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lor, as more simple in style, frank in statement, and full in legitimate deductions. With his presentation of this peculiar theology, held by them so much in common, we know at once what is offered us. If, however, any doubt remained in our minds, it could be easily removed by a perusal of President Edwards's work on “ Original Sin,” in which he says, “ I have closely attended to Dr. Taylor's • Piece on Original Sin,' in all its parts.” In this masterly overthrow of the system of the first Taylor, Edwards has done a double work, and virtually reviewed the second Taylor. For their commonness of views must make his review of the first common to both. And it is one of those strange events sometimes occurring, that in the revolution of a theological cycle those views should now come round as improvements in theology and Edwardean, that Edwards himself encountered in his lifetime and refuted.




Has the time come to understand “Maud ?” The inspiration of the Crimean War, and almost the twin-birth of “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” its reception by the patrons of polite literature was singularly various. Admirers numerous and decided it did not lack. But even the Laureate's almost supreme authority in matters of taste could hardly save it from the censure of coarseness and grossness among some whom he more than any one had educated to the luxurious relish of his matchlessly finished and graceful poetry; while the guardians of the public morals here and there looked askance at certain rather questionable ethical drifts which they thought that they discovered under its turbulent and discolored surface. The poem is in fact a curious mixture of opposites. Sweetest singing of soft-toned, plaintive warblers hush into faint and far-off echoes its wailing, clashing bursts of passion, - interludes of pathos and delicate beauty which turn the reader directly back to the dainty




measures of “ Enone” and “ The Lady of Shalott.” Judging, as one sometimes essays to do, of the physique of an author from his work, parts of “ Maud” would inevitably suggest the poetic ideal of blue-eyed sixteen wandering through shadowy copses by babbling brooks, bearing about the same relation to manhood which gristle does to bone. But then again the really characteristic portions of the poem fit much more nearly into a conception of its writer which quite took us by surprise, the other day, in conversation with a travelled friend, and which he brought away from the immediate neighborhood of Tennyson's home. A lady, walking along the road which leads to it, saw a tall, broadshouldered, and altogether stout-built pedestrian, in a rusty suit and shockingly slouched Kossuth, swinging a cane, a little in advance of her. Directly, he dropped in at a way-side grocer's and came out with a small parcel in his hand. The lady's curiosity was enough excited to induce her also to stop at the door of the shop, and inquire who the gentleman might be. “Oh, that is a Mr. Tennyson,” replied the shopman, “who lives up yonder on the hill; and he just called to take a box of sardines home with him as he passed.” The gods, too, must eat as well as we mortals; and one would think that poetry like some of this must be nourished on considerably heartier food than the Olympian ambrosia. There is sufficient circumstantial evidence in the pages before us to dissipate all scepticism concerning the authenticity of the lady's lively sketch.

These contrasts are skilfully and effectively managed, giving us a canvas (to borrow a moment from a sister art) of charming pastoral summer-life in its central perspective, but inclosed within outlying scenery which the wildest of forests and lightning-splintered mountains can alone furnish, overhung with a thunderous atmosphere that throws its sombre sultriness portentously over the bright lights of the intermediate spaces. Yet there is no want of harmony in this very unlike handling. The action of the poem only gives expression to different moods of the same spirit. The storm never thoroughly clears up, even when it comes nearest to fair weather.

Criticism is often a sharp knife-blade stuck into a loosely riveted haft. It is apt to cut its holder's fingers as well as other things. The popular essayist, Peter Bayne, is particularly se


vere on this poem. It is his “strong conviction that “Maud' was the result of no very deep or natural feeling on the part of Tennyson.” Hence he condemns it as a sort of factitious product, made to order, not spontaneously pouring itself forth as water from a living spring. But equally confident reviewers have contended for the same radical defect in the “In Memoriam,” and argued the point at length, that genuine grief could not be spread over so large a surface of lamentation. Mr. Bayne, on the other hand, denies this stricture, and puts his position with the utmost directness :—“With precisely the same decision as I affirmed of “ In Memoriam” that in every aspect and by every test it is great and marvellous, do I affirm of “ Maud” that it is a failure.” The first affirmation we heartily indorse. The second may be equally true ; but the case is scarcely closed by this somewhat over-positive verdict. This verdict is rested on three counts ; the poem is commonplace; secondly, it is not original ; thirdly, it is not beautiful. The first two specifications seem to be but one essentially. But does the critic demand of the poet that he should break absolutely new ground whenever he turns a furrow, on pain of being refused the laurel wreath ? By what showing then is “In Memoriam " an original work? Its prototypes “ Lycidas ” and the “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” are familiar to readers of good English. Nothing is more hackneyed than elegies for the dead in all literature. And this proudest of elegiac monuments itself is only a rebuilding, on a grander scale, of the four wonderful stanzas,


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“ Break, break, break

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!”

It is rather hard in this late century to open undiscovered and unwrought mines of the precious metals, as the author of the “ Idylls” himself obviously understands, to say nothing of such lesser creators as the writer of “ Edwin of Deira.” Robert Browning comes nearer absolute originality than any living poet in our language. It is a rare power when possessed, though not a very special help to popularity, as he has proved. But if " commonplace” is fatal to poetic success, what is to become of Wordsworth and his creed, that the height of artistic merit lies not so much in setting forth for admiration images and thoughts of a strange and arresting novelty, as in clothing old and well-known themes with new attractions, showing “how much may be hidden under the film of familiarity?” The patriarch of Rydal Mount could no more abide this test than could the gentle poet of the “ Sofaand the Timepiece.If the “commonplace” be charged on the treatment of the theme in “ Maud,” rather than upon its selection, we flatly deny the allegation. As to the last specification of a want of beauty, we submit that poetry is not shut up to this one end of describing graceful objects in strains of nightingale music. It must follow its subject in congenial methods. Truth to nature is truth to weeds as well as roses, to roughness as well as smoothness, to repulsive as well as inviting and captivating views of life. Poetic like plastic and pictorial art has a legitimate field among the one as the other of these realities. But Mr. Bayne admits, even for this unfortunate exception to Tennyson's usual excellence, that “certain aspects of feeling are not incorrectly rendered, and that here and there the melody is exquisite and the color glowing.” The critic is chary of his

. praise. Possibly it is essential to the independence and authority of this kind of writing that it shall more or less play the part which the old monarch assigned his page — who was to repeat daily in the royal ear the admonition, that kings too are mortal. We, therefore, as belonging to the guild, shall not deny that there are spots on this sun, which, however, it affords us no special pleasure to map out in very strong colors. But it is time to tell the story of our poem.

This may be shortly done. Maud, the high-born, the beautiful, and the gentle, is wooed by one whom she has known from childhood as worthy of her, except in the conventional disparity of social position. The picture of her free, bright youth is graphic: “ Maud with her venturous climbings and tumbles and childish escapes, Maud the delight of the village, the ringing joy of the Hall, Maud with her sweet purse-mouth when my father dangled the grapes,

Maud the beloved of my mother, the moon-faced darling of all.” An author less sure of himself would not perhaps have adventured this last qualitative; but the classical association of the meek queen of night should redeem the phrase from objec


tion on the score of common or scientific prejudice. The suit is hampered with inequalities of fortune, a lordling of a rival, and the opposition of a proud, insolent brother of Maud, who is slain, in a self-provoked rencountre by her suitor's hand, for his impertinent interference, just as the young couple are coming to an understanding and confession of their mutual affection. Of course this bloody dénouement terminates their intimacy, and sends the homicide adrift upon the world, imbittered in heart and ruined in hope, to accuse society of the false opinions and standards of action to which his anticipations have fallen a victim. The accusation is terribly severe. The exposure of the artificiality and measureless duplicities and viciousness of the current civilization is almost as minute and frightful as a police report. So thoroughly has the corruption of the times gone through the very bone and marrow of the age, that the outbreak of war is hailed as a cautery to stop the mortification, - as the only agency that can reawake in a demoralized land the sentiments of honor and patriotism, of virtue and humanity. With the memories of last April still fresh in mind — the general feeling then expressed in sermon and conversation, that we were in need of just this check to our own increasing national deterioration, and a sentiment of thankfulness then experienced, and not yet outlived, that even by so fearful a method we had found out that we were not all serfs and cowards — taking this our own recent history into the account, we are not prepared to condemn the ethical bearings of this poem ; but rather think that it can be much more intelligently understood by our people now than when it first asked our attention. We recall some sensations and indignations which we fancy were much like those out of which this seething inspiration sprung into being, in words of flame and vengeance. “Why do they prate of the blessings of Peace ? we have made them a

curse, Pickpockets, each hand lusting for all that is not in its own; And lust of gain, in the spirit of Cain, is it better or worse Than the heart of the citizen hissing in war on his own hearthstone ?



“ But these are the days of advance, the works of the men of mind, When who but a fool would have faith in a tradesman's ware or his word ?

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