


The Pre-Raphaelites.

In the latter half of the century the Italian Middle Age and Dante, its
great exemplar, found new interpreters in the Rossetti family; a family
well fitted by its mixture of bloods and its hereditary aptitudes,
literary and artistic, to mediate between the English genius and whatever
seemed to it alien or repellant in Dante's system of thought.  The
father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a political refugee, who held the
professorship of Italian in King's College, London, from 1831 to 1845,
and was the author of a commentary on Dante which carried the
politico-allegorical theory of the "Divine Comedy" to somewhat fantastic
lengths.  The mother was half English and half Italian, a sister of
Byron's travelling companion, Dr. Polidori.  Of the four children of the
marriage, Dante Gabriel and Christina became poets of distinction.  The
eldest sister, Maria Francesca, a religious devotee who spent her last
years as a member of a Protestant sisterhood, was the author of that
unpretentious but helpful piece of Dante literature, "A Shadow of Dante."
The younger brother, William Michael, is well known as a biographer,
_littérateur_, and art critic, as an editor of Shelley and of the works
of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Other arts besides the literary art had partaken in the romantic
movement.  The eighteenth century had seen the introduction of the new,
or English, school of landscape gardening; and the premature beginnings
of the Gothic revival in architecture, which reached a successful issue
some century later.[1]  Painting in France had been romanticised in the
thirties _pari passu_ with poetry and drama; and in Germany, Overbeck and
Cornelius had founded a school of sacred art which corresponds, in its
mediaeval spirit, to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  In England painting
was the last of the arts to catch the new inspiration.  When the change
came, it evinced that same blending of naturalism and Gothicism which
defined the incipient romantic movement of the previous century.
Painting, like landscape gardening, returned to nature; like
architecture, it went back to the past.  Like these, and like literature
itself, it broke away from a tradition which was academic, if not
precisely classic in the way in which David was classic.

In 1848 the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was established by three young
painters, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William
Holman Hunt.  The name expresses their admiration of the early
Italian--and notably the early Florentine--religious painters, like
Giotto, Ghiberti, Bellini, and Fra Angelica.  In the work of these men
they found a sweetness, depth, and sincerity of devotional feeling, a
self-forgetfulness and humble adherence to truth, which were absent from
the sophisticated art of Raphael and his successors.  Even the imperfect
command of technique in these "primitives" had a charm.  The stiffness
and awkwardness of their figure painting, their defects of drawing,
perspective, and light and shade, their lack of anatomical science were
like the lispings of childhood or the artlessness of an old ballad.  The
immediate occasion of the founding of the Brotherhood was a book of
engravings which Hunt and Rossetti saw at Millais' house, from the
frescoes by Gozzoli, Orcagna, and others in the Campo Santo, at Pisa; the
same frescoes, it will be remembered, which so strongly impressed Leigh
Hunt and Keats.  Holman Hunt--though apparently not his associates--had
also read with eager approval the first volume of Ruskin's "Modern
Painters," in which the young artists of England are advised to "go to
nature in all singleness of heart . . . rejecting nothing, selecting
nothing."  Pre-Raphaelitism was a practical, as "Modern Painters" was a
theoretical, protest against the academic traditions which kept young
artists making school copies of Raphael, instructed them that a third of
the canvas should be occupied with a principal shadow, and that no two
people's heads in the picture should be turned the same way, and asked,
"Where are you going to put your brown tree?"

The three original members of the group associated with themselves four
others: Thomas Woolner, the sculptor; James Collinson, a painter; F. G.
Stephens, who began as an artist and ended as an art critic; and
Rossetti's brother William, who was the literary man of the movement.
Woolner was likewise a poet, and contributed to _The Germ_[2] his two
striking pieces, "My Beautiful Lady" and "Of My Lady in Death."  Among
other artists not formally enrolled in the Brotherhood, but who worked
more or less in the spirit and principles of Pre-Raphaelitism, were Ford
Madox Brown, an older man, in whose studio Rossetti had, at his own
request, been admitted as a student; Walter Deverell, who took
Collinson's place when the latter resigned his membership in order to
study for the Roman Catholic priesthood; and Arthur Hughes.[3]

But the main importance of the Pre-Raphaelite movement to romantic
literature resides in the poetry of Rossetti, and in the inspiration
which this communicated to younger men, like Morris and Swinburne, and
through them to other and still younger followers.  The history of
English painting is no part of our subject, but Rossetti's painting and
his poetry so exactly reflect each other, that some definition or brief
description of Pre-Raphaelitism seems here to be called for, ill
qualified as I feel myself to give any authoritative account of the

And first as to methods: the Pre-Raphaelites rejected the academic system
whereby the canvas was prepared by rubbing in bitumen, and the colours
were laid upon a background of brown, grey, or neutral tints.  Instead of
this, they spread their colours directly upon the white, unprepared
canvas, securing transparency by juxtaposition rather than by overlaying.
They painted their pictures bit by bit, as in frescoes or mosaic work,
finishing each portion as they went along, until no part of the canvas
was left blank.  The Pre-Raphaelite theory was sternly realistic.  They
were not to copy from the antique, but from nature.  For landscape
background, they were to take their easels out of doors.  In figure
painting they were to work, if possible, from a living model and not from
a lay figure.  A model once selected, it was to be painted as it was in
each particular, and without imaginative deviation.  "Every
Pre-Raphaelite landscape background," wrote Ruskin, "is painted, to the
last touch, in the open air from the thing itself.  Every Pre-Raphaelite
figure, however studied in expression, is a true portrait of some living
person.  Every minute accessory is painted in the same manner." [5]  In
this fashion their earliest works were executed.  In Rossetti's "Girlhood
of Mary Virgin," exhibited in 1849, the figure of St. Anne is a portrait
of the artist's mother; the Virgin, of his sister Christina; and Joseph,
of a man-of-all-work employed in the family.  In Millais' "Lorenzo and
Isabella"--a subject from Keats--Isabella's brother, her lover, and one
of the guests, are portraits of Deverell, Stephens, and the two
Rossettis.  But this severity of realism was not long maintained.  It was
a discipline, not a final method.  Even in Rossetti's second painting,
"Ecce Ancilla Domini," the faces of the Virgin and the angel Gabriel are
blendings of several models; although, in its freedom from convention,
its austere simplicity, and endeavour to see the fact as it happened, the
piece is in the purest Pre-Raphaelite spirit.  Ruskin insisted that,
while composition was necessarily an affair of the imagination, the
figures and accessories of a picture should be copies from the life.  In
the early days of the Brotherhood there was an ostentatious
conscientiousness in observing this rule.  We hear a great deal in
Rossetti's correspondence about the brick wall at Chiswick which he
copied into his picture "Found," and about his anxious search for a white
calf for the countryman's cart in the same composition.  But all the
Pre-Raphaelites painted from the lay figure as well as from the living
model, and Rossetti, in particular, relied quite as much on memory and
imagination as upon the object before him.  W. B. Scott thinks that his
most charming works were the small water-colours on Arthurian subjects;
"done entirely without nature and a good deal in the spirit of
illuminated manuscripts, with very indifferent drawing and perspective
nowhere."  As for Millais, he soon departed from rigidly Pre-Raphaelite
principles, and became the most successful and popular of British artists
in genre.  In natural talent and cleverness of execution he was the most
brilliant of the three; in imaginative intensity and originality he was
Rossetti's inferior--as in patience and religious earnestness he was
inferior to Hunt.  It was Hunt who stuck most faithfully to the programme
of Pre-Raphaelitism.  He spent laborious years in the East in order to
secure the exactest local truth of scenery and costume for his Biblical
pieces: "Christ in the Shadow of Death," "Christ in the Temple," and "The
Scapegoat."  While executing the last-named, he pitched his tent on the
shores of the Dead Sea and painted the desert landscape and the actual
goat from a model tied down on the edge of the sea.  Hunt's "Light of the
World" was one of the masterpieces of the school, and as it is typical in
many ways, may repay description.  Ruskin pronounced it "the most perfect
instance of expressional purpose with technical power which the world has
yet produced."

In this tall, narrow canvas the figure of Christ occupies nearly half the
space.  He holds a lantern in his hand and knocks at a cottage door.  The
face--said to be a portrait of Venables, curate of St. Paul's, Oxford--is
quite unlike the type which Raphael has made traditional.  It is
masculine--even rugged--seamed with lines of care, and filled with an
expression of yearning.  There is anxiety and almost timidity in his pose
as he listens for an answer to his knock.  The nails and bolts of the
door are rusted; it is overgrown with ivy and the tall stalks and flat
umbels of fennel.  The sill is choked with nettles and other weeds,
emblems all of the long sleep of the world which Christ comes to break.
The full moon makes a halo behind his head and shines through the low
boughs of an orchard, whose apples strew the dark grass in the
foreground, sown with spots of light from the star-shaped perforations in
the lantern-cover.  They are the apples of Eden, emblems of the Fall.
Everything, in fact, is symbolical.  Christ's seamless white robe, with
its single heavy fold, typifies the Church catholic; the jewelled clasps
of the priestly mantle, one square and one oval, are the Old and New
Testaments.  The golden crown is enwoven with one of thorns, from which
new leaves are sprouting.  The richly embroidered mantle hem has its
meaning, and so have the figures on the lantern.  To get the light in
this picture right, Hunt painted out of doors in an orchard every
moonlight night for three months from nine o'clock till five.  While
working in his studio, he darkened one end of the room, put a lantern in
the hand of his lay-figure and painted this interior through the hole in
a curtain.  On moonlight nights he let the moon shine in through the
window to mix with the lantern light.  It was a principle with the
Brotherhood that detail, though not introduced for its own sake, should
be painted with truth to nature.  Hunt, especially, took infinite pains
to secure minute exactness in his detail.  Ruskin wrote in enthusiastic
praise of the colours of the gems on the mantle clasp in "The Light of
the World," and said that all the Academy critics and painters together
could not have executed one of the nettle leaves at the bottom of the
picture.  The lizards in the foreground of Millais' "Ferdinand Lured by
Ariel" (exhibited in 1850) were studied from life, and Scott makes merry
over the shavings on the floor of the carpenter shop in the same artist's
"Christ in the House of his Parents," a composition which was ferociously
ridiculed by Dickens in "Household Words."

The symbolism which is so pronounced a feature in "The Light of the
World" is common to all the Pre-Raphaelite art.  It is a mediaeval note,
and Rossetti learned it from Dante.  Symbolism runs through the "Divine
Comedy" in such touches as the rush, emblem of humility, with which
Vergil girds Dante for his journey through Purgatory; the constellation
of four stars--

  "Non viste mai fuor ch' alla prima gente"--

typifying the cardinal virtues; the three different coloured steps to the
door of Purgatory;[6] and thickening into the elaborate apocalyptic
allegory of the griffin and the car of the church, the eagle and the
mystic tree in the last cantos of the "Purgatorio."  In Hunt's "Christ in
the Shadow of Death," the young carpenter's son is stretching his arms
after work, and his shadow, thrown upon the wall, is a prophecy of the
crucifixion.  In Millais' "Christ in the House of his Parents," the boy
has wounded the palm of his hand upon a nail, another foretokening of the
crucifixion.  In Rossetti's "Girlhood of Mary Virgin," Joseph is training
a vine along a piece of trellis in the shape of the cross; Mary is
copying in embroidery a three-flowered white lily plant, growing in a
flower-pot which stands upon a pile of books lettered with the names of
the cardinal virtues.  The quaint little child angel who tends the plant
is a portrait of a young sister of Thomas Woolner.  Similarly, in "Ecce
Ancilla Domini," the lily of the annunciation which Gabriel holds is
repeated in the piece of needlework stretched upon the 'broidery frame at
the foot of Mary's bed.  In "Beata Beatrix" the white poppy brought by
the dove is the symbol at once of chastity and of death; and the shadow
upon the sun-dial marks the hour of Beatrice's beatification.  Again, in
"Dante's Dream," poppies strew the floor, emblems of sleep and death; an
expiring lamp symbolises the extinction of life; and a white cloud borne
away by angels is Beatrice's departing soul.  Love stands by the couch in
flame-coloured robes, fastened at the shoulder with the scallop shell
which is the badge of pilgrimage.  In Millais' "Lorenzo and Isabella" the
salt-box is overturned upon the table, signifying that peace is broken
between Isabella's brothers and their table companion.  Doves are
everywhere in Rossetti's pictures, embodiments of the Holy Ghost and the
ministries of the spirit, Rossetti labelled his early manuscript poems
"Poems of the Art Catholic"; and the Pre-Raphaelite heresy was connected
by unfriendly critics with the Anglo-Catholic or Tractarian movement at
Oxford.  William Sharp, in speaking of "that splendid outburst of
Romanticism in which Coleridge was the first and most potent
participant," and of the lapse or ebb that followed the death of
Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, resumes: "At last a time came when
a thrill of expectation, of new desire, of hope, passed through the
higher lives of the nation; and what followed thereafter were the Oxford
movement in the Church of England, the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art,
and the far-reaching Gothic revival.  Different as these movements were
in their primary aims, and still more differing in the individual
representations of interpreters, they were in reality closely interwoven,
one being the outcome of the other.  The study of mediaeval art, which
was fraught with such important results, was the outcome of the
widespread ecclesiastical revival, which in its turn was the outcome of
the Tractarian movement in Oxford.  The influence of Pugin was potent in
strengthening the new impulse, and to him succeeded Ruskin with 'Modern
Painters' and Newman with the 'Tracts for the Times.'  Primarily the
Pre-Raphaelite movement had its impulse in the Oxford religious revival;
and however strange it may seem to say that such men as Holman Hunt and
Rossetti . . . followed directly in the footsteps of Newman and Pusey and
Keble, it is indubitably so." [7]  Ruskin, too, cautioned his young
friends that "if their sympathies with the early artists lead them into
mediaevalism or Romanism, they will of course come to nothing.  But I
believe there is no danger of this, at least for the strongest among
them.  There may be some weak ones whom the Tractarian heresies may
touch; but if so, they will drop off like decayed branches from a strong
stem." [8]  One of these weak ones who dropped off was James Collinson, a
man of an ascetic and mystical piety--like Werner or Brentano.  He
painted, among other things, "The Renunciation of St. Elizabeth" from
Kingsley's "Saint's Tragedy."  "The picture," writes Scott, "resembled
the feckless dilettanteism of the converts who were then dropping out of
their places in Oxford and Cambridge into Mariolatry and Jesuitism.  In
fact, this James Collinson actually did become Romanist, wanted to be a
priest, painted no more, but entered a seminary, where they set him to
clean the boots as an apprenticeship in humility and obedience.  They did
not want him as a priest; they were already getting tired of that species
of convert; so he left, turned to painting again, and disappeared." [9]

M. de la Sizeranne is rather scornful of these metaphysical definitions
of Pre-Raphaelitism; "for to characterise a Pre-Raphaelite picture by
saying that it was inspired by the Oxford movement, is like attempting to
explain the mechanism of a lock by describing the political opinions of
the locksmith." [10]  He himself proposes, as the distinguishing
characteristics of Pre-Raphaelite art, originality of gesture and
vividness of colouring.  This is the professional point of view; but the
student of literature is less concerned with such technical aspects of
the subject than with those spiritual aspects which connect the work of
the Pre-Raphaelites with the great mediaeval or romantic revival.

When Ruskin came to the rescue of the P.-R. B. in 1851, in those letters
to the _Times_, afterwards reprinted in pamphlet form under the title
"Pre-Raphaelitism," he recognised the propriety of the name, and the real
affinity between the new school and the early Italian schools of sacred
art.  Mediaeval art, he asserted,[11] was religious and truthful, modern
art is profane and insincere.  "In mediaeval art, thought is the first
thing, execution is the second; in modern art, execution is the first
thing and thought is the second.  And again, in mediaeval art, truth is
first, beauty second; in modern art, beauty is first, truth second."
Ruskin denied that the Pre-Raphaelites were unimaginative, though he
allowed that they had a disgust for popular forms of grace and
prettiness.  And he pointed out a danger in the fact that their
principles confined them to foreground work, and called for laborious
finish on a small scale.  In "Modern Painters" he complained that the
Pre-Raphaelites should waste a whole summer in painting a bit of oak
hedge or a bed of weeds by a duck pond, which caught their fancy perhaps
by reminding them of a stanza in Tennyson.  Nettles and mushrooms, he
said, were good to make nettle soup and fish sauce; but it was too bad
that the nobler aspects of nature, such as the banks of the castled
Rhine, should be left to the frontispieces in the Annuals.  Ruskin,
furthermore, denied that the drawing of the Pre-Raphaelites was bad or
their perspective false; or that they imitated the _errors_ of the early
Florentine painters, whom they greatly excelled in technical
accomplishment.  Meanwhile be it remarked that the originality of gesture
in Pre-Raphaelite figure painting, which M. de la Sizeranne notices, was
only one more manifestation of the romantic desire for individuality and
concreteness as against the generalising academicism of the eighteenth

As poets, the Pre-Raphaelites derive from Keats rather than from Scott,
in their exclusive devotion to beauty, to art for art's sake; in their
single absorption in the passion of love; and in their attraction towards
the more esoteric side of mediaeval life, rather than towards its broad,
public, and military aspects.[13]

Rossetti's position in the romantic literature of the last half of the
ninetenth century is something like Coleridge's in the first half.
Unlike Coleridge, he was the leader of a school, the master of a definite
group of artists and poets.  His actual performance, too, far exceeds
Coleridge's in amount, if not in value.  But like Coleridge, he was a
seminal mind, a mind rich in original suggestions, which inspired and
influenced younger men to carry out its ideas, often with a fluency of
utterance and a technical dexterity both in art and letters which the
master himself did not possess.  Holman Hunt, Millais, and Burne-Jones
among painters, Morris and Swinburne among poets, were disciples of
Rossetti who in some ways outdid him in execution.  His pictures were
rarely exhibited, and no collection of his poems was published till 1870.
Meanwhile, however, many of these had circulated in manuscript, and
"secured a celebrity akin in kind and almost equal in extent to that
enjoyed by Coleridge's 'Christabel' during the many years preceding 1816
in which it lay in manuscript.  Like Coleridge's poem in another
important particular, certain of Rossetti's ballads, while still unknown
to the public, so far influenced contemporary poetry that when they did
at length appear, they had all the seeming to the uninitiated of work
imitated from contemporary models, instead of being, as in fact they
were, the primary source of inspiration for writers whose names were
earlier established." [14]  William Morris, _e.g._, had printed four
volumes of verse in advance of Rossetti, and the earliest of these, "The
Defence of Guenevere," which contains his most intensely Pre-Raphaelite
work and that most evidently done in the spirit of Rossetti's teachings,
saw the light (1858) twelve years before Rossetti's own.  Swinburne, too,
had published three volumes of poetry before 1870, including the "Poems
and Ballads" of 1866, in which Rossetti's influence is plainly manifest;
and he had already secured a wide fame at a time when the elder poet's
reputation was still esoteric and mainly confined to the _cénacle_.
William M. Rossetti, in describing the literary influences which moulded
his brother's tastes, tells us that "in the long run he perhaps enjoyed
and revered Coleridge beyond any other modern poet whatsoever." [15]

It is worth while to trace these literary influences with some detail,
since they serve to link the neo-romantic poetry of our own time to the
product of that older generation which had passed away before Rossetti
came of age.  It is interesting to find then, that at the age of fifteen
(1843) he taught himself enough German to enable him to translate
Bürger's "Lenore," as Walter Scott had done a half-century before.  This
devil of a poem so haunts our history that it has become as familiar a
spirit as Mrs. Radcliffe's bugaboo apparitions, and our flesh refuses any
longer to creep at it.  It is quite one of the family.  It would seem,
indeed, as if Bürger's ballad was set as a school copy for every young
romanticist in turn to try his 'prentice hand upon.  Fortunately,
Rossetti's translation has perished, as has also his version--some
hundred lines--of the earlier portion of the "Nibelungenlied."  But a
translation which he made about the same time of the old Swabian poet,
Hartmann von Aue's "Der Arme Heinrich" (Henry the Leper) is preserved,
and was first published in 1886.  This poem, it will be remembered, was
the basis of Longfellow's "Golden Legend" (1851).  Rossetti did not keep
up his German, and in later years he never had much liking for
Scandinavian or Teutonic literature.  He was a Latin, and he made it his
special task to interpret to modern Protestant England whatever struck
him as most spiritually intense and characteristic in the Latin Catholic
Middle Age.  The only Italian poet whom he "earnestly loved" was Dante.
He did not greatly care for Petrarch, Boccaccio, Ariosto, and Tasso--the
Renaissance poets--though in boyhood he had taken delight in Ariosto,
just as he had in Scott and Byron.  But that was a stage through which he
passed; none of these had any ultimate share in Rossetti's culture.  At
fifteen he wrote a ballad entitled "Sir Hugh the Heron," founded on a
tale of Allan Cunningham, but taking its name and motto from the lines in

  "Sir Hugh the Heron bold,
  Baron of Twisell and of Ford,
  And Captain of the Hold."

A few copies of this were printed for family circulation by his fond
grandfather, G. Polidori.  Among French writers he had no modern
favourites beyond Hugo, Musset, and Dumas.  But like all the
neo-romanticists, he was strongly attracted by François Villon, that
strange Parisian poet, thief, and murderer of the fifteenth century.  He
made three translations from Villon, the best known of which is the
famous "Ballad of Dead Ladies" with its felicitous rendering of the

  "But where are the snows of yester year?"
   (Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?)

There are at least three good English verse renderings of this ballad of
Villon; one by Andrew Lang; one by John Payne, and doubtless innumerable
others, unknown to me or forgotten.  In fact, every one translates it
nowadays, as every one used to translate Bürger's ballad.  It is the
"Lenore" of the neo-romanticists.  Rossetti was a most accomplished
translator, and his version of Dante's "Vita Nuova" and of the "Early
Italian Poets" (1861)--reissued as "Dante and His Circle" (1874)--is a
notable example of his skill.  There are two other specimens of old
French minstrelsy, and two songs from Victor Hugo's "Burgraves" among his
miscellaneous translations; and William Sharp testifies that Rossetti at
one time thought of doing for the early poetry of France what he had
already done for that of Italy, but never found the leisure for it.[16]
Rossetti had no knowledge of Greek, and "the only classical poet," says
his brother, "whom he took to in any degree worth speaking of was Homer,
the 'Odyssey' considerably more than the 'Iliad.'"  This, I presume, he
knew only in translation, but the preference is significant, since, as we
have seen, the "Odyssey" is the most romantic of epics.  Among English
poets, he preferred Keats to Shelley, as might have been expected.
Shelley was a visionary and Keats was an artist; Shelley often abstract,
Keats always concrete.  Shelley had a philosophy, or thought he had;
Keats had none, neither had Rossetti.  It is quite comprehensible that
the sensuous element in Keats would attract a born colourist like
Rossetti beyond anything in the English poetry of that generation; and I
need not repeat that the latest Gothic or romantic schools have all been
taking Keats' direction rather than Scott's, or even than Coleridge's.
Rossetti's work, I should say, _e.g._, in such a piece as "The Bride's
Prelude," is a good deal more like "Isabella" and "The Eve of St. Agnes"
than it is like "The Ancient Mariner" or "Christabel" or "The Lay of the
Last Minstrel."  Rossetti got little from Milton and Dryden, or even from
Chaucer and Spenser.  Wordsworth he valued hardly at all.  In the last
two or three years of his life he came to have an exaggerated admiration
for Chatterton.  Rossetti's taste, like his temperament, was tinctured
with morbidness.  He sought the intense, the individual, the symbolic,
the mystical.  These qualities he found in a supreme degree in Dante.
Probably it was only his austere artistic conscience which saved him from
the fantastic--the merely peculiar or odd--and kept him from going astray
after false gods like Poe and Baudelaire.  Chaucer was a mediaeval poet
and Spenser certainly a romantic one, but their work was too broad, too
general in its appeal, too healthy, one might almost say, to come home to
Rossetti.[17]  William Rossetti testifies that "any writing about devils,
spectres, or the supernatural generally . . . had always a fascination
for him."  Sharp remarks that work more opposite than Rossetti's to the
Greek spirit can hardly be imagined.  "The former [the Greek spirit]
looked to light, clearness, form in painting, sculpture, architecture; to
intellectual conciseness and definiteness in poetry; the latter
[Rossetti] looked mainly to diffused colour, gradated to almost
indefinite shades in his art, finding the harmonies thereof more akin
than severity of outline and clearness of form; while in his poetry the
Gothic love of the supernatural, the Gothic delight in sensuous images,
the Gothic instinct of indefiniteness and elaboration, carried to an
extreme, prevailed. . . .  He would take more pleasure in a design
by . . . William Blake . . . than in the more strictly artistic drawing
of some revered classicist; more enjoyment in the weird or dramatic
Scottish ballad than in Pindaric or Horatian ode; and he would certainly
rather have had Shakspere than Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides put

Rossetti's office in the later and further development of romantic art
was threefold: First, to revive and express, both in painting and poetry,
the religious spirit of the early Florentine schools; secondly, to give a
more intimate interpretation of Dante to the English public, and
especially of Dante's life and personality and of his minor poetry, like
the "Vita Nuova," which had not yet been translated; thirdly, to afford
new illustrations of mediaeval life and thought, partly by treating
legendary matter in the popular ballad form, and partly by treating
romantic matter of his own invention with the rich colour and sensuous
imagery which belonged to his pictorial art.

"Perhaps," writes Mr. Caine,[18] "Catholicism is itself essentially
mediaeval, and perhaps a man cannot possibly be a 'mediaeval artist,
heart and soul,' without partaking of a strong religious feeling that is
primarily Catholic--so much were the religion and art of the Middle Ages
knit each to each. . . .  Rossetti's attitude towards spiritual things
was exactly the reverse of what we call Protestant. . . .  He constantly
impressed me during the last days of his life with the conviction that he
was by religious bias of nature a monk of the Middle Ages."  All this is
true in a way, yet Rossetti strikes one as being Catholic, without being
religious; as mediaeval rather than Christian.  He was agnostic in his
belief and not devout in his practice; so that the wish that he suddenly
expressed in his last illness, to confess himself to a priest, affected
his friends as a singular caprice.  It was the romantic quality in the
Italian sacred art of the Middle Ages that attracted him; and it
attracted him as a poet and painter, not as a devotee.  There was little
in Rossetti of the mystical and ascetic piety of Novalis or Zacharias
Werner; nor of the steady religious devotion of his friend Holman Hunt,
or his own sister Christina.

Rossetti, by the way, was never in Italy, though he made several visits
to France and Belgium.  A glance at the list of his designs--extending to
some four hundred titles--in oil, water-colour, crayon, pen and ink,
etc., will show how impartially his interest was distributed over the
threefold province mentioned above.  There are sacred pieces like "Mary
Magdalen at the Door of Simon the Pharisee," "St. Cecily," a "Head of
Christ," a "Triptych for Llandaff Cathedral"; Dante subjects such as
"Paolo and Francesca," "Beata Beatrix," "La Donna della Finestra,"
"Giotto Painting the Portrait of Dante"; and, in greater number,
compositions of a purely romantic nature--"Fair Rosamond," "La Belle Dame
sans Merci," "The Chapel before the Lists," "Michael Scott's Wooing,"
"Meeting of Sir Tristram and Yseult," "Lady Lilith," "The Damozel of the
Sanct Grail," "Death of Breuse sans Pitié," and the like.

It will be noticed that some of these subjects are taken from the Round
Table romances.  Tennyson was partly responsible for the newly awakened
interest in the Arthurian legend, but the purely romantic manner which he
had abandoned in advancing from "Sir Galahad" and "The Lady of Shalott"
to the "Morte d'Arthur" of 1842 and the first "Idylls" of 1859, continued
to characterise the work of the Pre-Raphaelites both in poetry and in
painting.  Malory's "Morte Darthur" was one of Rossetti's favourite
books, and he preferred it to Tennyson, as containing "the _weird_
element in its perfection. . . .  Tennyson _has_ it certainly here and
there in imagery, but there is no great success in the part it plays
through his 'Idylls.'" [19]  The five wood-engravings from designs
furnished by Rossetti for the Moxon Tennyson quarto of 1857 include three
Arthurian subjects: "The Lady of Shalott," "King Arthur Sleeping in
Avalon," and "Sir Galahad Praying in the Wood-Chapel."  "Interwoven as
were the Romantic revival and the aesthetic movement," writes Mr. Sharp,
"it could hardly have been otherwise but that the young painter-poet
should be strongly attracted to that Arthurian epoch, the legendary
glamour of which has since made itself so widely felt in the Arthurian
idyls of the laureate. . . .  Mr. Ruskin speaks, in his lecture on 'The
Relation of Art to Religion' delivered in Oxford, of our indebtedness to
Rossetti as the painter to whose genius we owe the revival of interest in
the cycle of early English legend."

It was in 1857 that Rossetti, whose acquaintance had been recently sought
by three young Oxford scholars, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and
Algernon Charles Swinburne, volunteered to surround the gallery of the
new Union Club House at Oxford with life-size frescoes from the "Morte
Darthur." [20]  He was assisted in this work by a number of enthusiastic
disciples.  Burne-Jones had already done some cartoons in colour for
stained glass, and Morris had painted a subject from the "Morte Darthur,"
to wit: "Sir Tristram after his Illness, in the Garden of King Mark's
Palace, recognised by the Dog he had given to Iseult."  Rossetti's
contribution to the Oxford decorations was "Sir Lancelot before the
Shrine of the Sangreal."  Morris' was "Sir Palomides' Jealousy of Sir
Tristram and Iseult," an incident which he also treated in his poetry.
Burne-Jones, Valentine Prinsep, J. H. Pollen, and Arthur Hughes likewise
contributed.  Scott says that these paintings were interesting as
designs; that they were "poems more than pictures, being large
illuminations and treated in a mediaeval manner."  But he adds that not
one of the band knew anything about wall painting.  They laid their
water-colours, not on a plastered surface, but on a rough brick wall,
merely whitewashed.  They used no adhesive medium, and in a few months
the colours peeled off and the whole series became invisible.

A co-partnership in subjects, a duplication of treatment, or
interchange between the arts of poetry and painting characterise
Pre-Raphaelite work.  For example, Morris' poems, "The Blue Closet"
and "The Tune of Seven Towers" were inspired by the similarly entitled
designs of Rossetti. They are interpretations in language of pictorial
suggestions--"word-paintings" in a truer meaning than that much-abused
piece of critical slang commonly bears.  In one of these compositions--a
water-colour, a study in colour and music symbolism--four damozels in
black and purple, white and green, scarlet and white, and crimson, are
singing or playing on a lute and clavichord in a blue-tiled room; while
in front of them a red lily grows up through the floor.  To this interior
Morris' "stunning picture"--as his friend called it--adds an obscurely
hinted love story: the burden of a bell booming a death-knell in the
tower overhead; the sound of wind and sea; and the Christmas snows
outside.  Conversely Rossetti's painting, "Arthur's Tomb," was suggested
by Morris' so-named poem in his 1858 volume.

Or, again, compare Morris' poem, "Sir Galahad: A Christmas Mystery," with
the following description of Rossetti's aquarelle, "How Sir Galahad, Sir
Bors, and Sir Percival were fed with the Sanc Grael; but Sir Percival's
sister died by the way": "On the right is painted the altar, and in front
of it the damsel of the Sanc Grael giving the cup to Sir Galahad, who
stoops forward to take it over the dead body of Sir Percival's sister,
who lies calm and rigid in her green robe and red mantle, and near whose
feet grows from the ground an aureoled lily, while, with his left hand,
the saintly knight leads forward his two companions, him who has lost his
sister, and the good Sir Bors.  Behind the white-robed damsel at the
altar, a dove, bearing the sacred casket, poises on outspread pinions;
and immediately beyond the fence enclosing the sacred space, stands a row
of nimbused angels, clothed in white and with crossed scarlet or
flame-coloured wings." [21]

Rossetti's powerful ballad, "The King's Tragedy," was suggested by the
mural paintings (encaustic) with which William Bell Scott decorated the
circular staircase of Penkill Castle in 1865-68.  These were a series of
scenes from "The Kinges Quair" once attributed to James I. of Scotland.
The photogravure reproduction, from a painting by Arthur Hughes of a
section of the Penkill Castle staircase, represents the king looking from
the window of his prison in Windsor Castle at Lady Jane Beaufort walking
with her handmaidens in a very Pre-Raphaelite garden.  At the left of the
picture, Cupid aims an arrow at the royal lover.  Rossetti, Hunt, and
Millais were all great lovers of Keats.  Hunt says that his "Escape of
Madeline and Prospero" was the first subject from Keats ever painted, and
was highly acclaimed by Rossetti.  At the formation of the P.-R B. in
1848, it was agreed that the first work of the Brotherhood should be in
illustration of "Isabella," and a series of eight subjects was selected
from the poem.  Millais executed at once his "Lorenzo and Isabella," but
Hunt's "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" was not finished till 1867, and
Rossetti's part of the programme was never carried out.  Rossetti's "La
Belle Dame sans Merci," Mr. J. M. Strudwick's "Madness of Isabella,"
Arthur Hughes' triptych of "The Eve of St. Agnes," and Millais' great
painting, "St. Agnes' Eve," were other tributes of Pre-Raphaelite art to
the young master of romantic verse.

Whether this interpenetration of poetry and painting is of advantage to
either, may admit of question.  Emerson said to Scott: "We [Americans]
scarcely take to the Rossetti poetry; it does not come home to us; it is
exotic."  The sonnets of "The House of Life" have appeared to many
readers obscure and artificial, the working out in language of
conceptions more easily expressible by some other art; expressed here, at
all events, through imagery drawn from a special and even technical range
of associations.  Such readers are apt to imagine that Rossetti suffers
from a hesitation between poetry and painting; as Sidney Lanier is
thought by some to have been injured artistically by halting midway
between music and verse.  The method proper to one art intrudes into the
other; everything that the artist does has the air of an experiment; he
paints poems and writes pictures.

A department of Rossetti's verse consists of sonnets written for
pictures, pictures by Botticelli, Mantegna, Giorgione, Burne-Jones, and
others, and in many cases by himself, and giving thus a double rendering
of the same invention.  But even when not so occasioned, his poems nearly
always suggest pictures.  Their figures seem to have stepped down from
some fifteenth-century altar piece bringing their aureoles and golden
backgrounds with them.  This is to be pictorial in a very different sense
from that in which Tennyson is said to be a pictorial poet.  Hall Caine
informs us that Rossetti "was no great lover of landscape beauty."  His
scenery does not, like Wordsworth's or Tennyson's, carry an impression of
life, of the real outdoors.  Nature with Rossetti has been passed through
the medium of another art before it comes into his poetry; it is a doubly
distilled nature.  It is nature as we have it in the "Roman de la Rose,"
or the backgrounds of old Florentine painters: flowery pleasances and
orchard closes, gardens with trellises and singing conduits, where ladies
are playing at the palm play.  In his most popular poem, "The Blessed
Damosel"--a theme which he both painted and sang--the feeling is
exquisitely and voraciously human.  The maiden is "homesick in heaven,"
and yearns back towards the earth and her lover left behind.  Even so,
with her symbolic stars and lilies, she is so like the stiff, sweet
angels of Fra Angelico or Perugino, that one almost doubts when the poet

    "--her bosom must have made
  The bar she leaned on warm."

The imagery of the poem is right out of the picture world;

  "The clear ranged, unnumbered heads
  Bowed with their aureoles."

The imaginations are Dantesque:

  "And the souls, mounting up to God,
  Went by her like thin flames."

  "The light thrilled towards her, filled
  With angels in strong, level flight."

Even in "Jenny," one of the few poems of Rossetti that deal with modern
life, mediaeval art will creep in.

  "Fair shines the gilded aureole
  In which our highest painters place
  Some living woman's simple face.
  And the stilled features thus descried,
  As Jenny's long throat droops aside--
  The shadows where the cheeks are thin
  And pure wide curve from ear to chin--
  With Raffael's, Leonardo's hand
  To show them to men's souls might stand."

The type of womanly beauty here described is characteristic; it is the
type familiar to all in "Pandora," "Proserpine," "La Ghirlandata," "The
Day Dream," "Our Lady of Pity," and the other life-size, half-length
figure paintings in oil which were the masterpieces of his maturer style.
The languid pose, the tragic eyes with their mystic, brooding intensity
in contrast with the full curves of the lips and throat, give that union
of sensuousness and spirituality which is a constant trait of Rossetti's
poetry.  The Pre-Raphaelites were accused of exaggerating the height of
their figures.  In Burne-Jones, whose figures are eight and a half heads
high, the exaggeration is deliberate.  In Morris' and Swinburne's early
poems all the lines of the female face and figure are long--the hand, the
foot, the throat, the "curve from chin to ear," and above all, the
hair.[22]  The hair in these paintings of Rossetti seems a romantic
exaggeration, too; immense, crinkly waves of it spreading off to left and
right.  William Morris' beautiful wife is said to have been his model in
the pieces above named.

The first collection of original poems by Rossetti was published in 1870.
The manuscripts had been buried with his wife in 1862.  When he finally
consented to their publication, the coffin had to be exhumed and the
manuscripts removed.  In 1881 a new edition was issued with changes and
additions; and in the same year the volume of "Ballads and Sonnets" was
published, including the sonnet sequence of "The House of Life."  Of the
poems in these two collections which treat directly of Dante the most
important is "Dante at Verona," a noble and sustained piece in
eighty-five stanzas, slightly pragmatic in manner, in which are enwoven
the legendary and historical incidents of Dante's exile related by the
early biographers, together with many personal allusions from the "Divine
Comedy."  But Dante is nowhere very far off either in Rossetti's painting
or in his poetry.  In particular, the history of Dante's passion for
Beatrice, as told in the "Vita Nuova," in which the figure of the girl is
gradually transfigured and idealised by death into the type of heavenly
love, made an enduring impression upon Rossetti's imagination.  Shelley,
in his "Epipsychidion," had appealed to this great love story, so
characteristic at once of the mediaeval mysticism and of the Platonic
spirit of the early Renaissance.  But Rossetti was the first to give a
thoroughly sympathetic interpretation of it to English readers.  It
became associated most intimately with his own love and loss.  We see it
in a picture like "Beata Beatrix," and a poem like "The Portrait,"
written many years before his wife's death, but subsequently retouched.
Who can read the following stanza without thinking of Beatrice and the

    "Even so, where Heaven holds breath and hears
      The beating heart of Love's own breast,--
    Where round the secret of all spheres
      All angels lay their wings to rest,--
    How shall my soul stand rapt and awed,
    When, by the new birth borne abroad
  Throughout the music of the suns,
  It enters in her soul at once
    And knows the silence there for God!"

Rossetti's ballads and ballad-romances, all intensely mediaeval in
spirit, fall, as regards their manner, into two very different classes.
Pieces like "The Blessed Damozel," "The Bride's Prelude," "Rose Mary,"
and "The Staff and Scrip" (from a story in the "Gesta Romanorum") are art
poems, rich, condensed, laden with ornament, pictorial.  Every attitude
of every figure is a pose; landscapes and interiors are painted with
minute Pre-Raphaelite finish.  "The Bride's Prelude"--a fragment--opens
with the bride's confession to her sister, in the 'tiring-room sumptuous
with gold and jewels and brocade, where the air is heavy with musk and
myrrh, and sultry with the noon.  In the pauses of her tale stray lute
notes creep in at the casement, with noises from the tennis court and the
splash of a hound swimming in the moat.  In "Rose Mary," which employs
the superstition in the old lapidaries as to the prophetic powers of the
beryl-stone, the colouring and imagery are equally opulent, and, in
passages, Oriental.

On the other hand, "Stratton Water," "Sister Helen," "The White Ship,"
and "The King's Tragedy" are imitations of popular poetry, done with a
simulated roughness and simplicity.  The first of these adopts a common
ballad motive, a lover's desertion of his sweetheart through the
contrivances of his wicked kinsfolk:

  "And many's the good gift, Lord Sands,
    You've promised oft to me;
  But the gift of yours I keep to-day
    Is the babe in my body." . . .

  "Look down, look down, my false mother,
    That bade me not to grieve:
  You'll look up when our marriage fires
    Are lit to-morrow eve."

"Sister Helen" is a ballad in dialogue with a subtly varying repetend,
and introduces the popular belief that a witch could kill a man slowly by
melting a wax figure.  Twice Rossetti essayed the historical ballad.
"The White Ship" tells of the drowning of the son and daughter of Henry
I. with their whole ship's company, except one survivor, Berold, the
butcher of Rouen, who relates the catastrophe.  The subject of "The
King's Tragedy" is the murder of James I. by Robert Graeme and his men in
the Charterhouse of Perth.  The teller of the tale is Catherine Douglas,
known in Scottish tradition as Kate Barlass, who had thrust her arm
through the staple, in place of a bar, to hold the door against the
assassins.  A few stanzas of "The Kinges Quair" are fitted into the poem
by shortening the lines two syllables each, to accommodate them to the
ballad metre.  It is generally agreed that this was a mistake, as was
also the introduction of the "Beryl Songs" between the narrative parts of
"Rose Mary."  These ballads of Rossetti compare well with other modern
imitations of popular poetry.  "Sister Helen," _e.g._, has much greater
dramatic force than Tennyson's "Oriana" or "The Sisters."  Yet they
impress one, upon the whole, as less characteristic than the poet's
Italianate pieces; as _tours de force_ carefully pitched in the key of
minstrel song, but falsetto in effect.  Compared with such things as
"Cadyow Castle" or "Jack o' Hazeldean," they are felt to be the work of
an art poet, resolute to divest himself of fine language and scrupulously
observant of ballad convention in phrase and accent--details of which
Scott was often heedless--but devoid of that hearty, natural sympathy
with the conditions of life from which popular poetry sprang, and wanting
the lyrical pulse that beats in the ballad verse of Scott, Kingsley, and
Hogg.  In "The King's Tragedy" Rossetti was poaching on Scott's own
preserves, the territory of national history and legend.  If we can guess
how Scott would have handled the same story, we shall have an object
lesson in two contrasted kinds of romanticism.  Scott could not have
bettered the grim ferocity of the murder scene, nor have equalled,
perhaps, the tragic shadow of doom which is thrown over Rossetti's poem
by the triple warning of the weird woman.  But the sense of the historic
environment, the sense of the actual in places and persons, would have
been stronger in his version.  Graeme's retreat would have been the
Perthshire Highlands, and not vaguely "the land of the wild Scots."  And
if scenery had been used, it would not have been such as this--a
Pre-Raphaelite background:

  "That eve was clenched for a boding storm,
    'Neath a toilsome moon half seen;
  The cloud stooped low and the surf rose high;
  And where there was a line of the sky,
    Wild wings loomed dark between."

The historical sense was weak in Rossetti.  It is not easy to imagine him
composing a Waverley novel.  The life of the community, as distinct from
the life of the individual, had little interest for him.  The mellifluous
names of his heroines, Aloyse, Rose Mary, Blanchelys, are pure romance.
In his intense concentration upon the aesthetic aspects of every subject,
Rossetti seemed, to those who came in contact with him, singularly
_borné_.  He was indifferent to politics, society, speculative thought,
and the discoveries of modern science--to contemporary matters in
general.[23]  It is to this narrow aestheticism that Mr. Courthope refers
when, in comparing Coleridge and Keats with Rossetti and Swinburne, he
finds in the latter an "extraordinary skill in the imitation of antique
forms," but "less liberty of imagination." [24]  The contrast is most
striking in the case of Coleridge, whose intellectual interests had so
wide a range.  Rossetti cared only for Coleridge's verse; William Morris
spoke with contempt of everything that he had written except two or three
of his poems;[25] and Swinburne regretted that he had lost himself in the
mazes of theology and philosophy, instead of devoting himself wholly to
creative work.  Keats, it is true, was exclusively preoccupied with the
beautiful; but he was more eclectic than Rossetti--perhaps also than
Morris, though hardly than Swinburne.  The world of classic fable, the
world of outward nature were as dear to his imagination as the country of
romance.  Rossetti was not university bred, and, as we have seen, forgot
his Greek early.  Morris, like Swinburne, was an Oxford man; yet we hear
him saying that he "loathes all classical art and literature." [26]  In
"The Life and Death of Jason" and "The Earthly Paradise" he treats
classical and mediaeval subjects impartially, but treats them both alike
in mediaeval fashion; as Chaucer does, in "The Knightes Tale." [27]  As
for Rossetti, he is never classical.  He makes Pre-Raphaelite ballads out
of the tale of Troy divine and the Rabbinical legends of Adam's first
wife, Lilith; ballads with quaint burdens--

  "(O Troy's down,
  Tall Troy's on fire)";

  "(Sing Eden Bower!
  Alas the hour!)"

and whose very titles have an Old English familiarity--"Eden Bower,"
"Troy Town," as who says "London Bridge," "Edinboro' Town," etc.
Swinburne has given the _rationale_ of this type of art in his
description of a Bacchus and Ariadne by Lippino Lippi ("Old Masters at
Florence"), "an older legend translated and transformed into mediaeval
shape.  More than any others, these painters of the early Florentine
school reproduce in their own art the style of thought and work familiar
to a student of Chaucer and his fellows or pupils.  Nymphs have faded
into fairies, and gods subsided into men.  A curious realism has grown up
out of that very ignorance and perversion which seemed as if it could not
but falsify whatever thing it touched upon.  This study of Fillippino's
has all the singular charm of the romantic school. . . .  The clear form
has gone, the old beauty dropped out of sight . . . but the mediaeval or
romantic form has an incommunicable charm of its own. . . .  Before
Chaucer could give us a Pandarus or a Cressida, all knowledge and memory
of the son of Lycaon and the daughter of Chryses must have died out, the
whole poem collapsed into romance; but far as these may be removed from
the true tale and the true city of Troy, they are not phantoms."

But of all this group, the one most thoroughly steeped in
mediaevalism--to repeat his own description of himself--was William
Morris.  He was the English equivalent of Gautier's _homme moyen âge_;
and it was his endeavour, in letters and art, to pick up and continue the
mediaeval tradition, interrupted by four hundred years of modern
civilisation.  The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did not attract
him; and as for the eighteenth, it simply did not exist for him.[28]  The
ugliness of modern life, with its factories and railroads, its
unpicturesque poverty and selfish commercialism, was hateful to him as it
was to Ruskin--his teacher.  He loved to imagine the face of England as
it was in the time of Chaucer--his master; to

  "Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
  Forget the snorting steam and piston smoke, . . .
  And dream of London, small and white and clean,
  The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green."

The socialistic Utopia depicted in his "News from Nowhere" (1890) is a
regenerated Middle Age, without feudalism, monarchy, and the mediaeval
Church, but also without densely populated cities, with handicrafts
substituted for manufactures, and with mediaeval architecture, house,
decoration, and costume.  None of Morris' books deals with modern life,
but all of them with an imaginary future or an almost equally imaginary
past.  This same "News from Nowhere" contains a passage of dialogue in
justification of retrospective romance.  "'How is it that though we are
so interested with our life for the most part, yet when people take to
writing poems or painting pictures they seldom deal with our modern life,
or if they do, take good care to make their poems or pictures unlike that
life?  Are we not good enough to paint ourselves?' . . .  'It always was
so, and I suppose always will be,' said he, 'however, it may be
explained.  It is true that in the nineteenth century, when there was so
little art and so much talk about it, there was a theory that art and
imaginative literature ought to deal with contemporary life; but they
never did so; for, if there was any pretence of it, the author always
took care . . . to disguise, or exaggerate, or idealise, and in some way
or another make it strange; so that, for all the verisimilitude there
was, he might just as well have dealt with the times of the
Pharaohs.'" [29]

The difference between the mediaevalism of Rossetti and of Morris
illustrates, in an interesting way, the varied results produced by the
operation of similar influences on contrasted temperaments.  The
comparison which Morris' biographer makes between him and Burne-Jones
holds true as between Morris and Rossetti: "They received or
re-incarnated the Middle Ages through the eyes and brain, in the one case
of a Norman, in the other of a Florentine."  Morris was twice a Norman,
in his love for the romancers and Gothic builders of northern France; and
in his enthusiasm for the Icelandic sagas.  His visits to Italy left him
cold, and he confessed to a strong preference for the art of the North.
"With the later work of Southern Europe I am quite out of sympathy.  In
spite of its magnificent power and energy, I feel it as an enemy, and
this much more in Italy, where there is such a mass of it, than
elsewhere.  Yes, and even in these magnificent and wonderful towns I long
rather for the heap of gray stones with a gray roof that we call a house
north-away."  Rossetti's Italian subtlety and mysticism are replaced in
Morris by an English homeliness--a materialism which is Teutonic and not
Latin or Celtic, and one surface indication of which is the scrupulously
Saxon vocabulary of his poems and prose romances.  "His earliest
enthusiasms," said Burne-Jones, "were his latest.  The thirteenth century
was his ideal period always"--the century which produced the lovely
French romances which he translated and the great French cathedrals which
he admired above all other architecture on earth.  But this admiration
was aesthetic rather than religious.  The Catholic note, so resonant in
Rossetti's poetry, is hardly audible in Morris, at least after his early
Oxford days.  The influence of Newman still lingered at Oxford in the
fifties, though the Tractarian movement had spent its force and a
reaction had set in.  Morris came up to the university an Anglo-Catholic,
and like his fellow-student and life-long friend, Burne-Jones, had been
destined to holy orders.  We find them both, as undergraduates, eagerly
reading the "Acta Sanctorum," the "Tracts for the Times," and Kenelm
Digby's "Mores Catholici," and projecting a kind of monastic community,
where celibacy should be practised and sacred art cultivated.   But later
impressions soon crowded out this early religious fervour.  Churchly
asceticism and the mediaeval "praise of virginity" made no part of
Morris' social ideal.  The body counted for much with him.  In "News from
Nowhere," marriage even is so far from being a sacrament, that it is
merely a free arrangement terminable at the will of either party.  Morris
had a passionate love of earth and a regard for the natural instincts.
He complains that Swinburne's poetry is "founded on literature, not on
nature."  His religion is a reversion to the old Teutonic pagan
earth-worship, and he had the pagan dread of "quick-coming death."  His
paradise is an "Earthly Paradise"; it is in search of earthly immortality
that his voyagers set sail.  "Of heaven or hell," says his prelude, "I
have no power to sing"; and the great mediaeval singer of heaven and hell
who meant so much to Rossetti, appealed hardly more to Morris than to
Walter Scott.

Moreover, Morris' work in verse was the precise equivalent of his work as
a decorative artist, who cared little for easel pictures, and regarded
painting as one method out of many for covering wall spaces or other
surfaces.[30]  His poetry is mainly narrative, but whether epical or
lyrical in form, is always less lyric in essence than Rossetti's.  In its
objective spirit and even distribution of emphasis, it contrasts with
Rossetti's expressional intensity very much as Morris' wall-paper and
tapestry designs contrast with paintings like "Beata Beatrix" and
"Proserpina."  Morris--as an artist--cared more for places and things
than for people; and his interest was in the work of art itself, not in
the personality of the artist.

Quite unlike as was Morris to Scott in temper and mental endowment, his
position in the romantic literature of the second half-century answers
very closely to Scott's in the first.  His work resembled Scott's in
volume, and in its easiness for the general reader.  For the second time
he made the Middle Ages _popular_.  There was nothing esoteric in his
art, as in Rossetti's.  It was English and came home to Englishmen.  His
poetry, like his decorative work, was meant for the people, and
"understanded of the people."  Moreover, like Scott, he was an
accomplished _raconteur_, and a story well told is always sure of an
audience.  His first volume, "The Defence of Guenevere" (1858), dedicated
to Rossetti and inspired by him, had little popular success.  But when,
like Millais, he abandoned the narrowly Pre-Raphaelite manner and
broadened out, in "The Life and Death of Jason" (1867) and "The Earthly
Paradise" (1868-70), into a fashion of narrative less caviare to the
general, the public response was such as met Millais.

Morris' share in the Pre-Raphaelite movement was in the special field of
decorative art.  His enthusiasm for Gothic architecture had been aroused
at Oxford by a reading of Ruskin's chapter on "The Nature of Gothic" in
"The Stones of Venice."  In 1856, acting upon this impulse, he articled
himself to the Oxford architect G. E. Street, and began work in his
office.  He did not persevere in the practice of the profession, and
never built a house.  But he became and remained a _connoisseur_ of
Gothic architecture and an active member of the Society for the
Protection of Ancient Buildings.  His numerous visits to Amiens,
Chartres, Reims, Soissons, and Rouen were so many pilgrimages to the
shrines of mediaeval art.  Indeed, he always regarded the various
branches of house decoration as contributory to the master art,

A little later, under the dominating and somewhat overbearing persuasions
of Rossetti, he tried his hand at painting, but never succeeded well in
drawing the human face and figure.  The figure designs for his stained
glass, tapestries, etc., were usually made by Burne-Jones, Morris
furnishing floriated patterns and the like.  In 1861 was formed the firm
of Morris & Company, which revolutionised English household decoration.
Rossetti and Burne-Jones were among the partners in this concern, which
undertook to supply the public with high art work in wall painting, paper
hangings, embroidery, carpets, tapestries, printed cottons, stamped
leather, carved furniture, tiles, metals, jewelry, etc.  In particular,
Morris revived the mediaeval arts of glass-staining, illumination, or
miniature painting, and tapestry-weaving with the high-warp loom.  Though
he chose to describe himself as a "dreamer of dreams born out of my due
time," and "the idle singer of an empty day," he was a tireless practical
workman of astonishing cleverness and versatility.  He taught himself to
dye and weave.  When, in the last decade of the century, he set up the
famous Kelmscott Press, devoted to artistic printing and book-making, he
studied the processes of type-casting and paper manufacture, and actually
made a number of sheets of paper with his own hands.  It was his
favourite idea that the division of labour in modern manufactures had
degraded the workman by making him a mere machine; that the divorce
between the art of the designer and the art of the handicraftsman was
fatal to both.  To him the Middle Ages meant, not the ages of faith, or
of chivalry, or of bold and free adventure, but of popular art--of "The
Lesser Arts"; when every artisan was an artist of the beautiful and took
pleasure in the thing which his hand shaped; when not only the cathedral
and the castle, but the townsman's dwelling-house and the labourer's
cottage was a thing of beauty.  He believed that in those times there
was, as there should be again, an art by the people and for the people.
It was the democratic and not the aristocratic elements of mediaeval life
that he praised.  "From the first dawn of history till quite modern
times, art, which nature meant to solace all, fulfilled its purpose; all
men shared in it; that was what made life romantic, as people call it, in
those days; that and not robber-barons and inaccessible kings with their
hierarchy of serving-nobles and other such rubbish." [31]  One more
passage will serve to set in sharp contrast the romanticism of Scott and
the romanticism of Ruskin and Morris.  "With that literature in which
romance, that is to say humanity, was re-born, there sprang up also a
feeling for the romance of external nature, which is surely strong in us
now, joined with a longing to know something real of the lives of those
who have gone before us; of these feelings united you will find the
broadest expression in the pages of Walter Scott; it is curious, as
showing how sometimes one art will lag behind another in a revival, that
the man who wrote the exquisite and wholly unfettered naturalism of 'The
Heart of Midlothian,' for instance, thought himself continually bound to
seem to feel ashamed of, and to excuse himself for, his love of Gothic
architecture; he felt that it was romantic, and he knew that it gave him
pleasure, but somehow he had not found out that it was art, having been
taught in many ways that nothing could be art that was not done by a
named man under academical rules." [32]

It is worth while to glance at Morris' culture-history and note the
organic filaments which connect the later with the earlier romanticism.
He had read the Waverley novels as a child, and had even snatched a
fearful joy from Clara Reeve's "Old English Baron." [33]  He knew his
Tennyson before he went up to Oxford, but reserved an unqualified
admiration only for such things as "Oriana" and "The Lady of Shalott."
He was greatly excited by the woodcut engraving of Dürer's "Knight, Death
and the Devil" in an English translation of Fouqué's "Sintram." [34]
Rossetti was first made known to him by Ruskin's Edinburgh lectures of
1854 and by the illustration to Allingham's "Maids of Elfin Mere," over
which Morris and Burne-Jones "pored continually."  Morris devoured
greedily all manner of mediaeval chronicles and romances, French and
English; but he read little in Elizabethan and later authors.  He
disliked Milton and Wordsworth, and held Keats to be the foremost of
modern English poets.  He took no interest in mythology, or Welsh poetry
or Celtic literature generally, with the exception of the "Morte
Darthur," which, Rossetti assured him, was second only to the Bible.  The
Border ballads had been his delight since childhood.  An edition of
these; a selection of English mediaeval lyrics; and a "Morte Darthur,"
with a hundred illustrations from designs by Burne-Jones, were among the
unfulfilled purposes of the Kelmscott Press.

Morris' first volume, "The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems," was put
forth in 1858 (reprint in 1875); "a book," says Saintsbury, "almost as
much the herald of the second school of Victorian poetry as Tennyson's
early work was of the first." [35]  "Many of the poems," wrote William
Bell Scott, "represent the mediaeval spirit in a new way, not by a
sentimental, nineteenth-century-revival mediaevalism, but they give a
poetical sense of a barbaric age strongly and sharply real." [36]  These
last words point at Tennyson.  The first four pieces in the volume are on
Arthurian subjects, but are wholly different in style and conception even
from such poems as "The Lady of Shalott" and "Sir Lancelot and Queen
Guinevere."  They are more mannerised, more in the spirit of
Pre-Raphaelite art, than anything in Morris' later work.  If the
name-poem is put beside Tennyson's idyl "Guinevere"; or "Sir Galahad, a
Christmas Mystery," beside Tennyson's "Sir Galahad," the difference is
striking.  In place of the refined ethics and sentiment, and purely
modern spiritual ideals which find a somewhat rhetorical expression in
Tennyson, Morris endeavours to render the genuine Catholic mediaeval
materialistic religious temper as it appears in Malory; where
unquestioning belief, devotion, childish superstition, and the fear of
hell coexist with fleshly love and hate--a passion of sin and a passion
of repentance.  Guenevere's "defence" is, at bottom, the same as Phryne's:

  "See through my long throat how the words go up
    In ripples to my mouth: how in my hand
  The shadow lies like wine within a cup
    Of marvellously colour'd gold."

            "Dost thou reck
  That I am beautiful, Lord, even as you
  And your dear mother?" [37]

Morris criticised Tennyson's Galahad, as "rather a mild youth."  His own
Galahad is not the rapt seer of the vision beatific, but a more
flesh-and-blood character, who sometimes has cold fits in which he doubts
whether the quest is not a fool's errand; and whether even Sir Palomydes
in his unrequited love, and Sir Lancelot in his guilty love, do not take
greater comfort than he.

Other poems in the book were inspired by Froissart's "Chronicle" or other
histories of the English wars in France: "Sir Peter Harpdon's End,"
"Concerning Geffray Teste Noire," "The Eve of Crecy," etc.[38]  Still
others, and these not the least fascinating, were things of pure
invention, lays of "a country lit with lunar rainbows and ringing with
fairy song." [39]  These have been thought to owe something to Edgar Poe,
but they much more nearly resemble the work of the latest symbolistic
schools.  When reading such poems as "Rapunzel," "Golden Wings," and "The
Tune of Seven Towers," one is frequently reminded of "Serres Chaudes" or
"Pelléas et Mélisande"; and is at no loss to understand why Morris
excepted Maeterlinck from his general indifference to contemporary
writers--Maeterlinck, like himself, a student of Rossetti.  There is no
other collection of English poems so saturated with Pre-Raphaelitism.
The flowers are all orchids, strange in shape, violent in colouring.
Rapunzel, _e.g._, is like one of Maeterlinck's spellbound princesses.
She stands at the top of her tower, letting down her hair to the ground,
and her lover climbs up to her by it as by a golden stair.  Here is again
the singular Pre-Raphaelite and symbolistic scenery, with its images from
art and not from nature.  Tall damozels in white and scarlet walk in
garths of lily and sunflower, or under apple boughs, and feed the swans
in the moat.

  "Moreover, she held scarlet lilies, such
  As Maiden Margaret bears upon the light
      Of the great church walls." [40]

  "Lord, give Mary a dear kiss,
    And let gold Michael, who look'd down,
    When I was there, on Rouen town,
  From the spire, bring me that kiss
            On a lily!" [41]

The language is as artfully quaint as the imaginations are fantastic:

  "Between the trees a large moon, the wind lows
  Not loud, but as a cow begins to low." [42]

  "Pale in the green sky were the stars, I ween,
  Because the moon shone like a star she shed
  When she dwelt up in heaven a while ago,
  And ruled all things but God." [43]

            "Quiet groans
  That swell out the little bones
  Of my bosom." [44]

  "I sit on a purple bed,
  Outside, the wall is red,
  Thereby the apple hangs,
  And the wasp, caught by the fangs,
  Dies in the autumn night.
  And the bat flits till light,
  And the love-crazed knight
  Kisses the long, wet grass." [45]

A number of these pieces are dramatic in form, monologues or dialogues,
sometimes in the manner of the mediaeval mystery plays.[46]  Others are
ballads, not of the popular variety, but after Rossetti's fashion,
employing burdens, English or French:

  "Two red roses across the moon";

  "Hah! hah! la belle jaune giroflée";

  "Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite"; etc.

The only poem in the collection which imitates the style of the old
minstrel ballad is "Welland Water."  The name-poem is in _terza rima_;
the longest, "Sir Peter Harpdon's End," in blank verse; "Golden Wings,"
in the "In Memoriaro" stanza.

When Morris again came before the public as a poet, his style had
undergone a change akin to that which transformed the Pre-Raphaelite
painter into the decorative artist.  The skeins of vivid romantic colour
had run out into large-pattern tapestries.  There was nothing eccentric
or knotty about "The Life and Death of Jason" and "The Earthly Paradise."
On the contrary, nothing so facile, pellucid, pleasant to read had
appeared in modern literature--a poetic lubberland, a "clear, unwrinkled
song."  The reader was carried along with no effort and little thought on
the long swell of the verse, his ear lulled by the musical lapse of the
rime, his eye soothed--not excited--by ever-unrolling panoramas of an
enchanted country "east of the sun and west of the moon."  Morris wrote
with incredible ease and rapidity.  It was a maxim with him, as with
Ruskin, that all good work is done easily and with pleasure to the
workman; and certainly that seems true of him which Lowell said of
Chaucer--that he never "puckered his brow over an unmanageable verse."
Chaucer was his avowed master,[47] and perhaps no English narrative poet
has come so near to Chaucer.  Like Chaucer, and unlike Scott, he did not
invent stories, but told the old stories over again with a new charm.
His poetry, as such, is commonly better than Scott's; lacking the fire
and nervous energy of Scott in his great passages, but sustained at a
higher artistic level.  He had the copious vein of the mediaeval
chroniclers and romancers, without their tiresome prolixity and with
finer resources of invention.  He had none of Chaucer's humour, realism,
or skill in character sketching.  In its final impression his poetry
resembles Spenser's more than Chaucer's.  Like Spenser's, it grows
monotonous--without quite growing languid--from the steady flow of the
metre and the exhaustless profusion of the imagery.  The reader becomes,
somewhat ungratefully, surfeited with beauty, and seeks relief in poetry
more passionate or intellectual.  Chaucer and, in a degree, Walter Scott,
have a way of making old things seem near to us.  In Spenser and Morris,
though bright and clear in all imagined details, they stand at an
infinite remove, in a world apart--

            "--a little isle of bliss
  Midmost the beating of the steely sea"

which typifies the weary problems and turmoil of contemporary life.

"Jason" was a poem of epic dimensions, on the winning of the Golden
Fleece; "The Earthly Paradise," a series of twenty-four narrative poems
set in a framework of the poet's own.  Certain gentlemen of Norway, in
the reign of Edward III. of England, set out--like St. Brandan--on a
voyage in search of a land that is free from death.  They cross the
Western ocean, and after long years of wandering, come, disappointed of
their hope, to a city founded centuries since by exiles from ancient
Greece.  There being hospitably received, hosts and guests interchange
tales in every month of the year; a classical story alternating with a
mediaeval one, till the double sum of twelve is complete.  Among the
wanderers are a Breton and a Suabian, so that the mediaeval tales have a
wide range.  There are Norse stories like "The Lovers of Gudrun"; French
Charlemagne romances, like "Ogier the Dane"; and late German legends of
the fourteenth century, like "The Hill of Venus," besides miscellaneous
travelled fictions of the Middle Age.[48]  But the Hellenic legends are
reduced to a common term with the romance material, so that the reader is
not very sensible of a difference.  Many of them are selected for their
marvellous character, and abound in dragons, monsters, transformations,
and enchantments: "The Golden Apples," "Bellerophon," "Cupid and Psyche,"
"The Story of Perseus," etc.  Even "Jason" is treated as a romance.  Of
its seventeen books, all but the last are devoted to the exploits and
wanderings of the Argonauts.  Medea is not the wronged, vengeful queen of
the Greek tragic poets, so much as she is the Colchian sorceress who
effects her lover's victory and escape.  Her romantic, outweighs her
dramatic character.  Sea voyages, emprizes, and wild adventures, like
those of his own wanderers in "The Earthly Paradise," were dearer to
Morris' imagination than conflicts of the will; the _vostos_ or
home-coming of Ulysses, _e.g._  He preferred the "Odyssey" to the
"Iliad," and translated it in 1887 into the thirteen-syllabled line of
the "Nibelungenlied." [49]  Of the Greek tales in "The Earthly Paradise,"
"The Love of Alcestis" has, perhaps, the most dramatic quality.

Like Chaucer and like Rossetti,[50] Morris mediaevalised classic fable.
"Troy," says his biographer, "is to his imagination a town exactly like
Bruges or Chartres, spired and gabled, red-roofed, filled (like the city
of King Aeetes in 'The Life and Death of Jason') with towers and swinging
bells.  The Trojan princes go out, like knights in Froissart, to tilt at
the barriers." [51]  The distinction between classical and romantic
treatment is well illustrated by a comparison of Theocritus' idyl
"Hylas," with the same episode in "Jason."  "Soon was he 'ware of a
spring," says the Syracusan poet, "in a hollow land, and the rushes grew
thickly round it, and dark swallow-wort, and green maiden-hair, and
blooming parsley and deer-grass spreading through the marshy land.  In
the midst of the water the nymphs were arraying their dances, the
sleepless nymphs, dread goddesses of the country people, Eunice, and
Malis, and Nycheia, with her April eyes.  And now the boy was holding out
the wide-mouthed pitcher to the water, intent on dipping it; but the
nymphs all clung to his hand, for love of the Argive lad had fluttered
the soft hearts of all of them.  Then down he sank into the black
water." [52]  In "Jason," where the episode occupies some two hundred and
seventy lines, one of the nymphs meets the boy in the wood, disguised in
furs like a northern princess, and lulls him to sleep by the stream side
with a Pre-Raphaelite song:

  "I know a little garden close
  Set thick with lily and red rose";

the loveliest of all the lyrical passages in Morris' narrative poems
except possibly the favourite two-part song in "Ogier the Dane";

  "In the white-flower'd hawthorne brake,
  Love, be merry for my sake:
  Twine the blossoms in my hair.
  Kiss me where I am most fair--
  Kiss me, love! for who knoweth
  What thing cometh after death?"

This is the strain which recurs in all Morris' poetry with the insistence
of a burden, and lends its melancholy to every season of "the rich year
slipping by."

Three kinds of verse are employed in "The Earthly Paradise": the
octosyllabic couplet; the rime royal, which was so much a favourite with
Chaucer; and the heroic couplet, handled in the free, "enjambed" fashion
of Hunt and Keats.

"Love is Enough," in the form of a fifteenth-century morality play, and
treating a subject from the "Mabinogion," appeared in 1873, Mackail
praises its delicate mechanism in the use of "receding planes of action"
(Love is prologue and chorus, and there is a musical accompaniment); but
the dramatic form only emphasises the essentially undramatic quality of
the author's genius.  What is the matter with Morris' poetry?  For
something is the matter with it.  Beauty is there in abundance, a rich
profusion of imagery.  The narrative moves without a hitch.  Passion is
not absent, passionate love and regret; but it speaks a sleepy language,
and the final impression is dream-like.  I believe that the singular lack
which one feels in reading these poems comes from Morris' dislike of
rhetoric and moralising, the two main nerves of eighteenth-century verse.
Left to themselves, these make sad work of poetry; yet poetry includes
eloquence, and life includes morality.  The poetry of Morris is sensuous,
as upon the whole poetry should be; but in his resolute abstention from
the generalizing habit of the previous century, the balance is lost
between the general and the concrete, which all really great poetry
preserves.  Byron declaims and Wordsworth moralises, both of them perhaps
too much; yet in the end to the advantage of their poetry, which is full
of truths, or of thoughts conceived as true, surcharged with emotion and
uttered with passionate conviction.  One looks in vain in Morris' pages
for such things as

  "There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away";


              "--the good die first,
  ----And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
  Burn to the socket."

Such coin of universal currency is rare in Morris, as has once before
been said.  Not that quotability is an absolute test of poetic value, for
then Pope would rank higher than Spenser or Shelley.  But its absence in
Morris is significant in more than one way.

While "The Earthly Paradise" was in course of composition, a new
intellectual influence came into Morris' life, the influence of the
Icelandic sagas.  Much had been done to make Old Norse literature
accessible to English readers since the days when Gray put forth his
Runic scraps and Percy translated Mallet.[53]  Walter Scott, e.g., had
given an abstract of the "Eyrbyggja Saga."  Amos Cottle had published at
Bristol in 1797 a metrical version of the mythological portion of the
"Elder Edda" ("Icelandic Poetry, or the Edda of Saemund"), with an
introductory verse epistle by Southey.  Sir George Dasent's translation
of the "Younger Edda" appeared in 1842; Laing's "Heimskringla" in 1844;
Dasent's "Burnt Nial" in 1861; his "Gisli the Outlaw," and Head's "Saga
of Viga-Glum" in 1866.  William and Mary Howitt's "Literature and Romance
of Northern Europe" appeared in 1852.  Morris had made the acquaintance
of Thorpe's "Northern Mythology" (1851) and "Yuletide Stories" (1853) at
Oxford; two of the tales in "The Earthly Paradise" were suggested by
them: "The Land East of the Sun" and "The Fostering of Aslaug."  These,
however, he had dealt with independently and in an ultra-romantic spirit.
But in 1869 he took up the study of Icelandic under the tuition of Mr.
Erick Magnusson; in collaboration with whom he issued a number of
translations.[54]  "The Lovers of Gudrun" in "The Earthly Paradise" was
taken from the "Laxdaela Saga," and is in marked contrast with the other
poems in the collection.  There is no romantic glamour about it.  It is a
grim, domestic tragedy, moving among the homeliest surroundings.  Save
for the lawlessness of a primitive state of society which gave free play
to the workings of the passions, the story might have passed in Yorkshire
or New England.  A book like "Wuthering Heights," or "Pembroke,"
occasionally exhibits the same obstinate Berserkir rage of the tough old
Teutonic stock, operating under modern conditions.  For the men and women
of the sagas are hard as iron; their pride is ferocious, their courage
and sense of duty inflexible, their hatred is as enduring as their love.
The memory of a slight or an injury is nursed for a lifetime, and when
the hour of vengeance strikes, no compunction, not even the commonest
human instincts--such as mother love--can avert the blow.  Signy in the
"Völsunga Saga" is implacable as fate.  To avenge the slaughter of the
Volsungs is with her an obsession, a fixed idea.  When incest seems the
only pathway to her purpose, she takes that path without a moment's
hesitation.  The contemptuous indifference with which she hands over her
own little innocent children to death is more terrible than the readiness
of the fierce Medea to sacrifice her young brothers to Jason's safety;
more terrible by far than the matricide of Orestes.

The colossal mythology of the North had impressed Gray's imagination a
century before, Carlyle in his "Hero Worship" (1840) had given it the
preference over the Greek, as an expression of race character and
imagination.  In the preface to his translation of the "Völsunga Saga,"
Morris declared his surprise that no version of the story yet existed in
English.  He said that it was one of the great stories of the world, and
that to all men of Germanic blood it ought to be what the tale of Troy
had been to the whole Hellenic race.  In 1876 he cast it into a poem,
"Sigurd the Volsung," in four books in riming lines of six iambic or
anapaestic feet.  "The Lovers of Gudrun" drew its material from one of
that class of sagas which rest upon historical facts.  The family
vendetta which it narrates, in the Iceland of the eleventh century, is
hardly more fabulous--hardly less realistic--than any modern blood feud
in the Tennessee mountains.  The passions and dramatic situations are
much the same in both.  The "Völsunga Saga" belongs not to romantic
literature, strictly speaking, but to the old cycle of hero epics, to
that earlier Middle Age which preceded Christian chivalry.  It is the
Scandinavian version of the story of the Niblungs, which Wagner's
music-dramas have rendered in another art.  But in common with romance,
it abounds in superhuman wonders.  It is full of Eddaic poetry and
mythology.  Sigmund and Sinfiotli change themselves into were wolves,
like the people in "William of Palermo": Sigurd slays Fafnir, the dragon
who guards the hoard, and his brother Regni, the last of the Dwarf-kin;
Grimhild bewitches Sigurd with a cup of evil drink; Sigmund draws from
the hall pillar the miraculous sword of Odin, and its shards are
afterwards smithed by Regni for the killing of the monster.

Morris was so powerfully drawn to the Old Norse literature that he made
two visits to Iceland, to verify the local references in the sagas and to
acquaint himself with the strange Icelandic landscapes whose savage
sublimity is reflected in the Icelandic writings.  "Sigurd the Volsung"
is probably the most important contribution of Norse literature to
English poetry; but it met with no such general acceptance as "The
Earthly Paradise."  The spirit which created the Northern mythology and
composed the sagas is not extinct in the English descendants of Frisians
and Danes.  There is something of it in the minstrel ballads; but it has
been so softened by modern life and tempered with foreign culture
elements, that these old tales in their aboriginal, barbaric sternness
repel.  It is hard for any blossom of modern poetry to root itself in the
scoriae of Hecla.

An indirect result of Morris' Icelandic studies was his translation of
Beowulf (1897), not a success; another was the remarkable series of prose
poems or romances, which he put forth in the last ten years of his
life.[55]  There is nothing else quite like these.  They are written in a
peculiar archaic English which the author shaped for himself out of
fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century models, like the "Morte Darthur"
and the English translation of the "Gesta Roroanorum," but with an
anxious preference for the Saxon and Danish elements of the vocabulary.
It is a dialect in which a market town is called a "cheaping-stead," a
popular assembly a "folk-mote," foresters are "wood-abiders," sailors are
"ship-carles," a family is a "kindred," poetry is "song-craft," [56] and
any kind of enclosure is a "garth."  The prose is frequently interchanged
with verse, not by way of lyrical outbursts, but as a variation in the
narrative method, after the manner of the Old French _cantefables_, such
as "Aucassin et Nicolete"; but more exactly after the manner of the
sagas, in which the azoic rock of Eddaic poetry crops out ever and anon
under the prose strata.  This Saxonism of style is in marked contrast
with Scott, who employs without question the highly latinised English
which his age had inherited from the last.  Nor are Morris' romances
historical in the manner of the Waverley novels.  The first two of the
series, however, are historical in the sense that they endeavour to
reproduce in exact detail the picture of an extinct society.  Time and
place are not precisely indicated, but the scene is somewhere in the old
German forest, and the period is early in the Christian era, during the
obscure wanderings and settlements of the Gothic tribes.  "The House of
the Wolfings" concerns the life of such a community, which has made a
series of clearings in "Mirkwood" on a stream tributary to the Rhine.
The folk of Midmark live very much as Tacitus describes the ancient
Germans as living.  Each kindred dwells in a great common hall, like the
hall of the Niblungs or the Volsungs, or of King Hrothgar in "Beowulf."
Their herding and agriculture are described, their implements and
costumes, feasts in hall, songs, rites of worship, public meetings, and
finally their warfare when they go forth against the invading Romans.  In
"The Roots of the Mountains" the tribe of the Wolf has been driven into
the woods and mountains by the vanguard of the Hunnish migrations.  In
time they make head against these, drive them back, and retake their
fertile valley.  In each case there is a love story and, as in Scott, the
private fortunes of the hero and heroine are enwoven with the ongoings of
public events.  But it is the general life of the tribe that is of
importance, and there is little individual characterisation.  There is a
class of thralls in "The House of the Wolfings," but no single member of
the class is particularised, like Garth, the thrall of Cedric, in

The later numbers of the series have no semblance of actuality.  The last
of all, indeed, "The Sundering Flood," is a war story which attains an
air of geographical precision by means of a map--like the plan of Egdon
Heath in "The Return of the Native"--but the region and its inhabitants
are alike fabulous.  Romances such as "The Water of the Wondrous Isles"
and "The Wood beyond the World" (the names are not the least imaginative
feature of these curious books) are simply a new kind of fairy tales.
Unsubstantial as Duessa or Armida or Circe or Morgan le Fay are the
witch-queen of the Wood beyond the World and the sorceress of the
enchanted Isle of Increase Unsought.  The white Castle of the Quest, with
its three champions and their ladies, Aurea, Atra, and Viridis; the
yellow dwarfs, the magic boat, the wicked Red Knight, and his den, the
Red Hold; the rings and spells and charms and garments of invisibility
are like the wilder parts of Malory or the Arabian Nights.

Algernon Charles Swinburne was an early adherent of the Pre-Raphaelite
school, although such of his work as is specifically Gothic is to be
found mainly in the first series of "Poems and Ballads" (1866);[57] a
volume which corresponds to Morris' first fruits, "The Defence of
Guenevere."  If Morris is prevailingly a Goth--a heathen Norseman or
Saxon--Swinburne is, upon the whole, a Greek pagan.  Rossetti and Morris
inherit from Keats, but Swinburne much more from Shelley, whom he
resembles in his Hellenic spirit; as well as in his lyric fervour, his
shrill radicalism--political and religious--and his unchastened
imagination.  Probably the cunningest of English metrical artists, his
art is more closely affiliated with music than with painting.  Not that
there is any paucity of imagery in his poetry; the imagery is
superabundant, crowded, but it is blurred by an iridescent spray of
melodious verbiage.  The confusion of mind which his work often produces
does not arise from romantic vagueness, from the dreamlike and mysterious
impression left by a ballad of Coleridge's or a story of Tieck's, but
rather, as in Shelley's case, from the dizzy splendour and excitement of
the diction.  His verse, like Shelley's, is full of foam and flame, and
the result upon the reader is to bewilder and exhaust.  He does not
describe in pictures, like Rossetti and Morris, but by metaphors,
comparisons, and hyperboles.  Take the following very typical
passage--the portrait of Iseult in "Tristram of Lyonesse" (1882);

  "The very veil of her bright flesh was made
  As of light woven and moonbeam-colored shade
  More fine than moonbeams; white her eyelids shone
  As snow sun-stricken that endures the sun,
  And through their curled and coloured clouds of deep,
  Luminous lashes, thick as dreams in sleep,
  Shone, as the sea's depth swallowing up the sky's,
  The springs of unimaginable eyes.
  As the wave's subtler emerald is pierced through
  With the utmost heaven's inextricable blue,
  And both are woven and molten in one sleight
  Of amorous colour and implicated light
  Under the golden guard and gaze of noon,
  So glowed their aweless amorous plenilune,
  Azure and gold and ardent grey, made strange
  With fiery difference and deep interchange
  Inexplicable of glories multiform;
  Now, as the sullen sapphire swells towards storm
  Foamless, their bitter beauty grew acold,
  And now afire with ardour of fine gold.
  Her flower-soft lips were meek and passionate,
  For love upon them like a shadow sate
  Patient, a foreseen vision of sweet things,
  A dream with eyes fast shut and plumeless wings
  That knew not what man's love or life should be,
  Nor had it sight nor heart to hope or see
  What thing should come; but, childlike satisfied,
  Watched out its virgin vigil in soft pride
  And unkissed expectation; and the glad
  Clear cheeks and throat and tender temples had
  Such maiden heat as if a rose's blood
  Beat in the live heart of a lily-bud."

What distinct image of the woman portrayed does one carry away from all
this squandered wealth of words and tropes?  Compare the entire poem with
one of Tennyson's Arthurian "Idyls," or even with Matthew Arnold's not
over-prosperous "Tristram and Iseult," or with any of the stories in "The
Earthly Paradise," and it will be seen how far short it falls of being
good verse narrative--with its excesses of language and retarded
movement.  Wordsworth said finely of Shakspere that he could not have
written an epic: "he would have perished from a plethora of thought."  It
is not so much plethora of thought as lavishness of style which clogs the
wheels in Swinburne.  Too often his tale is

  "Like a tale of the little meaning,
  Though the words are strong."

But his narrative method has analogies, not only with things like
Shelley's "Laon and Cythna," but with Elizabethan poems such as Marlowe
and Chapman's "Hero and Leander."  If not so conceited as these, it is
equally encumbered with sticky sweets which keep the story from getting

The symbolism which characterises a great deal of Pre-Raphaelite art is
not conspicuous in Swinburne, whose spirit is not mystical.  But two
marks of the Pre-Raphaelite--and, indeed, of the romantic manner
generally--are obtrusively present in his early work.  One of these is
the fondness for microscopic detail at the expense of the obvious,
natural outlines of the subject.  Thus of Proserpine at Enna, in the
piece entitled "At Eleusis,"

            "--she lying down, red flowers
  Made their sharp little shadows on her sides."

"Endymion" is, perhaps, partly responsible for this exaggeration of the
picturesque, and in Swinburne, as in Keats, the habit is due to an
excessive impressibility by all forms of sensuous beauty.  It is a sign
of riches, but of riches which smother their possessor.  It is impossible
to fancy Chaucer or Goethe, or any large, healthy mind dealing thus by
its theme.  Or, indeed, contrast the whole passage from "At Eleusis" with
the mention of the rape of Proserpine in the "Winter's Tale" and in
"Paradise Lost."

Another Pre-Raphaelite trait is that over-intensify of spirit and sense
which was not quite wholesome in Rossetti, but which manifested itself in
Swinburne in a morbid eroticism.  The first series of "Poems and Ballads"
was reprinted in America as "Laus Veneris."  The name-poem was a version
of the Tannhäuser legend, a powerful but sultry study of animal passion,
and it set the key of the whole volume.  It is hardly necessary to say of
the singer of the wonderful choruses in "Atalanta" and the equally
wonderful hexameters of "Hesperia," that his imagination has turned most
persistently to the antique, and that a very small share of his work is
to be brought under any narrowly romantic formula.  But there are a few
noteworthy experiments in mediaevalism included among these early lyrics.
"A Christmas Carol" is a ballad of burdens, suggested by a drawing of
Rossetti's, and full of the Pre-Raphaelite colour.  The inevitable
damsels, or bower maidens, are combing out the queen's hair with golden
combs, while she sings a song of God's mother; how she, too, had three
women for her bed-chamber--

  "The first two were the two Maries,
  The third was Magdalen," [58]

who "was the likest God"; and how Joseph, who, likewise had three
workmen, Peter, Paul, and John, said to the Virgin in regular ballad

  "If your child be none other man's,
    But if it be very mine,
  The bedstead shall be gold two spans,
    The bedfoot silver fine."

"The Masque of Queen Bersabe" is a miracle play, and imitates the rough
_naïveté_ of the old Scriptural drama, with its grotesque stage
directions and innocent anachronisms.  Nathan recommends King David to
hear a mass.  All the _dramatis personae_ swear by Godis rood, by Paulis
head, and Peter's soul, except "Secundus Miles" (_Paganus quidam_), a bad
man--a species of Vice--who swears by Satan and Mahound, and is finally
carried off by the comic devil:

  "_S. M._  I rede you in the devil's name,
          Ye come not here to make men game;
          By Termagaunt that maketh grame,
          I shall to-bete thine head.
          _Hic Diabolus capiat eum_." [59]

Similarly "St. Dorothy" reproduces the childlike faith and simplicity of
the old martyrologies.[60]  Theophilus addresses the Emperor Gabalus with
"Beau Sire, Dieu vous aide."  The wicked Gabalus himself, though a
heathen, curses by St. Luke and by God's blood and bones, and quotes
Scripture.  Theophilus first catches sight of Dorothy through a latticed
window, holding a green and red psalter among a troop of maidens who play
upon short-stringed lutes.  The temple of Venus where he does his
devotions is a "church" with stained-glass windows.  Heaven is a walled
pleasance, like the Garden of Delight in the "Roman de la Rose,"

            "Thick with companies
  Of fair-clothed men that play on shawms and lutes."

Swinburne has also essayed the minstrel ballad in various forms.  There
were some half-dozen pieces of the sort in the "Laus Veneris" volume, of
which several, like "The King's Daughter" and "The Sea-Swallows," were
imitations of Rossetti's and Morris' imitations, artistically overwrought
with elaborate Pre-Raphaelite refrains; others, like "May Janet" and "The
Bloody Son," are closer to popular models.  The third series of "Poems
and Ballads" (1889) contains nine of these in the Scotch dialect, two of
them Jacobite songs.  That Swinburne has a fine instinct in such matters
and holds the true theory of ballad imitation is evident from his review
of Rossetti's and Morris' work in the same kind.[61]  "The highest form
of ballad requires, from a poet," he writes, "at once narrative power,
lyrical and dramatic. . . .  It must condense the large, loose fluency of
romantic tale-telling into tight and intense brevity. . . .  There can be
no pause in a ballad, and no excess; nothing that flags, nothing that
overflows."  He pronounces "Sister Helen" the greatest ballad in modern
English; but he thinks that "Stratton Water," which is less independent
in composition, and copies the formal as well as the essential
characteristics of popular poetry, is "a study after the old manner too
close to be no closer.  It is not meant for a perfect and absolute piece
of work in the old Border fashion, . . . and yet it is so far a copy that
it seems hardly well to have gone so far and no farther.  On this ground
Mr. Morris has a firmer tread than the great artist by the light of whose
genius and kindly guidance he put forth the first fruits of his work, as
I did afterwards.  In his first book, the ballad of 'Welland River,' the
Christmas carol in 'The Land East of the Sun and West of the Moon,'
etc., . . . are examples of flawless work in the pure early manner.  Any
less absolute and decisive revival of mediaeval form . . . rouses some
sense of failure by excess or default of resemblance."

Swinburne's own ballads are clever and learned experiments, but he does
not practise the brevity which he recommends; some of them, such as "The
Bloody Son," "The Weary Wedding," and "The Bride's Tragedy," otherwise
most impressive, would be more so if they were shorter or less wordy.
Though his genius is more lyrical than dramatic, the fascination which
the dramatic method has had for him from the first is as evident in his
ballads as in his series of verse dramas, which begins with "The Queen
Mother," and includes the enormous "Mary Stuart" trilogy.  Several of
these are mediaeval in subject; the "Rosamond" of his earliest
volume--Fair Rosamond of the Woodstock Maze--the other "Rosamund, Queen
of the Goths" (1899) in which the period of the action is 573 A.D.; and
"Locrine" (1888), the hero of which is that mythic king of Britain whose
story had been once before dramatised for the Elizabethan stage; and
whose daughter, "Sabrina fair," goddess of the Severn, figures in
"Comus."  But these are no otherwise romantic than "Chastelard" or "The
Queen Mother."  The dramatic diction is fashioned after the Elizabethans,
of whom Swinburne has been an enthusiastic student and expositor, finding
an attraction even in the morbid horrors of Webster, Ford, and

Once more the poet touched the Round-Table romances in "The Tale of
Balen" (1896), written in the stanza of "The Lady of Shalott," and in a
style simpler and more direct than "Tristram of Lyonesse."  The story is
the same as Tennyson's "Balin and Balan," published with "Tiresias and
Other Poems" in 1885, as an introduction to "Merlin and Vivien."  Here
the advantage is in every point with the younger poet.  Tennyson's
version is one of the weakest spots in the "Idylls."  His hero is a rough
Northumberland warrior who looks with admiration upon the courtly graces
of Lancelot, and borrows a cognisance from Guinevere to wear upon his
shield, in hope that it may help him to keep his temper.  But having once
more lost control of this, he throws himself upon the ground

  "Moaning 'My violences, my violences!'"--

a bathetic descent not unexampled elsewhere in Tennyson.

This episode of the old "Morte Darthur" has fine tragic possibilities.
It is the tale of two brothers who meet in single combat, with visors
down, and slay each other unrecognised.  It has some resemblance,
therefore, to the plan of "Sohrab and Rustum," but it cannot be said that
either poet avails himself of the opportunity for a truly dramatic
presentation of his theme.  Tennyson, as we have seen, aimed to give epic
unity to the wandering and repetitious narrative of Malory, by selecting
and arranging his material with reference to one leading conception; the
effort of the king to establish a higher social state through an order of
Christian knighthood, and his failure through the gradual corruption of
the Round Table.  He subdues the history of Balin to this purpose, just
as he does the history of Tristram which he relates incidentally only,
and not for its own sake, in "The Last Tournament."  Balin's simple faith
in the ideal chivalry of Arthur's court is rudely dispelled when he hears
from Vivien, and sees for himself, that the two chief objects of his
reverence, Lancelot and the queen, are guilty lovers and false to their
lord; and in his bitter disappointment, he casts his life away in the
first adventure that offers.  Moreover, in consonance with his main
design, Tennyson seeks, so far as may be, to discard whatever in Malory
is merely accidental or irrational; whatever is stuff of romance rather
than of epic or drama--whose theatre is the human will.  To such elements
of the wonderful as he is obliged to retain he gives, where possible, an
allegorical or spiritual significance.  There are very strange things in
the story of Balin, such as the invisible knight Garlon, a "darkling
manslayer"; and the chamber in the castle of King Pellam, where the body
of Joseph of Arimathea lies in state, and where there are a portion of
the blood of Christ and the spear with which his heart was pierced, with
which spear Sir Balin smites King Pellam, whereupon the castle falls and
the two adversaries lie among its ruins three days in a deathlike trance.
All this wild magic--which Tennyson touches lightly--Swinburne gives at
full length; following Malory closely through his digressions and the
roving adventures--most of which Tennyson suppresses entirely--by which
he conducts his hero his end.  This is the true romantic method.

As Rossetti for the Italian and Morris for the Scandinavian, Swinburne
stands for the spirit of French romanticism.  At the beginning of the
nineteenth century France, the inventor of "Gothic" architecture and
chivalry romance, whose literature was the most influential of mediaeval
Europe, still represented everything that is most anti-mediaeval and
anti-romantic.  Gérard de Nerval thought that the native genius of France
had been buried under two ages of imported classicism; and that Perrault,
who wrote the fairy tales, was the only really original mind in the
French literature of the eighteenth century.  M. Brunetière, on the
contrary, holds that the true expression of the national genius is to be
found in the writers of Louis XIV.'s time--that France is instinctively
and naturally classical.  However this may be, in the history of the
modern return to the past, French romanticism was the latest to awake.
Somewhat of the chronicles, fabliaux, and romances of old France had
dribbled into England in translations;[63] but Swinburne was perhaps the
first thoroughpaced disciple of the French romantic school.  Victor Hugo
is the god of his idolatry, and he has chanted his praise in prose and
verse, in "ode and elegy and sonnet." [64]  Gautier and Baudelaire have
also shared his devotion.[65]  The French songs in "Rosamond" and
"Chastelard" are full of romantic spirit.  "Laus Veneris" follows a
version of the tale given in Maistre Antoine Gaget's "Livre des grandes
merveilles d'amour" (1530), in which the Venusberg is called "le mont
Horsel"; and "The Leper," a very characteristic piece in the same
collection, is founded on a passage in the "Grandes Chroniques de France"
(1505).  Swinburne introduced or revived in English verse a number of old
French stanza forms, such as the ballade, the sestina, the rondel, which
have since grown familiar in the hands of Dobson, Lang, Gosse, and
others.  In the second series of "Poems and Ballads" (1878) he gave
translations of ten of the ballads of that musical old blackguard

  "Villon, our sad, bad, glad, mad brother's name." [66]

The range of Swinburne's intellectual interests has been wider than that
of Rossetti and Morris.  He is a classical scholar, who writes easily in
Latin and Greek.  Ancient mythology and modern politics divide his
attention with the romantic literatures of many times and countries.
Rossetti made but one or two essays in prose criticism, and Morris viewed
the reviewer's art with contempt.  But Swinburne has contributed freely
to critical literature, an advocate of the principles of romantic art in
the last quarter of the nineteenth century, as Coleridge, Lamb, and
Hazlitt had been in the first.  The manner of his criticism is not at all
judicial.  His prose is as lyrical as his verse, and his praise and blame
both in excess--dithyrambic laudation or affluent billingsgate.  In
particular, he works the adjective "divine" so hard that it loses
meaning.  Yet stripped of its excited superlatives, and reduced to the
cool temperature of ordinary speech, his critical work is found to be
full of insight, and his judgment in matters of poetical technique almost
always right.  I may close this chapter with a few sentences of his
defence of retrospective literature.[67]  "It is but waste of breath for
the champions of the other party to bid us break the yoke and cast off
the bondage of that past, leave the dead to bury their dead, and turn
from the dust and rottenness of old-world themes, epic or romantic,
classical or feudal, to face the age wherein we live. . . .  In vain, for
instance, do the first poetess of England and the first poet of America
agree to urge upon their fellows or their followers the duty of
confronting and expressing the spirit and the secret of their own time,
its meaning, and its need. . . .  If a poem cast in the mould of classic
or feudal times, of Greek drama or mediaeval romance, be lifeless and
worthless, it is not because the subject or the form was ancient, but
because the poet was inadequate. . . .  For neither epic nor romance of
chivalrous quest or classic war is obsolete yet, or ever can be; there is
nothing in the past extinct . . .  [Life] is omnipresent and eternal, and
forsakes neither Athens nor Jerusalem, Camelot nor Troy, Argonaut nor
Crusader, to dwell, as she does with equal good will, among modern
appliances in London and New York."

[1] See vol. i., chaps. iv. and vii., "The Landscape Poets" and "The
Gothic Revival."

[2] This was the organ of the Pre-Raphaelites, started in 1850.  Only
four numbers were issued (January, February, March, April), and in the
third and fourth the title was changed to _Art and Poetry_.  The contents
included, among other things, poems by Dante Gabriel and Christina
Rossetti.  One of the former's twelve contributions was "The Blessed
Damozel."  The _Oxford and Cambridge Magazine_, which ran through the
year 1856 and was edited by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, was
also a Pre-Raphaelite journal and received many contributions from

[3] The foreign strain in the English Pre-Raphaelites and in the painters
and poets who descend from them is worth noting.  Rossetti was
three-fourths Italian.  Millais' parents were Channel Islanders--from
Jersey--and he had two mother tongues, English and French.  Burne-Jones
is of Welsh blood, and Alma Tadema of Frisian birth.  Among
Neo-Pre-Raphaelite poets, the names of Theophile Marzials and Arthur
O'Shaughnessy speak for themselves.

[4] Let the reader consult the large and rapidly increasing literature on
the English Pre-Raphaelites.  I do not profess to be a very competent
guide here, but I have found the following works all in some degree
enlightening.  "Autobiographical Notes of William Bell Scott," two vols.,
New York, 1892.  "English Contemporary Art."  Translated from the French
of R. de la Sizeranne, Westminster, 1898.  "D. G. Rossetti as Designer
and Writer."  W. M. Rossetti, London, 1889.  "The Rossettis."  E. L.
Cary, New York, 1900.  "Dante Rossetti and the Pre-Raphaelite Movement."
Esther Wood, New York, 1894.  "Pre-Raphaelitism."  J. Ruskin, New York,
1860.  "The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood."  Holman Hunt in _Contemporary
Review_, vol. xlix. (three articles).  "Encyclopaedia Britannica,"
article "Rossetti." by Theodore Watts.  Of course the standard lives and
memoirs by William Rossetti, Hall Caine, William Sharp, and Joseph
Knight, as well as Rossetti's "Family Letters," "Letters to William
Allingham," etc., afford criticisms of the movement from various points
of view.  Lists of Rossetti's paintings and drawings are given by several
of these authorities, with photographs or engravings of his most famous

[5] "Lectures on Architecture and Painting."  Delivered at Edinburgh in
1853.  Lecture iv., "Pre Raphaelitism."

[6] _Cf._ Milton: "Each stair mysteriously was meant" ("P. L.").

[7] "Dante Gabriel Rossetti: a record and a study," London, 1882, pp.

[8] "Pre-Raphaelitism," p. 23, _note_.

[9] "Autobiographical Notes of William Bell Scott," vol. i., p. 281.

[10] "English Contemporary Art," p. 58.

[11] "Lectures on Architecture and Painting," 1853.

[12] See vol. i., p. 44.

[13] "The return of this school was to a mediaevalism different from the
tentative and scrappy mediaevalism of Percy, from the genial but slightly
superficial mediaevalism of Scott, and even from the more exact but
narrow and distinctly conventional mediaevalism of Tennyson. . . .
Moreover, though it may seem whimsical or extravagant to say so, these
poets added to the very charm of mediaeval literature, which they thus
revived, a subtle something which differentiates it from--which, to our
perhaps blind sight, seems to be wanting in--mediaeval literature itself.
It is constantly complained (and some of those who cannot go all the way
with the complainants can see what they mean) that the graceful and
labyrinthine stories, the sweet snatches of song, the quaint drama and
legend of the Middle Ages lack--to us--life; that they are shadowy,
unreal, tapestry on the wall, not alive even as living pageants are.  By
the strong touch of modernness which these poets and the best of their
followers introduced into their work, they have given the vivification
required" (Saintsbury, "Literature of the Nineteenth Century," p. 439).
Pre-Raphaelitism "is a direct and legitimate development of the great
romantic revival in England. . . .  Even Tennyson, much more Scott and
Coleridge and their generation, had entered only very partially into the
treasures of mediaeval literature, and were hardly at all acquainted with
those of mediaeval art.  Conybeare, Kemble, Thorpe, Madden were only in
Tennyson's own time reviving the study of Old and Middle English.  Early
French and Early Italian were but just being opened up.  Above all, the
Oxford Movement directed attention to mediaeval architecture, literature,
thought, as had never been the case before in England, and as has never
been the case at all in any other country" ("A Short History of English
Literature," by G. Saintsbury, London, 1898, p. 779).

[14] "Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti," by T. Hall Caine, London,
1883, p. 41.

[15] "The Collected Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti."  Edited by W. M.
Rossetti, two vols., London, 1886.

[16] "Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  A Record and a Study," p. 305.

[17] He wrote to Allingham in 1855, apropos of the latter's poem "The
Music Master": "I'm not sure that it is not too noble or too resolutely
healthy. . . .  I must confess to a need in narrative dramatic
poetry . . . of something rather 'exciting,' and indeed, I believe,
something of the 'romantic' element, to rouse my mind to anything like
the moods produced by personal emotion in my own life.  That sentence is
shockingly ill worded, but Keats' narratives would be of the kind I
mean."  Theodore Watts ("Encyclopaedia Britannica," article "Rossetti")
says that "the purely romantic temper was with Rossetti a more permanent
and even a more natural temper than with any other nineteenth-century
poet, even including the author of 'Christabel' himself."  He thinks that
all the French romanticists together do not equal the romantic feeling in
a single picture of Rossetti's; and he somewhat capriciously defines the
idea at the core of romanticism as that of the evil forces of nature
assailing man through his sense of beauty.  Analysis run mad!  As to Poe,
Rossetti certainly preferred him to Wordsworth.  Hall Caine testifies
that he used to repeat "Ulalume" and "The Raven" from memory; and that
the latter suggested his "Blessed Damozel."  "I saw that Poe had done the
utmost it was possible to do with the grief of the lover on earth, and so
I determined to reverse the conditions, and give utterance to the
yearning of the loved one in heaven" ("Recollections," p. 384).

[18] "Recollections," p. 140.

[19] Caine's "Recollections," p. 266.

[20] Burne-Jones had been attracted by Rossetti's illustration of
Allingham's poem, "The Maids of Elfinmere," and had obtained an
introduction to him at London in 1856.  It was by Rossetti's persuasion
that he gave up the church for the career of an artist.  Rossetti and
Swinburne some years later (1862) became housemates for a time at
Chelsea; and Rossetti and Morris for a number of years, off and on, at

[21] Sharp's "Dante Gabriel Rossetti," p. 190.

[22] See especially Morris' poem "Rapunzel" in "The Defence of Guenevere."

[23] "I can't say," wrote William Morris, "how it was that Rossetti took
no interest in politics; but so it was: of course he was quite Italian in
his general turn of thought; though I think he took less interest in
Italian politics than in English. . . .  The truth is, he cared for
nothing but individual and personal matters; chiefly of course in
relation to art and literature."

[24] "The Liberal Movement in English Literature," by W. J. Courthope,
London, 1885, p. 230.

[25] "Keats was a great poet who sometimes nodded. . . .  Coleridge was a
muddle-brained metaphysician who, by some strange freak of fortune,
turned out a few real poems amongst the dreary flood of inanity which was
his wont. . . .  I have been through the poems, and find that the only
ones which have any interest for me are: (1) 'Ancient Mariner'; (2)
'Christabel'; (3) 'Kubla Khan'; and (4) the poem called 'Love'"
(Mackail's "Life of Morris," vol. ii., p. 310).

[26] "The Life of William Morris," by W. J. Mackail, London, 1899, vol.
ii., p. 171.

[27] For the Chaucerian manipulation of classical subjects by
Pre-Raphaelite artists see "Edward Burne-Jones," by Malcolm Bell, London,

[28] "The slough of despond which we call the eighteenth century" ("Hopes
and Fears for Art," p. 211).  "The English language, which under the
hands of sycophantic verse-makers had been reduced to a miserable
jargon . . . flowed clear, pure, and simple along with the music of Blake
and Coleridge.  Take those names, the earliest in date among ourselves,
as a type of the change that has happened in literature since the time of
George II."  (_ibid._, p. 82).

[29] Page 113.

[30] "Sir Edward Burne-Jones told me that Morris would have liked the
faces in his pictures less highly finished, and less charged with the
concentrated meaning or emotion of the painting . . . and he thought that
the dramatic and emotional interest of a picture ought to be diffused
throughout it as equally as possible.  Such, too, was his own practice in
the cognate art of poetry; and this is one reason why his poetry affords
so few memorable single lines, and lends itself so little to quotation"
(Mackail's "Life of William Morris," vol. ii., p. 272).

[31] "Hopes and Fears for Art," p. 79.

[32] _Ibid._, p. 83.

[33] See vol. i., pp. 241-43.

[34] _Vide supra_, p. 153.

[35] "A Short History of English Literature," p. 783.

[36] "Recollections of Rossetti," vol. ii., p. 42.

[37] "King Arthur's Tomb."

[38] 0ne of these, "The Haystack in the Floods," has a tragic power
unexcelled by any later work of Morris.

[39] Saintsbury, p. 785.

[40] "King Arthur's Tomb."

[41] "Rapunzel."

[42] "King Arthur's Tomb."

[43] _Ibid_.

[44] "Rapunzel."

[45] "Golden Wings."

[46] See "Sir Galahad," "The Chapel in Lyoness," "A Good Knight in

[47] See "Jason," Book xvii., 5-24, and the _Envoi_ to "The Earthly

[48] Some of Morris' sources were William of Malmesbury, "Mandeville's
Travels," the "Gesta Romanorum," and the "Golden Legend."  "The Man Born
to be King" was derived from "The Tale of King Constans, the Emperor" in
a volume of French romances ("Nouvelles françaises en prose du xiii.ième
Siècle," Paris, 1856) of which he afterwards (1896) made a prose
translation.  The collection included also "The friendship of Amis and
Amile"; "King Florus and the Fair Jehane"; and "The History of Over Sea";
besides "Aucassin and Nicolete," which Morris left out because it had
been already rendered into English by Andrew Lang.

[49] His Vergil's "Aeneid," in the old fourteener of Chapman, was
published in 1876.

[50] _Vide supra_, p. 315.

[51] Mackail, i., p. 168.

[52] Lang's translation.

[53] See vol. i., pp. 190-92.

[54] The "Grettis Saga" (1869); the "Völsunga Saga" (1870); "Three
Northern Love Stories" (1875).

[55] These, in order of publication, were "The House of the Wolfings"
(1889); "The Roots of the Mountains" (1890); "The Story of the Glittering
Plain" (1891); "The Wood Beyond the World" (1894); "The Well at the
World's End" (1896); "The Water of the Wondrous Isles" (1897); and "The
Sundering Flood" (1898).

[56] Morris became so intolerant of French vocables that he detested and
would "fain" have eschewed the very word literature.

[57] This collection is made up of Swinburne's earliest work but is
antedated in point of publication by "The Queen Mother, and Rosamond"
(1861) dedicated to Rossetti; and "Atalanta in Calydon" (1865).  "Poems
and Ballads" was inscribed to Burne-Jones.

[58] "Where the lady Mary is,
       With her five handmaidens whose names
     Are five sweet symphonies,
       Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
     Margaret and Rosalys."
             --"The Blessed Damozel."

[59] _Cf._ Browning's "The Heretic's Tragedy," _supra_, p. 276.

[60] This was the subject of Massinger's "Virgin Martyr."

[61] "Essays and Studies," pp. 85-88.

[62] See "A Study of Ben Jonson"; "John Ford" (in "Essays and Studies");
and the introductions to "Chapman" and "Middleton" in the Mermaid Series.

[63] _Vide supra_, pp. 90, 109, 330, and vol. i., pp. 221-22, 301.

[64] See especially "A Study of Victor Hugo" (1886); the articles on
"L'Homme qui Rit" and "L'Année Terrible" in "Essays and Studies" (1875);
and on Hugo's posthumous writings in "Studies in Prose and Poetry"
(1886); "To Victor Hugo" in "Poems and Ballads" (first series); _Ibid_.
(second series); "Victor Hugo in 1877," _Ibid_.

[65] See "Ave atque Vale" and the memorial verses in English, French, and
Latin on Gautier's death in "Poems and Ballads" (second series).

[66] "A Ballad of François Villon."  _Vide supra_, pp. 298-99.

[67] "Essays and Studies," pp. 45-49.


Tendencies and Results.

It has been mentioned that romanticism was not purely a matter of
aesthetics, without relation to the movement of religious and political
thought.[1]  But it has also been pointed out that, as compared with what
happened in Germany, English romanticism was almost entirely a literary
or artistic, and hardly at all a practical force, that there was no such
_Zusammenhang_ between poetry and life as was asserted by the German
romantic school to be one of their leading principles.  Walter Scott,
_e.g._, liked the Middle Ages because they were picturesque; because
their social structure rested on a military basis, permitted great
individual freedom of action and even lawlessness, and thus gave chances
for bold adventure; and because classes and callings were so sharply
differentiated--each with its own characteristic manners, dialect,
dress--that the surface of society presented a rich variety of colour, in
contrast with the drab uniformity of modern life.  Perhaps to Scott the
ideal life was that of a feudal baron, dwelling in a Gothic mansion,
surrounded by retainers and guests, keeping open house, and going
a-hunting; and he tried to realise this ideal--so far as it was possible
under modern conditions--at Abbotsford.  He respected rank and pedigree,
and liked to own land.  He was a Tory and, in Presbyterian Scotland, he
was an Episcopalian.  But his mediaeval enthusiasms were checked by all
kinds of good sense.  He had no wish to restore mediaeval institutions in
practice.  In spite of the glamour which he threw over feudal life, he
knew very well what that life must have been in reality: its insecurity
from violence and oppression, its barbarous discomfort; the life of
nobles in unplumbed stone castles; the life of burghers in walled towns,
without lighting, drainage, or police; the life of countrymen who took
their goods to market over miry roads impassable half the year for any
wheeled vehicle.  As to the English poets whom we have passed in review,
from Coleridge to Swinburne, not one of them joined the Catholic Church;
and most of them found romantic literary tastes quite consistent with
varying shades of political liberalism and theological heterodoxy.

THE ANGLO-CATHOLIC MOVEMENT.--Still even in England, the mediaeval
revival in art and letters was not altogether without influence on
practice and belief in other spheres of thought.  Thus the Oxford
Tractarians of 1833 correspond somewhat to the throne-and-altar party in
Germany.  At Newcastle in 1845, William Bell Scott visited a
painted-glass manufactory where he found his friend, Francis
Oliphant--afterwards husband of Margaret Oliphant, the novelist--engaged
as a designer.  He describes Oliphant as no artist by nature, but a man
of pietistic feelings who had "thrown himself into the Gothic revival
which was, under the Oxford movement, threatening to become a serious
antagonist to our present freedom from clerical domination."  Scott adds
that the master of this glass-making establishment was an uncultivated
tradesman, who yet had the business shrewdness to take advantage of "the
clerical and architectural proclivities of the day," and had visited and
studied the French cathedrals.  "These workshops were a surprise to me.
Here was the Scotch Presbyterian working-artist, with a short pipe in his
mouth, cursing his fate in having to elaborate continual repetitions of
saints and virgins--Peter with a key as large as a spade, and a yellow
plate behind his head--yet by constant drill in the groove realising the
sentiment of Christian art, and at last able to express the abnegation of
self, the limitless sadness and even tenderness, in every line of drapery
and every twist of the lay figure."

Here is one among many testimonies to the influence of the Oxford
movement on the fine arts.  It would be easy to call witnesses to prove
the reverse--the influence of romance upon the Oxford movement.
Newman[2] quotes an article contributed by him to the _British Critic_
for April, 1839, in which he had spoken of Tractarianism "as a reaction
from the dry and superficial character of the religious teaching and the
literature of the last generation, or century. . . .  First, I mentioned
the literary influence of Walter Scott, who turned men's minds to the
direction of the Middle Ages.  'The general need,' I said, 'of something
deeper and more attractive than what had offered itself elsewhere may be
considered to have led to his popularity; and by means of his popularity
he reacted on his readers, stimulating their mental thirst, feeding their
hopes, setting before them visions which, when once seen, are not easily
forgotten, and silently indoctrinating them with nobler ideas, which
might afterwards be appealed to as first principles.'"  Of Coleridge he
spoke, in the same paper, as having laid a philosophical basis for church
feelings and opinions, and of Southey and Wordsworth as "two living
poets, one of whom in the department of fantastic fiction, the other in
that of philosophical meditation, have addressed themselves to the same
high principles and feelings, and carried forward their readers in the
same direction."  Newman, like Ruskin, was fond of Scott's verse as well
as of his prose.[3]

Professor Gates has well recognised that element in romantic art which
affiliates with Catholic tendencies.  "Mediaevalism . . . was a
distinctive note of the Romantic spirit, and, certainly, Newman was
intensely alive to the beauty and the poetic charm of the life of the
Middle Ages.  One is sometimes tempted to describe him as a great
mediaeval ecclesiastic astray in the nineteenth century and heroically
striving to remodel modern life in harmony with his temperamental needs.
His imagination was possessed with the romantic vision of the greatness
of the Mediaeval Church--of its splendour and pomp and dignity, and of
its power over the hearts and lives of its members; and the Oxford
movement was in its essence an attempt to reconstruct the English Church
in harmony with this romantic ideal. . . .  As Scott's imagination was
fascinated with the picturesque paraphernalia of feudalism--with its
jousts, and courts of love, and its coats of mail and buff-jerkins--so
Newman's imagination was captivated by the gorgeous ritual and
ceremonial, the art and architecture of mediaeval Christianity. . . .
Newman sought to revive in the Church a mediaeval faith in its own divine
mission and the intense spiritual consciousness of the Middle Ages; he
aimed to restore to religion its mystical character, to exalt the
sacramental system as the divinely appointed means for the salvation of
souls, and to impose once more on men's imaginations the mighty spell of
a hierarchical organisation, the direct representative of God in the
world's affairs. . . .  Both he and Scott substantially ruined themselves
through their mediaevalism.  Scott's luckless attempt was to place his
private and family life upon a feudal basis and to give it mediaeval
colour and beauty; Newman undertook a much nobler and more heroic but
more intrinsically hopeless task--that of re-creating the whole English
Church in harmony with mediaeval conceptions." [4]

All this is most true, and yet it is easy to exaggerate the share which
romantic feeling had in the Oxford movement.  In his famous apostrophe to
Oxford, Matthew Arnold personifies the university as a "queen of
romance," an "adorable dreamer whose heart has been so romantic,"
"spreading her gardens to the moonlight, and whispering from her towers
the last enchantments of the Middle Age," and "ever calling us nearer
to . . . beauty."  Newman himself was a poet, as well as one of the
masters of English prose.  The movement left an impress upon general
literature in books like Keble's "Christian Year" (1827) and "Lyra
Innocentium" (1847); in Newman's two novels, "Callista" and "Loss and
Gain" (1848), and his "Verses on Various Occasions" (1867); and even
found an echo in popular fiction.  Grey in Hughes' "Tom Brown at Oxford"
represents the Puseyite set.  Miss Yonge's "Heir of Redcliffe" and
Shorthouse's "John Inglesant" are surcharged with High-Church sentiment.
Newman said that Keble made the Church of England poetical.  "The author
of 'The Christian Year' found the Anglican system all but destitute of
this divine element [poetry]; . . . vestments chucked off, lights
quenched, jewels stolen, the pomp and circumstances of worship
annihilated; . . . the royal arms for the crucifix; huge ugly boxes of
wood, sacred to preachers, frowning on the congregation in place of the
mysterious altar; and long cathedral aisles unused, railed off, like the
tombs (as they were) of what had been and was not." [5]  Newman praises
in "The Christian Year" what he calls its "sacramental system"; and to
the unsympathetic reader it seems as though Keble saw all outdoors
through a stained-glass window.  The movement had its aesthetic side, and
coincided with the revival of church Gothic and with the effort to make
church music and ritual richer and more impressive.  But, upon the whole,
it was more intellectual than aesthetic, an affair of doctrine and church
polity rather than of ecclesiology; while the later phase of ritualism
into which it has tapered down appears to the profane to be largely a
matter of upholstery, given over to people who concern themselves with
the carving of lecterns and the embroidery of chasubles and altar cloths;
with Lent lilies, antiphonal choirs, and what Carlyle calls the "singular
old rubrics" of the English Church and the "three surplices at

Newman was, above all things, a theologian; a subtle reasoner whose
relentless logic led him at last to Rome.  "From the age of fifteen," he
wrote, "dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion; I know
no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of
religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery."
Discussions concerning church ceremonies, liturgy, ritual, he put aside
with some impatience.  His own tastes were simple to asceticism.  Mozley
says that Newman and Hurrell Froude induced several of the Oriel fellows
to discontinue the use of wine in the common room.  "When I came up at
Easter, 1825, one of the first standing jokes against the college all
over the university was the Oriel tea-pot." [6]  Dean Church testifies to
the plainness of the services at St. Mary's.[7]  Aubrey de Vere reports
his urging Newman to make an expedition with him among the Wicklow
Mountains, and the latter's "answering with a smile that life was full of
work more important than the enjoyment of mountains and lakes. . . .  The
ecclesiastical imagination and the mountain-worshipping imagination are
two very different things.  Wordsworth's famous 'Tintern Abbey' describes
the river Wye, etc. . . .  The one thing which it did not see was the
great monastic ruin; . . . and now here is this great theologian, who,
when within a few miles of Glendalough Lake, will not visit it." [8]

There is much gentle satire in "Loss and Gain" at the expense of the
Ritualistic set in the university who were attracted principally by the
external beauty of the Roman Catholic worship.  One of these is Bateman,
a solemn bore, who takes great interest in "candlesticks, ciboriums,
faldstools, lecterns, ante-pend turns, piscinas, roodlofts, and sedilia":
wears a long cassock which shows absurdly under the tails of his coat;
and would tolerate no architecture but Gothic in English churches, and no
music but the Gregorian.  Bateman is having a chapel restored in pure
fourteenth-century style and dedicated to the Royal Martyr.  He is going
to convert the chapel into a chantry, and has bought land about it for a
cemetery, which is to be decorated with mediaeval monuments in sculpture
and painting copied from the frescoes in the Campo Santo at Pisa, of
which he has a portfolio full of drawings.  "It will be quite sweet," he
says, "to hear the vesper-bell tolling over the sullen moor every
evening."  Then there is White, a weak young aesthete who shocks the
company by declaring: "We have no life or poetry in the Church of
England; the Catholic Church alone is beautiful.  You would see what I
mean if you went into a foreign cathedral, or even into one of the
Catholic churches in our large towns.  The celebrant, deacon and
sub-deacon, acolytes with lights, the incense and the chanting all
combine to one end, one act of worship."  White is much exercised by the
question whether a sacristan should wear the short or the long cotta.
But he finally marries and settles down into a fat preferment.

Newman's sensitiveness to the beauty of Catholic religion is acute.  "Her
very being is poetry," he writes.  But equally acute is his sense of the
danger under which religion lies from the ministration of the arts, lest
they cease to be handmaids, and "give the law to Religion."  Hence he
praises, from an ecclesiastical point of view, the service of the arts in
their rudimental state--the rude Gothic sculpture, the simple Gregorian
chant.[9]  A similar indifference to the merely aesthetic aspects of
Catholicism is recorded of many of Newman's associates; of Hurrell
Froude, _e.g._, and of Ward.  When Pugin came to Oxford in 1840 to
superintend some building at Balliol, he saw folio copies of St.
Buenaventura and Aquinas' "Summa Theologiae" lying on Ward's table, and
exclaimed, "What an extraordinary thing that so glorious a man as Ward
should be living in a room without mullions to the windows!"  This being
reported to Ward, he asked, "What are mullions?  I never heard of them."
Ward cared nothing about rood-screens and lancet windows; Newman and
Faber preferred the Palladian architecture to the Gothic.[10]  Pugin, on
the other hand, who had been actually converted to the Roman Church
through his enthusiasm for pointed architecture; and who, when asked to
dinner, stipulated for Gothic puddings, for which he enclosed designs,
was greatly distressed at the carelessness about such matters which he
found at Oxford.  A certain Dr. Cox was going to pray for the conversion
of England, in an old French cope.  "What is the use," asked Pugin, "of
praying for the Church of England in that cope?" [11]

Of the three or four hundred Anglican clergymen who went over with Newman
in 1845, or some years later with Manning, on the decision in the Gorham
controversy, few were influenced in any assignable degree by poetic
motives.  "As regards my friend's theory about my imaginative sympathies
having led me astray," writes Aubrey de Vere, "I may remark that they had
been repelled, not attracted, by what I thought an excess of ceremonial
in the churches and elsewhere when in Italy. . . .  It seemed to me too
sensuous." [12]  Indeed, at the outset of the movement it was not the
mediaeval Church, but the primitive Church, the Church of patristic
discipline and doctrine, that appealed to the Tractarians.  It was the
Anglican Church of the seventeenth century, the Church of Andrewes and
Herbert and Ken, to which Keble sought to restore the "beauty of
holiness"; and those of the Oxford party who remained within the
establishment continued true to this ideal.  "The Christian Year" is the
genuine descendant of George Herbert's "Temple" (1632).  What impressed
Newman's imagination in the Roman Catholic Church was not so much the
romantic beauty of its rites and observances as its imposing unity and
authority.  He wanted an authoritative standard in matters of belief, a
faith which had been held _semper et ubique et ab omnibus_.  The English
Church was an Elizabethan compromise.  It was Erastian, a creature of the
state, threatened by the Reform Bill of 1832, threatened by every liberal
wind of opinion.  The Thirty-nine Articles meant this to one man and that
to another, and there was no court of final appeal to say what they
meant.  Newman was a convert not of his imagination, but of his longing
for consistency and his desire to believe.

There is nothing romantic in either temper or style about Newman's poems,
all of which are devotional in subject, and one of which--"The Pillar of
the Cloud" ("Lead, Kindly Light") (1833)--is a favourite hymn in most
Protestant communions.  The most ambitious of these is "The Dream of
Gerontius," a sort of mystery play which Sir Henry Taylor used to compare
with the "Divine Comedy."  Indeed, none but Dante has more poignantly
expressed the purgatorial passion, the desire for pain, which makes the
spirits in the flames of purification unwilling to intermit their
torments even for a moment.  The "happy, suffering soul" of Gerontius
lies before the throne of the Crucified and sings:

  "Take me away, and in the lowest deep
        There let me be,
  And there in hope the lone night-watches keep
        Told out for me." [13]

Some dozen years before the "Tracts for the Times" began to appear at
Oxford, a sporadic case of conversion at the sister university offers a
closer analogy with the catholicising process among the German romantics.
Kenelm Henry Digby, who took his degree at Trinity College in 1819, and
devoted himself to the study of mediaeval antiquities and scholastic
philosophy, was actually led into the Catholic fold by his enthusiasm for
the chivalry romances, as Pugin was by his love of Gothic architecture.
His singular book, "The Broad Stone of Honour," was first published in
1822, and repeatedly afterwards in greatly enlarged form.  In its final
edition it consists of four books entitled respectively "Godefridus,"
"Tancredus," "Morus" (Sir Thomas More), and "Orlandus," after four
representative paladins of Christian chivalry.  The title of the whole
work was suggested by the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the "Gibraltar of
the Rhine."  Like Fouqué, Digby was inspired by the ideal of knighthood,
but he emphasises not so much the gallantry of the knight-errant as his
religious character as the champion of Holy Church.  The book is, loosely
speaking, an English "Genié du Christianisme," less brilliantly
rhetorical than Chateaubriand, but more sincerely devout.  It is poetic
and descriptive rather than polemical, though the author constantly
expresses his dislike of modern civilisation, and complains with Burke
that this is an age of sophists, calculators, and economists.  He quotes
profusely from German and French reactionaries, like Busching,[14] Fritz
Stolberg, Görres, Friedrich Schlegel, Lamennais, and Joseph de Maistre,
and illustrates his topic at every turn from mediaeval chronicles,
legendaries, romances, and manuals of chivalry; from the lives of
Charlemagne, St. Louis, Godfrey of Bouillon, the Chevalier Bayard, St.
Anselm, King Rene, etc., and above all, from the "Morte Darthur."  He
defends the Crusades, the Templars, and the monastic orders against such
historians as Muller, Sismondi, and Hume; is very contemptuous of the
Protestant concessions of Bishop Hurd's "Letters on Chivalry and
Romance";[15] and, in short, fights a brave battle against the artillery
of "the moderns" with weapons borrowed from "the armoury of the
invincible knights of old."  The book is learned, though unsystematic and
discursive, but its most interesting feature is its curiously personal
note, its pure spirit of honour and Catholic piety.  The enthusiasm of
the author extends itself from the institutes of chivalry and the Church
to the social and political constitution of the Middle Ages.  He is
anti-democratic as well as anti-Protestant; upholds monarchy, nobility,
the interference of the popes in the affairs of kingdoms, and praises the
times when the doctrines of legislation and government all over Europe
rested on the foundations of the Church.

A few paragraphs from "The Broad Stone of Honour" will illustrate the
author's entrance into the Church through the door of beauty, and his
identification of romantic art with "the art Catholic."  "It is much to
be lamented," he writes, "that the acquaintance of the English reader
with the characters and events of the Middle Ages should, for the most
part, be derived from the writings of men who were either infidels, or
who wrote on every subject connected with religion, with the feelings and
opinions of Scotch Presbyterian preachers of the last century." [16]  "A
distinguishing characteristic of everything belonging to the early and
Middle Ages of Christianity is the picturesque.  Those who now struggle
to cultivate the fine arts are obliged to have recourse to the despised,
and almost forgotten, houses, towns, and dresses of this period.  As soon
as men renounced the philosophy of the Church, it was inevitable that
their taste, that the form of objects under their control, should change
with their religion; for architects had no longer to provide for the love
of solitude, of meditation between sombre pillars, of modesty in
apartments with the lancet-casement.  They were not to study duration and
solidity in an age when men were taught to regard the present as their
only concern.  When nothing but exact knowledge was sought, the undefined
sombre arches were to be removed to make way for lines which would
proclaim their brevity, and for a blaze of light which might correspond
with the mind of those who rejected every proposition that led beyond the
reach of the senses. . . .  So completely is it beyond the skill of the
painter or the poet to render bearable the productions of the
moderns, . . . and so fast are the poor neglected works of Christian
antiquity falling to ruin, that it is hard to conceive how the fine arts
can be cultivated after another century has elapsed; for when children
are taught in infant schools to love accounts from their cradle, and to
study political economy before they have heard of the Red Cross Knight or
the Wild Hunter, the manner and taste of such an age will smother the
sparks of nature." [17]  The Church summoned all natural beauty to the
ministry of religion.  "Flowers bloomed on the altars; men could behold
the blue heaven through those tall, narrow-pointed eastern windows of the
Gothic choir as they sat at vespers. . . .  The cloud of incense breathed
a sweet perfume; the voice of youth was tuned to angelic hymns; and the
golden sun of the morning, shining through the coloured pane, cast its
purple or its verdant beam on the embroidered vestments and marble
pavement." [18]  Or read the extended rhapsody which closes the first
volume, where, to counteract the attractions of classic lands, the author
passes in long review the sites and monuments of romance in England,
Germany, Spain, Italy, and France.  Aubrey de Vere says that nothing had
been so "impressive, suggestive, and spiritually helpful" to him as
Newman's "Lectures on Anglican Difficulties" (1850), "with the exception
of the 'Divina Commedia' and Kenelm Digby's wholly uncontroversial 'Mores
Catholici'" (1831-40).

THE STUDY OF MEDIAEVAL ART.--The correlation of romantic poetry, Catholic
worship, and mediaeval art has been indicated in the chapter upon the
Pre-Raphaelites, as well as in the foregoing section of the present
chapter.  But the three departments have other tangential points which
should not pass without some further mention.  The revival of Gothic
architecture which began with Horace Walpole[19] went on in an
unintelligent way through the eighteenth century.  One of the queerest
monuments of this new taste--a successor on a larger scale to Strawberry
Hill--was Fonthill Abbey, near Salisbury, that prodigious folly to which
Beckford, the eccentric author of "Vathek," devoted a great share of his
almost fabulous wealth.  It was begun in 1796, took nearly thirty years
in building, employed at one time four hundred and sixty men, and cost
over 273,000 pounds.  Its most conspicuous feature was an octagonal tower
278 feet high, so ill constructed that it shortly tumbled down into a
heap of ruins.[20]

The growing taste for mediaeval architecture was powerfully reinforced by
the popularity of Walter Scott's writings.  But Abbotsford is evidence
enough of the superficiality of his own knowledge of the art; and during
the first half of the nineteenth century, Gothic design was applied not
to churches, but to the more ambitious classes of domestic architecture.
The country houses of the nobility and landed gentry were largely built
or rebuilt in what was known as the castellated style.[21]  Meanwhile a
truer understanding of the principles of pointed architecture was being
helped by the publication of archaeological works like Britton's
"Cathedral Antiquities" (1814-35), Milner's "Treatise on Ecclesiastical
Architecture" (1811), and Rickman's "Ancient Examples of Gothic
Architecture" (1819).  The parts of individual buildings, such as
Westminster Abbey and Lincoln Cathedral, were carefully studied and
illustrated with plans and sections drawn to scale, and measurement was
substituted for guesswork.  But the real restorer of ecclesiastical
Gothic in England was Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, an enthusiast, nay,
a fanatic, in the cause; whose "Contrasts" (1836) is not only a landmark
in the history of the revival of mediaeval art, but a most instructive
illustration of the manner in which an aesthetic admiration of the Middle
Ages has sometimes involved an acceptance of their religious beliefs and
social principles.  Three generations of this family are associated with
the rise of modern Gothic.  The elder Pugin (Augustus Charles) was a
French _emigré_ who came to England during the Revolution, and gained
much reputation as an architectural draughtsman, publishing, among other
things, "Specimens of Gothic Architecture," in 1821.  The son of A. W. N.
Pugin, Edward Welby (1834-73), also carried on his father's work as a
practical architect and a writer.

Pugin joined the Roman Catholic Church just about the time when the
"Tracts for the Times" began to be issued.  His "Contrasts: or a Parallel
between the Architecture of the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Centuries" is
fiercely polemical, and displays all the zeal of a fresh convert.  In the
preface to the second edition he says that "when this work was first
brought out [1836], the very name of Christian art was almost unknown";
and he affirms, in a footnote, that in the whole of the national museum,
"there is not even one room, one _shelf_, devoted to the exquisite
productions of the Middle Ages."  The book is a jeremiad over the
condition to which the cathedrals and other remains of English
ecclesiastical architecture had been reduced by the successive
spoliations and mutilations in the times of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and
Cromwell, and by the "vile" restorations of later days.  It maintains the
thesis that pointed architecture is not only vastly superior
artistically, but that it is the only style appropriate to Christian
churches; "in it alone we find the faith of Christianity embodied and its
practices illustrated."  Pugin denounces alike the Renaissance and the
Reformation, "those two monsters, revived Paganism and Protestantism."
There is no chance, he thinks, for a successful revival of Gothic except
in a return to Catholic faith.  "The mechanical part of Gothic
architecture is pretty well understood, but it is the principles which
influenced ancient compositions, and the soul which appears in all the
former works, which is so lamentably deficient. . . .  'Tis they alone
that can restore pointed architecture to its former glorious state;
without it all that is done will be a tame and heartless copy."  He
points out the want of sympathy between "these vast edifices" and the
Protestant worship, which might as well be carried on in a barn or
conventicle or square meeting-house.  Hence, the nave has been blocked up
with pews, the choir or transept partitioned off to serve as a parish
church, roodloft and chancel screen removed, the altar displaced by a
table, and the sedilia scattered about in odd corners.  The contrast
between old and new is strikingly presented, by way of object lessons, in
a series of plates, arranged side by side, and devised with a great deal
of satirical humour.  There is, _e.g._, a Catholic town in 1440, rich
with its ancient stone bridge, its battlemented wall and city gate, and
the spires and towers of St. Marie's Abbey, the Guild Hall, Queen's
Cross, St. Cuthbert's Church, and the half-timbered, steep-roofed, gabled
houses of the burgesses.  Over against it is the picture of the same town
in 1840, hideous with the New Jail, Gas Works, Lunatic Asylum, Wesleyan
Chapel, New Town Hall, Iron Works, Quaker Meeting-house, Socialist Hall
of Science, and other abominations of a prosperous modern industrial
community.  Or there is the beautiful old western doorway of St. Mary
Overies, destroyed in 1838.  The door stands invitingly open, showing the
noble interior with kneeling worshippers scattered here and there over
the unobstructed pavement.  Opposite is the new door, grimly closed, with
a printed notice nailed upon it: "Divine Service on Sundays.  Evening
lecture."  A separate plate exhibits a single compartment of the old door
curiously carved in oak; and beside it a compartment of the new door in
painted deal and plain as a pike-staff.

But the author is forced to confess that the case is not much better in
Catholic countries, where stained windows have been displaced by white
panes, frescoed ceilings covered with a yellow wash, and the "bastard
pagan style" introduced among the venerable sanctities of old religion.
English travellers return from the Continent disgusted with the tinsel
ornament and theatrical trumperies that they have seen in foreign
churches.  "I do not think," he concludes, "the architecture of our
English churches would have fared much better under a Catholic
hierarchy. . . .  It is a most melancholy truth that there does not exist
much sympathy of idea between a great portion of the present Catholic
body in England and their glorious ancestors. . . .  Indeed, such is the
total absence of solemnity in a great portion of modern Catholic
buildings in England, that I do not hesitate to say that a few crumbling
walls and prostrate arches of a religious edifice raised during the days
of faith will convey a far stronger religious impression to the mind than
the actual service of half the chapels in England."

In short, Pugin's Catholicism, though doubtless sincere, was prompted by
his professional feelings.  His reverence was given to the mediaeval
Church, not to her--aesthetically--degenerate daughter; and it extended
to the whole system of life and thought peculiar to the Middle Ages.
"Men must learn," he wrote, "that the period hitherto called dark and
ignorant far excelled our age in wisdom, that art ceased when it is said
to have been revived, that superstition was piety, and bigotry faith."
In many of his views Pugin anticipates Ruskin.  He did not like St.
Peter's at Rome, and said: "If those students who journey to Italy to
study art would follow the steps of the great Overbeck,[22] . . . they
would indeed derive inestimable benefit.  Italian art of the thirteenth,
fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries is the beau ideal of Christian
purity, and its imitation cannot be too strongly inculcated; but when it
forsook its pure, mystical, and ancient types, to follow those of sensual
Paganism, it sunk to a fearful state of degradation."

As a practising architect Pugin naturally received and executed many
commissions for Catholic churches.  But the Catholic Church in England
did much less, even in proportion to its resources, than the Anglican
establishment towards promoting the Gothic revival.  Eastlake says that
Pugin's "strength as an artist lay in the design of ornamental detail";
and that he helped importantly in the revival of the mediaeval taste in
stained glass, metal work, furniture, carpets, and paper-hangings.
Several of his works have to do with various departments of ecclesiology;
chancel-screens, roodlofts, church ornaments, symbols and costumes, and
the like.  But the only one that need here be mentioned is the once very
influential "True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture"
(1841).  This revival of ecclesiastical Gothic fell in with the reform of
Anglican ritual, which was one of the features or sequences of the Oxford
movement, and the two tendencies afforded each other mutual support.

Evidence of a newly awakened interest in mediaeval art is furnished by a
number of works of a more systematic character which appeared about the
middle of the century, dealing not only with architecture, but with the
early schools of sculpture and painting.  One of these was "Sketches of
the History of Christian Art" (3 vols., 1847) by Alexander William
Crawford Lindsay, twenty-fifth Earl of Crawford.  In the preface to the
reprint of this book in 1885, Lady Crawford speaks of it as a pioneer in
an "early time of unawakened interest."  Ruskin refers to it
repeatedly--always with respect--and acknowledges in "Praeterita" that
Lord Lindsay knew a great deal more about Italian art than he himself
did.  The book reviews in detail the works of Christian builders,
sculptors and painters, both in Italy and north of the Alps, from the
time of the Roman catacombs and basilicas down to the Renaissance.  It
gives likewise a history of Christian mythology, iconography and
symbolism; all that great body of popular beliefs about angels, devils,
saints, martyrs, anchorites, miracles, etc., which Protestant iconoclasm
and the pagan spirit of the _cinque-cento_ had long ago swept into the
dust-bin as sheer idolatry and superstition.  Lord Lindsay's treatment of
these matters is reverential, though his own Protestantism is proof
against their charm.  His tone is moderate; he has no quarrel with the
Renaissance, and professes respect for classical art, which seems to him,
however, on a lower spiritual plane than the Christian.  He remarks that
all mediaeval art was religious; the only concession to the secular being
found in the illuminations of some of the chivalry romances.  Gothic
architecture was the expression of Teutonic genius, which is realistic
and stands for the reason, while Italian sacred painting was idealistic
and stands for the imagination.  In the most perfect art, as in the
highest type of religion, reason and imagination are in balance.  Hence,
the influence of Van Eyck, Memling, and Dürer on Italian painters was
wholesome; and the Reformation, the work of the reasoning Teutonic mind,
is not to be condemned.  Reason is to blame only when it goes too far and
extinguishes imagination.[23]

"The sympathies of the North, or of the Teutonic race, are with Death, as
those of the Southern, or classic, are with Life. . . .  The exquisitely
beautiful allegorical tale of 'Sintram and His Companions' by La Motte
Fouqué, was founded on the 'Knight and Death' of Albert Dürer, and I
cannot but think that Milton had the 'Melancholy' in his remembrance
while writing 'Il Penseroso.'" [24]  The author thinks that, whatever may
be true of Gothic architecture--an art less national than
ecclesiastical--"sculpture and painting, on the one hand, and the spirit
of chivalry on the other, have usually flourished in an inverse ratio one
to the other, and it is not therefore in England, France, or Spain, but
among the free cities of Italy and Germany that we must look for their
rise." [25]  I give these conclusions--so opposite to those of Catholic
mediaevalists like Digby and Pugin--because they illustrate the temper of
Lindsay's book.  One more quotation I will venture to add for its
agreement with Uvedale Price's definition of the picturesque:[26] "The
picturesque in art answers to the romantic in poetry; both stand opposed
to the classic or formal school--both may be defined as the triumph of
nature over art, luxuriating in the decay, not of her elemental and
ever-lasting beauty, but of the bonds by which she had been enthralled by
man.  It is only in ruin that a building of pure architecture, whether
Greek or Gothic, becomes picturesque." [27]

Lord Lindsay's "Sketches" contained no illustrations.  Mrs. Jameson's
very popular series on "Sacred and Legendary Art" was profusely
embellished with wood-cuts and etchings.  The first number of the series,
"Legends of the Saints and Martyrs," was begun in 1842, but issued only
in 1848.  "Legends of the Monastic Orders" followed in 1850; "Legends of
the Madonna" in 1852; and the "History of Our Lord" (completed by Lady
Eastlake) in 1860.  Mrs. Jameson had an imperfect knowledge of technique,
and her work was descriptive rather than critical.  But it probably did
more to enlist the interest of the general reader in Christian art than
Lord Lindsay's more learned volumes; or possibly even than the brilliant
but puzzling rhetoric of Ruskin.

With Pugin's "Contrasts" began the "Battle of the Styles."  This was soon
decided in Pugin's favour, so far as ecclesiastical buildings were
concerned.  Fergusson, who is hostile to Gothic, admits that wherever
clerical influence extended, the style came into fashion.  The Cambridge
Camden Society was founded in 1839 for the study of church architecture
and ritual, and issued the first number of its magazine, _The
Ecclesiologist_, in 1841.  But the first national triumph for secular
Gothic was won when Barry's design for the new houses of Parliament was
selected from among ninety-seven competing plans.  The corner-stone was
laid at Westminster in 1840, and much of the detail, as the work went on,
was furnished by Pugin.

It was not long before the Gothic revival found an ally in the same great
writer who had already come forward as the champion of Pre-Raphaelite
painting.  The masterly analysis of "The Nature of Gothic" in "The Stones
of Venice" (vol. i., 1851; vols. ii. and iii., 1853), and the eloquence
and beauty of a hundred passages throughout the three volumes, fascinated
a public which cared little about art, but knew good literature when they
saw it.  Eastlake testifies that Ruskin had some practical influence on
English building.  Young artists went to Venice to study the remains of
Italian Gothic, and the results of their studies were seen in the surface
treatment of many London facades, especially in the cusped window arches,
and in the stripes of coloured bricks which give a zebra-like appearance
to the architecture of the period.  But, in general, working architects
were rather contemptuous of Ruskin's fine-spun theories, which they
ridiculed as fantastic, self-contradictory, and super-subtle; rhetoric or
metaphysics, in short, and not helpful art criticism.

Ruskin's adhesion to Gothic was without compromise.  It was "not only the
best, but the _only rational_ architecture."  "I plead for the
introduction of the Gothic form into our domestic architecture, not
merely because it is lovely, but because it is the only form of faithful,
strong, enduring, and honourable building, in such materials as come
daily to our hands." [28]  On the other hand, Roman architecture is
essentially base; the study of classical literature is "pestilent"; and
most modern building is the fruit of "the Renaissance poison tree."
"If . . . any of my readers should determine . . . to set themselves to
the revival of a healthy school of architecture in England, and wish to
know in few words how this may be done, the answer is clear and simple.
First, let us cast out utterly whatever is connected with the Greek,
Roman, or Renaissance architecture, in principle or in form. . . .  The
whole mass of the architecture, founded on Greek and Roman models, which
we have been in the habit of building for the last three centuries, is
utterly devoid of all life, virtue, honourableness, or power of doing
good.  It is base, unnatural, unfruitful, unenjoyable, and impious.
Pagan in its origin, proud and unholy in its revival, paralysed in its
old age." [29]

Ruskin loved the religious spirit of the mediaeval builders, Byzantine,
Lombard, or Gothic; and the pure and holy faith of the early sacred
painters like Fra Angelico, Orcagna, and Perugino.  He thought that
whatever was greatest even in Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo came
from their training in the old religious school, not from the new science
of the Renaissance.  "Raphael painted best when he knew least."  He
deplored the harm to Catholic and Protestant alike of the bitter
dissensions of the Reformation.  But he sorrowfully acknowledged the
corruption of the ancient Church, and had no respect for modern Romanism.
Against the opinion that Gothic architecture was fitted exclusively for
ecclesiastical uses, he strongly protested.  On the contrary, he advised
its reintroduction, especially in domestic building.  "Most readers . . .
abandon themselves drowsily to the impression that Gothic is a peculiarly
ecclesiastical style. . . .  The High Church and Romanist parties . . .
have willingly promulgated the theory that, because all the good
architecture that is now left is expressive of High Church or Romanist
doctrines, all good architecture ever has been and must be so--a piece of
absurdity. . . .  Wherever Christian Church architecture has been good
and lovely, it has been merely the perfect development of the common
dwelling-house architecture of the period. . . .  The churches were not
separated by any change of style from the buildings round them, as they
are now, but were merely more finished and full examples of a universal
style. . . .  Because the Gothic and Byzantine styles are fit for
churches, they are not therefore less fit for dwellings.  They are in the
highest sense fit and good for both, nor were they ever brought to
perfection except when they were used for both." [30]

The influence of Walter Scott upon Ruskin is noteworthy.  As a child he
read the Bible on Sundays and the Waverley Novels on week-days, and he
could not recall the time when either had been unknown to him.  The
freshness of his pleasure in the first sight of the frescoes of the Campo
Santo he describes by saying that it was like having three new Scott
novels.[31]  Ruskin called himself a "king's man," a "violent illiberal,"
and a "Tory of the old-fashioned school, the school of Walter Scott."
Like Scott, he was proof against the religious temptations of
mediaevalism.  "Although twelfth-century psalters are lovely and right,"
he was not converted to Catholic teachings by his admiration for the art
of the great ages; and writes, with a touch of contempt, of those who are
"piped into a new creed by the squeak of an organ pipe."  If Scott was
unclassical, Ruskin was anti-classical.  The former would learn no Greek;
and the latter complained that Oxford taught him all the Latin and Greek
that he would learn, but did not teach him that fritillaries grew in
Iffley meadow.[32]  Even that fondness for costume which has been made a
reproach against Scott finds justification with Ruskin.  "The essence of
modern romance is simply the return of the heart and fancy to the things
in which they naturally take pleasure; and half the influence of the best
romances, of 'Ivanhoe,' or 'Marmion,' or 'The Crusaders,' or 'The Lady of
the Lake,' is completely dependent upon the accessories of armour and
costume." [33]  Still Ruskin had the critical good sense to rate such as
they below the genuine Scotch novels, like "Old Mortality" and "The Heart
of Mid-Lothian"; and he is quite stern towards the melodramatic Byronic
ideal of Venice.  "The impotent feelings of romance, so singularly
characteristic of this century, may indeed gild, but never save the
remains of those mightier ages to which they are attached like climbing
flowers, and they must be torn away from the magnificent fragments, if we
would see them as they stood in their own strength. . . .  The Venice of
modern fiction and drama is a thing of yesterday, a mere efflorescence of
decay, a stage dream." [34]  For it cannot be too often repeated that the
romance is not in the Middle Ages themselves, but in their strangeness to
our imagination.  The closer one gets to them, the less romantic they

MEDIEVAL SOCIAL IDEALS.--It is obvious how a fondness for the Middle
Ages, in a man of Scott's conservative temper, might confirm him in his
attachment to high Tory principles and to an aristocratic-feudal ideal of
society; or how, in an enthusiastic artist like Pugin, and a gentleman of
high-strung chivalric spirit like Sir Kenelm Digby, it might even lead to
an adoption of the whole mediaeval religious system.  But it is not so
easy, at first sight, to understand why the same thing should have
conducted Ruskin and William Morris to opinions that were more "advanced"
than those of the most advanced Liberal.  Orthodox economists looked upon
the theories put forward in Ruskin's "Unto this Last" (1860), "Munera
Pulveris" (1862-63), and "Fors Clavigera" (1871-84), as the
eccentricities of a distinguished art critic, disporting himself in
unfamiliar fields of thought.  And when in 1883 the poet of "The Earthly
Paradise" joined the Democratic Federation, and subsequently the
Socialist League, and was arrested and fined one shilling and costs for
addressing open-air meetings, obstructing public highways, and striking
policemen, amusement was mingled with disapproval.  What does this
dreamer of dreams and charming decorative artist in a London police court?

But Socialism, though appearing on the face of it the most modern of
doctrines, is in a sense reactionary, like Catholicism, or
knight-errantry, or Gothic architecture.  That is, those who protest
against the individualism of the existing social order are wont to
contrast it unfavourably with the principle of association which is found
everywhere in the Middle Ages.  No mediaeval man was free or independent;
all men were members one of another.  The feudal system itself was an
elaborate network of interdependent rights and obligations, in which
service was given in return for protection.  The vassal did homage to his
lord--became his _homme_ or man--and his lord was bound to take care of
him.  In theory, at least, every serf was entitled to a living.  In
theory, too, the Church embraced all Christendom.  None save Jews were
outside it or could get outside it, except by excommunication; which was
the most terrible of penalties, because it cut a man off from all
spiritual human fellowship.  The same principle of co-operation prevailed
in mediaeval industry and commerce, organised into guilds of craftsmen
and trading corporations, which fixed the prices and quality of goods,
the number of apprentices allowed, etc.  The manufacturer was not a
capitalist, but simply a master workman.  Government was paternal and
interfered continually with the freedom of contract and the rights of the
individual.  Here was where Carlyle took issue with modern Liberalism,
which proclaims that the best government is that which governs least.
According to the _laissez-faire_ doctrine, he said, the work of a
government is not that of a father, but of an active parish constable.
The duty of a government is to govern, but this theory makes it its duty
to refrain from governing.  Not liberty is good for men, but obedience
and stern discipline under wise rulers, heroes, and heaven-sent kings.
Carlyle took no romantic view of the Middle Ages.  He is rather
contemptuous of Scott's mediaeval-picturesque,[35] and his Scotch
Calvinism burns fiercely against the would-be restorers of mediaeval
religious formularies and the mummeries of "the old Pope of Rome"--a
ghastly survival of a dead creed.[36]  He said that Newman had the brain
of a good-sized rabbit.  But in this matter of collectivism versus
individualism, Carlyle was with the Middle Ages.  "For those were rugged,
stalwart ages. . . .  Gurth, born thrall of Cedric, it is like, got cuffs
as often as pork-parings; but Gurth did belong to Cedric; no human
creature then went about connected with nobody; left to go his way into
Bastilles or worse, under _Laissez-faire_. . . .  That Feudal
Aristocracy, I say, was no imaginary one. . . .  It was a Land
Aristocracy; it managed the Governing of this English People, and had the
reaping of the Soil of England in return. . . .  Soldiering, Police and
Judging, Church-Extension, nay, real Government and Guidance, all this
was actually _done_ by the Holders of Land in return for their Land.  How
much of it is now done by them; done by anybody?  Good Heavens!
'_Laissez faire_, Do ye nothing, eat your wages and sleep,' is everywhere
the passionate half-wise cry of this time." [37]

From 1850 onwards, in which year Ruskin made Carlyle's acquaintance, the
former fell under the dominion of these ideas, and began to preach a
species of Aristocratic Socialism.[38]  He denounced competition and
profit-seeking in commerce; the factory system; the capitalistic
organisation of industry.  His scheme of a regenerated society, however,
was by no means so democratic as that imagined by Morris in "News from
Nowhere."  It was a "new feudalism" with a king at the head of it and a
rural nobility of "the great old families," whose relations to their
tenantry are not very clearly defined.[39]  Ruskin took some steps
towards putting into practice his plans for a reorganisation of labour
under improved conditions.  "Fors Clavigera" consisted of a series of
letters to workingmen, inviting them to join him in establishing a fund
for rescuing English country life from the tyranny and defilement of
machinery.  In pursuance of this project, the St. George's Guild was
formed, about 1870, Ruskin devoting to it 7,000 pounds of his own money.
Trustees were chosen to administer the fund; a building was bought at
Walkley, in the suburbs of Sheffield, for use as a museum; and the money
subscribed was employed in promoting co-operative experiments in
agriculture, manufacturing, and education.

In 1848 the widespread misery among the English working class, both
agricultural labourers and the operatives in cities, broke out in a
startling way in the Chartist movement.  Sympathy with some of the aims
of this movement found literary expression in Charles Kingsley's novels,
"Yeast" and "Alton Locke", in his widely circulated tract, "Cheap Clothes
and Nasty"; in his letters in _Politics for the People_ over the
signature "Parson Lot"; in some of his ballads like "The Three Fishers";
and in the writings of his friends, F. D. Maurice and Thomas Hughes.  But
the Christian Socialism of these Broad Churchmen was by no means of the
mediaeval type.  Kingsley was an exponent of "Muscular Christianity."  He
hated the asceticism and sacerdotalism of the Oxford set, and challenged
the Tractarian movement with all his might.[40]  Neither was this
Christian Socialism of a radical nature, like Morris'.  It limited itself
to an endeavour to alleviate distress by an appeal to the good feeling of
the upper classes; and by setting on foot trade-unions, co-operative
societies, and workingmen's colleges.  Kingsley himself, like Ruskin,
believed in a landed gentry; and like both Ruskin and Carlyle, he
defended Governor Eyre of Jamaica against the attacks of the radical

Ruskin and Morris travelled to Socialism by the pathway of art.  Carlyle
had early begun his complaints against the mechanical spirit of the age,
and its too great reliance on machinery in all departments of thought and
life.[42]  But Ruskin made war on machinery for different reasons.  As a
lover of the beautiful, he hated its ugly processes and products.  As a
student of art, he mourned over the reduction of the handicraftsman to a
slave of the machine.  Factories had poisoned the English sky with their
smoke, and blackened English soil and polluted English rivers with their
refuse.  The railroad had spoiled Venice and vulgarised Switzerland.  He
would like to tear up all the railroads in Wales and most of those in
England, and pull down the city of New York.  He could not live in
America two months--a country without castles.  Modern architecture,
modern dress, modern manufactures, modern civilisation, were all utterly
hideous.  Worst of all was the effect on the workman, condemned by
competitive commercialism to turn out cheap goods, condemned by division
of labour to spend his life in making the eighteenth part of a pin.  Work
without art, said Ruskin, is brutalising.  To take pleasure in his work,
said Morris, is the workman's best inducement to labour and his truest
reward.  In the Middle Ages every artisan was an artist; the art of the
Middle Ages was popular art.  Now that the designer and the
handicraftsman are separate persons, the work of the former is unreal,
and of the latter merely mechanical.

This point of view is eloquently stated in that chapter on "The Nature of
Gothic" in "The Stones of Venice," which made so deep an impression on
Morris when he was in residence at Oxford.[43]  "It is verily this
degradation of the operative into a machine which, more than any other
evil of the times, is leading the mass of the nations everywhere into
vain, incoherent, destructive struggling for a freedom of which they
cannot explain the nature to themselves.  Their universal outcry against
wealth and against nobility is not forced from them either by the
pressure of famine or the sting of mortified pride.  These do much, and
have done much in all ages; but the foundations of society were never yet
shaken as they are at this day.  It is not that men are ill-fed, but that
they have no pleasure in the work by which they make their bread, and
therefore look to wealth as the only means of pleasure.  It is not that
men are pained by the scorn of the upper classes, but they cannot endure
their own; for they feel that the kind of labour to which they are
condemned is verily a degrading one, and makes them less than men. . . .
We have much studied and much perfected, of late, the great civilised
invention of the division of labour; only we give it a false name.  It is
not, truly speaking, the labour that is divided; but the men--divided
into mere segments of men--broken into small fragments and crumbs of
life, so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man
is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the
point of a pin, or the head of a nail. . . .  And the great cry that
rises from all our manufacturing cities, louder than their furnace blast,
is all, in very deed, for this--that we manufacture everything there
except men. . . .  And all the evil to which that cry is urging our
myriads can be met only . . . by a right understanding, on the part of
all classes, of what kinds of labour are good for men, raising them, and
making them happy; by a determined sacrifice of such convenience, or
beauty, or cheapness as is to be got only by the degradation of the
workman." [44]

Morris' contributions to the literature of Socialism include, besides his
romance, "News from Nowhere," two volumes of verse, "Poems by the Way"
(1891)and "The Dream of John Ball"; together with "Socialism: Its Growth
and Outcome" (1893), an historical sketch of the subject written in
collaboration with Mr. E. Belfort Bax.  Mackail also describes a
satirical interlude, entitled "The Tables Turned, or Nupkins Awakened,"
which was acted thrice at Farringden Road in the autumn of 1887--a
Socialistic farce in the form of a mediaeval miracle play--a conjunction
quite typical of the playwright's political principles and literary
preferences.  Morris' ideal society, unlike Ruskin's, included no feudal
elements; there was no room in it for kings, or nobles, or great cities,
or a centralised government.  It was primitive Teutonic rather than
mediaeval; resembling the communal type described in "The House of the
Wolfings."  There were to be no more classes--no rich or poor.  To
ordinary Socialists the reform means a fairer distribution of the joint
product of capital and labour; higher wages for the workingman, shorter
hours, better food and more of it, better clothes, better houses, more
amusements--in short, "beer and skittles" in reasonable amount.  The
Socialism of Ruskin and Morris was an outcome of their aesthetic feeling.
They liked to imagine the work people of the future as an intelligent and
artistic body of handicraftsmen, living in pretty Gothic cottages among
gardens of their own, scattered all over England in small rural towns or
villages, and joyfully engaged in making sound and beautiful objects of
use, tools, furniture, woven goods, etc.  To the followers of Mr. Hyndman
these motives, if not these aims, must have seemed somewhat unpractical.
And in reading "Fors Clavigera," one sometimes has a difficulty in
understanding just what sort of person Ruskin imagined the British
workman to be.

THE NEO-ROMANTICISTS.--The literature of each new generation is apt to be
partly an imitation of the last, and partly a reaction against it.  The
impulse first given by Rossetti was communicated, through Morris and
Swinburne, to a group of younger poets whom Mr. Stedman distinguishes as
"Neo-Romanticists." [45]  The most noteworthy among these are probably
Arthur O'Shaughnessy,[46] John Payne,[47] and Théophile Marzials;[48]
though mention (want of space forbids more) should also be made of George
Augustus Simcox, whose "Poems and Romances" (1869) are in the
Pre-Raphaelite tradition.  The work of each of these has pronounced
individuality; yet, as a whole, it reminds one continually now of
Rossetti, now of Morris, and again of Swinburne; not infrequently, too,
of Keats or Leigh Hunt, but never of the older romanticism, never of
Scott nor even of Coleridge or Tennyson.  The reminder comes sometimes
through a turn of phrase or the trick of the verse; but more insistently
in the choice of subject and the entire attitude of the poet towards art
and life, an attitude that may be vaguely described as "aesthetic."  Even
more distinctly than in Swinburne, English romanticism in these latest
representatives is seen to be taking a French direction.  They show the
influence not only of Hugo and Gautier, but of those more recent schools
of "decadents" which exhibit French romanticism in its deliquescent
stage; writers like Theodore de Banville and Charles Baudelaire; books
like Aloysius Bertrand's "Gaspard de la Nuit."  Morbid states of passion,
the hectic bloom of fever, heady perfumes of the Orient and the tropics;
the bitter-sweet blossom of love; forced fruits of the hot-house (_serres
chaudes_); the iridescence of standing pools; the fungoidal growths of
decay; such are some of the hackneyed metaphors which render the
impression of this neo-romantic poetry.

Marzials was born at, Brussels, of French parents.  His "Gallery of
Pigeons" is inscribed to the modern Provençal poet Aubanel, and
introduced by a French sonnet.  O'Shaughnessy "was half a Frenchman in
his love for, and mastery of, the French language";[49] and on his
frequent visits to Paris, made close acquaintance with Victor Hugo and
the younger school of French poets.  O'Shaughnessy and Payne were
intimate friends, and dedicated their first books to each other.  In
1870-72 they were members of the literary circle that assembled at the
house of Ford Madox Brown, and there they met the Rossettis, Morris,
Swinburne, and William Bell Scott.  O'Shaughnessy emerges most distinctly
from the group by reason of his very original and exquisite lyrical
gift--a gift not fully recognised till Mr. Palgrave accorded him, in the
second series of his "Golden Treasury" (1897), a greater number of
selections than any Victorian poet but Tennyson: a larger space than he
gave either to Browning or Rossetti or Matthew Arnold.[50]  Comparatively
little of O'Shaughnessy's work belongs to the department of
mediaeval-romantic.  His "Lays of France," five in number, are founded
upon the _lais_ of Marie de France, the Norman poetess of the thirteenth
century whose little fable, "Du coq et du werpil," Chaucer expanded into
his "Nonne Prestes Tale."  O'Shaughnessy's versions are not so much
paraphrases as independent poems, following Marie's stories merely in

The verse is the eight-syllabled couplet with variations and alternate
riming, the style follows the graceful, fluent simplicity of the Old
French; and in its softly articulated, bright-coloured prolixity, the
narrative frequently suggests "The Earthly Paradise" or "The Story of
Rimini."  The most remarkable of these pieces is "Chaitivel," in which
the body of a bride is carried away by a dead lover, while another dead
lover comes back from his grave in Palestine and fights with the
bridegroom for possession of her soul.  The song which the lady sings to
the buried man is true to that strange mediaeval materialism, the
cleaving of "soul's love" to "body's love," the tenderness intense that
pierces the "wormy circumstance" of the tomb, and refuses to let the dead
be dead, which was noted in Keats' "Isabella":

  "Hath any loved you well, down there,
    Summer or winter through?
  Down there, have you found any fair
    Laid in the grave with you?
  Is death's long kiss a richer kiss
    Than mine was wont to be--
  Or have you gone to some far bliss
    And quite forgotten me?"

Of similar inspiration, but more pictorially and externally Gothic, are
such tales as "The Building of the Dream" and "Sir Floris" in Payne's
volume, "The Masque of Shadows."  The former of these, introduced by a
quotation from Jehan du Mestre, is the history of a certain squire of
Poitou, who devotes himself to necromancy and discovers a spell in an old
Greek manuscript, whereby, having shod his horse with gold and ridden
seven days into the west, he comes to the enchanted land of Dame Venus
and dwells with her a season.  But the bliss is insupportable by a
mortal, and he returns to his home and dies.  The poem has analogies with
"The Earthly Paradise" and the Tannhäuser legend.  The ancient city of
Poitou, where the action begins, is elaborately described, with its "lazy
grace of old romance";

    "Fair was the place and old
  Beyond the memory of man, with roofs
    Tall-peak'd and hung with woofs
  Of dainty stone-work, jewell'd with the grace
    Of casements, in the face
  Of the white gables inlaid, in all hues
    Of lovely reds and blues.
  At every corner of the winding ways
    A carven saint did gaze,
  With mild sweet eyes, upon the quiet town,
    From niche and shrine of brown;
  And many an angel, graven for a charm
    To save the folk from harm
  Of evil sprites, stood sentinel above
    High pinnacle and roof."

"Sir Floris" is an allegorical romaunt founded on a passage in "Le
Violier des Histoires Provenciaux."  The dedication, to the author of
"Lohengrin," praises Wolfram von Eschenbach, the poet of "Parzival," as
"the sweetest of all bards."  Sir Floris, obeying a voice heard in sleep,
followed a white dove to an enchanted garden, where he slew seven
monsters, symbolic of the seven deadly sins; from whose blood sprang up
the lily of chastity, the rose of love, the violet of humility, the
clematis of content, the marigold of largesse, the mystic marguerite, and
the holy vervain "that purgeth earth's desire."  Sir Galahad then carries
him in a magic boat to the Orient city of Sarras, where the Grail is
enshrined and guarded by a company of virgin knights, Percival,
Lohengrin, Titurel, and Bors.  Sir Floris sees the sacred chalice--a
single emerald--lays his nosegay upon the altar, witnesses the mystery of
the eucharist, and is kissed upon the mouth by Christ.  This poet is fond
of introducing old French words "to make his English sweet upon his
tongue"; _accueillade_, _valiantise_, _faineant_, _allegresse_,
_gentilesse_, _forte et dure_, and occasionally a phrase like _dieu vous
doint felicité_.  Payne's ballads are less characteristic.[51]  Perhaps
the most successful of them is "The Rime of Redemption"--in "The Masque
of Shadows" volume.  Sir Loibich's love has died in her sins, and he sits
by the fire in bitter repentance.  He hears the voice of her spirit
outside in the moonlight, and together they ride through the night on a
black steed, first to Fairyland, then to Purgatory, and then to the gate
of Heaven.  Each of these in turn is offered him, but he rejects them

  "With thee in hell, I choose to dwell"--

and thereby works her redemption.  The wild night ride has an obvious
resemblance to "Lenore":

  "The wind screams past; they ride so fast,
    Like troops of souls in pain
  The snowdrifts spin, but none may win
    To rest upon the twain."

Very different from these, and indeed with no pretensions to the formal
peculiarities of popular minstrelsy, is O'Shaughnessy's weird ballad
"Bisclaveret," [52] suggested by the superstition concerning were-wolves:

  "The splendid fearful herds that stray
            By midnight"--
    "The multitudinous campaign
    Of hosts not yet made fast in Hell."

_Bisclaveret_ is the Breton word for _loup garou_; and the poem is headed
with a caption to this effect from the "Lais" of Marie.  The wild,
mystical beauty of which the Celtic imagination holds the secret is
visible in this lyrist; but it would perhaps be going too far to
attribute his interest in the work of Marie de France to a native
sympathy with the song spirit of that other great branch of the Celtic
race, the ancient Cymry.

Payne's volume of sonnets, "Intaglios" (a title perhaps prompted by the
chiselled workmanship of Gautier's "Emaux et Camées") bears the clearest
marks of Rossetti's influence--or of the influence of Dante through
Rossetti.  The inscription poem is to Dante, and the series named
"Madonna dei Sogni" is particularly full of the imagery and sentiment of
the "Purgatorio" and the "Vita Nuova."  Several of the sonnets in the
collection are written for pictures, like Rossetti's.  Two are on
Spenserian subjects, "Belphoebe" and "The Garden of Adonis", and one,
"Bride-Night" is suggested by Wagner's "Tristram und Isolde."  Payne's
work as a translator is of importance, and includes versions of the
"Decameron," "The Thousand and One Nights," and the poems of François
Villon, all made for the Villon Society.

Jewels and flowers are set thickly enough in the pages of all this
school; but it is in Théophile Marzials' singular, yet very attractive,
verses that the luxurious colour in which romance delights, and the
decorative features of Pre-Raphaelite art run into the most _bizarre_
excesses.  He wantons in dainty affectations of speech and eccentricities
of phantasy.  Here we find again the orchard closes, the pleached
pleasances, and all those queer picture paradises, peopled with tall
lilied maidens, angels with peacock wings and thin gold hoops above their
heads, and court minstrels thrumming lutes, rebecks, and mandolins--

  "I dreamed I was a virginal--
  The gilt one of Saint Cecily's."

The book abounds in nocturnes, arabesques, masquerades, bagatelles,
rococo pastorals.  The lady in "The Gallery of Pigeons" sits at her
broidery frame and works tapestries for her walls.  At night she sleeps
in the northern tower where

  "Above all tracery, carven flower,
  And grim gurgoil is her bower-window";

and higher up a griffin clings against a cornice,

  "And gnashes and grins in the green moonlight,"

and higher still, the banderolle flutters

  "At the top of the thinnest pinnacle peak."

In a Pre-Raphaelite heaven the maidens sit in the blessed mother's
chamber and spin garments for the souls in Limbo, or press sweet wine for
the sacrament, or illuminate missals with quaint phantasies.  Mr. Stedman
quotes a few lines which he says have the air of parody:

  "They chase them each, below, above,--
  Half madden'd by their minstrelsy,--
    Thro' garths of crimson gladioles;
  And, shimmering soft like damoisels,
  The angels swarm in glimmering shoals,
    And pin them to their aureoles,
  And mimick back their ritournels."

This reads, indeed, hardly less like a travesty than the well-known
verses in _Punch_:

  "Glad lady mine, that glitterest
    In shimmer of summer athwart the lawn;
  Canst tell me whether is bitterest,
    The glamour of eve, or the glimmer of dawn?"

This stained-glass imagery was so easy to copy that, before long, citoles
and damoisels and aureoles and garths and glamours and all the rest of
the picturesque furniture grew to be a burden.  The artistic movement had
invaded dress and upholstery, and Pre-Raphaelitism tapered down into
aestheticism, domestic art, and the wearing of sunflowers.  Du Maurier
became its satirist; Bunthorn and Postlethwaite presented it to the
philistine understanding in a grotesque mixture of caricature and

THE REACTION.--Literary epochs overlap at the edges, and contrasting
literary modes coexist.  There was some romantic poetry written in Pope's
time; and in the very heat and fury of romantic predominance, Landor kept
a cool chamber apart, where incense was burned to the ancient gods.[53]
But it is the master current which gives tinge and direction to lesser
confluents; and romanticism may be said to have had everything its own
way down to the middle of the century.  Then reaction set in and the
stream of romantic tendency ceased to spread itself over the whole
literary territory, but flowed on in the narrower and deeper channels of
Pre-Raphaelitism and its allied movements.  This reaction expressed
itself in different ways, of which it will be sufficient here to mention
three: realistic fiction, classical criticism, and the Queen Anne revival.

The leading literary form of the past fifty years has been the novel of
real life.  The failure of "Les Burgraves" in 1843 not more surely
signalised the end of French romanticism, than the appearance of "Vanity
Fair" in 1848 announced that in England, too, the reign of romance was
over.  Classicism had given way before romanticism, and now romanticism
in turn was yielding to realism.  Realism sets itself against that desire
of escape from actual conditions into an ideal world, which is a note of
the romantic spirit in general; and consequently it refuses to find the
past any more interesting than the present, and has no use for the Middle
Ages.  The temperature, too, had cooled; not quite down to the Augustan
grade, yet to a point considerably below the fever heat registered by the
emotional thermometer of the late Georgian era.  Byron's contemporaries
were shocked by his wickedness and dazzled by his genius.  They
remonstrated admiringly with him; young ladies wept over his poetry and
prayed for the poet's conversion.  But young university men of
Thackeray's time discovered that Byron was a _poseur_; Thackeray himself
describes him as "a big, sulky dandy."  "The Sorrows of Werther," which
made people cry in the eighteenth century, made Thackeray laugh; and he
summed it up in a doggerel ballad:

  "Charlotte was a married woman
    And a moral man was Werther,
  And for nothing in creation
    Would do anything to hurt her."

     *     *     *     *     *

  "Charlotte, having seen his body
    Borne before her on a shutter,
  Like a well-conducted woman,
    Went on cutting bread and butter."

Mr. Howells in Venice sneers at Byron's theatrical habit of riding
horseback on the Lido in "conspicuous solitude," as recorded in "Julian
and Maddalo."  He notices the local traditions about Byron--a window from
which one of his mistresses was said to have thrown herself into the
canal, etc.--and confesses that these matters interest him very little.

As to the Walter Scott kind of romance, we know what Mr. Howells thinks
of it; and have read "Rebecca and Rowena," Thackeray's travesty of
"Ivanhoe."  Thackeray took no print from the romantic generation; he
passed it over, and went back to Addison, Fielding, Goldsmith, Swift.
His masters were the English humourists of the eighteenth century.  He
planned a literary history of that century, a design which was carried
out on other lines by his son-in-law, Leslie Stephen.  If he wrote
historical novels, their period was that of the Georges, and not of
Richard the Lion Heart.  It will not do, of course, to lay too much
stress on Thackeray, whose profession was satire and whose temper purely
anti-romantic.  But if we turn to the leaders of the modern schools of
fiction, we shall find that some of them, like George Eliot and Anthony
Trollope, are even more closely realistic than Thackeray--who, says Mr.
Howells, is a caricaturist, not a true realist--and of others such as
Dickens and Meredith, we shall find that, in whatever way they deviate
from realism as strictly understood, it is not in the direction of

In Matthew Arnold's critical essays we meet with a restatement of
classical principles and an application of them to the literature of the
last generation.  There was something premature, he thinks, about the
burst of creative activity in the first quarter of the nineteenth
century.  Byron was empty of matter, Shelley incoherent, Wordsworth
wanting in completeness and variety.  He finds much to commend in the
influence of a literary tribunal like the French Academy, which embodies
that ideal of authority so dear to the classical heart.  Such an
institution acts as a salutary check on the lawlessness, eccentricity,
self-will, and fantasticality which are the besetting intellectual sins
of Englishmen.  It sets the standard and gives the law.  "Work done after
men have reached this platform is _classical_; and that is the only work
which, in the long run, can stand."  For want of some such organ of
educated opinion, to take care of the qualities of order, balance,
measure, propriety, correctness, English men of genius like Ruskin and
Carlyle, in their national impatience of prescription and routine, run on
into all manner of violence, freak, and extravagance.

Again, in the preface of the 1853 edition of his poems, Arnold asserts
the superiority of the Greek theory of poetry to the modern.  "They
regarded the whole; we regard the parts.  With them the action
predominated over the expression of it; with us the expression
predominates over the action. . . .  We have poems which seem to exist
merely for the sake of single lines and passages; not for the sake of
producing any total impression."

"Faust" itself, judged as a whole, is defective.  Failing a sure guide,
in the confusion of the present times, the wisest course for the young
writer is to fix his attention upon the best models.  But Shakspere is
not so safe a model as the ancients.  He has not their purity of method,
and his gift of expression sometimes leads him astray.  "Mr. Hallam, than
whom it is impossible to find a saner and more judicious critic, has had
the courage (for at the present day it needs courage) to remark, how
extremely and faultily difficult Shakspere's language often is."  Half a
century earlier it would have needed courage to question Hallam's remark;
but the citation shows how thoroughly Coleridge and Hazlitt and Lamb had
shifted the centre of orthodoxy in matters of Shaksperian criticism.
_Now_ the presumption was against any one who ventured a doubt of
Shakspere's impeccability.  The romantic victory was complete.  "But, I
say," pursues the essayist, "that in the sincere endeavour to learn and
practise . . . what is sound and true in poetical art, I seemed to myself
to find the only sure guidance, the only solid footing, among the
ancients."  All this has a familiar look to one at all read in
eighteenth-century criticism; but in 1853 it sounds very much like heresy.

As an instance of the inferiority of romantic to classical method in
narrative poetry, Arnold refers to Keats' "Isabella." [54]  "This one
short poem contains, perhaps, a greater number of happy single
expressions which one could quote than all the extant tragedies of
Sophocles.  But the action, the story?  The action in itself is an
excellent one; but so feebly is it conceived by the poet, so loosely
constructed, that the effect produced by it, in and for itself, is
absolutely null.  Let the reader, after he has finished the poem of
Keats, turn to the same story in the 'Decameron'; he will then feel how
pregnant and interesting the same action has become in the hands of a
great artist who, above all things, delineates his object; who
subordinates expression to that which it is designed to express."

A sentence or two from Arnold's essay on Heinrich Heine, and we may leave
this part of our subject.  "Mr. Carlyle attaches, it seems to me, far too
much importance to the romantic school of Germany--Tieck, Novalis, Jean
Paul Richter. . . .  The mystic and romantic school of Germany lost
itself in the Middle Ages, was overpowered by their influence, came to
ruin by its vain dreams of renewing them.  Heine, with a far profounder
sense of the mystic and romantic charm of the Middle Age than Görres, or
Brentano, or Arnim; Heine, the chief romantic poet of Germany, is yet
also much more than a romantic poet; he is a great modern poet, he is not
conquered by the Middle Age, he has a talisman by which he can feel,
along with but above the power of the fascinating Middle Age itself, the
power of modern ideas."

And, finally, the oscillation of the pendulum has brought us back again
for a moment to the age of gayety, and to that very Queen Anne spirit
against which the serious and sentimental Thomson began the revolt.
There is not only at present a renewed appreciation of what was admirable
in the verse of Pope and the prose of Swift, but we discover a quaint
attractiveness in the artificiality of Augustan manners, dress, and
speech.  Lace and brocade, powder and patch, Dutch gardens, Reynolds'
portraits, Watteau fans, Dresden china, the sedan chair, the spinet, the
hoop-skirt, the _talon rouge_--all these have receded so far into the
perspective as to acquire picturesqueness.  To Scott's generation they
seemed eminently modern and prosaic, while buff jerkins and coats of mail
were poetically remote.  But so the whirligig of time brings in its
revenges, and the old-fashioned, as distinguished from the antique,
begins to have a romanticness of its own.  It is now some quarter century
since people took to building Queen Anne cottages, and gentlemen at
costume parties to treading minuets in small clothes and perukes, with
ladies in high-cushioned hair and farthingales.  Girl babies in large
numbers were baptised Dorothy and Belinda.  Book illustrators like Kate
Greenaway, Edwin Abbey, and Hugh Thomson carried the mode into art.  The
date of the Queen Anne revival in literature and the beginnings of the
_bric-à-brac_ school of verse are marked with sufficient precision by the
publication of Austin Dobson's "Vignettes in Rhyme" (1873), "Proverbs in
Porcelain" (1877), and the other delightful volumes of the same kind that
have followed.  Mr. Dobson has also published, in prose, lives of Steele,
Fielding, Hogarth, and Goldsmith; "Eighteenth-Century Vignettes," and the
like.  But his particular ancestor among the Queen Anne wits was Matthew
Prior, of whose metrical tales, epigrams, and _vers de société_ he has
made a little book of selections, and whose gallantry, lightness, and
tone of persiflage, just dashed with sentiment, he has reproduced with
admirable spirit in his own original work.

It was upon the question of Pope that romantics and classics first joined
issue in the time of Warton, and that the critical battle was fought in
the time of Bowles and Byron; the question of his real place in
literature, and of his title to the name of poet.  Mr. Dobson has a word
to say for Pope, and with this our enquiries may fittingly end:

  "Suppose you say your Worst of POPE, declare
  His Jewels Paste, his Nature a Parterre,
  His Art but Artifice--I ask once more
  Where have you seen such artifice before?
  Where have you seen a Parterre better grac'd,
  Or gems that glitter like his Gems of Paste?
  Where can you show, among your Names of Note,
  So much to copy and so much to quote?
  And where, in Fine, in all our English Verse,
  A Style more trenchant and a Sense more terse?"

  "So I, that love the old Augustan Days
  Of formal courtesies and formal Phrase;
  That like along the finish'd Line to feel
  The Ruffle's Flutter and the Flash of Steel;
  That like my Couplet as Compact as Clear;
  That like my Satire sparkling tho' severe,
  Unmix'd with Bathos and unmarr'd by trope,
  I fling my Cap for Polish--and for POPE!" [55]

But ground once gained in a literary movement is never wholly lost; and a
reversion to an earlier type is never complete.  The classicism of
Matthew Arnold is not at all the classicism of the eighteenth century;
Thackeray's realism is not the realism of Fielding.  It is what it is,
partly just because Walter Scott had written his Waverley Novels in the
mean while.  Apart from the works for which it is directly responsible,
the romantic movement had enriched the blood of the literature, and its
results are seen even in writings hostile to the romantic principles.  As
to the absolute value of the great romantic output of the nineteenth
century, it may be at once acknowledged that, as "human documents," books
which reflect contemporary life have a superior importance to the
creations of the modern imagination, playing freely over times and places
distant, and attractive through their distance; over ancient Greece or
the Orient or the Middle Age.  But that a very beautiful and quite
legitimate product of literary art may spring from this contact of the
present with the past, it is hoped that our history may have shown.

[1] See vol. i., pp. 31-32.

[2] "Apologia pro Vita Sua," p. 139.

[3] "It would require the . . . magic pen of Sir Walter to catalogue and
to picture . . . that most miserable procession" ("Callista: a Sketch of
the Third Century," 1855; chapter, "Christianos ad Leones").  It is
curious to compare this tale of the early martyrs, Newman's solitary
essay in historical romance, with "Hypatia."  It has the intellectual
refinement of everything that came from its author's pen; and it has
strong passages like the one describing the invasion of the locusts.
But, upon the whole, Newman was as inferior to Kingsley as a novelist as
he was superior to him in the dialectics of controversy.

[4] See the entire section "Selections from Newman," by Lewis G. Gates,
New York, 1895.  Introduction, pp. xlvi-lix.

[5] "Essays Critical and Historical" (1846).

[6] "Reminiscences," Thomas Mozley, Boston, 1882.

[7] "Life and Letters of Dean Church," London, 1894.

[8] "Recollections of Aubrey de Vere," London, 1897.

[9] "Idea of a University" (1853).  See also in "Parochial and Plain
Sermons" the discourse on "The Danger of Accomplishments," and that on
"The Gospel Palaces."  In the latter he writes, speaking of the
cathedrals: "Unhappy they who, while they have eyes to admire, admire
them only for their beauty's sake; . . . who regard them as works of art,
not fruits of grace."

[10] Cardinal Wiseman had a decided preference for Renaissance over
Gothic, and the churches built under his authority were mostly in Italian

[11] "William George Ward and the Oxford Movement," London, 1889, pp.

[12] "Recollections," p. 309.

[13] Frederick William Faber, one of the Oxford men who went over with
Newman in 1845, and became Superior of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri,
was a religious poet of some distinction.  A collection of his hymns was
published in 1862.

[14] "Ritterzeit und Ritterwesen."

[15] See vol. i., pp. 221-26.

[16] Vol. i., p. 44 (ed. 1846).

[17] _Ibid._, pp. 315-16.

[18] _Ibid._, p. 350.

[19] See vol. i., chap. vii., "The Gothic Revival."

[20] A view of Fonthill Abbey, as it appeared in 1822, is given in
Fergusson's "History of Modern Architecture," vol. ii., p. 98 (third ed.).

[21] For Scott's influence on Gothic see Eastlake's "Gothic Revival," pp.
112-16.  A typical instance of this castellated style in America was the
old New York University in Washington Square, built in the thirties.
This is the "Chrysalis College" which Theodore Winthrop ridicules in
"Cecil Dreeme" for its "mock-Gothic" pepper-box turrets, and "deciduous
plaster."  Fan traceries in plaster and window traceries in cast iron
were abominations of this period.

[22] _Vide supra_, p. 153.

[23] "A blast from the icy jaws of Reason, the wolf Fenris of the
Teutonic mind, swept one and all into the Limbo of oblivion--that sole
ante-chamber spared by Protestantism in spoiling Purgatory.  Perhaps this
was necessary and inevitable.  If we would repair the column, we must cut
away the ivy that clings around the shaft, the flowers and brushwood that
conceal the base; but it does not follow that, when the repairs are
completed, we should isolate it in a desert,--that the flowers and
brushwood should not be allowed to grow up and caress it as before" (vol.
ii., p. 380, second ed.).

[24] Vol. ii., p. 364, _note_; and _vide supra_, p. 152.

[25] _Ibid._, p. 289.

[26] _Vide supra_, p. 34.

[27] _Ibid._, p. 286, _note_.

[28] "Stones of Venice," vol. ii., p. 295 (American ed. 1860).

[29] _Ibid._, vol. iii., p. 213.

[30] _Ibid._, vol. ii., pp. 109-14.

[31] See the final instalment of "Praeterita" for an extended eulogy of
Scott's verse and prose.

[32] "I know what white, what purple fritillaries
    The grassy harvest of the river-fields
    Above by Ensham, down by Sandford, yields."
                 --Matthew Arnold, "Thyrsis."

[33] "Stones of Venice," vol. iii., p. 211.

[34] _Ibid._, vol. ii., p. 4.

[35] _Vide supra_, p. 35.

[36] "I reckon him the remarkablest Pontiff that has darkened God's
daylight. . . .  Here is a Supreme Priest who believes God to be--what,
in the name of God, _does_ he believe God to be?--and discerns that all
worship of God is a scenic phantasmagory of wax-candles, organ-blasts,
Gregorian chants, mass-brayings, purple monsignori, etc." ("Past and
Present," Book iii., chap. i.).

[37] Ibid., Book iv., chap. i.

[38] With Morris, too, when an Oxford undergraduate, "Carlyle's 'Past and
Present,'" says his biographer, "stood alongside of 'Modern Painters' as
inspired and absolute truth."

[39] For a systematic exposition of Ruskin's social and political
philosophy, the reader should consult "John Ruskin, Social Reformer," by
J. A. Hobson, London, 1898.

[40] _Vide supra_, pp. 279, 280.

[41] For a number of years, beginning with 1854, Ruskin taught drawing
classes in Maurice's Working Man's College.

[42] See "Characteristics" and "Signs of the Times."

[43] _Vide supra_, p. 321.

[44] Vol. ii., chap. vi., section xv., xvi.  Morris reprinted the whole
chapter on the Kelmscott Press.

[45] "Victorian Poets," chap. vii., section vi.

[46] "An Epic of Women" (1870); "Lays of France" (1872); "Music and
Moonlight" (1874); "Songs of a Worker" (1881).

[47] "A Masque of Shadows" (1870): "Intaglios" (1871); "Songs of Life and
Death" (1872); "Lautrec" (1878); "New Poems" (1880).

[48] "A Gallery of Pigeons" (1873).

[49] "Arthur O'Shaughnessy."  By Louise Chandler-Moulton, Cambridge and
Chicago, 1894.

[50] Swinburne, as a living author, is not represented in the "Treasury."
O'Shaughnessy's metrical originality is undoubted.  But one of his finest
lyrics, "The Fountain of Tears," has an echo of Baudelaire's American
master, Edgar Poe, as well as of Swinburne;

    "Very peaceful the place is, and solely
      For piteous lamenting and sighing,
      And those who come living or dying
    Alike from their hopes and their fears:
      Full of cypress-like shadows the place is,
      And statues that cover their faces;
    But out of the gloom springs the holy
    And beautiful Fountain of Tears."

[51] See especially "Sir Erwin's Questing," "The Ballad of May Margaret,"
"The Westward Sailing," and "The Ballad of the King's Daughter" in "Songs
of Life and Death."

[52] In "An Epic of Women."

[53] "From time to time bright spirits, intolerant of the traditional,
try to alter the bournes of time and space in these respects, and to make
out that the classical, whatever the failings on its part, was always in
its heart rather Romantic, and that the Romantic has always, at its best,
been just a little classical. . . .  But such observations are only of
use as guards against a too wooden and matter-of-fact classification; the
great general differences of the periods remain, and can never be removed
in imagination without loss and confusion" ("A Short History of English
Literature," Saintsbury, p. 724).

[54] _Vide supra_, pp. 123-25.

[55] "A Dialogue to the Memory of Mr. Alexander Pope."



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  Rossetti, D. G.  Family Letters, with Memoir by W. M. Rossetti.
    Boston, 1895.
  Rossetti, Maria F.  "A Shadow of Dante."  Boston, 1872.
  Rossetti, W. M.  "Dante Gabriel Rossetti as Designer and
    Writer."  London, 1889.
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    1892-93.  25 vols.
  Scott, W. B.  "Autobiographical Notes."  New York, 1892.  2 vols.
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    Boston, 1892.  4 vols.
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    Westminster, 1898.
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    1849.  3 vols.
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  Yonge, Charlotte M.  "The Heir of Redcliffe."  New York, 1871.
    2 vols.


  Abbot, The, 42
  Aben-Humeya, 246
  Addison, Jos., 95
  Adonais, 120
  Age of Wordsworth, The, 12, 24, 34, 87, 88
  Ahnung und Gegenwart, 147
  Alhambra, The, 239
  Allemagne, L', 139, 141-45, 192, 208
  Allingham, Wm., 258, 300, 304, 324
  Alonzo the Brave, 77, 83
  Alton Locke, 383
  Amadis of Gaul, 236, 241
  Amber Witch, The, 42, 280
  Ancient Mariner, The, 48, 49, 54, 74-80
  Ancient Poetry and Romance of Spain, 248
  Ancient Spanish Ballads, 239, 247-49
  Anima Poetae, 78
  Annales Romantiques, 201
  Anthony, 198
  Antiquary, The, 31, 33, 178
  Appreciations, 42
  Ariosto, Lodovico, 91, 104, 107, 109, 122
  Arme Heinrich, Der, 297
  Arnim, Achim von, 134, 138, 155, 167, 192, 400
  Arnold, Matthew, 255, 256, 263, 274-76, 278, 280,
      356, 378, 398-400, 402
  Arthur's Tomb, 305
  Aslauga's Knight, 168
  Aspects of Poetry, 18
  At Eleusis, 342
  Athenaeum, The, 134
  Aucassin et Nicolete, 330
  Aue, Hartmann von, 297
  Aulnoy, Comtesse d', 194
  Austin, Sarah, 162, 170
  Ave atque Vale, 349

  Bagehot, Walter, 39
  Balin and Balan, 347, 348
  Ballad of a Nun, 263, 264
  Ballad of Dead Ladies, 298
  Ballad of Judas Iscariot, 263
  Ballade à la Lune, 189
  Ballads and Sonnets (Rossetti), 310
  Ballads of Irish Chivalry, 260
  Balzac, Honoré de, 42
  Bande Noire, La, 216
  Banshee and Other Poems, The, 261
  Banville, Théodore F. de, 388
  Barante, P. A. P. B., 226
  Bards of the Gael and the Gall, 260
  Basso, Andrea de, 110
  Baudelaire, Chas., 388, 389
  Bax, E. B., 386
  Beata Beatrix, 291, 303, 310
  Beckford, Wm., 367
  Belle Dame sans Merci, La, 86, 118, 119, 127, 262, 279, 303, 307
  Berlioz, Hector, l80, 181
  Bertrand, A., 175, 388
  Beyle, Henri.  See Stendhal.
  Biographia Literaria, 48, 55, 63, 88, 89
  Bisclaveret, 393
  Blackmore, Sir Richard, 269, 270
  Blake, Wm., 99
  Blessed Damozel, The, 285, 301, 308, 311, 343
  Blue Closet, The, 305
  Blüthenstaub, 167
  Boccaccio, Giovanni, 92, 123, 124
  Bowles, W. L., 55-73
  Bowring, Sir Jno., 248
  Boyd, Henry, 96, 97
  Boyesen, H. H., 139, 159, 160, 165
  Brandl, Alois, 50-55, 75, 77, 82, 86
  Brentano, Clemens, 134, 138, 141, 147, 153, 155, 167, 192,
      247, 400
  Bridal of Triermain, The, 6, 13, 14
  Bride's Prelude, The, 300, 311
  Broad Stone of Honour, The, 363-66
  Brooke, Stopford A., 261
  Brown, F. M., 389
  Brownie of Bodsbeck, The, 253
  Browning, Elizabeth B., 277, 278
  Browning, Robert, 190, 221, 276, 277
  Buchanan, Robert, 263
  Building of the Dream, The, 390, 391
  Bürger, G. A., 83, 133, 144, 159, 192, 297
  Burgraves, Les, 226, 299, 396
  Burke, Edmund, 145
  Burne-Jones, Edward, 285, 304, 305, 309, 318-20, 322, 324, 340
  Byron, Geo. Gordon, Lord, 8, 9, 26, 53, 60, 65-73, 81, 84,
      99-101, 106, 116-18, 171, 192, 195, 196, 203, 232-34, 246,
      333, 396-98

  Caine, T.  Hall, 279, 296, 301, 302, 308
  Calderon de la Barca, Pedro, 156, 192, 234, 247
  Calidore, 129
  Callista, 355, 357
  Calverley, C. S., 249
  Campbell, Thomas, 64-67, 71, 72
  Cancionero, The, 246
  Carlyle, Thos., 15, 35, 39, 92, 103, 110, 137, 149, 151, 160,
      162, 164, 168, 171, 335, 381, 382, 384, 398, 400
  Cary, Henry F., 97-99, 102
  Castle by the Sea, The 170
  Castle of Otranto, The, 4, 10
  Cecil Dreeme, 367
  Chaitivel, 390
  Chartier, Alain, 118
  Chasse du Burgrave, La, 189, 277
  Chateaubriand, F. A. de, 90, 176, 191, 202-08, 225, 246, 363
  Chatterton, Thos., 52, 54, 86, 119, 191, 300
  Chaucer, Geoffrey, 93, 315-17, 328, 329
  Cheap Clothes and Nasty, 383
  Chevaliers de la Table Ronde, Les, 225
  Childe Harold, 70, 73, 91, 99, 233
  Childe Roland, 276
  Christabel, 14, 27, 49, 53, 54, 75, 80-85, 126, 296
  Christian Year, The, 357, 361
  Christmas Carol, A, 343
  Chronicle of the Cid, 236
  Cinq Mars, 191
  Civil Wars of Granada, The, 247
  Cloister and the Hearth, The, 230, 231
  Coleridge, S. T., 9, 12-14, 27, 48-63, 74-89, 97-99, 119, 126,
      127, 136-38, 158, l59, 168, 291, 295-97, 314, 355
  Collins, J. Churton, 257, 260
  Collinson, Jas., 284, 292, 293
  Colvin, Sidney, 116, 127
  Conde Alarcos, 247
  Congal, 260
  Conquête d'Angleterre, La, 39, 226
  Conservateur Littéraire, Le, 201
  Conspiracy of Venice, The, 246
  Contes Bizarres, 167
  Contes Drolatiques, 42
  Contrasts, 368-71, 375
  Count Gismond, 276
  Courthope, W. J., 314
  Cowper, Wm., 57, 58, 68
  Croker, T. C., 253, 256, 258
  Cromwell, 90, 218, 221
  Cross, W. L., 1, 31, 38

  Dante, Alighieri, 40, 90-113, 122, 282, 290, 298-301, 310,
      311, 362, 393
  Dante and his Circle, 299, 303
  Dante at Verona, 310
  Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Sharp), 291, 292, 306
  Dante's Dream, 291
  Dark Ladie, The, 49, 86
  Dark Rosaleen, 259
  Dasent, Sir Geo., 334
  Davidson, Jno., 263, 264
  Day Dream, The, 265-67
  Death of Mlle. de Sombreuil, The, 216
  Decameron, The, 123, 124, 393, 400
  Defence of Guenevere, The, 275, 296, 309, 321, 324-28
  Defence of Poetry (Shelley), 101
  Deirdrè, 260
  Dejection: an Ode, 60, 86
  Delacroix, Eugène, 177, 178
  De Quincey, Thos., 38
  Development of the English Novel, The, 1, 31, 38
  Devéria, Eugène, 178, 195
  Dialogue to the Memory of Mr. Alexander Pope, 402
  Dies Irae, 5, 153
  Digby, Kenelm H., 319, 363-66, 379
  Discourse of the Three Unities, 133
  Divine Comedy, The, 92-99, 102, 103, 105, 109, 111, 282,
      290, 310, 362, 366
  Djinns, The, 189
  Dobell, Sydney, 262, 263
  Dobson, Austin, 401, 402
  Don Alvaro, 246
  Dondey, Théophile, 185, 190
  Don Quixote, 156, 241
  Dream of Gerontius, The, 362
  Dream of John Ball, The, 386
  Dryden, Jno., 117, 124, 125, 269
  Ducs de Bourgogne, Les, 226
  Dumas, Alexandre, 198, 209
  Dürer, Albrecht, 152, 153, 324, 373, 374

  Earthly Paradise, The, 237, 238, 315, 321, 328-32, 334,
      380, 390, 391
  Ecclesiologist, The, 375
  Edda, The, 334
  Eden Bower, 315
  Eichendorff, Joseph von, 146
  Eighteenth Century Vignettes, 401
  Elfinland Wud, 254, 255
  Elves, The, 163
  Emerson, R. W., 165, 166, 307
  Endymion, 121, 126, 128, 342
  English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, 26, 60, 63, 69, 70, 72
  English Contemporary Art, 293
  Enid, 270, 272
  Epic and Romance, 46, 47
  Epic of Women, An, 393
  Epipsychidion, 101, 310
  Erfindung des Rosenkranzes, Die, 153
  Erl King, The, 192
  Erskine, Wm., 6, 7, 13
  Espronceda, José de, 246
  Essay on Epic Poetry (Hayley), 95
  Essays and Studies (Swinburne), 349, 351
  Essays on German Literature (Boyesen), 139, 159, 160, 165
  Essays on the Picturesque (Price), 34
  Eve of St. Agnes, The, 85, 107, 120-22, 125-29, 307
  Eve of St. John, The, 13, 22, 23
  Eve of St. Mark, The, 130, 131

  Faber, F. W., 360, 362
  Faërie Queene, The, 120, 275
  Fairies, The, 258
  Fair Inez, 279
  Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland, 253, 256, 258
  Fairy Thorn, The, 258
  Familiar Studies of Men and Books, 32
  Fantasio, 226
  Faust, 178, 191, 192, 238
  Feast of the Poets, The, 108
  Ferguson, Sir Samuel, 258-60
  Fichte, J. G., 137
  Fin du Classicisme, La, 175
  Ford, R., 246, 248
  Forest Lovers, The, 230-32
  Fors Clavigera, 380, 383, 387
  Fountain of Tears, The, 389
  Fouqué, F. de la M., 36, 139, 140, 153, 162, 167-69, 324, 363, 373
  Fourteen Sonnets (Bowles), 55, 58-61
  Fragments from German Prose Writers, 162
  Frere, Jno. H., 248
  From Shakspere to Pope, 116

  Gallery of Pigeons, The, 388, 394, 395
  Gareth and Lynette, 274
  Gaspard de la Nuit, 388
  Gates, L. E., 129, 355, 356
  Gaule Poétique, La, 225
  Gautier, Théophile, 167, 176-81, 183-85, 187, 188, 191-93,
      195-98, 202, 219, 221-25, 349, 388, 393
  Gebir, 235, 237
  Génie du Christianisme, Le, 90, 176, 202, 203, 205-08, 363
  Gentle Armour, The, 109, 110
  Germ, The, 284
  German Novelists (Roscoe), 167
  German Poets and Poetry (Longfellow), 167
  German Romance (Carlyle), 162
  Gierusalemme Liberata, 91
  Girlhood of Mary Virgin, The, 287, 290, 291
  Glenfinlas, 13, 22
  Globe, Le, 201, 202
  Goblet, The, 164
  Goblin Market, The, 82
  Godiva, 265
  Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, 5, 92, 133, 178, 191, 192
  Golden Legend, The, 297
  Golden Treasury, The, 25, 389
  Golden Wings, 326-28
  Goldsmith, Oliver, 95
  Görres, Joseph, 138, 147, 152, 363, 400
  Gosse, Edmund, 116
  Götz von Berlichingen, 5, 133, 193
  Gries, J. D., 156, 247
  Grimm, Jakob and Wm., 154, 162, 247, 256
  Guest, Lady Charlotte, 270

  Hallam, Henry, 103, 399
  Han d'Islande, 196, 218
  Hardiknute, 3
  Harold the Dauntless, 29
  Hartleap Well, 19-21, 80
  Hauptmann, Gerhart, 245
  Hawker, R. S., 262, 263
  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 162-64
  Hayley, Wm., 95, 96
  Haystack in the Floods, The, 326
  Heart of Midlothian, The, 31, 33, 379
  Heine, Heinrich, 35-38, 139-41, 144, 146-49, 152, 154-59,
      l6l, 170, 400
  Heinrich von Ofterdingen, 164-66
  Heir of Redcliffe, The, 357
  Helvellyn, 15, l6
  Henri III., 209
  Heretic's Tragedy, The, 276
  Hereward the Wake, 281
  Herford, C. H., 12, 24, 34, 87, 88
  Hernani, 186, 188, 195-200
  Hero Worship, 103, 111, 335
  Herzensergiessungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders, 152, 153
  Hewlett, Maurice, 230-32
  Higginson, T. W., 163
  Histoire du Romantisme (Gautier), 176-81, 183-85, 187, 188,
      191-93, 195-98, 22l-25
  Histoire du Romantisme en France (Toreinx), 202
  History of France (Michelet), 226
  History of Literature (Schlegel), 157
  History of Spanish Literature, A (Kelly), 246, 247
  History of Spanish Literature, A (Ticknor), 242, 243, 248
  History of the Crusades, 226
  History of the Swiss Confederation, 153
  Hita, Perez de, 247
  Hogg, Jas., 250-55
  Holy Cross Day, 277
  Homme qui Rit, L', 219, 22l
  Hood, Thos., 278, 279
  House of Life, The, 307, 310
  House of the Wolfings, The, 232, 337-39, 387
  Howells, W. D., 397, 398
  Howitt, Chas. and Mary, 334
  Hughes, Arthur, 305-07
  Hughes, Thomas., 357, 383
  Hugo, François V., 222
  Hugo, Victor Marie, 90, 137, 173, 176, 178-82, 188, 189,
      194-96, 200, 214-21, 224, 226, 247, 277, 298, 299, 349,
      388, 389
  Hunt, Jas. Leigh, 49, 105-13, 118, 119, 121-23, 127, 388
  Hunt, Wm. H., 283, 284, 288-90, 292, 302, 306, 307
  Hurd, Richard, 364
  Hutton, R. H., 40
  Hylas, 331
  Hymns to the Night, 164
  Hypatia, 355
  Hyperion (Keats), 117, 122
  Hyperion (Longfellow), 172

  Idylls of the King, 268-75, 303, 347
  Illustrations of Tennyson, 257, 260
  Il Penseroso, 374
  Imitation of Spenser (Keats), 120
  Inferno, 96, 99, 103, 191
  Intaglios, 393
  Irving, Washington, 239
  Isabella, 123-25, 307, 390, 400
  Ivanhoe, 31, 36, 39, 40, 43, 379, 397
  Jameson, Anna, 374, 375
  Jeffrey, Francis, Lord, 37
  Jenny, 309
  John Inglesant, 357
  Journal des Débats, 201
  Journal of Speculative Philosophy, The, 166
  Journey into the Blue Distance, 162, 163
  Joyce, P. W., 260
  Joyce, R. D., 260

  Keats (Colvin), 116, 127
  Keats, Jno., 53, 54, 82, 85, 86, 107, 113-31, 172, 228, 262,
      264, 279, 287, 294, 299, 300, 306, 307, 314, 315, 342, 388,
      390, 400
  Kebie, Jno., 292, 357, 361
  Keith of Ravelston, 262, 263
  Kelly, J. F., 246, 247
  Ker, W. P., 46, 47
  Kilmeny, 252
  Kinder und Hausmärchen, 154, 162
  King Arthur's Tomb, 327
  Kinges Quair, The, 306, 312
  Kingsley, Chas., 279-81, 292, 355, 383, 384
  King's Tragedy, The, 306, 311-13
  Knaben Wunderhorn, Des, 155, 172
  Knight, Death, and the Devil, The, 152, 153, 324, 373
  Knight's Grave, The, 87
  Kronenwächter, Die, 167
  Kubia Khan, 87

  Lady of Shalott, The, 365, 271, 303, 304, 324
  Lady of the Lake, The, 19, 29, 251, 379
  Lament for the Decline of Chivalry, 279
  Lamia, 117, 129
  Landor, W. S., 16, 20, 27, 53, 54, 117, 235, 237, 395
  Lang, Andrew, 330
  Lara, 233
  Laus Veneris, 343, 349
  Lay of the Brown Rosary, The, 277, 278
  Lay of the Last Minstrel, The, 3, 5, 11, 25-28, 40, 53, 85, 252
  Lays of Ancient Rome, 249
  Lays of France, 389, 390
  Lays of the Western Gael, 260
  Leading Cases done into Equity, 249
  Legends of the Cid, 246
  Lenore, 83, 133, 144, 192, 297, 392
  Leper, The, 349
  Lesser, Creuzé de, 225
  Letters on Chivalry and Romance, 364
  Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 41
  Lettres de Dupuis et Cotonet, 226
  Lewis, M. G., 77, 83, 238, 239
  Liberal Movement in English Literature, The, 314
  Life and Death of Jason, The, 315, 321, 328-33
  Life and Letters of Dean Church, The, 358
  Life of William Morris, The (Mackail), 315, 320, 331, 333, 382
  Light of the World, The, 288-90
  Lindsay, A. W. C., 372-74
  Lines on a Bust of Dante, 105
  Literary Reminiscences (De Quincey), 38
  Literature and Romance of Northern Europe, 334
  Literature of Europe, The (Hallam), 103
  Lockhart, J. G., 5, 7, 9, 11, 22, 23, 239, 247, 248
  Locrine, 346
  Longfellow, H. W., 105, 109, 164, 167, 170, 172, 239, 297
  Lord of the Isles, The, 29, 85
  Lorenzaccio, 226
  Lorenzo and Isabella, 287, 291
  Loss and Gain, 357, 359
  Love, 86, 127
  Love is Enough, 332, 333
  Lovers of Gudrun, The, 330, 334-36
  Lowell, J. R., 70, 82, 93, 116, 131, 165, 203, 260
  Lucinde, 157
  Luck of Edenhall, The, 170
  Lürlei, Die, 141
  Lyra Innocentium, 357
  Lyrical Ballads, 18, 48, 74

  Mabinogion, The, 270, 332
  Macaulay, T. B., 103, 249
  Mackail, W. J., 315, 320, 331, 333, 382
  McLaughlin, E. T., 43
  Madoc, 237
  Mador of the Moor, 251
  Maeterlinck, Maurice, 326
  Maidens of Verdun, The, 216
  Maids of Elfin-Mere, The, 258, 304, 324
  Maigron, L., 33, 34, 44-46
  Mallet, P. H., 107, 229
  Malory, Sir Thos., 270, 272, 303, 347, 348
  Manfred, 234
  Mangan, J. C., 259, 260
  Manzoni, Alessandro, 133
  Märchen (Tieck), 162
  Marie de France, 390, 393
  Marienlieder, 148
  Marino Faliero, 234
  Marion Delorme, 200
  Marmion, 6, 15, 23, 29, 40, 90, 379
  Martyrs, Les, 225
  Marzials, Théophile, 285, 387, 388, 394, 395
  Masque of Queen Bersabe, The, 277, 344
  Masque of Shadows, The, 390, 392
  Meinhold, J. W., 42, 280
  Mérimée, Prosper, 30, 33
  Michaud, J. F., 226
  Michelet, Jules, 226
  Middle Ages, The (Hallam), 103
  Millais, J. E., 283-85, 287, 288, 290, 291, 307
  Milton, Jno., 93, 103, 269, 374
  Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern (Motherwell), 253
  Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 21, 22, 24, 26, 243, 250, 251
  Modern Painters, 6, 10, 284, 292, 294
  Mores Catholici, 319, 366
  Morgante Maggiore, 234
  Morris, Wm., 29, 232, 237, 275, 285, 296, 304-06, 309,
      314-40, 345, 350, 380, 382, 384-89
  Morte Darthur (Malory), 106, 270, 273, 303, 304, 324, 347, 364
  Morte d'Arthur (Tennyson), 271, 272
  Motherwell, Wm., 250, 253-55
  Mozley, T., 358
  Müller, Johannes, 153
  Munera Pulveris, 380
  Muse Française, La, 201
  Music Master, The, 258, 300
  Musset, Alfred de, 180, 189, 198, 226, 247
  Myller, H., 154
  Mysteries of Udolpho, 83

  Nanteuil, Célestin, 178, 223-25
  Nature of Gothic, The, 321, 375, 385, 386
  Nerval, Gérard de, 190-92, 196, 197, 225, 349
  New Essays toward a Critical Method, 122
  Newman, J. H., 292, 319, 354-62, 366, 381
  News from Nowhere, 317, 319, 382, 386
  Nibelungenlied, The, 154, 155, 297
  Nodier, Chas., 194
  Northern Antiquities, 107, 229
  Northern Mythology.  334
  Notre Dame de Paris, 178, 179, 221, 224
  Novalis, 134, 137, 148, 152, 164-67, 172, 302, 400

  Ode to a Dead Body, 110
  Ode to a Grecian Urn, 117
  Ode to the West Wind, 102
  Odes et Ballades (Hugo), 176, 180, 189, 217
  Odes et Poésies Diverses (Hugo), 214
  Odyssey, The, 331
  Ogier the Dane, 330, 332
  Old Celtic Romances, 260
  Old Masters at Florence, 316
  Old Mortality, 31, 33, 253, 379
  Old Woman of Berkeley, The, 238, 239
  Oliphant, F., 353
  On First Looking into Chapman's Homer, 117, 122
  Oriana, 265, 313, 324
  Orientales, Les, 189
  Orlando Furioso, 90, 91, 109
  O'Shaughnessy, Arthur, 387-90, 393
  Ossian, 208, 261

  Palgrave, F. T., 25, 389
  Palmerin of England, 236, 241
  Paradise, 311
  Parochial and Plain Sermons, 360
  Parsons, T. W., 105
  Partenopex of Blois, 90
  Past and Present, 381, 382
  Pater, Walter, 42, 79
  Payne, Jno., 387-93
  Perrault, Chas., 194, 265, 349
  Percy, Thos., 3, 54, 57, 74, 159, 238, 295
  Petrarca, Francesco, 92
  Phantasus, 160
  Pillar of the Cloud, The, 362
  Poe, Edgar A., 162, 163, 300, 301, 389
  Poems and Ballads (Swinburne), 296, 339, 343, 345, 349, 350
  Poems and Romances (Simcox), 388
  Poems by the Way, 386
  Poets and Poetry of Munster, 259
  Politics for the People, 383
  Pollock, Sir Frederick, 249
  Pope, Alexander, 52-54, 56, 63-73, 115-17, 402
  Portrait, The, 311
  Praeterita, 372, 378
  Preface to Cromwell, 182, 188, 218-20
  Pre-Raphaelitism (Ruskin), 293
  Price, Sir Uvedale, 34, 374
  Primer of French Literature, A, 183, 184
  Prince Arthur (Blackmore), 270
  Prince des Sots, Le, 225
  Princess, The, 267, 268
  Prior, Matthew, 401
  Prophecy of Dante, The, 100, 101
  Proverbs in Porcelain, 401
  Psyche, 121
  Pugin, A. C., 368
  Pugin, A. W. N., 360, 361, 368-72, 375, 379
  Pugin, E. W.,  368
  Purgatorio, 362

  Queen Gwynnevar's Round, 262
  Queenhoo Hall, 8, 20, 32
  Queen Mab, 235
  Queen's Wake, The, 252, 253
  Quentin Durward, 31, 36
  Quest of the Sancgreall, The (Westwood), 276
  Quest of the Sangreal, The (Hawker), 262
  Quiberon, 216

  Racine et Shakspere, 38, 186, 208, 211, 213
  Radcliffe, Anne, 41, 42, 82, 193
  Rapunzel, 309, 326, 327
  Raven, The, 301
  Reade, Chas., 230
  Rebecca and Rowena, 397
  Récits Mérovingiens, 226
  Recollections of D. G. Rossetti (Caine), 296, 297, 301, 302, 308
  Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, 3, 17, 74, 107, 229,
      238, 243, 247
  Reminiscences (Mozley), 358
  Remorse, 86, 89
  Richter, J. P. F., 169
  Rime of Redemption, The, 392
  Rime of the Duchess May, The, 277, 278
  Rivas, Duke de, 246
  Robertson, J. M., 122
  Rogers, Chas., 96
  Roi s'Amuse, Le, 200, 201
  Rokeby, 29
  Romancero General, The, 243, 247
  Roman Historique, Le, 33, 34, 44-46
  Romantische Schule, Die (Heine), 36, 139-41
  Romaunt of the Page, The, 277
  Roots of the Mountains, The, 337, 338
  Rosa, Martinez de la, 246
  Rosamond, 346, 347
  Rosamund, Queen of the Goths, 346
  Roscoe, Wm., 65, 66
  Rose, W. S., 90
  Rose Mary, 263, 311, 312
  Rossetti, Christina, 82, 282, 284, 302
  Rossetti, D. G., 131, 228, 258, 262, 263, 265, 282-88, 290-92,
      295-315, 318-21, 323, 324, 340, 343, 345, 350, 387-89, 393
  Rossetti, Gabriele, 282
  Rossetti, Maria F., 282
  Rossetti, W. M., 282, 284
  Runenberg, The, 163
  Ruskin, Jno., 6, 10, 284, 286-89, 292-94, 304, 317, 321,
      324, 371, 372, 375-80, 382-87, 398

  Sacred and Legendary Art, 374, 375
  Saint Agnes, 267
  Saint Brandan, 263
  Saint Dorothy, 344
  Saint Patrick's Purgatory, 238
  Saintsbury, George, 50, 118, 183, l84, 295, 324, 326, 395, 396
  Saints' Tragedy, The, 279, 280, 292
  Samuel Taylor Coleridge und die Englische Romantik, 50-55,
      75, 77, 82, 86
  Scherer, Wm., 167, 170
  Schiller, J. C. F., 210, 212
  Schlegel, A. W., 88, 140, 144, 145, 154, 156-59, 162, 165,
      172, 192, 247
  Schlegel, F., 99, 134, 135, 137, 148, 151, 157-59, 172, 247, 363
  Scott, Sir Walter, 1-47, 49, 50, 52, 53, 71, 75, 77, 85, 87,
      88, 90, 91, 119, 120, 127, 129, 136, 158, 167, 169, 172, 173,
      178, 180, 192, 212, 226, 232, 243, 246, 247, 249-53, 256,
      267, 295, 313, 320, 321, 323, 329, 352-56, 367, 378, 379,
      397, 402
  Scott, W. B., 292, 293, 305-07, 353, 389
  Selections from Newman, 355, 356
  Seward, Anne, 98
  Shairp, J. C., 18
  Shaker Bridal, The, 164
  Shakspere, Wm., 210, 222, 399
  Sharp, Wm., 291, 292, 306
  Shelley, P. B., 8, 25, 101, 102, 120, 232-35, 299, 310, 340, 398
  Short History of English Literature, A, 50, 118, 295, 324,
      326, 395, 396
  Shorthouse, J. H., 357
  Short Studies (Higginson), 163
  Sigerson, Jno., 259, 261
  Sigismonda and Guiscardo, 124, 125
  Sigurd the Volsung, 336
  Simcox, G. A., 388
  Sintram and his Companions, 153, 162, 168, 324, 373
  Sir Floris, 390-92
  Sir Galahad (Morris), 306, 325, 328
  Sir Galahad (Tennyson), 267, 271, 325
  Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinivere, 271, 325
  Sir Tristram, 7
  Sister Helen, 311, 312, 345
  Sisters, The, 265, 313
  Sizeranne, R. de la, 293
  Sketches of Christian Art, 372-74
  Sleep and Poetry, 114-16
  Sleeping Beauty, The, 265
  Smith, Charlotte, 55
  Socialism, 386
  Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, 18, 19
  Song of the Western Men, 262
  Sonneur de Saint Paul, Le, 193
  Sorrows of Werther, The, 397
  Southey, Robert, 50, 51, 55, 71, 235-39, 355
  Specimen of an Induction to a Poem, 129
  Specimens of German Romance, 167
  Specimens of Gothic Architecture, 368
  Spenser, Edmund, 3, 4, 93, 107, 120-22, 269, 275, 329
  Staël, Mme. de, 134, 139, 141-45, l71, 192, 208
  Staff and Scrip, 311
  Stedman, E. C., 265, 387
  Stendhal, De, 36-38, 186, 187, 201, 208-14
  Stephen, Leslie, 10, 38, 80
  Sternbald's Wanderungen, 152
  Stevenson, R. L., 32
  Stokes, Whitley, 259, 261
  Stolberg, F. L., Count, 149, 363
  Stones of Venice, 321, 375-79, 385, 386
  Stories from the Italian Poets, 109-11
  Story of Rimini, The, 105-07, 119, 121, 122, 390
  Story of the Brave Casper and the Fair Annerl, The, 167
  Student of Salamanca, The, 246
  Studies and Appreciations, 129
  Studies in Mediaeval Life and Literature, 43
  Study of Celtic Literature, On the, 256
  Succube, La, 43
  Sundering Flood, The, 232, 337, 339
  Swinburne, A. C., 275, 276, 296, 304, 309, 314, 315, 319,
      339-51, 387-89

  Table Talk (Coleridge), 12
  Tables Turned, The, 386
  Tale of Balen, The, 347, 348
  Tale of King Constans, The, 330
  Tales of Wonder, 238
  Talisman, The, 28, 36, 43
  Tannhäuser, 153, 160, 264, 343, 391
  Task, The, 58
  Tasso, Torquato, 91, 104, 109
  Taylor, Edgar, 162
  Taylor, Wm., 53, 162, 238
  Templars in Cyprus, The, 149
  Tennyson, Alfred, 257, 260, 262, 264-75, 295, 303, 324,
      325, 347, 348
  Thackeray, W. M., 397, 398, 402
  Thalaba the Destroyer, 235
  Theocritus, 331
  Thierry, Augustin, 39, 225, 226
  Thomas the Rhymer, 7
  Thoreau, H. D., 165
  Thorpe, Benjamin, 334
  Thousand and One Nights, The, 393
  Three Bardic Tales, 259
  Three Fishers, The, 383
  Thyrsis, 378
  Ticknor, Geo., 242, 243, 248
  Tieck, Ludwig, 42, 134, 137, 148, 150, 152, 154, 156-65,
      172, 245, 400
  Tighe, Mary, 121
  Tintern Abbey, 358
  Todhunter, Jno., 259, 261
  Tom Brown at Oxford, 357
  Tracts for the Times, 292, 319, 363, 368
  Treasury of Irish Poetry, A, 261
  Tristram and Iseult (Arnold), 275, 278, 341
  Tristram of Lyonesse (Swinburne), 275, 340
  Tristram und Isolde (Wagner), 393
  Troy Town, 315
  True Principles of Pointed Architecture, The, 372
  Tune of Seven Towers, The, 305, 326
  Two Foscari, The, 234

  Uhland, Ludwig, 140, 154-56, 170, 171
  Ulalume, 301
  Undine, 168
  Unto this Last, 380

  Vabre, Jule, 222
  Vanity Fair, 396
  Vathek, 367
  Vere, Aubrey de, 259, 260, 358, 361, 366
  Verses on Various Occasions (Newman), 357
  Versunkene Glocke, Die, 245
  Victorian Poets, 265, 387
  Vignettes in Rhyme, 401
  Vigny, A. V., Comte de, 188, 191, 210
  Villon, François, 298, 299, 350, 393
  Vision of Judgment, The, 70
  Vita Nuova, La, 101, 299, 302, 310, 393
  Volksmärchen (Tieck), 160
  Völsunga Saga, The, 334, 335
  Voltaire, F. M. A. de, 92, 94, 95
  Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Litteratur (Schlegel), 88,
      158, 162, 192
  Voss, J.H., 149
  Voyage of Maeldune, The, 260
  Wackenroder, W. H., 134, 152, 153, 159
  Wagner, Richard, 153, 264, 391, 393
  Walladmor, 38
  Walter Scott et la Princesse de Clèves, 36
  Ward, W. G., 360
  Warton, Joseph, 61, 63, 64, 71, 73, 157, 158
  Warton, Thos., 27, 57, 60, 61, 94, 157, 158
  Water Lady, The, 279
  Water of the Wondrous Isles, The, 337, 339
  Watts, Theodore, 300
  Waverley Novels, The, 30-39, 324, 378, 379, 403
  Welland River, 328, 345
  Welshmen of Tirawley, The, 260
  Werner, Zacharias, 148, 149, 212, 302
  Westwood, Thos., 276
  White Doe of Rylstone, The, 16-18
  White Ship, The, 311, 312
  William George Ward and the Oxford Movement, 361
  Winthrop, Theodore, 367
  Wisdom and Languages of India, The, 157
  Wissenschaftslehre (Fichte), 137
  Witch of Fife, The, 252
  Wood beyond the World, The, 337, 339
  Woolner, Thos., 284
  Wordsworth, Wm., 9, 12, 14-20, 48, 50-55, 71, 77, 80, 89,
      119, 300, 333, 355, 358, 398

  Yarrow Revisited, 14
  Yeast, 383
  Yeats, J. B., 261
  Yonge, Charlotte M., 357
  Yuletide Stories, 334

  Zapolya, 89
  Zauberring, Der, 168
  Zeitung für Einsiedler, 138, 172
  Zorrilla, José de, 246

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