Слике страница
PDF
ePub

earns

With a whole bale of isms tied together In a world of back-offices, ledgers, and with rhyme,

stoves. He might get on alone, spite of brambles When bis heart breaks away from the and boulders,

brokers and banks, But he can't with that bundle he has on his And kneels in his own private shrine to give shoulders,

thanks, The top of the hill he will ne'er come nigh There's a genial manliness in him that

reaching Till he learns the distinction 'twixt singing Our sincerest respect (read, for instance, and preaching;

his · Burns'), His lyre has some chords that would ring And we can't but regret (seek excuse where pretty well,

we may) But he'd rather by half make a drum of That so much of a man has been peddled the shell,

away. And rattle away till he's old as Methusalem, At the head of a march to the last new “ But what's that? a mass-meeting? Jerusalem.

No, there come in lots

The American Bulwers, Disraelis, and “There goes Halleck, whose Fanny's a Scotts, pseudo Don Juan,

And in short the American everything elses, With the wickedness out that gave salt to Each charging the others with envies and the true one,

jealousies;-He's a wit, though, I hear, of the very first By the way, 't is a fact that displays what order,

profusions And once made a pun on the words soft Of all kinds of greatness bless free instituRecorder;

tions, More than this, he's a very great poet, I'm That while the Old World has produced told,

barely eight And has had his works published in crimson Of such poets as all men agree to call great, and gold,

And of other great characters hardly a With something they call Illustrations,' to wit,

(One might safely say less than that rather Like those with which Chapman obscured

than more), Holy Writ,1

With you every year a whole crop is beWhich are said to illustrate, because, as I

gotten, view it,

They're as much of a staple as corn is, or Like lucus a non, they precisely don't do it;

cotton; Let a man who can write what himself Why, there's scarcely a huddle of log-huts understands

and shanties Keep clear, if he can, of designing men's That has not brought forth its own Miltons hands,

and Dantes; Who bury the sense, if there's any worth I myself know ten Byrons, one Coleridge, having,

three Shelleys, And then very honestly call it engraving. Two Raphaels, six® Titians (I think), one But, to quit badinage, which there is n't

Apelles, much wit in,

Leonardos and Rubenses plenty as lichens, Halleck 's better, I doubt not, than all he One (but that one is plenty) American has written;

Dickens, In his verse a clear glimpse you will fre- A whole flock of Lambs, any number of quently find,

Tennysons, If not of a great, of a fortunate mind, In short, if a man has the luck to have any Which contrives to be true to its natural

sons,
loves

He
may feel pretty certain that one out of

twain (Cuts rightly called wooden, as all must admit.) Will be some very great person over again.

score

so on,

tue; 1

There is one inconvenience in all this, which There brokers at length become silent as lies

stocks, In the fact that by contrast we estimate There stage-drivers sleep without quitting size,

their box, And, where there are none except Titans, And so forth and so forth and so forth and

great stature Is only the normal proceeding of nature. With this kind of stuff one might endlessly What puff the strained sails of your praise

go on; will you furl at, if

To come to the point, I may safely assert The calmest degree that you know is super

you lative ?

Will find in each yard every cardinal virAt Rome, all whom Charon took into his wherry must,

Each has six truest patriots: four discovAs a matter of course, be well issimust and erers of ether, errimust,

Who never had thought on 't nor mentioned A Greek, too, could feel, while in that fa

it either; mous boat he tost,

Ten poets, the greatest who ever wrote That his friends would take care he was

rhyme: ιστοst and ωτατοst, ,

Two hundred and forty first men of their And formerly we, as through graveyards

time: we past,

One person whose portrait just gave the Thought the world went from bad to worst

least hint fearfully fast;

Its original had a most horrible squint: Let us glance for a moment, 't is well worth One critic, most (what do they call it?) rethe pains,

flective, And note what an average graveyard con- Who never had used the phrase ob- or subtains;

jective: There lie levellers levelled, duns done up Forty fathers of Freedom, of whom twenty themselves,

bred There are booksellers finally laid on their Their sons for the rice-swamps, at so much shelves,

a head, Horizontally there lie upright politicians,

And their daughters for — faugh ! thirty Dose-a-dose with their patients sleep fault

mothers of Graccbi: less physicians,

Non-resistants who gave many a spiritual There are slave - drivers quietly whipped

blackeye: under ground,

Eight true friends of their kind, one of There bookbinders, done up in boards, are

whom was a jailer: fast bound,

Four captains almost as astounding as There card-players wait till the last trump Taylor: be played,

Two dozen of Italy's exiles who shoot us his There all the choice spirits get finally laid, Kaisership daily, stern pen-and-ink BruThere the babe that's unborn is supplied

tuses, with a berth,

Who, in Yankee back-parlors, with cruciThere men without legs get their six feet

fied smile, of earth,

Mount serenely their country's funereal There lawyers repose, each wrapped up in

pile:

Ninety-nine Irish heroes, ferocious rebelThere seekers of office are sure of a place,

lers There defendant and plaintiff get equally 'Gainst the Saxon in cis-marine garrets and cast,

cellars, There shoemakers quietly stick to the last,

Who shake their dread fists o'er the sea

and all that, 1 That is in most cases we do, but not all,

1 (And at this just conclusion will surely arrive, Past a doubt, there are men who are innately small,

That the goodness of earth is more dead than alive.) Such as Blank, who, without being 'minished a tittle, : Not forgetting their tea and their toast, though, the Might stand for a type of the Absolute Little.

his case,

while.

next."

or

his lay;

As long as a copper drops into the hat: He has chosen in just the same way as he'd Nine hundred Teutonic republicans stark

choose From Vaterland's battle just won - in the His specimens out of the books he reviews; Park,

And now, as this offers an excellent text, Who the happy profession of martyrdom I'll give 'em some brief hints on criticism

take Whenever it gives them a chance at a So, musing a moment, he turned to the steak:

crowd, Sixty-two second Washingtons : two And, clearing his voice, spoke as follows three Jacksons :

aloud: And so many everythings-else that it racks one's

“My friends, in the happier days of the Poor memory too much to continue the

muse, list,

We were luckily free from such things as Especially now they no longer exist; –

reviews; I would merely observe that you've taken Then naught came between with its fog to to giving

make clearer The puffs that belong to the dead to the The heart of the poet to that of his hearer; living,

Then the poet brought heaven to the peoAnd that somehow your trump-of-contem

ple, and they porary-doom's tones

Felt that they, too, were poets in hearing Is tuned after old dedications and tombstones.”.

Then the poet was prophet, the past in his

soul Here the critic came in and a thistle pre- Precreated the future, both parts of one sented—1

whole; From a frown to a smile the god's features Then for him there was nothing too great relented,

or too small, As he stared at his envoy, who, swelling For one natural deity sanctified all; with pride,

Then the bard owned no clipper and meter To the god's asking look, nothing daunted,

of moods replied,

Save the spirit of silence that hovers and “You're surprised, I suppose, I was absent broods so long,

O’er the seas and the mountains, the rivers But your godship respecting the lilies was and woods; wrong;

He asked not earth's verdict, forgetting the I hunted the garden from one end to clods, t'other,

His soul soared and sang to an audience of And got no reward but vexation and bother, gods; Till, tossed out with weeds in a corner to 'T was for them that he measured the wither,

thought and the line, This one lily I found and made haste to And shaped for their vision the perfect bring hither.”

design,

With as glorious a foresight, a balance as “ Did he think I had given him a book to review ?

As swung out the worlds in the infinite blue; I ought to have known what the fellow Then a glory and greatness invested man's would do,"

heart, Muttered Phebus aside, “ for a thistle will The universal, which now stands estranged pass

and apart, Beyond doubt for the queen of all flowers In the free individual moulded, was Art;

Then the forms of the Artist seemed

thrilled with desire 1 Turn back now to page - goodness only knows

For something as yet unattained, fuller, what, And take a fresh hold on the thread of my plot.

higher,

true,

with an ass;

us his

As once with her lips, lifted bands, and Never mind what he touches, one shrieks eyes listening,

out Taboo ! And her whole upward soul in her counte- And while he is wondering what he shall do, nance glistening,

Since each suggests opposite topics for Eurydice stood — like a beacon unfired,

song, Which, once touched with flame, will leap They all shout together you 're right ! and heav'nward inspired –

you 're wrong! And waited with answering kindle to mark The first gleain of Orpheus that pained the

“ Nature fits all her children with somered Dark.

thing to do, Then painting, song, sculpture did more He who would write and can't write can than relieve

surely review, The need that men feel to create and be- Can set up a small booth as critic and sell

lieve, And as, in all beauty, who listens with love Petty conceit and his pettier jealousies; Hears these words oft repeated — beyond Thus a lawyer's apprentice, just out of his and above,'

teens, So these seemed to be but the visible sign Will do for the Jeffrey of six magazines; Of the grasp of the soul after things more Having read Johnson's lives of the poets divine;

half through, They were ladders the Artist erected to There's nothing on earth he's not compeclimb

tent to; O'er the narrow horizon of space and of He reviews with as much nonchalance as he time,

whistles, And we see there the footsteps by which He goes through a book and just picks out men had gained

the thistles; To the one rapturous glimpse of the never- It matters not whether he blame or comattained,

mend, As shepherds could erst sometimes trace in If he's bad as a foe, he's far worse as a the sod

friend: The last spurning print of a sky-cleaving Let an author but write what's above his god.

poor scope,

He goes to work gravely and twists up a “But now, on the poet's dis-privacied

rope, moods

And, inviting the world to see punishment With do this and do that the pert critic done, intrudes;

Hangs himself up to bleach in the wind and While he thinks he's been barely fulfilling his duty

'T is delightful to see, when a man comes To interpret 'twixt men and their own sense

along of beauty,

Who has anything in him peculiar and And has striven, while others sought honor strong, or pelf,

Every cockboat that swims clear its fierce To make his kind happy as he was him

(pop) gundeck at him, self,

And make as he passes its ludicrous Peck He finds he's been guilty of horrid offences

at him In all kinds of moods, numbers, genders, and tenses;

Here Miranda came up and began, “ As He's been ob and subjective, what Kettle

to that -" calls Pot,

Apollo at once seized his gloves, cane, and Precisely, at all events, what he ought not, hat, You have done this, says one judge; done And, seeing the place getting rapidly that, says another;

cleared, You should have done this, grumbles one; that, I too snatched my notes and forthwitb says t'other;

disappeared.

the sun;

THE UNHAPPY LOT OF MR. KNOTT

PART I

SHOWING HOW HE BUILT HIS HOUSE AND

HIS WIFE MOVED INTO IT

My worthy friend, A. Gordon Knott,

From business snug withdrawn, Was much contented with a lot That would contain a Tudor cot 'Twixt twelve feet square of garden-plot,

And twelve feet more of lawn.

And so the greenest of antiques

Was reared for Knott to dwell in:
The architect worked hard for weeks
In venting all his private peaks
Upon the roof, whose crop of leaks

Had satisfied Fluellen;
Whatever anybody had
Out of the common, good or bad,

Knott had it all worked well in;
A donjon-keep, where clothes might dry,
A porter's lodge that was a sty,
A campanile slim and high,

Too small to hang a bell in; All up and down and here and there, With Lord-knows-whats of round and

square
Stuck on at random everywhere, -
It was a house to make one stare,

All corners and all gables;
Like dogs let loose upon a bear,
Ten emulous styles staboyed with care,
The whole among them seemed to tear,
And all the oddities to spare

Were set upon the stables.

He had laid business on the shelf

To give his taste expansion, And, since no man, retired with pelf,

The building mania can shun, Knott, being middle-aged himself, Resolved to build (unhappy elf!)

A inediæval mansion.

D'

He called an architect in counsel; “I want,” said he, “a — you know

what, (You are a builder, I am Knott,)

À thing complete from chimney-pot Down to the very grounsel;

Here's a half-acre of good land;

Just have it nicely mapped and planned And make your workmen drive on;

Meadow there is, and upland too,
And I should like a water-view,
you
think you

could contrive one ? (Perhaps the pump and trough would

do, If painted a judicious blue ?) The woodland I've attended to; ”.

[He meant three pines stuck up askew, Two dead ones and a live one.]

“A pocket-full of rocks 't would take To build a house of freestone,

But then it is not hard to make
What nowadays is the stone;

The cunning painter in a trice
Your house's outside petrifies,

and people think it very gneiss Without inquiring deeper;

My money never shall be thrown Away on such a deal of stone, When stone of deal is cheaper."

Knott was delighted with a pile

Approved by fashion's leaders:
(Only he made the builder smile,
By asking every little while,
Why that was called the Twodoor style,

Which certainly had three doors ?)
Yet better for this luckless man
If he had put a downright ban

Upon the thing in limine;
For, though to quit affairs his plan,
Ere many days, poor Knott began
Perforce accepting draughts, that ran

All ways — except up chimney;
The house, though painted stone to mock,
With nice white lines round every block,

Some trepidation stood in,
When tempests (with petrific shock,
So to speak,) made it really rock,

Though not a wbit less wooden;
And painted stone, howe'er well done,
Will not take in the prodigal sun
Whose beams are never qnite at one

With our terrestrial lumber;
So the wood nk around the knots,

« ПретходнаНастави »