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And Hope-life's chequering moonlight-smiled asunder
As that by lovers coined-the child-like art
That breathes to vulgar words the fond thoughts of the heart!
Thou grey and wizard Time, creep slowly on
Ev'n I would linger in my truant rhyme,
Nor tell too soon how soon those hours were gone.
Poor life, there comes no second spring to thee!'
The progress of events at home recalls Milton to England. And after a long conflict with himself, he breaks the news to his mistress, and urges her to share her fortunes with him:
"Come, then, my Zoe, on this pilgrimage,
Love's fairy halls and temples shall be our's,
And our heart's sun the ice of earth defy.
Trust me, though fate may turn each hope to gall,
My breast shall ward the blast, the bolt, from thine!
He ceased; and drew her closer to his breast;
Two Genii of the mixt and tender race,
From fairest fount or tree, their homes who singled
Last of their order doom'd to haunt the place,
And bear sweet being interfused and mingled.'
A sudden noise, the cause of which is left unexplained, startles the fond pair; Zoe springs from his side, and the lovers are for ever parted by-eight lines of unrelenting asterisks.
We can make room only for one other extract, which paints the poet in the evening of his days, fallen on evil tongues and evil times, but still consoled by the thought that future ages would discharge that debt of gratitude to his memory which his own had denied.
'There sate an old man by that living tree
Which bloom'd his humble dwelling-place beside-
He sate-like some wrought monumental stone-
Made calm the lifted grandeur of his brow.'
In this state he is seen by her whom he had loved in youth; seen, but in silence-for no interview takes place. Once again only she comes, and disappears like a vision.
'Beneath a church's chancel there were laid
A great Man's bones,-and when the crowd was gone,
None knew her name or land; her voice was sweet,
A soul that loved till death, had pass'd away!'
No one, we think, who reads these beautiful fragments, can doubt that Mr Bulwer has in him the feeling and imagination of a poet;—a fine ear for versification, and no limited compass of forcible and poetical expression. Their principal fault is an occasional obscurity or inversion of construction, which sometimes, as in Campbell's Gertrude,' renders it necessary to read the stanza three or four times over, before we can be certain of the meaning. Elevation thus gained at the expense of perspicuity, is never an advantage; the plainer the meaning, the more direct and immediate is its influence on the feelings and the heart.
In conclusion, we repeat, we have no wish to meet Mr Bulwer again in the field of satirical poetry; and think it would have been as well, if he had done with his Twins what people generally do with any disagreeable lusus naturæ-kept them carefully under lock and key, for the inspection of the curious in monsters alone. But let him come forward with such poems as that of Milton,' not in the shape of fragments, but with a connected interest, and we will venture to promise his next volume a very different reception from the present. Though Milton is said, notwithstanding the opinions of his friends, to have maintained to the last that his Paradise Regained was
much superior to his Paradise Lost, we trust Mr Bulwer is a little more open to conviction as to the comparative merits of his serious and comic performances; and that, eschewing satire, he will in future devote himself, in his poetical exercises, to that department in poetry, for which, notwithstanding his sneers at the melancholy and gentlemanlike school of versifiers, he is by nature adapted.
We may as well add here, that we had hoped to be able before now to notice Mr Bulwer's Novels, which, though chargeable with some considerable blemishes and misapplications of talent, are yet in many respects vastly superior to most others of their class that have lately appeared; but we have not hitherto found leisure to re-peruse so many works, read eagerly on their first appearance for amusement only, with the attention requisite for a critical view of their contents.
ART. VIII.-Historic Survey of German Poetry, interspersed with various Translations. By W.TAYLOR, of Norwich. 3 vols. 8vo. London: 1830.
GERMAN Literature has now for upwards of half a century been making some way in England; yet by no means at a constant rate, rather in capricious flux and reflux,-deluge alternating with desiccation: never would it assume such moderate, reasonable currency, as promised to be useful and lasting. The history of its progress here would illustrate the progress of more important things; would again exemplify what obstacles a new spiritual object, with its mixture of truth and of falsehood, has to encounter from unwise enemies, still more from unwise friends; how dross is mistaken for metal, and common ashes are solemnly labelled as fell poison; how long, in such cases, blind Passion must vociferate before she can awaken Judgment; in short, with what tumult, vicissitude, and protracted difficulty, a foreign doctrine adjusts and locates itself among the homeborn. Perfect ignorance is quiet, perfect knowledge is quiet; not so the transition from the former to the latter. In a vague, all-exaggerating twilight of wonder, the new has to fight its battle with the old; Hope has to settle accounts with Fear thus the scales strangely waver; public opinion, which is as yet baseless, fluctuates without limit; periods of foolish admiration and foolish execration must elapse before that of true enquiry and zeal according to knowledge can begin.
Thirty years ago, for example, a person of influence and understanding thought good to emit such a proclamation as the fol
lowing: Those ladies who take the lead in society, are loudly 'called upon to act as guardians of the public taste as well as of the public virtue. They are called upon, therefore, to oppose, with the whole weight of their influence, the irrup tion of those swarms of Publications now daily issuing from the banks of the Danube, which like their ravaging predeces 6 sors of the darker ages, though with far other and more fatal arms, are overrunning civilized society. Those readers whose 'purer taste has been formed on the correct models of the old 'classic school, see with indignation and astonishment the Huns ' and Vandals once more overpowering the Greeks and Romans. "They behold our minds, with a retrograde but rapid motion, hurried back to the reign of Chaos and old Night, by distorted ' and unprincipled Compositions, which in spite of strong flashes ' of genius, unite the taste of the Goths with the morals of Bag 'shot. The newspapers announce that Schiller's Tragedy of the Robbers, which inflamed the young nobility of Germany to enlist themselves into a band of highwaymen, to rob in the forests of Bohemia, is now acting in England by persons of "quality !'*
Whether our fair Amazons, at sound of this alarm-trumpet, drew up in array of war to discomfit those invading Compositions, and snuff out the lights of that questionable private theatre, we have not learned; and see only that, if so, their campaign was fruitless and needless. Like the old Northern Immigrators, those new Paper Goths marched on resistless whither they were bound; some to honour, some to dishonour, the most to oblivion and the impalpable inane; and no weapon or artillery, not even the glances of bright eyes, but only the omnipotence of Time, could tame and assort them. Thus, Kotzebue's truculent armaments, once so threatening, all turned out to be mere Fantasms and Night-apparitions; and so rushed onwards, like some Spectre Hunt, with loud howls indeed, yet hurrying nothing into Chaos but themselves. While again, Schiller's Tragedy of the Robbers, which did not inflame either the young or the old nobility of Germany to rob in the forests of Bohemia, or indeed to do any thing, except perhaps yawn a little less, proved equally innocuous in England, and might still be acted without offence, could living individuals, idle enough for that end, be met with here. Nay, this same Schiller, not indeed by Robbers, yet by Wallensteins, by Maids of Orleans,
Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education. By Hannah More. The Eighth Edition, p. 41.