A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century (2023)

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Lockhartsays that Scott's translation of "Goetz" should have been released ten years earlier to have its full impactKötzebueand the other German men of strength; and the clever parody of "the thieves”, under the title “The Rovers”, theCannedEEllishad published inAnti-JacobinsHe had ridiculed the entire species. The fashion of this fiction, the chivalric novel, the feudal drama, the thief's play and the thief's novel, the monk's tale and the ghost story (knight's play, chivalric novel, thief's play,thief romance, history of the monastery,Gespensterlied) in both Germany and England, satisfied, however crudely, the yearning of the time for freedom, adventure, stronger..."--A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century(1899) de Henry Augustin Beers

"So there is nothing in English that corresponds to Heine's fascinating sketch"The Romantic School", or to the almost equally fascinating and much more sympathetic" by Theophile Gautierromance story. "If we can imagine a composite personality of Byron and De Quincey narrating their half-loving, half-satirical reminiscences of the contemporary literary movement, perhaps we have something almost equivalent. For Byron, like Heine, was a penitent romantic with "radical ideas under his hat" and a critical theory at odds with his practice; while De Quincey was an early student of Wordsworth and Coleridge - like Gautier, a student of Victor Hugo - and at least at the same time, an intelligent and slightly mischievous draftsman of character traits."- -A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century(1899) de Henry Augustin Beers

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A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century(1899) is a book byHenrique Agostinho Bier.


  • 1 full text
  • 2 PREFACE.
  • 4 CHAPTER I.
  • 5 See also

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Historians of French and German literature are accustomed to referring to a period or subdivision of their discipline as the "novel" or "the school of romanticism". Writers of English literary history, while recognizing the importance of England's role in this great movement in European literature, generally do not give it a proper place in the organization of their subjects, but treat it in italics, as an inherent tendency in the work of authors. individual; and kept a simple

  • i chronological division of epochs in "Georgian",

The reason for this may be that, although Romanticism began earlier in England than on the Continent, lending as much as it received in the international exchange of literary goods, the native movement was rather gradual and dispersed. It never achieved such a compact, or so decidedly tapered shape, as in Germany and France. There was never quite a "romantic school" or ubiquitous romantic fashion in England.

So there is nothing in English that corresponds to Heine's fascinating sketch.The Romantic School", or to the almost equally fascinating and much more sympathetic" by Theophile Gautierromance story. "If we can imagine a composite personality of Byron and De Quincey narrating their half-loving and half-satirical reminiscences of the contemporary literary movement, perhaps we have something almost equivalent. For Byron, like Heine, was a penitent romantic with "radical ideas under his hat" and a critical theory at odds with his practice; while De Quincey was an early pupil of Wordsworth and Coleridge - like Gautier a pupil of Victor Hugo - and at least at the same time an intelligent and slightly mischievous draftsman of character traits.

The present volume consists essentially of a series of lectures given in electives at Yale College. In revising it for publication, I tried to rid it of the classroom atmosphere, but some repetition and didactics of the sort may have inadvertently been left in it. Some of the methods and results of these studies have already been published in The Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement, by my current collaborator and former partner. Professor William Lyon Phelps. Professor Phelps' booklet (originally a doctoral thesis) essentially follows the selection and organization of topics in my lectures. In return, I had the advantage of being able to draw on his independent research on points I've only touched on lightly; and especially of his very detailed treatment of Spenserian imitations.

I had originally intended to title the book "Chapter to a History of English Romanticism, etc."; for, though it is quite complete in treatment, it does not pretend to be exhaustive. By far not every 18th-century writer whose work shows romantic motifs

It restores you. v

is reviewed here. This unique genius William Blake, eg. B. in which, among other things, the influence of "Ossian" comes to the fore so strongly, I leave it untouched; because his writings - partly because of their strange appearance - had no effect on his generation and form no link in the chain of literary direction.

If this volume is well received, I hope to be able to publish a companion study of nineteenth-century English Romanticism in the near future.

H. A. B.

October 1898.


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I. The defined topic, i

II. More Augustans, 24

III. Die Spenserianer, 62

IV. The Landscape Poets, 102

V. The Miltonic Group, 146

SAW. Warton's School, 186

VII The Neo-Gothic,. . -. . . .221

VIII. Percy and the Ballads 265

IX. OssiAN, 306

X. Thomas Chatterton, 339

XI. The German Tributary, 374

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Zbe Subject 2)ef!ncJ>.

To attempt a rigid definition of the word romantic from the outset would be to anticipate the contents of this volume. To answer the question: what is or was the novel? or at least what is or was English romanticism? - is one of my main purposes here, and the reader is invited to look over many literary documents and to think a little before he can form a complete and clear idea of ​​the subject. Even so, he will hardly agree to give a lexical definition of the novel. There are words which mean so much, which absorb so much of the history of the human mind, that any comprehensive explanation of their meaning - any definition which is not at the same time a rather extensive description - must serve little more purpose, as a convenient means of identification. . How can we define in one sentence words like renaissance, philistine, sentimental, transcendent, bohemian, pre-raphaelite, impressionist, realist? Definition is negative. This

2i/1 History of the English novel.

It might be possible to find a word form that differentiates romance from everything else - saying in one sentence what it is not, but adding positive content to the definition - saying what romance is becomes something very different and more step by step can a step-by-step process may be required.*

However, a rough working definition can be helpful to get started. / Romanticism, then, in the sense in which I will use the word in general, means the representation in modern art or literature of the life and thought of the Middle Ages. / To this definition there are still some other elements to be added, and some modifications of these will appear from time to time. It is temporary, timid, resilient, but it will serve us until we are ready to replace it with a better one. This is the definition given by Heine in his brilliant little book on the Romantic school in Germany: 'All medieval poetry', he adds, 'has a definite character which distinguishes it from Greek and Roman poetry. On the basis of this difference, the former are called romantics, the latter classics. However, these names are incorrect.

  • Definitions do not arise a priori, except perhaps in

Mathematics. In the story, they imperceptibly arise from the patient study of reality. In fact, if Mr. Deschanel did not give us the definition of romanticism that we now demand, because his teaching aims to prepare precisely that definition. We will find you where you should be, at the end of the course and not at the beginning. - F. Brunetihe: "Classics and Romantics, Critical Studies", Volume III. pg. 296.

f But what was the romantic school in Germany? It was nothing more than the resurgence of the poetry of the Middle Ages as it manifested itself in its songs, statues and buildings, in art and in life. — The Romantic School (Cotta edition), p. 158

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leaders and created the most annoying mess yet." *

Some of the sources of this confusion will be considered in a moment. At the same time, the passage is a reminder that romance, when used as a term in literary nomenclature, is not an independent word, but a reference word. It implies its opposite, the classic; and the ingenuity of the critics has been stretched to the limit in explaining and developing the numerous points of contrast. So, to have a complete understanding of the Romantic period, we must also understand the Classical period. Now there is an apparent difference between the thought and art of peoples in ancient heathen times and heathen antiquity. thouglil:--aELd ^rt^gf the people of f^jidaL Kurnpe. All will agree in mentioning the Parthenon, the "Diana" of the Louvre, the "Gedipus" of Sophocles, the classical prayers of Demosthenes; and to name the Cathedral of Chartres, the walls of Nuremberg - the pearl of the Middle Ages.LegendAurea” by Jacobus de Voragine, “Tristan and Isolde” by Gottfried von Straßburg, and the illuminations in a 13th-century Roman Catholic missal.

The same disparity is found between modern works conceived in the spirit of ancient or medieval art, or executed in direct imitation. It's easy to decide that Flaxman's sketches illustrating Homer are classics; Alfieri's tragedies, Goethe's <* Iphigenie auf Tauris" LandorsHellenic", Gibson's statues, David's paintings andthose of the Church of the Madeleine in Paris are classic, at least in their intention and in the models they follow; during Victor Hugo's "Notre Dame de Paris", Scotts

  • "The Romantic School" (Fleishman translation), p. 13.

4 <v^ History of English %omantism.

Ivanhoe, The Magic Ring by Fouqué and The Maiden by Maria by Rossetti are no less romantically inspired.

But critics gave the terms Classical and Romantic an additional stretch. They discovered or imagined certain spirits, ways of thinking and feeling, character traits and style which distinguish classical from romantic art; if they properly applied the words to works which are not necessarily ancient or medieval, it is supposed, for example, that the products of Greek and Roman genius were marked by clarity, simplicity, restraint, unity of form, subordination of the part under the whole. ; and therefore modern works, which give that impression of noble simplicity and austerity, of harmony in construction, economy of means, and clearer and more definite outline, are often called classics, irrespective of the historical period they deal with. In this sense, it is often said that Wordsworth's "Michael" is a classic, or that Goethe's "Hermann and Dorothea" is a classic; though Wordsworth may be celebrating the virtues of a Westmoreland shepherd and Goethe telling the story of two rural lovers on the German frontier at the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

On the other hand, it is said that the work of medieval poets and artists was marked by an excess of feeling, by exuberant decoration, a strong sense of color and a weak sense of form, an attention to detail to the detriment of the main impression, and a consequent inclination towards the exaggerated, fantastic and grotesque. It's not uncommon

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therefore classify poets like Byron and Shelley as Romantics on the basis of their possession of these or similar qualities, though no one could be further from medieval habits of thought than the author of Don Juan or the author of The Revolt of Islam.

But the extension of these contradictory concepts to the work of writers who have as little in common with antiquity or the Middle Ages as Wordsworth, on the one hand, and Byron, on the other, does not stop there. One of the constraints of the literary historian is that almost every word he uses has two meanings, one critical and one popular. In common parlance, classjc means just about anything good. If we consult our dictionaries, we find its definition something like this: 'According to the greatest authority in literature and art; pure; chaste; refined; originally and chiefly used by the best Greek and Roman writers, but also applied to the best modern authors or their works." "Classic, n. A work of recognized excellence and authority." In this sense, "Robinson Crusoe" is a classic; "Pilgrim's Progress" is a classic; any piece of literature commonly recommended to young writers as a safe model for molding their style is a classic. *.

In contrast, the popularly used word romance expresses an air of disapproval. O

  • A classic is any artist whose school we can

without fear that their teachings or examples will deceive us. Or is he the one who owns it. . . Characteristics whose imitation, if it's useless, can't hurt either. — F. Brütmeihe, 'Critical Studies', Volume III. p300

6 <^ History of English Romanticism.

Dictionaries make it synonymous with sentimental^ imaginative, wild, extravagant, chimerical, all obvious derivatives^ of its more critical definition7^ "referring to^ or appropriate to the_style_of^Christian and_popular ItTeratur nf J^ he MiHdlp Age<;j a<;nppnspH t no r.las- _ sicalj.ntig^ueJ'—The etymology of Romanticism is familiar. The Romanian name was then applied to each piece

\ Literature written in this vernacular rather than \ Old Classical Latin. And the most popular form of writing in Provençal, Old French and Spanish was the story of a knightly adventure, called par excellence Roman, Romans or Romance. The adjective romantic is much later, as it implies a certain degree of critical attention to the type of fiction it describes, in order to generalize about its peculiarities. It first came into common use in the second half of the 17th and early 18th centuries; and, of course, in an age that considered itself classical, it was born with that tone of disapproval that one notices in common speech.

The characteristic that most impressed critics in medieval novels and in that very different kind of novel cultivated in the seventeenth century - the sentimental and disjointed novels of La Calprenede, Scuderi, Gomberville and d'Urfe - was the fantastic improbability of their adventures. Hence the usual acceptance of the WoikI novel in such terms as "a romantic notion", "a romantic escape", "an act of romantic generosity". Applying the adjective to the landscape was something

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later;* and abstract romanticism is of course much later; how the literary movement, or the "taste revolution" it calls it, was not sufficiently developed to demand a name until the early nineteenth century in Germany and France, and its baptism no doubt came from abroad, from the polemical literature that accompanied it. the career of German Romanticism and French Ronantism.

While we accept Heine's definition for the moment, it will be useful to examine some of the broader meanings that have been ascribed to the words classic and romantic, and some of the analyzes that have been attempted to examine the qualities that make a work of art classical and another make romantic. Walter Pater interpreted them as pointing to opposing trends or elements present in varying degrees in all good art. It is an essential function of glass art and literature, he thought, to attend to the qualities of measure, purity, temperament. "The classic comes to us from the freshness and stillness of other times as a measure of what long experience has shown us will never displease us. And in the classical literature of Greece and Rome, as in the classics of the last century, the essential classical element is that quality of order in beauty which they indeed possess in supreme measure.”

  • Sir, Perry thinks that one of the first instances of using the

The word romance comes from the diarist Evelyn in 1654: "There is also a very romantic seat beside this terrible alp." – English Literature in the Eighteenth Century, by Thomas Sergeant Perry, p. 148, note

\ "Romantik", Macmillan's Magazine, vol. XXXV.

8 zThe History of English Romanticism.

classic in art or literature is the well-known fairy tale, which you can still hear over and over again because it is so well told. Added to the sheer beauty of its form is the casual, quiet charm of familiarity."

On the other hand, he defines the romantic character of art as "adding strangeness to beauty" - a definition reminiscent of Bacon's dictum: "There is no distinct beauty which has not some strangeness in proportion." continues Pater, "it is an integral element in every artistic organization, and the addition of curiosity to this quest for beauty constitutes the romantic temperament." conceived in the same spirit, although he recognizes that there are certain times in the world when the classical_tradition predominates ^__/. <? ., at _jv1iklhM the _respect for authenticity^_the love for order and decoration to follow^_the layout, rules and models, the acceptance of academic and conventional standards overcomes the strangeness and novelty of the - d esTreTor. for example, the Augustan age of Rome, the Siècle of Louis XIV in France, the times of Pope and Johnson in England - indeed, the whole of the eighteenth century in all parts of Europe.

Nor would he limit the word romantic to works conceived in the spirit of the Middle Ages. “The essential elements,” he says, “of the romantic spirit are curiosity and love of beauty; and it is only as an incidental effect of these qualities that he seeks the Middle Ages; because in the overloaded atmosphere -

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In the sphere of the Middle Ages there are untapped sources of romantic effect, of a strange beauty that can be caught from improbable or distant things by a strong imagination.” Contrary to the literary tradition of the last century, he loved strange adventures and looked for them in the Middle Ages."

Once again, the essayist carefully explains that there are certain eras that are predominantly romantic. "Outbursts of this spirit occur naturally at certain moments: moments when ... people come to art and poetry after a long boredom with a deep thirst for intellectual excitement." As naturally romantic periods, he cites the period of early Provençal troubadour poetry: the years after the Bourbon Restoration in France (say, 1815-30); and "the late Middle Ages; so that medieval poetry centering on Dante is often contrasted with Greek or Roman poetry, as Romantic poetry with classical poetry".

Thus, in Pater's use of the terms, Classic and Romantic do not describe particular literatures or particular periods of literary history, but rather certain qualities and balancing tendencies that permeate the literatures of all times and countries. The Greeks and Romans had romantic writings; in the Middle Ages there were classical writings; no, there are classical and romantic traits in the same author. If there is a poet who can safely be called a classic, it is Sophocles; and yet Pater explains that Sophocles' Philoctetes, if published today, would be called the Romantic. And he points out - what indeed has been pointed out many times - that the


lo <iA History of English l^pmanticism.

"Odyssey"* is more romantic than "Iliad": indeed, it is more a novel than a heroic epic. The adventures of the wanderer Odysseus, the visit to the land of the lotus eaters, the encounter with the Lsestrigons, the experiences in the cave of Polyphemus constantly remind readers of the medieval Roman adventure, considering the difference in attitudes and customs. Pater quotes De Stendhal as saying that all good art was romantic in his time. "Romanticism," says De Stendhal, "is the art of presenting people with those literary works which, owing to their habits and beliefs, can give them the greatest pleasure: classicism, on the other hand, presents them with what gave them to your great-grandparents the greatest pleasure' - a definition which is epigrammatic if not convincing.! De Stendhal (Henri Beyle) was a pioneer and particular champion of the cause of French Romanticism and, in his use of the terms, Romanticism

  • The Odyssey was explained allegorically throughout

Sense. At least the Circe episode obviously lends itself to such an interpretation. Circe's cup became a metaphor for the sensual intoxication that turns men into beasts; Milton considers himself in Comus as the continuator of Homer, hardly consciously enforcing a temperance lesson in Puritan times than the ancient Ionian Greeks do in times that have no other record than his poem.

f "Racine and Shakespeare, Studies in Romanticism" (1823), p. 32, ed. by Michel Levy Freres, 1854. This also seems to be the opinion of M. Emile Deschanel, whose book "Le Romantisme des Classiques" (Paris 1883) is reviewed by M. Brunetiere in an article which has already been quoted several times. "All the classics," according to M. Deschanel - or so his critic says - "began to be romantic." a classic only when a romantic arrives."

7th topic “Definite. 1 1

stands for progress, Ubertv. originality and the future; classicism, to conservatism ^_aut horitj , i mitation, the ghost of the past. According to him, every piece of romantic art is a classic of art, despised by classics today for disregarding tradition, and will be used by modern classics in the future as a standard to which new/artists must conform. )

It may be worth completing the concept of the term by considering some other proposed definitions of romance. Dr F. H. Hedge, in an article in the Atlantic Mo)ithly of March 1886, asked:What do we mean by that?romantic? "Goethe, he says, characterized the difference between Classicism and Romanticism 'as the equivalent of the sane and the morbid. Schiller suggested 'naive and sentimental'.'f Most [German critics] thought it was identical with the difference between the ancient and the the modern one, which was partially true, but explained nothing. None of the definitions given can be accepted as fully satisfactory."];

dr Hedge himself sees the origin of romantic feelings in wonder and a sense of mystery. "Xbe / jgssence of romance." e.ja^ritfts, i'_is_jnysi£ry"; and^ /' he reinforces the point by noting the application of the word ,^ to the landscape, who knows where, are romantic: the public road is not. " "The

  • "Classical and Romantic", Vol. LVII.

\ Veja "On Naive and Sentimental Poetry" de Schiller.

X The word romance, after fifty years and more discussions

in love, it is still very vague and good even today

floating — Brunetière, ibid.

12e^ history

winding secret Broc|k. . . is romantic compared to the wide river." <* Moonlight is romantic compared to daylight." Dr Hedge attributes this taste for the mysterious "to the influence of the Christian religion, which immensely deepened the mystery of life and suggested something beyond and beyond the world of sense."

This enchantment of wonder or mystery is perhaps just another name for that "strangeness added to beauty" which Pater sees as the distinguishing characteristic of Romantic art. Later in the same article, Dr. Hedge that "the essence of romance is striving." Much could be said in defense of this position. It has often been pointed out, e.g. B. that a Gothic cathedral expresses aspiration and a Greek temple satisfies completeness. Indeed, if we agree that, in general, the classics equate to antiquity and romanticism to the Middle Ages, it will be strange if we do not discover many differences between the two that can hardly be encompassed by a single expression. dr Hedge himself enumerates several qualities of Romantic art that would be difficult to include in his essential and defining category of admiration or aspiration. Thus he proclaims that "the peculiarity of the classical style is restraint, the writer's self-restraint"; while "the romantic is self-reflective". "Clear, unbiased, unbiased presentation of the s ^-j[ect ... is thr~promInenFjeatune.Io7~tI^ classic style. The"eFn "wrlt e£ mod gives you not so much the things themselves as they do JjnBresion of_thernr^~Trere ■^theTrls~a well-known critical distinction between_the^objective and subjective^ metbo'cfs - naw and sentimental Schlitters - 2ip0^' ^^'^ criterion of the classic and

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romantic style. The essayist develops this contrast a little, dealing with "the cold reserve and colorless simplicity of the classic style, where the medium is lost in the object"; and "on the other hand, the introspection, the sentimental intensity, the subjective coloring of the Romantic style".

Another distinguishing feature of the romantic spirit that Dr. Hedge mentioned in common with many other critics is inaccuracy or incompleteness

of your relationships. This, of course, is a consequence of his sense of mystery and effort. Schopenhauer said that music is the characteristic of modern art because of its subjective and undefined character. Follow this line of thought. dr Hedge states that "Romanticism is, in a way, related to the Classical, as music is related to the fine arts... It [music] does not represent a finished ideal, but suggests ideals beyond the capacity of the canvas or the stone. The visual arts work the intellect, music the feelings; the one affects us by what it represents, the other by what it suggests. This, it seems to me, is essentially the difference between classical and romantic poetry. and he cites Homer and Milton as examples of the first school, and Scott and Shelley of the second.

Here, then, we have proposed a third criterion for determining the essential distinctions of Romantic art. First it was mystery, then aspiration; now it is the appeal to the emotions by the method of suggestion. And yet, there is perhaps no inconsistency on the part of the critic in this ever-changing terrain. Apparently it presents different facets of the same* truth; he means by this mystery one thing, effort, vagueness, incompleteness, emotional suggestion - ||^

14 '^ History of English l^pmanticism.

ness: that quality or effect that we all feel is present in romantic works and absent in classical works, but which we find difficult to describe in a single term. Any analyst of our critical vocabulary is free to extract the fullest meanings he can from related word pairs such as classic and romantic, eccentric and imaginative, witty and humorous, sensible and understanding, passionate and sentimental. For example, let's briefly develop this theorem that the ideal of classical art is perfection and vagueness, the ideal of romantic art or suggestive vagueness.

aT W. Schlegel had already used two creative arts to clarify the difference between classical and romantic, as Dr. Hedge uses the visual arts and music. I am referring to Schlegel's famous maxim that the genius of ancient drama is sculptural, that of romantic drama pictorial. A Greek temple, statue, or poem is without imperfection and no longer offers promise, suggesting nothing more than what it expresses. It fills the sense, leaves nothing to the imagination. It stands straight, symmetrical, sharply defined in bright daylight. There is nothing more to be done; there is no obfuscation about it. But in romantic art there is seldom such completeness. The craftsman takes time, he would like to add another note, his ideal eludes him. Is a Gothic cathedral really finished? Is "Faust" over? Is Hamlet explained? The modern mind is mystical; his architecture, painting, poetry employ shadows

  • What really makes a classic is the balance in it.

all skills that contribute to the completion of the artwork. — Brunetiere, ibid.

\"Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature.

The topic "Defined. 15

unfold its maximum effect: shadows and colors instead of contours. On the Greek heroic stage there were a few figures, two or three at the most, grouped like statues and arranged in bold reliefs at the beginning of the scene: in Greek architecture, a few clear and simple lines: in Greek poetry clear ideas are easily expressed - linguistically understandable and mostly describable in sensual images.

Modern theater is full of characters and colors, and the distance disappears in the middle of the scene. This love of perspective is echoed in the cathedral's corridors*, the love of color in the cathedral's windows, and the darkness lingers in the vault's shadow. In our poetry, in our religion, these twilight thoughts prevail. We are not looking for completeness here. The beyond, the unspeakable attracts us. Hence the greatest spirituality of romantic literature, its deepest emotion, its most passionate tenderness. But hence also its sentimentality, its melancholy and, above all, the morbid fascination that the thought of death exercised over the Gothic spirit. Classical nations focused their attention on life and light and paid little attention to darkness and the grave. Death was neither sacred nor beautiful to them. Their decent burial or cremation rites seem designed to hide their deformities rather than prolong their memories. The presence of the corpse was pollution. No Greek could have thought of a book like the Hydriotaphia or the Anatomy of Melancholy.

  • Far to the west, the long, long valley receded,

Where twilight likes to linger.

– BeattiesMemory beds."

1 6 cA History of English Romanticism.

It can be seen that Dr. Hedge agrees with Pater in wanting a more philosophical statement of the difference between the Classical and the Romantic than the usual one, which simply makes the difference between antiquity and medieval times. He says: “It must not be supposed that antiquity and classicism, on the one hand, and modernity and romanticism, on the other, are inseparable; so that in no Greek or Roman author, nor in any classic, is there anything approaching the romantic side in the literature of modern Europe... The literary line of demarcation is not identical with the chronological one." More romantic than the Iliad, Dr. Hedge says that "the story of Cupid and Psyche* in Apuleius' 'Golden Ass' is as much a romance as any composition of the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries." He considers the Middle Ages a mere coincidence of romance: Scott highly romantic in its themes, but Byron in its humour.

Furthermore, Mr. Sidney Colvin denies that "a predilection for classical subjects ... can lead a writer to distinguish what we mean by the word 'classical' from what we mean by the word 'romantic' is deeper and deeper".

  • The modernity of this "last born of myths" resides in this

partly in its spiritual, quasi-Christian conception of love, partly in its allegorical theme, the conquest of the soul's immortality through love. The Catholic idea of ​​penance is also suggested in Psyche's Walking Works Long. This apologist was a favorite of Platonic poets like Spenser and Milton. See The Fairy Queen, Book III. singing v. 1st stanza and "Comus", lines 1002-11.

f “Walter Savage Lander Selection”, Preface, p. vii.

The theme T) defined. 17

Hue much less problem than treatment. . . In classical writing, each idea is brought to mind as directly as possible and at the same time as clearly as possible; it is displayed in white light and left to its own effect.* In romantic literature, on the other hand, all objects are displayed as if they were a colorful, iridescent atmosphere. Around each main idea, the romantic writer conjures up a cloud of subsidiary and secondary ideas to increase its impact, at the risk of blurring its contours. The romantic writer's temperament is again one of excitement, while the classical writer's temperament is one of self-control. . . On the one hand, there is calm, on the other, enthusiasm. The virtues of a style are dexterity, clarity, and impartiality in presentation; the virtues of the other style are the luminosity of the mind, the magic and the richness of the suggestion”. exciting". Vagueness and uncertainty", the flickering, radiant, vibrant or colored light - the "halo" - with which the Romantic writer surrounds his subject. the classical manner with its composed precision and measure of statement... But, on the other hand, unlike the true classic, the romantic style lends itself to inferior work. Animated and almost put into words, second-rate ideas are derived from this

  • See also Walter Bagehot's essay on "Pure, Ornate, and Grotesque

Art.“ „Literary Studies, Works“ (Hartford, 1889), Band I, S. 200.

i8e/f History of English Romanticism.

delusional attraction that lets her pass as excellent for a while and by all but the nicest of judges. Whereas one cannot be under any illusions about true classical writing. She presents us with ideas discreetly embodied in words that precisely define them, ideas whose appeal does not depend on their halo but on themselves."

As examples of these contrasting styles, Mr. Colvin juxtaposes passages from The Ancient Mariner and Keats' Ode to a Nightingale with passages from Landor's Gebir and Imaginary Conversations, which deal with similar themes. The contrast can be even clearer when studying a piece like Keats > /I's "Ode on a Grecian Urn", where romantic form is applied to classical content; I or comparing Tennyson's "Tllysses" and "The Lotus Eaters', in which Homeric themes are treated classically or romantically.

Alfred de Musset, himself a prominent figure among French Romantics in their early years, wrote a capital satire on the confused and contradictory definitions of the word Romanticism current in the third and fourth decades of this century. city ​​of La Ferte-sous-Jouarre to the editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes, with a request to tell them what romance means. For two years, Dupuis and his friend Cotonet assumed the term applied only to the theater and meant disrespect for units. “Shakespeare, for example, makes people travel

  • Cartas de Dupuis e Cotonet (i 836), "CEuvres Completes" (Char-

Pentier Edition, 1881), Volume IX. pg. 194.


7 ID of the fined subject. 19

Rome to London and Athens to Alexandria in fifteen minutes. His heroes live ten or twenty years between two acts. Her heroines, angels of virtue throughout a scene, need only go backstage to reappear as wives, adulteresses, widows and grandmothers. There, we told ourselves, is romance. Conversely, Sophocles leaves Cédjus sitting on a rock from the beginning of his tragedy, even at the cost of great personal inconvenience. All the characters get there one by one to find him. He can get up occasionally, though I doubt it; unless it's out of respect for Theseus, who dutifully walks the country road throughout the play, constantly coming in and out. . . There, we told ourselves, is the classic."

But in 1828, the letter continues, “we learned that there is romantic poetry and classical poetry, romantic novels and classical novels, romantic odes and classical odes; no, a single line, my dear sir, a single solitary line of verse may be romantic or classical, depending on the mood. When we got this news, we couldn't close our eyes all night. Two years of peaceful conviction disappeared like a dream. All our ideas were turned upside down; for if Aristotle's rules were no longer the dividing line of literary fields, where one should be and what one should trust, how, when reading a book, could one know to which school it belonged? ... Fortunately a famous preface appeared in the same year, which we devoured on the spot.* ... It said very clearly

  • Cromwell's Preface by Victor Hugo, October 1827

The play was printed in 1828 but was not performed.

20 <iA history of English l^Pmanticism.

that novel was nothing but the union of the ludic and the serious, the grotesque and the horrible, the witty and the horrendous, that is, if you prefer, comedy and tragedy.

Concerned researchers accepted this definition for a year, until they realized that Aristophanes - not to mention other ancients - mixed tragedy and comedy in his dramas. Again the friends were plunged into darkness, and their perplexity increased when one night, during a walk, they overheard a remark from the sub-prefect's niece. This young woman fell in love with the English way, which was evident - somewhat strangely - by her green veil, orange gloves and silver-rimmed glasses. As she passed the strollers, she turned and looked at a watermill by the ford, where sacks of grain, geese and an ox lay harnessed, and called out to her housekeeper, "Voila un site romantique."

This mysterious phrase aroused the waning curiosity of MM Dupuis and Cotonet, and they renewed their investigations. A passage in a newspaper led them to believe for a while that Romanticism was an imitation of the Germans, perhaps supplemented by the English and Spanish. They were then tempted to imagine that it could only be a literary form, possibly that line Brise (overflow, enjambment) they make so much noise about. “From 1830 to 1831 we were convinced that Romanticism was the historical style [genre historique] or, if you prefer, that craze which has recently taken hold of our authors, in which the characters in their romances and melodramas were Charlemagne, Francis I or Henry IV, house

7 he Tfefined object. 21

instead of Amadis, Oronte or Saint-Albin. . . From 1831 until the following year, we thought it was the intimate genre that was talked about a lot. But despite all the work we went through, we were never able to figure out what the Gejire Intiine was. "Intimate" romances are like any other. They're at two-octave volumes with plenty of scope. . . They have a yellow cover and cost fifteen francs.” From 1832 to 1833 they conjectured that Romanticism might be a system of philosophy and economics, and ample evidence was greatly strengthened.

Finally, they remember a certain lawyer who first imported these literary arguments into the village in 1824. They explain their difficulties to him and ask for an answer to the question: What is romance? After a long conversation, they arrive at this final definition. "Novel, my dear sir! No, certainly, it is neither a disrespect to unity, nor the alliance of the comic and the tragic, nor anything in the world that can be expressed in words. In vain do you grasp the butterfly's wing; the dust that gives it color lies in the fingers. Romance is the star that weeps, it is the wind that howls, it is the night that shudders, the bird that flies and the flower that exudes perfume: it is the sudden rise, the ecstasy vanished, the cistern under the palm trees, the rosy hope with its thousand loves, the angel and the pearl, the white dress of the willows. It's infinity and the stars", etc., etc.

Then M. Ducoudray, a magistrate of the department, gives his theory of the novel, which he confirms.

22 r^ History of English Romanticism.

as a result of religious and political backlash under the restored Bourbon monarchy of Louis XV. and Charles X. "The ballad-mania, coming from Germany, met Legitimist poetry one fine day in Ladvocat's bookstore; and the two, pickaxe in hand, went at dusk to a cemetery to unearth the Middle Ages." The predilection for the Middle Ages, adds M. Ducoudray, survived the revolution of 1830, and romanticism even entered the service of freedom and progress, where it is a patent anachronism, “the style used by Ronsard to build railways to celebrate and emulate Dante in singing the praises of Washington and Lafayette." Dupuis was tempted to accept M. Ducoudray's explanation, but Cotonet was not satisfied. He shut himself up for four months, at the end of which he announced his discovery that the true and the only difference between the Classical and the Romantic is that the latter uses a great deal of adjectives.He illustrates his principle by citing passages from 'Paulo e Virgínia' and the 'Portuguese Letters', written in the Romantic style.

Then Musset pierces a critical bubble with the point

its satire; and still the bubble won't go away.

There really has to be a bigger difference

like this between the classic and the romantic, for the terms

remain and are perceived as useful. It may be true that the

, romantic temperament, subjective and excited, tends to

\to an excess of adjectives; the adjective is this

-/Part of the speech attributing qualities, and there are-

/ Used more freely, especially by emotional people. Yet

would it be possible to delete all adjectives, no

\ absolutely necessary, from one of the Tieck girls com-

The topic "Defined. 23

disturb at least its romantic character.

It remains to add that romance is a two-way word. It is now against realism as it once was against classicism. On the one hand, his freedom and illegality, his love for the new, for experimentation, for the "strangeness of beauty" contrast with the classic respect for rules, models, formulas, precedents, conventions; so, in another way, his dissatisfaction with things as they are, his idealism, his effort, his mysticism, contrasts with the realist's scrupulous adherence to facts. "*Ivanhoe" is a kind of romance;

    • "The Marble Faun" is another.*
  • In modern times, romance is a permanent phenomenon.

of the human spirit, in contrast to so-called realism. . . [But] there is, as it seems to us, only one keynote that every novel. . . have in common a profound disgust with the world as it is and a desire to represent in literature something supposedly nobler and better. — Essays on German Literature, by H.H. Boyesen, pp. 358 and 356.

CHAPTER 11. Bugustans XLbc.

The Romantic movement in England was part of the general reaction in Europe against the spirit of the eighteenth century. It started a little earlier in England than in Germany and much earlier in France, where literary conservatism was oddly associated with political radicalism. In England the reaction was initially gradual, timid and unconscious. It only gained importance in the seventh decade of the century and only culminated in the first years of the nineteenth century. The medieval renaissance was just one incident - albeit an important one - of this movement; but it is on this side that the present work will mainly deal. So I'll have a lot to say about Scott; very little about Byron, intensely romantic as he was in many senses of the word. This does not prevent me from occasionally pointing to elements other than the Middle Ages that enter into the notion of the term 'Romance'.

Returning then to our preliminary definition - Heine's definition - of romanticism as the reproduction of medieval life in modern art and literature, it must be explained that the term "Middle Ages" here is to be taken in a liberal sense. Contributions to Romantic Literature, such as Macpher-


Die E^ugustaner. 25

Son's Ossian, Collins' Ode on the Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands, and Gray's Welsh and Norse translations refer to periods before that era of Christian chivalry and feudalism, extending from around the 11th century onwards to the 15th, for which the term " Middle Ages" applies more strictly. The same is true at least of the preparatory works of ancient heroic epics like Beowulf and Nibelungenlied, the Icelandic sagas, and similar products from ancient pagan Europe, which have emerged in the form of mythologies, folk beliefs, customs, rites, songs, and traditions. These began to attract scholarly attention in the middle of the last century and have made a deep impression on contemporary literature.

Again, the influence of the Middle Ages proper extended beyond the very end of the medieval period, usually dated from the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Italy's great romantic poets, Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso, wrote in all the splendor of the pagan renaissance, making free use of Greek and Roman mythology and the fables of Homer, Virgil and Ovid; and yet his work can hardly be described as classic. Nor the work of his English students Spenser and Sidney; whereas all Spanish and English drama of the 16th and 17th centuries (up to 1640 and with occasional exceptions like Ben Jonson) is romantic. Calderon is romantic; Shakespeare and Fletcher are romantics. If we agree to consider medieval literature, then we will not do too much violence to it, since it encompasses all early European literature that drew inspiration from sources other than Greco-Latin.

26 (^^ History of English T^manticism.

common critical use of the word. I say ancient literature to exclude very modern writings like Robinson Crusoe or Gulliver's Travels or Fielding's novels which are neither classic nor romantic but are the original creation of our time. It is works like these that do not concern our investigations, although they are perhaps the most characteristic productions of the eighteenth century.

Needless to say, the reproduction or imitation of medieval life by the Romantics of the 18th and 19th centuries contains a great mixture of modern thought and feeling. The glowing images of feudal society in Scott and Fouque's novels, while carefully correct in every verifiable historical detail, do not provide a true picture of that society as unique and picturesque features of a way of life that was neither picturesque nor idiosyncratic to the people. who lived picturesque, but only for the man who seeks it to rest from the prosaic, or at least familiar, conditions of life

  • Another notable weakness of old age is the habit of seeking

back, in passionate, romantic idleness, to ages past - not understanding them all the while... so Scott gives up nearly half his intellectual power to daydream fondly but uselessly about the past; and spends half of his literary work reviving it, not in reality, but on the stage of fiction: undertakings that were the best of the kind that modernism undertook, but still only succeeded so far as Scott's old armor supported the eternal human nature he knew; and wholly unsuccessful in painting the armor itself, which he was unfamiliar with. . . . His romanticism and antiquarianism, his chivalry and monasticism are all false, and he knows they are false, and he knows they are false. — Ruskin, "Modern Painters" Vol. III. P. 279 (First American edition, i860).

Die <i/Jugtislaner. 27

modern world. The offspring of the modern imagination acting on medieval material can be a perfectly legitimate, albeit unoriginal, form of art. It may even have a charm of its own, unlike either parent, but like Euphorion, son of Faust by Helen of Troy, a mix of Hellas and the Middle Ages. Scott's tales in verse are better poetry than the metrical English romances of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Tennyson gave a more perfect form to the Arthurian legends than Sir Thomas Malory, their author, or Walter Map and Chrestien de Troyes, their possible inventors. But of course, to study the Middle Ages as they really were, you don't have to go to Tennyson and Scott, but to Roland's Chanson, the Divine Comedy, and the Romance of the Roses. ”, and the chronicles of Villehardouin, Joinville and Froissart.

And as this study progresses, it becomes clearer that "medieval" and "romantic" are not synonymous. The Middle Ages were by no means romantic: it is the modern romantic who makes or considers them to be so. In the glare of distance, he sees its strange, vivid quirks. Chaucer's temperament, for example, was not at all romantic. That "common sense" that Dryden mentions as his hallmark; that "deep tone" which Lowell extols in him, and which keeps him close to the common ground of experience, permeates his greatest work, the Canterbury Tales, with an insistent realism. It is true that Chaucer shared the beliefs and influences of his time and was a follower of its literary fashions. In his version of the "Romanaunt of the Rose", his imitations of Machault and his early works in general,

28 and The History of English Romanticism.

he used the medieval machinery of allegory and dreams. In "Troilus and Cresseide" and the fairy tale "Palamon and Arcite" he takes romantic love and chivalrous honor to a higher level than his role model Boccaccio. But the deftly practical Pandarus of the first poem - a character created almost entirely by Chaucer - is the very embodiment of Sancho Panza's anti-romantic attitude and a remarkable anticipation; while the 'Rime of Sir Thopas' is a burlesque distinct from the fantastic romances of chivalry.* Chaucer's pages are colorful with jousts, hunting parties, baronic feasts, miracles of saints, exploits; but they also fit well into everyday life in fourteenth-century England. They have the naivety and chatteriness that are hallmarks of medieval work, but not the weirdness and grotesqueness that are said to be hallmarks of Romantic work. It is not an archaic language, but a certain mental distortion that leaves the curious. Herbert and Fuller are colorful; Blake is grotesque; Donne and Charles Lamb are intentionally pictorial, subtle and paradoxical. But Chaucer is always straight, broad and natural.

Even Dante, the poet of the Catholic Middle Ages; Dante, the mystic, the idealist, with his intense spirituality and passion for symbolism, has sometimes been called a classic because of the vigorous construction of his great poem and his scholastic rigor in method.

The relationship between modern romantic literature

  • See also the insidious success of popular fiction in the story of Nonne Prestes:

"This story is also trewe, I suppose, like Lancelot de Lake's book, which women admire."

The rtAiigiistans. 29

between the literature of the Renaissance and the ancient literatures of Greece and Rome. But there is a difference: while Renaissance writers fell short of their standard, the modern Romantic schools surpassed their masters - perhaps not in an intellectual sense - but certainly in the artistic merit of their product. Medieval literature, wonderful and stimulating on the whole and beautiful here and there in the details of execution, offers few examples of technical perfection. The civilization they reflected, though superior in potential to classical civilizations, had not yet reached the same level of development, was inferior in intelligence and the mature result of a long culture. The epithets of Gothic ignorance, coarseness, and barbarism which eighteenth-century critics so liberally applied to all subjects of the so-called Dark Ages were not wholly unfounded. Dante is almost the only strictly medieval poet whose form of work seems suited to the content; for Boccaccio and Petrarch are already on the threshold of the Renaissance.

In design art, it was partly the other way around. If Renaissance artists did not equal the Greeks in sculpture and architecture, they probably surpassed them in painting. On the other hand, Gothic restorers never fully revealed the secret of medieval master builders. If the analogy is not carried too far, however, the Romantic Revival can be seen as a weak counterpart to the Renaissance. Just as the fragments of a half-forgotten civilization were being pieced together in the fifteenth century; Greek manuscripts sought after, cleaned, edited and printed: statues, coins.

30 ^ History of the English novel.

Vessels unearthed and displayed in museums: debris removed from temples, amphitheaters, basilicas; until gradually the complete picture of the ancient world grew in sublime beauty, and kindled an excitement of spirit with which history has few parallels; thus, in the eighteenth century, the despised age of monasticism, feudalism and superstition began to reassert its claims to the imagination. Ruins of castles and monasteries, chain mail, illuminated missals, handwritten romances, ballads written in black letters, old tapestries and wood carvings took on a new value. First antiquarians and virtuosos, then poets and novelists, they reconstructed an image of medieval society.

However, the last set was the weaker of the two. There was no gulf between modern times and the Middle Ages of the kind that opened between Antiquity and the Middle Ages with the fall of the Roman State and the migration of peoples. Even ten centuries of rubbish did not pile up on the remains of medieval culture. Around 1700, the Middle Ages weren't that far away. The nations and languages ​​of Europe remained within the same borders that delimited them two centuries earlier. Indeed, advances in the mechanical sciences and arts, the discovery and colonization of America, the invention of the printing press and gunpowder, and the Protestant Reformation drew deep boundaries between modern and medieval life. However, Christianity formed a link, although in Protestant countries the continuity between earlier and later forms of religion was broken. Just compare the list of pilgrims Chaucer found on the Tabard with the company Captain Sentinel or

O <^ugustaner. 31

One would probably meet Peregrine Pickle at a suburban inn to see how the face of English society changed between the 1400s and 1700s. What happened to the knight, prioress, sumner, friar, pardoner, squire, alchemist, friar; and where can we find them or their equivalents across England?

The narrowness of my subject obliges me to treat English Romanticism as a chapter in literary history, even at the risk of adopting a narrow approach. It would be unphilosophical, however, to treat it as a purely aesthetic issue and entirely lose sight of its deeper sources in the religious and ethical currents of the time. For it was in part a return of warmth and color to English letters;' and that was only a symptom of the return of heat and color - that is, of feeling and imagination - in |; English life and thought: in church, politics, philosophy. Romanticism, which wanted to evoke the beauty of the mass that it lacked in the present, was just one phase of this revolt against the cold and intellectual dullness of the first half of the eighteenth century, which had other faces in nineteenth-century Berkeley, in the nineteenth century. Methodist and evangelical revivals led by Wesley and Whitefield, and in the sentimentality manifested in the writings of Richardson and Sterne. Corresponding with these on the continent were German Pietism, the transcendent philosophy of Kant and his followers, and the emotional excesses of works such as Rousseau's "Nouvelle Héloise" and Goethe's "The Sorrows of Werther". "

The novel, then, was more than a new literary fad; a taste cultivated by amateurs


32 zThe History of English Romanticism.

Virtuosi like Horace Walpole, university recluses like Gray, and antiquarians like Joseph and Thomas Warton. It was the effort of the poetic imagination to create a richer environment for itself; but it was also, in its deepest meaning, a reaching out of the human spirit to a more ideal kind of religion and ethics than that found in the official church art and formal morals of the day. Mr. Leslie Stephen* points out the connection between the three trends known as sentimentalism, romanticism and naturalism. He explains that early English sentimentalists like Richardson and Sterne were anything but romantic. "A modern sentimentalist would probably express his sentiments by describing a past state of society. He would paint an ideal society in the Middle Ages and revive the holy monk and the humble nun for our edification and the consequent growth of antiquary." painful investigations that accumulated a whole literature on the scarce records of our first playwrights. Gray, the more learned poet, vaguely sketched a history of English poetry, and the sketch was carried out with great success in the industry of Thomas Warton, his brother Joseph daring to defend the then paradoxical thesis.

  • "History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century", vol.

Hey dude. xiii. Section VII

Sentimentalism approaches its object through feelings; Romance through imagination.

the augustians. 33

that Spenser was as important a man as Pope. Everywhere there was a renewed interest in the minutest details of the past.” At first, says Stephen, the result of this research was “an irrational disdain for the past. The modern philosopher who could extract all knowledge from his own brain; the skeptic who broke the old dogmas; or the freethinker of all shades, rejoicing in the destruction of ecclesiastical tyranny, and boasting of his conscious superiority over his forefathers. What was old was absurd; and Gothic - an epithet applied to any medieval art, philosophy or social order - became a simple term of scorn. to study. Men of imaginative minds immediately discovered that these dry notes could be a new source of fun. . . The “return to nature” expresses a feeling that . . . both sentimental and romantic movements. . . In a way, returning to nature means finding new expression for emotions that have been repressed by existing conventions; or, in another case, returning to a simpler social order that had not yet suffered from these conventions. The artificiality attributed to the eighteenth century seems to mean that people were content to regulate their thoughts and lives by rules that did not derive from fundamental principles but depended on a set of particular and extraordinary conditions. . . To break out of rut or throw off old-fashioned shackles, two methods can be employed. Intellectual horizons could be broadened by including more age groups and countries; or men could

34 e^ History of English Romanticism.

Try to draw on the thoughts and feelings common to all races and shed the surface crust. The first method, that of the Romantics, aims at expanding our knowledge, the second, that of the naturalistic school, at basing our philosophy on deeper principles.

The Classical, or Pseudo-Classical, period of English literature lasted from the mid-17th century to the end of the 18th century. Insofar as the Romantic Revival was a protest against this mode of government, it becomes necessary to ask a little more precisely what we mean when we say that the age of Queen Anne and the first two Georges was our Augustan or Classical age. How was it classic? And was it more classical than, say, the Milton era or the Landor era? If the "Dunciad" and theEssay on Man" sind

  • Ruskin also points to the common ground in the novel.

Naturalism - a desire to escape Augustan formalism. I will summarize the passage a little: “Powder in the hair, patch the cheek, ripen the body, bind the foot were all part of the same system that reduced the streets to brick walls and paintings to brown stains. The answer to this state was inevitable, and accordingly men crawl to the fields and mountains, and, finding among them color, liberty, variety, and power, rejoice in the most violent crushing of the mountainside, in opposition to Gower Street. . existing inanimate nature, driven by our lack of personal beauty and clothing. The idea of ​​how this was seen by our ancestors constantly haunts us. We like to remember the customs of the time The furniture and personalities of our Romanticism are sought after in the centuries, which we profess to have surpassed in everything... can find in everyday life. " - Modern Painters, Vol. III. P. 260.

The <iAnfustans. 35


Classic, what is Keats' "Hyperion"? And how gracefully can we bring under a common rubric such disparate things as Prior's Carmen Seculare and Tennyson's Ulysses, or Gay's Trivia and Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon? Evidently, the Queen Anne writers understood antiquity from a different angle than our nineteenth-century poets. His classicism was of a special kind: it was, as has often been pointed out, more Latin than Greek and more French than Latin.* It was, as has also been said, "a classicism in red high heels and a wig." Victor Hugo speaks of "cette poesie fardee, mouchetee, poudrec, du dix-huitieme siecle, cette litterature a paners, a pompons et a falbalas". f Watteau's costumes contrast with the simple folds

  • Though devout in their admiration of antiquity, writers

of the seventeenth century did not always clearly grasp the object of their cult. While they may understand the Latin tradition, they certainly never entered the freer and more original spirit of Greek art. They have only an incomplete and superficial idea of ​​Hellenism. . . Boileau celebrates, but does not understand Pindar. . . Homer did not understand the seventeenth century any better than Pindar did. What we miss about them is exactly what we love most about their epic - the vast living image of a semi-barbarian civilization. . . No society could be less suited than that of the seventeenth century to feel and understand the spirit of primitive antiquity. To appreciate Homer, it was felt necessary to civilize the barbarian, make him a conscientious writer, and convince him that the word "dumb" in Greek is a "very noble" expression. — ^^xLissier:The Literary Movement in France" {translation by Brintonlation, 1S97), pp. 8-10. Thus, Addison apologizes for Homer's failure to observe those qualities of delicacy, correctness, and what the French call hiensance (decorum), the necessity of which was only discovered in later times. See The Spectator, no. 16o.

f Preface by “Cromwell”.


36^t;^ but there is clarity without subtlety or depth. They never try to express a thought or express a feeling that is not easily understood. Wordsworth's mysticism, Shelley's incoherence, Browning's obscurity - to cite only modern examples - emanate not from inferior art, but from her; greater difficulty in finding expression for a very different order of ideas.

Again, the literature of the Restoration and Queen Anne periods - which for present purposes can be considered as one - was classical, or at least unromantic, in its self-restraint, objectivity and lack of curiosity; or, as a hostile critic would say, in her coldness of feeling, in the meekness of her imagination, and in her narrow and imperfect sense of beauty. It was a literature not just of this world, but of the world, of i^eau nionde, of high life, of fashion, of society, of court and city, of salons, clubs, cafes, meetings, ombré parties. It was sociable, urbane, sociable, intense if not broadly human. He cared little for the earth or outer nature, and nothing for the life of distant times and places. Civilization was her interest, and that peculiarly artificial kind of civilization which she found predominant. Venice, Switzerland, the Alhambra, the Nile, the American forests and islands of the South Seas were as indifferent to him as the Middle Ages and the customs of the Scottish Highlands. The sensitivity to

If you can, I'll talk about it,” “Imaginary Conversations,” Series 2, Conversation XV. Landor's disdain for German literature is significant.

44 t^ History of English 'T^manticism.

pictorially, the predilection for local color and for everything that is striking, distinctive and idiosyncratic about the national in a foreign way is a romantic touch. Unpopular in the 18th century ijlstrangeness added to beauty"; esv\T disapproved of anything original, exotic, tropical, bizarre for the same reason he disapproved of mountains and Gothic architecture.

Professor Gates says that the work of English literature during the first quarter of the present century was "the rediscovery and justification of the concrete." They required no new experience... The abstract, the typical, the general - these were everywhere exalted to the detriment of the image, the specific experience, the vital fact. "*Classical tragedy, e.b. bent on presenting only the universal, abstract, and enduring truths of human character and passion, f

  • "Newman's Selections", Introduction, S. xlvii-xlviii,

■j- Racine asserts that common sense and reason are always the same. What is the result of this generalization? Heroes can be transported from era to era, from country to country, without causing any surprises. Your Achilles is no more Greek than Porus is Indian; Andromache feels and speaks like a seventeenth-century princess: Phsedra experiences a Christian's repentance. — Pellissier, "Literary Movement in France" p. i8.

By replacing the ideal figures of tragic art with people of concrete, individual lives, Romanticism was forced to define its physiognomy through a multitude of local and incidental details. In the name of universal truth, the classics rejected the coloring of time and place; and this is exactly what the romantics look for under the name of special reality. — Ibid. P. 220. Likewise, Montezuma's Mexicans in Dryden's Indian Emperor have no more national individuality than the Spanish Moors in his conquest of Granada. just try

O (iAugust. 45

The transmission of the mysterious Orient to modern travelers and poets like Byron, Southey, De Quincey, Moore, Hugo, Ruckert and Gerard de Nerval is unparalleled in the eighteenth century. The eastern allegory, or moral apologist, practiced by Addison in treatises like The Vision of Mirza and by Johnson in Rasselas, is somewhat faintly colored, taking on the color it has in the Old Testament. It is significant that the romantic Collins set out to put a new spin on decaying pastoral work by writing a series of 'Oriental Eclogues' in which dervishes and camel drivers took the place of shepherds, but the experience was not a happy one. Milton had more of the East on his mind than any of his successors. His "vultures reared at Imaus, whose snowy summit bounds the wandering Tartar"; his "Sericana Plain, where the Chinese lightly drive their sugar wagons"; his "most Indian island of Taprobane" are touches of paint, anticipating a more modern mood than Addison's.

"The difference," says Matthew Arnold, "between real poetry and the poetry of Dryden, Pope, and their whole school is, in short, this: their poetry is conceived and composed in their minds, real poetry is conceived and composed in their minds. souls." Representative minds of the 18th century were like Voltaire, the master of pastiche, who helped to destroy superstition.


The local color in 'Aurungzebe' - a heroic play based on the story of a contemporary East Indian potentate who died seven years after the author - is the suttee introduction and a mention or two of elephants.

  • Veja „The Orientals“ (Hugo) and Nervals „The Nights of

Rhamadan" and "The Legend of Caliph Hakcm".

46 iA History of English } Manticism.

his hideous smile; Gibbon, "the lord of irony",Sat-expressing a solemn creed with solemn scorn"; and Hume, with his complete philosophical skepticism, dry Toryism and cold contempt for "zeal" of any kind. "Absalom and Achitophel, The Way of the World, Gulliver's Travels and The Rape of the Keyhole . ' and 'The Country Mouse and the City Mouse'; Buckingham's "Rehearsal" and Swift's "Meditation on a Broomstick"; acted feats like "Dunciad" and "MacFlecknoe" and "Dispensary" by Garth and "Splendid Shilling" by John Phillips and "Machinse Gesticulantes" by Addison; Prior's "Alma", a burlesque of philosophy; Gay's "Trivia" and "The Shepherd's Week" and "The Beggars' Opera" - a "Newgate Pastoral"; "Town Eclogues" by Swift and Lady Montague and others. Literature was a polished mirror in which the gay world saw its own smiling face. She presented a brilliant picture of the surface of society, showing good manners but not the elementary passions of human nature. Overall, it leaves an impression of hardness, superficiality and lightness. The polite cynicism of Congreve, the wild cynicism of Swift, the meanness of Pope, the politeness of Addison, the carefree worldliness of Prior and Gay are rarely tempered by any shade of ideal. The prose of the time was excellent, but the poetry was just rhyming prose. Queen Anne's recent renaissance in architecture, dress and bric-a-brac, the resurgence of the society verse in Dobson and others, is perhaps

The Augustinians. 47

symptomatic of the prosaic reaction of the present generation to Romantic excesses and our discovery of our painting in that age of artificiality which seemed so unpictorial to our ancestors. The palanquin, blue china, fan, farthingale and powdered headgear now have the "maturity of age" and are seen in a fascinating perspective, just as the armored steed, leather doublet, dress and cloth dock shaft were seen by men from Scott. generation.

Again, the eighteenth century was classic in its respect for authority. He wanted to discipline himself, follow the rules, discover a \ ' ■•; Formula of correction in all the arts, establishing a court of taste and establishing canons of composition, maintaining standards, copying models and standards, observing conventions and punishing illegality. In a word, his spirit was academic. Horace was his favorite teacher—not the Horace of the odes, but the Horace of the satires and epistles, and especially the Horace interpreted by Boileau. L'Art Poetique", which became the father of numerous descendants in England; including an "Essay on Satire" and an "Essay on Poetry" by the Earl of Mulgrave; to an "Essay on

  • The rules obeyed by a nation born to serve;

And Boileau is still teetering on Horace's right.

- papa,jEssay on criticism."\ These critical verse essays seem to have been particularly affected by this order of nobility; for a little later we have one, On Unnatural Flights in Poetry, by the Earl of Lansdowne—Granville, the educated.

48 tA History of English %omanticism.

Translated verse" of the Earl of Roscommon, who, says Addison,even makes a noble poetry out of rules”;*and Pope's well-known "Essay on Criticism."

In short, the doctrine of Pope's essay is to follow nature, and in order for you to follow nature, pay attention to the rules that are only "methodized by nature" and also imitate the ancients.

“So learn a fair appreciation of the ancient rules; to imitate nature is to imitate it”.

Thus, when Virgil began to compose envy i, he seemed above the law of criticism, but in studying Homer he found that nature and Homer were the same thing. Accordingly,

''He examines bold design and rules as sternly as his job would be,

Not encouraging, but controlling, restricting, regulating is the infallible rule of this entire critical school. Literature, in the state in which they found it, seemed to them to need more restraint than encouragement,

Addison's scholarship was almost entirely Latin, though it was Vergilian rather than Horatian. Macaulay f says of Addison's "Remarks on Italy": "As far as we can remember, Addison does not mention Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Boiardo, Beni, Lorenzo de' Medici or Machiavelli. He coldly tells us that he saw the tomb of Ariosto in Ferrara and heard the gondoliers sing Tasso's verses in Venice, but he cared far less for Tasso and Ariosto than for Valerius Flaccus and Sidonius Apollinaris.

  • "Letter to Sacheverel." f "Addison Essay."

O <^ugustaner. 49

The Ticino current brings to mind a Silius line. The sulphurous current of the Albula suggests several passages from Martial. But he doesn't have a word to say about the famous Santa Croce dead; he walks through the forest of Ravenna* without remembering the ghost hunter, and wanders through Rimini without thinking of Francesca. In Paris he eagerly sought an introduction to Boileau; but he does not seem to have realized that in Florence he was in the vicinity of a poet with whom Boileau could not compare: the greatest lyric poet of modern times [!] Vincenzio Filicaja. . . The truth is that Addison knew little and cared less about the literature of modern Italy. His favorite role models were Latinos. His favorite critics were French. Half of the Tuscan poetry he read seemed monstrous and the other half tacky." f

There was no academia in England, but a critical tradition that was almost as influential. French critics gave the law: Boileau, Dacier, LeBossu, Rapin, Bouhours; English critics proclaimed it: Dennis, Langbaine, Rymer, Gildon, and others little now

  • Sweet twilight hour! - in solitude

From the pine forest and the peaceful coast that borders the ancient forest of Ravenna,

Rooted where Adrian's wave once swept, There where Cssaren's last stronghold stood,

Green Forest! what Boccaccio's wisdom and Dryden's lies haunted me, How I loved the twilight hour and you!

- Don Juan. f I must heartily agree with Monsieur Boileau that a Virgil is worth all Tasso's money or tinsel. — Spectator, #5.

5© e/^ History of English Romanticism.

to read. Three authors of great authority in three successive generations - Dryden, Addison and Johnson - consolidated a literary opinion that can essentially be described as classic and consonant, albeit with minor deviations. Everyone agreed that it was a writer's duty to be "right." It was good to be "bold," but bold with prudence. Dryden considered Shakespeare a greater poet than Jonson, but an inferior artist. He is to be admired, but not approved of. Even Homer, as was generally recognized, was not as correct as Virgil, although he had more "fire". Chesterfield preferred Vergil to Homer and both to Tasso. But of all the epics he liked reading the Henriade best. As for "Paradise Lost", he couldn't read it. William Walsh, “the judge and friend of the Muses”, advised the young pope that “there remained one way for him to surpass any of his predecessors, and that by correction; indeed, we had several great poets, but we could not yet boast of one who was perfectly correct, and therefore he advised him to make that quality his special study. "The best of the moderns in all languages," he wrote Pope, "are those who have most closely copied the ancients." Pope was grateful for the advice and mentions his donor in Essay on Criticism as having received it.

'' taught his muse to sing, prescribed her height, and clipped her ten wings.

But what was right? In acting, eg. For example, membership of units was recommended almost everywhere but not practiced everywhere.

The <iAugustans. 51

Johnson, himself a staunch disciple of Dryden and Pop, exposed the fallacy of the stage illusion in whose supposed necessity the unity of time and place was defended. However, Johnson kept to Aristotle's rules in his own tragedy, Irene. He called "Cato" "undoubtedly the noblest production of Addison's genius", but acknowledged that its success introduced or confirmed among us the use of excessively declamatory dialogue, unimpressed elegance and cold philosophy". observed by Johnson, Addison extolled old English ballads that Johnson found mean and silly, and he cautiously extolled* "fairy writing", a romantic lust that Johnson despised.

Critical opinion was expressed in favor of separating tragedy from comedy, and Addison wrote a sentence condemning half of Shakespeare's and Fletcher's plays: "The tragic comedy which is the product of the English theater is one of the greatest monstrous inventions that ever penetrated the mind. of a poet." | Dryden experimented a little with tragic comedy, but in general classical comedy was pure comedy—the comedy of manners in prose—and classical tragedy did not admit of any comic mixing. Whether the tragedy should be in rhyme, in the French manner, or in blank verse, in the manner of the old English stage, was a moot point. Dryden initially defended the rhyme and used it in his "heroic plays"; and it is significant that he defended its use on the grounds

  • Viewers. No. 419.

t Check your Collins life. % viewers, #40. ^■


52 tA History of English Romanticism.

it would keep the poet's imagination in check. But after that he grew "tired of his beloved mistress, rhyme" and reverted to blank verse in his later plays.

As for non-dramatic poems, Restoration critics were unanimous in judging blank verse as too "low" for a poem of heroic proportions; and although Addison favored him in epic poetry, Johnson was his stubborn enemy and considered him almost immoral. But about that. Gray couldn't stand blank lines outside of Milton. It is curious that rhyme, a medieval invention, is associated with the classical school of poetry of the last century; while blank verse, the closest English equivalent of the language of Attic tragedy, was a motto of Romantic poets like Thomson and Akenside. There were two reasons for this: the rhyme was coined with the authority of the French tragedy Alexandrine; and second, it meant compulsion where blank verse meant freedom, "ancient freedom regained from modern slavery and tiring to rhyme to a heroic poem." contributed to Thomson's "Seasons". Even the heroic couplet written by earlier poets was considered too loose in structure. 'The excellence and dignity of it,' says Dryden, 'was never fully known until Mr. Waller taught her; he first made simple writing an art; first showed us how to close the sense in couplets most commonly, what in verse those before him, continues for so many

  • The Verse: Preface to Paradise Lost.

The zAugustans. 55

curves, the profile of a Doric capital probably due. its shape to the firm hand and uncontrolled taste of the designer. To believe the many theories advanced by architectural authorities over the past century would be to believe that some of the greatest monuments the world has ever erected owe their greatest beauty to an intimate knowledge of arithmetic. Column diameter was divided into modules: modules were divided into minutes; the minutes in fractions of themselves. The axis was given a certain height, the entablature another. . . Scholars sometimes discussed the distance between the columns of a portico.”*

This mode of measurement recalls the disputes among French critics over whether the unit of time meant thirty hours, or twenty-four, or twelve, or the actual time needed to play the piece; or the geometric method ofSaturday Newspapers" inViewers. Addison tries "Paradise Lost" according to Aristotle's rules for composing an epic. Is it the story of a great action? Does it begin in medias res, as it should, or ab ovo LedcB, as Horace said an epic should not? Does it bring the introduction as an episode according to the proven recipe of Homer and Virgil? Contrary to the practice of the ancients, does it have allegorical characters? Does the poet invade his poem personally, thus blending lyric and epic styles? etc. Not a word about Milton's Puritanism, or his worldview, or his working relationship with the environment. None of that historic and sympathetic method - the one

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

$6nA History of English T^omantics.

strive to place the reader in the poet's point of view - through which modern critics, from Lessing to Sainte-Beuve, have revolutionized his art. Addison sees "Paradise Lost" as something very different from Milton: a manufactured article that must be tested against standard fabrics from recognized manufacturers such as the authors of the Iliad and Envy.

When Queen Anne's poetry took a serious turn, the generalizing zeitgeist almost always led it down the path of ethical and didactic verse. "He stooped to the truth and moralized his song", finding his favorite pastime in the expression of banal sentences - the epigram in satire, the maxim in serious work. It became a poetry of aphorisms that the Pope teaches us

"Only virtue is happiness below;"

or, with Young, that

“Procrastination is the thief of time”; or, with Johnson, who

"Slowly increasing value depressed by poverty."

When he tried to deal concretely with the passions, he found himself impotent. Pope's "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard" rings hollow: it is rhetoric, not poetry. The closing lines of "The Dunciad" - so strangely overrated by Thackeray - are unimaginative with their metallic jingles and grandiose verbiage. The poet simply works his way up to the falsely sublime climax, like an orator deliberately adding a resounding peroration to his speech. Papa is always "heard", never "heard".

The <^ugtistans. 57

The poverty of lyrics in the classical period is particularly significant because song is the most primitive and spontaneous form of poetry and the most direct expression of personal feelings. Whatever the poets of Pope's day could do, they could not sing. They are the despair of anthologists.* Here and there, among the brilliant thinkers, storytellers, and satirists in verse, there occurs an astute epigrammatist like Prior, or a ballad writer like Henry Carey, whose

    • Sally in Our Alley" shows the singing, not the talking -

Song, voice, but hardly the lyrical scream. Gay's "Blackeyed Susan" has real quality, though its rococo graces are more than semi-artificial. Sweet William is as operatic a sailor as Bumkinet or Grubbinol is a shepherd, and his courtship is adorned with such ideas as:

"If we sail to the coast of India,

His eyes are seen as bright diamonds, his breath is the spicy storm of Africa,

Her skin is ivory, so white. So every beautiful sight I behold awakens in my soul the charm of lovely Sue."

It was the same with the poetry of an external nature and with the poetry of human passion, in Addison's Letter from Italy, in the Pastorals of the Pope and

  • Palgrave says that after 1660 the poetry of passion was deformed,

for "frivolity and an artificial tone"; and who "almost slept for a hundred years between the days of Wither and Suckling and the days of Burns and Cowper," "Golden Treasury" (Sever and Francis Edition, 1866), pp. 379-80.

f With the exception of Lady Winchelsea's 'Nocturnal Reverie' and a passage or two in Pope's 'Windsor Forest', the poetry of the period between the publication of 'Paradise Lost'

$8 <iA History of English 'T(Omancy.

"Windsor Forest," the image, while not entirely wrong, is vague and conventional, and the language is full of classical blandness, epithets that describe nothing, and second-hand generalities from older poets who might one day have written with the from them. "eyes on the object." The red flora paints the enamelled floor; happy murmurs sway in the storm; Eridanus wanders through meadows of flowers; joyous golden scenes and bright prospects rise; while everywhere there are soft zephyrs, forest shadows, winding valleys, rumbling shores, silvery floods, crystalline fountains, feathered postures, and gifts from Phoebus and Philomel and Ceres* supporting the crimson year. This is how Pope translated the famous moonlight passage in his translation of the Iliad:

"Then the valleys shine, the rocks come into view, A flood of glory breaks forth from all the heavens," etc.

"Strange to think of an enthusiast," says Wordsworth, "reciting these lines under the crown of a moonlit sky, without his ecstasy disturbed by suspicion of their absurdity." The poetic diction that Wordsworth opposed was an outward sign of the classical preference for the general over the concrete. The vocabulary has been Latinized because in English mof propre is compound.

and the "Seasons" [1667-1726] do not contain a single new picture of external nature. —Wordsworth, Appendix to Lyric Ballads, (1815).

  • Gild is a perfect identifier for the 18th century descriptive verse:

the coast is golden, as are woods, clouds, etc. Contentment gilds the scenery and the stars gild the dark night (Parnell) or the bright stake (Pope).

7b e <iAiigutans. 59

just a Saxon word, while its Latin synonym has a comfortable vagueness that keeps the subject at bay. Of a similar bent was the popular figure of speech of personification, which gave false life to abstractions simply by capitalizing them. Therefore:

“From bard to bard crept icy caution, Until declamation roared while passion slept; And yet virtue graced the stage to tread, Philosophy remained though nature fled,... Exultant madness greeted the merry day, And pantomime and music confirmed its influence." *

Everything was personified: Britannia, justice, freedom, science, melancholy, night. Even the smallpox vaccination was invoked as a goddess,

"Vaccination, heavenly maiden, descend!" f

But circumlocution or periphrasis was the main means by which the august poet avoided precision and achieved nobility of style. It allowed him to speak of a woman as a "nymph" or a "beauty"; of sheep as "the fluffy care"; of fish as "the scaly stem"; and a picket fence like "Spiculated Paling". Lowell says of Pope's followers: “As the Master made it a principle to avoid the common or low, so the disciples strove to escape the common. They managed to do this through quick paraphrasing. They called everything differently .. A boot with them was

"The shiny leather that wrapped around the member."

♦Johnson, „Prologue at the Opening of Drury Lane“, 1747. f Siehe Coleridge, „Biographia Literaria“, Kap. xviii.

6th ^ History of English Romanticism.

coffee became

"'The Perfumed Juice of Berry Brown Mochas'"*

“The direct appeal to nature and the naming of specific objects,” says Mr. Gosse, “replaced them with generalities and second-hand allusions to Flora's spring wreath. It was vulgar to say that the moon rose; the chivalrous expression was: "Cynthia raises her silver horn!" Women became nymphs in this new language, fruit became "the treasures of Pomona", a horse became "the impatient steed". The imprint of these conventional counters to circles of ideas made the personal, the precise, get lost in literature, apples were Pomona's treasures, but so were cherries, and if you wanted to allude to peaches, they were also Pomona's treasures. Pomona. This descent from singular speech to common speech was considered a great gain in elegance. It was believed that the use of one of these kind tokens, which was considered the currency of poetic language, brought the speaker closer to the grace of Latin. kept the old straight Speaking clumsy and pointless, a romantic poet wishing to allude to caterpillars could do so without exercising his ingenuity by simply inserting the word "caterpillars", while the classical poet had to prove he was a scholar and gentleman by inventing a few paraphrases , as "the creeping scourge".

  • Essay on Pope, in “My Study Windows”.

f "Von Shakespere as Papst," S. g-ii.

Die zAtigtistans. 6i

that shatters the green plain.' . . In the generation that followed Pope, really smart writers spoke of a 'jelled cistern' when referring to a cold bath, and of a 'raucous hunting crew' when referring to a pack of dogs."

It would be a mistake to assume that the men of the Pope generation, including Pope himself, were totally lacking in romantic feelings. There is a decidedly romantic accent in the Countess of Winchelsea's Ode to the Nightingale; on her "Night Reverie"; in Parnell's "Night Piece on Death" and in the works of several Scottish poets, such as Allan Ramsay and Hamilton of Bangour, whose ballad "The Braes of Yarrow" is certainly a strange poem, coming from the heart of the eighteenth century. But these are eddies and reverse currents in the current of literary trends. We are always in danger of forgetting that the literature of an era expresses not its whole, but only its dominant spirit. There is usually a latent, silent body of thought and feeling underneath that remains unarticulated or nearly unarticulated. It is this prevailing spirit and fashion that I have tried to describe in this chapter. If the image seems unreliable or in any way exaggerated, the reader should consult the chapters on "Classicism" and "The Pseudo-Classics" in M. Pellissier's "Literary Movement in France" on several occasions already mentioned. They describe a literary situation which had a very close analogue in England,

CHAPTER III. XLbc Spenscrtans.

Dissatisfaction with a prevailing mood or fashion in literature is expressed in a new, independent critique of life or a return to older types. But since the original creative genius is not always present, a literary revolution usually begins with imitation. It seeks inspiration in the past and replaces it with new models that differ as much as possible from the ones it currently follows. In all European countries the classical tradition had concealed what was most national and individual in its earlier culture under a smooth, uniform veneer. To break with modern conventions, England and Germany, and later France, returned to the ancient sources of national life; not always wise at first, but obeying true instinct.

To what extent did a knowledge of, or love for, the old romantic literature of England survive among Dryden's and Pope's contemporaries? It is not difficult to give an answer to this question. Dryden's Prefaces, Critical Treatises by Dennis, Winstanley, Oldmixon, Rymer, Langbaine, Gildon, Shaftesbury, and many others, together with hundreds of passages in prologues and epilogues to plays; in periodical essays such as Taf/er and Spectator; in verse essays


The Spencerians. 63

such as Roscommon's, Mulgrave's and Pope's; in prefaces to various editions of Shakespeare and Spenser; in letters, memoirs, etc., furnish ample evidence that neglect and contempt, with few exceptions, afflicted all English writers who wrote before the middle of the seventeenth century. The exceptions, of course, were those great masters whose genius prevailed over any change of taste: Shakespeare and Milton and, to a lesser extent, Chaucer and Spenser. Chaucer still had readers of purely medieval authors, and there were reprints of his works in 1687, 1721 and 1737*, although no critical editions appeared until Tyrwhitts 1775-78. It is likely, however, that the common reader, if he reads Chaucer at all, will read him in modernized versions such as Dryden's Fables and Pope's.January and May”.Dryden's preface contains some admirable criticisms of Chaucer, though it is evident from what he says of the old poet's lines that the mystery of Middle English singing and pronunciation had already been lost. Prior and Pope, who seem to have been chiefly attracted by the looser of the Canterbury Tales, made an unsuccessful experiment in burlesque imitation of Chaucerian speech.

Outside of Chaucer, and except among antiquarians and professional scholars, there was no memory of the whole corpus poetartwi of the English Middle Ages: none of the metrical romances, rhyming chronicles, legends of saints, miracle plays, minstrel ballads, preachings, devotional books, animal fables,

  • A small part of the Canterbury Tales. Edited by Morel.

64 t/1 History of English Romanticism.

courtly or popular allegories and love songs from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. The masterpieces of medieval literature in languages ​​other than English were also not known or cared for; On works as representative as the "Nibelungenlied", theRoland's Song", die"Roman de la Rose", "Parzival" by Wolfram von Eschenbach, "Tristan" by Gottfried von Straßburg, "Arme Heinrich" by Hartmann von Aue, the chronicles of Villehardouin, Joinville and Froissart, the "Death Artus", "Dies Irse ", the texts of the troubadour Bernard de Ventadour and the minstrel Walther von der Vogelweide, the Spanish Romancero, the poems of the Elder Edda, the romances of "Amis et Amile" ... and "Aucassin et Nicolete", the writings of von Villon , the "De Imitatione Christi" attributed to Thomas a Kempis. Dante was practically not read.

There's nothing strange about that; many of these things were still handwritten and in unknown languages. Old Norse, Old French, Middle High German, Middle English, Medieval Latin. It would be rash to claim that the common reader, or even the educated reader, of today has much more direct knowledge of them than his eighteenth-century ancestor; or much more knowledge than he has at first hand from Ashylus, Thucydides, and Lucretius. But it's safe to say that he knows a lot more about her; that he regards them as worthy of being known; and that through modern and popular versions of it - through poems, historical novels, literary histories, essays,

The Spencerians. 65

and what not - he has before his eyes a picture of the Middle Ages, perhaps as clear and fascinating as the picture of classical antiquity. This he has thanks to the romantic movement. For what was characteristic of the last century's attitude towards the Middle Ages as a whole was not its ignorance but its curiosity. From time to time I didn't want to hear anything about it, says Papa

  • Sixteenth [sic. Qucere, 17th century?] had a

fetid loathing for the coarse literature of the Middle Ages, the product of such a strange and incoherent civilization. Here classicism finds nothing but rudeness and barbarism, without suspecting that it could contain germs that, with time and genius, could evolve into a poetic growth, undoubtedly less pure, but certainly more complex in its harmonies and most expressive form of beauty. . The history of our ancient poetry, which Boileau has traced in a few lines, clearly shows the extent to which he ignored or misrepresented it. The unique and confusing architecture of Gothic cathedrals gave those who saw beauty in the symmetry of lines and purity of form, however, further evidence of the clumsiness and perverse taste of our ancestors. All memory of the great poetic works of the Middle Ages has been completely erased. No one suspected in those barbaric times that there were also classical times in their own way; no one imagines its heroic songs or adventure novels, nor the rich abundance of lyrical styles, nor the naïve and moving rawness of the Christian drama. The seventeenth century turned away scornfully from the monuments of national genius it discovered; I find them sometimes shocking in their crudeness, sometimes childish in their sophistication. These ill-fated exhumations, however, only serve to reinforce her cult of simple and correct beauty, whose models can be found in Greece and Rome. Why dream of penetrating the darkness of our origins? Today's society is too complacent to seek distraction by studying a past it doesn't understand. Subjects and heroes of the country's history are also prohibited, Corneille is Latin, Racine is Greek; the very name of Childebrande is enough to cover an epic with scorn. —Pellissier, pp. 7-8.

66 t^ History of English %omantik.

a pedantic antiquarian, a university professor, may inspire admiration for an obsolete author:

“Chaucer's worst lewdness is memorized, And Skelton's hideous householders cite: No one likes any language but 'fairy queen'; " *

But beyond that, the great body of Elizabethans and

Stuart literature was already out of date. playwright

of the rank of Marlowe and Webster, poets like

George Herbert and Robert Herrick – favorites in

our own generation - prose writers like Sir Thomas

Browne - from which Coleridge and Emerson drew

Inspiration - it was in the "portion of bush and

worn faces." Even writers of so recent times almost

contemporary, reputation as a Donne that Carew had


"—a king who ruled as he saw fit,

The universal monarchy of sagacity”:

or like Cowley, whom Dryden called the favorite of his youth, and who in his lifetime was thought a better poet than Milton; even Donne and Cowley lost their following. Pope "versified" some of Donne's harsh satires, and Johnson cited passages from him as examples of the bad taste of metaphysical poets. This is in the Life of Cowley, with which Johnson began his Lives of Poets, as if Cowley were the first of the moderns. But,

"Who's reading Cowley now?"

asks the Pope in 1737.* The year of the Restoration (1660) draws a clear dividing line between the

  • „Brief an Augustus“.

The Spencerians. 67

old and new. In 1675, a year after Milton's death, his nephew Edward Philips published Theatrum Poetarum, a sort of biographical dictionary of ancient and modern authors. In the preface he says: “As for the old-fashioned ones who have fallen into oblivion because of their former fame and reputation, they are mostly those who have written beyond the threshold of the present age; for let us go back so far, about thirty or forty years, and we find a profound silence from the poets beyond that time, except for a few dramatic pieces.

This testimony is all the more convincing because Philips was a kind of laudator temporis acti. He praises several old English poets and mocks several new ones, such as Cleaveland and Davenant, who were very popular with the royal party. He complains that nothing now "tastes so well as what is written in the smooth style of our contemporary language, which has lately been considered so refined"; that "we must conform to French custom in order to follow established fashions"; that imitation of Corneille spoiled the English stage; and that Dryden, "following the humble and chivalrous humor of the time", "indulged a little too much in the French perpetual diadem manner" in his heroic plays. At least one passage in Philips' preface was used to echo Milton's own judgment of the claims of the new school of poets. "Wit, ingenuity, and erudition in verse; even elegance itself, though it comes closest, are one thing. True vernacular poetry is another; there is in it a certain air and spirit which perhaps the most learned and perceptive in other arts they didn't know. I don't completely understand

68 o^ History of English Romanticism.

much less is it attainable through any study or industry. Yes, though all the laws of heroic poetry, all the laws of tragedy were strictly observed, still that tour entrejeant - that poetic energy, if I may call it that, would be needed to give life to all the others; which shines through the roughest, unpolished, and antiquated language, and is perhaps absent in the most polite and reformed language. Consider Spenser in all his rusty and outdated words, in all his coarse and clumsy verses; But take it whole and you will find a graceful and poetic majesty in it. Likewise, for all his immature statements, his ramblings and undigested fantasies - the critics laugh - Shakespeare must be described as a poet who surpasses many who, to some extent, surpass him in literature.

The critics laugh! Let us dwell on this expression, for it is the key to the whole attitude of the august spirit towards "our ancient tragic poet". Shakespeare was already a national possession. Indeed, it is only after the Restoration that we find clear recognition of him as one of the greatest - as perhaps the greatest - dramatists of all time. Because only after the restoration does the criticism begin. "Dryden," says Dr. Johnson, 'may rightly be considered the father of English criticism, as the writer who first taught us to determine the value of composition by principles... Dryden's 'Essay of Dramatic Poesy' [1667] was the first regular and valuable treatise on the Art of Writing." f The old theater was dead and Shakespeare now emerged

  • In other words, learn. + "Life of Dryden."

“The Spencerians. 69

of its ruins as the only indisputable legacy of the Elizabethan era to world literature. Not only was he the darling of the people, he unified the voting rights of all authorized leaders of literary opinion at a critical moment, at a time when the rules of dramatic art were opposed to its practice. Pope's lines are consistent with the veneration with which Shakespeare's memory was held a century after his death.

“On the banks of the Avon, where everlasting flowers bloom, If only I asked if the weeds can grow; A tragic phrase, if I dare to mock, What a solemn act of Betterton is worthy... How our fathers will rage and swear that all shame was lost in George's old age."*

The tradition of Shakespeare is unbroken in the history of English literature and English theatre. Plays by him, in one form or another, have always dominated the stage, even in the most degenerate states of public taste, and few finer homages have been given.

  • „Brief an Augustus“.

f The tradition in relation to Chaucer, Spenser and Milton is almost as continuous. A course in what Lowell calls "repentance reading" in Restoration criticism will convince anyone that these four names once stood out as the four greatest English poets. See especially Winstanley, Lives of the English Poets, 1687; Langbaine, "An Account of the English Dramatic Poets", 1691; Dennis, "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare", 1712; Gildon, "The Complete Art of Poetry", 1718. The fact mentioned by Macaulay that Sir Wm. Temple mentions none of the four is irrelevant. Temple refers by name to only three Englishmen

Mind", Sidney, Bacon and Selden. This very superficial performance by Temple was a contribution to the futile controversy over the

70 <iThe History of the English Novel.

paid to the genius of Shakespeare than in prose and verse by the critics of our classical age, from Dryden to Johnson. 'To begin with Shakespeare', says the former in his 'Essay of Dramatic Poesy', 'he was the man who had the greatest and most comprehensive soul of all modern and perhaps ancient poets. And in the prologue to his adaptation of The Tempest, he admits

"Shakespeare's magic could not be duplicated: within this circle no one was allowed to walk but him."

"The poet whose works I reviewed," writes Dr. Johnson, "may now begin to assume the dignity of an old man and claim the privilege of established fame and prescribed worship."*

"He drew each multicolored life changing, depleted worlds and then thought of new ones." F

However, Dryden made many petulant mistakes and Johnson many silly mistakes about Shakespeare; while petty critics like Thomas Rymer and Mrs. Charlotte Lenox § spewed blasphemous errors over the minutest details in "Macbeth" and "Othello." Because if we look closer, we realize that everyone is boring

relative merits of ancients and moderns, which is of interest today only because it gave Bentley opportunity to demonstrate his great learning in his Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris (1698), and Swift his power to demonstrate irony in "The Battle of the Books" (1704).

  • Preface to "Shakespeare's Plays", 1765.

f Prologue spoken by Garrick at the opening of the Drury Lane Theatre, 1747.

j: "The Tragedies of the Last Age Considered and Examined", 1678.

§ "Illustrated Shakespeare", 1753.

The Spencerians. 71

Testifying to Shakespeare's greatness, his praise was tempered by a firm disapproval of his methods. He was an incredible genius, but a grossly flawed artist. He was the supreme dramatic poet, but he didn't know what to do. It apparently did not occur to anyone - except to some extent Johnson - that there was an absurdity in this contradiction; and that the real fault lay not with Shakespeare but with the standards by which he was judged. These are the proofs that technical criticism has always wanted to impose and they are not limited to the classical period. They are used by Sidney, who took the English Buskin measure before Shakspere began to write; by Jonson measuring socks with him in his day; by Matthew Arnold, who wanted an English academy, but in whom the academic vaccine worked poorly after so long of transmission. Shakespeare wounded the units; his plays were neither true comedies nor true tragedies; he had little Latin and less Greek; he wanted art and sometimes meaning, committed anachronisms and bohemian shipwrecks; he wrote it hastily, not underlined enough, and failed in a big way. He was "uneducated, untrained in a barbarous age"; a wild and erratic child of nature, ignorant of the rules, unfamiliar with the old models, and succeeding - when he did succeed - by chance and the sheer power of genius; his plays were "roughly drawn", his actions weak, his speeches bombastic; he was guilty of "some solecism or a notorious error of meaning" on every page. *

Of course, Langbaine defends him against Drydens

  • Veja Grounds of Criticism de Dryden em Tragedy and Defense.

of the epilogue of the conquest of Granada."

72 <tA History of English T^omantics.

fault. But Dennis laments his ignorance of poetic art, and the disadvantages he faced from being unfamiliar with the ancients. Had he known his salus, he would have painted a fairer picture of Caesar; and if he had read Horace "Ad Pisones" he would have made a better Achilles. He complains that he allows the good and the bad to perish in a promiscuous manner; and that in 'Coriolanus' - a play which Dennis 'improved' for the new stage - he portrays Menenius as a buffoon presenting the riffraff in the most undignified manner 'poetry' and therefore must know the rules and that his disregard was due to laziness . "Money seems to have been his object more than reputation, and so he was always in a hurry... and he thought it a waste of time to study regularity and order, if anything confused came into his mind he would do his thing. business and fill his house." ." f It would be easy but tedious to multiply the evidence of this condescending attitude towards Shakespeare. Perhaps Pope expresses the general mood of his school in the final words of his preface more fairly than anyone else. conclude by saying about Shakespeare that despite all his mistakes and with all the irregularities of his drama

  • "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Shakespeare", 1712.

f "A Arte da Poesia", pp. 63 and 99. C/. Pope, "Charter to Augustus":

' 'Shakspere (whom you and every theater like the divine, the incomparable what you want) for gain, not for glory, flew in his itinerant flight, And became immortal despite his own." J Pope's 'Shakspere' , 1725 .

The Spencerians. 73

Compare his works with those that are more finished and regular, like an ancient and majestic piece of Gothic architecture compared to a modern and elegant building. The latter is more elegant and gaudy, but the former is stronger and more solemn. . . It has a much greater variety and much grander chambers, though we are often led into them through dark, strange, and rude passages. Nor does the whole fail to strike us with greater reverence, though many of the parts are childish, misplaced, and do not correspond to its grandeur." This view of Shakespeare remained the rule until the new century, when Coleridge and Schlegel taught this child of the Fantasy was indeed a profound and subtle artist, but that the principles of his art - as is always the case with a creative genius working freely and instinctively - were learned through practice in the concrete, rather than being consciously launched by the worker himself processed in abstract theories, so that they must be discovered by reverent study of his work and are deeper than the canons of French criticism.” Schlegel, whose Lectures on Dramatic Art were translated into English in 1815, speaks indignantly of the current English misunderstanding of Shakespeare: "Foreigners, and especially Frenchmen, who often speak in the strangest tongues about Antiquity and Age Average, as if cannibalism in Europe had been put to an end only by Louis XIV, Shakespeare should hold this opinion, perhaps it can be forgiven. But let the English adopt such a slander. . . it is incomprehensible to me.”*

  • For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see “A History of

Opinion on the Writings of Shakespeare“, im Ergänzungsband

74 - v^ History of English 'Romance.

The beginnings of the Romantic movement in England were uncertain. There was a vague contradiction with current literary estimates, a vague dissatisfaction with prevailing literary fashions, especially with the purely intellectual poetry then in vogue, as was the case here.

from Knight's pictorial edition. Editions of Shakespeare published in the century after the Restoration were the third folio, 1664; the fourth folio, 1685; Rowe's (the first critical edition, with a life, etc.) 1709 (second edition, 1714); Pope, 1725 (second edition, 1728); Theobald's, 1733', Hanmer's 1744; Warburton Pope, 1747; and Johnson's, 1765. Meanwhile, Shakespeare's plays continued to be performed, but mainly in manipulated versions. Tate turned "Lear" into a comedy. Davenant and Dryden transformed The Tempest into The Enchanted Island, turning empty verse into rhyme and introducing new characters, while Shad adapted it well into an opera. Dryden rewrote "Troilus and Cressida"; Davenant, "Macbeth". From Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing, Davenant put together what he called The Law Against Lovers. Dennis reimagined The Merry Wives of Windsor as The Comical Gallant; Tate, "Richard IL" as "The Sicilian Usurper"; and Otway, "Romeo and Juliet", as "Caius Marius". Lord Lansdowne turned The Merchant of Venice into The Jew of Venice, in which Shylock was played as a comic book character until the time of Macklin and Kean. Durfey played Cymbeline. Gibber turned "King John" into "Papal Tyranny" and his version was performed well into Macready's time. Gibber's stage version of "Richard II" is still performed. Cumberland "grafted" new features on "Timon of Athens" for Garrick's theater around 1775. In his Life of Mrs. " vol 315.) He mentions a revision by Tate, another by Dennis ("The Invader of his Country") and a third brought by old Sheridan at Covent Garden in 1764, compiled from Shakespeare's tragedy and an independent play of the same name Thomas "Then came the Kemble edition of 1789 in which ... much of Thomson's nonsense still survives."


The Spencerians. 75

does not feed the soul. But at first there was no conscious, concentrated effort towards something better; still less was there a sudden burst of creative activity. The new group of poets, partly contemporaries of Pope, partly successors - Thomson, /^' Shenstone, Dyer, Akenside, Gray, Collins and the . ^ The Varton Brothers — found their starting point by lovingly studying and reviving ancient authors. From what has been said about the survival of Shakespeare's influence, one might expect his name to have been the most important among the pioneers of English Romanticism. There are several reasons why this was not the case.

In the first place, the genius of the new poets was more lyrical or descriptive than dramatic. Of course, the separation between literature and the stage was not yet complete; and obedient to the expectation that every literary man should try to write plays, Thomson, at least, like his friend and pupil Mallet, composed a series of dramas. But even so, they were hardly better than failures; and duringThe seasons".survived all changes in taste, and "The Castle of Laziness" never sought admirers, tragedies like "Agamemnon" and "Sophonisba" are long forgotten. An imitation of Shakespeare for any effective purpose must evidently have taken the form of a play; and neither Gray nor Collins nor Akenside or anyone in the group was able to play. These early romantics drew a kind of inspiration from Shakespeare. Verbal memories of him abound in W Gray. Collins was a diligent student of his works. His "Dirge in Cymbeline" is an exquisite variation

76 cA History of English l^pmanlicism.

on a Shakespearean theme. In the delirium of his recent illness, he told Warton that he had found the long-sought-for original plot of "The Tempest" in an Italian novel. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the Romantics were attracted by the poetic, as distinct from the dramatic, aspect of Shakespeare's genius; to his plays, in which fairy tales and supernatural machines appear, such as "The Storm" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream",

Here, too, the stage has its own history, and as far as advancing in any way is concerned, it was not towards a more poetic or romantic drama, but towards the prose tragedy and sentimental comedy of domestic life, which the French /a frag/ which they call bourgeois and la comedie larmoyante. Indeed, the theater was now dying; and though it radiated a dying glow in the comedies of Goldsmith and Sheridan, the true dramatic talent of the century had already sought other channels in the novels of Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett.

Finally, one good reason why the Romantic movement didn't start with the imitation of Shakespeare is the fact that Shakespeare is inimitable. He has not good manners to catch, but a hundred manners; he is not the poet of the novel, but of humanity; not medieval, but always modern and contemporary in its universality. The great familiarity of their plays and their continuous, albeit truncated, presentation was one of the reasons why they could so little share in a literary renaissance; for what has never been forgotten cannot be revived. Later, with the shock of discovery, Shakespeare came to Germany and France and fathered Schiller.

7die Spenserianer. 77

and Victor Hugo. In 18th-century England, it spawned only Irish forgeries.

Not Shakespeare, but Spenser was written in large letters on the new school's flag. If there is a poet who is the romantic poet par excellence, whose art is the opposite of Pope's art, it is the poet of The Queen of the Fairies. To ears that have heard from infancy the tinkling couplet, with its monotonously recurring rhyme, its inevitable caesura, its narrow imprisonment of meaning, it must have been a relief to turn to the vastness of Spenser's stanza, 'a full sail and strength of his great verse." To a generation sated by Pope's rhetorical devices - antithesis, climax, anticlimax - and weary of the relentless gloss and compression of his language; the flight of epigram and period (Blow for Blow, like a packet of fireworks), of a style that made every line a proverb or topical quotation - escaping it all in Spenser's light-hearted, easy-going manner, copious amounts of Homeric similes and drawn-out details must have gone very smoothly. clean formulas easily recalled from memory for a multitude of concrete images: changing saws like,

"A little study is a dangerous thing"

for a series of colorful paintings by the greatest painter of English poets. It should replace the most prosaic of our poets - a poet about whom it is questioned whether he is a poet - for the purest poetics of our poets, the "poet of the poet". And finally it was about changing the world

78 iA History of English 'T^pmanticism.

Everyday customs and artificial society to an imaginary magical realm, "out of space, out of time".

English poetry oscillates between the poles of Spenser and pop. The poets considered by race to be the most truly national, poets like Shakespeare, Milton and Byron, were in the middle. Neither Spenser nor Pope is satisfied for long. We have grown weary of Spenser's lack of passion and intensity, his lack of dramatic power, the lack of topicality in his biography, the lack of brief energy and edginess in his style; just as we're sick of Pope's inadequate sense of beauty. But at a time when English poetry had given up its proper function of refreshing and elevating the soul through the imagination, Spenser's poetry, the poetry of ideal beauty, was the most natural corrective. Whatever his shortcomings, he was certainly not "conceived and composed in his mind".

Spenser did not fare as well as Shakespeare under the shift in public tastes after the Restoration. The Age of Elizabeth had no book reviews or book advertisements, and its critical survivals are the sparsest. But the eulogies published with the "Faerie Queene" of many hands and the numerous references to Spenser throughout the poetic literature of the time leave no doubt that his contemporaries ranked him first among English poets. His tradition of supremacy certainly lasted into the mid-seventeenth century, if not beyond. His influence is not only visible in the work of such professed disciples as Giles and Phineas Fletcher, the pastoral poet William

The Spencerians. 79

Browne and Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist, but in the verses of Jonson, Fletcher, Milton and many others. Milton admitted to Dryden that Spenser was his "poetic father". Dryden and Cowley themselves, whose practice is so far removed from Spenser's, pleaded guilty to him. The passage from Cowley's essay "On Myself" is well known: "I remember when I started reading and enjoying it, I used to lie in my mother's living room (I don't know what coincidence, for her sake I never read any other than devotional book - but she used to lie) the works of Spenser which I happened upon and I was endlessly delighted with the tales of knights and giants and monsters and valiant houses which I found everywhere (though my understanding had little to do with all this), and little by little with the clink of frost and the dance of numbers, so that I think I read it through before I was twelve, and so became as immutable a poet as a child becomes a eunuch ." It is a commonplace that Spenser has produced more poets than any other writer. Even Pope, whose empire he returned from Faerie to overthrow, assured Spence that he was the "Queen of Faerie". with the same pleasure in his later years. Indeed, it is all too easy to assume that writers are insensitive to the beauties of another school. Pope was quite incapable of writing romantic poetry, but not incapable of enjoying it. He liked Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd; he admired "The Seasons" and did Thomson the honor of inserting a few lines of his own in "Summer" among his youthful Old English parodies

8th t/^ History of English Romanticism.

Poet is a play titled "The Alley," a not-so-clever burlesque of the Bower of Bliss's famous description.*

As for Dryden, his devotion to Spenser is tempered by the same kind of critical disapproval that we note in his praise of Shakespeare. He says that the "fairy queen" lacks uniformity: the language is not as archaic as is commonly believed, and is understandable after some practice; but the choice of stanza is an unfortunate one, though Spenser's verse is nevertheless more melodious than that of any other English poet except Mr. Waller. The Shepherd's Calendar" as his model, in the introduction to his insipid "Pastorals", 1709. Steele, in the Spectator No. 540 (November 19, 1712), printed some mildly flattering remarks about Spenser. throughout the classical period, but this belief was coupled with a general indifference towards his writings from most readers again:

Next old Spenser, heated with poetic fury. In tales of old, a barbarian age frolicked; an age that went on, still uncultivated and raw, Where the poet's imagination led, Through pathless fields and lifeless tides. To dragons' lairs and enchanted forest.

  • „Feenkönigin“, II. xii. 71.

f "Essay on satire." Philips has a good word for the Spenserian stanza: "How much more stately and majestic in epic poems, especially

Die Spenserianer. 8i

But now the mystical tale that was once so popular can no longer charm a sympathetic age. Long allegories grow powerfully. While blunt morale is far below. We complacently observe from afar all visions of weapons and tents, battles, fields and battles. And damsels in distress and polite knights, but if you look too closely the shadows dissolve and all the pleasant scenery fades away.

Addison admitted to Spence that when she wrote this passage, she had never read Spenser! As late as 1754, Thomas Warton speaks of him as 'that admired but neglected poet'* and Mr. Kitchin claims that 'between 1650 and 1750 there are few references to him and very few editions of his works'. f In 1679 there was a reprint of Spenser's works - it was the third folio of the 'Faerie Queene' - but no critical edition until 1715. Meanwhile, the title of a book published in 1687 shows that Spenser did not escape this process of 'improvement' ’, which we have seen applied to Shakespeare: “Spenser Redivivus; Contains the first book of the 'Queen of the Fairies'. Its essential design has been preserved, but its old-fashioned language and verse style have been entirely set aside. Delivered in heroic numbers by a person of quality. The preface praises Spenser, but states that "his style seems no less incomprehensible today than the obsolete

Of heroic argument, chiefly, Spenser's stanza . – Theatrum Poetatarum. Preface, pp. 3-4.

  • "Observations on the Faery Queene", Vol. II. P. 317.

f "The Faery Queene", Book I., Oxford, 1869. Introduction, p. XX

82 iA History of English Romance.

latest of our English or Saxon dialect." An example of this release in heroic numbers should suffice:

"With this the northern wagoner set his team of seven behind the constant star, which was in the waves of the ocean, but never wet, but is steady and steady, and sends light from afar to all that wander in the vast depths."

— Spender*

17 15 John Hughes published his edition of Spenser's works in six volumes. This was the poet's first attempt at a critical text and was accompanied by a biography, a glossary, an essay on allegorical poetry, and some notes on the 'fairy queen'. It is curious to find in the engravings of Du Guernier's drawings that illustrate the Hughes volumes that Spenser's knights wore the helmets and armor of Roman legionaries, over which what appears very heavily to be a toga is occasionally thrown. The lists they lean on have the facade of a Greek temple as a backdrop. Busyrane's house is of Louis Quatorze architecture, and Amoret is chained to a Renaissance column with Corinthian capital and classical drapes. Hughes' glossary of obsolete terms includes words used every day by modern writers: aghast, baleful, behest, bootless, carol, cowardly, sad, forsaken, raid, guerdon, plight, welkin, yore. If words like these and many others noted by Warton in his "Observations" really needed an explanation, then this one is impressive.

  • "Song" ii. Room i.

' 'By this time, Bootes' team had left the North Star behind as the night hours waned.

- quality man.

7die Spenserianer. 83

a testament not only to how much our older poets have been forgotten, but also to the poverty to which the vocabulary of English poetry had been reduced by 1700.

In his introductory remarks on "The Queen of the Fairies," the editor expresses the usual regret that the poet has chosen such a flawed stanza, "such a romantic story," and a model or framework for the whole that seems so outrageous." Epick Poetry Rules"; makes the trite comparison between Spenser's work and Gothic architecture, and apologizes to its author that at the time he wrote "the remnants of the old Gothic chivalry have not been wholly abolished". "He didn't quite arouse the public's curiosity," says Johnson in his Life of Hughes; "nearly thirty years elapsed before its edition was reprinted." Editions of the "Faerie Queene" quickly appeared in the middle of the century. One (by Birch) was published in 1751 and three in 1758; including Upton's important edition, which of all Spenser's commentators has dealt most extensively with the interpretation of allegory.

In the meantime, that series of Spenserian imitations which form an interesting section of eighteenth-century verse appeared in gradually increasing numbers. The series was started by a highly unlikely person, Matthew Prior, whose 'Ode to the Queen' of 1706 was a ten-line modification of Spenser's stanza, employing some archaisms like Weet and Ween, but being very little thoughtful in demeanor. Already in the second decade of the century, Elfland horns can be heard softly in the poems

84 «^ History of the English %omanticistsn.

by Rev. Samuel Croxall, the ^Esop translator

  • ' Fables." Mr. Gosse* quotes Croxall's own description

his poetry, designed to offset "the dry and insipid stuff" of the time with "a whole sliver of rich, luminous scarlet". His two plays, 'The Vision', 1715, and 'The Fair Circassian', 1720, though written in couplet, display a rosy color and lush imagery evidently learned from Nestor Ironside's Spenser pseudonym, 'An Original Canto of Spenser' and 1714 "Another Original Canto", both naturally in the stanza of the "Faerie Queene."

  • "Literature of the 18th century", p. 139

f For a full discussion of this subject, the reader is referred to Phelps' book, Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement, Chapter IV, "The Spenserian Revival". A partial list of Spenserian imitations can be found in Todd's edition of Spenser, Vol. I. But the list appended by Prof. Phelps, while not exhaustive, is certainly the most complete ever published and may be reprinted here. 1706: Before: "Ode to the Queen". 1713-21: Prior (?): "Colin's mistake." 1713: Croxall: "An Original Song by Spenser." 1714: Croxall: “Another Original Canticle.” 1730 (ca.): Whitehead: “Vision of Solomon”, “Ode to the Honorable Charles Townsend”, “Ode to the Same”. 1736: Thompson: "Epitalamium". 1736: Cambridge: "Marriage of Frederick". 1736-37: Boyse: "The Olive Tree", "Psalm XLII". 1737: Akenside: "The Virtuous". 1739: West: "Travel Abuse." 1739: Anon.: "A New Song of Spenser's Fairy Queen." 1740: Boyse: "Ode to the Marquess of Tavistock". 1741 (circa): Boyse: "Vision of Patience". 1742: Shenstone: "The teacher". 1742-50: Cambridge: ^' Archimage." 1742: Dodsley: "Pain and Patience." 1743:

The Spencerians. 85

It is noteworthy that many, if not most, of the imitations were initially performed in the spirit of burlesque; as is evident not only from the poems themselves, but also from the correspondence of Shenstone and others.* The old-fashioned language of an ancient author is itself a challenge to the parodist: test our imitations of modern ballads. There is something ridiculous about the very look and sound of words like efsoones a.vid perdy; during the signal. Ye Olde Booke Store, in the Old English text above a bookshop door, invariably strikes the public as a very light-hearted, smug joke; especially when the first letter is pronounced like y,

Anon.: "Triumph of Albion." 1744 (approximately): Dodsley: "Death of Mr. Pope." 1744: Akenside: "Ode to Curio". 1746: Blacklock: "Ode to Divine Love", "Philantheus". 1747: mason; stanzas in the museum. 1747: Ridley: "Psyche." 1747: Lowth: "Hercules' Choice". 1747: Upton: "A New Song of Spenser's Fairy Queen." 1747: Bedingfield: "Education of Achilles". 1747: Pitt: "The Jordan." 1748: T. Warton, Sr.: "Philander". ij748: Thomson: "The Sloth Castle." 1749: Potter: "A Farewell Hymn to the Country." 1750: T. Warton: "Tomorrow." 1751: West: “Education”. 1751: T. Warton: "Elegy on the Death of Prince Frederick" 1751: Mendez: "The Seasons". 1751: Lloyd: "Envy's Progress". 1751: Akenside: "Ode". 1751: Smith: "Tales." 1753: T. Warton: "A pastoral in the manner of Spenser." 1754: Denton: "Immortality". 1755: Arnold: "The Mirror". 174S-5S: Mendez: "Ladies' Squire." 1756: Smart: "Hymn to the Supreme Being". 1757: Thompson: "The Nativity", "Anthem to May". 1758: Akenside: "A Country Gentlemen of England." 1759: Wilkie: "A Dream." 1759: Poem in Ralph's Miscellaneous. 1762: Denton: “House of Superstition. 1767: Mickle: "The Concubine". 176S: Downman: "Land of the Muses". 1771-74: Beattie: "The Minstrel". 1775: Anon.: "Land of Liberty". 1775: Mickle: stanzas of the Introduction to Lusíada. " ■""^^^

  • Veja Phelps, pp. 66-68.

86 zA History of English l^omanficism.

instead of what it really is, a mere abbreviation of fk But, for this to be so, the travesty language must not be too old. There would be nothing amusing about a burlesque imitation of Beowulf, for example, because the Anglo-Saxon nature of the original is utterly alien to the modern reader. It is conceivable that perceptive Athenians of Aristophanes' time might have found something strange in Homer's Ionian dialect, similar to the strangeness we find in Chaucer; but a modern Greek would have to be very Attic to detect a provocation to hilarity in the use of the genitive in-oto instead of the genitive in-ov. Again, if one becomes acquainted with an ancient author, he becomes unaware of its archaic nature: the final e in Chaucer does not seem to him any funnier, nor does the fact that he speaks of small birds like S7nale chickens. And so it was that 18th-century poets, who began with burlesque imitations of the "fairy queen", soon fell in love with her grave beauties.

The only poems in this series to have an enduring position in literature are by Shenstone.

    • Schoolmistress” e Thomsons “Castle of Indo-

importance." But a brief review of several other members of the group will be advisable. Two of these were written at Oxford in honor of the marriage of Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1736: one by Richard Owen Cambridge, the other by William Thompson, then a Bachelor of Arts and later a Queen's College Scholar.

  • See the magnificent edition of Cambridge's Works, edited by

1803 his son.

The Spencerians. 87

a somewhat extravagant figure in the literary and personal gossip of his time. He quarreled with his father George II, who "hated boetry and fuss" and who was ironically fed with gentle devotion by the Pope in his "Letter to Augustus"; also with his father's prime minister. Sir Robert Walpole, "Bob, the Poet's Enemy." He abandoned the court and established his own court of opposition, where he gathered around him literary figures who had fallen into a neglect strangely contrasting with their former importance in Queen Anne's reign. Frederick's main ally in this policy was his secretary, George Lord Lyttelton, the elegant if somewhat amateurish author of Dialogues of the Dead and other works; Fielding's friend, Shenstone's neighbor at Hagley, and Thomson's patron, by whom he received the sinecure post of surveyor of the Leeward Islands.

Cambridge verses for spouses was a ten-line stanza. Written in strict Spenserian stanza, his Archimage illustrates the frequent use of this form in occasional plays with humorous intent. He describes a houseboat party on the Thames, where one of the rowers was a family servant and barber who combed the chaplain's hair:

"As if the old pearl dealer's blood had been spilled, whose scalp he hung in a row around his cave, sad sight to Christian eyes, I believe."

In contrast, Thompson's experiments were quite serious. He had real poetic feeling, but little talent. In an attempt to reproduce Spenser's richness of imagery and the smooth modulation of his verses, he only manages to become laboriously embellished. To be

88 aThe History of English Romanticism.

The stanzas are impotent, if not unmusical. His 1736 study exercise "The Nativity" is a Christmas vision that comes to the shepherd boy Thomalin whistling on the banks of the Isis. Employs the pastoral machinery, includes a mask of virtues - faith, hope, charity, etc. - and concludes with a eulogy to the Pope's "Messiah". The preface to his 'Hymn to May' has some relevance to our research: 'As Spenser is the most descriptive and florid of all our English writers, I have tried to imitate his manner in the spring poem that follows. I have been very parsimonious with the old-fashioned words which are so common in most imitations of this author... His lines are very sweet musically and his descriptions extremely delicate and abundant, even for the exuberance of the painting, but it is still the music and nature painting. We find no ambitious ornaments or epigrammatic phrases in his writings, but a beautiful simplicity that appeals far beyond the splendor of sharp wit.” The “Anthem to May” is in the seven-line stanza by Phineas Fletcher

    • Purple Island”; a poem, says Thompson, "succinctly

heard back then, but the best in allegorical style (besides 'The Fairy Queen') in English."

William Wilkie, a Scottish minister and teacher of eccentric habits and unkempt appearance, published A Dream: in the Manner of Spenser in 1759, which cannot be mentioned here for its own sake, but for the evidence it gives of a growing impatience in comparison with restraints. classics. The play was a companion piece to Wilkie's epic Epigoniad. As he passes the Tweed, the poet falls asleep and has a vision of Homer, who reproaches him for the lack of style in his style.



The Spencerians. 89

"Epigony". The dreamer blames the critics

"Through the muses to laws so strict that all their songs are frivolous and poor."

Shakspere, indeed,

"Break all the cobweb boundaries set by fools"; but the only reward for your daring

“Is this our dull, degenerate leaden age? He says he wrote it by accident and could barely read.

One of the first Spenserians was Gilbert West, the translator of Pindar, who published On the Abuse of Travelling: A Canto in Imitation of Spenser in 1739. West was a very tame poet, and the only quality in Spenser that he managed to capture was his prolixity. . He used the allegorical machinery of the "fairy queen" for moral and slightly satirical purposes, "Misplacement of Travel",

  • "Sir. Walpole and I have always wondered if you should never do this

mention a certain imitation of Spenser published last year by one of his namesakes, by which we are all delighted and delighted.” —Grey's letter to Richard West, Florence, July 16, 1740. There was no relation between Gilbert West and Gray's Eton friend, though it appears that the former was also an Etonian, and afterwards at Oxford, "when he was seduced by a manner of airier life," says Dr. Johnson, "by an errand on a band of horses, purchased for him from his uncle." Cambridge, however, was an acquaintance of Gray, Walpole and Richard West at Eton. Gray's lone sonnet was composed after Richard West's death in 1742; and it is worth noting that in the introduction to Cambridge's works there are several sonnets by his friend Thomas Edwards, himself a lover of Spenser, whose "sweetened sonnets among his private friends" begin about 1750 and run to fifty.

9© c// History of the English novel.

The Knight of the Red Cross is induced by Archmage to board a painted boat, piloted by Curiosity, which takes him to a foreign shore, where he is entertained by a band of easy girls whose leader is "Hight Politessa" and whose fawning is Der Knight fight back. From there he is led to an imposing castle (the court of Louis XV, whose minister - perhaps Cardinal Fleury? - is an old and decrepit magician) and finally to Rome, where a lady of Yclept Vertu woos in the ruins of Rome. she holds the Coliseum, among mimes, violinists, flutists, eunuchs, painters and ciceroni.

Likewise, the music in "Education" tells how a knight of the fairies, while leading his son to Paidia's house, encounters the giant Custom and defeats him in single combat. There is a certain humor in the description of the current of science in which the crowd of young students is involuntarily plunged and on the verge of which they find themselves.

"A grove of birches swaying on the shore. Yea, he threw his falling bud into the flood, And poisoned the whole flood with his bitter juice.”

The play is a long exploration of the meticulous teaching methods of English schools and colleges. A passage satirizing artificial horticulture is quoted later. West had a country house at Wickham, Kent, where, as Johnson says,* 'he was often visited by Lyttelton and Pitt; that, when weary of quarreling and debate, he went to Wickham for books and rest, a decent table, and literary conversation. There is a tour of Wickham that Pitt did.” Like many contemporary poets, West was interested in landscaping and some

  • "Western Life."

7die Spenserianer. 91

of his shorter plays belong to that literature of inscriptions to which Lyttelton, Akenside, Shenstone, Mason, and others have so largely contributed. Their Spenserian imitations may be said to be extraordinarily correct in their archaism - if that is any credit - a trait they may have commended to Gray, whose scholarship on this, as on all points, was wonderfully accurate. The duty to be properly "out of date" in vocabulary weighed heavily on the consciences of most of these Spenserian imitators. For example, "The Squire of Dames" by wealthy Jew Moses Mendez is full of rare and expensive words like benty, frannion, etc., which Spenser himself would have been puzzled to explain.

One of the nicer results of this literary fad was Schoolmistress (^) by William Shenstone, published in 1737 in unfinished form and finally completed in 1742. This is a loving, semi-humorous description of the girls' school in Shenstone's home village - and everyone - and has a real idyllic feel. Goldsmith obviously remembered this when he sketched the school in his **Abandoned Village.” f The accompanying app

  • Lloyd defines wimped as "hungry" in The Progress of Envy.

below"; and Akenside uses the ending ^« for the singular verb in The Virtuoso!

f Cf. "And as they looked, they found their horror increasing."

- Shenstone, "And still they looked, and still the wonder grew."

“Goldsmiths. “The sounds blended together, echoing from her.

- Shenstone. "There in his noisy mansion, to govern skillfully," etc.



92 aThe History of the English Novel.

humbly, a theme of Spenser's stately verse and solemn ancient words gives a very curious effect. The humor of "The Schoolmistress" is genuine, not dependent on sheer burlesque, as in the Pope and Cambridge experiments; and it is warmed with a certain tenderness, as in the incident of the hen with her brood of chickens coming through the open school door in search of crumbs, and in the pain of the little sister witnessing her brother's whipping, and the trembling of the boys who played in the absence of the madam:

"Forewarned, when the little bird sees your pranks, Twill will whisper in its ear and the whole scene will unfold."

But the only one among professed Spenser scholars to capture the master's splendor and splendor was James Thomson. It is the privilege of genius to be original even in its imitations. Thomson took form and tone from Spenser, but added something of his own, and the result has a value quite independent of its success as a reproduction. 'The Castle of Indolence', 1748*, is a beautiful poem; at least the first part of it, because the second book is tiresomely allegorical and somewhat involved in the plot. There is a magical art in describing the 'land of drowsiness', with its 'drowsy weather' always 'between June and May', its 'wood pigeon in the midst of thick woods', its forests of hills with solemn pines, its gay castles in the summer clouds and their murmur

  • The poem was designed, and perhaps partially written, fourteen

or fifteen years ago.

f Cf. "Land Where It Always Seems Late" by Tennyson. “The lotus eaters.

The Spencerians. 93

the distant main. The essence of Thomson's concept is found in Spenser's House of Morpheus (**Faerie Queene, Book I. Canto I. 41), and his Country of Idlesse is itself a foreshadowing of Tennyson's Lotus Land, but lines like this were something New in Eighteenth-Century Poetry:

“There was nothing around but images of rest: woods that lull sleep and peaceful lawns between; and flower beds, smearing the gloomy influence, smelled of poppies; and beds of pleasant green where no creeping creature was ever seen. Meanwhile, innumerable bright brooks were playing, casting their watery splendor far and wide; That, as they tussled across the sunny clearing, Though uneasy, produced a soothing murmur.

"The Castle of Indolence" had the romantic iridescence, the "atmosphere" that the sharp contours of Augustan verse lack. That is, it produces an effect that cannot be fully explained by what the poet says; an effect produced by subtle sensations evoked by sound and vague associations evoked by words. The poet himself cannot tell the secret of this art. But poetry of this kind cannot be translated into prose - like Pope's - any more than music can be translated into language without losing its essential character. Like Spenser, Thomson was an excellent colorist and his art was largely pictorial. But he has a touch of imagination rarer, if not greater, than anything in Spenser. The land of Spenser's fairy tales is an unreal region, but hardly a supernatural one. He is rarely startled by looks behind the curtain

94 <^ History of English T^pmanticism.

hanging between nature and the supernatural, as in Milton

"Aerial tongues that syllable the names of men On sand and shores and desert jungle."

There is at least one verse from "The Castle of Indolence" that has this power:

"As if a shepherd of the Hebrides, Placed far below the melancholy chief places (Whether it be a solitary desire to seduce him, Or that beings of the air sometimes condescend to incorporate themselves into our sense plane), Looks down on hill or naked valley , As Phoebus plunges his chariot into the sea, a huge assembly moves back and forth, and suddenly the wonderful spectacle disappears into thin air.

It may be supposed that, on their voyage to the Western Hebrides or Isles, Johnson and Boswell saw nothing of the 'spectral puppet' alluded to in this passage - the most imaginative of any school of Spenser until we come to Keats.

"Magical wings spread on the foam of dangerous seas in abandoned fairy lands."

William Julius Mickle, the translator of the Lusiad, was a more important poet than any of the Spencerian imitators discussed so far, with the exception of Thomson and the possible exception of Shenstone. He wrote at least two poems that are likely to be remembered. One of these was the ballad of Cumnor Hall, which was reminiscent of Scott's Kenilworth and almost gave the novel its name.


The Spencerians. 95

The other was the dialect song from "The Mariner's Wife" that Burns so admired:

"Sae true your heart, Sae soft your speech,

Your breath as the caller's air. Your foot has music in it

As he climbs the stairs. Because the house is not lucky

There is no luck in a '. There is little pleasure in the house

When our Gudeman is awake." *

Mickle, like Thomson, was a Scotsman who came to London to increase his literary fortune. He received some encouragement from Lyttelton, but was disappointed in his hopes of getting substantial help from this British Maecenas. His biographer tells us that 'at about the age of thirteen, when Spenser's 'Faerie Queene' accidentally came his way, he was immediately struck by the colorful descriptions of this much-admired old bard and strongly inspired to imitate her style and manner. In 1767 Mickle published The Concubine, a Spencerian poem in two cantos. In the preface to his second edition of 1778, which changed the title to 'Syr Martyn', he said: 'The richness and pretense of the description, the curious simplicity, and above all the ridiculousness, of which the old phraseology and the Spenser's way of speaking are so happy and strangely receptive that he is inclined to consider him more than just that.

  • Mickle's authorship of this song has been disputed in favor of Mickle

one Jean Adams, a poor Scottish teacher whose poems were printed in Glasgow in 1734.

fRev. John Sims "Life of Mickle" em "Mickle's Poetical Works", 1806, p. XI.

96 (^^ History of English Romanticism.

best, but the only form of composition that fits your subject."

"Syr Martyn" is a narrative poem that is not without animation, particularly where the author forgets his spenser. But in the second canto he feels compelled to introduce an absurd allegory in which the nymph Dissipation and her henchman Self-Imposition lead the hero into the cave of dissatisfaction. Here is what Mickle writes when he thinks of the "Queen of the Fairies":

"Eke should he, free from the filthy sorcerer's spell, From his false duessa's magical charms, And from the madness Quaid, yclept a hydra fell, Take in his arms a fair lady, While bards and minstrels sound the gentle alarms Of gentle love, different from his former slave: Eke I must sing, in astute court terms, The chivalrous feast served by the seneschal, knights and ladies in hoffer or painted hall.

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

"Awaken, west winds, through the lonely valley. And, Lust, go to your fairy bower! Even now, with soft freshness, the storm breathes, dimples with shaggy wings, the lake still; Through the pale willows, whispers The wavering wake, And the night comes with dew-filled clusters; In Desmond's fallen towers, the trembling ryegrass and the bluebell slowly tremble, And more and more the fair Mulla's wails are renewed."

A reader would not be guilty of making a very bad guess as to who should attribute this stanza - which Scott greatly admired - to any of the Spencerian passages that introduce the "Lady of the Lake".

But it is unnecessary to extend this catalog at will.

The Spencerians. 97

advance. By mid-century, Spenserism had become so fashionable that it received a reprimand from Dr. Johnson teased the pacing in front of the Temple of the British Muses Uke, a sort of classic guard dog.The imitation of Spenser", he saidRambler of May 14, 1751, "through the influence of some learned and brilliant men, seems likely to gain with age... Imitating Spenser's fictions and sentiments cannot be reproached, as allegory is perhaps one of the most pleasant of instruction. But I have far from having the same respect for his diction as for his verse. His style was allowed to be cruel in its own time; so obscured with ancient words and idiosyncrasies of phrase, and so far removed from common usage, that Jonson boldly declares that he wrote no language. His stanza is at once difficult and unpleasant: tiresome to the ear for its uniformity and the attention for its length... Life is certainly gifted to us for purposes other than picking up what our ancestors wisely discarded and learn, which is worthless because it has been forgotten." * In his Life of West, Johnson speaks of

  • Vgl. Joseph Wartons "Essay on the Pope," Bd. II. P. 35. “This hat is

it has been in vogue lately to imitate Spenser; but the similarity of most of these copies was in their use of some of their ancient expressions, rather than capturing their true nature. Some, however, were performed with luck and with attention to that simplicity, that tenderness of feeling and those small touches of nature that make up Spenser's character. I take particular pleasure in mentioning two of them, The Schoolmistress, by Mr. Shenstone, and The Education of Achilles, by Mr. Bedingfield. And also dr. Seattle's charming "Minstrel". To this must be added the exquisite piece of wild and romantic imagery, Thomson's 'Castle of Indolence'.

98 <IA History of English T^pmanticism.

West's imitations of Spenser: "Such compositions do not count among the great achievements of the intellect because their effect is local and transient: they appeal not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. One imitation of Spenser is not for the discerning reader who has never read Spenser."

The critic is partially right. The good points of a parody are lost on a reader unfamiliar with the thing being parodied. And as for legitimate imitations, the more skilfully the copyist follows his copy, the less value his work will have. Eighteenth-century Spencerians like West, Cambridge, and Lloyd, who were closer to his pattern, have been forgotten. Its real service was to revive a taste for a better kind of poetry than the fashionable kind, and particularly to restore to English verse a stanza form which became so noble an instrument in the hands of later poets, who used it with such interest. . freedom and power, as if they had never seen the "Faerie Queene". Rarely does anyone think of Spenser when reading Childe Harold* or Adonais or Saint Agnes' Eve; but reading West or Cambridge, or even reading Shenstone and Thomson, we are always reminded of him. But if it was necessary to imitate someone, one could call Dr.

  • Of course, Byron began his first song with deliberate extravagance.

serism. He called his poem "Roman" and his valet, poor Fletcher, a "steady peasant", and peppered his stanzas with tails, wights and whiloms, but he dropped this affectation in later songs and made no further forays into the poem. the average age.

The dispenser turns brown. 99

Johnson that Spenser is better imitated than Pope. In Spenser's imitation there was at least a future, a development; while the imitation of the Pope constantly made his way to Darwin's "Botanical Garden".

There remains one more document to consider in the history of this Spencerian renaissance, that of Thomas Warton.

    • Observations on the Fairy Queen', 1754. Warton

wrote with genuine pleasure in his subject. Her tastes were downright romantic. But the apologetic air assumed by antiquarian scholars when they dared to recommend their favorite studies to a classically minded audience is not absent from Warton's commentary. He writes as if he feels the pressure of an unsympathetic atmosphere around him. “We who live by rules in the days of writing tend to scrutinize each composition according to the laws we have been taught to be the sole criterion of excellence. Critical taste is universal, and we demand the same order and design that is expected of any modern achievement, in poems where they were never observed or intended... If there is a poem whose grace delights because it is beyond the reach of art. ..It's this one. Reading Spenser when the critic is not satisfied, but the reader is entranced." "In analyzing the plan and execution of this poem, I have tried hitherto epic rules to demonstrate the inconveniences and inconsistencies which the poet might have avoided if he had been more concerned with design and unity It is true that his romantic materials take great liberties, but not

  • Pope: "Take a grace beyond the reach of art."

— Essay on criticism.

loo <iThe History of the English Novel.

Materials impede order and wit.” Warton assures the reader that Spenser's language is not "as difficult and archaic as is commonly supposed"; and he defends it against Hume's reproach* that "Homer copied true natural manners... but the English poet's pencil was used to draw the affections, concepts, and subtleties of chivalry.

However, he began his commentary with the usual denunciations of 'Gothic ignorance and barbarism': 'In the Renaissance one would have expected that, instead of the Romantic manner of poetic composition... ... But it was a long time before such a change was carried out. We find that Ariosto, many years after the literary renaissance, rejected truth for magic, preferring Boyardo's ridiculous and inconsistent excursions into the decency and uniformity of Greek and Roman models. Beni, one of the most celebrated critics of the sixteenth century, was still so enamored with the old Provencal trait that he ventured to write a regular dissertation comparing Ariosto to Homer. Warton again says of Ariosto and the Italian Renaissance poets that Spenser followed: "I have found no fault in general with the use of magical machines; notwithstanding, I have hitherto adhered to the prevailing maxims of modern criticism to commend classical decency." Notwithstanding this prudent determination of conformity, the author

  • "History of England", Vol. II. P. 739.

Die Spenserianer. loi

takes the courage to speak in his second volume about the pseudo-classical poetry of his time: “A successful poetry in which imagination gave way to correction, the sublimity of description to the delicacy of feeling and the majestic image to the presumptuous epigram . Poets began to pay more attention to words than to things and objects. The fairest beauties of gay expression were preferred to the bold strokes of great imagination. Satire, that curse of the sublime, was imported from France. The muses were extravagant at court; and polite life and familiar manners became his only subjects."

By the time those words were written, Spenser had done his job. Color, music, fragrance returned to English songs andto goldzungRomance with a lighthearted tone" stood at the door of the new era, waiting for it to open.

CHAPTER IV Poets XLbc XanDscape.

Literature dealing with country life or nature is not necessarily romantic. Still, we can accept, with some reservations, the truth of Professor McClintock's statement that "the beginning and existence of a creative and romantic movement is almost always demonstrated through the love, study and interpretation of physical nature." what is to be applied to the romantic movement which began in the eighteenth century is obvious. Ruskin and Leslie Stephen have already been cited as witnesses that naturalism and romanticism had a common root: the desire to escape into fresh air and freer conditions, a strictly regulated literature, with the inner workings of a highly artificial enterprise. . . Pastoral care had ceased to bring relief. Pretending to extol innocence and simplicity, it became utterly unreal and conventional in the hands of Cockneys like Philips and Pope himself. When the romantic spirit took hold of the poetry of nature, it manifested itself in the passion for wildness, for grandeur, for solitude. There was relatively little of it even in the verses of Thomson, Shenstone, Akenside and Dyer.

  • W. D. McClintock, „The Romantic and the Classic in English

Literatur", Chautauquan, Bd. XIV. S. 1S7,

The landscape of Toets. 103

Still the work of these pioneers in thewent back toNature represents transition and must be considered in any complete history of the Romantic movement. The first two, as we have seen, were among the first Spenserians: Dyer was a landscape painter and poet; and Shenstone was one of the best landscapers. But it's the beginning that matters. It will be unnecessary to trace the history of poetry from nature to its later developments; needless to examine, for example, the writings of Cowper and Crabbe - neither of whom was romantic in any way - or even Wordsworth, whose art on the whole was anything but romantic.

Before examining the above writers one by one, it will be well to notice the general change in verse forms, which was an outward sign of the revolution in poetic feeling. Spenser's imitation was just one example of the willingness to abandon the heroic couplet in favor of other species it supplanted and in the interests of greater diversity. 'During the twenty-five years,' says Mr. Gosse, 'from the publication of Thomson's 'Spring' ['Winter'] in 1726 to Gray's 'Elegy' in 1751, the nine or ten main poems or collections have emerged. the verses that emerged were all of a new type, as a rule somber, certainly imposing, romantic in the extreme, ready, ignorantly but respectfully, to return to what was "gothic" in customs, architecture, and language, everything shows a more or less vague pretension to the study of nature, and not composed in the heroic couplet hitherto so energetically imposed in serious verse

104 (v^ History of English T{omantics.

"Thoughts" and "The Grave" are written in white

* The Castle of Preguiça' and 'The School-

I loved * in the Spenserian stanza; 'The Spleen' and

I *Grongar Hill' in eight syllables, while the early odes

Iof Gray and Collins' are superbly composed

Variety of simple but novel lyrical measures." *

The only significant writer to use blank verse in non-dramatic poetry between the publication of Paradise Regained in 1672 and Thomson's Winter in 1726 was John Philips. In the brief preface to "Paradise Lost", the poet of "L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso", forgetting or despising the grace of his youthful muse, had spoken of rhyme as "the invention of a barbaric age". "as "a trivial matter and without real musical pleasure." Milton's example, of course, could not fail to confer dignity and authority on the majestic rhythm he had used; and Philips' false heroic The Splendid Shilling (1701), his occasional Blenheim (1705) and his Georgian Cyder (1706) were all avowed imitations of Milton But the almost solitary character of Philips' experiments was recognized by Thomson in his allusion to the latter poem:

"Philips, the bard of Pomona, the second thousand that noble seat, in iceless verse. With British freedom sings the British song." f

Regarding Philips' imitations of Milton, Johnson said that if the latter "had written after the improvements made by Dryden, it would have been prudent to do so".

  • "Literature of the 18th century", p. 207.

f "Autumn", lines 645-47.

The landscape “Poet. 105

I think he could have introduced nicer number modulation into his work.” * Johnson hated Adam Smith, but when Boswell mentioned that Smith preferred rhyme to blank verse in his rhetorical lectures at the University of Glasgow, that was the case the doctor called,Lord, I've been inside onceCompany with Smith and we didn't like each other; but if i had known he loved rhymes as much as you tell me, i would have hugged him."

In 1725, James Thomson, a young Scotsman, came to London to further his literary fortune. His compatriot David Malloch - or Mallet as he called himself in England - then a private tutor in the family of the Duke of Montrose, introduced Thomson to high society and helped him write Winter, the first part of The Seasons, published in 1726 . Thomson's friend and biographer (1762), Rev. Patrick Murdoch, says the poem 'was little read but universally admired; excepting only those who were not used to feeling or seeking in poetry anything other than satirical or epigrammatic humor, an intelligent and richly rhymed antithesis. This is an instant hit in the papal school; and, indeed, there could be no sharper contrast than that between Thomson and Pope, not only in subject and sentiment, but in diction and verse. Thomson's style is flowery and voluptuous, his figures flowing and diffused, while Pope's English ear is accustomed to speaking in extreme compression as well as in meters. Pope is among the most quotable poets, while Thomson's long poem challenges

  • "Life of Philips."

io6 iA History of English 'T^manticism.

its continued popularity has contributed just a single sentence to the current list:

"Teach the young idea to shoot."

Winter was followed by summer in 1727, spring in 1728, and the complete seasons in 1730. Thomson made many changes and additions in subsequent editions. The original "Seasons" contained only 3,902 verses (excluding the "Hymn"), while the author's final revision of 1746 yielded 5,413, many imitations which it soon gave birth to. In Germany, a passage from Brookes's translation (1745) was set to music by Haydn. JP Uz (1742) and Wieland each produce a Thomson-style "Spring"; but chief among his German pupils was Ewald Christian von Kleist, whose "Frühling" (1749) was a description of a spring country walk, in 460 lines of hexameters, accompanied, as in Thomson's "Hymne," with a sort of of "Gloria in excelsis", the creator of nature. 'The Seasons' was translated into French by Madame Bontemps in 1759 and evoked, among other imitations, Saint Lambert's 'Les Saisons', 1769 (revised and expanded 1771). In England, of course, Thomson's influence was less direct in imitations of his poem's scheme than in the contagion of his style that permeates the work of many subsequent poets, such as Akenside, Armstrong, Dyer, Somerville and Mallet. "There was scarcely an eminent poet of verse," says Gosse, * "from 1725 to 1750 who was not in a few

  • "Literature of the 18th century", p. 221

The landscape of T'oets. 107

Wisely guided or influenced by Thomson, whose genius is fruitful in English literature even today.

We have become so accustomed to a more intimate treatment and a more spiritual interpretation of nature that we are perhaps too inclined to underestimate Thomson's simple descriptive or pictorial method. Compared with Wordsworth's mysticism, with Shelley's passionate pantheism, with Byron's romantic melancholy before mountains and sea, with Keats's joyous re-creation of mythology, with Thoreau's Indian approach to the innermost mysteries - with a dozen other moods familiar to the modern mind - seems unimaginative to us. Thomson has been compared to Rubens as a colorist; and perhaps, as with Rubens' great canvases, the brilliance, breadth and vital energy of his best passages leave our most refined perception untouched, and we ask for something more esoteric, more intense. Still, there are enduring, solid qualities in Thomson's landscape art that can even now delight an untouched taste. For a reader of his own generation, The Seasons must have been the revelation of a new world of beauty. Passages such as those describing the first rains of spring, the storm of summer, fishing for trout, washing sheep, and the terrors of the winter night were not only foreign to contemporary audiences but also new to English poetry.

That the poet was something like a natural scientist, who wrote with love and "with an eye on the subject", is shown by a hundred touches, like "auricles with shining flour";

"The yellow wallflower tinged with iron brown;" or,

io8 tt/^ History of English l{omanticism.

"The waiter knows his time, with his tangled beak, To shake the clinking marsh." *

Thomson's landscape was real. His pictures of external nature are never false and rarely vague like Pope's. In a letter to Lyttelton he speaks of "the muses of the great plain, not the muses of the fair lady of Richmond Hill". Its contours, while less sharp and detailed than Cowper's, are broader. Coleridge's comparison of the two poets is well known: "Love of nature seems to have led Thomson to a merry religion, and a somber religion to have led Cowper to a love of nature... white verse harmony Cowper Thomson immeasurably late; however, I feel that the latter was the born poet.

Geologist Hugh Miller, visiting Lyttelton's country house at Hagley in 1845, describes the famous landscape painted by Thomson in spring:

"Meanwhile you reach the height, from whose brow the view opens wide, And, torn by hills and valleys and forests and peatlands, And green fields and dark moors between. And villages softly nestled in trees, And stormy cities, From undulating pillars scarred by the smoke of the house, thine eye wanders far... To where the rugged landscape, gradually rising, Rugged into stark hills, above which the Cambrian mountains, like distant clouds, skirting the blue horizon, grim rise."

  • Cf. Chaucer: "And leaps like a Bitour into the swamp."

- I von Bathes Tale. f Phillimores „Life of Lyttelton“, Vol. their p. 286.

The landscape of Toets. 109

    • The whole perspective,” says Miller*—“one of the

the best of England, and eminently characteristic of the best of the English countryside - has enabled me to understand what I formerly thought to be a peculiarity - in some measure a defect - in the landscapes of the poet Thomson. It must often have occurred to the Scottish reader that, in dealing with very broad perspectives, he enumerates rather than describes. His paintings are often mere catalogues, in which single words stand for classes of objects and in which all poetry seems to exist in an overwhelming sense of vastness, studded with surprising variety. . . Now the view from the hill at Hagley gave me the true explanation of this style of enumeration. Measured along the horizon, it must, at the lowest estimate, be at least eighty longitudinal miles; measured laterally, in front of the viewer, at least twenty. . . The actual area must exceed, rather than less than, a thousand square miles: the fields it is deployed on are small, averaging only one square jump on the surface. . . With these are innumerable huts, mansions, villages, cities intermingled. Here the surface is riddled with unpredictable depressions; there plagued by countless hills; everything is an amazing and overwhelming variety - a variety which neither pen nor pencil can adequately express; and thus description, even in the hands of a master, becomes mere enumeration. The image becomes the catalog."

Wordsworth f pronouncedThe Seasons” ** a workof inspiration" and said that much of it was "written".

  • "First Impressions of England", p. 135.

f Attached to the preface of the second edition of “Lyric Ballads”.

in the <i/l History of English Romanticism.

of himself and noble of himself", but complained that the style was vicious. Indeed, Thomson's diction is not always worthy of its poetic feeling and its panoramic power over the landscape. It is academic and often clumsy and wordy , full of Latinisms like exuberant, steep, erroneous, horrible, moody, fun.the latent demon"; and if thePoet advises against using earthworms as bait for trouts, as he himself says:

"But let not on your hook let the tormented convulsive worm writhe in tormented folds," etc.

The poets had begun to withdraw from town and country, but in their retreat into the shadows of the forest they were sometimes indeed accompanied by Milton's "Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty," but just as often by the nymph "Elegance Shy" by Shenstone. he kept reminding her of Virgil.

Thomson's blank verse, though, as Coleridge says,

Inferior to Cowper, it is often richly musical and with

an energy that Milton did not borrow - nor that of Cowper

appropriate, at least in his translation of Homer.* Mr.

  • Of course there are Miltonic throwbacks to "The Seasons".

The "spotted disk" of the moon ("Autumn", 1091) is Milton's "spotted disk".

Globe." The apostrophe to light ("Spring" 90-96) is borrowed from him

„Divine Efflux“ by Miltons „Bright Effluence of Bright Essence“.

create" ("Paradise Lost", III. 1-12.) and ^/. "Autumn",


" - by Imaus stretcht

Across the dark borders of wandering Tartarus,"

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

'' - Moors

Under the shelter of an icy island

While the night dominates the sea."

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

The landscape of Toets. 1 1 1

Saintsbury* discovers a mannerism in the verse of The Seasons, which he illustrates by quoting three lines with which the poet "concludes the culmination of three distinct descriptive passages, all within the scope of half a dozen pages", viz:

"And Egypt rejoices under the spreading wave." "And Mecca is saddened by the long delay." "And Thule roars through its farthest islands."

It would be easy to add many more cases of this type of climacteric lineage, e.g. G. ("Summer", 859),

"And the ocean trembles for its green dominion."

For the blank verse of The Seasons is blank verse passed through the sieve of heroic verse. Though in the flow and continuity of his measure, as already said, Thomson offers the greatest contrast to Pope's verse system; but wherever he tries to be nervous, his modulation is more reminiscent of Pope's antithetical gimmick than the freer structure of Shakespeare or Milton. For example ("Spring", 1015):

"It fills all the senses and sighs in all veins."

or {Ibid. 1 104):

"Flames pierce the nerves and boil in the veins."

To break up the monotony of a descriptive poem, the author introduced moralizing digressions: "Georgian" style advice to the vinedresser and the shepherd; Praise for her patrons such as Lyttelton, Bubb Dodington and the Countess of

  • "Ward's English Poets", Vol. III. p. 171.

112 c^ History of English T^omantics.

Herford; and sentimental narrative episodes like the Damon and Musidora stories*. and Celadon and Amelia in "Summer", and of Lavinia and Palemonf in "Autumn", as their eyes roamed extensively over the natural phenomena of foreign lands, arctic night, tropical summer, etc. Wordsworth maintains that these sentimental passages

  • 'are the parts of the job that were probably the most

efficient in first making the author well known!”! You look pretty dull to us right now. But many attitudes to come cast their shadows on The Seasons page. animals, especially caged birds and herd rabbits; his preference for the countryside over the city; his enthusiasm for domestic love and the innocence of the Golden Age; its contrast between the misery of the poor and the ruthless luxury of the rich. All these traits of the poem point to the sentimentality of Sterne and Goldsmith and the humanitarianism of Cowper and Burns, particularly that half-feigned itch for simplicity that expresses the sensibilities of a corrupt society and The artificial image appealed to the writings of Rousseau and to the idyllic images of "Paul and Virginia" by Bernardin de St. Pierre.

  • Originally, there were iAree ladies in the bath scene!

f For this episode, Pope supplied the lines (207-14) "Unthinking of beauty, she was beauty itself," etc., which form his solitary essay in blank verse. Thomson told Collins that he got his first reference to "The Seasons" from the names of the departments-spring, summer, autumn, winter-in Pope's "Pastorals."

X Appendix to the Preface to the Second Edition of Lyric Ballads.

The landscape of Toets. 113

goes so far in this direction to condemn the use of animal feed in a passage reminiscent of Goldsmith's stanza: *

"No herd roaming the valley free. I condemn the slaughter: taught by the power that pities me, I learn to pity her."

Something was in the air. Pope was not a sentimental man, but even Pope had written

"The lamb that his tumult dooms to bleed today, If it were his reason, would he leap and play? Satisfied to the end, he plucks the flowering food. And licks the hand he just raised to shed his blood." F

It doesn't seem that Thomson was personally averse to a leg of lamb. His denunciations of luxury and his praise of rising early and taking cold baths sound rather hollow on the lips of a bard - "fatter than a bard requires" - who usually went to bed at noon and who, as Savage reports, Johnson can never have been in cold water in his life." Johnson relates, not without a certain malice, that the Countess of Hertford, "who was in the habit of inviting a poet to the country every summer to hear his verse and help her study ', he turned with that politeness and addressed Thomson, 'who found more pleasure in feasting with Lord Hertford and his friends than in helping his lordship

  • "Or recluse."

f "Test on Man", Letter I.

\"Falsely luxurious, shall not man awake?" etc.

—Summer, § 67 "Even when the cold winter stirs the bright tide, I hold, shivering weakly, on the brink."

- /i>ii^. 1259-60,


114 «t/^ History of English Romance.

poetic operations, and therefore I never received a subpoena again."*

The romantic touch is not lacking in “The Seasons”, but it is not striking. Thomson's subject was the changes of the year that affected the English countryside, a smooth, cultivated landscape of lawns, gardens, fields, orchards, sheep tracks and forest reserves. Only occasionally does that attraction to the wild, the terrible, the mysterious, the primitive, which characterizes the romantic mood in naturalist poetry, show itself in touches like these:

"High on the ridge of a craggy cliff, hovering over the depths, like wondrous scowls on the coast of extreme Kilda, whose lonely race leaves the setting sun for the Indian worlds." f

"Or where the North Ocean surges in mighty eddies around the bare and melancholy islands of far-off Thule, and the Atlantic waves rush between the tempestuous Hebrides."

Compare also the description of the storm in

the mountains ("Summer", 1156-68), concluding with the


"The heights of Heath Cheviot are seen from afar, and Thule roars through its farthest islands."

The Western Isles seem to have held a special fascination for Thomson. The passages quoted above, and the stanza from The Castle of Indolence quoted on page 94, gave Collins the key to his Ode on the Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands, which, Lowell says, contained the entire Romantic school.

  • "Thomson Life." {"Spring." 755-58.

t “Autumn,” 862-65.

The landscape of Toets. 115

by the root. Thomson may have found the embryonic atom in Milton's "Stormy Hebrides", in "Lycidas", whose echo is prolonged in Wordsworth's "Solitary Reaper" -

"Breaking the stillness of the seas Beneath the furthest Hebrides."

Even the Pope - he had a soul - was not immune to it, as he testifies.

"High as wolves on the stormy cliffs of Orcas, they howl to the roar of the deep north." *

The melancholy that Victor Hugo describes as a hallmark of Romantic art, and which we will see seeping into English poetry more and more as the century progresses, is also evident in The Seasons in a passage like this:

“Oh, lead me then into the wide shadows, into twilight groves and visionary dales, into weeping grottoes and prophetic darkness; where angelic figures immensely sweep or seem to sweep the solemn twilight; and more than human voices through the void, Deep-throated, grip the excited ear; f

or what resembles "II Pensaroso":

“Now all in the midst of the difficulties of the year.

In the wild depths of winter, while outside The ceaseless winds blow ice, be my refuge

  • „Brief an Augustus“.

f "Autumn", 1030-37. See Cowpers

“O to a cabin in a vast desert. Some limitless chain of shadows!”

ii6 <i/J History of English Romanticism.

Between the groaning forest and the shore,

Beaten by the boundless multitude of waves,

A rural scene, sheltered and solitary;

Where reddish fire and glowing candles unite

To enliven the dark. There let me sit diligently

And speak with the mighty dead." *

The revival of the supernatural and popular superstition as literary material after a rationalizing and skeptical age is signaled by a passage like this:

“Onward they pass many breathless heights. It is a sunken and rarely visited valley, where in the night of the night the fairies crowd the tomb of him whom his cruel fate has incited to raise against his own sad bosom the hand of impious violence. One shuns even the lone tower, whose dreary chambers harbor the howling ghost, such nocturnal fantasies.

It may not be instructive to note the occurrence of the word romantic in several places in the poem:

' 'Shimmering shadows and sympathetic gloom, Where the faint shadow hangs Romantically over the falling brook. f

This comes from a passage where romantic love returns to poetry after its long eclipse; and in which the lover wanders through woods in "pensive twilight" or in moonlight

  • "Winter", 424-32. f "Spring", 1026-28.

The landscape of Toets. 117

and along the banks of streams. * The word is also applied to clouds, "rolled in romantic shapes, the dream of waking fantasy"; and to the landscapes of Scotland - "Caledonia in a romantic view". In a more subtle way, lines like this feel romantic:

“Breathe your silent song into the reaper's heart. How he goes home under the merry moon;"

or this one from the relative lightness of summer


' 'A faint and wandering ray, glimpsed from the imperfect surfaces of things, throws half an image to the weary eye.'

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

"Tonight, spirits ride the storm:

Sweet is his voice amidst the gusts of wind: his songs a7-e from other worlds.'

Have you never watched that pause (while swaying winds whistled aloud) as the gust gathered again and soared over the ear in a shrill, melancholy note, like the soul of an oil harp? I assure you, nothing in the world compares to the voice of a ghost. Thomson had sometimes heard it: he was not deaf to it and it described it gloriously, but it gave it a different and different twist and more horror. I can't

  • "Shakespeare's Ginstergroves, whose shadow is the sober bachelor."

The love is; "


"Fountains and pathless groves,

Places that pale passion loves” and its

"Moonlight walks when all the birds are safely housed except bats and owls."

ii8 <iA History of English T^pmanticism.

repeat the lines: it is in your 'winter'." The lines Gray had in mind were probably these (191-94):

"Even so, they say, through all the charged air are heard long groans, shrill tones, and distant sighs, uttered by the demon of the night, warning the wretched devotees of doom and death."

Thomson appears to have been an indolent and good-natured man, constant in friendship and well liked by his friends. He had a little house and an estate on Kew Lane, where he composed poetry on autumn nights and enjoyed listening to the nightingales in Richmond Garden; and where, Collins sang in his Ode on the Poet's Death (1748),

"Memory will often haunt the shore,

When the Thames blooms in summer, it's dry. And he often hangs up the dashing oar to offer rest to his gentle spirit.

Collins was transferred from the Thomson residence to Richmond and left the neighborhood after his friend's death.

Joseph Warton testified in his Essay on Pope (1756) that The Seasons was "very instrumental in spreading a taste for the beauties of nature and landscape". Evidence of this widespread taste was the emergence of the new or natural school of landscaping. This was purely English art, and Gray, writing in 1763*, says: 'It is not yet forty years since art was born among us, and it is certain that there was nothing like it in Europe'; he adds that "our skill in gardening and landscaping" is "the only

  • Brief an Howe, 10 de setembro.

The landscape “Poet. 1 1 9

Taste we can call our own, the only proof of our original talent for pleasure." "Neither Italy nor France had the slightest idea of ​​it, they don't even understand it when they see it." * Grey's "not forty years" bring us back with reasonable accuracy to the date of "The Seasons" (1726-30), and perhaps giving Thomson undue credit for giving him the high degree of fatherhood that has been on the Continent ever since. , the names Englischer Garten, jardin Anglais, which are still given in Germany and France to leisure gardens arranged in the garden, testify to natural taste, f Schopenhauer states the philosophy of contrasting styles in the following way : "The great difference between the English garden and the old French garden is ultimately based on the fact that the former are laid out on the object -

  • Brief a Howe, November 1763,

t Alicia Amherst (“History of Gardening in England”, 1896, p. 283) mentions a French and an Italian work entitled “Plan de Jardins dans le gout Anglais”, Copenhagen, 1798; and 'Del Arte dei Giardini Inglesi', Milan 1801. 'This passion for imitating nature', says the same authority, 'was part of the general reaction which was taking place not only in horticulture, but also in the world of literature and fashion. Highly artificial French taste had long since taken the lead in civilized Europe, and attempts were now being made to throw off the shackles of its exaggerated formalism. The poets of the time were also pioneers of this school of nature. Dyer in his poem 'Grongar Hill' and Thomson in his 'Seasons' evoked images which gardeners and architects of the day sought to emulate.' See in this work, for good examples of the formal garden, the plan of Belton House, Lincoln, p. 245; of Brome Hall, Suffolk; of the Orangery and Canal in Euston, p. 201; and the Lawn and Parterres scrollwork patterns on pp. 217-18.

I20 iThe History of English Romanticism.

ive, the latter in the subjective sense, i.e. in the former the will of nature, as manifested in the tree, the mountain, and the water, is brought into the purest possible expression of its ideas, /. ^., of its very essence. In French gardens, on the contrary, only the will of the owner is reflected, who subjugated nature so that instead of his own ideas, as a sign of his enslavement, she bore the forms he imposed on her - trimmed hedges, trees cut in all kinds of shapes, straight lanes, arched paths, etc.

It would be unfair to blame the Pope generation's misguided taste for the formal style of gardening that prevailed when "The Seasons" was written. The old-fashioned Italian, French or Dutch garden - as it was variously called - predates the Augustan era, which simply inherited it from the 17th century. In Bacon's essay on gardens, as well as in the essays on the same subject by Cowley and Sir William Temple, the ideal amusement park is very similar to that so brilliantly realized by Le Notre at Versailles. Addison indeed in the Spectator (No. 414) and Pope himself in the Guardian (No. 173) ridiculed the excesses of the prevailing fashion, and Pope attacked them in his description of Timon's mansion in the '^' Epistle to the Earl of Burlington (1731) again . , which is believed to have been intended for the Canons, seat of the Duke of Chandos.

  • In the Temple Gardens at Moor Park, Hertfordshire, eg. B. there

they were lead-covered terraces. Charles II imported some of Le Notre's pupils and assistants, who designed the grounds at Hampton Court to French tastes. The labyrinth at Hampton Court still existed in Walpole's day (1770).

The landscape of Toets. 121

  • ' Your gardens follow your call of wonder,

From every side you see, behold the wall! No pleasant complexity intervenes, No elaborate ferocity to confuse the scene; Grove beckons to Grove, each alley has a sibling, and half of the platform just mirrors the other. The suffering eye sees nature inverted. Trees cut into statues, statues thick as trees; With here a source never to trifle; And there is a summer house that knows no shade; Here Amphitrite sails through bowers of myrtle; There gladiators fight or die in flowers; Without water, you see the fallen seahorse wail and the swallows sleep in Nilus's dusty urn."

Yet the critic is not only imaginative when he discovers an analogy between the French garden, with its perfect regularity and artificial smoothness, and the couplets Pope wrote: the same analogy found between the whole classical school of poetry and Italian architecture is copied by Palladio and introduced to England by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. The grounds were laid out in rectangular plots bordered by straight streets, sometimes paved with sand of different colors and surrounded by formal hedges of boxwood and holly. The lawn was inlaid with parterres cut in geometric shapes and studded at regular intervals with yew cut into cubes, cones, pyramids, spheres, sometimes figures of giants, birds, animals and ships - the so-called "topiary work" (opus topiariuni). Terraces, fountains, bowling alleys (Fr. Boulingrin), statues, arcades, quincunxes, trellises and artificial labyrinths or labyrinths filled the scenery. The set was surrounded by a wall that separated the garden from the surrounding landscape.

12 2i/1 History of English Romanticism.

"When a Frenchman reads of the Garden of Eden," says Horace Walpole in his essay On Modern Gardening (written 1770, published 1785), "I have no doubt but he concludes that it was something like that of Versailles that approached, with trimmed hedges, berceaiix and trellis work... The measured corridor, the quincunx and the etoile have imposed their unsatisfying resemblance to all royal and noble gardens... Many French woods look like green chests nailed to stilts... In the garden of Marshal de Biron in Paris, fourteen acres, each path is buttoned on either side by rows of potted flowers, thriving in their season. When I saw it, there were nine thousand pots of asters, or la retne Marguerite.... ...At Lady Orford, in Piddletown, in Dorsetshire, when my brother was married, there was a double enclosure of thirteen gardens, each a little over a hundred square yards, I think, with a row of equal gates, and before they reached this through a narrow gorge between two stone terraces rising above and topped by a row of pyramidal yew trees. A green bowling alley was all nice then: a circular lake of splendor in proportion.”*

Walpole cites Theobalds and Nonsuch as famous examples of the old formal garden style; Stourhead, Hagley and Stowe - Lyttelton's brother-in-law's country home. Lord Cobham—of the new. He says mottos and coats of arms were sometimes carved from yew, boxwood, and holly. He refers to a recent work by the Rev. Thomas Whately, or

  • It is worth noting that Batty Langley, the aborted restorer of

Gothic, he also recommended the natural style of landscaping as early as 1728 in his "New Garden Principles".

The landscape of Toets. 123

Wheatley, "Observations on Modern Gardening", 1770; and to a poem, then and still in manuscript, but with passages given by Amherst*, entitled 'The Rise and Progress of the Present Taste in Planting Parks, Pleasure Grounds, Gardens, etc. ", 1767.

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

"Oh, how unlike the scene my fancy forms,

Hitherto conspired madness with riches

(Video) HISTORY OF IDEAS - Romanticism

To plant that formal, boring and disjointed scene

What was once called a garden! Great Britain still

Carry many ugly chest wounds

Given by the cruel couple when, help with loans

They fought in vain because of their geometric skill.

By string, by plumb bob and insensible scissors

Form with green what the master builder has shaped

With stone. . .

Hence the side walls

Of shorn yew; the thorny arms of the holly

Trimmed for high archways; the tonsil box,

Mosaic fabric of some curls

Around the patterned lawn rug. . .

The terrace hill rises; the long line

Deeply dug shallow channel." f

But now, the poet continues. Flavor "raise your voice"


"At the terrible noise, the terrace spontaneously sinks; in the green, embroidered with crunchy knots, the tonsil yews wither and fall; the fountain no longer dares to throw its wasted crystal across the sky, but spills healthily over the withered grass."

  • "History of Gardening in England."

f I. 384-404.

124 <^ History of English Romanticism.

The new school had the intolerance of the Reformers. The relentless Capability Brown and his Myrmidons devastated many a primitive but beautiful garden with its avenues, terraces and sundials, the loss of which is deeply mourned now that the Queen Anne revival has taught us to appreciate the Rococo beauties imitated by Brown's Displaced Landscapes.

We may pause briefly on this 'English Garden' by Mason as an example of that generation of didactic poems in empty verse which arose from Philips' Cyder and Thomson's Seasons, which included Mallet's Excursion (1728) heard. , Somerville's Chase (1734), Akenside's Pleasures of Imagination (1742-44), Armstrong's Art of Preservation Health (1744),* Dyer's Fleece (1757) and Grainger's Sugar Cane (1764). Mason's blank verse, like that of Thomson de Mallet, is heavily imitated, and the influence of Thomson's pompous diction is at its worst here. The whole poem is a classic example of the absurdity of didactic poetry. Particularly harrowing is the author's effort to be poetic in describing the various types of fences designed to keep sheep out of their pens.

"Ungrateful certainty, If such a theme becomes the poet's task: Yet he must try to get it right by modulation, Of varied cadence and selected phrase, Exact and yet free, daring without inflation, To appreciate this theme."

Consequently, he honors his subject by speaking of a net as "the athlete's hemp work" and of a weapon as

  • ■ ^ "—Downpipe

Whose iron entrails hide the sulphurous explosion, satanic machine! "

The Landscape "Toets. 125

When he names an ice house, it's something of a riddle:

"-the rough frame where winter hammers, In conical pit its sausages ripen, This summer may chill your lukewarm drink with cool luxury."

This part of speech is the hallmark of all eighteenth-century poetry and poets; not just by those who used the classic couplet, but also by the romanticizing group that embraced the Blankverse. The best of them are not free from it, not even Gray, not even Collins; and permeates Wordsworth's first lines, his Descriptive Sketches and Evening Walk, published in 1793.

Borrowing from The Seasons, Mason introduced a sentimental love story - Alcander and Nerina - in his third book. He informs his readers (Book II. 34-78) that many gardeners have gone to extremes in reaction against straight tracks with the use of zigzag meanders; and recommends that they follow the natural curves of the paths that the milkmaid takes "from walkway to walkway" through the pastures, or which

— “The hurried hare Draws to his dewy seat upon shy moors.”

The prose commentary on Mason's poem by W. Burgh* states that the formal style of the garden had a

  • <<

The Works of William Mason", em 4 volumes, Londres, 1811.

126 zA History of English l^manticism.

began to sag around the beginning of the eighteenth century, although the new fashion came to perfection very late. Mason mentions Pope as a champion of true taste,* but the descriptions of his famous villa at Twickenham, with its caves, thickets and artificial mounds, hardly suggest to the modern reader a very successful attempt to reproduce nature. To be sure. Papa was only five

  • See Pope's Guardian article (173) for some details.

Stupidity about topiary work. "All art," he asserts, "consists in the imitation and study of nature." "It seems that we aim to get away from nature, not only in the various shades of green in the most regular and formal forms, but also" etc. etc. Also Addison, Spectator 414, June 25, 1712, asserts "the rough and careless features of nature" against "the beautiful details and ornaments of art" and complains that "our British gardeners, instead of enjoying nature, love to keep away from it." as much of it as possible. Our trees grow in cones, globes and pyramids. We see the scissor marks on every plant and bush. I don't know if I think I'm unique, but for my part, I prefer to look at a tree in all its luxuriance and spreading twigs and twigs than to cut and trim it into a mathematical figure like this. See also Spectator, 477, for a beautiful scheme of a garden with "the wild beauty of nature." Gilbert West's Spserian poem , Education, 1751 (see ante, p. 90), contains in six stanzas an attack on the geometric garden, of which I present a single stanza.

''Also other marvels of sports scissors. Naturally beautiful fake decorations were found: globes, spiral columns, pyramids and pillars. Crowned with budding urns and budding statues; And horizontal dials on the floor, Traced on cupboards by crafty artists; And trimmed Galien, tied to no long journey. But with its roots always firmly anchored, all its bulbous sails stretched out with each explosion.

The landscape of Toets. 127

Acres to experience and the parkland setting that characterizes the English landscape garden requires a lot of space. Art is the natural growth of a country where primogeniture kept large estates in the hands of the nobility and gentry, and where the passion for sport kept the nobility and gentry in the country much of the year. Even Shenstone - whose place Mason praises - Shenstone at Leasowes, with its three hundred acres, felt its little enjoyment clumsily eclipsed by the vicinity of Lyttelton's great park in Hagley.

The general principle of the New or English school was the imitation of nature; Let the trees maintain their own shape, replacing winding paths with straight lanes and natural waterfalls or rapids or jets of water in marble pools. The plan on which Shenstone worked is explained in his "Unconnected Thoughts on Gardening"* (1764), from which a few sentences indicate the direction of reform: "The landscape must contain enough variety to form an image on the canvas". bad test as I think the landscape painter is the gardener's better designer. The eye requires some kind of balance here, but not to penetrate probable nature. A forest or a hill can balance a house or an obelisk; for precision would be clumsy. ... It is not easy to explain the old-fashioned taste for straight avenues to their homes, straight walks through their woods, and, in short, all sorts of straight lines where the foot must wander over what that eye has done before... also

  • "Essays on Men and Maniers", Shenstone's Works, Bd. II.,

Dodsley edition.

128 <iThe History of English Romanticism.

Stopping and examining these avenues can provide some satisfaction in shifting perspective; but to go on and not find the slightest change of scenery to accompany our change of location must give a person of good taste real pain. . . I imagined the feeling he must be feeling when he's only gone for a few minutes, walled in between

Lord D's shaved yew hedges that run exactly

parallel at a distance of about three meters and are perfectly constructed to exclude all types of objects. . . Side trees in Vistas must be of a type that is likely to have grown naturally. . . The form of the soil, the disposition of the trees and the form of the water must be sacred to nature; and no form that discovers art should be admitted. . . The taste of the bourgeois and the common peasant is all the same: the former gilds his balls, paints his masonry and statues white, plants his trees in lines or circles, cuts his yews into squares or cones, or gives them the appearance of of birds, bears, or men, as far as he can: briefly squirts jets d'eatij into his streams, admires no part of nature but her ductility; it shows everything that is extravagant, that requires effort or that surprises because it is not natural. The farmer is your admirer. . . The water should always appear like an erratic sea or a meandering stream. . . Toppings that appear like this are usually bad. They discover art in the province of nature."

There is certainly a correspondence between this new taste for picturesque gardening, which preferred freedom, variety, irregularity, and naturalness to rule, monotony, uniformity, and artificiality, and that new taste for literature, which discarded the couplet as a blank space.

The landscape of Toets. 129

Verse or for various strophic forms that left the world of society in the solitude of nature and finally went in search of new stimuli for the remnants of the Gothic and the crude fragments of Norse and Celtic antiquity.

Both Walpole and Mason speak of William Kent, the architect and landscape painter, as influential in introducing a purer taste to the art of gardening. Kent was Pope's friend and a. Protected by Lord Burlington, to whom Pope inscribed his already quoted 'Epistle on the Use of Riches' (see aite p. 121), and who gave Kent a home in his country house. Kent is said to have admitted that he derived his taste for gardening from the descriptive passages of Spenser, whose poetry he illustrated. Walpole and Mason also reconcile the image of Eden in '*Paradise Lost' in contrast to the artificial gardening of Milton's day:

' ' - where not fine art in strange knots, But nature's blessings showered over hills and valleys Flowers worthy of paradise; while all around gloomy grottoes and caverns of cool alcoves and gurgling waters are dotted across the hillside or held back by shores fringed in crystalline lakes. It composes a rural headquarters in different shades."

But it is worth noting that in "L'Allegro" "retired

Leisure time, "enjoy ^^ manicured gardens", while

pick me up

"Lightness and health take refuge in airy lawns or in the depths of the forest."

Walpole says that Kent's "principle was that nature abhors a straight line". Kent "jumped over the fence and saw that all nature was a garden. He felt

130 <iThe History of English Romanticism.

the delightful contrast of mountain and valley imperceptibly blending together. . . and he noted how the loose woods crowned a gentle rise with gay ornaments. . . The great principles he worked on were perspective, light and shadow. . . But of all the beauties he added to the face of this beautiful country, none surpassed his water management. Farewell to canals, circular pools and waterfalls that descend marble steps. . . The gentle brook was apparently taught to serpentine at will.”* The treatment of the garden as part of the general landscape was usually accomplished by removing walls, hedges and other enclosures, and replacing the ha-ha or submerged It is curious that Walpole, though speaking of Capability Brown, make no mention of the Leasowes, whose owner, William Shenstone, author of The Schoolmistress, is one of the most interesting amateur gardeners." "England," says Hugh Miller, "has many greaters. It has produced more poet than Shenstone, but it never produced a greater landscaper.”

At Oxford, Shenstone had signaled his natural taste by wearing his own hair in place of a wig, then (1732) the general fashion, f When he came of age he inherited a farm in Shropshire, called Leasowes, in the parish of Hales Owen, and an annuity of about three hundred pounds. He was slow-tempered, reserved and somewhat melancholy; and instead of pursuing a professional career he settled on his estate and by 1745

  • "On Modern Gardening", Werke des Earl of Orford,

Londres, 1798, Bd. II.

f Graves, 'Reminiscences of Shenstone', 1788.

The Countryside T^oets. 131

started doing 2, ferme ornce. There he wooed the peasant muse in elegy, ode, and pastoral ballad, letting the beauty of simplicity and the vanity of ambition resound in the vocal reeds, and mixing with these sounds lamentations over Delia's cruelty and the want of his own purse, which he spent on his seriously handicapped garden projects. Mr. Saintsbury described Shenstone as a master of "the artificial-natural style in poetry"* and made no effort to hide his contempt for the poet's horticultural endeavors. “Whether it's tracing a path around bumpy curves and placing a bench at each corner where there's an object to capture the view; let the water flow where you hear it and stagnate where you see it; Leaving gaps where the eye will please and thickening the planting where there is something to hide requires great mental powers, I will not ask. The Doctor relates that Lyttelton was jealous of the fame which the Leasowes soon achieved, and that when visitors to Hagley asked to see Shenstone's house, their host deftly steered them to uncomfortable views - introducing them, for example, B. on the wrong end of a walk to see a prospective disappointment, "injuries Shenstone would deeply regret". f Graves denies, however, that any rivalry was in question between Hagley's large domain and the poet's smallholdings. "The truth," he writes, "is that the Lyttelton family

  • "Ward's English Poets", Vol. III. 271

t "The Life of Shenstone."

132 <iA history of English l^manticism.

frequent reports with his company to the Leasowes, that they were unwilling to interrupt Mr. Shenstone at every opportunity and therefore frequently went to the main viewpoints without expecting someone to lead them regularly during all the tours. Of that Mr. Shenstone sometimes complained wistfully.

Shenstone, in his "Thoughts on Gardening," describes various contrivances which he employed to increase the apparent distance of objects, or to lengthen the perspective of an avenue, by enlarging it in the foreground, and planting there trees with dark leaves, such as yews and firs. , "then with trees that become more and more ragged until they end in the almond willow or the white willow." To get Lord Lyttleton to throw a party at the small or wild end of such a ride, and thus spoil the whole trick, must have been provocative indeed. Johnson claims that Shenstone's house was ruined and that "nothing aroused his indignation more than asking if there were any fish in his water". 'In time,' continues the physician, 'his expenses brought a noise upon him, drowning out the bleating of the lamb and the singing of the robin; and woods of it were haunted by beings very different from stags and fairies; but Graves denies this.

The Leasowes' fame attracted visitors from all over the country - literary figures such as Spence, Home and Dodsley: picturesque tourists who came out of curiosity; and titled persons who came or sent their gardeners for guidance in landscaping their own plots. Lyttelton brought in William Pitt, who was so interested that he offered to contribute £200 towards improvements,

The landscape of Toets. 133

an offer Shenstone turned down. Pitt also had some skill in landscape gardening, which he practiced at Enfield Chase and later at Hayes.* Thomson, who was Lyttelton's guest at Hagley every summer for the last three or four years of his life, was clearly familiar with the Leasowes. There are many references to the "descriptive sweet bard" in Shenstone's poetry, and a perch has been inscribed for him in a part of the complex known as Vergil's Grove.This seat," says Dodsley, "is on top of aA steep slope at the edge of the valley, from where the eye is drawn to the plain by the light that passes by and the murmur of several waterfalls that pleasantly interrupt the winding stream. In front of this seat, the ground rises again in a slight concavity to a kind of trickling fountain, where a small stream flows through a rough rock niche among ferns, liverworts and aquatic plants. . . The whole scene is opaque and gloomy." J

English landscape gardening is a noble art. That's it

  • See before, p. 90, for his visits to Gilbert West at Wickham.

f See especially “A Pastoral Ode” and “Verses Written in Late 1748”.

|: "A Description of the Leasowes by R. Dodsley", Shenstone's

Works, Vol. II, S. 287-320 (3rd edition) This description is accompanied by a map. For other descriptions see Graves' Recollections, Hugh Miller's First Impressions of England and Wm. Howitt's Homes of the Poets (1846), Vol. I. pp. The last one gives a point of the house and the land. Miller, who was in Hagley - "The British Tempe" - and the Leasowes just a century after Shenstone began to beautify his father's fields, says that the Leasowes were the poet's most elaborate poem, "the singularly ingenious composition composed on an English hill which for twenty long years used Shenstone's taste and genius.

134 «i^ History of English Romanticism.

The principles are solid and of lasting application. And yet we are so much more advanced in passion for nature than the men of Shenstone's day that we tend to grow impatient with the degree of artificiality present in even the most skilful imitation of the natural landscape. The poet no longer writes odes to rural elegance, nor sings

"The transport, closer to the song,

In the peaceful captivity of a fair valley, to catch gentle hints of nature's tongue,

And offer Arcadia to flourish around; Whether we align the sloping hill,

Or soft under the green mead; if we break the thread that falls,

Or drive through winding labyrinths, Or into the terrible scrub room

Offer carefree groups of roses to bloom; Or leave a sheltered lake calm

Reflect flowers, forests and towers and light up the whole scene."

If we can't have the mountains, the jungle or the shores of the wild sea, at least we can have Thomsons.great simple country" subject to manuse, but not for your pleasure. The modern climate prefers an alley to a winding avenue, and an ancient orchard or stony pasture to a lawn adorned with thickets. “I confess,” says Howitt, “that I have always found so much ado about nothing in the 'Leasowes'; such a parade of miniature waterfalls, lakes, streams flowing hither and thither; Surprises in the lay of the woods and the curvature of the walks... which I heartily wished for on a good rough moor.

Because the "natural-artificial" was a characteristic of Shen-

The landscape of Toets. 135

stone gardening no less than his poetry. He closed off all views and accentuated all the openings in his undergrowth and all the points that offered a view with an object that, like an exclamation point, pointed out the beauty of the scene: a rustic bench, a real house, a Gothic niche, a grotto, hermitage, memorial urn or obelisk dedicated to Lyttelton, Thomson, Somerville*, Dodsley or some other friend. He provided them with inscriptions expressing the mood corresponding to the respective place, passages from Virgil, or English or Latin verses of his own composition. Walpole says Kent even planted dead trees in Kensington Garden in his imitation of natural landscapes. Walpole himself seems to approve of such contraptions as artificial ruins, "a pretended spire of a distant church or an unreal bridge to obscure the water's end". a Temple of Pan made of rough, rough stone; he placed a statue of a hissing faun and another of the Venus dei J Medici beside a vase of golden fish.

Some of the Shenstone inscriptions have escaped the ravages of time. For example, the motto carved on the urn dedicated to the memory of his cousin Miss Dolman was prefixed by Byron in his "Elegie on Thyrza": "Heuquanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse!" The habit of inscription prevailed until the time of Wordsworth, who wrote a number for Sir George Beaumont's land

  • See Lady Luxborough's Letters to Shenstone, 1775, for details.

Correspondence about an urn she erected in Somerville's memory. She was Bolingbroke's sister, had a seat at Barrels and exchanged visits with Shenstone.

136 't/1 History of English T^omanicism.

color tone. One of Akenside's best pieces is his "Inscription to a Grotto", which is not unworthy of Landor. Matthew Green, author of The Spleen, wrote a 250-line poem about Queen Caroline's famous grotto in Richmond Garden. "A grotto," says Johnson, alluding to the even more famous one in the Pope's mansion at Twickenham, "is not often an Englishman's desire or pleasure, who must more often solicit than forbid the sun"; but the increasing emphasis on the mossy cave and hermit cell, both in descriptive verse and gardening, was symptomatic. It was a note of the coming romance and of that thoughtful, elegiac tone that one finds in the works of Gray, Collins and the Wartons. It marked the Muse's withdrawal from the heights of the world into the cool and isolated valley of life. Throughout mid-century literature, the attentive ear can hear the trickle of spring water on the rocky walls of the cave. In Hagley, halfway up the hill. Miller saw a semi-octagonal temple dedicated to Thomson's genius. It stood on a grassy depression that afforded a sweeping view and was the favorite resting place of the poet of The Seasons. In a bleak, secluded ravine, he found a white pedestal supporting an urn engraved by Lyttelton in Shenstone's memory. This contrast in situation seemed symbolic to the tourist. Shenstone, he says, was an egoist, and his niche, befitting his character, excluded the distant landscape. Gray, considering The Schoolmistress a masterpiece of its kind, made a disparaging mention of its author.* “I have read

  • *'Letter to Nichols', June 24, 1769.

The landscape of Toets. 137

an 8vo volume of Shenstone's letters; poor man! he always desired money, fame and other accolades; and his whole philosophy was "to retire against his will and live in a place which he liked to adorn, but which he only enjoyed when distinguished people came to see and praise him", Gray no doubt benefited from a reading of shenstoneElegies” that precede his own “Elegy Written inthe Country Churchyard ”(1751). He adopted Shenstone's stanza, which Shenstone had borrowed from the love elegy of a now forgotten poet, James Hammond, squire to Prince Frederick and friend of Cobham, Lyttelton and Chesterfield... "Why Hammond or any other writer," he says Johnson, "the ten-syllable quatrain It is difficult to say that it is elegiac. The character of the elegy is gentleness and delicacy, but this stanza was uttered by Dryden ... as the greatest of all measures which our language affords." *

  • Dryden's "Wonderful Year", Davenant's "Gondibert" from Sir

John Davies's "Nosce Teipsum" was written in this stanza, but the universal circulation of Gray's poem associated it almost exclusively with elegiac poetry for many years. Slienstone's collected poems were not published until 1764, although some of them were reprinted in Dodsley's Miscellanies. Few of his elegies are dated in the collected editions (Elegy VIII, 1745; XIX, 1743; XXI, 1746), but Graves says they were all written before Grays. The following lines will remind any reader of relevant passages in Gray's Churchyard:

“O foolish muses who strive with zeal

To adorn the cold and callous sanctuary with bays!

“When the free spirit leaves its humble form

Enter heaven, crowned with radiant garlands;



138 iA History of English To^omantics.

The most captivating of Shenstone's poems, after The Schoolmistress, is his Pastoral Ballad, written in four parts in 1743 to a stumbling, anesthetic beat. Most readers will be familiar with the beginning of the stanzas:

' 'Found a gift for my county fair, found out where wood pigeons breed.

Dr Johnson recognized the beauty of imagination:

"So sweetly did she take leave of me,

I thought she brought me back; "

and he used to quote and praise the well-known lines ** Written in an inn at Henley:

"He who has traveled all his life, where his stages may have been, may sigh to think he has ever met the warmest welcome at an inn."

To Shenstone's blank lines - which are not many - the doctor says: "His blank lines, those

Speak, will she hear the distant voice of glory, Or will she hear a strange sweetness in the sound? "

- Elegy II

  • ' I saw his coffin ignominiously crossing the plain."

- Elegy III.

"No wild ambitions ignited his flawless chest."

– Elegies 15

"Through the gloomy veil of the night's dark shadow, near a lone wreath or the grave green of a yew tree," etc.

- Elegy IV

"The bright dawn and the doubtful dawn

Will see his step return to those sad scenes

Persistent, as crystalline dew penetrates the grass", etc.

— Ibidem,

7 landscape test. 139

those who can read them will likely resemble the blank verses of their neighbors.” Shenstone encouraged Percy to publish his "Reliques". "The plans for the Abbotsford site were somewhat influenced by Dodsley's description of the Leasowes, which Scott studied with great interest.

In 1744, Mark Akenside, a northerner who was partly educated in Scotland, published his Pleasures of Imagination, later rewritten as The Pleasures of the Imagination, corrupting the poem's thoughts from Addison's series of essays on the subject (Spectator, nos. 41 1-42 1). Akenside was a learned man and a respected physician. he enjoyed a popularity that today is quite difficult to explain. Gray lamented its obscurity, saying it was published nine years earlier, but admitted that it sometimes "even came to the top, particularly in the description". Smollett caricatures him in "Peregrine Pickle." Hating his Whig principles, Johnson portrays him when he settled in Northampton as "who made the place deaf with cries of liberty". he told Boswell that he couldn't read it. However, he speaks of it with a certain cautious respect that seems more like a concession to contemporary opinion than an acknowledgment of the criticism itself. He even admits that Akenside "has fewer gimmicks than most of its empty music brethren." Lowell says that the very title of Akenside's poem indicates "far from the plain".

  • "Life of Akenside."

I40 e/f History of English Romanticism.

Highway from the mundane to mountain trails and less native views. The poem was stiff and reluctant, but in its loins was the seed of nobler births. Without her, Lines Written at Tintern Abbey might never have happened."

One cannot read The Pleasures of the Imagination without feeling that the author had a poetic feeling, a feeling of the kind we commonly call romantic. At least his teaching, if not his practice, was consistent with the new impulse that was seeping into English poetry. Thus he celebrates heaven-born genius and the inspiration of nature, and condemns "critical verse" and the effort to climb Parnassus "by stupid obedience." He evokes the peculiar muse of the new school:

"Indulgent fantasy ^ of the Avon's fertile banks, whence thy rosy fingers pluck fresh flowers and dew to scatter on the lawn where Shakespeare lies."

But Akenside is very abstract. Instead of photos, he presents the reader with dissertations. A poem that deals with imagination rather than method will inevitably remain not poetry but a lecture on poetry - a theory of beauty, not an example, might have chosen Milton's verse as its motto:

“How lovely is divine philosophy!

Or maybe you remembered what Milton said about poetry's duty to be simple, sensual and passionate. Akenside's is none of those things; he runs

7er landscape test. 141

the dark, metaphysical and consequently cold opposite. Following Addison, he calls the greatness and novelty of /. H. the sublime and the wonderful as, like beauty, the main sources of imaginative pleasure, and the whole poem is an appeal to what we are now used to calling the ideal. There is a passage in the first book which is good in spirit and, though to a lesser degree, in expression:

"Who from the Alpine heights casts his laborious gaze over the distant horizon to behold Nilus or Ganges rolling its shining wave

Across mountains, across plains, across dark realms. And continents of sand will divert your gaze to the meanders of a meager stream that murmurs at your feet? The highborn soul despises resting its sky-reaching wing under its native prey. Tired of the earth And in the scene of this day she sprouts through the fields of the air; she chases the flying storm; Ride the roaring lightning through the skies; Or sweeps the long stretch of day, under the yoke of hurricanes and the north wind."

Reference to this passage comes from a paragraph in Addison's second treatise (Spectator, 412), and the excitement is the same as that expressed by Goethe in the well-known lines from Faust:

"But it is innate in all

That his feeling presses upward and forward," etc.

But how far superior is the German to the English poet in terms of sharpness of detail, inventiveness and kinetic energy!

Akenside is one of the first Spenserians on account of his "Virtuoso" (1737) and several odes

142 iThe History of English Romanticism.

composed in a ten-line variation of Spenser's stanza. A collection of his 'Odes' appeared in 1745 - a year before those of Collins and Joseph Warton - and a second in 1760. They are of little value, but show here and there traces of Milton's petty poetry and that elegiac feeling common to all the most lyrical verse of the time, particularly notable in a passage about the nightingale in Ode XV. Book I, "To the Evening Star". The Pleasures of Imagination was the source of numerous plays of the same name, including Joseph Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy, Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, and Rogers' Pleasures of Memory.

In the same year as Thomson's 'Winter' (1726), two short descriptive pieces were published in two anthologies of poetry, 'Grongar Hill' and 'The Country Walk', written by John Dyer, a young Welshman, in the octogyllable pairing of the work from Milton. 'L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso". ("Grongar Hill", as first printed, was a sort of irregular ode with alternating rhymes; but it was much improved in later editions, and was rewritten in couplets throughout.)

Dyer was a landscape painter, educated at Westminster School, having studied with Richardson in London, and having spent time wandering the mountains of Wales in pursuit of his art. Grongar Hill is really a pictorial poem, a sketch of the landscape seen from the top of his favorite South Wales peak. It's an easy, careless, even sloppy piece of work, but with a lightness and ease that contrasts pleasantly with the clumsiness of Thomson and Akenside. When Dyer wrote Blankverse, he entered the Thorn

The landscape “Poet. 143

Sonian diction, "cumbent sheep" and "pomaceous purple groves". ,But inGrongar Hill” – although hecalls the sun Phoebus - the shorter measure seems to bring shorter words, and he has lines of Wordsworthian simplicity -

"The wooded valleys warm and low, The windswept peaks wild and high:"

or the final passage to which Wordsworth alludes in his sonnet about Dyer - "Long as the thrush should pipe on Grongar Hill":

"The grass and flowers leave faint footsteps in meadows and hilltops... and often the thrush is heard by the babbling brook while all is still. In the woods of Grongar Hill."

Wordsworth was drawn to Dyer's love of "mountain turf" and "spacious, breezy hills" and "the wide, breezy desert lands of Snowdon". The "power of the hills" was upon him. Like Wordsworth, he moralized his song. In "Grongar Hill", the crumbling tower hints at the transience of human life: the rivers flowing into the sea are compared to man's career from birth to death; and Campbell's couplet,

"This distance enchants the view and envelops the mountain in its blue color"*

owe something to Dyer

"While your peaks are gentle and fair, clothed in the colors of the air that seem brown and rough to those who travel near the desert, we still tread the same rough path, the present is still a cloudy day."

  • "Joys of Hope."

144 4^ History of Romanticism Eyglic.

Dyer went to Rome to continue his art studies, and on his return published his Ruins of Rome in white verse in 1740. He was not very successful as a painter, eventually accepting commissions, marrying, and setting up shop as a country parson. In 1757 he published his most ambitious work, The Fleece, a poem in blank verse and four books describing wool growing in England. "The subject of 'The Fleece,' sir," Johnson explained, "cannot be made poetic. How can a man write poetically about Serges and Druggets?" Indeed, didactic poetry often leads to ridiculous descents. Commandments such as "Beware of Corruption", "Surround, Enclose Ye Men" and

"—the usefulness of salt Teach your slow gains";

with recipes for mange and advice on different types of wool combs are deadly. A poem of this class must be made poetic by including episodes and digressions not inherent in the subject itself, but artificially attributed to it. Such is the affectionate mention of the poet's native Carmarthenshire, quoted in Wordsworth's sonnet.

"—that gentle expanse of Cambria, deeply rooted Dimetian land, surrounded by green hills, lulled by the roar of the ocean."

Lowell admired the line about the Siberian exiles who found themselves

"In the dark plane of adversity."

Miltonian reminiscences are common in Dyer. Sabrina is borrowed from "Comus"; "bosky bourn" and "sothest pastor" from the same; "The Light Fantastic Toe" from "L'Allegro"; "Sola Level" and

The landscape of Toets. 145

"nor shall the worm of corruption infect the eager flocks", from "Lycidas"; "Pure audience be thy joy, though few" from Paradise Lost.

"Mr. Dyer," Gray wrote to Horace Walpole in 1751, "has more poetry in his imagination than almost any other of us; but rude and reckless." Akenside, who helped Dyer to polish the manuscript of The Fleece, said that "he would regulate his opinion of Dyer's prevailing taste for the fate of Dyer's 'Fleece'; for if this were ill-received, he should no longer think it reasonable to expect fame through of excellence." The romantic element in Dyer's imagination manifests itself primarily in his love of mountains and ancient ruins. Johnson quotes approvingly from "The Ruins of Rome":

"In the middle of the night the hermit, in the midst of his prayers, often hears with horror the voice of time dissolving towers."*

These were classic ruins. Perhaps the Doctor's sympathy would not have spread so quickly to the image of the rotting Gothic tower in "Grongar Hill" or the "lonely moss-grey Stonehenge" in "The Fleece".

  • Ver Wordsworths

"An accidental scream breaking the still air, or the unimaginable thread of time."

– Versatility: Church satinets, XXXIV.


•■*► •<■* MtWumk W

KAPITEL V. tibe /Dbiltonlc (3ruup.

The fact that Milton's influence is hardly secondary to Spenser's importance in the eighteenth-century Romantic revival confirms our observation that Augustan literature was one of them.

    • classic " in its own way. It's another example

of that strangely inverted state of affairs in which rhyme was the hallmark of the classics and blank verse of the romantics. For Milton is truly the most classic of English poets; and yet, from the perspective in which the eighteenth century saw him, he looked like a romantic. In any case, it was his romantic side that the new school of poets captured and appropriated.

This side was present in Milton to a greater extent than his completed works would show. He is known to have once sketched an Arthuriad, a sketch which, if carried out, might have anticipated Tennyson and so deprived us of The Idylls of the King. "I went," he writes, "among those sublime fables and romances which tell the deeds of chivalry in solemn songs."

I myself, Rutupina of Dardanias, by the waters of the waters, will say.

  • "An apology for Srectymnuus."


7th DAiltonic group. i47

Brennus and Arviragus, the chiefs, first of Belinus and lastly of Armorican, settlers under the right of the Britons; Make Arturo pregnant by fatal lorgernen betrayal; Lying faces, caught in the arms of Gorlois, Merlin's trick."*

The 'Affair of Britain' never quite lost the fascination it held over his youthful imagination, as evidenced by passages in 'Paradise Lost' and even 'Paradise Regained'. But as his religious and literary rigor grew, Milton eventually turned to Hebrew themes and Hellenic art forms, writing Homeric epics and coy tragedies, rather than masks and sonnets, rhyming Italian-style plays like "L'Allegro " and "II Pensive". and of strophic poems like the "Krippenode", which were touched by Elizabethan incursions. He relied more and more on sheer construction and weight of thought and less on decorative detail. His diction became severe and austere, and he used rhymes, but sparingly, even in the chorus.

  • Lines 162-168. See also "Mansus", 80-84.

f "What sounds

In the fable or romance of Uther's son,

Gird with British and Armorian knights;

And all who were ever baptized or unbelievers,

Mounted on Aspramont or Montalban,

Damascus or Morocco or Trebizond,

Or the one that Biserta sent from the African coast

When Karl fell with all his nobility

From Fontarabia."

—Buch I. 579-587,

X “Fairy maidens met in the forest

By knights of Logres or Lyon,

Lancelot or Pelleas or Pellenore."

- Hearts II. 359-361.

148 t/^ History of English Romanticism.

Parts of "Samson Agonistes". In short, like Goethe, he became a classic with age. It has been noted that 'Paradise Lost' did much to keep the English tradition of blank verse alive during a period notable for its intolerant devotion to rhyme and particularly the heroic couplet. However, it was Milton's early poetry, which used rhyme - albeit used so differently from Pope's - that told most in the history of the Romantic movement. Professor Masson takes issue with the general claim that "Paradise Lost" was first popularized by Addison's Saturday papers. While this series was in progress, Tonson (1711-13) published an edition of Milton's poetical works which was "the ninth of 'Paradise Lost', the eighth of 'Paradise Regained', the seventh of 'Samson Agonistes' and the sixth of from Little Poems." Earlier editions of the Little Poems appeared in 1645, 1673, 1695, 1705 and 1707. Six editions in sixty-eight years is certainly not a great achievement. After 1713 Milton's editions multiplied rapidly; in 1763

    • Paradise Lost" was at its forty-sixth and lowest

Poems in your thirties.*

Addison occasionally selected a passage from Milton's youthful poetry in The Spectator; but, from all available evidence, it does not seem doubtful that they were comparatively neglected, and that, although they were reprinted from time to time in complete editions of Milton's poems, they were merely regarded as appendices to and addressed by "Paradise Lost." ." Call. "Whatever the cause," says Dryden, "Milton lays claim to the abolition of frost...

  • „Massons Leben von Milton“, Bd. VI. Q.789.

7he zmiltonic group. 149

One particular reason is clear that maturity was not his talent: he had neither the ease nor the grace of it: which is manifest in his 'Juvenilia' or verses written in his youth; where his maturity is always strained and forced, and hardly comes from him.” Joseph Warton writes in 1756* after quoting profusely from the “Krippenode,” which he says is “not sufficiently read or admired,” and directs as follows: 'I have chiefly occupied myself with this ode, which is much less famous than ' L'Allegro' and 'II Pensaroso', which are now well known; but which, by a strange fate, fell into a kind of obscurity, the private amusement of some curious readers, until it was admirably set to music by Mr. Handel. And indeed this volume of Milton's several poems

  • "Essay on the Pope", Vol. I. pp. 36-38 (5th edition). at Dedi

In a note to Young, Warton says: "[The Pope's] epistles about the characters of men and women, and their vivid satires, my good friend, are more widely read and quoted than 'L'Allegro' and 'II Pensaroso' of Milton.'"

■)• Reverend Francis Peck, in his New Memoirs of the Life and Poetic Works of Mr. John Milton, says in 1740 that these two poems are rightly admired by foreigners and Englishmen alike, and have therefore been translated into all modern languages. This volume includes "An Examination of Milton's Style"; "Explanatory Notes and Criticisms on Various Passages from Milton and Shakespeare"; "The Resurrection", a blank verse imitation of Milton by "a friend of the publisher in London", with reviews of "Lycidas", "Comus", "L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso" and "Natividade". Ode." Peck defends Milton's rhyming poetry against Dryden's rigor. "He was a perfect master of rhyme and could use it to express something no one else had thought of." He compares the verse paragraphs of "Lycidas" to musical bars and its annotated system of "scattered rhymes" as admirable and unique.

150 <iThe History of English Manticism.

didn't get the attention it deserves until recently. Am I to offend any sane admirer of Pope by noting that these youthful descriptive poems of Milton, as well as his Latin elegies, are of a much higher tone than the earlier author can boast?

The first critical edition of Little Poems was published in 1785 by Thomas Warton, whose notes have been of great use to all subsequent publishers. As late as 1779, Dr. Johnson in the same poems with a lack of appreciation that today seems wholly surprising. "Those who admire the beauties of this great poet sometimes strain their own judgment in the false admiration of his small pieces, controlling themselves to think the admirable, which is unique." Of Lycidas he says: "In this poem there is no nature, as there is no truth; there is no art, as there is nothing new. Its form is pastoral, simple, vulgar and therefore repugnant... Surely no one could imagine reading "Lykidas " with pleasure if I didn't know its author." He acknowledges that "L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso" are "noble efforts of the imagination"; and that "as a set of verses ""Comus"" can be considered worthy of all the admiration to which the followers have led him ." But he vehemently objects to their dramatic prowess, finding their dialogue and soliloquy tiresome and lighthearted, Destiny of Midas, solemnly proclaims the songs - "Sweet Echo" and "Sabrina fair" - "harsh in diction and unmusical in numbers"! Of the sonnets he says: "They do not deserve special criticism; for it can only be said that the best is not bad."* Boswell reports, Hannah

  • "Milton's Life."

Grupo DAiltonic. 151

she said moreWonder that the poetWhoever wrote 'Paradise Lost' should write such bad sonnets," Johnson replied. "Milton, ma'am, was a genius who could carve a colossus from a rock, but could not carve heads from cherry pits."

The influence of Milton's small poetry is first felt in the fifth decade of the century and in the work of a new group of poets: Collins, Gray, Mason and the brothers Joseph and Thomas Warton. For all this Milton was a master. But just as Thomson and Shenstone got original effects from Spenser's verses, while West, Cambridge and Lloyd were but echoes; then Collins and Gray - immortal names - brought new music from Milton's organ pipes while he adjusted the melody for the others. The Wartons, though always imitative in their verse, have an independent and not inconsiderable position in literary criticism and scholarship, and I will return to them later on this point. Mason, whose "English Garden" was reviewed in Chapter IV, was a much lesser poet and a rather absurd person. He imitated first Milton and then Gray so closely that his work often seems like a parody. In general, the Miltonian revival manifested itself more diffusely and indirectly than the Spenserian one; but there was no lack of formal imitations either, and it would be wise to mention some of them here in the order of their dating.

1740 Joseph Warton, then an Oxford Under-), graduated, wrote his poem in blank verse O Entusiasta, or the Lover of Nature. The work of an eighteen-year-old boy, it had that instinct for the future, for the literary current as a whole, not uncommon in teenagers.

152 <^ History of English Romanticism.

Artists, of which Chatterton's early verse is a notable example. Composed just ten years after the seasons concluded and five years before Shenstone began plotting his wild miniature at Leasowes, it is distinctly more modern and romantic in its preference for the wild over the cultivated field and the literature of lust over the literature of reason. .

"What are the ingenious, coldly correct complements to Shakespeare's wild trills?"

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

“Can Kent design like nature? . . .

Though, unchained by rules, he boldly despises formality and method, despises the round and the square, plans irregularly large? . . .

Versailles can boast of a thousand fountains capable of casting the tormented waters to the distant sky; Yet let me choose a pine-crowned abyss, Abrupt and shaggy, whence a foaming torrent, Like Anio, roaring rolling; or a black heather where the sad juniper is scattered, or a yew that is wounded.

The enthusiast haunts "dark woods" and loves to hear "hollow winds and ever crashing waves" and "clinking mews". Milton appears at every turn, not just in individual epithets like "Lydian airs", "the level sole", "low-thought cares", "the light fantastic dance", but in the whole spirit, imagery and imagery

The zMiltonic Group. 153

diction of the poem. A few lines illustrate this better than any description.

"O green-robed dryads, often in the evening twilight

Seen by curious shepherds; to brown woods, desert meadows, and pathless wilderness. Lead me out of gardens adorned with vain works of art

Pomp. . . But never let me fail on a cloudless night when Cynthia is silent in her silver car through the blue concave slides. . . Find some mead, and there invoke Midnight's old sister, the Sage of Contemplation (queen of the rough brow and the stern gaze). To lift my soul above this little land. This world gripped by madness: To clear my ears So I can hear the music of rolling planets and melodious spinning spheres.

Mason's Miltonic imitations "Museus", "II Bellicoso", and "II Pacifico" were written in 1744 - according to their author, though not always reliable, published in 1747; the second, "printed clandestinely in a newspaper and afterwards included in Pearch's Compendium", was finally revised and published by the author in 1797; the third was first printed in Cambridge Verses on the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748. These pieces follow the reprint in every detail, 'II Bellicoso' for example, beginning with the invocation.

"Hence the dull and lethargic peace,

Born in the dim cell of a grizzled pearl merchant! "

The genealogies of peace and war are recited, and images of peaceful and martial pleasures are juxtaposed in an equally consistent order.

154 e^ History of English %omanticism.

enter Milton's possibleThe Allegro" and "IIThoughtful."

“Then, to calm my spirit, I will wander amidst the silent darkness of the monastery; or, where wooded oaks spread their shadows, flirt with my beloved muse, remembering a heaven-born species that warbled during the reign of Augustus; or reverse, very happy, the Greek page, when sweet Theocritus is involved, or cheerful Anacreon, cheerful, Carol, his easy light of love... and joys like these, when peace inspires. Peace, with you I tie the lyre. *

"Musseus" was a monody on the death of the Pope, using the pastoral machinery and varied irregular meter of "Lycidas". Chaucer, Spenser and Milton are presented as mourners under the names of Tityrus, Colin Clout and Thyrsis, as Camus and St. Peter in the original. Tityrus has to mourn the dead shepherd in very wrong Middle English. Colin Clout speaks two stanzas in the form used in the first eclogue of The Shepherd's Calendar and three stanzas in the form used in The Faerie Queene, Thyrsis speaks in blank verse and is cast by the shadow of answered Musaeus (Papa) in heroic couplets. Verbal transvestites of "Lycidas" abound - "laurel hearse", "renounce all vain excuses", "without borrowing a poetic misfortune", etc.; apd the final passage is reworded as follows:

  • "I1 Pacific: Works of William Mason", London, 1811, vol.

I p. 166.

The OAiltonic Group, 155

“Thus tender Swain tasted his oats Dorian, The highest honors of manhood rose on his cheek: Trembling he strove to woo the melodic maiden, With youthful arts and flirtations too feeble, Unseen, unheard under a hawthorn shade 'gan to graze ; And then the larks came down and ceased to strive: they stopped, and with them the shepherd stopped.

In 1746 there appeared a small volume of odes, fourteen in number, by Joseph Warton and another by William Collins.* The event is mentioned by Gray in a letter to Thomas Wharton: “You have seen the works of two young authors, a certain .. Warton and a certain Mr. Collins, both ode writers? Interestingly, each is one half of a formidable man, and one is the other's counterpart. The first has little inventiveness, a very poetic choice of expression and a good ear. The second, a fine imagination modeled on antiquity, a bad ear, a great variety of words and images, no choice. Both deserve to last a few years, but they won't." Gray's critical acumen is not entirely to blame for this verdict, but half of his prophecy failed, and his mention of Collins is extremely ungrateful. The names Collins and Gray are now closely linked in the literary history, but in life the two men were in no way connected. Collins and the Wartons, on the other hand, were personal friends. Joseph Warton and Collins had been schoolmates at Winchester and it was initially intended to marry their daughters in same month (ten) published odes in a common volume Warton's collection was immediate

  • "Odes on various descriptive and allegorical themes."

156 <t/l History of English To^omantics.

very successful; but Collins's was a failure and the author, in his disappointment, burned the unsold copies.

Warton's odes that most resemble Milton are "To Fancy",After Solitude” and “Afterthe nightingale,” all in the eight-syllable couplet. A single passage will serve as an example of its quality:

"I, goddess, on the right, sometimes lead through the yellow mead, where joy and peace places white-clad are, and Venus keeps her festive court: where joy and youth meet nightly and stumble lightly with swift feet, waving their lily-crowned heads; where rosy-lipped laughter leads," etc.*

Collins's "Ode to Simplicity" is in the stanza of the "Birth Ode" and his beautiful "Ode to the Evening" in the rhymeless Sapphics used by Milton in his translation of Horace's "Ode to Pyrrha". There are Miltonian throwbacks like "folding star", "religious sparkles", "playing with the tangles of your hair" and in the final couplet the "Ode to Fear".

"Your cypress crown is my decree meed, and I, oh fear, will dwell with you."

But on the whole Collins is far less servile in his imitation than Warton.

Joseph Warton's younger brother Thomas wrote in 1745 and published "The Pleasures of Melancholy" in 1747, a poem in blank verse of three hundred and fifteen lines composed almost equally by Milton.

  • "For the imagination."

The [Miltonic Group. 157

and Akenside, with frequent touches by Thomson, Spenser, and Pope's "Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard". Warton was a boy of seventeen when his poem was written: it was published anonymously and attributed by some to Akenside, whose Pleasures of Imagination (1744) naturally suggested the title. A single passage suffices to show how well the young poet knew his Milton:

“O lead me, exalted Queen, into solemn darkness sympathetic to my soul; to desolate shadows, to ruined seats, to dark cells and arbors, where pensive melancholy loves to brood, her favorite midnight haunts... eve, When through a western window the pale moon sheds its long-established rule of mighty light: While holy and brooding silence reigns everywhere, save the note of the lonely screech owl that builds its bower Among the rotten caverns dark and damp, * or the still breeze, whispering in the leaves of the haughty ivy, enveloping a desolate tower with green mantle... Then, when the dark shadows of night close, Where they walk blindly through the room - shimmering darkness The dying embers fall disperse far

From the mad cries of joy, echoing through the roof lit with festive echoes, let me sit, blessed with the low cricket's sleepy dirge. . .

  • Cf. Gray's "Elegy", first printed in 1751:

"Save it, from that ivy-covered tower,

The gloomy owl complains to the moon of those who wander near her secret bower, harassing her lonely former ruler.

158 iA History of English To^omantics.

This sobering hour of silence will expose

The smile of false madness that is like blinding spells

Sly Comus deceives the loveless eye

Use illusion of 6/ear and convince to drink

This enchanted mug, the Mint Fair of Reason

Unmold and force the monster into the man."

I italicize the most direct borrowings, but the two Wartons were so engrossed in Milton's language, verse, and imagery that they seep out of every pore. Thomas Warton's poems, published separately from time to time, were first published together in 1777. They are all imitative, and most of them imitate Milton. His two best odes, On the First of April and On the Approach of Summer, are on the familiar eighth syllable.

"Hurry up, nymph! and hand in hand, lead with you a plump band;

While hardly anyone can read a page of Gray and Collins without being reminded of Milton, it is usually done more subtly than here. Gray, for example, carefully noted in his notes his oral engagements with Milton, as well as with Shakespeare, Cowley, Dryden, Pindar, Virgil, Dante, and others; but what he could not well emphasize, because he was probably unconscious, was the impulse which Milton often gave to every exercise of his imagination. It's not often that Gray gets so close to Milton's feet...

  • "At the approach of summer." The "wattled cotes", "sweet-

Briar hedges, wild woody notes, mead-cured haystacks and valleys employing soft whispers are bodily translated in this ode by L'Allegro.

The OAiltonic group. 159

Steps as in his last poem, the Ode written to music given at Cambridge in 1769 for the inauguration of the Duke of Grafton as chancellor; in which Milton has to sing a verse in the meter of the "Krippenode":

“You are brown over arched woods

This contemplation loves Where slender Camus dwells with delight;

many times at dawn

I trod thy flat turf, Often courted, Cynthia's glow, bright silver, In gloomy monasteries far from the places of madness, With liberty by my side and melancholy of soft eyes.

Not only the named poets, but also many obscure poets are witnesses of this Miltonian renaissance. Indeed, it is usually the petty poetry of an age that most clearly preserves the "scarred and capable impression" of a literary fad. If we look through Dodsley's collection, we find a mixture of satires after the manner of Pope, humorous fables after the manner of Prior, didactic blank verse after the manner of Thomson and Akenside, elegiac quatrains modeled on Shenstone and Gray, Pindaric odes ad nauseam, with imitations by Spenser and Milton, f

  • In 1748 three volumes appeared; a second edition, with vol.

IV. Added 1749, Vols. V. and VI. in 1758. There were new editions in 1765, 1770, 1775, and 1782. Pearch's continuations were published in 1768 (Vol. VII and VIII) and 1770 (Vol. IX and X); Mendez's independent collection in 1767; and Bell's "Fugitive Poetry", in 18 volumes, 1790-97.

The reader who wishes to pursue this investigation further will find the following list of Miltonian imitations useful: Dodsley's "Miscellany", I. 164, Preexistence: "A Poem in Imitation of Milton", by Dr. Evans. This is blank verse, and Gray calls it "nonsense" in a letter to Walpole. II. 109, “The establishment of

16th it/J History of English Romanticism.

It is thanks to the growing popularity of Milton's Little Poetry that the sonnet has been revived. Gray's solitary sonnet on the death of his friend Richard West was composed in 1742, but was not printed until 1775, after the author's death. This was the sonnet chosen by Wordsworth in the appendix to the preface of the second edition of ** Lyrical Ballads to illustrate his severe comments on the false poetic language of the eighteenth century. oficial: the order of the rhymes does not obey neither the Shakespearean nor the Miltonic model. Mason wrote fourteen sonnets at various times between 1748 and 1797; the earlier date is associated in his collected works with "Sonnet I. Sent to a young girl with Dodsley's miscellany." They are strictly Italian or Miltonian and rich in Miltonian allusions.

the Order of the Garter" by Gilbert West. This is a dramatic poem with a chorus of British singers, quoted and praised several times in Joseph Warton's Essay on Pope. West "Monody on the Death of Queen Caroline" III. 214 "Lament for Melpomene and Calliope" by J.G. Cooper; also a poem "Lycidas". IV. 50 "Penshurst" by Mr. F. Coventry: a very close imitation of "L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso." IV. 181 "Ode to Fancy" by the Reverend Mr. Merrick: octosyllabic IV. , an Ode” by Grainger: Eight Syllables V. 283, “Prologue to Comus”, performed at Bath, 1756. VI. 148, "Holiday", from Left: "L'Allegro", very close -

"These joys, holidays, giving,

And I will choose to live with you."

IX. (Pearch) 199, „Ode to Health“, von J.H.B., Esq.: „L'Allegro.“

X. 5, "The Valetudinarian", by Dr. Marriott: L'Allegro, very close. X. 97, "To the Moon", by Robert Lloyd: "II Pensive", close. Parody is one of the surest testimonies to the spread of a literary fad, and in Vol. X.p. 269 ​​of Pearch, there is a humorous "Ode to Horror", burlesque "The Enthusiast" and "The Pleas-

The zMiltonic Group. i6i

and formulations. All but four of Thomas Edwards' fifty sonnets, 1750-65, follow Milton's model. Thirteen of these were printed in Dodsley's second volume. They are of little value, nor are Benjamin Stillingfleet's, some of which seem to have been written before 1750. Of far greater interest are Thomas Warton's sonnets, nine in number and all in Miltonic form. Warton's collected poems were not published until 1777 and his sonnets are undated, but some of them seem to have been written as early as 1750. They are graceful in expression and reflect their author's antiquarian taste. They were praised by Hazlitt, Coleridge and Lamb; and one of them, "To the River Lodon", would have suggested Coleridge's "To the River Otter -".

"Dear native brook, wild western brook..."

uras of melancholy", "in the allegorical, descriptive, alliterative, epithetic, hyperbolic and diabolical style of our modern ode writers and monody dealers", from which I extract a passage:

"Hurry up, gentle Miltonian maiden,

From the isolated shade of those yew trees. . . O thou that wandering Warton saw. Impressed with more than youthful wonder than the shimmering glow of the pale moon, he mused over his melancholy theme. Oh, loving goddess of the curfew, hurry, oh, alas, to a Scythian desert. Where, in Gothic solitude. Highly rude average prospects. Beneath the dark abyss of rough rock lies his sister. Enthusiasm."

"Bell's Fleeting Poetry", Vol. XI. (1791), has a section devoted to "Poems in the way of Milton" by Evans, Mason, T. Warton, and a Mr. P. (L'Amoroso).

162 a^ History of English l^om Antitism.

and perhaps more distantly Wordsworth's On the River Duddon series.

Milton's poem that most impressed the new school of poets was II Pensaroso. This little masterpiece, which encapsulates in "Attic Choice" imagery the joys that Burton and Fletcher and many others found in the gratification of shifting humor, went down in style. Pope died in 1744, Swift in 1745, the last significant survivors of Queen Anne; and the reaction against gaiety had already set in, in the deliberate and exaggerated solemnity that took hold of all departments of verse and even penetrated the theater; where Melpomene gradually drove Thalia from the stage until the sentimental comedy - /a C07nedie larmoyante - was in turn driven out by the taunts of Garrick, Goldsmith and Sheridan. That elegiac mood, that love of isolation and seclusion, observed in Shenstone, has now become the dominant note in English poetry. The imaginative literature of 1740-60 was largely depression literature. The generation was convinced with Fletcher

"Nothing is so delicately sweet as lovely melancholy."

But the muse of his inspiration was not the tragic titan of Dürer's painting:

"The melancholy that surpasses all intelligence." *

rather the "gentle Miltonian maid," Thoughtful Meditation. There were different shades of darkness from which

  • See James Thomson's City of Dreadful Night, xxi. also the

Frontispiece to "Nature of Poetry" by Mr. E.C. Stedman (1892) and pp. 140-41 of the same.

The IMiltonic Group, 163

Wartons' delicate gray to Young's sable velvetNight Thoughts" (1742-44) e Blair's"Tomb" (1743). Gosse speaks of Young as a "link between this group of poets and their august predecessors". Indeed, his poem has much of the wit, rhetorical brilliance, and pursuit of the known point of Queen Anne verse, in a curious combination with a "rich note of romantic despair."* Also Mr. Perry describes Young's language as "adorned with much raw ore of romance... At this time the poet's possessions were few: the grave, the occasional crow or owl, and the pale moon with skeletons and grinning ghosts... A The thing poets never tired of was the tomb... It was the dramatic - shall we say melodramatic? - / Prepare the reader for a romantic explosion." f^\

This elegiac sentiment, of course, found its fullest expression in Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Cemetery" (1751). Collins also has "melodies more like a hearse than Christmas carols", and two of his heartfelt lyrics are "Dirge in Cymbeline" and "Ode on the Death of Mr. Thomson". And the Wartons continually praised such subjects, both for their precepts and their example. J Blair and Young,

  • "Literature of the 18th Century", p. 2og, 212.

f „English Literature in the Eighteenth Century“, S. 375, 379.

J Joseph mentions as one of Spenser's qualities "a certain agreeable melancholy in his feelings, the constant company of an elegant taste, which throws delicacy and grace over all his compositions", "Essay on Pope", vol. II. P. 29 In his review of Pope's "Letter of Eloisa to Abelard," he says: "The effect and influence of melancholy, beautifully personified, in all matters that

164 <^ History of English T^omantics.

they are hardly to be numbered among the romantics. They were, for the most part, weighty didactic-moral poets, although they struck the chord that vibrates with musical shudders at the thought of death in Gothic fantasy. There is something in the spirit of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture, with Gray's "ivy-wrapped spiral" - its "long corridor and fretted vault" - in the tomb paraphernalia they so laboriously collect: the cypress and yew, the owl and the owl. midnight bell, the dust of the ossuary, the nettles that line the tombstones, the dim tomb lamp, and the gliding ghosts.

"The wind is strong. Hear! how it howls! It seems to me that I never heard such a gloomy sound. The doors creak and the windows creak, and the lazy bird of the night, Swaying high in the tower, cries aloud: the dark corridors Plastered in black and covered with torn shields and coats of arms, send back the Sound, laden with heavy air, from the low vaults, The abodes of the dead.”*

Blair's funeral verse has a certain impact in its somber monotony, not unlike Quarles' Divine Emblems. Like the "Emblems", "The Tomb" was saved from oblivion by the artist's art, the well-known series of prints by Schiavonetti based on drawings by Wm. Blake.

But the thoughtful and erudite “desire for more

occurs and occurs in all parts of the monastery, it cannot be acclaimed enough or read too often as it is based on nature and experience. This attitude casts a darkness over all things.

"'But about twilight groves and gloomy caves,' etc."

— /did., Bd. I p. 314.

  • "The Grave" by Robert Blair.

“I am the Miltonic Group. 165

purely romantic poets haunted twilight instead of black midnight, and heard the nightingale more than the screech of the owl. They were quietists and their images were dark. They loved the twilight with its beetles and bats, the solitude, the shadows, the "dark valley," the moss-covered hermitage, the ruined abbey in its moonlit clearing, grottos, caves, stream banks, ivy nooks, rooms by firelight, the exit bell, and the sighs of the Seolian harp.* All this is admirably set in Collins' Ode to the Evening. Joseph Warton also wrote aOde annight", as well as aFor the nightingale."Both Wartons wrote odes "To Solitude". Dodsley's "Miscellanies" are full of Odes to Afternoon, Solitude,

  • The Seolian harp was a favorite possession of Romantic poets for a long time.

100 years. See Mason's "Ode to an Bolus's Harp" (Works, Vol. I. p. 51). First invented by the Jesuit Kircher around 1650 and described in his Musurgia Universalis, Mason says it was forgotten for over a century and "accidentally rediscovered" in England by a Mr. Oswald. It is mentioned as a novelty in "The Castle of Indolence" (i. xl):

“A certain song never before known

Here lulled the pensive melancholy spirit” –

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

"On that deep bed of whispering reeds your aerial harp will now be placed."

Siehe „The Lay of the Last Minstrel“ I. 341-42 (1805).

With Arthur Cleveland Coxes (Christian Ballads, 1840)

"It was the strong spell of an Aeolian harp, Played by the breeze in a dreamy song."

and the poetry of the /aj-jm annuals.

i66 <^ History of English Romanticism.

silence, seclusion, contentment, fantasy, melancholy, innocence, simplicity, sleep; of the Pleasures of Contemplation (Miss Whately, Vol. IX, p. 120) The Triumphs of Melancholy (James Beattie, Vol. X, p. 77) and the like. Collins introduced a personified figure of melancholy in his ode "The Passions".

“Eyes uplifted, inspired, pale melancholy sat withdrawn; And from your wild and isolated seat, In tones softened by distance. She poured her thoughtful soul through the soft horn; And gently falling from the rocks, bubbling brooks joined the sound; Through glades and darkness stole the mixed measure, Or across an enchanted stream, with loving delay, Around a holy calm that spread, Love of peace and solitary contemplation, Silenced in hollow murmurs.

Collins himself was overcome with a melancholy that eventually turned to madness. A shy and demanding scholar, Gray suffered from hereditary gout and an ongoing depression. He spent his life as a university recluse in Cambridge seclusion, residing part-time at Pembroke and part-time at Peterhouse College. He held the chair of modern history at the university, but he never taught. He declined the award after Cibber's death. He had great erudition and extremely refined taste; but the springs of creative impulse dried up in him more and more under the dry air of academic study and the growing influence of his constitutional illness on him. "Melancholy made him his." There is a significant passage in one of his early letters to Horace Walpole

7he zmiltonic group. 167

(1737): "I have a grove (the common people call it common) all to myself at a distance of half a mile by a wooded path, at least as good, for I discover nothing human in it but myself. small chaos of mountains and precipices... Both the valleys and the hills are covered with the most venerable beeches and other very venerable plants, which, like most other ancient peoples, always dream their ancient tales in the wind... .. At the foot of an east wind I crouch, I (il penseroso) and it grows there on the trunk for a whole acre." * To Richard West, he wrote in the same year: "stricken spirits are my true and faithful companions"; and in 1742: "Mine is predominantly white Melancholy, or rather leukocoly... but there is another kind, actually black, which I have had from time to time."

Upon seeing Eton pupils at their sport, Gray is sadly reminded:

"—how around them the servants of human fate and the fatal procession of black misfortune await, "f

"Wisdom in Sable Robe" and "Melancholic, Quiet Maid" follow in the wake of misfortune; J and to the sober eye of contemplation, the race of man resembles the race of insects:

"Skinned by the hand of rough chance, Or chilled with age, their aerial dance leaves them, in the dust, to rest." §

  • Compare to "elegy":

"Down at the base of that waving beech there," &c. f "In a distant perspective of Eton College." X "Hymn to Affliction". §"Ode to Spring",

1 68 «A history of English tomancy.

Is it considered a very insignificant observation that the poets of this group were mostly ad hoc singles and loners? Thomson, Akenside, Shenstone, Collins, Gray and Thomas Warton were never married. Dyer, Mason and Joseph Warton were gifted ministers and had wives. The Wartons, to be sure, were men of gay and even sociable habits. The melancholy which these good fellows aroused was evidently a mere literary fad. You were sadjust in a good mood", like the young gentlemen inFrance.And so you have your own garden."Gray wrote to his young friend Nicholls in 1769: 'And you plant and transplant and soil yourself and enjoy yourself; Don't you feel ashamed? Why, I have none of that, you monster; nor will you ever be dirty or fun while I live. unpolished in his manners and tended towards broad humor and low company.

From a romantic point of view, the work of these Miltonian lyric poets marks an advance over that of the descriptive and elegiac poets Thomson, Akenside, Dyer and Shenstone. Collins is one of the finest English poets. There is a flute-like music in his best odes – such as 'To Evening' and 'How sleep the brave', written in 1746 – that are sweeter, more natural and spontaneous than Gray's. "The muse gave birth to Collins," says Swinburne; "She did, but it sucked Grey." Collins" was a lone songbird among many more or less excellent bagpipe players and pianists. He could say more

The [Miltonic Group. 169

spirit of color in a single stroke, more touch of music in a single note than the rest of the generation could in all the toils of their lives.”* Like Gray, Collins was a Greek scholar and engineered a history of literary renaissance. There is something classical about his verse - not classical in the eighteenth-century sense - but truly Hellenic, a union, as in Keats, of Attic form with a Romantic sensibility, though in Collins more than Keats the warmth seems to come from outside. , the statue of a nymph blushing at sunrise. “Collins,” says Gosse, “has a sculptor's touch; his verses are clear and direct: he is clean as marble, but also cold as marble.”f Lowell, however, thinks Collinswas the first to returnin poetry a little of the old flavor and rediscovered the long lost secret of being classically elegant without being pedantically cold." |

These estimates are given for what they are worth. The coldness felt or imagined in some of Collins' poetry comes in part from the abstraction of her subjects and the artificial style she inherited in common with her entire generation. Many of her odes address fear, compassion, mercy, freedom, and similar abstractions. The pseudo-Pyndaric ode is exotic in itself; and as an art form it is responsible for some of the most turbulent compositions in the history of English verse. Collins's most recent, though by no means his best, ode, The Passions, is full of those personifications which, it has been said, constituted a kind of weakness in eighteenth-century poetry.

  • "The English Poets of Ward," Vol. III. pp. 278-82.

f "Literature of the Eighteenth Century", p. 233. I try about "Papa".

17° c// History of English tomency.

Mythology: "pale despair", "downcast piety", "brown exercise", and "descending maid of the musical sphere". It was probably the allegorical figures in Milton's "L'Allegro" and "II Pensaroso", "Sport that doubled the tarnished care", "Spare Fasting that often with gods diet", etc., that breathed new life into this machinery antiquated, which the romantics should have left to the Augustan schools.

The most interesting of Collins' poetry from the point of view of this research is his Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland. it obviously did not sway the minds of its author's contemporaries. It remained unfinished and some of the printed editions contained interpolated stanzas which were removed. It was signed by Mr. John Home, the author of Douglas, for the purpose of recommending the Scottish tales to him as a suitable subject for poetry. Collins justifies the choice of such "wrong subjects" with the examples of Spenser, Shakspere (in "Macbeth") and Tasso

"-whose undoubted mind believed the magical wonders he sang."

He mentions kelp, will-o'-the-wisp, and second sight as examples of popular beliefs that have poetic abilities. Alluding to the ballad of 'Willie Drowned in Yarrow', he no doubt evokes Home with a line from The Seasons in mind, 'Forget not the race of Kilda', who live on the eggs of the goose Solan, whose only sight is winter.

  • See anie, p. 114

The DAiltoyiic Group. 171

head, and under whose cliffs the bee never murmurs. Perhaps the most imaginative stanza is the ninth, which refers to the Hebrides, St Flannan's chapel and the tombs of Scottish, Irish and Norwegian kings at Icolmkill:

“Unlimited is its reach; with diverse skills

Thy muse, like those feathered trunks that sprout from their rough rocks, may spread her apron wings,

Around the wet rim of every cold island of the Hebrides, To that mound of ice that still shows its ruins;

In the small vaults where there is a pygmy people whose bones the miner knocks down with the spade,

And plucks them with amazement from the holy ground;

Or where, under the rainy west. The mighty kings of the three righteous kingdoms are placed;

Once enemies perhaps, now they rest together, No slave adores them and no war is incurred.

But now often at the solemn hour of midnight. The jagged hills unfold their gaping cells.

And forth come monarchs with sovereign power, In festive robes and draped in bright gold, And in their twilight tombs the councils of air hold.

Collins' work was fully completed by 1749; for though he survived ten years more, his spirit was darkened. He was a lover and pupil of Shakespeare, and when the Wartons paid him a last visit at the time of his stay with his sister in the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral, he told Thomas that he had found the source of theTempest", in a novel titled "*Aurélioand Isabella', printed in 1588 in Spanish, Italian, French and English. No novel has been found, and it appears to have been a figment of Collins' confused imagination, the Wartons, from the manuscript,

172 z/1 History of English Manticism.

his "Ode on the Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands"; and also a lost poem entitled "O Sino de Arragão", based on the legend of the great bell of Zaragoza, which rang alone when a king of Spain died.

Johnson was also a friend of Collins and spoke kindly of him in his Lives of Poets, although he did not hold his writings in high esteem. “He devoted his mind chiefly to fiction and imaginative subjects; and in yielding to some peculiar habits of thought, he was most satisfied with those flights of fancy which transcend the bounds of nature, and to which the mind is only reconciled by a passive assent to popular traditions. He loved fairies, genies, giants and monsters; he loved to wander in the meanders of magic, to marvel at the splendor of golden palaces, to rest in the waterfalls of the Elysian gardens. That was just the character of his inclination rather than his genius; the grandeur of savagery and the novelty of extravagance were always desired by him, but not always achieved. *

Thomas Gray is a far more important figure in the intellectual history of his generation than Collins; but this superior importance does not rest entirely on verses of his, which are scarcely more copious than Collins's, though of a higher end. His posthumously published letters, diaries, and other remnants of prose showed for the first time how long his mind wandered in the circle of art and thought. He was receptive to all the subtle influences that were in the literary air. Like him was one of the most learned among English poets

  • "Long live Collins."

The Dsiltonian Group. 173

equal to your purchases. He was a solid critic of poetry, music, architecture and painting. His mind and character were excellent; and if there was something touchy and old-fashioned about his personality - which once led young cantabs to take some brutal advantage of their nervous fear of fire - there was also that fine reserve which Milton bestowed when he was at Cambridge, the nickname ofthe lady of Christ".

Some of Gray's simpler odes, the Ode on the Spring, the Hymn to Adversity and the Eton College Ode, were written in 1742 and printed in Dodsley's Collection in 1748. The "Elegy" was published in 1751; the two 'sister odes', 'The Progress of Poesy' and 'The Bard', were taken from Horace Walpole's private presses at Strawberry Hill in 1757." "'The Progress of Poesy'", says Lowell, "goes through all the other English texts like an eagle... It was the predominant sound of Gray's trumpet which, more than anything else, called the people back to the rightful standard."* With all due Respect to such illustrious judges, I dare to believe that the instinct of the people is right on this point, and even if Dr. Johnson is not so wrong as usual, Johnson disliked Gray and spoke of him with sullen injustice.

  • Essay on "Pope".

174 <!^ History of English Romanticism.

Gray, on the other hand, couldn't stand Johnson, whom he called the Big Dipper. Johnson said Gray's odes were forced plants grown in a greenhouse, and bad plants.Lord, I don't think Gray is top notchPoet. He doesn't have a wild imagination or a great command of languages. The darkness in which he has shrouded himself will not convince us that he is sublime. His 'Elegy in a Churchyard' has a happy choice of pictures, but I don't like what they call the big things." "He attacked Gray and called him a 'boring fellow'. Boswell: “I understand he was reserved and can seem boring in company; but certainly he was not tedious in poetry.' Johnson: "Sir, he was boring in company, boring in his closet, boring everywhere. He was boring in a new way and that made a lot of people think he was great. He was a mechanical poet. So he repeated some ridiculous lines which escaped my memory, and said, "Isn't it great, like your odes?"...' No, sir, there are only two good stanzas in Gray's poems which are in his Elegy in a Country Churchyard. he repeated the stanza —

"'To those who are silent oblivion a prey'" etc.

“In all of Gray's odes,” wrote Johnson, “there is a kind of heavy splendor which we wish to dispel.... These odes are marred by glittering accumulations of inappropriate ornamentation; they beat rather than please; images are magnified by affectation; the language is worked with difficulty. The writer's spirit seems to work with unnatural violence... His artistry and struggle are very visible and there is very little appearance of lightness and naturalness... In the character of his "elegy" I readily agree

7he £ Miltonic Group. 175

common reader; for the reader's common sense, uncorrupted by literary prejudices, must, after all the subtleties of refinement and the dogmatism of scholarship, finally decide all claims to poetic honors. The 'Churchyard' abounds in images that find a mirror in every mind and in feelings that every breast reflects."

There are noble lines in Gray's more elaborate odes, but they often have that mechanical, contrived feel Johnson complains about. They have the same rhetorical tone, the incendiary fervor rather than genuine passion, noted in Collins' ode "On the Passions". Collins and Gray wrote constantly about the passions; but they treated them as abstractions and were totally unable to show them in action. None of them could have written a ballad, a play or a novel. His odes were literal, literary, impersonal, retrospective. They had a lot of fantasy secretion and little red blood.

But the Elegy is the masterpiece of the entire II Pensaroso school and summed up poetry from the tomb for all English readers for all time. Like "Essay on Man" and "Night Thoughts" and "The Grave" it is a moral and didactic poem, but the result is very different from them. His morality is imbued with emotion and expressed concretely. Instead of general reflections on the brevity of life, the vanity of ambition, the leveling power of death, and similar platitudes, we have the image of the solitary poet lingering among the graves at dusk (hora datur qiiieti), to the place and time conspires to release its effect on the mind


176 zThe History of English Manticism.

and prepare you for the tension of the next meditation. The universal appeal of its theme and the perfection of its style have made The Elegy known by heart to more readers than any other poem in the language. The parody is a testament to fame, if not popularity, and the 'Odes Sisters' have currently been parodied by Lloyd and Colman in an 'Ode to Obscurity' and an 'Ode to Oblivion'. But the "elegy" was more than celebrated and more than popular; it was the most admired and influential poem of the generation. Imitations and translations abound, and it found an immediate and universal response.* As a result, the ten-syllable quatrain was devoted to elegiac uses. Mason changed the subtitle of his 'Isis' (written 1748) from 'An Elegy' to 'A Monologue' because 'it is not written in alternating rhyme, which has changed from Mr. Gray, generally proven and seems more suited to this type of poetry. ours, presents a tribute to the master:

"Yes, if he had walked this church path, Or leaned against this ivy wall like me, How sadly sweet his Doric song would have flowed, So sweeter when it flowed at nature's call." %

  • Mr. Perry is among the English imitators. falconer,

T. Warton, James Graeme, Wm. Whitehead, John Scott, Henry Headly, John Henry Moore and Robert Lovell, "Literature of the Eighteenth Century", page 391. Among foreign imitations, Lamartine's "Le Lac" is perhaps the most famous.

f „Works of Maurer“, Bd. I p. 179.

XLbid., Bd. eu p. 114.

The IMiltonic Group. lyj

For a young poet, it became almost a duty to try a cemetery play. Thus Richard Cumberland, the playwright, relates in his "Memoirs" that in 1752, while a student at Cambridge, he "made his first small offering to the press, following in Grey's footsteps, with another cemetery elegy, written on St. Marks, when, according to the tradition of the country, the spirits of those who will die in the following year pass through the cemetery at midnight.”* Goldsmith attests to the spread of this fashion when, in his “Life of Parnell”, he says of the This poet's "Night Piece on Death" which "with very little change" could be made to outdo all the night plays and graveyard scenes that have appeared since they appeared." But Johnson disagrees with this opinion, saying that Parnell's poem "indirectly preferred by Goldsmith Gray's 'Churchyard' is not; neither is the public. J

Gray's correspondence provides a record of the progression of romantic taste across a generation. He began with classical prejudices - modeling his verse, he explained, after Dryden - and ended with translations of Welsh and Norse heroic legends and

  • Cf. Keats' unfinished poem "The Eve of St. Mark".

Parnell's collected poems were published in 1722. X No less interesting of the descendants of Gray's "Elegy" was "The Indian Burying Ground" by the American poet Philip Freneau (1752-1832). Gray's touch can be seen elsewhere in Freneau, for example. B. in "The Abandoned Farmhouse".

“Once within the confines of this secluded space

Perhaps a night boy made a nocturnal courtship: perhaps a Sherlock meditated amidst the darkness Since love and death always seek the shadow.

178 in The History of the English Novel.

with an admiration for Ossian and Scottish ballads. In 1739 he went to France and Italy with Horace Walpole. He was abroad for three years, though in Florence in 1741 he quarreled with Walpole, broke with him, and slowly returned home alone. Gray is one of the first modern travelers to speak appreciatively of the Gothic architecture and scenery of the Alps, and to note those strange and distinctive aspects of alien life that we now call picturesque and to which every itinerary and travel guide calls attention. , was Addison, who had been on his travels for forty years, quite blind to such things. Not that he lacked the sense of the sublime: he finds, and. B. a “pleasant horror” at the prospect of a storm at sea.* But he wrote of his journey through Switzerland as an unpleasant and even terrible experience: “a very arduous journey through the Alps. I am still dizzy with mountains and chasms; and you can't imagine how happy I am to see a plane.

'Let all,' says the spectator, 'consider what state of mind they find on their first entrance into the pantheon of Rome, and how their imaginations are filled with something great and wonderful; and, at the same time, consider how little in proportion he cares for the interior of a Gothic cathedral, though five times the size of the other, which can spring from nothing but grandeur of the species in the one, and meanness in the other." !

  • Spectators, nº 489,

f Nº 415.

X John Hill Burton gives one on his reign of Queen Anne

The €Miltonic Group. 179

Gray describes Reims Cathedral as "a vast Gothic building of surprising beauty and lightness, entirely covered with a profusion of small statues and other ornaments"; and Siena Cathedral, which Addison described as "barbaric" and an example of "false beauties and overlapping ornaments", praises Gray as "crafted in the old fashioned way with Gothic sympathy and delicacy". Admittedly, these are rather cold hymns of praise, but Gray was steadily advancing in his knowledge and love of Gothic. In later life he became something of an antiquarian and virtuoso. He corresponded with the Reverend Thomas Wharton about stained glass and paper tapestries, which Wharton, who wanted to convert his house to the Gothic style, had Gray buy from London dealers. He describes, to Wharton, Walpole's new room at Strawberry Hill as "in the best taste of anything he ever did and in his gothic way"; and he advises his correspondent on the selection of patterns for stairs and archways. There was obviously a great deal of curiosity about Strawberry Hill in the Gray clique and a determination to be goth.

Wise of a letter from a certain Captain Burt, superintendent of certain road works in the Scottish Highlands, to show how modern the picturesque Carlyle tourist is. The captain describes the romantic landscape of the valleys as "dreadful prospects". It was considerably later in the century when Dr. Johnson, in response to Boswell's half-hearted hint, said that Scotland had many wild and noble prospects: "I think, sir, you have many. Norway also has noble wild views, and Lapland is notable for amazing noble wild scenery. But Sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect a Scotsman ever saw is the country road that leads him to England.

i8o iA History of English Romanticism.

Directed; and the poet felt obliged to warn his friends that zeal should not exceed discretion. He wrote to Wharton in 1754: "I am pleased at last to please you as much as my heart does, and am glad to hear you speak of already adding some Gothic ornaments to your house. If you plan anything, I hope it will be entirely within home; and let me not (when I enter Coleman Street with my mouth open) be escorted to the Lord on the ten battlements, or with the portico at his door. Again about the same (1761): 'It is mere pedantry in the Gothic not to be cling to nothing but altars and tombs, and there is no end when we sit in nothing but coronation chairs and want to drink from nothing but cups or pitchers.” In a letter to Mason in 1758 concerning certain inconsistencies in one of the latter's odes, he gives the following Doesque illustration of his point: "If you would take me to a splendid Gothic building, with a thousand pillars grouped together, each half a mile high , the walls all covered with ornaments and the windows full of red and blue saints who had neither head nor tail, and I If you find the Venus de Medici herself in a long niche above the high altar, naked as she was born, do you think that would that increase or decrease my devotion?” ruins and the great English cathedrals, particularly those at the Cambridge Fens, Ely and Peterboro'. He used these studies in a

  • See also Gray's letter to the Rev. James Brown (1763) with a

Drawing relating to a small ruined chapel at York Minster; and a letter (circa 1765) to Jas. Bentham, benefactor of Ely, whose "Essay on Gothic Architecture" was erroneously attributed to Gray.

The zMiltonic Group. i8i

Short essay on Norman architecture first published by Mitford in 1814, erroneously titled Architectura Gothica.

Going back to his first letters from abroad, one sees the foreshadowing of the modern attitude in his description of a visit to the Grande Chartreuse, which he calls "one of the most solemn, romantic and surprising scenes". * *' I don't remember taking ten steps without making an exclamation that there was no holding back. No abyss, no creek, no cliff, but full of religion and poetry. . . It doesn't take a very fantastic imagination to see ghosts there at noon.” Walpole's letter, around the same date, also to West, J is equally enthusiastic. It says 'from a village in the Savoy Mountains. . . Here we are, the lonely lords of glorious bleak prospects. . . But the street, west, the street! Skirting a mighty mountain surrounded by others, all shaded by overhanging forests, obscured by pines or lost in clouds! Down a creek that breaks through cliffs and crashes into rocks! . . . From time to time, an old walkway with a broken railing, a crooked cross, a small house or the ruins of a hermitage! That sounds too bombastic and too romantic for those who haven't seen it, too cold for those who have." Or compare passages like these in Addison's Italian letters predicting Rogers and Byron, We're not getting anything quite as sympathetic even less than half a century later.**Yeah

  • An Frau Dorothy Gray, 1739.

f An Richard West, 1739.

JGray, Walpole and West were schoolmates and confidants at Eton.

1 82 tA History of English Romanticism.

it is the most beautiful Italian night. . . There is a moon! There are stars for you! Don't you hear the source? Can't you smell the orange blossoms? That building over there is the monastery of Santo Isidoro; and that hill with cypresses and pines on it, the top of the Quirinal Mount."*Die Neapoli-The tans work until night, when they take their lute or guitar and go around town or to the seaside to enjoy the fresco. You can see their little brown children jumping around completely naked and the older ones dancing with castanets while others ring their bells.” f “You know the country,” don't you?

"little voices and an old guitar making way for an unprotected heart"?

And then, for a prophecy of Scott's, read the description of Netley Abbey, J, in a letter to Nicholls in 1764. "My boatman," writes Gray in a letter to Brown of the same ruin, "assured me that he would not go near from her that night all over the world, although she knew that much money had been found there. The sun was too strong and full of Gauds for such a scene to be visited only at dusk."

"If you don't want to see fair Melrose properly, go see her in the pale moonlight, Brown by the merry rays of light some day, but to mock the ruins, Grey."

  • West, 1740.

f An Frau Dorothy Gray, 1740.

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


The CMiltonic Group. 183

In 1765 Gray visited the Scottish Highlands and sent enthusiastic reports of his journey to Wharton and Mason. "Since I've seen the Alps, I haven't seen anything sublime." “The plains are worth seeing once, but the mountains are breathtaking and must be visited as a pilgrim once a year. None but these monstrous creatures of God know how to combine such beauty with such terror. A fig for its poets, painters, gardeners and clergymen who were not among them.”

Again in 1770, the year before his death, he spent six weeks wandering the western counties, traveling forty miles down the Wye in a boat, visiting among other places which the Muse had made famous, Hagley and the Leasowes, the Malvern Hills and Tintern Abbey. But the most significant of Gray's "Lilliputian voyages" was his tour of the Lake Country in 1769. Here he was on ground that has since become a classic; and the Wordsworth lover finds particular interest in Gray's Journal in the Lakes, written nearly thirty years before the Lyrical Ballads, names like Grasmere, Winander, Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Derwentwater, Borrowdale, and so on Lodor. What distinguishes the entries in this diary from contemporary writings of a descriptive nature is a certain intimacy of understanding, a depth of tone that makes them seem like nineteenth-century works. For Gray, the landscape was no longer an image. It had feeling, character, meaning, almost personality. The different climate and the different times of day gave it more subtle forms of expression than poets had hitherto recognized in the broad and general alternations of storm and calm, light and dark.

i84 aA History of English l^pmanticism.

Ness and the succession of seasons. He heard nature when she whispered as well as when she spoke aloud. Thomson could not have written like that, nor Shenstone, and perhaps not even Collins. But almost anyone of sophistication and sensibility can now write like this; or, if not so well, with the same accent. A passage or two will make my meaning clearer.

I made my way to this second bendfour miles along its [Ulswater] borders, beyond a village called Water Mallock, sprawled among the trees, on a nice solemn day, perfectly still and warm, but without a ray of sunshine. So, when the sky seemed denser, the valley more desolate, and night falling, I turned back the way I had come to Penrith. . . While I was here, a little rain fell, red clouds were rising over the eastern hills, and part of a bright rainbow seemed to be rising on the side of Castle Hill. . . The stillness and brightness of the evening, the murmur of the water and the beating of huge hammers in an iron forge not far away made this tour unique. . . In the afternoon, after sunset, I went down alone to the lake and saw the solemn hue of night fall, the last ray of sunlight fading into the hills, the deep stillness of the water, and the long shadows of the mountains cast over them almost touching the shore. end of the river. In the distance one could hear the murmur of many waterfalls, inaudible during the day.

  • "A soft, lulling noise is heard

Of inaudible streams of Da^.”—T/i^ White Doe of Rylstone, Wordsworth. "Samson agonists."

The cMiltonic Group. 185

"It will only take a few years," wrote Joseph Warton in 1782,that the picturesque scenes of our ownCountry, our lakes, mountains, waterfalls, caves and castles were visited and described. the same year that Gray undertook his voyage to the Wye, and hearing that Gilpin had prepared a description of the area, borrowed his manuscript and read it in June 1771, a few weeks before his own death, the first of a series of Gilpin's volumes on the landscapes of Great Britain, composed in a poetic and somewhat exuberant style, illustrated by aquatint drawings, and all described on the first page as 'relating chiefly to picturesque beauty. “They were very successful and some of them were translated into German and French, f

  • "Essay on o Pope" (5. Aufl.). Vol. II. P. 180.

f These were, in the order of their publication: "The Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland" (2 vols.), 1789; The Highlands of Scotland, 1789; "Comments on the Wooded Landscape", 1791; "The Western Parts of England and the Isle of Wight", 1798; "The Shores of Hampshire", etc., 1804; "Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex", etc., 1809. The last two were published posthumously. Gilpin, who was a benefactor of Salisbury, died in 1804. Pearch's 'Collection' (VII, 23) contains 'A Descriptive Poem' on the Lake Country in eight-syllable verse, introducing Keswick, Borrowdale, Dovedale, Lodore, Derwentwater, and other acquaintances places.

CHAPTER VI. Zbc Scbool by IClarton.

In the course of our investigations we found little that could be described as romantic in the strictest sense. Although the literary movement had already begun to take a retrospective turn, few distinctly medieval elements were still discernible. Neither monk literature nor knight literature has seen a resurrection. It was only around 1760 that writers began to turn decisively to the Middle Ages. The first particularly medieval type to gain a foothold in eighteenth-century literature was the hermit, a character who exerted a natural appeal not only to romanticizing poets like Shenstone and Collins, but also to the entire generation of poets that Parnell seems to sympathize with Goldsmith, Percy, and Beattie - each of whom composed a *'Hermit' - and even to the authors of

    • Rasselas" and "Tom Jones", in whose novels

becomes a father character, as a source of wisdom and moral imperatives, f

f dr Johnson chuckled at this popular figure: "'Recluse, in solemn cell, enduring the twilight of life.

"So I talked and talked and sighed. As soon as I bit back the initial tears, the gray sage replied, "Come on, my boy, and have a beer."

At IVarton School. 187

A literary movement that draws inspiration from the past is necessarily also a learned movement. Antiquarian science must go on. The image of a disappeared society must be built from existing fragments, which requires special research. As long as this special knowledge remains in the exclusive possession of professional antiquarians like Gough, Hearne, Bentham, Perry, Grose*, it will not bear fruit in creative literature. It produces only local histories, surveys of cathedrals and funerary monuments, books on Druidic remains, Roman walls and coins, etc. Antiquarian books flourished. Poets, of course, had to undertake their own studies, decipher manuscripts, learn Old English, visit ruins, collect ancient ballads and armor, familiarize themselves with concepts of heraldry, architecture, chivalry, ecclesiology and feudal law, and many other things. ways. inform and stimulate your imagination. It took many years for the combined work of scholars and poets to reconstruct a picture of medieval society sharp enough in outline and bright enough in color to impress the general public. Scott was indeed the first to popularize the novel; no doubt chiefly on account of the greater power and fervor of his imagination; but sometimes also >^; because a larger stock of material had already been accumulated when he started work. He broke up with

  • Grose's Antiquities of Scotland was published in 1791 and

Burns wrote "Tarn o' Shanter" to accompany Kirk Alloway's image in this work. See his poem On the late Captain Grose's Peregrinations through Scotland.

188 <v^ History of English l^Pmanticism.

Percy's childhood "Hallows"; through Coleridge, verses from him derive from Chatterton; and the Gothic romance series beginning with The Castle of Otranto is loosely responsible for Ivanhoe and The Talisman. But Scott too, like Percy and Walpole, was a virtuoso and collector; and the vast array of notes and introductory material in his metrical tales and in Waverley's novels show how necessary it was for the Romantic poet to be his own antiquary.

As might be expected, the zeal of the early Romantics was not always known, and the medieval picture they painted was more a caricature than a portrait. Much of medieval literature was not accessible to the general reader. Much of it was still in manuscript. Much more of it was in old and rare printed copies, black pamphlets and folios, treasures of great libraries and zealously accumulated private collections. Much was in poorly understood dialects - in forgotten language forms - Old French, Middle High German, Old Norse, Medieval Latin, the ancient Ersian and Cymric languages, Anglo-Saxon. There was an almost complete lack of apparatus for studying this literature. Help was needed in the form of modern reprints of rare texts, bibliographies, critical editions, translations, literary histories and manuals, glossaries of archaic words, dictionaries and grammars of obsolete languages. These were gradually taken care of by specialists working in different areas of study. Each page of medieval life was illustrated in turn. Works such as Tyrwhitt's edition of Chaucer (1775-78); the collections of medieval romances by Ellis (1805), Ritson (1802), and Weber (1810);

The Battleschool ton. 189

Nares' und Halliwells "Archaic Glossary" (1822-46), Carter'sSpecimens of ancient sculptures and paintings -ings" (1780-94), Scott's "*Demonology and Witchcraft" (1830), Hallam's "Middle Ages" (1818), Meyrick's "Ancient Armor" (1824), Lady Guest's "Mabinogion" (1838), the publications of countless individual scholars and by learned societies such as Camden, Spenser, Percy, Chaucer, the Early English Text, the Roxburgh Club - to cite only English examples, chosen at random and separated by wide intervals of time - are examples of the works by which the life Medieval times has been familiar to all who can choose to become familiar with it.

The history of Romanticism, once begun, is little more than a record of the steps by which new features were successively brought to light in that vast and complex scheme of things which we loosely call the Middle Ages, and which serve as literary material for the offered . New details were constantly added to the image and there is no reason to believe that it is already complete. Some of the most beautiful works of the Middle Ages have only become known to the general reader in recent years; It is. B. the charming old French story in prose and verse "Aucassin et Nicolete" and the 14th century English poem "The Perle". The future reserves other phases of the novel; the Middle Ages seem to be as inexhaustible for new sources of inspiration as classical antiquity has proved. The past belongs to the poet as much as the present, and much of the literature of each generation will always belong to him.

igo ^ History of English l^omantidom.

Analysis. The individual artist's tastes and preferences will continue to find a wide field to choose from in the rich quarry of Christian and feudal Europe.

It is not surprising that the book that first aroused interest in Norse mythology in modern Europe was written by a Frenchman. This was the 'Introduction à l'Histoire de Dannemarc' edited in 1755 by Paul Henri Mallet, a native of Geneva and for a time Professor of Fiction at the Royal University of Copenhagen. The work also contained a translation of the first part of the Younger Edda, with an abridgement of the second part and the Old Edda, and versions of several rune poems. It was translated into English in 1770 by Thomas Percy, editor of the Reliques, under the title, Northern Antiquities; or a description of the manners, customs, religion, and laws of the ancient Danes." A German translation appeared a few years earlier and inspired the Schleswig-Holsteiner Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg to write his 1766 "Poem of a Skald", which explored Icelandic mythology Ancient In 1763, Percy independently published Five Pieces of Runic Poetry Translated from the Icelandic Language.

Gray did not wait for the English translation of Mallet's book. In a 1758 letter to Mason, which included some criticism of his "Caractacus" (then in the MS), he wrote: "I am satisfied with the Gothic Elysium, or the /le// before it, or the twilight*

  • "Ragnarok" or "Götterdämmerung", the twilight of the gods.

The Warton School. 191

I have been there and seen it all in Mallet's 'Introduction to the History of Denmark' (in French) and many other places.' (1877), but Mallet is credited with first sparking an interest in Scandinavian antiquity that enriched the prose and poetry not only of England but of all Europe. Gray refers to him in his notes to The Descent of Odin, and his work remained a popular authority on the subject for at least half a century. Scott cites it in his notes to The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805).

Gray's studies of runic literature took shape in The Fatal Sisters and The Descent of Odin, written in 1761 and published in 1768. These were paraphrases of two poems Gray had written in Thomas Bartholin's De Causis Contemnendse Mortis (Copenhagen, 1689) . 17th century Danish physician. The first of these depicts the Valkyrie weaving the fate of Danish and Irish warriors at the Battle of Clontarf, fought between Sigurd, Earl of Orkney, and Brian, King of Dublin in the 11th century; the second tells of Odin's descent to Niflheimer to question Hela about Balder's downfall, * Gray had sketched this out for the introduction.

  • For a complete discussion of Gray's sources and knowledge of

Old Norse, the reader should consult Professor G. L. Kittredge's Addendum to Professor W. L. Phelps's "Gray Selections" (1894, pp. xl-1) Bartholin's Latin in his translations; and that he probably also used such authorities as Torfaeus's "Orcades" (1697), Ole Worm's "Literature"

192 <l/1 History of English l^manticism.

introductory chapter of his projected history of English poetry. He calls them imitations of what they really are, not literal interpretations. Despite a touch of 18th-century diction and a few Shaksper and Miltonic phrases, the translator has done a good job of capturing the wild atmosphere of his originals. His biographer, Mr. Gosse, promises that 'the student will not fail...to discover in the Gothic images of 'The Descent of Odin' notes and phrases of a finer originality than are found in even his most famous writings; and I will dwell with particular pleasure on the passages in which Gray broke free from the shackles of artificial and conventional taste and prophesied of the arrival of a new romantic age.

Celtic antiquity shared this renewed interest with Gothic. Here again, as in the 'Stormy Hebrides' movement, 'Lykidas' seems to have provided the spark that ignited the poets' imaginations.

"Where were you, nymphs, when the merciless depths closed over the heads of your beloved Lykidas? Why didn't you play on the wall too

Runica" (Copenhagen, 1636), Dr. George Hickes's Thesaurus monumental (Oxford, 1705), and Robert Sheringham's De Anglorum Gentis Origine Disceptatio (1716). Dryden's "Miscellany Poems" (1716) has a verse translation " The Awakening of Angantyr" from Hickes's English prose, part of the "Hervarar Saga". .” “Nichols' Anecdotes” (I. 116) mentions, as published in 1715, “The Rudiments of Grammar for the English Saxon Tongue; with an Apology for the study of Northern Antiquities.” It was from Mrs. Elizabeth Elstob and addressed to Hickes, the author of the Thesaurus.

At IVarton School. 193

Where lie thy old bards, the famous druids,

Still on the shaggy top of Mona High

Not even where Deva spreads her magic current."

Joseph Warton quotes this passage twice in his "Essay on Pope" (Vol. i. pp. 7 and 356, 5th ed.), once to assert its superiority over a passage in Pope's "Pastorals": "The mention of remarkably romantic places, the supposed abode of druids, bards and sorcerers, is far more pleasing to the imagination than the obvious introduction of Ham and Isis." Again, to illustrate the following suggestion: "I have often wondered what our modern writers should have made this little use of the Druidic times and traditions of the ancient bards... Milton, as we see, was aware of the power of such images, as we can see. see in this brief but exquisite passage. As a further illustration of the poetic skill of similar subjects, Warton gives a stanza from Gray's "Bard," and a few lines from Gilbert West's "Institution of the Order of the Garter," describing the spirits of Druids hovering over their crumbling altars at Stonehenge. :

"- Mysterious rows of gigantic and crude obelisks rising up sphere after sphere, marvelous monuments of simple architecture, as now, often startle the wandering traveller.

He then inserts two stanzas in Latin from Hickes's "Thesaurus" from an ancient runic ode preserved by Olaus Wormius (Ole Worm), and adds a remark about Scandinavian heroes and their disdain for death. Druids and Bards are now starting to abound. collins

194 t/^ history of English %omantictsm.

"Ode on the death of Mr. Thomson", ^r. B. starts with the line

"In this tomb lies a druid."

In his "Ode to Freedom", he alludes to the folklore that Mona, the Druid stronghold, was long covered by a spell of mist - the work of an angry mermaid:

"Mona, once hidden from the seekers of the high street, "Where dwell a thousand elven figures,"

In Thomas Warton's Pleasures of Melancholy, contemplation is said to have been discovered as a baby by a Druid.

"Home in a Hollow Glade of Mona's Forest,"

and taken by him to his oak bower, where they

"- loved to lie down. Often deeply heard the rapid roar of the wood-covered Menai, chain of ancient druids."

Mason's "Caractacus" (1759) was a Greek-style dramatic poem, with a chorus of British bards and a chief druid for the chorago. The setting is the sacred grove on Mona. Mason meticulously collected descriptions of Druidic rites, such as the making of the viper stone and the cutting of mistletoe with a golden sickle, from such Latin authorities as Pliny, Tacitus, Lucan, Strabo, and Suetonius. Joseph Warton praises the chorus on 'death' in this play, as well as the chorus of bards at the end of West's Institution of the Garter. For the materials of his "Bard" Gray had no further to go than historians and chroniclers such as Camden, Higden, and Matthew.

At IVarton School. 195

of Westminster to which he refers. Following a now discredited tradition, he represents the last survivor of the Welsh poets' guild, sitting harp in hand on a stone beside Snowdon and singing a song denouncing Edward I's trial for the murder of his brothers.

But in 1764, with the publication of Dr. Evans's "Specimens"* led to some attempts at translation from Welsh. The most important of these was The Triumphs of Owen, published in 1768 among Gray's collected poems. It celebrates the victory over the Confederate fleets of Ireland, Denmark and Normandy won by a Prince of North Wales around 1600. Owen Ap Griffin, "the dragon son of Mona". The other fragments are short but witty versions of bardic songs in praise of fallen heroes: "Caradoc", "Conan" and "The Death of Hoel". They were printed posthumously, although they were undoubtedly composed in 1764.

The scholarship of the time was not always accurate in distinguishing between ancient religious systems, and Gray undertakes to fuse Gothic and Celtic mythology in his letters to Mason in 1758, when Caractacus was still in progress. He instructs him that Woden and his Valhalla belong

  • "Some Samples of the Poetry of the Old Welsh Bards,

Translated into English by Rev. Evan Evans, 1764. Copies numbered ten. The translations were in English prose. The originals were printed from a copy made by Davies, author of the Welsh dictionary. and Henry V. originated Ossian poems.

196 <iThe History of English Romanticism.

to "the doctrine of the skalds, not of the bards"; admits, however, that "with this dearth of Celtic ideas under which we are working", it might be permissible to borrow from the Edda, "abandoning, however, all mention of Woden and his Valkyrie maidens" and "without it being too needful to go in detail". ; or "better still, to graft every wild and picturesque fable, absolutely of his own invention, into the Druid tribe." But Gray had no qualms about mixing mythologies in "The Bard," which Dr. Johnson's critique. “He borrowed, as he owns, the weaving of cloth from the bards of the north; but its texture was nevertheless very much the work of female powers, like the art of weaving the thread of life in another mythology. Theft is always dangerous: Gray has turned slaughtered bards into weavers through scandalous and incongruous fiction. * In fact, Mallet himself had a very confused conception of the relationship of the Celts with the Germanic races. He constantly speaks of ancient Scandinavians as Celts. Percy points out the difference in the preface to his translation and makes the necessary correction in the text where the word 'Celtic' occurs - usually replacing 'Gothic and Celtic' with the original 'Celtic'. Mason made his contribution to runic literature, "Song of Harold the Valiant", a rather bland verse version of a passage from the "Knytlinga saga", translated into Latin by Bartholin, Mallet into French, and Mallet into English prose by Percy. Mason designed it for insertion in the introduction to Gray's Failed History of English Poetry.

  • "Grey's Life."

At IVarton School. 197

The true pioneers of the Medieval Renaissance were the Warton brothers. "The Warton School" was a term used by critics, not without derogatory implications, who disliked ancient minstrels. Joseph and Thomas Warton were the sons of Thomas Warton, vicar of Basingstoke, who had been a Magdalen scholar and professor of poetry at Oxford; the latter position was later filled by the younger of their two sons. It is interesting to note that a volume of verse by Thomas Warton, Sr., printed posthumously in 1748, contains a Spenserian imitation and translations of two passages from the 'Song of Ragner Lodbrog', an eleventh-century Viking Latin version quoted by Sir Wm. Temple in his essay "Of Heroic Virtue"; * So that the romantic tendencies of the Warton brothers appear to be an example of heredity, Joseph was brought up in Winchester - where Collins was his schoolmate - and both brothers in Oxford. Joseph later became warden of Winchester and lived until 1800, outliving his younger brother by ten years. Thomas has always been identified with Oxford, where he lived for forty-seven years. He was appointed Camden Professor of History at the university in 1785, but did not teach. In the same year he was elected Poet Laureate to succeed Whitehead. Both brothers were men of friendly and social temperament. Joseph was a man of some elegance; he loved the company of girls, frequented society in general, and had a reputation as a comedian and parlor prankster. He spent the Christmas holidays in London, where he was a member of Johnson's Literary Club.

  • "English Romantic Movement" de Siehe Phelps, S. 73, 141-42.

198 <^ History of English 'T^omanticistn'.

In contrast, Thomas, who grew fat and lethargic in university monasteries until Johnson compared him to a turkey, was carefree in his personal habits and averse to polite company. He was the center of the Oxford common room, joking with the students when he saw Dr. Warton in Winchester, and it was said that he longed for pipes and ale and the wide merriment of the common room. Both Wartons had a strange passion for military parades; and Thomas - who believed in spirits - secretly attended the executions. They were also remarkably harmonious in taste and intellectual aspirations, avid students of old English poetry, Gothic architecture and British antiquities. Insofar as enthusiasm, keen critical taste, and elegant erudition can make men poets, the Wartons were poets. But their work was quite banal. Many of his poems can be broken down and attributed almost line by line and sentence by sentence to Milton, Thomson, Spenser, Shakespeare, Gray. They had all the dangerous gifts of sympathy and receptivity of our Romantic poet Longfellow, without a tenth of his technical skill or real originality as an artist. Like Longfellow, they loved the rich, mellow atmosphere of the historic past:

"Tales that have the rhyme of the times, And chronicles of the field."

The final lines of Thomas Warton's sonnet,

  • 'Written on a Blank Sheet of Dugdale's Monasticon'
  • &^
  • Wm. Dugdale published his Monasticon Anglicanum, op.

History of English Religious Houses, in Three Parts, 1655-62-73. It was accompanied by illustrations of the costumes of ancient religious orders and views of architecture. the latter,

The Battleschool ton. 199

- a favorite of Charles Lamb - may have been written by Longfellow:

“Neither rough nor barren are the winding paths

Of gray antiquity, but dotted with flowers." ^^

Joseph Warton's aspirations as a poet lag behind those of his younger brother. Many of Thomas Warton's poems, such as Facet in the Oxford Sausage and Triumph of Isis, had academic overtones. We can ignore them as they are extraneous to our current investigations. So do most of his prize-winning annual odes, "On His Majesty's Birthday," etc. But even these official and rather superficial introductions attest to his predilection for what Scott calls

  • ' the monuments of the piety or splendor of our ancestors."

Thus, in the Anniversary Odes of 1787-88 and the New Year's Ode of 1787, he pays homage to old minstrels and early laureates such as Chaucer and Spenser, and celebrates "the druid's harp" playing "through the deep darkness of the frost of forest"; the fanes and castles built by the Normans; is that

"-brilliant hall where Odin's gothic throne gleamed With the broad glow of swinging scimitars."

But Thomas Warton's purest romantic poems are The Crusade and The Grave of King Arthur. The first is the music that

"The Lionheart Plantagenet Sang, look through your prison bars,"

says Eastlake, were crude and unsatisfactory, but interesting to modern students because "they preserve representations of buildings, or parts of buildings, which no longer exist; such as the steeple, or freestanding steeple, of Salisbury, which has since been removed, and the tower of Lincoln, destroyed in 1547."


200 ^ History of English Thiomanticism.

when the minstrel Blondel wandered in search of his captive king. The latter depicts Henry II being celebrated at Cilgarran Castle on his way to Ireland, where Welsh bards sang to him of Arthur's death and his burial in Glastonbury Abbey. The following passage anticipates Scott:

' 'Illuminating the vaulted ceiling, a thousand torches burned in the distance; The torrent of red Metheglin gleamed with golden glitter from massive cups: To adorn the magnificent festival, Along the high windowed hall, the legendary tapestry was hung; With minstrels the rafters played Of harps that shone brightly with the reflected light From the proud gallery: While talented bards a rival mob, From distant Mona the nurse of song, From Teivi lined in dark brown, From Elvy's vale and Cader's crown, Of many shaggy abysses shading Learning's husky abyss, and many sunless solitudes of Radnor's deepest mountains crowning the feast's solemn conclusion.

Much of Scott's skill in the poetic manipulation of place names is evident here, <?. ^.,

"The day passes over Norham's fortified escarpment. And the fair river of the Tweed, wide and deep, And the lonely mountains of Cheviot" -

Names that leave a resounding romantic bang. Another passage in Warton's poem brings us very close to Tennyson's "savage".

7 he ton war school. 201

Tintagel by the Cornish Sea" e seu "Inseltal Avilion".

"Over the cliffs of Cornwall the tempest roared: High rose the shrill sea-evil: On Tintaggel's highest tower the dark rain fell: Around the rough castle sang the whirling blast, And hurled itself wildly On the thundering side of every high wall The waves of the turbulent tide, When Arthur rallied his Red Cross ranks on the crimson shores of conscious Camlan: Commanded by Mordred's unfaithful cunning To bleed under a Saxon spear The Queen, wholly hidden and unseen, threw over the helpless hero her mantle of blue ambrosia, and commanded his spirits to carry him away, in Merlin's agate-axle chariot, to the enameled cliffs of his verdant isle, deep in the navel of the deep."

Other poems by Thomas Warton that touch on his favorite studies are the "Ode Sent to Mr. Upton, in his edition of Faery Queene", the "Monody Written near Stratford-upon-Avon", the sonnets "Written at Stonehenge" To the Mr. Grey' and 'On King Arthur's Round Table' and the humorous letter he attributes to the antiquarian Thomas Hearne denouncing the bishops for their recent order that Lenten prayers should be printed in modern rather than black letters and cursing the author

202 <vf History of English Romanticism.

by The Companion to the Oxford Guide Book for its disrespectful remarks about antiquarians.

“May you search in vain for doubtful doors! , nor the true location of the abbots' pantries!"

Warton was a classical scholar and, like most precursors of the Romantic school, a little ashamed of his Gothic heresies. Sir Joshua Reynolds provided a classically designed painted window for New College, Oxford; and Warton, in a few supplementary verses, confesses that these "portraits of Attic art" restored him to true taste;* and prophesies that henceforth angels, apostles, saints, miracles, martyrs, and tales of legendary lore—

"No longer the round shame of the holy window, But give the luminous space to the Greek groups... Thy mighty hand tore the gothic chain, And brought my bosom back to truth... Long, in love with a barbarous age, A detour classic side infidel –

  • "Verses in the window painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds." W/. poetry


"In desperate seas, long accustomed to roam your hyacinth hair, your classic face.

The Warton School. 203

For a long time I loved picking up the simple chime

Of minstrel harps and spell the fabulous time;

To see the festive rites, the chivalrous game,

The earliest days of that heroic and adorned Albion;

To boldly mark the rotting halls of barons.

And the rough castle, molded in an enormous shape;

With gothic modes explore gothic arts,

And reflect on the splendor of the past.

But boss, delighted, I loved to roam

A persistent worshipper, the vaulted dome,

Where the high waves rise with great pride

Its intertwined branches dart to and fro;

Where sculptor elves with fantastic loop.

Its wild embroideries were drawn along the long roof;

Where superstition, with a capricious hand.

In many labyrinths, the crowned window is planned.

With romantic tones the magnificent disk,

To fill the wondrous Fane with holy light." *

The application of the word "romantic" here to medieval stained glass art is significant. The renaissance of art in our time is due to the influence of the more recent English school of poetry and romantic painting, and of William Morris in particular. Warton's biographers attribute his passion for the ancient world to the impression made by a visit to Windsor Castle as a boy. He spent summers wandering around abbeys and cathedrals. He wrote his observations and is known to have started work on Gothic architecture,

  • This apology must be compared to Scott's epistle in verse

Wm. Erskine, preceding the third chant of "Marmion".

"To me, so nurtured, you ask the classical poet's well-behaved duty?" etc.

Scott spoke of himself in Warton's exact language as "skipping the classical side".

T (

204 a/^ History of English Omanism.

no trace of which, however, has been found in his manuscripts. The Bodleian Library was one of his favorite places and he was often seenmeasurement withsilent and rapt solemnity the ancient gate of Magdalen College." He delights in illuminated manuscripts and folios in black script, speaking fondly of a "very curious and beautiful folio manuscript of the History of Arthur and his Knights in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, written in parchment, with illuminated initials and headgear, on which we see the fashions of ancient armor, buildings, slant shape, and other details."

Another very characteristic poem of Warton's is the 'Ode Written at Vale-Royal Abbey in Cheshire', a monastery of Cistercian monks founded by Edward I. This piece is full of romantic feeling and in the verse and style of Gray's "Elegy", as revealed by a randomly chosen pair of verses:

"By the slow clock, in stately measured chimes, That sounded mightily from the massive tower, The helm no longer counts the arduous time, Far-off shepherds still guard the twilight's folds.

"Seen high above the pathless moor at midnight, No longer the windows, set in long rows (where the tall stem and jagged song between thick tendrils of ivy) betray tapered rites."

It is a note from Warton's time that while Fancy and the Muse survey the abbey ruins with deep regret, "stricter reason" - the true deity of the eighteenth century - "examines the scene with philosophical reason" and

  • Ver ante, pp. 99-101.

The Battleschool ton. 205

- being a Protestant - reflects that monastic houses were after all "sanctuaries of superstition" and their destruction was a good thing for science and religion.

The greatest service that Thomas Warton rendered to the studies he loved, however, was his History of English Poetry from the Twelfth to the Late Sixteenth Century. This was in three volumes, published in 1774, 1777 and 1781 respectively. A fourth-volume fragment was published in 1790. A revised four-volume edition was published in 1824 under the editorship of Richard Price, corrected, enlarged, and annotated by Ritson, Douce, Park, Ashby, and the editor himself. In 1871 a new revision (also in four volumes) appeared, edited by W. Carew Hazlitt, with many additions, by the editor and by such well-known English scholars as Madden, Skeat, Furnivall, Morris and Thomas, and Aldis Wright. In assessing the value of Warton's work, one must never forget that he was a pioneer in this field. Much of his lore is out of date, and his modern history editors-Price and Hazlitt-seem to the dismayed reader chiefly occupied with retracting the statements Warton made in the text in their footnotes and bracketed questions. The leadership position, e.g. B. his preliminary dissertation "On the Origin of Romantic Fiction in Europe" - based on Spanish Arabs - has long been discredited. But Warton's learning was broad, if not precise; and he was not a dry apprenticeship, but animated by the spirit of a true man of letters. So, despite its factual obsolescence, his story remains readable, either as a corpus of descriptive criticism or as an ongoing literary essay. The best way around

206 <iA history of English T^manticism.

To read means to read it as it was written - in the original edition - regardless of the notebook that modern scholars have accumulated over it, but remembering that it is no longer an authority and will likely need corrections on every page. Read like this, it is an utterly delightful book, "a classic in its own right," as Lowell put it. Southey also claimed that its publication constituted an epoch in literary history; and that with Percy's "Reliques" more than any other work he encouraged "the growth of a better taste than had prevailed in a hundred years."

Gray sketched out a history of English poetry, but left the draft to Warton, to whom he gave an outline of his own plan. The Observations on English Meter and the essay on the poet Lydgate, among the remains of Gray's prose, seem to form part of this planned work.

Lowell also declares Joseph Warton's "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pop" (1756) to be the "first official public declaration of war against the prevailing fashion". The new school had its critics as well as its poets, and the Wartons were more effective in their former role. The war thus open was by no means as deadly as that waged by the French classics and romantics of the 1830s. It was never possible to trigger a very serious conflict in England for purely aesthetic reasons. But there was the same opposition. Warton's biographer tells us that the limitations of his essay "were severe enough to dampen the essayist's zeal, who left his work in an imperfect state for the long period of 26 years" /. <?., until 1782, when he published the second volume.

The Warton School. 207

Both Wartons are personal friends of Dr. Johnson; They were members of the Literary Club and associates of Idler dind the Adventurer. Thomas was interested in getting Johnson an MA at Oxford, where the doctor visited him. Some correspondence between them is found in Boswell. Johnson maintained a public respect for the Wartons' critical and historical work; but he could not sympathize with her antiquarian enthusiasm or her fondness for old English poetry. In particular, he ridiculed Thomas' verses and summarized them as follows:

“Wherever I turn my gaze, everything is strange and nothing new; endless work all the time, endless work to be wrong; Phrases dragged by time, coarse words in disarray, transformed into old hats and hats, odes, elegies and sonnets."

And although he added: 'Remember that I love the boy very much, even though I laughed at him,' this saving phrase failed to calm the poet's indignant chest when he learned that the doctor had mocked his lines. An estrangement ensued, of which Johnson reportedly spoke through tears, saying "that Tom .^^^ Warton was the only man of genius he ever knew who would have a heart".

Goldsmith was also of the Conservative party, although Perry* discovers romantic traits in "The Deserted Village", such as the verse,

  • "Literature of the 18th century", p. 397

268 c/f History of English l^pmanticism.

"Where Altama wildly mumbles to her grief,"


On the cliffs of Torno or on the side of Pambamarca."

In his "Inquiry into the Present State of Educated Learning" (1759) Goldsmith declares the age of literary decay; he bemoans the fad for blank verse – which he calls a "mistaken innovation" – and the "disgusting solemnity of that kind" that brought it into vogue. He complains about the resurgence of old plays on stage. “Old plays are revived and almost no new ones are admitted... The public must reflect again on the ashes of nonsense that disgusted our ancestors in times of ignorance... What to do? Just sit contentedly, scream everything that comes before us, and even advance Shakespearean absurdities. Let the reader lay aside his censure; I admire the beauties of this great father of our stage as much as they deserve, but they may wish, for the honor of our country and also for him, that many of his scenes were forgotten. A man blind in one eye should always be painted in profile. The spectator watching one of these recently revived plays can only wonder whether he would approve of such a performance if it were written by a modern poet. I'm afraid he'll find that much of his applause comes from just the sound of a name and an empty reverence for antiquity. Indeed, the revival of these plays of forced humour, far-fetched conceit and unnatal exaggeration attributed to Shakespeare is more meaningless than erecting a statue in his honor.”

The words I've italicized make that clear.

7er School of IVarton. 209

What Goldsmith really found wrong was restoring the original text of Shakespeare's plays instead of the previously unreadable versions. This restoration was largely due to Garrick, but Goldsmith's language suggests that the renovation was prompted by public opinion and the rise of "worship of antiquity". The next passage shows that the new school had its claque, which rallied in support of the old British drama, as the French Romantics did nearly a century later in support of Melodr before Victor Hugo. '^

"What strange vampire comedies, ridiculous tragedies, or whatever it is - talking pantomimes haven't we seen lately? ... Our critics like the play because it speaks Old English; and it pleases the galleries because it has personalities... ...A prologue usually precedes the play to let us know that it was composed by Shakespeare or old Ben or someone else who modeled it to understand the power of Combinations trained to the point of shouting and clapping and clapping, and as long as one man can be strong enough to single-handedly defeat a lion, he may be in danger of being devoured by an army of ants."

Goldsmith returned to office in The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), where Dr.

  • Lowell mentions the release of Dodsley's "Old Plays",

(1744) as, like Percy's "Reliques", a symptom of a return to the past. Essay on "Gray".

2IO nA History of English 'T(pmantcism.

As the day wears on," one is surprised to learn that Dryden and Rowe are practically out of fashion, that taste is a century out of date, and that "Fletcher, Ben Jonson, and all Shakespeare's plays are the only things that pass unnoticed". . 'How,' exclaims the good vicar, 'is it possible that the present day can enjoy that old-fashioned dialect, that old-fashioned humour, those overworked characters which abound in the works you mention? "Goldsmith's aversion to this affectation finds greater expression in his 'Life of Parnell' (1770). "He [Parnell] appears to me to be the last of the great school which formed after the ancients, and taught English poetry to resemble them, which the general public have allowed mankind to outgrow. . . His productions bear no resemblance to those kitsch things which have been in fashion for some time to admire... Its poetic language is no less correct than its subjects are pleasant. It found it the moment it was brought to its highest refinement; and it has since deteriorated gradually. It is truly astonishing that after what Dryden, Addison and Pop did to improve and harmonize our native language, their successors took the trouble to wrap them in the original barbarism. These misguided innovators were not content with restoring obsolete words and phrases , but indulged in the craziest transpositions and crudest constructions, believing in vain that the more their writings deviate from prose, the more they resemble poetry. They have adopted a language of their own, and command the attention of mankind. All those who do not understand are silent: and those who vent

The Warton School.


their meaning is ready to be praised, to show that they understand.” This last sentence attacks the alleged inaccuracy of Gray and Mason's odes.

To illustrate the growth of a retrospective habit in literature, Mr. Perry* quotes at length from an essay "On the Prevailing Taste for the Old English Poets" by Vicesimus Knox, a former master of the Tunbridge School, editor of Elegant Extracts. and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Knox's essays were written while he was a student at Oxford and published together in 1777. By this time, the Romantic movement was in full swing. "The Castle of Otranto" and Percyrelics "hadfor over ten years: many of Rowley's poems have been printed; and that same year Tyrwhitt published a complete edition of it, and Warton published the second volume of it.history of englishPoetry." Chatterton and Percy are mentioned by Knox.

"The antiquarian spirit," he writes, "once confined to the study of the customs, buildings, records, and coins of ages that preceded us, has now extended itself to those poetic compositions popular with our ancestors, but gradually forgotten by the decay of language and the prevalence of a correct and polite taste Books in black letters are sought after as eagerly as the English antiquarian leafs through a monumental inscription, or a Saxon coin The popular ballad composed of an uneducated minstrel who was handed down

  • "Literature of the Eighteenth Century", pp. 401-03. .

212 i/J History of English 'Romanticism.

For several centuries, it was rescued from the hands of the common people to earn a place in the collection of the man of good taste. Verses, which a few years ago were only worthy of the attention of children, or the lower and coarser classes, are now admired for that simple simplicity which was once called coarseness and vulgarity by the essayist,has had its time, and antiquarian bookstores need notdespise us if we cannot read it patiently. He who delights in all the readings that are never read may be delighted with the singularity of his taste, but he must nevertheless respect the judgment of mankind which casts into oblivion the works he admires. While he thinks undisturbed of Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, and Occleve, let him not blame our obstinacy when we cling to Homer, Virgil, Milton, and Pope. . . Notwithstanding the undeniable merit of many of our ancient relics of poetry, I think it doubtful whether any of them will be tolerated as the product of a modern poet. A good imitation of the old type, he would find his admirers; but considered independently, as an original it would be considered a careless, vulgar, and unartificial composition. There are few that Dr. Percy's own plays, and those of other later writers, cannot be read with more pleasure than the earliest ballad in this brilliant writer's collection." Mr. Perry cites another article by Knox, in which he divides the admirers of Percy's English poetry in two parts:on one side arethe lovers and imitators of Spenser and Milton; and, on the other hand, those of Dryden, Boileau, and Pope: in modern terms, the Romantics and the Classics. Joseph Warton's "Essay on the Pope" was an attempt

The Warton School. 213

to establish his subject's standing among English poets. Following the discursive method of Thomas Warton's Observations on the Faerie Queene, it was also an extended commentary on all of Pope's poems. Every point was illustrated with ample knowledge, and there were digressions which amounted to independent treatises on further subjects: a, <?. B. on Chaucer, one on early French metrical novels; another on Gothic architecture: another on the new school of landscape design, approvingly citing Walpole's essay and Mason's poem, and mentioning the Leasowes. The book was dedicated to Young; and when the second volume was published in 1782, the first was reprinted in revised form, prefaced by a letter from Tyrwhitt to the author, who writes that under the protection of Warton's authority 'perhaps one might dare to profess the opinion that poetry cannot is confined to couplets, and its greatest powers are not unfolded in prologues and epilogues."

The modern reader will be inclined to think that Warton's estimate of Pope is quite high. He places him, to be sure, in the second rank of poets, below Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, but next to Milton and above Dryden; and he calls the reign of Queen Anne the great age of English poetry. But when you consider that the essay was published only twelve years after Pope's death, and at a time when he was still widely regarded as, if not the greatest poet, then at least the greatest versifier that England has ever produced, one can see that Warton's work views can be seen as revolutionary and his challenge to critics as daring. These opinions are best expressed by quoting

214 <^ History of English 'T^manticism'.

some passages from his book, not consecutive, but taken here and there as best suit the purpose.

“The sublime and the pathetic are the two main nerves of all genuine poetry. What is transcendentally sublime or pathetic about Pope? ... He left the more poetic realms of his art early to become a moral, didactic, and satirical poet... And perhaps not wishing to speak plainly, I will adopt the following passage from Voltaire, which I believe Pope accurately characterized as his model Boileau, for which it was originally designed. "Incapable peut-etre du sublime qui ^leve I'ame, et you sentiment qui I'attendrit, mais fait pour eclairer ceux a qui la nature accord I'un et I'autre; laborieux, heavy, precis, pur, harmonieux, il devint enfin le poete de la raison.' ... Only a lucid head and a keen intellect are not enough to make a poet: the sanest observations on human life, expressed with the utmost elegance and brevity, are morals and not poetry... It is a creative and luminous imagination, acer spiritus ac vis, and that alone can shape a writer of this sublime and unusual character."

Warton believes that Pope's epic about Brutus, the legendary founder of Great Britain,tivemore like the Henirad than the Iliad or even Gierusalemme Liberata; what would have appeared (if this plan had been carried out) by how much, and on what grounds, man, adept at painting modern life, and the most secret foibles and follies of his contemporaries, is therefore disqualified from portraying the ages of Heroism, and this simple life which only epic poetry can gracefully describe.

7th ton of war school. 215

attendant. . . Wit and satire are fleeting and ephemeral, but nature and passion are eternal.” Most of Pope's work, states the author's final summary, “is of a didactic, moral, and satirical character, and consequently is not the most poetic kind of poetry. ; showing that common sense and judgment were his distinguishing assets, not resourcefulness and invention... He confined himself to describing modern manners; but these manners, being familiar, uniform, artificial, and polished, are inherently unsuitable for any sublime effort by the Muse. He gradually became one of the most correct, firm and precise poets who ever wrote... Whatever poetic enthusiasm he possessed, He held back and repressed it. The reading of it does not touch our minds with such strong emotions as we do from Homer and Milton, so that no man of true poetic spirit is his own master in reading them... He who would think that 'Faerie Queene', 'Palamon and Arcite', 'Tempest' or 'Comus', childlike and romantic could please Pope. It is certainly no narrow hymn to say that he is the great poet of reason, the first writer of ethical verse."

By contrast, to illustrate Pope's inferiority in the poetry of nature and passion, Warton quotes freely not only from Spenser and Milton, but from such contemporaries as Thomson, Akenside, Gray, Collins, Dyer, Mason, West, Shenstone, and Bedingfield. He complains that Pope's "Pastorals" contained no new pictures of nature and his "Windsor Forest" contained no local colour; while "Thomson's scenes are often as wild and romantic as Salvator Rosa's, varied with precipices and torrents and

2x6 aThe History of the English Language.

'fortified crags' and deep valleys, with peaked mountains and the darkest caves." "When Gray published his exquisite ode at Eton College. . . little attention was paid to him; but I suspect no critics can be found who do not place it far above the Pope's "Pastorals." "

A few additional passages are intended to show that this critic's literary principles were generally conscious and polemically romantic. He defends the mot precis – that shibboleth of the 19th century Romantics – for “natural and lesser circumstances” versus “those who love the general public”.; for the"vivid painting of Spenser and Shakespeare", in contrast to the lack of pictures and images in Voltaire's "Henriade". He praises "the fashion which has lately taken hold of all the nations of Europe for republishing and illustrating their ancient poets".

"Waller was mellow, but Dryden taught how to combine the varied verses, the sonic line, the long majestic march and the divine energy!"

he exclaims, "What! Has Milton added nothing to the harmony and range of our language? ... Surely his verse varies and resonates as much and displays as much majesty and energy as can be found in Dryden. And we dare say that he who studies Milton attentively will develop a truer taste for true poetry than that which is guided by French writers and their followers.

  • However, it is curious that Warton Villon as "a

bold and vapid ballad dealer whose thoughts and language were as base and illiberal as his life", Vol. II. p. 338 (Fifth edition, 1806).

The Warton School. 2 1 7

expresses a preference for blank verse over rhyme in long poems on subjects of a dignified nature.*

    • It's always the sick tone of the French

Critics and their supporters and students of English writers are generally wrong. If correctness implies the absence of minor errors, perhaps it will be conceded: if it means that, because his tragedians avoided Shakespeare's irregularities, and observed a fairer economy in his fables, hence Athalia, for example, is preferable.

  • Lear,” the notion is unfounded and absurd. Although

"Henirad" should be free of all gross nonsense, but who would dare to equate it with "paradise lost"? . . . In our own country, the rules of drama have never been better understood than they are now; but what uninteresting yet impeccable tragedies we have seen lately! . . . If natural powers are not stifled and weakened by that timidity and caution caused by a rigid regard for the dictates of Art; or whether that philosophic, geometrical, and systematic spirit, so fashionable, which has spread from the sciences to polished literature, questioning reason alone, has not lessened and destroyed feeling, and made our poets write in the head and not in the head and heart; or if finally, if only models that the rules have needs

  • Warton cites the following Baden opening from a "Poem in

Praise of Blank Verse" by Aaron Hill, "one of the first people to bring Thomson to attention about the release of 'Winter'":

"In the poppy valley of Rhyme! and ride the storm that thunders in white verse!"

— Bd. J. I. pág. 186.

2i8 c// History of English anti-tantism,

rarely drawn, since subsequent writers have appeared, striving vainly and ambitiously to surpass them...don't get stiff and forced. drama, "full of pompous Roman sentiments", but without action and pathos. He censures the meekness of Addison's "Letter from Italy."* "With what monotony and insensibility he spoke of statues and paintings! Raphael never received a more phlegmatic praise." He, on the other hand, refers to Gray's account of his journey to the Grande Chartreuse, which is comparable to one of the best passages in the "Letter of Eloisa to Abelard".

This mention of Addison brings to mind a very instructive letter from Gray on the subject of poetic style. Romantics loved rich diction, and the passage could be read as an advance defense of himself against Wordsworth's austerity in the preface to the 'Lyric Ballads'. "The language of the age", wrote Gray, "is never the language of poetry, except among the French, whose verse differs nothing from prose. What was written added something by embellishing it with idioms and foreign derivations." , yes, sometimes with words of his own composition or invention. Shakespeare and Milton were great creators in this sense... our language has an indisputable right to words a hundred years old, if antiquity has not translated them.

  • See before, p. 57. f See ante, p. i8l.

^: An Richard West, abril de 1742.

The Battleschool ton. 219

incomprehensible. Indeed, Shakespeare's language is one of his chief beauties; and in this he has no less advantage over his Addisons and Rowes than in the other great excellencies you mention. Every word in it is a picture.” He then quotes a passage from Richard III and continues: “Please put the following lines into the language of our modern drama. They seem untranslatable to me, and if that's the case, our language is grossly degenerate."

Warton protests further against the view which credits the introduction of true taste in literature to the French. *' Shakespeare and Milton imitated the Italians and not the French.” He also recommends reintroducing the supernatural into poetry. Descriptions of Magic and Enchantment', quoting the famous verse about the Hebrides in O Castelo da Preguiça. our uneven Shakespeare, especially in his magic scenes and mantras. Indeed, these Gothic charms are more captivating to the imagination than the classic ones. The sorcerers of Ariosto, Tasso and Spenser have more powerful spells than those of Apollonius, Seneca and Lucan. The enchanted forest of Ismeni is more terrible and immensely poetic than the grove which Caesar cut down on Lucan (i. iii. 400), who was so terrified that the priest himself did not dare approach at noon or midnight -

"'I'm afraid I'll meet the demon of the woods.'

  • See before, p. 94

2 29 t/^ History of English %ofnantictictsm.

Who, seeing the black feathers on the mighty helmet of the Castle of Otranto and the huge arm at the top of the grand staircase, is not more impressed than by the paintings of Ovid and Apuleius? What a multitude of horrible images we find in the Edda! Runic poetry is full of them. This is Grey's moving ode to "Descent of Odin". "

Warton predicts that Pope's fame as a poet will eventually rest on his Forest of Windsor, his Letter from Eloisa to Abelard, and The Breach of the Keyhole. Time has already partially contradicted this prophecy. Warton preferred Windsor Forest and Eloisa to Moral Essays because they belonged to a superior class of poetry. Posterity likes the "Moral Essays" better because they are better in their own way. They were the natural fruit of Pope's genius and time, while the others were artificial. We may go to Wordsworth for nature, Byron for passion, and a dozen poets for both, but Pope remains unrivaled in his particular field. In other words, we value what is distinctive about the artist; the one thing he does best, exactly what he can and no one else can. But Warton's error points to the changing literary standards of his day; and his essay is one of many proofs that English Romanticism was not wholly self-consciously aimless, but had its formulas and critical program, just like the Queen Anne classics.

CHAPTER VII. ubc (5otbic "Kevival.

One of Thomas Warton's sonnets was addressed to Richard Hurd, later Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry and later Worcester. Hurd was a friend of Gray and Mason, and his Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762) helped start the Romantic movement. They owe their inspiration perhaps in part to Sainte Palaye's Memoirs sur I'ancienne Chevalerie, the first volume of which was published in 1759, though the third and final volume did not appear until 1781, Mallet's "Histoire de Dannemarc" on all writings on runic mythology. written in Europe in the eighteenth century. Jean Baptiste de la Curne de Sainte Palaye was a scholar of great knowledge not only in the history of medieval institutions but also in ancient French dialects. He went to the south of France to familiarize himself with Provence: he assembled a large library of Provencal books and manuscripts and published his Histoire des Troubadours in 1774. Among his other works are a Dictionary of French Antiquities, a Glossary of Old French, and a edition of Aucassin et Nicolete. Mrs. Susannah Dobson, who wrote Historical Anecdotes of Heraldry and Chivalry

2 22 A history of English ^gmanticisra.

(1795) made an English translation of his History of the Troubadours of Sainte Palaye in 1779 and his Memoirs of Ancient Chivalry in 1784.

The aim of Kurd's letters was "to prove the supremacy of the modes and Gothic fiction, adapted for poetic purposes, over the classics". "The greatest geniuses of our countries and abroad," he asserts, "like Ariosto and Tasso in Italy and Spenser and Milton in England

C seduced by these barbarities of their ancestors; I was enchanted even by the Gothic novels. Wai this whim and nonsense in them? Or is there not something in the Gothic novel particularly suited to the visions of genius and the purposes of poetry? And have not modern philosophers gone too far in their constant mockery and scorn? "After an introductory discussion of the origin of chivalry and knight-errantry, and the ideal chivalric qualities of 'valor, generosity, gallantry and religion' which he derives from the military requirements of the feudal system, he describes a 'remarkable correspondence between the customs of ancient heroic times, as depicted by your great novelist, Homer, and those presented to us in the books of modern knights errant." He compares, for example, Homer's Lasstrigons, Cyclopes, Circes and Calypsos to the giants, Paynims, sorceresses encountered by the novel's heroes; the Greek dotSot with the minstrels; the Olympic Games with tournaments; and the exploits of Hercules and Theseus, in Suppressing Dragons and Other Monsters, with the similar emperors of Lancelot and Amadis of Gaul. The critic is brave enough to


The Gothic 'Renaissance'. 223

ners' preference for the heroic. Homer, he says, if he had been able to know both, would have chosen the former because of "the best gallantry of the feudal age and the superior solemnity of its superstitions," the poet with / most beautiful scenes and themes of description in every respect. than the simple, unbridled barbarism of the Greek... There was a dignity, a splendor, a diversity in the feudal that the other wanted. "

A similar advantage, Hurd thinks, was enjoyed by the Romantics over the heathen poets in regard to supernatural machines. "To the most solemn fantasies of witchcraft and conjuration, the horrors of the Gothic were visible and terrible beyond measure. The mummies of heathen priests were childish, yet

Gothic sorcerers shook and frightened all of nature. . . You wouldn't compare Canidia from "^Horace" to the witches from "Macbeth". And what are Virgil's myrtles dripping blood in Tasso's enchanted forest? ... The fantasies of our modern bards are not only more gallant, but also ... sublime, more terrible, more frightening than those of classical fables. In a word, you will find that the manners they paint and the superstitions they adopt are as much poetic as they are Gothic.

apparently the despisedGothick" de Addison - como;Mr. Howells puts it - quickly became Scott's admired "goth". This pronouncement of a very advanced Romantic doctrine appeared some years before Percy's Relics and The Castle of Otranto. It was only a few years after Thomas Warton's Observations on the Faerie Queene and



224 A History of English 'T^pmanticism,

JosesEssay on the Pope", but his views were manymore radical. None of the Wartons would have dared declare the Gothic modes superior to the Homeric ones as material for poetry, no matter what he might have thought in his heart.* Such an opinion must have seemed to Johnson utterly blasphemous. Hurd explains the contempt into which the Gothic fell by saying that feudal times were never lucky enough to have a great poet like Homer, capable of giving adequate artistic expression to his life and ideals. Carent vate sacrum. Spenser and Tasso, he thinks, "were too late and found it impossible to truly and perfectly paint what was no longer seen or believed... As it stands, we can glimpse what the subject was capable of." rough sketches we have of it in the ancient novelists... The ablest writers of Greece ennobled the system in heroic ways while it was new and flourishing, and their works, masterpieces of composition, thus did the credit of Is in the opinion of the world that no revolution of time and taste could shake it after, while the Gothic, shamed in its infancy by bad writers, and a new set of manners arose before there was anything better If, to do them justice, they could never be brought into fashion by the attempts of later poets. so that when this political constitution disappeared from Europe, the manners involved were not

  • But compare the last quoted passage with that of Warton

Previous essay, p. 219.

The Gothic 'Renaissance'. ^-' 225

more seen or understood. There was no example of such manners on earth. And since they only existed once and probably never will again, people would naturally be tempted to regard them and speak of them as romantic and unnatural."

However, he believes that the Renaissance poets Ariosto and Spenser owe their best effects not to the touch of classical culture but to Romantic materials. Shakespeareis bigger when usedGothic and machine manners as if applying the classic." Tasso tried to balance between the two, giving his romantic theme an epic form, but Hurd describes his imitations of antiquity as "weak and cold and almost tasteless compared to his original fictions. . . . Were it not for these 'jnagnanima viensogna' lies of Gothic invention, I would hardly be inclined to read the 'Gierusalemme Liberata' a second time. then long hesitation." His favorite subject was Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which was what he had focused on for most of his life. What changed his mind was partly, I suppose, his growing fanaticism; ambition , of following a different path than Spenser, but above all perhaps the discredit into which chivalry tales now fell by Cervantes' immortal satire. the legends of chivalry before the fables of Greece."

226 <i/l History of English Romanticism.

poem, will be seen to have a true unity of design, a merit which even the Wartons denied him. "When an architect examines a Gothic structure according to Greek rules, he finds nothing but deformities. But Gothic architecture has its own rules, for which, if examined, it has its merits as much as the Greeks."

The essayist regrets that the Gothic fables were neglected by the influence of French criticism, which ridiculed and denigrated the Italian novelists Ariosto and Tasso. The English critics of"The restoration - Davenant, Hobbes, Shaftesbury - took timehis suggestion of the French, until these pseudo-classical principles "turned into a sort of Kant with which Rymer and the rest of that school filled their flimsy essays and blustering prefaces... The precise but cold Boileau said something about the Clinquant de Tasso" and "Mr. Addison, who here gave the law of taste, took and distributed", so that "it became a kind of buzzword among critics". "What we have obtained," concludes the final letter of the series, "by this revolution, is very common sense enchanted spirit, that in spite of philosophy and fashion * Faery 'Spenser still ranks first among poets; I mean among all who come from this house or do anything good.

We have seen that in the classical period, "goth" as a term in literary criticism was synonymous with barbaric, lawless, and tacky. addison

  • See before, p. 49

Das Gothic-Vival. 227

point this out to your audiencethe taste of most of ourEnglish poets and readers alike are extremely Gothic.”* After praising the French critics Bouhours and Boileau for their insistence on common sense, just thinking, simplicity and naturalness, he continues: “Poets who want this power of genius to give nature that majestic simplicity which we so admire in the works of the ancients, we are compelled to hunt out foreign ornaments, and let no joke of any kind escape them. I regard these writers as Goths in poetry, who, like those in architecture, were unable to approach the beautiful simplicity of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and strove to infuse their place with all the extravagances of irregular fancy. In the following treatise (No. 63), an "allegorical vision of the meeting between the true and the false", he discovers "in a very dark grove a monstrous web, constructed in the Gothic manner and covered with innumerable contraptions in that barbarous type of sculpture." This temple is dedicated to the god of monotony, who is "dressed in a monk's habit". to banish that gothic taste that has taken hold of us.

The particular literary vice that Addison sought to correct in these treatises was that smug style which infected a certain seventeenth-century school of poetry and sometimes culminated in such childishness as anagrams, acrostics, echo-songs, repetitions and verses in the form of eggs, wings, hourglasses. , etc.

  • Spectators, nº 62,

2 28 zThe History of English Romanticism.

He names, as particular representatives of this tendency, Herbert, Cowley and Sylvester. But it is significant that Addison called this fashion goth. In reality, it has nothing to do with the sincere and loving art of the ancient master builders. He might as well have called it a classic; for, as he acknowledges, implements of this kind are to be found in the Greek anthology, and Ovid was a poet inclined to presumption. Addison was a writer of pure taste, but the coldness and timidity of his imagination, and the maxims of the critical school to which he belonged, made him mistake the splendor of that warm and creative imagination which raged in Gothic art as a spurious decoration. The grotesqueness that was an expression of that juicy energy repelled Addison. The art and poetry of his time was tame while Gothic art was wild; dead where goth was alive. He could neither sympathize nor understand. "Vous ne pouvez pas le comprendre; vous avez toujours hai la vie."

I quoted Vicesimus Knox's lament that the antiquarian spirit had spread from architecture and numismatics to literature.* We have known antiquarians for many years with satire; in Pope, in Akenside's Spenserian poem The Virtuoso (1737); in Richard Owen Cambridge's Scribleriad (1751):

“See how your children strive with generous zeal. Make an attempt to revive all long lost Gothic art,... Each Celtic figure explains or shows how the British ate a thousand years ago; of the glory of the herald.

  • See atU, p. 211

Gothic levivism. 229

But the chief of Saxon wisdom be your concern,

keep your idols and your fans repaired;

And may your deep mythology be shown

By the wheel of Seater and the mighty throne of Thor.”*

The most notable example of virtuosity invading the neighboring realm of literature is the case of Strawberry Hill and "The Castle ^^" from Otranto. Horace Walpole, son of the great Prime Minister Robert Walpole, was a person of varied achievement and unquestionable wisdom. He was a man of fashion, a man of taste, and a man of literature; though in the former of these characters he cherished or showed contempt for the latter, not uncommon in amateur authors and dandy artists belonging to the l/eau monde or socially elevated, test Congreve, and even Byron, that 'rhyming pair'. Walpole, as we have seen, had been Grey's friend at Eton and had traveled - and fought - with him all over the continent. When he returned home, he was given a seat in Parliament, the main meal at court, and several lucrative sinecures through his father's influence. He was a zealous courtier, a shrewd and spiteful observer, a busy gossip and peddler of social gossip. His feminine spirit made him a great letter writer; and its equivalent

  • "Works of Richard Owen Cambridge", pp. 198-99. Cambridge

was one of the Spenserian imitators. See before, p. 8g, attention. Lady Luxborough's correspondence with Shenstone frequently mentions a Mr. Miller, a neighboring landlord who was a Gothic lover. Of the publication of The Scribleriad she writes (January 28, 1751): 'I suppose this poem was not designed to please Mr. Miller and the rest of the goth gentlemen; for this reason, Mr. Cambridge expresses an aversion to the introduction or revival of tastes and fashions inferior to the modern tastes of our country.

230 iA History of English l^omanticism.

The association, particularly with Sir Horace Mann, the English ambassador in Florence, is an ongoing story of clandestine diplomacy, court intrigue, clandestine politics and fashionable scandals during the reigns of the second and third Georges. He is also considered a historian of the amateur type, by virtue of his "Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors", "Painting Anecdotes", and "Historical Doubts about Richard III". those. About 1750 Walpole, having purchased a villa on Strawberry Hill on the Thames near Windsor formerly owned by Mrs. sets have outlived their own battlements". These architectural experiments lasted some twenty years. They aroused great interest and attracted many visitors, and Walpole can be seen as a real catalyst in the rebirth of conical architecture. He spoke of Strawberry Hill as a castle, but in fact it was a strange mixture of ecclesiastical and crenellated Gothic applied to domestic use. It had a cloister, a chapel, a round tower, a gallery, a "refectory", a stair tower with Gothic balustrade, stained glass, wall plaques and Gothic tapestries. Walpole's faux Gothic became a laughing stock as the true principles of medieval architecture became better understood. Since Inigo Jones, court architect of James I, returned from Italy where he had studied the works of Palladio ; and especially since the time when his successor, Sir Christopher Wren, had St Paul's Basilica remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style,


The Gothic 'Renaissance'. 231

after the great fire of London in 1664, the Gothic style was increasingly forgotten.if in historyIn British art," says Eastlake, "there is one age more marked by the neglect of the Gothic than the other, it was certainly the middle of the eighteenth century." But architecture had this advantage over other arts, it had left more and more monuments to literature. medieval was known only to the curious, the collectors of novels and ballads handwritten in black letters The study of medieval arts such as tempera painting, lighting, stained glass, wood carving, tapestry embroidery, the science of emblazoning the details of ancient armor and costume was the job of specialists, but Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster, ruins such as Melrose Abbey and Fountain, Crichton Castle and many hundreds more were impressive witnesses to the civilization that built them and sooner or later had to demand respectful attention. It is therefore not surprising that the Gothic Revival went hand in hand with the Romantic movement in literature, when in fact it did not give it its original impetus. -

'It is impossible', says Eastlake*, speaking of Walpole, 'not to read either the letters or the novels of this remarkable man without being struck by the unmistakable evidence they contain of his medieval predilections. His Castle of Otranto was perhaps the first modern work of fiction whose interest hinged on the events of a chivalrous age, and so it became the prototype of that class of fiction later developed by Mrs.

  • "History of the Gothic Revival," p. 43.

232 c// History of English t^omantics.

Radcliffe and perfected by Sir Walter Scott. The feudal tyrant, the venerable cleric, the abandoned but virtuous maiden, the castle itself with its moats and drawbridges, its gloomy dungeons and solemn corridors, all come from an interesting mine which has since been exploited more efficiently and profitably. But Walpole must take credit for its discovery and first destruction.”

The Complete Works of Walpole* contain lavish illustrations and floor plans of Strawberry Hill. Eastlake gives a somewhat technical account of its structural features, its pediments, buttresses, finials, plaster slats and parapets, wooden battlements and what its owner himself describes as its "narrow windows enriched with rich saints". From this I extract only the description of the interior, which was “exactly what might be expected of a man who had a vague admiration for the Gothic, without the knowledge necessary for an adequate adaptation of its features. Ceilings, screens, niches, etc. are all copied, or rather parodied, from existing examples, but with total disregard for the original purpose of the project. For Lord Orford, goth was goth, and that was enough. He would have turned an altar table into a hall table, or made a pool cupboard, with the greatest complacency, if that served his purpose. he thought, he couldn't do better than take the form of Bishop Dudley's tomb in Westminster Abbey. He found a pattern for the pillars of his garden gate in the choir of Ely Cathedral.

  • "Works of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford", em cinco volumes,

1798. "A Description of Strawberry Hill", Vol. II, pp.

The Neo-Gothic. 233

The gallery ceiling borrowed a design from Henry VII's chapel; the entrance to the same apartment through the north door of St. Alban's; and one side of Archbishop Bourchier's tomb room at Canterbury. Eastlake's conclusion is that Walpole's Gothic "although far from reflecting the beauties of an earlier period, or anticipating those which were destined to emerge from a new development of the style, still occupies a position in the history of English art ours deserves respect". , as it served to support a cause that had otherwise been abandoned.

James Fergusson, in his History of Modern Architectural Styles, says of Walpole's structures: "*We now know that these are very indifferent specimens of true Gothic art, and we cannot understand how their author or his contemporaries could themselves imagine that these carvings very strange were genuine reproductions of the details of York Minster, or other equally famous buildings from which they would have been copied.'* Fergusson adds that the fad ended Walpole soon found many adherents both in the medium and also in domestic architecture, "and it is surprising how many castles were built with nothing more than a carved parapet and the occasional cross-shaped window." Langley, and other early restorers of the style, has an analogy with the imitations of old English poetry of the last century. In both there was the same precocity, the same lack of knowledge, rudeness, insecurity, imprecision, lack of invention, mixture of

234 <^ History of English T^manticism.

ancient and modern customs. It was not until Pugin's time that the details of medieval architecture were so well understood that the architect could work in the spirit of that art, not as a slavish copyist, but with freedom and originality. Meanwhile, Walpole and his followers did a service in reviving public interest in the Gothic, halting the process of decay and restoring the crumbling remains of many half-ruined abbeys, castles or baronial halls. "When about a hundred years later, Rhyddlan Castle, in North Wales, passed into the possession of Dr. Shipley, Provost of St. Asaph, fell, the massive walls were duly used as quarries, for which any neighboring occupant who wanted building materials could divert; and they are as tall as a pickaxe, bedecked with honeycombs all around." f "Walpole", writes Leslie Stephen, "is almost the first modern Englishman to discover that our ancient cathedrals were really beautiful direct ancestors of the new courts of law... Church restorers, stained glass windows, modern decorators and architects of all types, ritualists, and the High Church party must think of him kindly... He was

  • Pugin's "True Principles of Gothic Architecture" was published.

Founded in 1841.

f "Sketches of Eminent Statesmen and Writers", A. Hayward (1880), In a note to "Marmion" (1808), Scott said that the ruins of Crichton Castle, remarkable for the richness and elegance of their stone carvings , were then in use as a corral for cattle and sheep.

The Neogothic, 235

well aware of the need for more serious study, appears in his letters; in one of them, for example B. he proposes a systematic history of Gothic architecture, as has often been undertaken since then,' * adds Mr. Stephen that Walpole's friend GrayDividedhis Gothic taste, with far superior knowledge."

Walpole did not arrive at his Gothic through the doors of literature. It was just a specialized development of his taste as a virtuoso and collector. The museum of curiosities he set up on Strawberry Hill included not only armour, stained glass and illuminated missals, but also a hoard of mixed china, enamels, earthenware, bronzes, paintings, prints, books, coins, trinkets and memorabilia such as the Cardinal Wolsey. Queen Elizabeth's gauntlet and spur worn by William III. performed at the Battle of the Boyne. Walpole's romance was a tenuous passion; underneath, he was a man of the 18th century. His opinions on all subjects, if not contradictory, were notoriously capricious and disorderly. Thus, despite his admiration for Gray and his - passing - interest in the ballads of Ossian, Chatterton and Percy, he mocked Mallet and Gray's rune experiments, spoke disparagingly of Spenser, Thomson and Akenside, compared Dante to "a Methodist minister in a muddled "and blunt "A Midsummer Night's Dream" "forty times more nonsense than the worst translation of any Italian opera book." f He said that poetry died with Pope, whose measure and manner he

  • "Hours in the Library", Second Row; Article "Horace Wal-


f Brief an Bentley, February 23, 1755,

236 <t/1 History of English Romanticism.

used in its own verse. It has been noted that he made only a single mention of Froissart's 'Chronicle' in all his correspondence and mocked Lady Pomfret for translating it.

Hence, when we turn to "The Castle of Otranto" we find that, just as Walpole's Gothic was an incidental "sport" of his general virtuosity; their romance was therefore an accidental result of their architectural charms. Strawberry Hill produced The Castle of Otranto, the title of which is appropriately chosen, as the castle itself is the hero of the book. The human characters are nothing. "I must confess to you anyway," he writes to Rev. William Cole (March 9, 1765), "What was the origin of this novel? I managed to recover from believing that I was in an ancient castle (a very natural dream for a head full of Gothic history like mine) and seeing on the upper banister from a grand staircase a giant hand in armour. At night I sat down and began to write not knowing what I wanted to say or tell. The work grew in my hands... In short, I was so absorbed in my story that the I concluded in less than two months, that night, when I had taken my tea about six o'clock, until half past one in the afternoon.' clock in the morning.

The Castle of Otranto, A Gothic Story was published in 1765.* According to the title page, it was translated from the original Italian by Onuphrio Muralto - a kind of pun on the author's last name

  • Five hundred copies, says Walpole, were canceled on December 24,


The 'gothic l{evival. 237

– by W. Marshall, Gent. This mystification was maintained in the preface, which claimed that the book had been printed in black type in Naples in 1529 and found in the library of an ancient Catholic family in the north of England. In the preface to its second edition, Walpole described the work as "an attempt to fuse the two types of romance, the ancient and the modern": he explained that he had taken nature by creating humorous dialogues between the servants of the introduced castle and Shakespeare by his models; and criticized Voltaire for censoring the mixture of buffoonery and solemnity in Shakespeare's tragedies. Walpole's claim to have created a new kind of novel was universally accepted. 'Your initiative in literature,' says Mr. Stephen, 'was as fruitful as his art venture. The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother were the forerunners of Mrs. Radcliffe and probably had a strong influence on the author of Ivanhoe. Sullen castles and gloomy monasteries, knights in armor and damsels in distress, monks, nuns and hermits; All the landscapes and characters that populated the imagination of the Romantic school originate from the night when Walpole lay down to sleep, his head full of curiosities from Wardour Street, and dreamed that he saw a gigantic armored hand resting on the banister of his stairs.

Nowadays it is impossible to take "The Castle of Otranto" seriously and it is difficult to explain with what respect it has already been mentioned by respected writers. Warburton called it "a masterpiece of fable and a new kind too... The scene is taped

238 (vf History of English 'T{omanticism.

Gothic cavalry; where a fine imagination, aided by judgment, enabled the reader to go beyond its subject, and perceive the full purpose of the ancient tragedy; /. that is, to purify the passions with pity and terror, in a coloring as grand and harmonious as any of the best dramatists.” Byron named Walpole the author of the last tragedy* and the first novel in the language. Scott wrote of The Castle of Otranto: "This novel has rightly been regarded not only as the original and model of a peculiar kind of composition attempted and successfully accomplished by a man of great genius, but also as one of the standard works of our greatest literature. Gray says in a letter to Walpole (December 30, 1764) acknowledging receipt of his copy: "It makes some of us cry, and all in general are afraid to go to bed at night." de Walpole no longer makes anyone cry and, instead of getting us out of bed, sends us there - or would if it were a little longer, because the only thing to bear in the book is its Brevity and a certain rapidity of action. , which "confesses its absurdity and blandness, says that probably no reader has ever found it dull." There are no digressions, mindless descriptions, or lengthy rants. Every sentence advances the plot. The suspense is constantly renewed.” Emotion is too strong a word to describe the emotions that Castle of Otranto can now evoke, but the same cleverness that always makes Walpole's correspondence readable saves his novel from death.

  • "The Mysterious Mother", begun in 1766, completed in 1768.

The Neo-Gothic. 239

unforgivable sin - in literature - of boredom. Accompanies and still can be read without too painful effort.

There is nothing very new about the plot, which has all the hallmarks of romantic novels as common in Sydney's Xrcadia era as in Sylvanus Cobb's. Alfonso, the former lord of Otranto, was poisoned in Palestine by his chamberlain Ricardo, who forged a will making him Alfonso's heir. To make peace with God, the usurper founded a church and two monasteries in honor of Saint Nicholas, who “appeared to him in a dream and promised that Richard's descendants would rule in Otranto until the rightful owner surpassed him to inhabit the castle. " When the story begins, this prophecy will be fulfilled. The tyrant Manfred, grandson of the usurper, is about to celebrate the wedding of his only son when the young man is killed by a colossal helmet made of unknown material Cause falls into the courtyard of the castle .Armors Giants haunt the castle piece by piece: A monstrous gauntlet is placed on the banister of the grand staircase; A posted foot appears in a dwelling; A sword is carried into the courtyard on the shoulders of a hundred men. figure of Alfonso expanded to immense size" knocks down the castle walls, utters the words "Behold in Teodoro the true heir of Alfonso" and ascends into the sky with a rumble of thunder. Theodore is, of course, the young farmer, grandson of the crusader with a handsome Sicilian who was secretly engaged on the way to the Holy Land; and he is identified by the novel's ancient strawberry sign, in this case that

240 tA History of English 'T{pmanticism.

the shape of a bloody arrow imprinted on his shoulder. There are other supernatural omens, such as a hooded skeleton with a hollow voice, a portrait descending from its panel, and a statue bleeding from its nose.

What was new about the "Castle of Otranto" was its "Gothic setting", the "wind whistling through the battlements", the steelwork's secret trap document

  • "* - from which Isabella was trying to escape. "An au-

Total silence reigned in these subterranean regions, save for an occasional gust of wind that shook the doors she had passed through and echoed through that long shadow of darkness, creaking on rusty hinges. The wind snuffed out his candle, but an imperfect ray of faint moonlight shone through a crack in the vault ceiling and fell directly onto the spring of the trapdoor.” But Walpole's medievalism was very tenuous. He had some trouble with the description of the feudal cavalcade entering the castle gate with the greatsword, but the passage is incorrect and poor in detail compared to similar things in Scott's work. The book was not a historical novel, and the moods, the feelings, the language, everything was modern. Walpole knew little about the "Middle Ages and was not in touch with its spirit. At heart he was an insignificant, a frivolous man; to such a subject as "The Castle of Otranto" it was applied.

  • "The Castle of Otranto" was dramatized by Robert Jephson,

entitled 'The Count of Narbonne', performed at the Covent Garden Theater in 1781 and later printed with a dedication to Walpole.

(Video) Pope as Classical Poet/Eighteenth Century and Romantic Age/Part 1/History of English Literature/BA 3

The Neo-Gothic. 241

Walpole's tragedy, The Mysterious Mother, lacks even the prominence that would guarantee his novel a niche in literary history. The subject was too unnatural to justify the stage presentation. Incest, treated like Sophocles (Walpole justified himself with the example of Oedipus), or like Ford or Shelley, can possibly claim a place among the subjects that art is not totally forbidden to touch; but when treated in this particular artist's lascivious and grossly melodramatic manner, it's just offensive. In fact, "The Mysterious Mother" is even more absurd than it is horrible. Gothic machinery is present, but only in the smallest Knights, monks, orphaned maidens and feudal footmen, monasteries, drawbridges, the heretics of Vaud and the murder of Henry III and Henry IV, and the author's Whig and Protestant leanings are strangely evident in his exposition of priestly intrigues.

"The Castle of Otranto" did not find imitators for a long time. One of the first was that of Clara Reeve

    • Champion of Virtue" (1777), drawn on title page

"A Gothic Story" and reprinted the following year as "The Old English Baron". Under the latter title, it has since had thirteen editions, the last of which in 1883 featured a portrait of the author. Miss Reeve had earlier published (1772) The Phoenix, a translation of Argenis, "a romance written in Latin in the early seventeenth century by John Barclay, a Scotsman, and supposedly an allegorical representation of The Phoenix supposed to contain civil wars in France during

242 <i/l History of English Romanticism.

the reign of Henry III. “Please”, asks the author of O Campeão da Virtude in her address to the reader, “have you ever read a book called The Castle of Otranto? If so, you will voluntarily participate in a review with me. But maybe you haven't read it? However, you have already heard that it is an attempt to merge the most attractive and interesting circumstances of the ancient novel and the modern novel. . . The narrative is witty and sensible; the characters are drawn and supported admirably; the polished and elegant diction; However, with all these brilliant benefits, it stands out. . . The reason is obvious; the machinery is so violent that it destroys the effect it is designed to produce. Had the story been held to the extreme limit of probability, the effect would have been preserved. . . For example, we can imagine and allow a ghost to appear; we can even do without an enchanted sword and helmet, but they must be within certain limits of credibility. A sword so great that it requires a hundred men to lift it, a helmet compelling with its own weight a passage through a courtyard to an arched vault, . . . When your expectation is raised to the highest pitch, these circumstances bring it down as a witness, destroying the work of the imagination, and attracting laughter instead of attention. . . In the course of my observations of this unique book, it seemed possible to compose a work on the same plane that would avoid these shortcomings.

Consequently, Miss Reeve undertook only one

  • James Beattie, „Dissertation über Fable and Romance“. „Ar-

genis”, was printed in 1621.

7be gothic l^evival. 243

a rather mild dose of the wonderful in his novel. Like Walpole, she pretended to be simply the editor of the story, which she is said to have transcribed or translated from the manuscript into Old English, a resource that is now somewhat fragile. The period was the 15th century, in the reign of Henry VI, and the setting was England. But despite the implication of its subtitle, the fiction is much less

  • 'Gothic' than its model and its more sensitive modernity

Mentality and manners are hardly covered with the slightest coating of the Middle Ages. As in Walpole's book, there is murder and usurpation, a rightful heir who is robbed of his inheritance and raised as a pawn. There's a haunted chamber, supernatural Midnight Moans, a ghost in armor, and a secret closet with his skeleton. The story is endlessly tiresome, and full of that uplifting morality, subtle emotion, and stilted dialogue—that "scented, powdered old D'Arblay talk," as Thackeray called it—that Evelina abounds with.Thaddeus of Warsaw” and almost allthe fiction of the last quarter of the last century. Still, it was a little impolite of Walpole to describe his student's performance as boring and in poor taste.

The same lady published in 1785 a work in two volumes entitled The Progress of Romance, a kind of symposium on the history of fiction in a series of evening lectures. Her aim was to claim a place of honor in literature for the prose novel; a place close to epic verse. She discusses romance definitions found in popular dictionaries, such as Ainsworth and Littleton's Narratio ficta - Scriptum eroticum - Splendida fabula; and Johnson's

  • "A Military Fable of the Middle Ages - A Wild Tale

244 <^ History of ^English Romance.

Adventures of war and love." She herself defines it as **A heroic fable" or "An epic in prose". Stating that Homer is the father of the novel, she finds it incredible that reasonable people "despised and ridiculed the novel as the most contemptible of all kinds of literature, and yet indulged in ecstasy over the beauties of the fables of the ancient classical poets - into tales far wilder and fancier and infinitely more unbelievable." as later writers have portrayed them." Our poetry, she thinks, owes more to the spirit of romance than meets the eye. "Chaucer and all our ancient writers are full of it. Spenser perhaps owes his immortality to him; it is the Gothic imagery that gives his work the chief grace... Spenser has produced more poets than any other writer in our country.” Milton was also nostalgic for novels; and Cervantes, though he laughed at the chivalry of Spain, loved what he laughed at and preferred his serious novel Persiles and Sigismonda to all his other works.

She gives a list of probable dates of many medieval romances in French and English, in verse and prose; but most of the book deals with contemporary fiction, the novels of Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Crebillon, Marivaux, Rousseau, etc. She praises Thomas Leland Longsword's historical novel, Earl of Salisbury (1762) as "a novel in reality and not a novel: - a story like that of the Middle Ages, composed of chivalry, love,

The Gothic 'T^evtval. 245

and Religion.” In her second volume she included the “History of Charoba, Queen of Egypt”, translated from French into English by Vattier, Arabic teacher to Louis XIV, who translated it from a history written in Arabic by ancient Egypt translated. . This was the source of Landor's poem Gebir. When Landor was in Wales in 1797, Rose Aylmer -

"Rose Aylmer, those piercing eyes may cry, but they'll never see" -

lent him a copy of Progress of Romance by Miss Reeves, which he had borrowed from a library in Swansea. And so the poor forgotten thing retains a vicarious immortality, leading to some of the noblest passages in modern English white verse, and along with one of the most tender passages in Landor's life.

Miss Reeve frequently quotes from Percy's Essay on Ancient Minstrels, mentions Ossian and Chatterton, and refers to Hurd, Warton, and other authorities. "Only when I had finished my draft," she writes in her preface, "did Dr. Read Beattie's 'Dissertation on Fable and Romance' or Warton's 'History of English Poetry'.” an essay of just over one hundred pages by the author of The Minstrel. It is of little importance and closely follows the lines of Hurd's "Letters on Chivalry and Romance," to which Beattie repeatedly refers in his footnotes. the path taken in investigations of this type: it discusses the character of the Gothic tribes, the nature of the feudal system and the institutions of chivalry and the knight errant.

246 aThe History of the English Novel.

It seems that it was "one of the consequences of chivalry. The first writers thus showed a kind of fable, different from all that had hitherto appeared. They undertook to describe the adventures of those heroes who professed errant chivalry. The world was then ignorant and naive and passionately enthusiastic about adventure and wondrous exploits. They believed in giants, dwarves, dragons, enchanted castles and every imaginable kind of necromancy. These form the stuff of ancient romance. The knight errant was described as polite, religious , brave, adventurous, and hot-tempered. Some mages befriended him, others resisted him. To honor his mistress and prove himself worthy of her, he had to face the warrior, slash the giant, cut the dragon to pieces to tear, to break the spell of the necromancer, to destroy the enchanted castle, soar through the air on wooden or winged horses, or, with a wizard as guide, descend unscathed through the open land and through the caverns at the bottom of the ocean. He discovered and punished the false knight, overthrew or converted the infidels, restored the exiled monarch to his dominion, and the captive maiden to her fathers; He fought in the tournament, celebrated in the hall, and took part in the martial processions.

There is nothing surprising in these conclusions. Scholars like Percy, Tyrwhitt, and Ritson, who as collectors and publishers rescued the fragments of old minstrel songs and made available to the public concrete specimens of medieval poetry, did a more useful service than mildly clerical essayists like Beattie and Hurd, who have fun in your free time

The Neo-Gothic. 247

general speculation about the origin of romanticism and whether it originated mainly with the troubadours, Saracens or Norse. However, one more passage can be copied from the Seattle "dissertation" because it clearly seems to be a suggestionThe castle of Otranto." "The castles of thegreat barons, created in a crude but grandiose style of architecture, full of dark and winding passages, secret dwellings, long uninhabited galleries and chambers believed to be haunted by ghosts and subverted by subterranean labyrinths as places of extreme careful withdrawal; the howl of winds through the cracks of old walls and other desolate voids; the latticework of heavy doors on rusted iron hinges; the screeching of bats and the screeching of owls and other creatures that resort to abandoned or semi-inhabited buildings; these and similar circumstances in the home life of the people of whom I speak would increase their superstition and increase their credulity; and would foster a passion for wild adventures and difficult undertakings among warriors facing danger.”

One of the books reviewed by Miss Reeve is worth mentioning, not because of its actual importance, but because of its early date. Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, An Historical Romance, published in two volumes two years before The Castle of Otranto, is probably the first fiction of its kind in English literature. Its author was Thomas Leland, an Irish historian and Doctor of Divinity.* “The outline of the following story,” begins the advertisement, “and some of the

  • "The Dictionary of National Biography" chama-o incorretamente de "Earl of".

Canterbury" and attributes it, albeit with a question, to John Leland.

248 <iA History of English l^omanticism.

More specific incidents and circumstances may be found in some of the early English historians.' The time period of the action is the reign of Henry III. The King is introduced in person, and when we hear him curse 'by my halo', 'we rub our eyes and ask, 'Is that Scott? "But we soon found that we were wrong, for the novel, despite the words of publicity, is very unhistorical, and its fashion is little wordy and sentimental. The hero is the son of Henry II and the beautiful Rosamond, but its language is grandiose. monk who tries to poison the hero, a downtrodden countess, a troubled maiden disguised as a page, a hermit who has a cave in a mountainside, etc. raising from the ground the figure of a swooned knight in full armor, before an abbey church, with an image of the Virgin and Child carved in a niche above the door; and the building is thus described in the text: "Its windows, full of foliage from its ornaments, and obscured by the painter's hand; its numerous towers topping the roof, and the Christian flag in front of it, proclaimed it a residence of devotion and charity." One episode in the story relates the death of a father at the hands of his son in the War of Henry of the Barons III. , the historical background of this civil war is not further explored, as well as Simon de Montfort throughout the book is not known.

The Gothic revival. 249

Clara Reeve was the daughter of a clergyman. She lived and died at Ipswich (i 725-1803). Walter Scott contributed a treatise on it to Ballantyne's Novelists' Library, in which he defended Walpole's overt use of the supernatural against its criticisms quoted above, and gave preference to Walpole's method as a descendant of 'Otranto';" but the author of the latter, evidently irritated by its severity, described "The Old English Baron" as "Otranto reduced to reason and probability" and declared that any murder trial at the Old Bailey would have made a more interesting story. Radcliffe, Lewis' "Monk" (1795) and Maturin's "Fatal Revenge or the Family of Montorio" (1807).

Anne Radcliffe - born in Ward in 1764, the year of "Otranto" - was a publisher's wife who was necessarily away from home most of the time until late at night. Much of her writing served to amuse her solitude in the silent hours of the night; and the wildness of her imagination and the romantic love of the night and the loneliness that permeate her books are sometimes explained in this way. In 1809 it was reported and presumed that Mrs. Radcliffe was dead. Another form of rumor was that she had gone mad from constantly meditating on visions of horror and mystery. None

  • See also, for a note by this author, Julia Kavanagh, “English

"women writers".

f Maturin's 'Melmoth the Wanderer' (1820) had some influence on the French Romantic school and was used in some detail by Balzac.


250 iThe History of English Romanticism.

report was true; she lived in full possession of her faculties until 1823, although she published nothing after 1797. The proliferation of such stories shows how reclusive and even obscure the life of this much-loved writer could lead.

It would be tedious to present a sequential analysis of these once-famous fictions here.^ They were too long, too similar, and too overloaded with sentiment and description. The plots were convoluted, and full of the wildest improbabilities, and of those incidents which were once commonplace in romantic fiction, and which realism has now banished from the doors: "Cover-ups, assassination attempts, duels, disguises, kidnappings, elopements, elopements, intrigues, forged documents revealing ancient crimes and identifying lost heirs.The characters were also of the conventional type: dark brown criminal villains - perhaps progenitors of mankind.

^\ Fred and Lara, why critics think Mrs. Rad-

L Cliffe's stories had an important influence

I in Byron.^' There were penitent ladies of high birth

who retired to monasteries to atone for their sins

can only be explained by the general wear of the balls

f not last chapter. Had Bravos, Banditti,

/ feudal tyrants, monks, inquisitors, soubrettes and

simple maids à la Bianca in Walpole's novel. The lover was the kind our great-grandfather adored.


  • The following is a list of Mrs. Radcliffe: 'The Castles

of Athlin and Dunbayne” (1789); "Sicilian Romance" (1790); Romance of the Forest (1791); "Mysteries of Udolpho" (1794); "The Italian" (1797); "Gaston de Blondeville" (1826). Collections of his poems were published in 1816, 1834 and 1845.

f See "Childe Harold," canto iv, xviii.

7 gothic life. 251

I \ mothers, beautiful, melancholic, passionate, respectful but desperate, user of the best English; with big black eyes, smooth white forehead, and tight curls that Mr. Perry says they are now sunk into the tops of plum boxes. The heroine was also sensitive and melancholic. When she is alone by the sea or in the mountains, at sunset or dusk or under the midnight moon or when the wind blows, she

^ transitions to verse or sonnet: To Autumn", "To Sunset", "To the Bat", "To She Nightingale", "To the Winds", "To Melancholy", "Song of the Evening Hour". , as this pensive music approached the sounds of the Miltonic school, but in Mrs. Radcliffe's romantic melancholy is deep and omnipresent. What pastures she fed on is indicated by the verse captions that head her chapters, drawn chiefly from Blair, Thomson, Warton, Gray, Collins, Beattie, Mason, and Walpole's mysterious mother. Here are some stanzas from his ode "To Melancholy":

'*^ -' /^Spirit of Love and Sorrow, Hail!

v.. I hear your solemn voice from afar, mingling with the dying storm of the night: Hail, with your sad and pleasant tears! '

“Oh, in this stillness, in this lonely hour –

His own sweet closing hour of day - Awaken his lute, whose enchanting power Will call the imagination to obedience:

"To paint the wild and romantic dream that meets the poet's closed eye as he breathes his fiery sigh on the bank of the bleak brook.


252 cA History of English l^Maniism.

“O lonely spirit, let your song

Lead me through all your holy places, Along the moonlit halls of the Cathedral, Where ghosts sing the midnight song.


In the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe finds a tone missing from Walpole's: romance plus sentimentality. This last element began to permeate mainstream literature in mid-century, as a protest and reaction against the emotional coldness of the classical age. -She announced herself with Richardson, Rousseau and the young Goethe; at comidie larmoyante in French and English; found its sly, lively expression in Stars and then became a fad, awash in fiction with productions like Mackenzie's "Man of Feeling," "E. Kei^a" and the novels of Jane Porter and Mrs. Opie. Thackeray said there was more weeping in “Thaddeus of Warsaw” than in any novel he could remember reading.* / Emily, in “mister- /

Udolpho's books cannot see the moon, or hear a guitar, or an organ, or the rustling of pines without crying, and over and over again there is a chorus of sobs from the entire company. The heroines of Mrs. Radcliffe are all descendants of Pamela and Clarissa Harlowe, but under

more romantic circumstances. (JThey are busy with a '"Tt".

/ a thousand difficulties; kidnapped by masked bandits, \*~'

/ 1 /^ walled up in monasteries, imprisoned in stolen castles, ' / ^' ' surrounded by natural and supernatural terrors^

  • "Roundabout Papers", "A Belle Belle". "Mönch" Lewis

wrote a burlesque novel, Effusions of Sensibility, at age sixteen, which got MS.

The Gothic Revival. 253

persecuted, threatened with murder and rape. [^ But though they sigh, blush, tremble, weep, faint incessantly, they have at bottom a kind of tenacity which bears all things.) They upbraid the wicked in stately language, full of noble sentiments and moral truths. They preserve the finest sense of decency in the most frightening situations. Emily, imprisoned in the gloomy Castle of Udolpho, under the power of bandits whose fights and orgies fill the terrors of day and night, fearing for her virtue and her life, sends for the lord of the castle, whom she believes has murdered her aunt. - and reminds him that now that her protector is dead, wouldn't it be appropriate for her to remain alone under his roof any longer, so he could send her home?

The novels of Mrs. Radcliffe are romantic, but not typically medieval. In "Udolpho's Mysteries" the time of action is the end of the sixth generation; at theRomance™'oT^EF^'T'oresT,"'™1^5T^^ in "The Italian", c. ^^ In the Mysteries of Udolpho it is a castle in the Apennines, in the Romance of the Forest it is an abandoned abbey deep in the forest, in the Italians it is the monastery of the Black Penitents.” The crumbling battlements, the worm-eaten tapestries, the spiral staircases, secret chambers, subterranean passages, dark corridors where the wind howls desolately, and distant doijrs that strike midnight derive from '^^Qt ranto'.

I n—'-^^

- - -EU


254 <v^ History of English Omanism.

Sounds of eerie music, the wraiths gliding through the shadowy chambers, the hollow voices warning the tyrant to beware. She adds a natural explanation for every supernatural sight or sound. The hollow voice reveals ventriloquism; the figure of a decaying corpse that Emily sees behind the black curtain in Udolpho's ghost chamber is just a wax figure invented as a Mori memenfo for an ex-Pennantur, but the reader has learned that trick once and refuses to be imposed again, and whenever he meets a spirit, he is sure that a future chapter will incarnate him again in flesh and^ bkipd^...,.

There is much evidence of the popularity of these novels. Thackeray says that a lady he knows, an avid reader of novels, called Valancourt one of the favorite heroes of her youth. "*Valancourt? And who was he?" young people cry. Valancourt, my dears, was the hero of one of the most famous novels ever published in this country. Valancourt's beauty and elegance made the tender hearts of her young grandmothers pulsate with respectful sympathy. He and his fame are gone... Check with Mudie's or the London Library who are now inquiring about 'Secrets of Udolpho'. * Hazlitt said he owed Mrs.

  • “O Radcliffe, you were the enchanter once

Of the young women who spent the night reading: Their heroes were young men in armour, their heroines maidens in white.” -.-*» — Songs, ballads and other poems. ,

I of Thos. Haynes Bayly, London, 1857, p. 141,


The Gothic revival. 255

Radcliffe his love of moonlit nights, autumn leaves and crumbling ruins. Indeed, it was the melodramatic manipulation of the landscape that made this artist most original. "The scenes in which Wilde caressed Trísa seem" to have been his model, and critics, fond of analogies, called her the Salvator Rosa of fiction. Here her influence on Byron and Chateaubriand is most evident.”* Mrs. Radcliffe are not quite to our modern taste, nor are Salvator's paintings: his Venice in the moonlight, his mountain passes with their black pines and sparkling torrents are not quite Venice and the Alpen Ruskins rather than the opera stage... They are impressive in their own way, and in this respect she possessed a true poetic feeling and a true mastery of the art of distemper painting, less aptly depicting the abbey ruins in the Romance of the Forest.



A romance is now nothing more

Like an old lock and a squeaky door

A distant hut, clinking chains, a gallery, light ancient armor, and a ghost all in white.

And there's a romance."

– George Colman, "O Testament."

  • Several of his novels have been dramatized and translated

French. Incidentally, it is curious to note that Goethe was not unaware of Walpole's story. See his quatrain The Castle of Otranto, first printed in 1837.

"When all the rooms of the castle of Otranto are occupied: the first giant owner, Bitchweis, arrives, full of sincere sadness, and expels the new false inhabitants. Woe! to those who flee, woe! to those who stay, so it will happen."

256 ^ History of English Romanticism.

which the La Motte family finds refuge: "He approached and saw the Gothic remains of an abbey: it stood on a sort of rough lawn, overshadowed by tall, leafy trees, which seemed contemporary with the building and exuded a romantic melancholy. of the pile seemed to sink into rubble, and what had withstood the ravages of time showed the lingering characteristics of the fabric even more horribly decaying. shakes/Lonely head: the moss whistled in the wind.".^ A Gothic gate, richly decorated with arabesques, opening onto the main body of the building, but now barred with weeds, remained intact. V Over the huge and magnificent portal of this gate stood If a window of the same order, whose pointed arches still showed fragments of glass, was once the pride of monastic devotion^)" thinking La Motte

If it were possible, it could still harbor a human being,

he went to the gate and lifted a huge knocker. The hollow sounds echoed through the emptiness of the place. After waiting a few minutes, he pushed open the gate, heavy with hardware and squeaking hard on its hinges. . . From this chapel he passed into the nave of the great church, whence one window, more perfect than the others, opened on a long view of the forest, through which the rich coloring of the night could be seen, blending in imperceptible gradations into the sky. solemn gray of the upper air."

  • Ossian.

The Neo-Gothic. 257

Mrs. Radcliffe has never been to Italy, Switzerland or the south of France; she guessed the setting of her novels from second-hand pictures and descriptions. But she accompanied her husband on excursions to the lakes and other parts of England, and made the voyage to the Rhine in 1794.* The passages in her diary recording these voyages are far superior in veracity and local color to nature | Drawing everything in your novels. Mrs. Radcliffe is also credited with a certain ability to induce terror through the use of her favorite weapon in the Romantic arsenal. If she didn't invent a new thrill, as Hugo von Baudelaire put it, did she at least put a new spin on the old-fashioned? ghost story. She creates in her readers a sense of imminent danger, suspense, foreboding. There is a sense of otherworldly presences in these vast, empty spaces; silence itself is threatening; Echoes sound like footsteps, ghostly shadows lurk in dark corners, whispers come from behind the Arras as it moves in the gusts of wind. her lamp goes out, leaving her in the dark just as she gets to the point qj-iti in the manuscript she found in an old trunk etc. battlements. O

  • See his "Journey through Holland," etc. (1795).

\To see. Keats, "The Night of Saint Agnes":

'w\ "The arras rich in game and horse and hound, Fluttered in the tumult of the besieging wind, And the long carpets rose above the howling ground."


258 c/^ History of the English Novel.

The Gothic castle or priory is still, as at Walpole, the heart of history.

Two of these novels, the older and the newer, although the weakest in the series, are of particular interest to us as they offer points of comparison with Waverley's novels. 'The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne' is the tale of a feud between two Highland clans, and is set on the northeast coast of Scotland, 'in the most romantic part of the Highlands', where the castle of Athlin - thus of Uhland 'castle by the sea' - said 'on top of a rock whose foot was in the sea'. This was a good spot for storms. “The winds blew from the depths in sudden gusts, hurling the foaming waves against the rocks with unimaginable fury. The spray hit the windows violently, despite the high position of the castle... The moon shone dimly from time to time, through the clouds torn in the water, illuminating the white foam that broke everywhere... The waves crashed in the distant the banks in deep echoing murmurs, and the solemn pauses between the blasts of gale force filled the spirit with enthusiastic reverence.” of Berwick, whose sinister towers have recently returned to StevensonsDavid Bal-four." The period of the action is only loosely given; but as the weapons used in the attack on the castle are bows and arrows, we may consider the book to be medieval in intent. Scott says that the setting of the novel was Scotland in the middle Ages and Lamentations which the author obviously knew nothing

The Neo-Gothic. 259

of Scottish or country life. This is true; their castles could be anywhere. There is no mention of pipes or chess. Their rival chiefs are not Gaelic Caterans, but simple feudal lords. Your Baron of Dunbayne is like any other Baron; nay, he is unlike any baron that ever was on sea or land or anywhere but in the pages of a gothic novel.

  • • Gaston de Blondville" was begun and published in 1802.

published posthumously in 1826, edited by Sergeant Talfourd. Its inspiring occasion was a visit by the author to Warwick Castle and the ruins of Kenilworth in the autumn of 1802. The introduction has the usual fiction of an ancient manuscript found in an oak chest excavated in the foundation of a Black Canons chapel at Kenilworth: a richly illuminated manuscript with drawings at the head of each chapter - all duly described - and contains a triple chronicle of what happened at Killingworth in Ardenn, when our sovereign lord of the Kynge celebrated his feast of Seynt Michel there: with the wonderful coincidence which they witnessed at the wedding celebration of Gaston de Blondeville. Containing several curious things with an account of the Grete Turney given in the year MCCLVI, altered from the Norman language by Grymbald, monk of the Senct Marie Priori at Killijigworth. Chatterton's forgeries had already introduced the public to imitations of Old English. The discoverer of this manuscript intends to publish a modernized version of it while striving to "keep some of the air of the old style". He does this by means of a poor reproduction, not of thirteenth-century English, but of sixteenth-century English, which consists chiefly of inverts.

26th c/f History of English Omantism.

Phrases and the occasional use of cerfes or naithless. Two words in particular seem to have struck a chord with Ms. Radcliffe as exquisite archaisms: ychon and her self, which she presents at every turn.

So "Gaston de Blondville" is a story from the time of Henry III. The King himself is an important figure, as is Prince Edward. Other historical figures such as Simon de Montfort and Marie de France are mentioned but little used. Indeed, the book is not at all a historical novel like Scott's Kenilworth, which has the same setting and was published in 1821, five years before Mrs. Radcliffe. The story is entirely fictional. What sets it apart from his other novels is the deliberate attempt to portray feudal ways. There are detailed descriptions of dress, upholstery, architecture, heraldic postures, ancient military dress, a joust, a royal hunt, a feast in the great hall at Kenilworth, an official visit to Warwick Castle and the session of a baronial court. The "Emptiness" ceremony, when the king took his cup of spices, is rehearsed with painful concentration of detail. In all this she consulted Leland's Collectanea, Warton's History of English Poetry, the Household Book of Edward IV, Pegge's Dissertation on the Obsolete Office of Esquire of the King's Body, the publications of the Society of Antiquarians, and similar authorities, with infinitely lengthy results. . Walter Scott's archeology is not always correct and his learning is not always frivolous; but, on the whole, he had the art of adding his heavy material to his story rather than impeding it.

In these two novels we find everything familiar again.

The Gothic 'Renaissance'. 261

Devices of secret trapdoors, sliding doors, spiral staircases in the thickness of the walls, underground vaults that lead to a neighboring convent or a cave in the forest, rows of deserted dwellings in which the moon peeps through double-arched wings, ruinous towers in around which the night winds howl and howl. Here again is the wicked uncle, confiscating the property of his dead brother's wife, and keeping her and her daughter imprisoned in his dungeon for the long period of eighteen years; the heroine playing her lute and singing in a pensive mood until the notes creep up to the ear of the young earl imprisoned in the adjacent tower; the girl being carried away by bandits on horseback until her cries bring prompt help; the peasant boy, who turns out to be the baron's heir. "His surprise was great when the revived Baroness looked up sadly at him and asked him to uncover his arm." Oh! the surprise is not shared by the reader, for "Yes - it's my Philip!" she said, with great emotion; "I have indeed found my long-lost son: this strawberry" "*etc., etc. "Gaston of Blondville" has a ghost who is a real ghost - not explained at the end, as Mrs. Radcliffe is wont to do. of Reginald de Folville, Knight Hospitaller of St. John, murdered in the Forest of Arden by Gaston de Blondville and Prior of St. Mary's Extremely stout in appearance, he is not satisfied merely to see the moon's sparkles again, but goes in and out at any time of the day and often enough to get a little bored, he eventually destroys the first and second assassins: one in his cell, the other

  • "Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne."

262 <v^ History of English 'T^manticism.

in the open tournament, where his exploits as the mysterious knight in black armor may have given Scott a clue to his black knight in Ashby-de-la-Zouche's Lists in "Ivanhoe" (1819)). His last appearance is in the king's chambers, with whom he has a long conversation. "The worm is my sister," says he, "the mist of death is over me. My bed is in darkness. The prisoner is innocent. The Prior of St. Mary's is on him. Be warned." It is not explained why Mrs. Radcliffe refrained from publishing his latest novel. Maybe she realized it was late and the time for something like this had passed. In 1802, Lewis's "Monk" was being printed, as were several translations of German novels; Scott's first ballads were released, and Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. That year, the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border was published. By 1826, Waverley's novels had rendered all previous Gothic novels hopelessly obsolete. In 1834, two volumes of his poetry, including a novel in verse in eight cantos, “St. Alban's Abbey' and the verses scattered throughout his novels. By this time, Scott and Coleridge were already dead; Byron, Shelley, and Keats had been dead for years, and Mrs. Radcliffe fell on the unnoticed ears of a new generation. A mockery at Waverley (1814) of the Mysteries of Udolpho hurt her feelings; * but Scott corrected the nice things he said about her in his "Lives of Novelists". It is interesting to note that when The Mysteries was published, the venerable Joseph Warton was so enraptured that he stayed up most of the night to finish it.

  • See Women of English Letters by Julia Kavanagh.

^ 7 Gothic T^evival sein. 263

/The struggle between realism and romance, the ^^ continued in the days of Cervantes, as in the days i

[•^ of Zola and Howell's, had its skirmishes also in Mrs. Radcliffe. Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, written in 1803 and not published until 1817, is a mild satire of Gothic fiction.

I argue with your bosom friend. "While I have to read Ij 'Udolpho' I feel as if no one can make me unhappy. Oh, the terrible black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina's skeleton behind it."

"When you've finished 'Udolpho,'" replies Isabella, "we'll read 'The Italian' together, and I've made a list of ten or twelve others of the same type... I'll read you their names directly. Here they are in my wallet. Wolfenbach Castle, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Black Forest Necromancer, Midnight Bell, Orphans of the Rhine.' and 'Horrible Mysteries'."

When she was introduced to her boyfriend's brother. Miss Morland immediately asks him, “Have you read 'Udolpho', Mr. Thorpe?” But Mr. Thorpe, who is not a man of letters but is very fond of dogs and horses, assures her that he never reads novels; they are “full of nonsense and stuff; not a single decent one has come out since 'Tom Jones', except thatMonk.'" The landscape around Bath reminds MissMorland in the south of France and "the land that Emily and her father traveled through in 'The Mysteries of Udolpho'. Lucky to be stopped on the way




264 tt/f History of English Romanticism.

along narrow, winding vaults, through a low, barred doorway; I or even having your lamp - your only lamp -

  • ' by a sudden gust of wind and being extinguished

I was left in total darkness.” She visits her friends who are Til-

{neys, at his country estate, Northanger Abbey, in

Gloucestershire; and along the way, young Mr. Tilney teases her with a compelling sketch of the gothic horrors she will discover there: theSlidepanels and tapestries"; the secluded and gloomy guest room assigned to her, with its heavy chest and portrait of a knight in armour: the secret door, with massive bars and padlocks, which she will discover behind the arras that lead to a "small vaulted room" and finally to an "underground connection between his residence and the chapel of St. Anthony, just under two miles away." one in an old ebony cabinet Drawer and inside it a yellow manuscript parchment , which on deciphering turns out to be a synopsis, the end of a certain gallery leads to a series of secluded chambers in which General Tilney, said to be a widower, keeps his unhappy wife walled up and fed bread and water until she finally dies. enter this room of Bluebeard and find it nothing more than a set of modern rooms," the visions of romance are gone. . . As charming as all of Mrs. Radcliffe, and charming as were the works of all her imitators, it was perhaps not in them that human nature was absent, at least in the Midland counties of England.

CHAPTER VIII. ipercB anO tbe JBaUa&s.

The renewal of English poetic style at the end of the last century came from an unexpected place. What professional scholars and literati sought to achieve through their imitations of Spenser and Milton and their domestication of the Gothic and Celtic muse was achieved far more effectively by Percy and the ballad collectors. What they tried to do was to remind British poetry of the limits of imagination and of older and better models than Dryden and Pope. But they couldn't get out of their own shadow: the eighteenth century was too much for them. Though they avidly cultivated wildness and simplicity, their diction remained polished, literary, to some extent academic. Indeed, only when we reach the frontiers of a new century will we encounter a Gulf Stream of emotional and creative impulses strong and hot enough to melt classic icebergs until there are no more floating speculums left of them.

In the meantime, however, there was a revitalizing contact with at least one department of ancient verse literature, which did much to pave the way for the Romanticism of Scott Coleridge and Keats, and its most important title is that of Thomas Percy.

Relics of Old English Poetry: Composed of



266 d/^ History of English T^omantics.

Old Heroic Ballads, Songs, and Other Pieces of our Early Poets', published in three volumes in 1765. It made an even more immediate and moving impression on contemporary Europe than MacPherson's. PoeRis of Ossian", but it was more fruitful in terms of lasting results. The Germans make a practical classification of poetry into artistic poetry and popular poetry, terms that can be translated imperfectly as literary poetry and popular poetry. English artistic poetry of the Middle East Eras lay beneath many buried underlying layers of literary fashion. Oblivion overtook Gower and Occleve and Lydgate and Stephen H^wes,^ and Skelton and Henryson and James I of Scotland and almost Chaucer himself - in short, all medieval poetry from schools. But it was known to the curious that there was still a lot of popular poetry in the form of narrative ballads, transmitted mainly orally and still alive in the memory and in the mouths of the people, many of them surviving in their original form until the Middle Ages or even antiquity farther afield, and belonged to that great popular treasure which was the common heritage of the Aryan race Analogs and variants of English and Scottish folk ballads have been traced in almost every language of modern Europe. Danish literature is particularly rich in ballads and provides valuable illustrations of our native minstrelsy.

  • Svend Grundtvig's large collection "Danmark's Old Folk-

viser" was published in five volumes in 1853-90.

Tercy and the "Ballads. 267

The north country has become party country par excellence: Lowland Scotland - particularly the Lothians - and the English border counties of Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland; with Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire containing Barndale and Sherwood Forests, Robin Hood's favorite haunts. It is not possible to give precise dates for these songs. They were rarely written about until many years after their creation. In the Middle Ages, they were sung to the sound of the harp by wandering minstrels. In later times they were sung or recited by revelers at fairs, markets, breweries, street corners, sometimes accompanied by a violin or a crowd. They were learned by old women who repeated them to their children and grandchildren by the fireplace. In this way, some of them remain unwritten in the tenacious memory of a people, always conservative at heart and stubbornly attached to old songs and beliefs learned in childhood, and which will pass on to posterity. Walter Scott got much of the material for his Ministrelsy of the Border from the oral recitation of pipers, shepherds and old women in Ettrick Forest. Professor Childs - the most recent and comprehensive collection of ballads - contains never-before-published printed or handwritten pieces, some purchased in America!*

They led this subterranean existence and generally considered the attention of educated people inappropriate.

  • Francis James Childs „English and Scottish Folk Ballads“

Published in ten parts from 1882-98, it is one of the pinnacles of American scholarship.

268 (see History of the English Novel.

naturally subject to repeated changes; so that we have innumerable versions of the same story, and incidents, descriptions, and entire lines are freely borrowed and borrowed between the various ballads. The fact is. B. of the birch and hawthorn that sprout from the graves of true lovers and intertwine their branches occurs in the ballads of "Fair Margaret and Sweet William", "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet".

    • Lord Lovel", "Fair Janet" and many others

Knight, que foi levado para o país das fadas por uma entrada em uma colina verde e ficou com a rainha das fadas por sete anos, retorna em "Tam Lin" "Thomas".

Rymer” *etc. Like all folk songs, they are also ballads.

I am anonymous and cannot be considered the work of any poet, but the property and in a way the work of all people. Coming from an uncertain past, based on some obscure legend of heartbreak or bloodshed, they have no author name but are fer(B naturcB) and taste like venison; everyone could contribute: generations of anonymous poets, minstrels, revelers modernized their language to adapt to the times, changed their dialect to adapt to new places, adjusted their details to suit different audiences, English or Scottish and much more of all types and ways they saw fit, she added, refined, distorted, improved, and passed on.

folk poetry é_ conyientonaj; it seems to be the product of a guild and to have certain well-understood and commonly expected storylines and styles. ↑ Freshness and sincerity are almost always attributes of the poetry of heroic times, but individuality is part of it.

  • See the legend of Tannhäuser and the Venusberg.

Tercy and the 'Ballads. 269

to a high civilization and an advanced literary culture. Whether the Iliad and the Odyssey are the work of one poet or a cycle of poets, there is no doubt that the rhetorical idiosyncrasies of the Homeric epics, such as the recurring phrase and the conventional epithet (the dawn of the red fingers, the fountain of the talas, swift Achilles, persevering Odysseus, etc.) are due to this communal or associative character of ancient heroic song. As in the architectural firms that built medieval cathedrals, or in the schools of the first Italian painters, masters and pupils, the style of the individual artist was subjugated to the tradition of his craft.

English and Scottish folk ballads are in various simple strophic forms, the most common of all being the ancient septenarius or "fourteen", arranged in a four-line stanza alternating eights and sixes, thus:

"Then man the red, red rooster, And man the gray; The eldest said to the youngest, 'It is time we departed.' " *

This is the verse commonly used by imitators of modern ballads, such as Coleridge in The Ancient Mariner, ~Sc'ott in Jock o' Hazeldean, Longfellow in The Wreck of the Hesperus, Macaulay in the Lays of Ancient Rome". ," Aytoun in Lays of the Scottish / Cavaliers Many of the stylistic and metric peculiarities of the ballads arose from the fact that they were meant to be sung from memory or recited in longer passages to rest the singer's voice, and the use of charge or

  • "The woman from Usher's Well."

2 70 ^ History of English T^omantics.

chorus with the same goal, to give the audience and spectators a chance to understand the chorus, which they probably accompanied with some dance steps.* Sometimes the bale itself has no meaning and only serves to mark the beat of a Jley Derry Down or an O Lilly Lally and the like. Sometimes it is more or less related to the story, as in "The Two Sisters":

"He has three locks of his yellow hair - Binnorie, oh Binnorie - And his harp is rarely played - By Binnorie's fair dams."

Again, there is no discernible relation to the context, as in "Riddles Wisely Exposed" -

"There was a servant who rode in the east - Jennifer gently and Rosemary - who had wooed money - as the dew flies on the mulberry tree"

\Both types of choruses have been used loosely by modern balladists. According to Tennyson in The Sisters:


"We were two sisters of the same sex, \ The wind howls in the tower and in the tree;

Her face was more beautiful, the Count was beautiful to look at."

/\While Rossetti and Jean Ingelow and others tended to favor inconsequential burden, an affectation abused by the late Mr. C.S. Calverley:

  • It should never be forgotten that the ballad (derived from ballare

– to dance) was originally not a written poem, but ja-.song aud.dance. Many of the old songs have been preserved. Several are found in Pell's chapter 'Popular Music of the Olden Time' and in the appendix to Motherwell's 'Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern' (1827).

Tercy and the "Ballads. 271

"The old woman was sitting at her ivy-covered door,

(butter and eggs and a pound of cheese) Which she did a lot;

And her glasses were over her knee-length aprons.

“The farmer's daughter has light brown hair (butter and eggs and a pound of cheese), and I hit a ballad, I don't know where. Which consisted entirely of such lines.”*

A similar musical or mnemonic device to the chorus was this type of sung repetition so familiar in the language of ballads:

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

"They sailed a league, a league, a league, but only three."

"How do I get up? How do I get up? How do I get to you?

An answer is usually returned in the same words as the question; and as in Homer, a narrative formula or commonplace description always serves its purpose. The iteration in the Lays is not just for economy, but takes the place of Metataghor and other figures in literary poetry:

"O Marie, put on your black robes, or else your brown robes, For your Maun gang like me tonight. To see the fair city of Edinbro.”

'I will put on my black robes

Nor are my garments brown; But I will put on my white robes

Shine through the city of Edinbro."

  • "A ballad." One theory explains these nonsensical refrains as

remembered fragments of older ballads.

272 (sA History of English 'Romanticism.

Another feature of true ballad style, as in Homer and folk poetry generally, is the conventional epithet. Macaulay observed that gold is always red in ballads, women are always merry, and Robin Hood's men are always his merry men. The brave Douglas, the brave Robin Hood, the jolly Carlisle, the good greenwood, the gray goosewing and the sallow water are other inseparable beings of this kind. Another characteristic is the frequent retention of the Middle English accent on the last syllable in words like contrie, baron, dinere, felawe, abbay, rivere, money, and its adoption by words that never really had it, like lady, harper, nuptials, water , etc.* Indeed, as Percy pointed out in his introduction, there were "many idioms and expressions which the minstrels seem to have appropriated...a set of style and measure quite different from those of contemporary poets of an upper class."

Not everything called a ballad belongs to the class of poetry we are considering here. In its widest usage, the word has denoted almost every type of song: "a pathetic ballad made to his beloved's brow", for example. 'Ballad' was also the name of a rather complicated French strophic form used by Gower and Chaucer, and recently reintroduced into English verse by Dobson, Lang, Gosse and others, along with virelay, rondeau, triolet, etc. class of popular ballads - in

  • Reproduced by Rossetti and other moderns. see them parodied

in Robert Buchanan's "Carnal School of Poets":

"When the seas roar and the skies overflow, it is difficult the fate of the sailor who, staggering, can barely make out the side lights of the galley."

Tercy and the Ballads. 273

the meaning of something done for the people, though not by the people - which has no bearing on our subject. These are the street ballads that were and are sold by ballad dealers and have no literary character. There are satirical and political ballads, ballads condensing passages from Scripture or Chronicles, ballads relating to current events or telling the story of famous murders and other crimes, of miracles, providences, and all sorts of events that teach a moral lesson: on George Barnwell and Babes in the Wood and Whittington and his Cat, etc.: ballads like Shenstone's Jemmy Dawson and Gay's Black-eyed Susan. Thousands of them are contained in manuscript collections such as the Pepysian or reprinted in publications by the Roxburghe Club and the Ballad Society. But whether fully modern or in black lettering on the sides, they are not for our purpose. This is the folk song, the traditional ballad, the folk product of a time when the people were homogeneous and there was still no division between educated and uneducated classes: the true middle-aged minstrel ballad, or that state of society which, in wild and primitive areas, such as the Scottish border, they extended medieval conditions beyond the strictly medieval period.

As they survive, few of our ballads predate the seventeenth century or the last half of the sixteenth century, though many of them are of much older origin. Handwritten versions of "Robin Hood and the Monk" and "Robin Hood and the Potter" exist and are the last referenced

274 e^ History of English Romanticism.

years of the fifteenth century. Robyn Hode's "Lytel Geste" was printed in 1489 by Wynkyn de Worde. The Not-Brown Maid was printed in Arnold's Chronicle in 1502. 'The Hunting of the Cheviot' - the earliest version of 'Chevy Chase' - was mentioned by Philip Sidney in his Defense of Poetry of 1580.* The ballad is a song narrative, naive, impersonal, spontaneous, factual. The singer is lost in the song, the narrator in the fairy tale. That's its essence, but sometimes the story is told lyrically, sometimes dramatically. In "Helen of Kirkconnell" it is the grieving lover who speaks: in "Wali Waly" it is the abandoned maid. These are monologues; for a pure dialogue ballad it will suffice to mention the powerful and evocative piece from the "Reliques" entitled "Edward". Herder translated this into German; it is very old, with Danish, Swedish and Finnish analogues. It is a story of parricide and is told in a series of questions from the mother and answers from the son. However, the most common form was a mixture of epic and dramatic, or a direct reference to dialogue. A common feature is the abruptness of the start and transitions. The ballad writer unconsciously follows Aristotle's epic writer's rule to begin in viedias res. Johnson noted this in the case of "Johnny Armstrong", but a stronger example is found in "The Banks of Yarrow":

  • "I never heard the old Percie and Douglas song I couldn't find

my heart beat more than a trumpet; and yet it is only sung by a blind crouder, with no hoarse voice than the hoarse style; What would work when so wicked, clothed in the dust and cobwebs of this uncivil age, trimmed in the glorious eloquence of Pindar?

Tercy and the Ballads. 275

"Late night drinking the wine, And before they paid the bill, They fought each other To fight him at dawn."

With this indirect and allusive narrative style, which Goethe mentions in his preliminary remarks on Des Sanger's Curse as a constant of "folk song", the old ballad poet does not warrant explanations of persons and motives; often he gives the story, neither explicit nor complete, but hints and glimpses, the rest in conjecture, casting its salient points in a strong, blinding light against a background of shadows. The rider goes out to hunt, and b^fliriH comes home with his riderless horse, and that's all:

"Toom*hame took the saddle, but it never came."

Or the knight himself comes home and lies down to die, reluctantly admitting to his mother's questions that he ate with his true love and was poisoned. And again that's all. Or

“—Beyond that failing X-dyke, I know, lies a freshly slain knight; And no one knows that he is lying there. But his hawk, his dog and his fair lady.

“Your dog is for Jagdgane. Your hawk to fetch the wild birds, Your lady is another companion. So that we can make our dinner sweet.

An entire unspoken tragedy of love, betrayal and murder lies behind these verses. This method of

  • Leer: "Bonnie George Campbell." f "Lorde Randall."

iTurf: "Os Twa Corbies."

276 <iThe History of the English Novel.

The narration may be explained in part by the fact that the tale treated was usually a local rural legend of family feud or unhappy passion, the incidents of which were familiar to the ballad singer's audience and readily supplied from memory. One theory is that the story was part told, part sung, and connections and explanations were given in prose. Be that as it may, the simple art of these popular poets evidently involved a knowledge of the use of mystery and suggestion. They knew that, to the imagination, sometimes the part is greater than the whole. Gray wrote to Mason in 1757: "I have the old Scottish ballad [Gil Maurice] on which 'Douglas' [Home's tragedy, first played at Edinburgh in 1756] was based. It is divine. . . Aristotle's best rules are followed in a way which shows that the author has never heard of Aristotle. It begins in the fifth act of the play. You can read two-thirds of it without guessing what it is about; and yet when you get to the end it is impossible not to understand all the history."

It is not possible to reconstruct the conditions in which these folk songs “made themselves”* or grew under the creative hands of generations

of nameless bards. Its naive and primitive quality.

cannot be acquired: the secret is lost. But Walter


1^1,3 * I use this expression without polemical intent. The question about

-' The origins are not in dispute here. Of course, at some point in the

In the story of each ballad, the poet, the individual artist, is present, although the exact relation of his activity to the community element of the work is not clear. For an astute and scholarly review of the subject, see Professor Francis B. Gummere's Introduction to Old English Ballads (Athenreum Press Series), Boston, 1894.


I^ercy and the 'Ballads. 277

Scott, steeped in ballads and whose temperament had much of the healthy objectivity of earlier times, has enjoyed nearly every modern hit. Some of his ballads are more artistically perfect than his long metered romances; especially those constructed from a charge or fragment of old minstrel songs, such asJock o' Hazel-dean"* and the song in "Rokeby":

"He turned his horse as he spoke On the bank of the river, He shook the bridle, Said, 'Goodbye forever. My love! And goodbye forever. "

Here Scott captures the very air of popular poetry, and the interweaving is done with the happiest skill. 'Proud Maisie is in the Wood' is a good example of the ballad style of storytelling through implication, f

In terms of content, ballads can be divided into historical or quasi-historical and purely legendary or romantic. Of the first class were the "^ Riding-Ballad" of the Scottish border, where the raids of moss troops,

♦De "Jock o' Hazel Green". 'Young Lochinvar' deriva de 'Katherine Janfarie' em 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border'.

\"Scott has given us nothing more complete and lovely than this little song, which combines simplicity and dramatic power in Wildwood music of the rarest quality. No moral is taken away, let alone a conscious attempt at sentiment analysis: the pathetic meaning is revealed by the mere representation of the situation. Inexperienced critics often characterize what may be called the Homeric style as superficial, owing to its apparent simple ease." - Palgrave; "Golden T^ViZ^wr^ " (1866 edition), p.392.


278 a/^ History of the English Lipmantic.

the cessation of extortion, raids and the private war of the Lords of the Marches provided many traditions of heroism and adventure, as recounted in The Battle of Otterburn, The Hunting of the Cheviot, Johnnie Armstrong. Kinmont Willie, The Rising in the North and Northumberland Betrayed by Douglas. Readers in the 16th century and fell into the hands of ballad makers, to name but a few contained in "Relics", "Sir Lancelot du Lake", "The Legend of Sir Guy", "The Death of King Arthur". ' and 'The Marriage of Sir Gawaine.' But the content of these was not really popular material, and their personalities were simply the old heroes of court poetry in reduced circumstances. Much more impressive are the original folk songs, which have their roots deep in the ancient world of legends and even myths.

In this true world of ballads there is a strange mixture of paganism and Catholic Christianity. It abounds in the supernatural and wonderful. Robin Hood is a pious outlaw. He robs stubborn monks, but he does not die without shelter and has a great devotion to Our Lady; who also appears to Robyn Brown when he is thrown overboard, hears his confession and carries his soul to heaven. the jew's daughter

  • "Brown Robyn's Confession." Robin Hood risks taking his own life

o sacramento. "Robin Hood e o Monge."

Tercy and the "Ballads. 279

and fifty fathoms deep in Our Lady's well, and the boy miraculously responds to the well's mother.* Birds carry messages for lovers and the dying! or show the place where the body is buried and the corpse's candles are lit. § The harpist ties his harp to three of the drowned girl's golden hairs, and the melody he plays reveals the mystery of her death. || The spirits of children who perished at sea return home to bid their mother farewell.^ The Ghost of the Abandoned Maiden Visits Her False Lover at Midnight** Burger's Strange Poem. There are witches, fairies and sirens JJ in ballads: omens, dreams, spells, §§ enchantments, transfigurations, |||1 magic rings and spells, "gramarye"^^ of various kinds; and all these things are more effective here than with poets like Spenser and Collins because they are a matter of belief and not a matter of belief.

The ballads have a very tragic theme, and the tragic passions of pity and fear are an elemental force of expression. Love is strong like death, jealousy

  • "Sr. Hugh." Ver Prioress Chaucer's Tale.

f "The gay hawk." X "Johnny Cock." § "Young Hunt".

II "The Twa Sisters".

•[[ "The woman from Usher's Well."

    • "Lovely Margaret and sweet William."

ff "The Ghost of Sweet Williams."

ii "Colven Office."

§§ „Mrs. Willies“.

III "Camp Owyne" and "Tam Lin". 11 "King Estmere."

28o e// History of English l^manticism.

cruel as the grave. Hate, shame, sadness, despair speak here in their native accent:

"There are seven rangers in Pickeram Side, in Pickeram where they live, and for a drop of sorrow they would ride the fords of hell." *

"Oh, my mother scarcely thought, The day she swayed me, What lands I must traverse, What death I must commit." f

The girl asks the buried lover:

"Is there room for your head, Sanders? is there room at your feet Or room for your two sides,

Where would I like to sleep? "X

"O waly, waly, but love be bonny A little time while it's new; § Mas quando envelhece, esfria

And disappears like the morning dew. . .

"And oh! if my babe were born and laid in the nurse's lap, and I myself were dead and corrupt,

And the green grass that grows over Honey"

Manners in this world are primitive savagery. There is treachery, violence, cruelty, revenge; but there is also honor, courage, loyalty and devotion

  • "Johnny Cock."

f "Maria Hamilton."

i "Williams Ghost Twelve."

§ "The Forgotten Bride." W/. Driver:

"Love is not as old as it is new."

“Gierke's fairy tale.

Tercy and the 'Ballads. 281

that lasts until the end. "Child Waters" and "Fair Annie" bear no comparison with Tennyson's "Enid" and Chaucer's story of the patient Griselda ("The Clerkes Tale"), with which they share a common theme. It's the medieval world. Marauders, pilgrims, and wandering jugglers do this. The knight pales in his garden, the lady sits in her arbor, and the little leaf at her foot bears messages of moss and marsh." Monks sing in St. Mary's Kirk, | "Trumpets play in Carlisle Town, castles burn; in the valley there is an ambush and swords flash, bows jingle in the green forest, twenty-four ladies play at the ball, and twenty-four milk-white calves are in the forest of Glentanner - all ready to be stolen. Christmas round tables begin; the Queen looks over the castle walls, the Palmer returns from the Holy Land, Young Waters lies in Stirling's dungeons, but the Boy Maurice is in the silver forest, combing his yellow hair with a silver comb.

The ballads of the Robin Hood cycle have an almost epic context. This good rogue who roamed the woods of Sherwood and Barnsdale with his merry men was the true hero of the ballad and the darling of the popular imagination that created him. For though his confessor names, Friar Tuck; beloved of him. Marian maid; and his companions Little John, Scathelock and Much, the miller's son, have an air of reality, and although tradition sticks to certain places, Robin Hood has nothing historical about it. Langland, in the fourteenth


282 t/^ History of English %omanticism.

Century, mentions "Robin Hood Rhymes"; and efforts have been made to identify him with one of Simon de Montfort's dispossessed followers in the War of the Barons, or with an even earlier privateer of Hereward's time, who had gone into the woods and lived there when he plundered the Normans. As much as it is a myth, it is a national performance from top to bottom. He had the English penchant for fair play, the English willingness to shake hands and make amends when beaten in a tough fight. He killed the king's game, but he was a loyal subject. He took from the rich and gave to the poor, exercising a kind of fierce justice. Defying legal authority in the person of the proud Sheriff of Nottingham, he appealed to that secret sympathy for lawlessness which characterizes a vigorous and free countryman. And finally, he was a mighty archer with the national weapons, the longbow and the cloth-throwing rod; thus appealing to the national love of sport in its free and carefree life under the green tree. The forest landscape gives their exploits a poetic backdrop, and although the ballads, like folk poetry generally, rarely dwell on natural description, there is an awareness of that backdrop and a wholesome, outdoorsy feel throughout. part:

"At some point, when the shawes are sheyne, and the laves are big and long, the hit is full of joy in the feyre forest, here the Foulys song:

  • What character as popular as a wild prince - like Prince Hal -

Who is democratically breaking their own laws and the heads of their own people?

T'ercy and the 'Ballads. 283

"To see the dere approach the valley, And carry the hills, And the shadow fringes on the green leaves, Under the tres verde." *

Though some ballad favorites like "Johnniel Armstrong", "Chevy Chase", "The Children in the Wood" and a couple of Robin Hood's were slow to arrive; widely, almost universally known, they were hardly considered literature worthy of serious attention. They were considered children's fairy tales or, at best, the amusement of peasants and uneducated people, who used to stick them on the walls of inns, country houses and taverns. Here and there an educated man had a furtive taste for collecting old ballads - as much as one collects postage stamps these days. Samu£l„£|)y'%, the diarist, assembled such a collection, as did John Selden, the great legal antiquarian and scholar of Milton's day. 'I have heard', wrote Addison, 'that the late Lord Dorset, who had the greatest wit with the greatest candor and was one of the best critics, as well as the best poet of his age, an extensive collection of old English ballads, and a special pleasure to read them. I can confirm the same for Mr. Dryden." Dryden's "Miscellany Poems" (1684) contained "Gircferoy", "Johnnie Armstrong", "Chevy Chase", "The Miller and the King's Daughter", and "Little Musgrave and the Lady Barnard". ., as well as "Lament Anne Bothwell" and "Fair Margaret and Sweet William", f was quoted in Beau.

  • "Robin Hood e o Monge."

f For a full disclosure of David Mallet's brazen claim to authorship of this ballad, see Appendix II of Professor Phelps' "English Romantic Movement". *

284 <iA history of English t{omantics.

mont_and Fletcher "Knight of the Burning Pistle" (1611). Fragments of it are sung by one of the ^ersoncB dramatis, old Merrythought, whose specialty is a bloody iteration of ballad fragments. References to old ballads abound on Elizahetban. j) lie down. Percy dedicated the second -book- Q^^ to the first. 5£xi£S_^^

  • ' Ballads that illustrate Shakespeare.' in the seven

At the end of the twentieth century, some ballads were printed in full in poetic anthologies entitled Garlands, mixed with pieces of all kinds. Professor Child lists nine cplectiojis of ballads, before Percy's. The only ones of note among them were "A Collection of Old Ballads" (Vols. I. and II. 1723, Vol. III. 1725), attributed to Agibrose Philips; and Scottish poet Allan jRamsaj's "Tea Table Miscellany" (in 4 vols, 1714-40) and "Evergreen" (2 vols, 1724). The first of these collections was illustrated with engravings and provided with humorous introductions. The editor treated his ballads as trifles, although he described them as "corrected from the best and oldest surviving copies"; and said that Homer himself was nothing more than a blind ballad singer whose songs were later collected and made into an epic poem. Ramsay's ballads are drawn in part from a collection of manuscripts of about eight hundred pages made by George Bannatyne around 1570 and still kept at the Lawyers' Library, Edinburgh.

On numbers 70, 74 and 85 of The Spectator, Addison praised the naturalness and simplicity of the popular ballads and gave special mention: "Chevy Chase" – the later version – "which", he wrote, "is the people's favorite ballad common in England; and

'Percy and the 'Ballads. 285

Ben Jonson used to say that he would rather have been the author of this than all his work" and "the 'Xw^ Children in the Wood' which is one of the favorite songs of the common people and the joy of most English people was in one part of their Ages.” Addison justifies his predilection for these humble poems with classic precedents from the constitution of the country in which the poet is writing. Homer and Virgil based their plans on that perspective.” Hence, he believes that the author of "Chevy Chase" wanted to establish a moral for the evils of private warfare - the old frontier ballad maker! As if he didn't brag about the battle! The passage in which Earl Percy took the dead Douglas by the hand and mourned the death of his enemy reminds Addison of Aeneas' behavior towards the leafy children of Lausus, reminding him of a similar note in one of Horace's odes. his own verse was so contrived, it had a taste for the wild graces of folk song. He was violently ridiculed by his contemporaries for these concessions.' and to the derision of Dennis, who, given the fundamental position of his critique that "Chevy Chase" likes and should like because it is natural, asserts that "there is a

286 c// History of English 1{Omancy.

way of deviating from nature... out of stupidity, degrading nature out of impotence and diminution'... In 'Chevy Chase'. . . there are some cold, lifeless idiots. The story cannot be told in a way that makes less impact on the mind.”*

Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's playwright and editor, had a good word in the Ballads prologue

    • Jane Shore" (1713):

"Let no good taste scorn the unfortunate lady, for ballad recordings sing her name.

But what we gain in verse we lose in prose. His words held no wobbly ambiguity: their language was homely, but their hearts were true. . , With brute force and majesty they moved the heart, And strength and nature made peace with art.

Counterfeiting of J-Ballads started early. don't say anything about

/ Appropriations, such as Mallet's, of "William and Mar-

1 Garet", Lady Wardlaw produced her "Hardyknut".

17 19 as a very old ballad, and it was reprinted

as such in Ramsay's "Evergreen". gray wrote to

Walpole in 1760: "I have often been told that the

Poem called 'Hardicanute' (which I always admired

and still admire) was the work of someone who lived

a few years ago. But I don't think anything of it

'N has obviously been retouched by some modern

"^\ hands." Not concerted or smart in front of Percy

Efforts have been made to collect, preserve,

and publication of The English Minstrel's Corpics Poetarum.

  • "Addison's Life."

Tercy and the "Ballads. 287

The great mass of old ballads, as far as they were printed, existed inStandard copies", /. e., individuallyPages or back covers auctioned off for sale by ballad dealers and booksellers.

Thomas Percy, author of The Reliques, was vicar of the parish of Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire. For years, he amused his free time by collecting ballads. He counted among his acquaintances such literary figures as Johnson, Goldsmith, Garrick, Grainger, Farmer and Shensto.ne. Jt was the last to come up with the Reliques' plan, and should have assisted in his "execution" had his illness and death not been averted. Johnson spent part of the summer of 1764 visiting the rectory of Easton Maudit on this occasion, Percy reports that his guest "chose for his regular reading the old Spanish novel Felixmarte of Hircania, in folio, which he read to the end". he adds what no one would readily suspect, that the doctor, as a boy, 'took delight in reading romances of chivalry, and retained his fondness for them all his life. . . I have heard him attribute to these extravagant fictions that restless state of mind which prevented him from choosing any profession. For in the preface to the first edition of The Reliques, the editor stated that "To judges like the author of The Rambler and the late Mr. Mr. Johnson he owes much valuable guidance in the conduct of his work." And after Ritson had questioned it


288 cyf History of English T^pmanticism.

Existence of the famous "folio manuscript", Percy's nephew, in the announcement of the fourth edition (1794), quoted "the appeal made publicly to Dr. von he".

Despite these amenities, the Doctor had little opinion of ballads and ballad collectors. In The Rambler (No. 177) he delighted in a Cantilinus who 'concentrated all his thoughts on old ballads, regarding them as the true records of natural taste. He offered to show me a copy of 'The Children in the Woods', which he firmly believed to be a first edition and which might help the text to rid itself of some of the distortions which this age of barbarism should be entitled to. claim "The Lecture", says Boswell, "has taken modern imitations of old ballads and, from someone who praised their simplicity, treated them with that mockery he always displayed whenever the subject was mentioned." Johnson wrote several stanzas as a parody of the ballads; It is. G.,

"The tender, tender, tender child, Fell upon a stone: The nurse caught the squeaking child, But the child continued to squeal." And again:

J. "I put my hat on

S E went to the beach;

And there I met another man

Whose hat was in his hand.

This is quoted by Wordsworth*, who compares it to “=>*. A stanza from "The Children in the Forest":

  • Preface to the second edition of "Lyric Ballads".

Tercy and the Ballads. 289

"Those beautiful children, hand in hand. walked up and down;

He says that in these two stanzas is the language of familiar conversation, but one stanza is admirable and the other contemptible because the . This thing is despicable. In the supplementary rehearsal! Borrowing from his preface, Wordsworth asserts that the "Reliques" "were unsuited to the taste of Titjr society at the time, and Dr. Johnson, . . did not spare in making him an object of contempt"; and that "Dr Percy was so ashamed of the ridicule thrown at his work . . . that while writing under a mask he did not want the determination to follow his genius into the regions of true simplicity and genuine pathos (like the exquisite ballad of " Sir Cauline" and many other plays attest), but when he came into his own person and character as a poetic writer, he adopted, as in the story of The Hermit of Warkworth, a diction indistinguishable from the vague, glossy, and insensible language of his age" adds Wordsworth, saying that he is Dr. Percy's genius in this style of writing more than any other modern writer, and not even Burger had Percy's sensibility. He quotes two stanzas from "The Child of Elle" in "Reliques " in support of this opinion and contrasts them with the watered down and convoluted version of the same in Burger's German.

Mr. Hales disagrees with this high regard for Percy as a ballad songwriter. Of this "son of Elle" he says: "The present fragment of a version



290 t/f History of English Romanticism.

It is fair to say that it has now been printed for the first time, as it is buried in "Hallows" under a pile of "polished" verse composed by Percy. This worthy prelate, touched by her beauty - he had a soul - unfortunately moved to try her perfection. A wax doll maker might also try to restore the Venus de Milos. There are thirty-nine lines here. There are two hundred in the thing called "Child of Elle" in The Reliques. But not all of the original thirty-nine appear in these two hundred lines. . . On the whole, the union of the real and the false—of the old ballad with Percy's miserable weakness—creates a disagreement, which in the father's eyes is in the story itself, almost as objectionable."* Modern scholars of the ballads, in their zeal for the purity of the text they are almost as hard on Percy as Ritson himself. They say he polished "The Heir of Linne" until he could see his own face in it, and its 126 lines swelled to 216 - "a fine tide of ballads and water." f The result of this splintering and patching up of "Sir Cauline" - which Wordsworth found exquisite - they consider a lot of tinsel, though they recognize it

  • ' these additional stanzas show an extensive, indeed

V' familiarity with old ballads and a considerable talent for imitation.

From a critical or scientific point of view, these limitations are undoubtedly deserved. It is the editor's duty to present his text as he finds it, without insertions or restorations; and that's out of the question

,, / *"Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript" (1867), Vol.11. introduction

'"^- {dutory Essay by J. W. Hales on '' The Renaissance of Ballad Poetry in the Eighteenth Century." t Ebenda.


Tercy and the Ballads. 291

Percy's additions to fragmentary pieces are full of sentimentality, affectation and the spurious poetic language of his time. An experienced ballad amateur can easily separate the actual parts from the inserts in most cases. But it's unfair to tempt Percy with modern editorial rules. Such sanctity, now attributed to the ipsissima verba of an ancient piece of popular literature, would have been incomprehensible to the people of this generation, who considered such things, at best, trifles, and mostly barbaric; Little things - something like wampum belts or nose rings or antique ornaments in GoAt barbare et charmant des bijoux goihs Percys readers didn't want torsos and rags to present with headless or short-tailed ballads - with cetera desunt and constellations of asterisks - like the manuscript of Prior's poem, the end of which was eaten by rats – would have been mere pedantry. Percy knew his audience and knew how to make his work appeal to that generation, who enjoyed his ballad with a strong Percy infusion. If this generation's scholars prefer to take theirs without, they know where to get them.

The materials for the relics were taken in part from the Pepys Collection, at Magdalen College, Cambridge; by Anthony Wood, made in 1676, at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; of maiius€ript and ballads in print in the Bodleian, British Museum, Antiquarian Society archives and private collections. Sir David Dalrymple sent in a series of Scottish ballads and the publisher confirmed his commitments to Thomas Warton and many others. But the essence of it all was one

292 <vf History of the English novel.

Private folio manuscript in a manuscript of Charles I containing 191 songs and ballads that Percy begged when he was very young from his friend Humphrey Pitt of Prior's-Lee in Shropshire. When he first saw this precious document, it was torn, untied and mangled, "dirty on the floor under a chest of drawers in the room, being used by the maids to light the fire". The first and last pages were missing, and "of the 54 pages at the beginning, half of each page has been torn out."* Percy had it bound, but the binders cut the top and bottom lines in the process. From this manuscript he claimed to have taken "the greater part" of the pieces from the "Reliques". In fact, he took only 45 of the 176 poems in his first edition from this source.

Percy made no secret of the fact that he filled lacimx in his originals with stanzas and, in some cases, almost entire poems of his own composition. But the extent of the liberties he took with the text, though suspected, was not known with certainty until Mr. Furnivall eventually obtained permission to copy and print the folio manuscript, F. Prior to that, it was in the Percy family. jealously guarded, scholars were denied access to it. "Since Percy and his nephew printed their fourth edition of 'Hallows' from the manuscript in 1794," writes Mr. Furnivall in his "Prefaces", "no one printed any part of it except Robert Jamieson - to whom Percy supplied a copy of "Child Maurice" and "Robin Hood and the Old Man" for his "Popular Ballads and Songs" (1806) - and Sir Frederic Madden,

  • "Advertisement for the fourth edition."

f In four volumes, 1867-68.

Tercy and the "Ballads. 293

who was authorized - by one of Percy's daughters - to print The Grene Knight, The Carle of Carlisle, and The Turk and Gawin in his Syr Gawaine for the Bannatyne Club, 1839.” Percy was furious and attacked Joseph Ritson for manipulating his lyrics; and in the 1794 edition he made some concessions to their request for a literal rewrite, by removing some of the embellishments with which he had deceived them. Ritson was a meticulously critical and conscientious student of Poetic Antiquities and had the right theory about the functions of an editor. In his own collections of Old English poetry he did a valuable service to all later researchers. These included Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, 1791; Old Songs, 1792; "Scottish Songs", 1794; "Robin Hood", 1795; also editions of poetry by Laurence Minot and Gammer Gurton's Needle among other titles. He was a moody, eccentric man: vegetarian, freethinker, spelling reformer* and, lastly, a Jacobin. He attacked Warton and Percy and would often refer to any clerical antagonists as a "stinking priest". He died of insanity in 1803 “Essay Ahead! the minstrels of old", i.e.: that the minstrels were not only the singers, but also the authors of] ballads. This question mainly concerns antiquarians. But Ritson, in his rage against Percy, went as far as the existence of the manuscript sacred to deny until he is convinced by numerous testimonies

  • Spelling reform was a popular field of activity for crackpots.

for. Ritson's particular vanity was the past participle of verbs ending in e; It is. B. noticed. See Lander's ideas of a similar kind.

294 t^ History of English t^pmanticism.

that there is such a thing. It was an age of forgery, and Ritson was not entirely wrong in believing that the author of The Hermit of Warkworth was in the same league as Chatterton, Ireland, and MacPherson.

Percy, like Warton, sounded apologetic to the audience. “In a bright age like the present,” he wrote, “I observe that many of these ancient relics will command great consideration. However, for the most part they have a pleasant simplicity and many unpretentious graces, which, according to not small critics, should make up for the lack of superior beauties. How could it be otherwise? The old ballads were everything the eighteenth century was not. i They were rough and wild where that was soft and tame; they dealt with the elemental passions of human nature with savage sincerity. They didn't moralize, and I philosophized or sentimentalized; they were never subtle, intellectual or abstract. They used plain English, without frills or elegance. They had certain popular mannerisms, but none of the conventional figures of speech or rhetorical devices of personification, perphrase, antithesis and climax so dear to Augustus' heart. They focused on the story - not I-style - and just told it and let it slide, which I was worth.

In addition, there are ballads and ballads. The best of them are noble in expression and feeling, unrivaled by anything in our medieval poetry outside Chaucer; unequaled by Chaucer himself in intensity, in occasional phrases of piercing beauty:

Tercy and the Ballads. 295

"'The swan fethars blocking their shafts With the blood of their stag, they were wet." *

  • 'O cocks crow a merry central hole,

A wat, the wild and full day; Heaven's Salmen are sung, and before I lose it now, "f

"If my love were an earthly knight As he is a gray elf, it would not harm my true love for any lord you have." %

"She hangs a napkin on the door, Another one on the ha, And one' to wipe away the dripping tears, Leaves quickly as they did." §

"And everything is with a child of yours, I feel movement next to me: My green dress, it's too tight: it used to be too big." ||

Verses of this quality need no apology. But of many of the ballads, Dennis' mockery, played by Dr. Johnson is repeated, it is true; They are not only rude, but weak and sneaky in style. Percy knew that the best of them would appeal more to his contemporaries if he seasoned them with modern sauces. And yet he must have loved her even in her primitive simplicity, and it seems almost incredible that he could speak thus of Prior's bad-taste paraphrase of 'Maiden Hazel'. 'If I had no other merit,' he says of this lovely ballad, 'than having done Priors * Henry and preparatory work

  • "The Hunt for Cheviot." % "Lin Camouflage."

f "The ghost of sweet Williams." § "Fair Annie."

II "Children's waters".

296 eA History of English l^manticism.

Emma, ​​this should save you from oblivion. Prior was a charming writer of epigrams, society verse, and humorous conversations in the manner of La Fontaine; but to see how incapable he was of comprehending the depth and sweetness of romantic poetry, compare a few lines from the original with the "Word tumult" in its modernized version, in heroic verse:

“Oh Lord, what happiness is this world that changes like money! The summer day in lush May disappeared before anyone else. I hear you say goodbye No, no, we're not leaving so soon: Why do you say that? what you've done All my happiness should turn to sadness and sadness when you're gone; because in my thoughts i love you alone of all people.

Now listen to Prior with his Venus and Flames and the God of Love:

"What is our happiness that changes with the moon, And the day of life that grows dark before noon? What is true passion if she dies unhappy? And where is Emma's joy when Henry flies? I carry No thought can fathom and no tongue can explain No faithful woman felt nor falsely deceived The flames that long reigned in my bosom The God of love himself dwells there With all his anger and fear and sorrow and sorrow, His abundance of supplies and all-out war. O, then, cease to be coldly suspicious of my love, And let my act at least approve of my faith. Alas, no youth shall share my tenderness: neither day nor night shall interrupt my sorrows;

Tercy and the 'Ballads. 297

No future history will truly censure the hazel maiden's cold indifference; Yet for severe banishment, Henry will run "While Emma sleeps carefree in low beds. Face me resolutely where you drive: Friend in your sorrow and partner in your grief; For I bear witness to fair Venus and her child That I, of all mankind will only love you."

There could be no more impressive lesson than the overabundance of English poetic expression and the healing value of a book like the Hallows.

    • To atone for the rudeness of the most obsolete

Poems" and "to break the tedium of the longer tales", Percy added some modern ballads and a large number of "elegant little pieces of the lyrical type" by Skelton, Hawes, Gascoigne, Raleigh, Marlowe, Shakspere, Jonson, Warner, Carew^, Daniel, Lovelace, Suckling, Drayton, Beaumont and Fletcher, Wotton and other notable poets. William Hamilton of Bangour, a Scottish gentleman who was "in his forties". songs and tales, and Hamilton's ballad, with its "strange, fleeting melody", had yet to appear in Ramsay's "Tea Table Miscellany".

"Busk is, busk is, minha bela noiva, busk is, busk is, minha marca vincedora" -

  • "English Romantic Movement" by Siehe Phelps, S. 33-35.

298 <i/J History of English Romanticism.

are quoted in Wordsworth's "Yarrow Unvisited" and in a line of the following stanza:

"Sweet smell of birch, Green grows, Green grows the grass, Yellow on the bank of Gowan yarrow: Beautiful the apple hanging on the rock. Sweet the wave of yarrow that flows."

The first edition ofRelics" contain aAcknowledged son of Percy's muse,the monk ofOrders Grey', a short narrative ballad composed of excerpts from songs from Shakespeare's plays. Later editions provided his longest poem, The Hermit of Warkworth, first published independently in 1771.

For all its imperfections - perhaps in part a consequence of its imperfections - The Relics was an epoch-making book. The nature of their service to English literature is thus set forth by Macaulay in the introduction to his Lays of Ancient Rome: "We cannot wonder that the Lays of Rome have completely disappeared, if we remember how scarce, despite the invention of the printing press, of which our own country and that of Spain escaped the same fate There is little doubt, indeed, that Oblivion comprises many English hymns equal to those published by Bishop Percy, and many Spanish songs as good as the best of those so happily translated by Mr. Lockhart Eighty years ago, England had but a tattered edition of Child Waters and Sir Cauline, and Spain but a tattered edition of the noble poem of the "Cid." he combined thorough curiosity and patient zeal with the fire of a great poet.

Tercy and the Ballads.


A great antique dealer's collection arrived just in time to save the Borderline Minstrels' precious relics." But Percy didn't just save several ballads from oblivion; Equally important, his book inspired others to seek out and publish similar relics before it was too late. It was the occasion for such collections as Herds (1769), Scotts (1802-03) and Motherwells (1827) and others, based on purer texts and edited on more conscientious principles than he. literary and to inspire men of original genius. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Scott, they all recognized the greatest obligations to them. Wordsworth said that English poetry was "absolutely redeemed" by them.

    • I don't think there is a writer of verse today

A day he would not be proud to acknowledge his obligations to the relics. I know my friends are like that; and for myself I am pleased to make a public confession on this occasion.” * Excludes “Reliques”, “The Old Sailor”, “The Lady of the Lake”, “La Belle Dame”. sans Merci", "Stratton Water" and "The Haystack in the Floods" could never have been. Perhaps even the "Lyrical Ballads" never were, or could have been something quite different from what they are. Wordsworth, of course, hardly counts among the Romantics, and he expressly dispenses with the Romantic machinery:


"Dragon wings, magic ring, I will not covet my dowry." f

  • Annex to the preface of the 2nd edition of "Lyric Ballads,

• "Peter Bell."

300 <iThe History of the English Novel.

What he learned from the popular ballad was the power of sincerity and direct, homely language.

As for Scott, in an often-quoted passage, he captured the impression the Percy volumes had made on him in his school days: “I well remember the first time I read these volumes. It was under a huge banana tree in the ruins of what must have been an old-fashioned arbor in the garden that I mentioned. The summer's day passed so quickly that, despite a thirteen-year-old's great appetite, I forgot about dinnertime, was fearfully sought after, and was still in raptures from my intellectual feast. Reading and remembering were the same in this case, and I thereafter dazzled my schoolmates and anyone who would listen with tragic recitations of Bishop Percy's ballads. Even when I first managed to scrape together a few shillings I bought a copy of these beloved volumes; nor do I think I have ever read a book as often or half as enthusiastically.

The “Reliques” also had a powerful effect in Germany. It was received with general enthusiasm* in Lessing's circle and joined the newly awakened interest in 'folk songs' which motivated Herder's 'Stimmender Volker' (1778/79). f gottfried august

  • Scherer: "History of German Literature", p. 445.

In his third book, Herder has given translations of over 20 pieces in the "Reliques" alongside some from Ramsay and other collections. His Percy selections included "Chevy Chase", "Edward", "The Boy and the Mantle", "King Estmere", "Waly, Waly", "Sir Patrick Spens", "Young Waters", "The Bonny Earl". by Murray, Fair Margaret and Sweet William, Sweet Williams Ghost, The Nut-Brown Maid, The Jew's Daughter, etc., etc.;


Tercy and the Ballads. 301

Burger, in particular, was a poet who could be said to have been made of English ballad literature, of which he was an avid student. His poems were published in 1778 and included five translations of Percy: The Child of Elle, The Friar of Gray Orders, The Wanton Wife of Bath), "King John and the Abbot of Canterbury" and "Child Waters" ("Count Walter" ). A. W. Schlegel says that Burger did not select the oldest and most genuine pieces in the "Reliques" and, moreover, that in his translations he spoiled the simplicity of the originals. " which represented many collections of Old English poetry published in the later years of the century. Tyrwhitts "Chaucer"/ and Ritson's publications have already been mentioned. George Ellis, friend and correspondent of Walter Scott and member of the Society of Antiquaries, who was sometimes called "the Sainte Palaye of England", published his "Specimens of Early English Poets" in 1790 published 1796 translations of G. L. Ways from the French Fabliaux of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and printed three volumes of Early English Metrical Romances in 1805.

but none of the ballads of Robin Hood. Herder's preface attests that the "Reliques" were the starting point and core of his entire enterprise. " Looking at this collection, it's obvious that I really started with English folk songs and came back to them. When the 'Relics of Ancient Poetry' fell into my hands ten or more years ago, individual pieces delighted me so much that I decided to translate them tried." “Swirl to the folk songs. Herder's Smmtliche Werke, part eight, page 89 (Carlsruhe, 1821).

302 <iA history of English T^manticism.

It is pleasing to report that Percy's work has earned him public acclaim and the patronage of those who support Dr. Johnson used to call "the great ones". He had dedicated the "Hallows" to Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Northumberland. A grocer's son himself, he liked to think he was blood related to V, the great house of the North whose exploits had been

sung by the old minstrels he loved. He became chaplain to the Duke of Northumberland and King George III; and 1782 Bishop of Dromore in Ireland, where he died in 1811.

This might be an equally appropriate place to introduce a mention of James Beattie's The Minstrel, or the Progress of Genius; a once-widespread poem that sees several romantic influences intertwined. The first book was published in 1771, the second in 1774, and the work was never completed. It was in the Spenserian stanza, tinged with the enthusiastic melancholy of the Wartons, it followed Thomson's landscape manner, it had Gray's elegiac overtones, and was perhaps not untouched in its love of mountain scenery by MacPherson's Ossian. But he took the title and subject from a reference in Percy's Essay on Ancient Minstrels.* Beattie was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He was a kind, sensitive and deeply religious man. he was moved to tears, had "the courage of a young woman", says Taine, "and the pastimes of an old spinster".

  • Stanzas 44-46, book i., introduce references to ballad literature

em geral e para "The Hazel Girl" e "The Children in the Forest" em particular.

Tercy and the Ballads. 303

of Strathmore at Glammis Castle, held him in high esteem. The same goes for Dr. Johnson, in part because of his

    • Essay on Truth” (1770), a superficial invective against her

Hume, which gave its author an interview with George III. and a pension of two hundred pounds a year. Beattie visited London in 1771 and appeared there as a defender of orthodoxy and a heaven-inspired bard. Mrs. Montagu supported him extensively. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted his portrait with his Essay on Truth under his arm and Truth itself in the background, an allegorical angel holding a pair of scales in one hand and the figures of prejudice, skepticism and madness in the other. Old Lord Lyttelton sent the poet to Hagley, declaring him to be Thomson, who had returned to earth to sing of the virtue and beauty of nature. Oxford made him an LL. D.: urged to take orders in the Church of England; and Edinburgh offered him the chair of moral philosophy. Beattie's head turned slightly at all this success and he became something of a tuft hunter. But he remained loyal to Aberdeen, whose romantic neighborhood first inspired his muse. Biographers tell a beautiful story of how he taught his son to search the universe for the hand of God, sowing watercress in a garden bed in the shape of the child's initials, and, through this gently persuasive analogy, got him to project into the universe to read works of nature.

the project ofThe minstrel" must "follow the process""The wife of a poetic genius, born at a raw age", a shepherd boy "living in Gothic days".

304 c^ History of English Romanticism.

Education. Instead of being taught to carve and ride

and play the flute like Chaucer's squire who

"Cowde makes songs and well-endite, juste and eek dances, and well interprets and writes,"

Wandering alone in the mountains and in lonely places, Edwin is tutored in history, philosophy and science - and even Virgil - by an old hermit who sits beside him on a mossy rock with his harp and lectures. The theme of the poem is indeed the education of nature; and in some ways anticipates Wordsworth's 'Prelude', as well as this wise old man's 'Loner' from The Excursion. a certain relation to the subject and spirit of the poem." He makes no attempt, however, to follow Spenser's "ancient expressions." The following passage will, as well as any other, illustrate the romantic character of the whole:

' 'While the far curfew, laden with loud wails, the lonely storm, young Edwin, lit by the evening star, lingering and listening, wandered the valley. There he would dream of pale graves and corpses, And of ghosts thronging the dungeon throng of Chamel, And dragging a piece of rattling chain with them, and wailing, Till the owl's horrible song silences him. Or an explosion screaming through the shivering hallways.

"Or how the setting moon, tinged with crimson, hovered over darkness and deep gloom. To an enchanted brook, far from men, he hid. Where fairies of old used to hold their feasts; until sleep A vision brought to his breathtaking view.


Tercy and the Ballads. 3^5

And first, a wildly mumbling Windgan hobo

Squeaky to your buzzing ear; then it tapers brightly,

With instant radiance the vault of night lit up.

" A moment later, at the sight of the flaming arch of a portal

pink; the trumpet commands the opening of the valves;

And marches a troop of little warriors,

Take the diamond spear and the golden target.

His look was kind, his demeanor bold,

And green their helmets, and green their silk garments;

And here and there really venerable old man.

Minstrels in long robes wake the warbler's edge,

And some give wings to the martial whistle with a soft breath." *

Thomson's influence is clearly discernible in these stanzas. "The Minstrel", like "The Seasons", . is rich in vapid morality, the platitudes of | Denouncement of luxury and ambition and praise of simplicity and innocence. The very titles of Beattie's short poems reveal the school he attended: The Hermit, Ode to Peace, The Triumph of Melancholy, Retirement, etc., etc. The Minstrel ran through four editions before its second book was published in 1774 .

  • Book I. stanzas 32-34.

CHAPTER IX. ©00jan.

The first part of MacPherson's Ossian appeared in 1760. * Among those who received it with the greatest curiosity and joy was Gray, who had recently helped Mason to critique his Caractacus, published in 1759. A letter to Walpole (June 1760) indicates that the latter had sent Gray two manuscripts of the as-yet-unprinted 'fragments' communicated to Walpole by Sir David Dalrymple, who supplied Percy with Scottish ballads. "I am so delighted," wrote Gray, "with the two copies of the first poem, that I cannot but take the trouble to inquire a little more about them, and would like to add a few lines from the original, that I may get a rough idea of ​​the language, time signatures and rhythm. Is there anything known about the author or authors, and how old should they be? Is there anything else of equal beauty, or even close?"

In a letter to Stonehewer (June 29) he writes: 'I have received another packet of whiskey with a third specimen . . . full of nature and noble wild imagination.

  • ' 'Fragments of Ancient Poetry Collected in the Highlands of

Scotland, and translated from the Gaelic or Ersian languages.” Edinburgh, MDCCLX. 70 pages.

306 «

The cheese. 307

tion.”* And the following month he writes to Wharton: “If you've seen Stonehewer, he's probably told you about my old Scottish (or rather Irish) poetry. I was crazy about them. They are said to be translations (literal and prose) from the Erse language by one MacPherson, a young clergyman in the Highlands. He intends to publish whatever collection he has of these antiquities when it is antique; but what torments me is that I cannot be sure of this. I was so impressed, so enraptured by its infinite beauty, that I wrote to Scotland to ask a thousand questions.” That's strong language for a man of Grey's cold, judgmental temper; zen to Ossian, which allow the modern reader to understand in part the excitement the book aroused among Gray's contemporaries to make him wise. he was "determined to believe they were real, despite the devil and Kirk. It is impossible to convince myself that they were invented by the same man who is writing these letters to me. On the other hand, it is". believe that, if they were originals, he could translate them so admirably.

On 7 August he writes to Mason that the Erse fragments were published in Scotland five weeks ago, although he did not receive his copy until recently.

  • This was sent to him by MacPherson and was a pass that was not forwarded.

the "Fragments".

30 8 <iThe History of English Romanticism.

Week. ** I continue to believe that they are genuine, although my reasons for believing the contrary are stronger than ever." David Hume, who later became skeptical of their authenticity, wrote to Gray assuring him that these poems were in the mouth of of all in the Highlands. and has been passed down from father to son, from a time beyond memory and tradition. Gray's final conclusion is very similar to that of the general public, for whom the Ossian question is even more mysterious. I still doubt of the authenticity of these poems, though I am more inclined to believe them to be genuine despite the world. Whether they be the inventions of antiquity or of a modern Scotsman, both cases are equally inexplicable to me. Je ircy perds."

We are more concerned here with the impression that MacPherson's books, in their present form, made on his contemporary Europe than with the history of the controversy they provoked, which remains unresolved after more than a century and a half of discussion. However, since this controversy began immediately after their publication and related not only to the authenticity of the Ossian poems, but also to their literary value; cannot be entirely ignored in this report. The main facts at stake can be summarized. In 1759, Mr. John Home, author of the tragedy of 'Douglas', who was dabbling in Gaelic poetry, met in Dumfriesshire a young Scotsman named James MacPherson, who was traveling as a tutor to Mr. Graham of Bal-gowan. MacPherson had in his possession a number of manuscripts which he said were copies

Ossian. 309

Gaelic poems recited by ancient peoples in the Highlands. He translated two of them for Home, who was so impressed that he sent copies to Dr. Hugh Blair, professor of rhetoric at the University of Edinburgh, sent or showed. At the request of Dr. Blair and Mr. Home, MacPherson was obliged to do more translations of the materials in his hands; and these, to the number of sixteen, were published in thefragments" alreadymentioned, with an eight-page preface by Blair. They attracted so much attention in Edinburgh that a subscription was started to send the author across the Highlands in search of more Gaelic poetry.

The result of this research was 'Fingal, an ancient epic poem in six books: together with several other poems, composed by Ossian son of Fingal. Translated from the Gaelic by James MacPherson, London, 1762; together with "Temora, an Ancient Epic Poem in Eight Books", etc., etc., London, 1763. MacPherson claimed to have made his versions of Gaelic poems written by Ossian, or Oisin son of Fingal, or Finn MacCumhail, a well-known chief in Irish and Scottish music and folk legend. Fingal was the king of Morven, a district in the western highlands, and head of the ancient warrior clan or people of the Feine or Fenians. Tradition places her in the third century and links her to the Battle of Gabhra, fought in 281. Her son Ossian, the warrior bard, outlived all his kin. Blind and old, sitting in his empty hall or cave in the rock; except for the white Malvina, engaged to his late son Oscar, played the harp and

3IO dA History of English 'T^pmanticism.

sang the memoirs of his youth: "a tale of ancient times".

MacPherson translated - or composed - his "Ossian" into an exclamatory, rough, rhapsodic prose somewhat reminiscent of the English of Isaiah and other books of the prophets. The manners described were heroic, the state of society primitive. Resources were few and simple; the chariots of the heroes, their blue spears, helmets and shields; the harp, the shells from which they drank in the hall, etc. Conventional compound epithets abound, as in Homer: the "dark-breasted" ships, the "charioted" heroes, the "white-armed" maidens, the "long-legged dogs." The landscape is that of the Western Highlands; and the solemnly monotonous rhythm of MacPherson's style suited well the tone of his descriptions, filling the mind with images of vague grandeur and desolation: the mountain stream, the dark rock in the ocean, the mist on the hills, the ghosts of half- heroes seen from the setting moon, the thistle in the ruined courts of the chiefs, the grass that whistles on the windswept moor, the blue stream of Lutha and the cliffs of Gormal surrounded by the sea. It has been noted that the wolf, common in ancient Caledonia, is not mentioned; nor of the thrush, nor of the lark, nor of any songbird; nor the salmon from the sea holes so often referred to in New Gaelic poetry. But the deer, the swan, the wild boar, the eagle and the crow appear again and again.

But a passage or two will show the language and imagery of it all better than pages of descriptions. I saw the walls of Balclutha, but they were desolate. The fire echoed in the halls,

Ossian. S^'

and the voice of the people will no longer be heard. Clutha's brook was removed from its place by the fall of the walls. The thistle shook its lonely head there; the moss whistled in the wind. The fox looked out the windows, the matted grass on the wall rippling around his head. Moina's apartment is devastated, silence in her father's house. Raise the song of sorrow, O bards, over the land of strangers. They simply fell before us; because one day we must fall. Why do you build the hall, son of winged days? You look down from your towers today; a few more years and the desert explosion is coming; he howls in his empty yard and hisses around his half-worn shield.”* “They rose humming like a flock of seabirds when the waves drove them from the shore. Its murmur was like a thousand streams that meet in the valley of Cona, how after a stormy night they swirl their dark eddies in the pale morning light. How dark autumn shadows fly over grassy hills; then came grim, dark, one by one the chiefs of Lochlin's echoing woods. Tall as the hart of Morven, the king moved majestically before them. J His bright shield is at his side, like a flame on the moor at night; when the world is quiet and dark and the traveler sees a ghost in lightning. The surrounding hills glow faintly, dimly showing their oak trees. A blast from the turbulent ocean removed the settled fog. The Children of Erin appear as a mountain range on the coast; when sailors on unknown shores shiver in tortuous winds." §

The authenticity of the 1760 "fragments" had

  • From "Carthon.";}: An unconscious hexameter,

f Scandinavia. § From "Fingal", Book ii.

312 c/f History of English Romanticism.

it did not go unquestioned; but as MacPherson produced entire epics, which he claimed were composed by a third-century Highland bard, handed down through the centuries by oral tradition, and finally - at least in part - written down and now extant in manuscripts in his possession, it followed there was immediately a very emphatic expression of disbelief. One of the most recalcitrant non-believers was Dr. Johnson. He took little pleasure in Scotland, still less in the poetry of barbarism. On his voyage through the Western Isles with Boswell in 1773, he displayed an insensibility and even a kind of hostility to the wild beauties of the Highland interior, which gradually affects the reader with a sense of ridicule as he beholds his stout figure rolling over the remote Loch Ness, surrounded by birch trees, on a small Highland pony, or among the mighty mountains that frown over Glensheal; or he sits in a boat across from the Mull of Cantyre and listens to the Erse songs of the oarsmen:

"Breaking the stillness of the seas Beneath the furthest Hebrides."

"Dr. Johnson," says Boswell, "confirmed that he was now in a scene of nature as wild as he could see; but he sometimes corrected me on my inaccurate remarks. "There," I said, "a mountain is like a mountain. it's a cone." Johnson: "No, sir. In a book it would say that, but when someone comes to look at it, they see that it's not. It's really pointed at the top, but on one side it's bigger than the other.' Another mountain I called tremendous. Johnson: "No, it's not more than a considerable bump."

Ossian. 313

Johnson not only disputes the age of MacPherson's "Ossian", but also denies any poetic value. Dr Blair asked him if he thought any modern man could have written such poetry, and he replied, "Yes sir: many men, many women and many children." "Sir," he called Reynolds, "a man could write things like that forever if he would take it." For Mr. Mac-Queen, one of his Highland hosts, he said: 'As a gross impertinence, however, the world was troubled by it. Johnson's arguments were largely a priori. He asserted that the ancient Gael were a barbarous people, incapable of producing such poetry. Long epics like "Fingal" and "Temora" could not be remembered and transmitted orally. As for the ancient manuscripts that MacPherson claimed to have, there was no Gaelic manuscript that was a hundred years old.

It is now well documented that Dr. Johnson was wrong on all these counts. Not to mention the Homeric poems, the ancient Finns, Scandinavians and Germans were as barbarous as the Gaels; however, they produced the Kalevala, the Edda and the Nibelungenlied. The Kalevala, a poem of 22,793 lines - as long as the Iliad - has been transmitted orally from distant antiquity and was first printed in 1849. As for Gaelic manuscripts, there are over sixty manuscripts in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, with ages ranging from three to five hundred years. B. the

  • See the dissertation of Rev. Archibald Clerk in his “Poems of

Ossian in the original Gaelic, with a literal English translation." 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1870.

314 e^ History of English Romanticism.

'Glenmasan Manuscript' of 1238 containing the story of 'Darthula'* which is the basis of the same story in MacPherson's 'Ossian'. There is the important Dean's Book of Lismore, a collection of manuscripts made between 1512 and 1529 by Dean MacGregor of Lismore, Argyleshire, containing 11,000 lines of Gaelic poetry, some attributed to Ossian or Oisin. One of the poems is essentially identical to the first book of MacPherson's "Temora", although Mr. Campbell say:

    • There is not a line in the Dean's book that I can

identify with every line of MacPherson's Gaelic." f

Other objections to the authenticity of MacPherson's translations were based on internal evidence, on his traits of thought and style. It has been stated that the "peculiar tone of sentimental grandeur and melancholy" which characterizes them is not in keeping with the spirit of all known ancient poetry and is a modern twist. In particular, it has been argued, MacPherson's heroes are very sensitive to the wild and sublime in nature. Professor William R. Sullivan, a high authority on Celtic literature, says that in the undisputed genuine traces of ancient Irish poetry belonging to the Leinster or Finnian cycle, attributed to Oisin, there is much detail in the descriptions of weapons, equipment and items included. are indoors

  • This story is taken from Irish sources in Dr. DR

Joyce's poem "Deirdre", Boston, 1876.

f See 'Leabhar na Feinne, Heroic Gaelic Ballads, Collected in Scotland, chiefly from 1512 to 1871. Arranged by J. F. Campbell.' London, 1872. Excerpts from 'The Dean of Lismore's Book' were edited at Edinburgh in 1862 and published by the Rev. .Thomas MacLauchlan, with a learned introduction by Mr. W.F. Skene.

Ossian. 315

and ornaments, but very little in the descriptions of external nature.* On the other hand, the late Dean Shairp sees this "sadness of tone in describing nature" as strong evidence of authenticity. “Two facts,” he says, “sufficient to convince me of the authenticity of ancient Gaelic poetry, Gael, and its sad understanding of the fate of its people. I need no further proof that Ossianian poetry is an indigenous formation and springs from the primitive heart of the Gaelic race.'f And he cites a well-known passage from Matthew Arnold's 'Study of Celtic Literature' to support his point. of view: 'The Celts are the main authors of that vein of piercing regret and passion, that titanism in the book of poetry, MacPherson's Ossian, carried that vein like a torrent of lava across Europe in the last century. I'm not going to criticize MacPherson's Ossian here. Make the fake, hip, kitsch, fake part of the book as big as you like; strip Scotland, if you will, of every borrowed quill she may have stolen from that vetus et major Scotia on account of MacPherson's "Ossian" - Ireland; I say no, but there will still be a residue in the book which contains the soul of Celtic genius and which has the proud distinction of having brought that soul of Celtic genius into contact with the peoples of modernity.

  • Article on "Celtic Literature" in Encyclopaedia Britannica.

f "Aspects of Poetry", by J. C. Shaimp, 1872, pp. 244-45 (American edition).

31 6 A History of English Romanticism.

Europe and thus enriched all our poetry. Woody Morven and the echoes of Lora and Selma with their silent halls! We all owe them a debt of gratitude, and if we are unfair enough to forget, may the muse forget us! Choose any one of the best passages from MacPherson's 'Ossian' and you can see, even at this time of day, what a look of freshness and vigor an eighteenth-century strain must have been."

But Wordsworth draws exactly the opposite conclusion from this kind of internal evidence. "The Phantom was conceived through the warm embrace of an insolent Highlander in a cloud of lore. It traveled south, where it was acclaimed, and the thin consistency toured Europe to popular applause.* . . Open this well-known book! Happened to I do so, and the beginning of the eight-book epic poem "Temora" presents itself: "The blue waves of Ullin roll in the light. The green hills are covered with day... The trees bob their grim heads in the wind. Gray torrents pour their roaring streams. Two green hills with ancient oaks surround a narrow plain. The blue course of a stream is there. On its banks stood Cairbar of Atha. His spear sustains the king: the red eyes of his fear are sad. Cormac rises again about your soul with all its horrible wounds . . . lucky to have been born and raised in a mountainous landscape,

  • Appendix to the Preface of the Second Edition of Lyric Balance

Boys.” Taine says that Ossian “took a tour of Europe with Oscar, Malvina and his whole troupe; and ended about 1830 with the provision of Christian names for French Grisettts and Perruquiers.” – English Literature, Vol. II, p. 220 (American edition).

Ossian. 3^7

try, since childhood I sensed the falsehood that permeates the volumes imposed on the world under the name of Ossian. From what I saw with my own eyes, I knew the images were fake. In nature everything is different, but nothing is defined in absolute and independent detail. With MacPherson it is exactly the opposite: everything (that is not stolen) is thus defined, isolated, displaced, blunted, but nothing delimited. It will always be like this when words replace things. Saying the characters could never exist; that ways are impossible; and that a dream has more substance than the whole state of society as presented, there is nothing but uttering a censure, which MacPherson resisted. . . As much as these supposed ancient treasures were admired, they made no impact on the country's literature. No subsequent writer seems to have received a ray of inspiration from them; no author dared officially imitate them, except the Chatterton boy, in his first appearance. . . This inability to merge with island literature is, in my opinion, crucial evidence that the book is essentially unnatural; nor should I demand of any other that it be a forgery, as bold as it is worthless. In that respect, compare the impact of MacPherson's publication with Percy's 'Reliques', so modest, so modest in their claims."

Other critics have pointed out a similar vagueness in the human actors, no less than in the landscapes of "Fingal" and "Temora". They have no dramatic individuality, but they are all the same and all ex-

3i8 iA History of English Romanticism,

Quite somber is Carlyle's alliterative description of the translator of "Ossian" "poor, moaning, drab Mac-Pherson", and this must be admitted, despite the deep poetic feeling that pervades these writings and the undeniable beauty of individual passages they have. . one damn iteration. His burden of song is a burden in every way, Mr. Malcolm Laing, one of MacPherson's most obstinate opponents, who published Notes and Illustrations for Ossian in 1805, tried to show, by a close analysis of the language, that the whole thing was a forgery, made up of Homer, Milton, the English Bible, and other sources, so he compared MacPherson's

    • Like the dark moon when it moves, weak

circle, through the sky, and terrible changes are expected of men", with Miltons

"Or behind the moon, In dark eclipse, catastrophic twilight covers half the nations, And with fear of change confuses monarchs."

Laing's method proved to be overkill and could be applied to almost any literary work with similar results. And, in general, it is dangerous to draw quick and hard conclusions from internal evidence of the kind we have just considered. In short, these objections leave a strong bias in the mind, and, were one to pronounce the authenticity of MacPherson's "Ossian" as a whole, impressions of tone and style might suggest that there is an element of true ancient poetry in it. it was completely imbued with modern feelings before being presented to the public. But I remember Beowulf and

Ossian. 3^9

In Norse mythology one might hesitate to say that the songs of primitive and heroic ages are always impervious to the sublime of nature; or admit that melancholy is a Celtic monopoly.

The most damaging feature of MacPherson's case was his refusal or omission to produce his manuscripts. The testimonies of those who helped him collect and translate leave little doubt that he had some material; and that these consisted partly of old Gaelic manuscripts, and partly of transcriptions taken in Gaelic from the recitation of old people in the Highlands. These testimonies may be read in the Report of the Committee of the Highland Society, Edinburgh, 1805.* It is too voluminous to examine here, and leaves open the question of what precise use MacPherson made of his materials, whether , /. that is, he gave verbal translations of them as he declared to do so; or whether he manipulated them - and to what extent - composing, gradating, fitting, smoothing, interpolating, modernizing fragments, as Percy did with his ballads. He was asked to show his Gaelic

  • The commission found Gaelic poems and their fragments

The poems they obtained often contained the substance and sometimes the "literal expression (the ipsissima verba)" of passages given by MacPherson. "But", continues the "Report", "the commission was unable to obtain a single poem that corresponds to the title and content of the poems it published, making a connection by inserting passages that it does not find and the original composition that adding what it finds worthy and delicate, suppressing passages, softening incidents, refining the language, in short, changing what it considers too simple or too rude for a modern ear."

320 c^ History of English Ophantism.

Manuscripts, and Mr. Clerk says he accepted the challenge. "He deposited the manuscripts with their publishers, Beckett and De Hondt, Strand, London. He announced this in the newspapers, offering to publish them if a sufficient number of subscribers appeared, and in the Literary Journal of 1784 Beckett certifies that the manuscripts they remained in their shop for a whole year. *

But that was over twenty years later. Mr. Clerk does not show that Johnson, or Laing, or Shaw, or Pinkerton, or any of MacPherson's numerous critics, ever saw such an advertisement or knew where the manuscripts were to be viewed; or that, not knowing Gaelic, he would have helped had they known; and he admits itMacPher-His son's subsequent conduct of deferring publication from time to time, when urged by friends who generously provided him with funds for that purpose... cannot be excused. Johnson He called for the manuscripts to be released. “The state of the matter,” he wrote to Boswell on February 7, 1775, “is as follows. he and Dr Blair, who I think was tricked, say he copied the poem from ancient manuscripts. Copies of it, if he had any—and I don't think he has any—are nothing. Where are the manuscripts? They can be viewed if they exist, but have never been viewed. De non existantibus et non evidentbus eadem est ratio." And during his trip to Scotland in 1773, at a dinner with Sir Alexander Gordon, Johnson said: "If the poems were really translated, they were certainly the first

  • "Dissertation on the Authenticity of Poems." See the «/^, p. 313

Ossian. 321

written. Make Mr. MacPherson deposit the manuscripts in one of the colleges in Aberdeen, where there are people who can judge; and if the teachers vouch for its authenticity, the discussion ends. If he does not use this obvious and simple method, he gives the best reason for doubt."

Indeed, the subsequent history of these alleged manuscripts raises the gravest suspicion of MacPherson's good faith. Eventually £1,000 was withdrawn to pay for the publication of the Gaelic texts. But these MacPhersons were never published. He sent the manuscripts, which were finally published in 1807, to his executor, Mr. John Mackenzie; and he voluntarily left £1,000 to cover the printing costs. After MacPherson's death in 1796, Mr. Mackenzie "delayed publication day by day and finally gave the manuscripts to the Highland Society"*, which printed them in 1807, nearly half a century after the English Ossian first appeared. f However, these were not the identical manuscripts that MacPherson found or claimed to have found while exploring the Highlands. They were all written in his own hand or by his amanuenses. Furthermore, the Rev. Thomas Ross was hired by the Society to transcribe them

  • Attendant.

f "The Poems of Ossian in the Original Gaelic, with a Literal Translation into Latin by the late Robert Macfarland, etc., Published under the Sanction of the Highland Society of London", 3 vols., London, 1807. The work included dissertations on the authenticity of Sir Jno's poems. Sinclair and Abbot Cesarotti (translated). 423 lines of Gaelic, considered the original of Temora's seventh book, were published with this epic in 1763.

322 eA History of English l^manticism.

and adapt the spelling to that of the Gaelic Bible, which is modern. The 1807 printed text, therefore, does not even accurately represent MacPherson's Gaelic. It is not known whether the transcriber took any liberties beyond simply modernizing the spelling, for the same mysterious fate that befell the original MacPherson collections followed his own manuscript. That, having resided in the Lawyers' Library, is now completely gone. Mr. Campbell believes that in this process of double distillation - a MacPherson copy and then a Ross copy - "the ancient form of the language, if ancient, could scarcely survive."* "What would become of Chaucer?" he asks, "so battered and finally written according to modern rules of grammar and spelling? I have found from experience that a change in *spelling' can mean a complete change in construction and meaning and a replacement of whole words."

But the 1807 Gaelic text has been attacked on more important points than its spelling. It has been openly accused of being a mere fabrication, a modern Gaelic translation of MacPherson's English prose. This question needs to be resolved by Gaelic scholars and they are still divided. In 1862, Mr. Campbell wrote: "If one compares the Gaelic 'Fingal' published in 1807 with any of the translations which are said to have been made of it, it seems to me incomparably superior. It has such a peculiar rhythm and assonance that the idea seems repellent to a mere translation of the English,

  • "Folk Tales of the Western Highlands", J.F. Campbell,

Edinburgh, 1862. Bd. No. IV. pg. 156.

Ossian. 323

as something almost absurd. It is impossible that it could be a translation from the English by MacPherson, unless there was an astute Gaelic poet* then alive who was able and willing to write what Eton pupils 'fully call sense'”. MacPherson's knowledge of Gaelic was imperfect. The summary of Mr. Campbell of the whole case - 1862 - is this: 'My theory, then, is that of the early eighteenth century or late seventeenth century or earlier. Highland bards may have melded floating folk traditions into more complete forms, applying their own ideas to what they found. and that MacPherson found, translated and modified his works; he published the translation in 1760; f prepared Gaelic for printing; published part of it in 1763, removing evidence of what he had done when he found her behavior guilty. I see no other way out of the labyrinth of testimony.” But in 1872 Mr. Campbell had reached a conclusion far less favorable to the claims of the Gaelic text. He now maintains that the English was first composed by MacPherson and that "he and other translators worked on it afterwards and created a Gaelic equivalent, the merit of which varies according to the translator's skill and knowledge of Gaelic". two of the leading authorities on Gaelic, Mr. Archibald Clerk, are confident that the Gaelic is the original and that

  • He suggests Lachlan MacPherson of Strathmashie, one of the Mac-

Pherson's helpers. "Folk Tales of the Western Highlands." f "fragments" etc.

X Seventh book of "Temora". See before, p. 321. § "The Book of the Enemy," p. xiii.

324 <i/l History of English Manticism.

English the translation. Mr. Clerk, who reprinted the Highland Society text in 1870* with a literal translation of his authorship on alternate pages and MacPherson's English at the bottom of the page, implicitly believes in the antiquity and authenticity of the Gaelic originals. “MacPherson,” he writes, “has a lot of manuscript and a lot of oral recitation. It is very likely that he reproduced the smaller poems exactly as he found them. He may have made considerable changes to the larger ones when giving them their current form; although I don't think he or any of his assistants added much, even in the way connections were made between the various episodes.

For a reader unfamiliar with Gaelic, comparing MacPherson's English with Mr. Clerk, it certainly seems unlikely that the Gaelic could be merely a translation of the former. The reflection in a mirror cannot be brighter than the object it reflects; and if Mr. Clerk can be trusted (it seems more literal, though less rhetorical than MacPherson's), Gaelic is often concrete and high-pitched where MacPherson is general; often plain where figured or ornamented; and sometimes of a very different meaning from the translation of it. Take, for example B. the final passage of the second "Duan" or book of "*Fingal".

    • An arrow struck his manly chest. He is sleeping

with his beloved Galbina to the sound of the lapping of the waves. The sailor sees their green graves when he leaps over the northern waves." -MacPherson.

  • See before, p. 313, note

Ossian. 325

"A merciless arrow struck your chest. Your sleep is by your side, Galbina, Where the wind fights the sea.


But then again, Mr. Archibald Sinclair, a Glasgow publisher, of whom Mr. Campbell gives a letter in his Tales of the West Highlands, 'does not hesitate to assert that a considerable part of the Gaelic is so original published in his [MacPherson's] translation, it is actually translated from the English." And Professor Sullivan says: " The so-called originals are a very curious kind of mosaic, evidently constructed long after the fact, in which sentences or parts of sentences from genuine poems are combined into one cemented with MacPherson's own much inferior word paste." *

It is clear that it is no longer possible to maintain what Mr. Campbell describes it as the most common English opinion, namely that MacPherson invented the characters and events of his Ossian and that the poems did not exist at all previously. The evidence is overwhelming that there were traditions, stories and poems popularly attributed to Oisin, son of Finn Mac-Cumhail, both in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands. But no poem has been found that exactly corresponds to a single piece in MacPherson; and Sullivan cites as proof of the modern and false character of these versions, that they mix names from the ancient hero cycle, like Darthula, CuthuUin, and Conlach, with names belonging to him.

  • >'

Encyclopaedia Britannica": "Celtic Literature".

326 A History of English Romanticism.

the Finnish cycle, as never before in the authentic and indisputable remains of Celtic poetry. Between 1760, the date of the MacPherson fragments, and 1807, the date of the Highland Society text, nine hundred lines of Ossianic verse in Gaelic were independently published in the collection of Gillie, 1786, and Stewart, 1804. 1780 Dr Smith published his Ancient Lays , a free translation of Gaelic fragments, which he afterwards (1787) printed under the title Sean Dana took with his; but he made no secret of it, and, in translating the Gaelic on which his paraphrase was based, he let the public see how ancient his "Ancient Songs" really were, and how far they were constructed from his own entire poetic editorial works. .*

Wordsworth's claim about the failure of MacPherson's Ossian to "blend in with the literature of the island" requires some qualification. That it did not enter English literature formatively like Percy's ballads is true and easy to explain. First, it had to be a prose translation of poetry into another language, and therefore could hardly directly influence the verse and diction of English poetry. It could not even act on them as directly as many foreign literatures do; like the old classic literatures, e.g. B. always worked; or like italian

  • For a further representation of the state of "authenticity" issues

see Archibald McNeil's Notes on the Authenticity of Ossian's Poems, 1868; and an article on "Ossian" in Macmillaiis Magazine, XXIV, 1 13-25.

Ossian. 327

and French and German worked at different times; for Gaelic was virtually inaccessible except to a few expert scholars. Whatever its beauty or expressiveness, it was worse than a dead language, for it bore the stigma of barbarism. In its best days, it was never what Germans call a cultural language; and now it was the language of a few thousand peasants and hill-dwellers, and it was rapidly dying out even in its native strongholds.

Whatever effect the Ossianian poems had on the English mind, they must have worked in the clothes MacPherson had given them. And perhaps MacPherson's tumultuous and rhetorical use of prose has a lot to do with evoking the extraordinary enthusiasm with which his"wild paraphrases", as Mr. Campbell calls them,were received by the public. Time was tired of polishing, wit, super-civilization; groped for the coarse, the primitive, the heroic; began to sink into a melancholy mood and a growing admiration for the solitude of the mountains and the cruel past. Suddenly, here was what she'd been waiting for - "an old-time story"; and the solemn dirge of MacPherson's sentences, with the idiosyncrasy of its narration, its repetitions, its lack of transition, suited her cause well. "Men spoke softly and in a cutting dialect for so long," says Leslie Stephen, "that they were easily gratified and easily imposed by an affectation of strong and natural feelings."

The impression was temporary, but it was instantaneous

328 A History of English Romanticism.

diet and powerful. Wordsworth erred in saying that no respected author except Chatterton dared formally imitate Ossian. A generation after the appearance of the "Fragments" we find the young Coleridge alluding to "Ossian" in the preface* to his first collection of poems (1793), which contains two imitations of lines from them, as ecce signum:

"How long will you grow around me, you blue waves of the sea? My abode has not always been in caves,

Nor under the cold tree,” etc. etc. f

In Byron's Hours of Idleness (1807), published when he was still a student at Cambridge, there is a piece of prose based on the episode of Nisus and Euryalus in Envy, entitled The Death of Calmar and Orla - An Imitation "from MacPherson's Ossian."

  • “What shape rises above the rustling clouds? whose dark

Ghosts in the red flow of storms? His voice rolls in thunder. 'Tis Orla, the brown boss of Orthona. . . Adorable were you, blue-eyed son of Morla, &c. After reading several pages of this stuff, one gets the feeling that Byron can do it as well as MacPherson himself; and, indeed, Johnson was not so far off the mark when he said that anyone could do it if he wanted to. Chatterton used Ossianian words in several plays he claimed to have translated from Saxon: "Ethelgar", "Ken-

  • "Cona's sweet voice never sounds so sweet as when she

talks about himself."

t "A Queixa de Ninathoma."

Ossian. 329

rick", "Cerdick" and "Gorthmund"; and in one composition he called the "Godred Crovan" of the Manx dialect, and one in the Old British he entitled "The Heilas". He did not catch the trick as successfully as Byron, as a passage or two from "Kenrick" shows: "Awake, son of Eldulph! You who sleep on the white mountain, with the most beautiful of women; chase no more the dark brown wolf: rise from the mossy shore of the falling waters: let your garments be stained with blood, and the rivers of life stain your belt. . . Cealwulf of the high mountain, seeing the first rays of the morning star, swift as the flying hart, strong as a young oak, fiery as a night wolf, drew his sword; shining like the blue smoke in the valley of Horso: Terrible like the red lightning that erupts from the dark brown clouds, its swift bark cut through the foaming waves like the wind in a storm.

In a note about his Ossian impersonation, Byron said that Mr. Laing had proved Ossian a fraud, but that the merit of MacPherson's work remained, although his diction was at times bombastic and bombastic - the Scottish highland 'Lachin Y Gair' two Ossianian lines in quotation marks –

"Shadows of the dead! Didn't I hear your voices rising in the storm's night breath?"

Byron attached great importance to his early memories of the Highland landscape, which he said prepared him to love the Alps and the 'blue Friuli'

  • For some MS. Byron's notes on an edition of "Ossian", see Phelps'

"English Romantic Movement", S. 153-54.

33*^ A History of English Romanticism.

mountains” and “the Acroceraunian mountains of ancient name”. But Ossian's influence on Byron and his older contemporaries was more subtle than formal imitations, it rang with the tone that echoes through the German Sturm-imd-Drang period, with that impatience of reserve, with that yearning, with demands of the elemental passions. , and that despair when these are disturbed by the arrangements of modern society that we find in Rousseau and in the young Goethe, hence the romantic melancholy, the Byronic turmoil, to use Heine's word, which takes the poet out of the turmoil of social life into desolate places of nature and sometimes to suicide... In this mood, the spirit returned to Ossian's language as an adequate expression of its own vague and stormy sadness.

Homer," writes Werther, "is out of datemy heart for the divine Ossian. To what world does this angelic bard transport me! With him I wander through desolate deserts and terrible wastes; surrounded by cyclones and hurricanes, in the penumbra of the moon, they trace the shadows of our noble ancestors; hear it from mountain heights, mingled with the roar of waves and falls, their plaintive tones stealing from cavernous alcoves; while the brooding monody of a girl in love letting out her farewell sighs over the moss-covered grave of the warrior who idolized her makes up the inarticulate concerto. I follow this silver-haired bard as he wanders through the valley, following in the footsteps of his parents. Oh! no trace remains

Ossian. 33 1

but their graves. Thought of him then hovers over the silver moon as his sinking bars play in the rippling sea; and the memory of past and past actions returns in the mind of the action-hero of times when he boasted of the approach of danger and quarrels permeated his whole body; while the pale orb shone upon his barge laden with his enemy's spoil, illuminating his triumphant return. When I see a sad breast depicted on his face; when I see his heroic greatness sinking into the grave, and he exclaims, looking at the cold grass that is about to fall on him, 'Here the traveler, who sees my worth, will bend his weary steps, and seek the bard that quickens the soul, famous son of Fingal; his foot will tread on my grave, but his eyes will never see me'; At that time, my dear friend, as a famous and chivalrous knight, I could immediately draw my sword; deliver my prince from a long and wearisome existence of languor and pain; and finally thrust the weapon into my own chest so that I may accompany the demigod my hand has freed.”*

In his last conversation with Charlotte, Werther, who was already determined to commit suicide, reads to her that tender passage from Selma's Songs, "in which Armin mourns the loss of his beloved daughter: "Alone at sea - hit the rocks, heard - if my daughter complains. Her screams were frequent and loud. What could her father do? I stayed on the beach all night. I saw them in the weak moonbeam, interrupted by a mutual torrent of tears. "They tracked their likeness

  • "Werther's Leiden", Breve Ixviii.

332 A History of English Romanticism.

own misfortune in this unfortunate story. . . The direct allusion of these words to Werther's situation rushed with all the speed of electric light to the very core of his soul.

It is significant that one of Ossian's most ardent admirers was Chateaubriand, who is credited with inventing modern melancholy and the jungle. Here is a passage from his Genie du Christianisme: “Under a clouded sky, on the shore of that sea whose storms Ossian sang, there is something sublime and sombre in its Gothic architecture. Sitting on a broken altar in the Orkneys, the traveler is amazed at the monotony of these places: sudden mists, valleys where the tombstone stands, streams flowing through wild marshes, a few reddish pines scattered across a bare, snow-stained desert; these are the only objects presented to his sight. The wind circulates among the ruins, and its countless cracks become so many tubes that raise a thousand sighs. Tall grass sways in the openings of the domes, and behind these openings you can see the fluttering clouds and the soaring white-tailed eagle. . . For a long time these four stones marking the tombs of heroes in the marshes of Caledonia will long continue to attract the contemplative traveller. Oscar and Malvina are gone, but nothing changes in their lonely country. It is no longer the bard's own hand that plays the harp; the notes we hear are the slight tremor of the strings produced by the touch of a spirit as it announces a hero's death in a lonely chamber at night. . . So when he sits in the valley in the midday stillness

  • "Caledonia, or Ancient Scotland", Book II. Chapter VII patient

Ossian. 333

Its winds are the mountain's roar to Ossian's ears: the storm often drowns it in its course, but the sweet tone returns."

Of course, in Byron's passion for night and storm, for desert and mountains and sea, it is impossible to say how much is owed directly to MacPherson's "Ossian" or, more remotely, through Chateaubriand and other heirs of Ossian. humor. The influence of a given book disperses and mixes with a hundred currents that are in the air. But I think there is often an Ossian feel to reading passages like the famous apostrophe to the ocean in **Childe Harold"—

"Roll, you deep, dark blue ocean, roll!"

this is reminiscent of Carthon's speech in the sun—"Thou who rollest round, round as my fathers' shield"—perhaps the most banal locus classicus in the whole work; or as the beginning of a line:

"Would that the desert were my dwelling;"*

or the description of the storm in the Jura:

"And this is the night: glorious night, I was not sent to sleep. *

Walter Scott did, when he was a boy, through Dr. Blacklock met Ossian and was at first delighted; but "the tasteless repetitions of Ossenic phraseology", he admits, "disgusted me

  • c

Childe Harold”, third canto.

334 ^ History of English Romanticism.

sooner than one might expect at my age.” He later contributed an essay on the authenticity of the poems to meetings of the Speculative Club of Edinburgh. In one sense Scott was the most romantic of all romantics, but in another he was very unromantic in that sense, and there was not much in his wholesome, cheerful, resilient nature that poetry like Ossian could cling to, and the tendencies Romanticism these actions Carlyle called "Wertherism" and "Gotzism": i.e., sentimentality and the Middle Ages, though so mild a word as sentimentality does not adequately express the morbid despair which corresponded to "Werther's expression, and has associations with works by a very different kind of nature, like the Richardson and Stars novels. In England, Scott became the most important exponent of "Gotzism" and Byron of "Wertherism". The pessimistic, smug heroes of Manfred, Childe Harold, and The Corsair were the latest additions to the literature of II Pensaroso, and their melodramatic excesses already foreshadowed a backlash.

Among other testimonies to Ossian's popularity in England are the numerous attempts to versify MacPherson's prose. These were not very successful and only a few of them will be mentioned here. Rev. John Wodrow, a Scottish minister,

  • The same goes for Burns, although there are references to Cuthullin's dog.

Ich Luath in The Twa Dogs to Caric-thura in The Whistle and Cath-Loda in The Vision notes show that Burns knew his Ossian.

f Do "Gotz von Berlichingen" de Goethe.

Ost'an. 335

"I Tried" Carthon, "The Death of Cuthullin" and "Darthula" in Heroic Executions 1769 and "Fingal" 1771. In the preface to hisFingal",he asserted that there was no reasonable doubt as to the antiquity and authenticity of MacPherson's Ossian. 'Fingal' - which seems to have been a favorite - was again turned into heroic couplets by Ewen Cameron in 1776, preceded by several acknowledgments from Highland lords of the authenticity of the originals; and through an argumentative introduction in which the author Dr. Blair's maxim quotes that Ossian equals Homer and Virgil "in power of imagination, in grandeur of feeling, and innate majesty of passion". National pride brought most Scottish scholars to the affirmative side of the issue, making Ossian's authenticity almost an article of faith. Wodrow's exploits were merely respectable. Cameron's quality can be guessed from half a dozen lines:

"When Moran, charged with exploring the distant seas, came running from the shore crying, 'Cuthullin, arise! The snow-covered ships of Lochlin hide the undulating depths. Enemies innumerable are invading the land and Swaran seems determined to succeed. ' "

Whatever impression MacPherson's lilting prose possessed is lost on these metrical versions, which provide a perfect absurd reduction of the critical madness Ossian compared to Homer. Homer could not be put into a dress that did not show the beauty and interest of the original. Again, 1786,Fingal" was made

33^ A History of English Romanticism.

Heroic deeds of a Mr. R. Hole, who varied his time signatures with occasional ballad lines, thus:

"But many masses will melt in pain at your gentle exertion in the coming days, and many men's breasts will glow to match your sublime lies."

These versions were all broadcast in Scotland. But still in 1814 "Fingal" appeared again in verse, this time in London, and in a variety of meters by Mr. George Harvey; who in his preface expressed the hope that Walter Scott would feel compelled to cast Ossian in the form of a metrical novel, like Marmion or The Lay of the Last Minstrel. The best English poem after MacPherson is The Six Bards of Ossian Versified by Sir Egerton Brydges (dated 1784). ' in the original 'Fragments'. Six bards, gathered in a chieftain's hall on an October night, go out one by one to observe the weather and return to report their observations, each ending with the refrain: "Welcome me out of the night, my friends." The entire episode is uniquely compelling and carries a conviction in reality often lacking in the epic parts of MacPherson's collection.

Walpole was at first almost as enthralled by the "fragments" as Gray. He wrote to Dalrymple that they were real poetry, natural poetry, like the poetry of the East. He especially liked them

  • See Poems by Saml. Egerton Brydges”, 4th ed., London, 1807.

S. 87-96.

f Ver ante, p. 117

Ossian. 337

Synonymous with echo - "son of the rock"; and in a later letter he said that any doubts he might have had as to its authenticity had disappeared. But Walpole's literary judgments were notoriously capricious. In his subsequent correspondence with Mason and others, he was very dismissive of MacPherson's "cold skeleton of an epic poem, frailer than 'Leonidas'". become; but Mrs. Montagu - the founder of the Blue Stocking Club - "still keeps her feast of clams in her feathered wardrobe".

Celtic Homer were received even more warmly abroad than at home. It has been translated into French*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish and possibly other languages. Bonaparte was a great lover of Ossian and carried a copy of Cesarotti's Italian version with him. A resemblance has been imagined between MacPherson's manner and the grand style of the Bulletins and Dispatches of Bonaparte, F. In Germany, of course, Ossian was the most widely accepted. It was translated into hexameters by a Viennese Jesuit named Michael Denis J. and produced many imitations. In his "Stimmen der Volker" (1778/79) Herder gave three translations of "Ossian" and prefaced the entire collection with an essay

  • There were French translations by Letourneur in 1777 and 1810:

by Lacaussade in 1842; and an imitation of Baour-Lormian in 1801.

f Siehe Perrys „Literatura do Século XVIII“, p. 417

X This translator is believed to be of Irish descent. He was born in 1729 in Scharding, Bavaria.

338 A History of English Romanticism.

    • About Ossian and the Songs of the Ancient People".

1773. Schiller was one of the converts; Klopstock and his circle called themselvesbards" and aExclamations and violent manners came into fashion, known in the history of German literature as the bard's roar. MacPherson's personal history need not be detailed here. In 1764 he went to Pensacola as secretary to Governor Johnston. He was later a government pamphleteer, writing against Junius and for taxation of the American colonies. He was appointed agent of the nabob of Arcot; he sat in Parliament for the Borough of Camelford, and built an imposing Italianate villa in his native parish; died in 1796, left a large fortune and was buried in Westminster Abbey. In 1773 he was rash enough to translate the "Iliad" into Ossean prose. The translation was ridiculed and probably did much to fuel the growing disbelief in the authenticity of "Fingal" and "Temora".


ttbomas Cbatterton.

The History of English Romanticism Has Its Tragedy: The Life and Death of Thomas Chatterton -

"The wonderful boy, The sleepless soul perished in his pride", *

The story has been told often enough, but it can be told again here; for, in addition to its dramatic interest and the undoubted absolute value of Rowley's poems, it is very instructive as to the conditions which brought about the Romantic revival. It shows the process by which the antique became poetry.

The setting of the story was the ancient city of Bristol - Old Saxon Bricgestowe, "place of the bridge" - bridge, i.e. over the River Avon, not far above its confluence with the Severn. Here Chatterton was born in 1752, the posthumous son of an absent-minded schoolmaster whose ancestors had been sextons at St Mary Redcliffe for one hundred and fifty consecutive years. Perhaps it is more than a vain fancy to attribute to heredity the inclination which Chatterton's genius took spontaneously and almost from childhood; suspect that some mysterious prenatal influence -hit the trams

  • Wordsworth, "Determination and Independence".


34° A History of English Romanticism.

Chain to which we are obscurely connected" - may have set up vibrant links of unconscious associations going back through the ages. At any rate, Chatterton was a son of Redcliffe Church. St. Mary stood by his cradle and rocked him; and unless he inherited with his blood, or drew from his mother's milk a veneration for his ancient fate; at least the water of his baptismal font seemed to have signed with the mark of his service "Castle of Otranto" was written on Strawberry Hill, Rowley's poems were born in the Church of Santa Maria.

Chatterton's father had not made it to the sexton, but he was a choirboy at Bristol Cathedral, and his home and school in Pile Street was just a few yards from Redcliffe Church. In this house Chatterton was born almost under the sanctuary roof; and when her mother soon afterwards moved to another house, where she supported herself by running a little ladies' school and doing needlework, it was still at Redcliffe Hill and in the vicinity of St. Louis. Mary's. The church itself - "the pride of Bristowe and the western country" - is described asone of the finest parish churches in England", fa rich specimen of the late Gothic or "ornate" style; its construction or restoration from the mid-15th century onwards. Chatterton's uncle by marriage, Richard Phillips, became a sexton in 1748 and the boy was in charge of the aisles and transepts. O

  • January 1, 1753.

f „The Poetic Works of Thos. Chatterton. With an essay on Rowley's poems by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat and an Edward Bell Memoir”; in zwei banden. London, 1871, Band, I.p. xv.

Thomas Chatterton. 341

Stone figures of knights, priests, magistrates, and other ancient dignitaries of the city came to life under his intense and brooding imagination; his thoughts colored by the red and blue patterns that the stained glass windows projected onto the sidewalk; and he may have spelled much of what little Latin he knew of "the chivalrous bronzes of the graves" and "the cold jackets of the dead."

It is remarkable how early his education was self-determined for his peculiar purposes. A dreamy, quiet and lonely child, prone to bad tempers, he was considered boring and even stupid. He was unwilling or unable to learn the lyrics until he was seven and noticed the shiny capitals on an old sheet of music. From these, his mother taught him the alphabet and, a little later, he learned to read a black Bible. "Draw me an angel with wings and a trumpet," he replied when asked what he would choose for the small earthenware bowl he had been promised as a gift.* Colston's Hospital, where he studied, was on the site of a monastery. Carmelite in ruins; The scholars wore blue robes with metal breastplates engraved with the image of a dolphin, the founder's coat of arms, and had their hair cut short, imitating the monastic tonsure. As the boy grew into a young man, his intimate acquaintances included, in addition to the winegrowers, confectioners, pipe-makers, apothecaries and other artisans of Bristol's bourgeoisie, two church organists, a miniaturist and a coat-of-arms engraver -

  • Willcox edition of Chattertous Poetical Works, Cambridge,

1842, Ed. I p. xxi.

342 A History of English Romanticism.

Characters that strangely resemble that mixture of urban life and ecclesiastical-medieval art reproduced in Rowley's poems.

"Chatterton", testifies one of his early acquaintances, was fond of walking in the fields, especially at Redcliffe Meadows, and would talk of his manuscripts and sometimes read them there. At one point, clearly visible from the church, he seemed to have a special joy. He used to lie and stare at the church, appearing entranced. Then all of a sudden he said to me: 'This church tower was set on fire by lightning: it was the place where they used to play pranks.' "Among his early studies," we are told, "antiquities, and especially the surroundings of mediaeval life, were a favorite subjects; heraldry in particular seems to have fascinated him. He stocked up on coal, black lead, ochre, and other colors; and it was his pleasure to sketch in crude and curious figures with these churches, castles, tombs of armored warriors, heraldic coats of arms, and other similar possessions of the old world.”*

Is there not an air of monasticism about all this, reminiscent of the martyred child in Chaucer's Tale of the Prioresse, the "little clergyman at the age of seven"?

"This little child was learning his little book. When he sat beside his henchmen at school, he sang the herd 'Alma redemptoris', while the children learned his antiphon."

A cathedral-raised choirboy closes in, glimpsing the sky not through green boughs but

  • "Memoirs of Edward Bell", p. xxiv.

Thomas Cbatterton. 343

by the treetops of the Episcopal Gardens tinted by the lancet windows of the light floors; dreaming in the organ gallery during the music's intervals,


“The chorus girls sit with crooked faces. Feel the stillness to enshrine more than the music.”

This was how Chatterton's sensitive genius took the impression of his surroundings. As he pondered over the antiques of his hometown, his sense of life sweetly crept into his study of imagination; and he gradually built up a picture of fifteenth-century Bristol, including a group of figures, part historical, part fabulous, all centering on the Master William Canynge. Canynge was the wealthy Bristol merchant who founded or restored St Mary Redcliffe's; he was under Henry VI. several times mayor of the city. and Edward IV, and has represented the district in Parliament. Chatterton found out or said that he eventually took Holy Orders and became Dean of Westbury College. About Canynge Chatterton organized a series of Dramatis Personce, some of whose names he discovered in old records and documents, as Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, and Sir Theobald Gorges, a knight of Wraxhall, near Bristol; along with others wholly invented by him - such as John a Iscam, whom he describes as a Canon of St. Augustine's Abbey, Bristol; and especially Thomas Rowley, vicar of St. John's, who was hired by Canynge to collect manuscripts and antiquities. He was her poet prince and confessor, and Chatterton has attributed to him most of the lines known by the common name of Rowley's poems. But Iscam was also a poet and

344 ^ History of English Romanticism.

Master Canynge himself sometimes broke into song. Samples from the Muse of Iscam and Canynge add to the collection. The great merchant of Bristol was a medieval Mscenas, and in his house, 'nempned the Red Lodge', interludes were played - 'Aella', 'Goddwyn' and 'The Parliament of Sprites' - composed either by Rowley or in collaboration with Rowley and Bait. Canynge sometimes wrote the prologues; and Rowley fed his Patronus with smooth dedication and supplemental lines: "On Our Lady's Church", "Letter to the Dygne Master Canynge", "The Account of W. Canynges Feast", etc. The well known 15th century poet Lydgate is also known as John Ladgate introduced to this literary cenacle and obliged to exchange verse-letters with Rowley in 18th century style. Such is the remarkable fiction that the prodigy constructed, as scaffolding for the fabric of pseudo-ancient poetry and prose that he constructed in the years 1767-1770, /. H. from fifteen to eighteen years of age.

There is a great distance between the achievements of this illiterate boy, of humble origins and few means, and the works of the great Sir Waiter, with his mature powers and stocks of solid antiquarian tradition. But the impulse that carried them to their no different tasks was the same. In "Yarrow Revisited", Wordsworth uses the phrase "localized novel", borrowed from Scott. Indeed, it was Scott's strong sense of locality, his patriotism, his family pride, his connection to the land that brought passion and poetry to his historic endeavors. With Chatterton too, this preoccupation with the past drew its intensity from his love of the place.

Thomas Chatterton. 345

Bristol was her world; in "The Battle of Hastings" he did not forget to introduce a Bristowan contingent, led by a certain fabulous Alfwold, who performed wonders of gallantry against the Normans, a poor and feeble simulacrum compared to the Scotts. He lacked knowledge, leisure, friends, longevity—everything needed to solidify his work. All he had was a creative if undisciplined imagination, along with an incredible level of diligence, persistence and discretion. But for all its faults, his work, with all its imperfections, is far more remarkable than the imitative verse of the Wartons or the thin, muddled medievalism of Walpole and Clara Reeve. It is the product of a more original mind and intense imagination.

In the munitions room above the north portico of St. Mary Redcliffe's were several old trunks full of parchment: architectural memos, church bills, director's reports, vestments inventories, and similar religious documents. One of these chests, known as Master Canynge's Chest, was broken into a few years ago and anything of value was taken to safety. The rest of the parchments were scattered about, and Chatterton's father had taken some home and used them to bind notebooks. The boy's attention was drawn to those yellow sheepskins with their ancient writing; he appropriated them and kept them locked in his room.

How soon he came up with the idea of ​​blaming this treasure for the myth of Rowley that was beginning to take shape in his mind is uncertain.

346 A History of English Romanticism.

According to a schoolmate named Thistlethwaite, Chatterton told him in the summer of 1764 that he had several ancient manuscripts which had been found in a chest at Redcliffe Church and that he had lent one of them to Thomas Philips, a porter at Colston's. Hospital. Thistlethwaite says Philips showed him this manuscript, a piece of parchment, trimmed at the edges, on which was written, in pale yellow handwriting as if faded by time, a poem which he thought was identical with "Elinoure and Juga" and later published by Chatterton in the Town and Country Magazine of May 1769. One tends to be suspicious of this evidence. The Castle of Otranto was first published in December 1764 and the Relics only the following year. Chatterton was certainly aware of the latter; many of Rowley's poems, "The Bristowe Tragedie", eg. B. and the minstrel songs on "Aella" show ballad influence*; though it does not seem improbable that Chatterton was led to hint at the disguise - slight though it was - which Walpole adopted in the preface to his novel, f. But perhaps that was not necessary for Chatterton to suggest that the safest way to attribute attention to his poetry would be to attribute it to a fictional bard of the Middle Ages. It was Counterfeit Day; the Ossian controversy raged and the wave of popular favor

  • See ("Battle of Hastings", i. xx)

"The gray goose pinion that was placed on it, Eftsoons with steaming crimson blood was wet"

with lines from "Chevy Chase" {ante, p. 295). However, prior to the release of The Reliques, the ballad was widely publicized. f See ante, p. 237.

Thomas Chatterton. 347

heavily based on antiquity. A series of overt imitations of old English poetry, clever as they were, would have met with little success. But the discovery of a hitherto unknown 15th-century poet was an announcement that would certainly interest scholars and perhaps most readers. Also, cases are not uncommon when a writer did his best work under a mask. The poems, written by Chatterton in the guise of Rowley – a dramatically imagined persona behind which he has lost his own identity – are full of a strange attraction; while its recognized parts are nothing. It is not worth going into the moral aspects of this kind of deception. The issue is more one of literary method than of ethics. If the writer, through the skill of his imitations and the ingenuity of the evidence he brings to support them, succeeds in really imposing something on the audience for a while, success justifies the attempt. The artist's aim is to create a certain impression, and the choice of means must be left to him.

- In the summer of 1764, Chatterton was barely twelve years old, and wonderful as his precocity was, it is doubtful whether he had progressed as far in the development of the Rowley legend as the story of Thistlethwaite would suggest. But it is certain that three years later, in the spring of 1767, Chatterton presented Mr. Mary's Church and tended to him with two notebooks in which "de Bergham's" family tree was copied along with three poems in pseudo-antique handwriting. One of them, "The

34^ A History of English Romanticism.

Tournament' described a tournament in which a certain Sir Johan de Berghamme appeared, a supposed ancestor of the contented pewter. who spent all his life with inclination", but still found time to write several books and to "translate part of the Iliad under the title 'Romance of Troy'. "

All this material was greedily swallowed by Burgum, and the wonderful boy began to deceive Mr. William Barrett, a surgeon and antiquarian, who was busy writing a history of Bristol. To him he furnished copies of alleged documents in the mint room of Redcliffe Church: "Of the Auntiaunte Forme of Monies" and the like: deeds, bills, letters, inscriptions, proclamations, accounts of churches and other buildings collected by Rowley for his patron Canynge: many of them included this uniquely uncritical historian in their History of Bristol, published some twenty years later. He also shared with Barrett two poems by Rowlean, "The Parliament of Sprites" and "The Battle of Hastings" (in two very different versions). In September 1768 a new bridge over the Avon was opened at Bristol; and Chatterton, who had now been apprenticed to a barrister, took the opportunity of sending anonymously to the printers of Farley's Bristol Journal a description of the mayor's first passage over the old bridge in the reign of Henry II. This was written in old-fashioned language and supposedly copied from a contemporary manuscript. It was the first publication of Chatterton's inventions. In 1768-69 he produced and presented to Mr. George

Thomas Chatterton. 349

Catcott the long tragic interlude "Aella",OBristowe Tragedie' and other shorter pieces, all of which he said were copies of manuscripts in the Canynge chest, and the work of Thomas Rowley, a lay priest from Bristol who flourished around 1460. Catcott was a local book collector and partner of Mr. Burgum, later nicknamed 'Rowley's Midwife'.

In December 1768 Chatterton opened a correspondence with James Dodsley, the London publisher, in which he said he had found several ancient poems, of which he offered to provide copies if they would send a guinea to defray the cost. He included a copy of "^lla". "The motive that moves me," he wrote, "is to persuade the world that the monks (some of whom hold such low opinions) were not such fools as is commonly supposed, and that good poetry could be written in the darkest days of superstition. , as well as in these more enlightened ages", Dodsley paid no attention to the letters, and the owner of Rowley's manuscripts turned to Horace Walpole, whose tastes were virtuous, a lover of the Gothic and a romantic. be invoked to pique your curiosity about Chatterton's discovery. The document he prepared for Walpole was a prose article entitled 'The Ryse of Peyncteynge yn Englande, written by T. Rowleie, 1469, for Master Canynge', which contained, among other things, the following extraordinary "anecdote in painting": concerning Affiem, an Anglo-Saxon glass dyer of Edmond's reign who was captured by the Danes. “Inkarde, a soldier of the Danes, was to kill Hym; in Nete, before the Feast of Death, he formed AfHem to be his brother.

35° ^ History of English Romanticism.

Affrighte chaynede uppe hys soule. Gastnesse resided in her chest. Oscarre the great Dane gave the best hee shulde bee forsaggene with the Commeynge Sunne: no tears; Tomorrow's Cladde yn Roabes of Ghastness had arrived when Danique Kynge implored Oscarre to summon his Knyghtes Eftsoones to Warre. Afflem was put into his fiery battles, saw his country go into hiding with enemies, had his wife and children taken captive to his coy, and was deieynge with the soorowe when the roaring blue-hued wynde launched the battle against a stern. Because of the embolleynge waves, he saw his Broder, Wyfe, and Chyldrenne unite with Death: self was cast into a Bankeynne, on the Isle of Wyghte, to live his life forgard an alle Emmoise: so moche for Afflem." *

Attached to this paper were notes explaining strange words and containing brief biographical sketches of Canynge, Rowley and other imaginary characters such as John, 2nd Abbot of St Austin Minster, who was the first English oil painter and also the greatest poet of his day. "Take a sample of his poetry, *On King Richard I.":

'" Harte von Lyone! Swing your sword,

Bare thie mortheynge steinede honde,' etc."

The whole thing was included in a brief note to Walpole,

what happened like this:

  • Walter Scott cites this passage in his review of Southey and

Cottle's edition of Chatterton in the Edinburgh Review, April 1804, and comments: 'While Chatterton wrote plain tales, he imitated with considerable success the dry and concise style of an ancient chronicler; sentimentally he rode the deadly and easily recognizable car of Fingal's son.

Tom Chatter. 351

"Sir, being somewhat acquainted with antiquities, I found several curious manuscripts, among which the following may be of use to you in a future edition of your truly amusing Anecdotes of Painting.* By correcting the errors (if any) in the comments , you will be very helpful

"Your most humble servant,

"Thomas Chatterton."

Walpole responded politely, thanking his correspondent for what he had sent and his offer to pass on his manuscripts, but declined any opportunity to correct Chatterton's notes. "I am not fortunate enough to understand the Saxon language and without your scholarly notes I could not have understood Rowley's text." He asks where to find Rowley's poems, offers to have them printed, and declares Abbot John's verse "wonderful for its harmony and spirit." This encouragement evoked a second letter from Chatterton, with a longer and longer passage from the 'Historic of Peyncteynge yn Englande', including translations into Rowley's dialect of passages by two mythical Saxon poets: Ecca, Bishop of Hereford, and Elmar, Bishop of Selsei, "fetyve yn Workes of ghastlienesse", as ecce signuni:

"New maie alle Helle aberto para golpear-te downe" etc.

But by this time, Walpole had begun to suspect fraud. He had been involved in Ossian's business recently and, as a result, became suspicious. More-

  • Publication started 1761: 2nd edition 1768. Chatterton's letter was

of March 25th [1769]-

352 <v^ History of English ^Novel.

past, Chatterton had been careless enough to show his hand in his second card (March 30th). "He informed me," said Walpole in his history of the case, "that he was the son of a poor widow ... that he was a clerk or apprentice to a barrister, but fond of more elegant studies; and he indicated a desire that I should assist him in my interest in getting out of so boring a profession by getting him a job. In the meantime, Walpole showed the manuscripts to his friends Gray and Mason, who were suspicious of their own erudition, immediately denouncing them as modern forgeries, and recommending that he return them without But Walpole, good-naturedly considering that it was "no serious crime in a young bard to have forged false manuscripts, which were to circulate only in the parish of Parnassus," wrote his brilliant correspondent a letter of well-meaning advice, He advised him to stick to his profession, saying that he "communicated his transcripts to far better judges and that they were by no means satisfied with the authenticity of his supposed manuscripts". Chatterton then wrote asking for his manuscripts, and after some delay - Walpole had been absent from Paris for several months - they were returned to him.

In 1769, Chatterton began writing several articles in prose and verse for the London Town and Country Magazine. Among them appeared the eclogue of "Elinoure and Juga", the only one of Rowley's poems to be printed during its author's lifetime. He now turned his pen to the service of politics and sided with Wilkes and Wilkes

  • Ver atite^ p. 346


Thomas Chatterton. 353

Freedom. In April 1770 he left Bristol for London and embarked on the perilous fate of a literary career. Most tragic is the story of the poor friendless boy who struggles with fate over the coming months. He scribbled incessantly across papers and received little or no salary. Hunger confronted him; he was too proud to ask for help, and on the 24th of August he took poison and died aged seventeen years and nine months.

We have nothing to do here with Chatterton's recognized writings; they include Churchill-style satires, Junius-style political epistles, abortions, lampoons, epics, elegies, "African Eclogues", a comic burletta, "The Revenge" - set in Marylebone Gardens shortly after his death - with essays and sketches in the style popularized by the Spectator and Rambler: The Adventures of a Star, The Memoirs of a Sad Dog, and the like. They show an early prudence, but they are of no value or interest today. From Chatterton's letters and anthologies one gets an unpleasant impression of his character. There is not just a frenzy of premature maturity that one detects in Keats' correspondence; and the defiant arrogance, affectation of malice and knowledge found in young Byron, suited to accompany the tempestuous outburst of irregular genius in the world; but there are things which imply a more radical unscrupulousness. But it would be difficult to foist such impressions on someone who was little more than a boy when he died and whose short career fought cold odds to the bitter end. The best traits of Chatterton's character

354 c^ History of English Manticism.

seem to have been their proud spirit of independence and warm family affection.

The death of an obscure mercenary like young Chatterton made little noise at first. But gradually rumors arose in London's literary cliques that manuscripts of an interesting kind existed in Bristol, pretending to be copies of old English poems; and that their discoverer or creator was the unfortunate boy who was recently taken arsenic to prevent a slower hunger. In April 1771, Walpole first heard of the fate of his supposed protégé. 'During a dinner party,' he says, 'at the Royal Academy, Dr. Johnson, who was present, laughed, soon discovered that this was my friend Chatterton's trouvaille, and I said that Dr. He brought the great discovery to the scholarly world. You may imagine, sir, that we were not all agreed on the extent of our belief, but though his credulity distracted me, my mirth was soon shattered, for when he asked me about Chatterton, he told me that he had been to London and had self-destruct".

With the exception of the aforementioned Elinor and Juga, Rowley's poems have not yet been published. The manuscripts, in Chatterton's hand, belonged largely to Barrett and Catcott. They pretended to be copies of Rowley's originals; but of these supposed originals, the only specimens produced by Chatterton were some pieces of parchment.

Tom Chatter. 355

in one case it contains the first thirty-four lines of the poem entitled "The Story of William Canynge"; in another, a prose account of a "Symonne de Byrtonne", and in still others the entirety of the short verses.Song to Aella” e “The Account of W.Canynge Party.” These pieces of parchment are described as being about six inches square, stained with brown glue or varnish, or stained with ocher stains to give them an aged appearance. Thomas Warton had seen one of these and referred to it as a clumsy forgery; the typeface is not 15th century but unmistakably modern. Southey describes another as being written largely in a barrister's catchy hand. Mr. Skeat cannot find the slightest indication that Chatterton has ever seen MS. starting date; on the contrary, he never uses the usual contractions, and was exclusively addicted to the capital letters used in ancient MSS. are quite scarce."

Boswell relates how he and Johnson went to Bristol in April 1776, "where I saw him talking about him inquiring on the spot about the authenticity of Rowley's poems, as I saw him inquiring on the spot about the authenticity of Ossian's poems. Johnson said on Chatterton: 'This is the most extraordinary young man I know. It's wonderful how the little dog wrote things like that.'"

In 1777, seven years after Chatterton's death, Rowley's poems were collected and published for the first time by Thomas Tyrwhitt, editor of the Chaucerians, who gave in an appendix his reasons for believing that Chatterton was their true author and Rowley a myth. *

  • "The poems are said to have been written in Bristol by Thomas

Rowley and others in the 15th century. most now

35*5 c^ History of English Mantic.

These reasons convince all modern scholars. Tyrwhitt's opinion was shared by all the relevant authorities at the time - including Gray, Thomas Warton and Malone, the editor of the Va?-torum Shakspere. However, a controversy arose around Rowley, only less lively than the Ossian controversy which had been going on since the 1760s. Rowley's most prominent defenders were the Rev. doctor Symmes, writing in the London Review; Rev Dr. Sherwin in Gentleman's Magazine; Dr Jacob Bryant* and Jeremiah Milles, D.D., Dean of Exeter, who published a splendid quarto edition of the poems in 1782.1 These defenders of Rowley belonged to the class of amateur scholars that Edgar Poe used to describe as "learned old clergymen." the usual classical education of Oxford and Cambridge graduates, but no precise knowledge of old English literature. They had Mr. Pickwick and the credulity - the great easy swallowing - that seems to accompany the clerical-antiquarian spirit.

Nothing is dead like a dead controversy; and unlike Ossian's puzzle, which was a tough nut to crack, this Rowley controversy has actually been resolved.

First published from the most authentic specimens, with recorded specimens from one of the MSS. There is also a preface, an introduction to the individual parts, and a glossary. London: Printed for T. Payne & Son at Mews Gate. MDCCLXXVII."

"* Observations on the Poems of Thomas Rowley", 2 vols. 1781.

“f Poems said to have been written in Bristol in the fifteenth century by Thomas Rowley, Priest, etc. With a comment that considers and defends its age.”

Thomas Chatterton. 357

the beginning. It is not essential for our purpose to give a long history of it. The evidence on which Rowley's supporters relied was mainly external: personal testimony, and particularly the antecedent improbability that a boy of Chatterton's age and imperfect upbringing could have fostered such an elaborate frame of deception; along with the inferiority of his acknowledged writings to the poetry he attributed to Rowley. But Tyrwhitt was a scholar of uncommon meticulousness and insight; and having a special familiarity with Old English, he was able to bring to the decision of the question evidence of an internal nature, which became the more convincing the more knowledge he needed to understand his argument; /. that is, as the number of readers who knew something of Old English poetry increased. Indeed, it was only the general ignorance of Middle English spelling, inflection, vocabulary, and verse singing that made the controversy possible.

Tyrwhitt pointed out that the Rowleian dialect was not the English of the fifteenth century, or any century, but a grotesque mishmash of archaic words from very different times and dialects. The spelling and grammatical forms could not be found in any old English poet known to the student of literature. The fact that Rowley constantly uses the possessive pronoun forms itts instead of it; or the other fact that he used the endings en in the singular of the verb was enough to dismiss the poems as spurious. Tyrwhitt also showed that the syntax, diction, idioms and stanza forms were modern; that if modern words replaced ancient ones everywhere, and

358 z/l History of English Omantism.

modernized, the verse would read like an eighteenth-century work. “If anyone,” says Scott in his review of the Southey and Cottle edition, “resist the internal evidence of the style of Rowley's poetry, we cordially invite him to continue the remainder of the argument; to his belief that the Saxons imported heraldry and gave coats of arms (which were not known until the time of the Crusades); that in the reign of Edward IV Mr. Robert [sic] Canynge encouraged drawing and had private theater productions. In this article, Scott points out a curious error by Chatterton that has become historic despite being only one in a thousand. In describing the cook in the general prologue of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer wrote:

"But it was bad, as I thought, That he had a deadly hadde in his Schyne, For Blankmanger he did with the best."

Mormal in this passage means a cancerous sore, and blajikmanger is a specific dish or confection - the modern blancmajige. But a confused recollection of the whole was in Chatterton's mind, as among the pieces of paper and parchment, which he covered with imitations of ancient writing, and which are now in the British Museum, - "The Yellow Roll", "The Purple Roll." ' etc. - he inserted the following heading into 'The Scrolls of St. Bartholomew's Priory', which were purported to be ancient medicinal prescriptions: 'The cure of mormalles and watery leprosy; the role of the black butler”; Turn Chaucer's innocent white mangers into some kind of imaginary black scab.

Skeat believes that Chatterton read very little about Chaucer, probably only a small part of the

Tom Chatter. 359

Access the "Canterbury Tales". 'If he had really bothered,' he thinks, 'to read and study Chaucer or Lydgate or any ancient author before Spenser's age, Rowley's poems would have been very different. They would then bear some resemblance to the language of the 15th century, being more different from that language than any other. The spelling of the words is often very late or very bizarre, while many of the words themselves are very archaic or very ancient and unusual. "* But this internal evidence, so satisfactory to Scott, was so unconvincing to Chatterton's contemporaries that Tyrwhitt felt compelled to publish a "Vindication" of his followers in 1782; and Thomas Warton in the same year published an "Inquiry", in which he reached virtually the same conclusions as Tyrwhitt. However, Warton devoted the twenty-sixth section of the second volume of his 'History of English Poetry' (1778) to a review of Rowley's poems, on the grounds that 'they were to be real by many reputable critics, it was his duty to give them a place in this series": a curious testament to the public's uncertainty about the subject and a half-assed admission that the poems might turn out to be genuine, f

Tyrwhitt has sufficiently proved that Chatterton wrote Rowley's poems, but it fell to Mr. Skeat show how he wrote them. The modus operandi \idiS dibo\^t S.S follows: Chatterton made for the first time,

  • " Essay on Rowley's Poems: " Chatterton's Skeats Edition

Poetic Works", Vol. II. p. xxvii.

f For a bibliography of the Rowley controversy, see the article on Chatterton in the Dictionary of National Biography.

360 <i/l History of English ^Novel.

prepared a handwritten glossary for his personal use, copying the glossary words in Chaucer's Speght edition and the words marked old in the Bailey and Kersey English dictionaries. He then wrote his poem in modern English and eventually rewrote it, replacing archaic words with their modern equivalents and changing the spelling to an exaggerated imitation of the ancient spelling in Speght's Chaucer. The mistakes he made are telling, as they show how closely he followed his authorities and how little independent knowledge he had of true Old English. To cite a few typical examples of the many in Mr. Skeat: In Kersey's dictionary, the word gare occurs, defined as <*cause.' This is the verb gar, familiar to all readers of Burns*, which means 'to cause' means to make; but Chatterton, taking it for granted, uses it with grotesque imprecision in contexts like these:

"Perhaps then the Gare da Virtude could rhyme": "If in this fight luck deserts our station."

Again, Middle English /lowfe/i (Modern English, Aoot) is defined by Speght as "sacred", t. E. Hello. But Kersey and Bailey spell it wrongoco" andChatterton, inserting it thus into his handwritten list of ancient words, apparently confuses it with the adjective "hollow" and uses it thus in the line:

"Houten are words to say to your deer", i. e., Hollow are words to tell of his deeds.

Again, on a point already mentioned! it is said as

  • "Ah, gentle ladies! He salutes me."

— Tarn o'Shanter. f Ante, pág. 350.

Thomas Chatterton. 3*5 1

o "Wynde hurled the Battayle" - Rowleian por um

small boat - "agaynste in the stern." heck on this and

other passages was a mystery. out of context this

obviously meant "rock", but where did Chatterton come from?

This? Mr. Skeat explains this. Heck is a provincial

word meaning "rack", /. <?., "haystack"; but Kersey

it printed "rock" incorrectly and Chatterton did the same.

A typical example of the type of error that Chatterton

was constantly committing was his understanding of

"Listed, limited" /. e., angular (as in "list" or

fabric edge) to "limited" in the sense of

jimiped and coined the verb "to liss" =


"Here and there the spear whistles its tip."

Every page of Rowley's poems is rich in forms that would have been as alien to a fifteenth-century Englishman as it was to a nineteenth-century Englishman. Adjectives are used for nouns, nouns for verbs, past participles for present infinitives; and uses derivatives and variants that never existed, such as hopelen = hopelessness and others ■=! other. Skeat says that "an analysis of the glossary in the Milles edition shows that the actual Old English words used correctly and occurring in the Rowleian dialect represent only about seven percent of all Old English words used". It is likely that constant use of his handwritten glossary fixed the words in Chatterton's memory and gave him some facility for composing at first hand in this strange jargon. So he uses the archaic words loosely as rhyming words, which he probably wouldn't have done if he hadn't gotten used to thinking in Rowleian terms to some extent.

362 tA History of English Manticism.

In addition to the tragic interest in Chatterton's career, there now arises the question of the mystery surrounding the incubation and genesis of Rowley's poems, and their value as records of a very unusual precocity - what independent value do they have poetry, and how great was their literature. influence? The dust of controversy has long since settled, and what has revealed that it is subsiding? My own belief is that Rowley's poems are of interest primarily as literary curiosities - the work of an infantile phenomenon - and that they are of little importance in themselves or as models and inspirations for later poets. I can't help thinking that many critics have lost their minds on this subject. Malone, E.B. proclaimed Chatterton the greatest genius that England has produced since Shakespeare. Professor Masson permits himself to say, "These old poems of Chatterton are perhaps as worthy of successive reading as many pieces of poetry by Byron, Shelley, or Keats found in these poets."* Mr. Gosse seems to me much closer to To be honest: "Our appreciation of the complete originality of Rowley's poems must be supplemented by remembering the existence of "The Castle of Otranto" and "The Teacher", by the popularity of "Kings" and " Gray's "Odes of Percy" and to revive a taste for Gothic literature and art inherited from Chatterton's childhood. Hence Chatterton's claim as the father of the Romantic school and as an influencer in

  • "Chatterton. A History of the Year 1770" by David Masson,

London, 1874.

Thomas Chatterton. 363

Coleridge and Keats' style, though supported with great skill, seems overworked. Likewise, the positive praise bestowed on Rowley's poems as artistic productions, rich in color and romantic melody, can be dismissed without refusing to recognize these qualities in moderation. In Chatterton there are frequent flashes of brilliance and one or two perfectly sustained plays; but most of his work, when severely isolated from the melodramatic romance of his career, certainly proves to be rather bad reading, the work of a child of sublime genius, no doubt, but evidently a child's work through and through. " *

Let us come a little closer to Rowley's poems as they are in Mr. Skeats, stripped of its pseudo-old spelling and with its language modernized wherever possible; and we shall find, I think, that when examined by absolute standards, they are markedly inferior not only to genuine medieval works, such as Chaucer's poems and English and Scottish ballads, but also to the best modern works conceived in the same spirit: "Christabel." and "The Eve of St. Agnes" and "Jock o' Hazeldean" andSister Helen” and “AHaystack in the Flood.” The longest of Rowley's poems is "Aella," "a tragic enterlude or discoorseynge tragedy" at 147 stanzas, and is widely regarded as Chatterton's masterpiece. f The scene of this tragedy is Bristol and neighboring Watchet

  • "Literature of the 18th century", p. 334

f A recent critic, the Hon. Roden Noel ("Essays on Poetry and Poets", London, 1386), thinks that "'Aella' is a drama worthy of the Elizabethans" (p. 44). "Of the Rowley series" as a whole, "he has no hesitation in saying that it contains some of the finest poetry in our language" (p. 39). The choral "Ode to Liberty" in "Goddwyn" seems to Mr. Noel be the original of a Muchs

364 c/^ History of English Romanticism.

mead; the weather during the Danish invasions. The hero is the steward of Bristol Castle.* While he is away on a victorious campaign against the Danes, his bride Bertha is lured away from home by his treacherous lieutenant Celmond, who is about to rape her in the woods when he is captured by a gang of marauders surprised and killed. Meanwhile, Aella has returned home and, realizing her wife has run away, stabs herself to death. Bertha arrives in time to hear his death speech and give the necessary explanations, whereupon she herself dies in her master's body. It is seen that the plot is melodramatic enough; the sentiments and dialogue are thoroughly modern when translated from Rowleian into English. The verse is a modified form of the Spenserian, a stanza of ten lines which, according to Mr. Skeat, is Chatterton's invention and a remarkable example of his originality.f He responds very well in descriptive passages and soliloquies; not so good at the "discoorseynge" parts. As this is a favorite verse of Chatterton, writing "The Battle of Hastings", "Goddwyn", "English Metamorphosis" and others in the Rowley series, an example from "Aella" may be cited here.

Scene, Bristol. Celmond alone. The world is dark with night; the winds stop, dimly the moon lets its pale light shine; Resurrected goblins fill the silent graveyard,

(Video) Precursors Of Romanticism | Romanticism (Part-1) | Romantic Age

admired passage in "Childe Harold" in which war is personified, "and certainly is more beautiful"!

  • Siehe in Wm. Ilowitts „Houses of Poets“, Bd. I.S. 264-307,

the description of an 1138 drawing of this building made by Chatterton and included in Barrett's History.

■j- For some remarks on Chatterton's metrical originality, see "Ward's English Poets", Vol. III. pp. 400-403. ^

Thomas Chatterton. 365

With elfin fairies joining the dream; The forest shines with silver lemon; Now let my love be satisfied with your piece; On the edge of a fast flowing creek. At the sweet feast, I will eat sweets. This is the house; quick, your asses, come out.

A servant enters. Cel. Go talk straight to Bertha, there's a stranger waiting here.

Rowley's poems include a series of dramatic or quasi-dramatic pieces, 'Goddwyn',The Tournament«, »The Parliamentof Sprites, the narrative poem The Battle of Hastings, and a collection of Eclogues. "The Faerie Queene" (Book II. Canto X. stanzas 5-19) "The Parliament of the Sprites" is an interlude played by Carmelite friars in the house of William Canynge on the occasion of the inauguration of St. Louis. Mary Redchffe. One by one the aiitichi spiriti doletitt rise and salute the new building: Nimrod and the Assyrians, Anglo-Saxon Eldormen and Norman Knights Templar and citizens of old Bristol. Among other things, “Elles Sprite” says:

"If I were cast once more into a mortal frame, To hear the chorus in my ear, To hear Our Lady's masses, To see the fair transepts and arches! By the half-hidden silver glow of the bright moon Dressed with companions misty shades I must content this building, while broken clouds keep the sight holy until, when the nights grow old, I fly the light, oh, if I were man again to make it to see sight!"

  • To view.

366 <tThe History of English Manticism.

Perhaps Rowley's most compelling poems are An Excellent Balade of Charity, written in the Rhyme Royal; and "The Bristowe Tragedie", in the common stanza of the Lay, and said by Tyrwhitt to be based on historical fact: the execution at Bristol in 1461 of Sir Baldwin Fulford, who had fought on the side of the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses. The best quality of Chatterton's verse is its unpredictability - sudden epithets or whole lines, of a wild, unaffected beauty - which goes a long way toward explaining the fascination he exercised for both Coleridge and Keats. I mean ringtones like this:

' 'Once when I was napping at the witching hour. "

"Brown like the hazelnut that falls from the shell."

Mygorge adorned with the Comfree plant."

"Where are you here, the night lark's sweet song, Or sweetly glides with a mocking stream." %

"He lay in his bloody slaughterhouse as his long shield gleamed in the rising sun."

"The red Y-painted oars of the oil slick, carved with rare implements, rise shimmering."

"Like elf fairies when the moon shines bright, Dancing in small circles in the green; All living creatures fly out of your sight, Nor to be seen by the Fate Race; Whatever he is, defeat these elf fairies. Their souls will wander to King Offa's dam."

The charming wildness of Chatterton's imagination - which caught the attention of that strange visionary genius, William Blake - is perhaps best displayed in

  • Blake was one of the early followers of Gothic artists

Cathedrals in the so-called Dark Ages... that made up the world


Tom Chatter. 367

one of the minstrel songs inAella." That's ob-an echo of Ophelia's song in "Hamlet", but Chatterton takes a strange turn:

"Hear! the crow beats her wings in the valley of thorns below; hear! the death owl sings aloud to the nightmares as they walk. My love is dead Has gone to her deathbed All under the willow tree.

"See how high above the white moon shines,* Whiter is the shroud of my true love, Whiter than the morning sky, Whiter than the evening cloud. My love is dead," etc.

It remains to briefly consider the influence of Chatterton's life and writings on his contemporaries and successors in the field of romantic poetry. The dramatic features of his personal career have, of course, attracted as much, if not more, attention as his literary legacy to posterity. About nine years after his death, a clergyman, Sir Herbert Croft, went to Bristol to gather materials for a biography. He spoke with Barrett and Catcott and with many of the poet's schoolmates and townsfolk, and visited his mother and sister, who told him and told him anecdotes of the wonderful boy's childhood.

not worthy.” Mr. Rossetti indicated his obligations to Ossian and possibly to the Castle of Otranto. See Blake's poems "Fair Eleanor" and "Gwin, King of Norway".

  • Chatterton's sister testifies that he had the romantic habit

sit all night and write in the moonlight. CambridgeEd. pixi.

368 A History of English 'T^Mantik.

some of your letters. Croft also followed in Chatterton's footsteps in London, where he interviewed, among other things, the coroner who had conducted the examination of the suicide's body. The result of these investigations he conveyed to the world in a book entitled "Love and Madness" (1780). Southey thought that Croft had treated Mrs. Chatterton meanly by not making his financial compensation out of the profits from his book; and publicly sued him for it in the edition of Chatterton's works which he and Joseph Cottle - both natives of Bristowan - published in three volumes in 1803. This was at first intended as a subscription issue for the benefit of Chatterton's mother and sister, but as the signatures were not numerous enough, it was issued in the usual way.To dieto act."

In 1795, just a quarter of a century after Chatterton's death, Southey and Coleridge married Misses Edith and Sara Fricker at St. Mary Redcliffe. Coleridge was very interested in Chatterton. In his "Lines on the Observation of a Flower on February 1, 1796", he compares the flower with

"The bard of Bristowa, the wonderful boy, An amaranth that the land scarcely seemed to possess, Flourished amidst the desolate winter wastes of poverty."

And shortly before that, while contemplating his pantisocracy plan with Southey and Lovell, he had turned around and included the dead poet in his indignant 'Monody on the Death of Chatterton'

  • Other standard Chatterton lives are those of Gregory, 1789,

(reprinted and prefixed in the Southey and Cottle edition): Dix, 1837; and Wilson, 1869.

Tom Chatter. 369

Susquehannah fantasy community aborted;

"Oh Chatterton, that you are still alive!

Surely you would spread your canvas to the storm, And love with us the rumbling crew to ride over the undivided valley of peaceful liberty; And we'd surround him on a sober night. Cling raptly to its stately song, And greet with a smile the youthful-eyed poetry, All cleverly disguised in gray antiquity. . . Yet I will love to follow the sweet dream Where Susquehannah pours her untamed flow; And on some hill whose wooded side undulates above the murmur of its calmest tide, a solemn cenotaph will be erected for you, sweet harpist of the time-veiled minstrel.

It may be difficult to prove that Rowley's poems had much to do with the formation of Coleridge's own poetic works. No doubt without them "Christabel" and "The Ancient Mariner" and

    • It still would have been The Darke Ladye"; and yet

it is possible that they were not what they are. In The Ancient Mariner there's the ballad tribe of the Reliques, but with something Chatterton. In lines like this:

"The bride has entered the hall. She is red as a rose: nodding before her goes the merry minstrel;"


or like this:

"Here the wedding guest beat his breast, For he heard the alto bassoon:"

37° <iThe History of English Romanticism.

one catches a distant echo of certain stanzas from the 'Bristowe Tragedie': 'this, z. G.,

"Before him went counselors In robes of scarlet and gold, And tassels gleaming in the sun, Very glorious to behold;"

it's at:

"In various parts a sweetest divine psalm they sang: Behind their backs came six minstrels, Tuning the drumming of strings." *

Among all the young poets of the generation that followed Chatterton there was a tender feeling of camaraderie with the proud and passionate boy, and a desire to welcome him into their crew. Byron actually said he was crazy; but Shelley ranks him at "Adonais" with Keats among "the heirs of unrealized glory". Lord Houghton testifies that Keats had prescient compassion for Chatterton in his untimely death. He dedicated "Endymion" to his memory. In his letter "To George Felton Mathew" he asks him to help him find a place

"Where we can wear gentle humanity, And sit and rhyme and think of Chatterton." f

Keats said he always associated autumn with memories of Chatterton. He claimed,

  • Rowleian: There is no such instrument known to man. O

the romantic love of color is seen in this country, and strong everywhere in Chatterton. «

f See also sonnet: 'O Chatterton, hov/ very sad thy fate' - given in Lord Houghton's Memoirs. "Life and Letters of John Keats": By R. Monckton Milnes, page 20 (American edition, New York, 1848).

Thomas Cbattoii. 371

rather odd that he was the purest writer in the English language, using "no French idiom or particle, like Chaucer". In a letter from Jane Porter to Keats about reviews of his Endymion, she wrote: "Hat Chatterton possessed manhood enough to know the magnanimity of patience, and realized that great talents have a commission from heaven, they must have his". post, and his name could have been announced along with Milton.

Keats was Spenser's poetic son, but some traits - difficult to define, if not felt - he inherited from Chatterton. In his unfinished poem "The Eve of St. Mark" there is a Rowlean accent in the passage which mimics Old English and in the affectionate description of the old volume of legends of the saints from which it derives its

"- pious poetry written in the smallest size of crow's feather below the text."

And we must think of the shadow of St. Mary Redcliffe falling on another young life as we read how

“Bertha was a beautiful virgin

Apartment on the former Münsterplatz; From her hearth she, Sidelong, could see its rich antiquity, wide as the bishop's garden wall”;

and of the footsteps that pass through the echoing church gate, and of the noisy dawns that fall asleep in the old bell tower to the sound of sleepy chimes. Rossetti, in many ways a continuator of Keats' art, dedicated the first of his sonnets to Chatterton -

372 ^ History of English Romanticism.

Group "Five English Poets", whose sextet is as follows:

"Love your nestling home, noble Chatterton; the ladder trodden by angels your soul may climb, the tower of Redcliffe; and in the armed space of the world

Your gallant swordfighting: - these many

are sweet forever; like your unknown grave and dream of love with your empty face",

The story of Chatterton's life found its way into fiction and onto the stage. Alfred de Vigny, one of the French romantics, translator of Othello and The Merchant of Venice, presented it as an episode in his novel Stello ou les Diables Bleus, later dramatized as Chatterton. and it first played to great acclaim in Paris on 12 February 1835. De Vigny turned this into a love tragedy by inventing a lover for his heroine in the person of Kitty Bell, a role which became one of Madame's greatest triumphs. Dorval. On the occasion of the revival of De Vigny's drama in December 1857, Theophile Gautier gave some recollections of its first performance twenty-two years earlier at the MonHeur.

"The ground floor, before which Chatterton was declaiming, was full of pale, long-haired youths, who firmly believed that there was no other worthy occupation on earth than writing verse or painting - art, as they called it - and looked up to the bourgeois with a contempt that could hardly match the contempt of the "fox" of Heidelberg or Jena for the "bourgeois".

  • Chatterton, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley. „Das absoluta

miraculous Chatterton," Rossetti designates him elsewhere, "History of Romanticism," pp. 153-54.

Thomas Chatterton. 373

Nobody thought about money. More than one, as in that assembly of impossible professions described with such resigned irony by Theodore de Banville, could have exclaimed without falsehood: "I am a poet, and I earn my living by my profession." To what oblivion of material existence did drunkenness or, if you prefer, the passion for art lead the obscure and fragile victims who would rather die than give up on their dream. You can actually hear the crack of individual pistols at night. judgment on the effect of M. Alfred Vigny's "Chatterton" in such an environment; to which, if you understood it, you would have to restore the contemporary atmosphere.”*

  • "Chatterton", a drama by Jones and Herman, was performed

Princess' Theatre, London, 22nd May 1884.

KAPITEL XL Zbc ©deutsch u;ributacs.

By the last decade of the eighteenth century, the Romantic movement had developed in Britain on its own and was independent of foreign influence, except for the stimuli it had repeatedly found in the writings of continental scholars such as Sainte Palaye and Mallet. But now the English literary current began to receive a tributary from abroad. A change had taken place in the German mind which corresponds exactly to that whose successive steps we have traced. In Germany, French classicism gained an even stronger foothold than in England. As is well known, Frederick the Great (1740-86) considered his mother tongue to be Bar-. barbaric dialect, hardly suitable for literature. In his own writings, prose and verse, he used French without exception; and he boasted to Gottsched that he had not read a German book since his youth.*

But even before mid-century, and by the time of the publication of Thomson's "Seasons", the so-called Swiss school, under the leadership of the Zurich Johann Jacob Bodmer, had begun a national movement and attack on Gallic influences. . Bodmer fought under Milton's banner,

  • "History of German Literature" by Scherer, translation by Conybeare

tion, Bd. II. pg. 26.


The German tributary. 375

and in the preface to his prose translation of Paradise Lost (1732) he praised Shakespeare as the English Sophocles. In his Treatise on the Marvelous (1740) he asserted the claims of liberty, nature, and inspired imagination against the rules of French critics, as well as the Wartons and Bishop Hurd in England, a few years later, Germanness, popular poetry, the German past, the old German age of heroes, with the imperial age and the Middle Ages in general, soon came into fashion.” a more complete collection of the Minnesingers, and until 1781, shortly before his death, he continued to produce editions of Middle High German poems. Another Swiss writer. Christian Heinrich Mujler, student of Bodmer. . . he published the entire Nibelungenlied and most important of the knightly epics in 1784 and 1785. In his preface to Gleim's "War Songs," Lessing drew attention to the Middle High German poets, of whom he was an ardent admirer throughout your life. Justus Moser was very interested in minnesingers. At the time of Götz's publication, this enthusiasm for old German poetry was at its height, and Burger, Voss, Miller and Holtz wrote love songs in imitation of the old German poets. In 1773 Gleim published "Poems after the Minnesingers" and in 1779 "Poems after Walther von der Vogelweide". Some enthusiasts had already hailed the Nibelungenlied as the German Iliad, and Burger fiercely competing with the others, but without

376 cA History of English l^omanticism.

very successful in making Homer German insisted on dressing the Greek heroes a bit in the Nibelung style. He and several other poets loved to give their ballads a chivalrous character. Fritz Stolberg wrote a beautiful German boy's song, beginning "My arm is growing strong and my courage great, give me a sword, father"; and the song of the old Swabian knight - "Son, there is my spear; My arm is growing too heavy. Lessing's "Nathan" also appealed to this enthusiasm for the age of knights and must have strengthened the feeling. A historian like the Swiss , Johannes Müller, began to show the Middle Ages in a more beautiful light, and even to ascribe great merits to the papacy. But in doing so, Johannes Müller was only following in Herder's footsteps. Pastor . . . had written against the excess of confidence of his time, his pride in his enlightenment and achievement.In the Middle Ages he found the realization of his aesthetic ideas, namely strong emotion, life and moving action, all guided by feeling and instinct, not by pathological thinking; zeal religious and chivalrous honor, boldness in love and strong patriotic feeling."*

When the founders of a genuine national literature in Germany left French anchorages, they had an English pilot on board; and in the translations of German novels, dramas, and ballads by Scott, Coleridge, Taylor, Lewis, and others, English literature has abusively recovered what it had lent to its younger sister. Burger and Herder's versions of Percy's "Reliques" were once mentioned in an issue

  • Scherer, Vol. II, pp. 100-1 123-2 f See anU, pp. 300-3

7th German tributary. 377

it was published in Göttingen in 1767; and the great excitement that MacPherson's created in GermanyOssian.”* The latter found – beside theDenis Wiener - another translator in Fritz Stolbergf, who pushed his medievalism so far that he joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1800, knew through Addison's Spectator papers. Through Mallet, Eddaic literature impressed both Germany and England; and Gersternberg's Poem of a Skald (1766), one of the first fruits of the German translation of the Histoire de Dannemarc, preceded the publication—if not the writing—of Gray's Norse poems by two years.

But the spirit that worked most strongly in the new German literature was that of Shakespeare. Shakespeare was virtually unknown in Germany during the French cultural period. In 1741, Christian von Borck, Prussian envoy in London, translated Julius Caesar. A few years later, a version of Romeo and Juliet appeared. 1762-66 Wieland translated 22 Shakespeare plays in whole or in part. His translation was in prose and was long replaced by the translation by Tieck-Schlegel (1797-1801-1810). Goethe met Shakspere as a student in Leipzig through the individual passages contained in "Dodd's Beauties of Shakspere". f He got it later

  • Ver ante, pp. 337-38.

f'The Beauties of Shakespeare. Regularly screened each piece. With general index. Digest them with the right minds.” By Rev. Wm. Dodd, 1752.

378 iA History of English To^omantics.

of Wieland's translation, and when he went to Strasbourg he fell under the influence of Herder, who inspired him with his own enthusiasm for "Ossian" and folk songs and led him to study Shakespeare in the original.

Young Germany appropriated and appropriated the great English playwright with passionate conviction. He became an object of worship, an article of faith. The cult of Shakespeare dominated the entire period of storm and stress. The stage tamed him: poets imitated him; critics elevated him to the type and representative (image U'7) of Germanic art in contrast and difference with the art of the Latin races, founded on a false reproduction of antiquity.* It was a recognition of the essential kinship between the two separate branches of the great Germanic tribe. Gottinger Hain's enthusiastic young patriots, who hated everything French and called themselves by the names of old bards, became accustomed to using Shakespearean phrases in conversation; and they once celebrated the playwright's birthday with such noise that they were mugged by the police and spent the night in prison. In Goethe's Strasbourg circle, which was numerous

  • "It wasn't just the depth of poetry that brought her to Shakespeare

drew, I was just as certain that Germanic art and style were here." —Hettner's history of German literature-^w. S'S-I-s. 51. "It is to say that the shift from French to related English .. . in its historical origin and growth was essentially the rebellion of empowered Germanic folk nature against the overwhelming superiority of the Romanesque world of forms," ​​etc. - Ibid, s. 47. See also, pp. 389-95, for a review of interpretation of the great Shakespearean roles by German actors like Schroder and Fleck.

The German tributary. 379

Like Lenz, Klinger and H.L. Wagner, among others, this Shakespearean madness was a must. Lenz in particular, who translated Die Lost Liebesmüh, was notable for his whimsical imitations of concepts such as clowning pays. in which health was drunk to "the will of all wills" and the young host delivered an extravagant eulogy. "The first page of Shakespeare that I read," says a phrase from this speech, "made me his property for life, and when I had finished the first play, I lay there like a man born blind, whom by a miracle of the moment this vision was given. I had an extremely vivid realization of the fact that my being had expanded to all infinity. Everything was new and strange; my eyes ached with the unfamiliar light." f

Lessing, in his attack on the French theater in his "Hamburgische Dramaturgie" (1767-69), asserted that there was much closer agreement between Sophocles and Shakespeare on the essentials of dramatic art than between Sophocles and Racine or Voltaire on their mechanics. . specimens from antiquity. In their own plays, Lessing, Goethe and Schiller took Shakespeare as their model. But while they began to imitate, they arrived in time to work freely in labor.

  • "We hear an echo of those happy conversations in

which the friends delivered in Shakespearean phrases and quips in their translation of Shakespeare's 'Love's Labour's Lost'. " - Hettner, p. 244.

f See the whole speech (in Hettner, p. 120), which most vividly expresses Shakespeare's influence on the newly awakened minds of Germany.

380 e^ History of the English 'T^omanticistn.

Shakespeare's spirit and not his way. The first draft of Goethe's "Götz von Berlichingen" corresponds to the standard of a Shaksperian "history" in all outward respects. The unity of action went beyond time and place; the scene was adjourned to a three-line monologue or six-line dialogue; Tragedy and comedy were intertwined; the stage was filled with a heterogeneous variety of figures, moods and conditions - knights, burghers, soldiers, knights, peasants; there was a jester; Songs and lyrical passages were interspersed; there were puns, general jokes, complaints, Elizabethan metaphors and bloated exaggerations, with numerous Shakespeare memoirs in detail. But the advice of Herder, to whom he sent his manuscript, and the example of Lessing, whose Emilia Galotti had just appeared, persuaded Goethe to remodel the play and give it a more independent form.

Scherer* says that the pronouncement of the new national movement in German literature was the "*badly printed anonymous little book" entitled "Of German Art and Art, Some Flying Leaves". which appeared in 1773 and contained essays by Justus Moser, who "upheld the liberty of the ancient Germans as a vanished ideal"; by Johann Gottfried Herder, who "celebrated the virtues of folk song, championed a collection of German folk songs, defended the greatness of Shakespeare, and prophesied the advent of a German Shakespeare"; and Johann Wolfgang Goethe praising Strasbourg Cathedral

  • "German Literature", Vol. II, pp. 82-83.

The German tributary. 381

and Gothic architecture* in general, and "stated that art must, of course, be characteristic. This great movement was, in fact, a turning away from the spirit of Voltaire towards that of Rousseau, from the artificiality of society to the simplicity of nature, From doubt and rationalism to sentiment and belief, from a priori notions to history, from hard and fast aesthetic rules to the freedom of genius.” Goethe's "Götz" was the first revolutionary symptom to really attract much attention, but the "Leaflets on German Style and Art" preceded publication.

  • Götz' as a kind of program or manifesto".

Wieland, the mocker and Frenchman, the man of consummate talent but superficial genius, the representative of the Enlightenment, let himself be carried away by this new current and saddled his Hippogriff for a ride in the old Ronantina land. He used the new "Library of Romance Studies" that Count Tressan published in France from 1775 onwards, studied Hans Sachs and Hartmann von Aue, experimented with Old German meter, and enriched his vocabulary with Old German sources. He wrote folktales, tales of chivalry, and Arthurian epic themes such as "Gandalin" and "Geron the Noble" ("Gyron le Courteois").

  • "Among all the men of the eighteenth century was

Goethe was again the first to feel and understand the long-despised splendor of Gothic architecture." —Hettner, 3.3.1., p. 120.

f Builds the Ideal.

382 a/^ History of English l^manticism.

But his best and most famous work in this temperament was "Oberon" (1780), a rich blend of fabrics by Chaucer, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the French novel "Huon de Bordeaux".

What is evident from this necessarily very imperfect and largely second-hand account of the course of the German Romantic movement in the eighteenth century is that it ran largely parallel to that in England. In both countries the reaction was anti-Enlightenment, that is, against the rationalist, prosaic, skeptical and reasonable zeitgeist represented in England by deist writers like Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Bolingbroke and Tindal in the department of religious and moral philosophy; and of such writers as Addison, Swift, Prior, and Pope in polite letters; and represented most brilliantly in the literatures of Europe by Voltaire. Against this spirit, attempts have now been made to go back to the times of faith; to rescue the point of view that gave rise to mythology, fairy tales and popular superstition; to believe, under all circumstances, not only in God and the immortal soul of man, but also in the corollaries of these ancient beliefs, in ghosts, elves, devils and witches.

In both countries, too, the revolution was in the form of a break with French classics and with that part of native literature that followed academic traditions. Here the revolt in Germany was much more violent than in England, f

  • Scherer, II.129-31. "Oberon" was translated into English by William

Sotheby em 1798.

f "I soon begin to get sick of the classical types of poetry," wrote Burger in 1775. "Characteristics": by Erich Schmidt (Berlin, 1886) page 205. "Oh, the cursed word: classical!"




The German tributary. 383

partly because the Gallic influence tyrannized there more completely and nearly supplanting the vernacular by the foreign language for literary purposes; and '^^ -i-^^- in part because Germany had nothing to compare with the brilliant and solid achievements of the Queen Anne classics in England. The new school of German poets and critics found it easy to dismiss privileges like Opitz, Gottsched, and Gellert—fourth- or fifth-grade authors. But Swift and Congreve and Pope and Fielding weren't so easy to get rid of. We observe the cautious and respectful way in which innovators like Warton and Percy dared to question Pope's supremacy and commend older English poets to the attention of an educated age; and we have seen that, on the whole, Horace Walpole's Gothic enthusiasm was not at odds with literary prejudices, which were more conservative than radical. In England, too, the movement began with imitations of Spenser and Milton and only gradually reached the revival of Chaucer and medieval poetry and the translation of bardic and scalded remains. But in Germany there was no Elizabethan literature that could mediate between modern thought and the Middle Ages, so the Germans turned to England and Shakespeare for that.

In Germany as in England, although in a different way

\ Reasons, the romantic revival did not culminate until the nineteenth century, until the appearance of the

' exclaims Herder. "It was this word which, otherwise known as true education, supplanted the ancients as living models. . . This word

buried many geniuses under the rubble of words. . .

He has deprived the Fatherland of flowering fruit trees!" —Hettner

3. 3. I.s. 50,

384 <^ History of English Romanticism.

Romantic school in the strictest sense – by Tieck, Novalis, the Schlegel brothers, Wackenroder, Fouque, Von Arnim, Brentano and Uhland. In England this was less due to slow development than to lack of ingenuity. There the progenitors of Scott, Coleridge and Keats were writers of a distinctly lower class: Akenside, Shenstone, Dyer, the Wartons, Percy, Walpole, Mrs. Radcliffe, "Monk" Lewis, the Chatterton Boy. If some, like Thomson, Collins and Gray, surpass this threshold, the thinness of their performance and the somewhat haphazard nature of their participation in the movement diminish their relative importance. Gray's purely romantic work belongs to the last years of his life. Collins' confusion and early death stopped the development of many promising shoots in this rarely gifted poet. Thomson may have arrived too early to reach a more advanced stage of development than Spenserism. In Germany, on the other hand, the pioneers were men of the highest intellectual level, Lessing, Herder, Goethe, Schiller. But there the movement was for a time blocked by crosscurrents or lost in the wider tides of literary life. English romanticism was just one of many contemporary trends: sentimentalism, naturalism, realism. German Romanticism was simply an event of the Sturm und Drang period, which was only a passing phase in the rapid and varied development of the German spirit in the second half of the last century; an element in the great intellectual ferment which produced, among others, Kantian philosophy, Laocoon, Faust and Wilhelm Meister; "History of Ancient Art" by Winckelmann and

The German tributary. 385

Wallenstein by Schiller and William Tell. Men like Goethe and Schiller were too advanced in their culture, too diverse in their talents, too diverse in their intellectual pursuits and sympathies to be assigned to a school. The temperament that produced "Götz" and "Die Räuber" was just one moment in their developmental history; they soon moved on to other areas of thought and art.

Especially with Goethe, after his time in Italy he returned to the classics; not the blown-up pseudoclassic of the 18th century, but the true Hellenic spirit, expressed in works like Iphigenie auf Tauris, Hermann und Dorothea, Schöne Helena and Classic Walpurgis Night. Episodes from the second part of Faust.« »In his youth«, says Scherer, »many people fell in love with the German past. Imaginative writers filled the ancient Germanic forests with bards and druids and had an enthusiastic admiration for Gothic cathedrals and the knights of the Middle Ages and the sixteenth century. . . On the contrary, in Goethe's mature years, interest in classical antiquity eclipsed all other aesthetic interests, and Germany and Europe were flooded with classical fashion, to which Winckelmann gave the first strong impetus. Churches became ancient temples, the mechanical arts aspired to classical forms, and ladies influenced the dress and manners of Greek women. The leaders of German poetry, Goethe and Schiller, reached the pinnacle of their art by imitating classical models.

  • "German Literature", Vol. II. p. 230

386 <iThe History of English Romanticism.

recovered from the Middle Ages, it was never entirely lost again; and despite this classic mark, Goethe and Schiller continued to compete in the last years of the century in the composition of romantic ballads, like Der Erlkönig of the former.

  • ' The Fisherman", *' The Dance of Death" and "The Magic-

aprendiz" e "Knight Toggenburg", "Fighting the Dragon" e "The Walk to the Iron Hammer" do último.

If we compare works of a romantic temperament created in England and Germany in the last century, we quickly realize that the continental movement, although the original impetus came from England, had a greater dynamic. The meticulousness, depth and meticulousness of the German spirit impel him to base himself on basic principles in the visual arts, politics and religion; build a theory, a (bsihetik) for your practice. In the later history of German Romanticism, the medieval revival in literature and art was carried with philosophical consistency into other areas of thought and linked with reactionary statesmanship and theology, Junkerism. Meanwhile, the literary movement in Germany in the 18th century, though not quite cultured, more critical, more erudite and more aware of its own intentions and methods than the related movement in England, works practically and instinctively in the act of creation, rarely seeks to bring questions of taste or art into the realm of scientific law, has its standards of taste in the classical period taken up and detached from France, it did so on impulse and

The German tributary. 387

gave none or only very superficial reasons for his new departure. The elegant dissertations of Hurd and Percy and the Wartons look very amateurish when placed alongside the imposing aesthetic systems of Kant, Fichte and Schelling; or alongside complete treatises such as the »Laocoon«, the »Hamburgische Dramaturgie«, Schiller's treatise

    • On Naive and Sentimental Poetry", or

the analysis of Hamlet's character in Wilhelm Meister. Such criticisms did not exist in England before Coleridge; in particular, no criticism of Shakespeare that could be compared with the relevant works by Lessing, Herder, Gerstenberg, Lenz, Goethe and many other Germans. The only 18th century Englishman who could have done this was Gray. He had the necessary taste and erudition, but he also wanted the philosophical breadth and depth for a full and in-depth treatment of the underlying principles.

But even in this critical area, German literary historians believe that England is capable of seizing the initiative. Hettner* cites three English critics in particular as precursors to Herder who sparked an interest in popular poetry. These were Edward Young, the author of Night Thoughts, whose Conjectures on Original Composition were published in 1759: Robert Wood, whose Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer (1768) was translated into German, French, Spanish, and Italian; and Robert Lowth, Bishop of Oxford, who, while professor of poetry at Oxford, delivered his Praelectiones de Sacra Poesi Hebrseorum translated into English in 1753.

  • "Literary History", 3.3. I. pp. 30-31.

388 c^ History of English Romanticism.

and Deutsch in 1793. The importance of Young's brilliant little essay, addressed in the form of a letter to the author by Sir Charles Grandison, was evident in his assertion of the superiority of genius over scholarship and the right of genius to science to be of rules and authority. It was a kind of literary declaration of independence; and basically asked the question posed in Emerson's Nature: "Why shouldn't we also enjoy a primal relationship with the universe?" Pope had said in his Essay on Criticism: "Follow nature" and follow nature, learn the rules and study the ancients, especially Homer. "Nature and Homer were the same." In contrast, Young says, "The less we copy the old famous, the more we'll look like them... Learn... their greatest glory... Original natives, how did we imitations die!... Don't let that a great example or authority intimidate his reason into a great distrust of himself... While the true one is genius He traverses all public roads into new and unexplored lands; he [the imitative writer] treads knee-deep in antiquity in holy footprints of great models with the blind reverence of a fanatic saluting the holy toe. Young asserts that Shakespeare is equal in size to the ancients: regrets that Pope did not use blank verse in his translation of Homer, and calls Addison's "Cato" of "a piece of statue".

Robert Wood, who visited and described the ruins of Balbec and Palmyra, took his Iliad to Troad and

  • See before, p. 48

The German tributary. '389

read on the spot. He sailed in the footsteps of Menelaus and the wandering Odysseus; and his knowledge of Oriental landscape and life helped to replace the somewhat conventional view that prevailed during the classical period with a newer view of Homer. What most impressed Herder and Goethe in Wood's essay was the emphasis placed on the simple, illiterate, even barbaric state of society in the Heroic Age: and on the primitive and folkloric character of Homeric poetry. * This view of Homer as essentially a minstrel or ballad maker has been carried so far in Professor Newman's translations that it has provoked accusations that Matthew Arnold insists on Homer's "noble style" and "magnificence", despite all the exaggeration that has circulated recently. may have withstood, was healthily corrective and stimulating when introduced in 1768.

Although the final arrival of German Romanticism in its fullness was delayed too late to modify the English movement before it had exhausted its initial strength, the prelude was heard and echoed in England. In 1792, Walter Scott was a young barrister in Edinburgh and had just come of age.

  • “Our polite neighbors seem to love the French more

certain images of primitive simplicity, so different from the refined forms of modern life in which they led; and to this we may in part attribute the rude treatment our poet received from them.' - Essay on //i^w^r (Dublin Edition, 1776), p. 127.

f Ver Francis W. Newman's Iliad (1856) and Arnold's Lectures on Translating Homer (1861),

39© c-^ History of English Romanticism.

"Novel, who loves to nod his head and sing, with sleepy head and folded wings, was to him a painted parrot - a very familiar bird - taught him to say his alphabet, to babble his first word."*

He was "in the womb of old legends" from childhood and was already an adherent of frontier antiquities. Liddesdale, in search of ballads and folklore, and filling notebooks with passages from the Edda, records of old Scottish legal cases, transcripts of old English poems, notes on "Death Darthur". Extracts from Scottish chronicles, from the books of Adjournal, from Aubrey, and from old Glanvil of superstitious memory; Tables of Mosegothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Runic alphabets, and transcripts relating to Stuart history. language, and Scott joined her. In his own account of the subject he says that interest in German literature in Scotland was first aroused by an essay which Henry Mackenzie, the 'Addison of the North' and author of the most sentimental of fictions, wrote for the Royal in April 1788, the Society of Edinburgh read. The Man of Feeling." "The literary figures of Edinburgh were then informed for the first time of the existence of works of genius in a language similar and obsessed with English.

  • „Romantik“, Edgar Poe.

The German tributary. 391

of the same masculine expressiveness; they learned at the same time that the taste which dictated German compositions was of a type as close to English as their language; those who had been accustomed from youth to look up to Shakespeare and Milton found for the first time a nation of poets who had the same sublime ambition to reject the flaming limits of the universe and embrace the realms of chaos and old nocturnal exploration; and of playwrights who, denying the pedantry of units, at the expense of occasional improbabilities and extravagances, sought to represent life on the stage in its wildest contrasts and in all its limitless variety of characters. , . His fictional stories, his ballad poetry, and other branches of his literature particularly apt to bear the stamp of the extravagant and supernatural began to attract the attention of British literary figures as well, Alexander Frazer Tytler, whose version of Schiller's The Robber was one of the first translations. English of the German theater.*

In the autumn of 1794, Miss. Aikin, later Mrs. Barbauld, held a party at Dugald Stewart's house reading a translation of Burger's horrible ballad Lenore. The translation is by William Taylor of Norwich; had not yet been published, and Ms. Aikin read it from a handwritten copy. Scott was not present, but his friend Mr. Cranstoun, described the performance to him; and he was so impressed with her description that he borrowed a volume of Burger's poetry from his young kinsman by marriage,

  • "Lockhart's Life of Scott", Vol. I. p. 163

392 c/f History of English 'T^omanticisut.

Mrs. Scott of Harden, daughter of Count Brühl von Martkirchen, former Saxon ambassador to London, who had a Scotswoman as his second wife, the Dowager Countess of Egremont. Scott set to work translating the ballad for himself in 1795, and managed to please his friends so well that, in the spring of 1796, he canceled some copies for private circulation. In the autumn of the same year, he published his version entitled "William and Helen" together with "The Chase", a translation of Burger's "Der wilde Jäger". Scott's first published book. Meanwhile, Taylor presented her rendition in the March issue of Monthly Magazine, introducing her with an ad for Burger's poetry; and in the same year three more translations appeared, one by J. T. Stanley (with engravings), one by Henry James Pye, Prince Poet, and one by Hon. William Robert Spencer, author of Beth Gelert, Too Late I Stayed, etc., with drafts by Lady Diana Beauclerc (A copy of the latter, says Allibone, in folio, on parchment, sold at Christie's in 1804 for ^^25.4sh.) A sixth translation of Rev. James Beresford, who spent time in Berlin left around 1800; and Schlegel and Brandl agree that this is the most faithful, if not the best, English version of the ballad.*

  • For full titles and descriptions of these translations, as well as for

on the influence of Burger's poems in England, see Alois Brandl: »Lenore in England«, in »Characteristics«, by Erich Schmidt (Berlin 1886) ss. 244-48. Taylor said in 1830 that there were no German poems

The German tributary. 393

The poem which so variously took possession of England under the various titles "Lenore", "Leonore", "Leonora", "Lenora", "Ellenore", "Helen", etc., was indeed remarkably unique. In the original it remains Burger's masterpiece, and in its various English costumes it gained perhaps as much favor as it lost. It was first printed in 1773 in Göttingen in Boie's "Musen Almanach". It was a grim story of a soldier of Frederick the Great who had perished in the Seven Years' War and arrived at midnight on a ghostly steed to claim his beloved and carry her a thousand miles to the bridal bed. She climbs in after him and they ride through the ghosts of the night until, at cockcrow, they come to a cemetery. The steed disappears in the smoke, the lover's armor falls from it, green from the dampness of the tomb, revealing a skeleton within, and the maiden finds her bridal chamber.

so often translated: "eight different versions are on my desk and I have read others." He claimed that his was the oldest, as it was written in 1790 but not printed until 1796. "Lenore" immediately won the honor of parody - the surest proof of popularity. Brandl mentions two - "Miss Kitty", Edinburgh, 1797, and "The Hussar of Magdeburg, or the Midnight Phaeton", Edinburgh, 1800, and quotes Mathias' satirical description of the play ("Pursuits of Literature", 1794-97) as "tudesque diablerie" and a "'Bluebeard' story for the nursery". Bibliographies mention a new translation in 1846 by Julia M. Cameron, with illustrations by Maclise; and I find in Allibone a note of "The Ballad of Lenore: a Varioram Monograph", 4to, containing thirty metrical versions in English, advertised to be published in Philadelphia by Charles Lukens in 1866. Qua'fc if this is the same as Henry Clay Lukens ("Erratic Enrico") who published "Lean 'Nora" (Philadelphia, 1870; New York, 1878), a title suggesting humorous intent, but a book, which I have not seen.

394 '^ History of English' Romance.

is the vault, and her bridegroom is death. “This poem”, says Scherer, “leaves us with the impression of an unsolved riddle; all the details are clear, but in the end we have to ask ourselves what really happened, was it a dream of the girl, a dream in which she died or did the ghost really appear and take her away? and "Christabel"; so that the boundary between the earthly and the supernatural becomes blurred, and there is perpetual doubt whether we are hearing a true ghost story or a more refined form of allegory. "Lenore" drew for its materials ballad themes common to many literatures. Just mention "Sweet William's Ghost" as the English class example.

Scott's friends assured him that his translation was superior to Taylor's, and Taylor himself wrote to him: "Nowhere does the ghost enter so well as it does in you, or its departure so well in Mr. Spencer." But Lewis was right to prefer Taylor's version, which has a savagery and awkwardness not found in Scott's more literal and elaborate version, and which is wonderfully successful in capturing the crassness, the crass and uncouth nature of popular poetry. A few stanzas of each will illustrate the difference:

[From Scott's "William and Helen."]

"Are you afraid? are you afraid The moon shines bright: –

Are you afraid to walk with me? Alive! Alive! the dead can ride” -

"O William, leave her alone!"

  • History of German Literature, Vol. II, p. 123.

The German tributary. 395

"Look over there! Look over there! What's vibrating over there

And creaks amid the howling rain? " "Gallows and steel, the cursed wheel;

A murderer in his jail.

"Hello! You criminal, follow here:

We ride to the bridal bed; And you must dance a bondage dance

Before me and my bride."

And hurry up! Hurry up! crash, crash, crash!

The ravaged form descends,* And rushes like the wind through the hazel tree

The wild career is there.*

vagabonds, vagabonds! across the country they rode,

Squirt, squirt! along the sea: the flagellum is red, the spur drips blood.

The glowing stones run away.

[From "Lenora" by Taylor.]

Look up, look up, an airy crew

Reel in round dances. The moon is bright and the night is blue,

she can see dark

"Come here, come here, you Ghostlie crew.

come here and follow me And disappointment for us the aunt of the wedding

When we go to bed."

And brush, brush, brush, the Ghostlie gang

Come rolling over their heads, Everything whispers like the withered leaves

In that direction, the whirlpool spreads.

  • These are book phrases, not true ballad language.

\To see. The "Old IMariner":

"The feast is arranged, the guests are welcomed, let the joyful roar be heard."

39<5 c^ History of English Romanticism.

Hello! Hello! there they go

Carelessly wet or dry, and horse and rider snort and snort,

And shiny pebbles fly.

And it was all in the moonlight

Behind them fled far away; And thrown back over your head

The sky and all the stars.

Vagabond, vagrant for the land they run on

Splash, splash over the sea: "Hail! the dead can ride

Are you afraid to walk with me? "

It was this last stanza that fascinated Scott, as repeated from memory by Mr. Cranstoun; and he kept it in his version without much change. The sea is not mentioned in Burger, whose hero is killed in the Battle of Prague and travels only overland. But Taylor nationalized and individualized the matter, making his William a knight of Richard the Lionheart, fallen in the Holy Land. Scott followed and became a crusader in Frederic Barbarossa's army. Burger's poem was written in an eight-line stanza, but Taylor and Scott chose the usual English ballad verse, with its folk associations, as the best means of conveying the story's growing substance; and Taylor gave his language an archaic tone for added impact. Lewis considered his version a masterpiece of translation, and indeed "far superior to the German in spirit and harmony". Taylor demonstrated almost the same skill in his rendition of Bürger's second most popular ballad, Des Pfarrer's Daughter of Taubenhain, which was first printed.

\ The German Tribute. 397

the Monthly Magazine of April 1796 under the somewhat odd title The Lass of Fair Wone.

Taylor of Norwich, through his translations and critical articles in Monthly Magazine and Monthly Review, did more than any other man of his generation to spread knowledge of new German literature in England. At sixteen he was sent to study at Detmold in Westphalia and spent over a year (1781-82) in Germany, returning to England visiting Goethe in Weimar with a letter of introduction. "When his knowledge of this literature began," wrote Lucy Aikin, "there was probably no English translation of any German author except through French, and he was possibly the first English writer to read Goethe, Wieland, Lessing, and Burger in the originals.”* A few years before the publication of his “Lenora”, he had translations of Lessing's “Nathan the Wise” (1791) and Goethe's “Iphigenie auf Tauris” (1793) printed for private sale. , he collected his numerous newspaper articles and collected them into the three-volume "Historical Overview of German Poetry", which was treated rather bluntly, but not disrespectfully, by Carlyle in the Edinburgh Revue, unilaterally, not to say eccentrically, he did not he followed the later movement of German thought, his critical views were out of date, and his book unfortunately lacked unity and perspective.Carlyle was particularly disgusted with the small space allotted

  • "Memoirs of Wm. Taylor of Norwich", by J. W. Robberds

(1843). Vol. II. P. 573-

398 <v^ History of English l^manticism.

to Goethe.* But Taylor's truly brilliant talent for translation and his important service as an introducer and interpreter of German poetry to his own countrymen deserve to be always remembered with gratitude. "You have left me hungry and thirsty for German poetry", Southey wrote to him on February 24, 1799!

The year 1796 thus marks the confluence of the English and German Romantic movements. It seems a little strange that such a sane genius as Walter Scott made his debut in a display of the horrible. Lockhart relates to him, on the authority of Sir Alexander Wood, how he read to this gentleman his "William and Helen" "in a very slow and solemn tone," and then looked silently into the fire and immediately exclaimed, "I wish that to the sky." , I could have a skull and crossbones." Sir Alexander then accompanied him to the home of the surgeon John Bell, where the desired articles were purchased and placed on the poet's shelf. In the following years Scott continued to translate German ballads, romances and These chivalrous dramas remained in manuscript for the time being, and some of them, such as their versions by Babo's Otto von Wittelsbach (1796-97) and Meier's Wolfred von Dromberg (1797), were never allowed to see the light of day publication (Feb. 1799) was a free translation of Goethe's tragedy "Götz von Berlichingen mit der Eisenen Hand" The original was a highly influential work in Germany. Twenty-six years had passed before the public and

  • For Taylor's Opinion on Carlyle's Papers on Goethe Abroad

Retrospective ^ see "Historical Overview", Vol. III. pp. 378-79. f "Memoirs of Taylor", vol. I.p. 255

7th German tributary. 399

Producing countless imitations, which Scott had thought of before he came across them, the source of the entire series of chivalrous spectacles* Götz was a historical figure, a Frankish robber baron of the fifteenth century who had defended Freiritter's rights to administer wars and it had been placed under the ban of the Reich because of feuds. "It would be difficult", Carlyle wrote, "to name two books which had the most profound influence on later European literature" - such as Werther's Sorrows and Götz. "The happiness of 'Berlichingen mit der Eisenen Hand', though less sudden" - than that of Werther - "was by no means less sublime descendant of chivalrous plays, feudal representations and antiquated poetic performances which, though long dead, in its Time and generation it made enough noise, and in our case its influence has perhaps been even more remarkable Sir Walter Scott-Price's first literary appearance was a translation of "Götz von Berlichingen"; and if genius could be conveyed as an instruction, we might call this work of Goethe the main cause of Marmion and The Lady of the Lake, with everything that has happened since following from the same creative hand. . . . How much 'Götz von Berlichingen' really influenced the literary aim of Scott, and if

  • Among the most notable of these was "Maler" (Friedrich)

Müller's "Golo und Genoveva" (written 1781; published 1811); Count Torring's "Agnes Bernauerin" (1780); and "Sturm von Borberg" (1778) and "Fust von Stromberg" (1782) by Jacob Meyer. Some of them were very successful on stage.

400 c^ History of English Romanticism.

Whether the author's rhyming novels and later prose novels would not have followed Waverley as they did must remain a very obscure question; obscure and unimportant. There is no doubt, however, that these two trends, which may be called Gothicism and Wertherism, of the former, of which Scott was a representative among us, traveled throughout Europe and still circulate in some circles. In Germany, too, there was this loving, half-repentant return to the past: Germany had its leather watchtower days in literature and ended it before Scott even began." *

Elsewhere, Carlyle protests against the widespread English notion that German literature dwells “with a peculiar conceit among sorcerers and ruined towers, with knights in armor, secret courts, monks, ghosts and bandits... Miller's Siegwart, the works of Veit Weber the Younger and above all the immortal Kotzebue, as his exemplars of German literature he can identify many things: Black Forest and Lubberland, sensuality and horror, the ghost nun and the enchanted moonlight must not be missing, noisy bandits too, with enormous mustaches and the most feline eyes, weeping sentimentalists, the most ferocious misanthropes,

  • "Essay on Walter Scott."

f Kotzebue's The Stranger still occupies the English stage. Sheridan's "Pizarro" - a rendition of Kotzebue's "Spaniards in Peru" - was a longtime favourite; and "Monk" Lewis made another translation of it titled "Rolla" in 1799, but it was never performed.

7th German tributary. 401

Ghosts and similar suspicious figures are encountered in abundance. We're little-read in this bowl-and-dagger department; but we understand that it has already been cultivated with enough diligence; although it seems to be practically abandoned at the moment. . . What are we to make of a German critic using his copies of British literature from The Castle Spectre, Mr. Lewis", "Monk" or "Mysteries of Udolpho" and "Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus" selected? . . . "Faust", for example, passes for many of us as a mere tale of sorcery and artificial magic. It would be little more unwise to think that 'Hamlet' mainly depends on the spirit that walks in it."*

Now, for the works mentioned here, as for the whole class of melodramas and melodramatic romances which invaded Germany in the last quarter of the century and found their way into English theaters and circulating libraries in the form of translations, adaptations, imitations, two plays remotely responsible: Goethe's "Götz" (1773) with its robber barons, secret courts, imperialist soldiers, gypsies and rebellious peasants; and Schiller's The Robbers (1781), with its even more violent situations and more violent dramatis personas. Certainly this offspring of the Sturm-U7id Drangzeit with its dealings with bandits, monks, inquisitors, confessionals, torture and poison, dungeons and torment, the haunted tower, the howling ghost and the solitary cell had already been anticipated in England by the "Castle" of Walpole. of Otranto" and "Mysterious Mother"; but that narrow native stream was now all swamped by the murky tide

  • "State of German Literature".

402 e/^ History of English T^manticism.

sensational case of the Black Forest and the Rhine. Mrs. herself Radcliffe had drunk from foreign sources. In 1794 she undertook the voyage to the Rhine and published an account of her journey the following year. The gallant flow was not yet banal; Brentano didn't invent Lürlei's seductive charm or sing about Heine; nor did Byron reflect on "the cliff of Drachenfels on top of the castle". The French armies were not far away and there were alarm calls and excursions along the frontier. But the handsome wanderer stopped at many places that were already dedicated to legends and songs: the Mouse Tower, the Roland Tower and the Seven Mountains. She noticed the peasants in their colorful costumes carrying baskets of earth to the steep vineyards: the ruined strongholds of the robber barons in the hills and the dark curves of the romantic valleys that brought their tributaries north and south.

Lockhart says Scott's translation of "Gotz" should have been published ten years earlier to have its full impact. For the English public had had enough of the melodramas and romances of Kotzebue and other German strongmen; and the clever parody of The Robbers, entitled The Vagabonds, published by Canning and Ellis in the Anti-Jacobin, covered all manner of scorn. The fashion for that fiction, the chivalric romance, the feudal drama, the thief's game and romance, the monastic tale and the ghost song, both in Germany and England, Satisfies, however crudely, the age's longing for liberty, adventure, strong

The German tributary. 403

action and emotion. As Lowell said of the transcendental movement in New England, he was breaking windows for fresh air. Ridiculous as many of them seem today, with their unlikely plots and over-the-top characters they filled a need that had not been satisfied either by the rationalizing wit of the Augustan era or by the romanticizing poets who followed them with their elegiac sophistication in their books. dispassionate effort of reflection and description. They seemed, for the moment, to be the new avatar of the tragic muse that Akenside, Collins and Warton had prophesied about, the answer to his call for something wild and primal, for a return to the poetry of natural tone and the long-absent strength that awakens tragic emotions, pity and terror. This spirit infected not just the jousting and gothic romance departments, but prose literature in general. He is responsible for morbid and fantastical creations such as Vathek de Beckford, St. Leon" and "Caleb Williams", "Frankenstein" by Mrs. Shelley, "Zastrozzi" by Shelley and "St "Ormond" and "Wieland" by the American Charles Brockden Brown, precursor of Hawthorne and Poe; Tales of sleepwalkers and ventriloquists, of individuals seeking the elixir of violence, or committing the unforgivable sin, or creating monsters in their laboratories, or walking the halls of Eblis carrying their burning hearts in their hands.

However, Lockhart denies that "Götz von Berlichingen" has anything in common with the absurdities ridiculed by Canning in Anti-Jacobin. He says it's a "broad, bold, free and more


404 <iThe History of English Manticism.

picturesque depiction of royal personages, customs, and events." He means, in the robber barons of the Rhine, with "their forays into other people's lands, the castles besieged, the herds plundered, the knights captured, the bishop intimidated and the astonished suzerain" , Scott found a resemblance to old life on the Scottish borders with its moss troops, cattle raids and private warfare; and how Percy's "relics" led himMinstrelsy of the Scottish Border", then"Gotz" led to "Lay of the Last Minstrel" and "Marmion". He cites the passage from "Gotz" where Selbiss is carried wounded by two soldiers, Avho climbs a watchtower and describes to his leader how the battle must proceed; and asks: "Who does not recognize in Goethe's drama the true original of the death scene in 'Marmion' and the storm in 'Ivanhoe'?"

A unique character now enters our stage, Matthew Gregory Lewis, commonly nicknamed "Monk" Lewis, after the title of his famous Romarkce. It is part of the irony that a muse as resilient as Walter Scott's was raised in childhood by a little creature like Lewis. His "Monk" appeared in 1795, when the author was only twenty years old. In 1798 Scott's friend William met Erskine Lewis in London. The latter was collecting materials for his Tales of Wonder, and when Erskine showed him Scott's William and Helen and The Wild Huntsman and said he had other things of the same kind in manuscript, Lewis asked Scott to contribute to his collection. Erskine therefore put him in touch with Scott, who was very flattered by the monk's request, and wrote to him.

The German tributary. 405

his ballads were entirely at his service. Lewis responded and thanked him for the offer. "A ghost or a witch," he wrote, "that is not an ingredient in every dish I wish to make my hobgoblin meal out of." contrast to the book-growing horrors of him, being a jolly, elegant little man with a round face, a follower of fashion and an avid tuft chaser. "Mat had funny eyes," writes his /r <?/^^/.' "They protruded like those of some insects and were flat in orbit. He was extremely short and boyish - indeed he was the least well built man I have ever seen . . . That boyishness spent his life with him. He was a child and a spoiled child, but a child of great imagination, and so he wasted away on ghost stories and German romances.He had the keenest ear for rhythm that I have ever known - sharper than Byron's.

Incidentally, Byron always had a friendly feeling for Lewis, although he laughed at him in "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers":

"O wonderful Lewis, monk or bard,

Who wouldn't want to make a cemetery out of Parnassus; Consult! Yew wreaths, not laurels, tie his forehead; Thy muse an elf, Apollo the sexton thou; Whether you position yourself in ancient tombs, animated by chattering ghosts, your like gang. Or trace chaste descriptions on your page To please women of our humble age - Hail, M.P.

  • Lewis sat in Parliament replacing Beckford with Hindon, Wilts

of "Vathek" and Fonthill Abbey fame.

4o6 n/J History of English T^omantics.

At his command fierce women throng, And kings of fire and water and cloud, With 'little gray men', wild yagers and all, To crown thee and Walter Scott with honour! "

In 1816, on his way to Italy, Lewis stayed with Byron and Shelley in their Swiss retreat for a while, leaving the whole company to write fairy tales. The most notable result of this queer symposium was the offbeat novel by Ms. Shelley, Frankenstein. Byron's and Shelley's signatures are affixed as witnesses to a codicil to Lewis' will, drawn up at the time and dated at Maison Diodati, Geneva; a somewhat rhetorical document in which he provided for the protection of slaves on his Jamaican plantations. Two years later Lewis died of yellow fever on his return voyage from a visit to these West Indian lands and was buried at sea. Byron noted in his diary:

that is.

"'I would make the lands of Deloraine Dark Musgrave come alive again'

"I would give a lot that Monk Lewis was alive again."

Scott's modesty led him to downplay his own verses in comparison with Lewis's, some of which he recited in 1799 before / Ballantyne when speaking of their author, says Lockhart, "with pleasure". But, as good as Lewis has an ear for rhythm, his verse is, for the most part, abominable; and your jolly, jigging anapeists and pragmatic manners are ridiculously inappropriate

The German tributary. 407

with the horrors of his story that enhance the touch of animosity that characterizes his poetry:

"A frog still lives in the drink he threw, and loudly the frog screamed as it flew to pieces: And each time, bending over the cauldron, it muttered strange words of mysterious intent: "

or that of the same ballad: *

" Laughing madly, the demon raised his hand from the ground. He released the baby, kissed the wound, drank the blood; A small ring of spikes then left his finger, Three times a loud cry screamed and was carried out of his sight .

Lewis appears to have inherited his romantic leanings from his mother, a sentimental little girl whose youthful appearance meant she was often mistaken for Mat's sister and whose reading was mostly limited to romance novels. The poor lady was something of a mistress and aspired to literary honors. Lewis's devotion to her is very charming and the brotherly tone of his letters to her is very amusing. But he had an aversion to "female authorship"; and when a rumor reached him that his mother had written a novel and a tragedy and was preparing to print them, he wrote to her in horror, asking her to hold her hand. "I believe that a woman has no right to be a public figure and that the more well known she becomes, the less delicate she becomes. I always see an author as a kind of half-man.” He was also appalled by any gossip that attributed “The Monk” to his mother rather than his mother's son.

We read in the “Life and Correspondence of

  • "The fierce 'white woman' in Tales of Wonder."

4o8 c/^ History of English l^Pmanticism.

Matthew Gregory Lewis' (2 vols., London, 1839) that Glanvil on Witches was one of Mrs. Lewis. Glanvil was the seventeenth-century writer whose Vanity of Dogmatizing* and Sadduceism Triumphatus rebuked the doubter and provided arguments for Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Unseen World (1693), an apology for his involvement in the Salem witch trials; and his description of a ghostly drum heard beating nightly at the Wiltshire Country House, gave Addison the cue for his comedy The Drummer, particularly that which depicts the devil bending his airy eardrum in Mr. Mompesson. , owned by a relative of his father, where the boy spent part of his childhood, there was a haunted chamber known as His biographer says: "Lewis was often heard saying this at night, as he was led through that gloomy chamber in his way to his dorm, he would cast a horrified look over his shoulder in anticipation." , to see the vast and strangely carved folding doors open, revealing some of those terrifying shapes that later became the ghostly machinery of her works.

Lewis's first and most famous publication was Ambrosio, or the Monk (1795), a Gothic novel in three volumes and a direct descendant of Walpole and Mrs. Radcliffe. He started at Oxford



  • The beautiful "Scholar Gypsy" by Matthew Arnold was suggested by

a pass on it.

The German tributary. 4^9

In 1792, in a letter to his mother, he described it as "a novel in the style of 'The Castle of Otranto'. "But in the summer of that year he went to Germany and took up residence in Weimar, where he was introduced to Goethe and had a avid knowledge of the bizarre productions of the Sturtn und Drang period. For years, Lewis was one of the most active mediators between the German purveyors of the / terrible and the English literary market. He fed the stage with melodramas and operas and filled the closet reader with ballads and prose romances. Meanwhile, while he was at The Hague in the summer of 1794, he resumed his Monk and completed it in ten weeks. "I was prompted," he wrote to his mother, "by reading The Secrets of Udolpho, which I consider one of the most interesting books ever published. Read it, tell me if you think so according to a similarity between Montoni's character. .. and mine. I confess that it impressed me.” That innocent vanity of imagining a resemblance between Anne Radcliffe's swarthy villain and her own angel

  • The following is a list of its main translations: "The

Minister" (1797) from Schiller's "Kabale und Liebe"; starred in Covent Garden in 1803 as The Harper's Daughter. "RoUa" (1799) from Kotzebue's "Spaniards in Peru" "Adelmorn, or the Outlaw" (1800), played at Drury Lane, 1801. "Tales of Terror" (1801) and "Tales of Wonder" (1801). 1800. See article on Lewis in Diet. nat. Biog.” “The Bravo of Venice” (1804), a prose novel dramatized and performed as “Rugantino” at Covent Garden in 1805. “Feudal Tyrants” (1807), a four-volume novel. "Romantic Tales" (1808), 4 volumes, in German and French.

4IO <^ History of English Manticism.

The personality recalls Scott's story about the photo of Lewis of Saunders that was passed around Dalkeith House. “The artist deftly threw a folding dark cloak around the form, under which was half-hidden a dagger, dark lantern, or cutting accessory; with all this the preserved and ennobled features passed from hand to hand to that of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch, who, hearing the general voice that he was much like her, said aloud: 'Like Mat Lewis! Why, this image is like a man.'” “The Monk” uses and abuses the now familiar apparatus of the Gothic novel. He had Spanish nobles, dazzlingly beautiful heroines, braves and outlaws of the forest, foolish duenes and chattering servants, monks, nuns, inquisitors, magic mirrors, enchanted wands, midnight spells, sorcerers, spirits, demons; dark oak paneled haunted chambers; moonlit castles with crumbling turrets and ivy-covered battlements, whose galleries resounded with the screams and curses of guilty spirits, and from whose portals, when the castle clock struck one, the specter of a bleeding nun would emerge with dagger and lamp in hand. There were poisonings, stabbings, and the administration of sleeping potions; beauties disguised as pages and pages disguised as itinerant harpists; secret fountains that led to winding stairs that descended to the vaults of the convents' legs, where wandering sisters were walled up by cruel prioresses and fed bread and water amidst the hideous relics of the dead.

For all that, "O Monge" is not a totally despicable work. It has a certain narrative power that puts it well above the level of O

The German tributary. 411

Castle of Otranto.” And while it shares the stilted dialogue and misrepresentation of characters that abounds in Ms. Radcliffe, lacks the excess of scenery and feeling that characterize this rambling narrator. There's nothing strictly medieval about it. The knight in armor makes no figure and the historical period is not specified, but the ecclesiastical features give it an air of medicalism and we are reminded, however vaguely, of the captivity of the offending sister in the tomb of the Deceiver - Vent, from the scene in 'Marmion ' where Constance is walled up in the vaults of Lindisfarne - a blatant anachronism on Scott's part, of course, as Lindisfarne lay in ruins centuries before the Battle of Flodden on the title page of 'The Monk' summarizes its contents and, indeed, the content of most of its author's writings, prose and verse -

“Dreams, magical horrors, wonders, sagas, nocturnal lemurs and omens.

The hero Ambrose is the abbot of the Capuchin monastery of San Francisco in Madrid; a man of austere economics whose spiritual pride makes him easy prey for the temptations of a female demon which gradually drives him into a series of crimes, including incest and patricide, until he finally sells his soul to the devil to escape him from the dungeons of the inquisition and the auto-da-fe, signing the agreement in a proven way on a roll of parchment with an iron pen soaked in blood from his own veins. The devil entering with thunder and lightning upon whose

412 c/f History of English l^Pmanticism.

Shoulders "swinging two huge black wings" and hair "supplied by living serpents", they then grab their victim and fly with them to a peak in the Sierra Morena, where in a Salvator Rosa landscape of torrents, cliffs, caves and pine forests, In the light of an operatic moon and to the hoarse sigh of the night wind and "the shrill cry of mountain eagles," he throws him over an abyss and finishes him off.

_ A passage from the episode of Agnes de Medina, the imprisoned nun, illustrates the miraculous arts of Lewis: ′′ A slight glow of light filtered by the wands allowed me to see the horrors around me. I was overwhelmed by a sickening, suffocating smell, and, noticing that the screen door was open, I thought that perhaps I could escape. As I straightened up with that plan, my hand landed on something soft. I grabbed him and carried him to the light... Almighty God! What was my heartbreak! My dismay! Despite its rot and the worms crawling over it, I glimpsed a corrupted human head and recognized the features of a nun who had died a few months earlier. A funerary lamp hung from the roof by an iron chain, casting a gloomy light across the dungeon, signs of death were seen on all sides, skulls, shoulder blades, femurs and other death relics strewn across the dewy floor... I dodged away from the biting wind howling in my subterranean abode, the change seemed so startling, so abrupt, that I doubted its reality. . . Sometimes I felt the toad bloated, hideous and spoiled with the noxious fumes of the dungeon,

The German tributary. 413

dragging his disgusting length across my chest; sometimes the swift, cold lizard would wake me, leaving its slimy trail across my face and tangling itself in the wild, tangled curls of my hair. Many times I've woken up to find my fingers surrounded by the long worms that breed in my son's spoiled flesh.

    • The monk" immediately won by its author and

widespread notoriety, no doubt aided by the outcry against its immorality. Lewis tried to defend himself by claiming that his outline and moral were borrowed from "The History of Santon Barsisa" in The Guardian (#148). But the lavish nature of some of the descriptions led the attorney general to ban the book from sale, and Lewis relented enough to public opinion to suppress the questionable passages in later editions. Lewis's melodrama The Castle Specter opened at Drury Lane on 14 December 1797, ran for sixty nights and 'remained popular as a play', says the biographer, 'until recent times'. nightmares, for the play is a dandy. Sheridan, who had a low opinion of this, advised the playwright to keep the ghost out of the last scene. "It has been said," explains Lewis in his preface, "that if Mr. Sheridan had not advised me to be content with a single ghost, I should have intended to exhibit a whole regiment of ghosts." The prologue, spoken by Mr. Wroughton, evokes "the beautiful enchantress, romance":

"The Lunatic Child of Genius and Suffering",

  • The printed piece reached its eleventh edition in 1803.

414 "vf History of English Romanticism.


“- I swear the sun or the light of the burning candle; The moonlit landscape and stormy night she loves alone; and often with a flickering lamp, near newly opened tombs or in the midst of dank dungeons, in dark forests, ruined halls and enchanted towers, she wanders alone, passing the hours.

The drama is set at Conway Castle in Wales, home to Earl Osmond, an "Otranto-type" feudal tyrant who plans an incestuous marriage with his own niece, about which he muses to himself: "What, though she prefer it to a basilisk, kiss to mine? Because my short-lived joy may cause your eternal sorrow, shall I refuse these joys so sought after, so eagerly desired? I will not, by God! Mine she is, and mine she shall be, though the bloody ghost of Reginald dashes before me and thunders in my ear: 'Halt! Only!' – Peace, tempestuous heart, it comes.” Reginald's spirit does not soar because Reginald is still in the flesh, though not much. He is Osmond's brother and Angela's father, and the evil earl and I thought he murdered him. However, it turned out that although he was left to die, he recovered from his wounds, and was kept in solitary confinement, unnoticed, in a dungeon/under the castle, for a rather long period of six years.

adolescence. He is discovered in Act V, "emaciated,

in rough clothes, her hair loose around her face and a chain tied around her body.

Reginald's ghost doesn't fly, but Evelina's ghost does. Evelina is Reginald's murdered wife, and her specter in "white flowing robes, stained with blood" appears to Angela in the oratory communicating with her.

The German tributary. 415

the cedar bedroom furnished with an antique bed and a portrait of a lady on a sliding wall. In fact, the castle is extraordinarily well stocked with apparitions. Earl Herbert rides around him every night on a white horse; Lady Bertha haunts the west tower of the Chapel Tower; and Lord Hildebrand can be seen in the great hall every midnight, playing football with his head. So says the jester Kunterbunt, who supplies the play's comic element with the help of a fat monk who eats sacks and mends venison pies and an "Otranto"-style soubrette.

A few poems were scattered across the pages of The Monk, including a ballad in Danish and another in Spanish. But the most famous of these was "Alonzo the Brave and the Fair Imogene", originally by Lewis, though apparently suggested by **Lenore. just as the clock has struck one and the lights have burned blue, the strange knight, at the Society's request, lifts his visor and reveals a skeleton head:

“Then all those present let out a startled cry; all turned away from the scene in disgust; the worms dragged them in and the worms dragged them out, charging their eyes and temples as the specter made for Imogene.

He wraps his arms around her and sinks to the open ground with his prey; AND

"Four times a year, at midnight, do you sprite, when mortals are asleep,

4i6iA history of English l^omanticisni.

Dressed in your white wedding dress, appear in the hall with a skeleton knight and scream as he spins you around.

"As they drink from skulls fresh from the grave, they see pale dancing ghosts. Their liquor is blood, and that terrible rod They howl: 'To the health of Alonzo the Brave, and his wife, the fair Imogene!"

Lewis's own contributions to his Tales of Terror and Tales of Wonder were of the same raw-headed, bloody-bones variety. His imagination raged in physical terror. There are demons gnashing iron fangs and brandishing blood-fed scorpions; The maidens are kidnapped by the King of Winter, the Water King, the Cloud King, and the Sprite of the Vale; They are poisoned or otherwise put to death, and their ghosts visit their guilty lovers in their shrouds at midnight and kiss them sticky with pale lips; gray monks and black canons abound; The requiem and death knell resound in the darkness of monasteries; echoing through soaring Gothic arches; murmurs the hermit in his mossy cell; Candles burn dimly, torches cast a red glow on the vaulted roofs; the night wind blows through dark corridors; the hooting of the owl in the turret, and the dying moans are heard in the lonely house on the moor where black and torn arras rot on the wall.

The "Miracle Stories" contained Lewis's translations of Goethe's "Fischer" and "Erlkönig" and German versions of runic ballads in Herder's "Stimmen der Volker". Scott's "Wild Huntsman" from Burger is reprinted here, and he also paraphrases "Frederick and Alice".

The German tributary. 417

a fragment of love in Goethe's opera Claudia von Villa Bella; and three distinct own ballads,

    • The Fire King, A History of the Crusades and Glen

finlas' and 'The Eve of St. John', Scottish stories about 'gramarye'. ., the playwright and one of Scott's eccentric friends, Leyden, and the volume ended with Taylor's "Lenora".

It is amusing to read that the monk Scott lectured on the art of verse and corrected scouting and spurious rhymes in his translations of Burger; and that Scott respectfully followed his advice. For nothing can be a better contrast to Lewis' terrible penny than the martial tone of the verse and the virile force of style in Scott's part of the book. As Lewis Anapaest writes,


“She was all veiled in the shroud of the grave, her lips were pale, her face was pale; The most terrible death had plundered its heyday

And every spell of beauty faded and was gone."

And this is how Scott writes them:

"He clenched his teeth and his gloved hand, He stretched that side out over the sand at once... For the Templars went down like Cedron in the flood, And dyed their long spears with Saracen blood."'\

You can't take Monk Lewis any more seriously than Horace Walpole. They are

  • The "Tales of Terror" and "Tales of Wonder" are reprinted in

a single volume of "Morley's Universal Library", 1887.

4 1 8 c// History of English Romanticism.

both like children telling ghost stories in the dark and trying to make each other shudder. Lewis was reckless enough to compose parodies of his own ballads. Several of these faces - "The Mud King", "Giles Jouup the Grave and Brown Sally-Green" etc. - diversify their "Tales of Wonder".

Scott soon found better work for his hands than translating German ballads and melodramas; but in later years he occasionally drew on these early sources of Romantic inspiration. this is his poem

    • The noble Moringer” comes from a “collection

German folk songs”, published in Berlin in 1807 by Busching and Von der Hagen. In 1799 he had performed a remake of a melodrama entitled "The Saint Vehme" on Veit Weber's "Sagen der Vorzeit". ' This he found amongst his papers thirty years later (1829) and had it printed in The Keepsake under the title 'The House of Aspen'. Its most telling feature is the depiction of the Court of Vehm, or secret court, but it carries little meaning. In his Historical Survey, Taylor said that Götz von Berlichingen was “translated into English at Edinburgh in 1799, by Wm. Scott, attorney; undoubtedly the same person who, under the poetic but false name of Walter, has since become the most popular of British writers! where the translator's name is given as William Scott, but this led to a slightly acrimonious correspondence between Sir Walter and the Norwich proofreader.*

, The tide of German romanticism began to ebb

  • Ver "Memoirs of Wm. Taylor", Vol. II, pp. 533-38.

The German tributary. 419

before the end of the century. A few years later it reappeared, perhaps this second time leaving more lasting marks; but the ripples of its first invasion are still perceptible in English poetry and prose. Southey was clearly mistaken when he wrote to Taylor on 5 September 1798: "Coleridge's ballad 'The Ancient Mariner' is, I believe, the clumsiest attempt at German greatness I ever saw."

    • Mariner" is not German at all, and if it is

wrote, Coleridge had not been to Germany and did not know the language. However, he had read "Die Räuber" in Tytler's translation a few years ago. He was at Cambridge at the time, and, as he left the room of a college friend one winter night, he carelessly picked up and carried with him a copy of Tragedy, the name of which he had never heard before. "One winter night, the wind is blowing and for the first time 'The Robbers'. Schiller's readers will understand what I felt.” In the sonnet “To Schiller” (written in December 1794 or January 1795) he noted that ^^^ made a strong impression on his imagination.

— "The Hungry Father's Cry From the Dark Dungeon of the Time Hire Tower",

and wished he could see the bard himself wandering at night—

"Under a vast ancient and stormy forest."

Coleridge was destined to do the standard translation of "Wallenstein"; and there's motifs from "The Robbers" and "The Ghost Seer"

  • "Taylor's Memoirs", vol. i page 223.

42 o ^ History of English Manticism.

in his own very dark dramas, Zapolya - which Scott used in Peveril of the Peak - and Osorio (1797).Remorse", performed at Drury Lane on 23 January 1813,and ran twenty nights. It was rejected by Sheridan, who appropriately dismissed it as a prank. The Rev. W. L. Bowles and Byron, having read the manuscript and strangely exaggerated it, were both interested in having the manager try it on stage. "Remorse" also borrowed some references from Lewis' "Monk".

But Coleridge arrived in time to despise, if not Die Räuber itself, the school of German melodrama for which he was the great model. In the twenty-third chapter of the "Biographia Literaria" (18 17) he rigorously re-read the tragedy "Bertram, or the Castle of St. Aldobrand" by the Rev. Charles Robert Maturin*, incidentally telling the story of the genesis of the entire theatrical genre, which in recent years has been abused and appreciated at the same time under the name of German drama. Of the latter, Schiller's 'Räuber' was the first specimen, the first fruits of his youth. . Only thus did the mature judgment of the author bear the play.” Coleridge admits "The Robbers" and its countless imitations owe him popularity

  • This was one of the more recent hits of the genre. was touched

at Drury Lane in 1816 for twenty-two nights, and brought the author with him

^iooo, and the printed piece reached its seventh edition within the

Year. Maturin's other works include The Fatal Revenge (1807), Manuel (Drury Lane, 1817), Fredolfo (Covent Garden, 1817) and his once-famous novel Melmoth the Wanderer (1820), see ante, p. 249.

7th German tributary. 421

in Germany, translations of Young's "Night Thoughts", Hervey's "Meditations", and Richardson's "Clarissa Harlowe". "Add the ruined castles, the dungeons, the trapdoors, the skeletons, the ghosts of flesh and blood and the everlasting moonlight of a modern author* (even the literary offspring of the 'Castle of Otranto', the translations of those with the imitations and improvements mentioned above at this time in Germany began to make as much noise as their originals made in England), and when the combination of these ingredients, properly mixed, you will recognize the so-called German Drama, the "dem Origin to English, whose material is for English and by re-registration it is English; and until we can prove that Kotzebue, or anyone of the entire Kotzebue race, whether playwright, romantic novelist, or romantic playwright, has ever been admitted to any other shelf in the libraries of educated Germans than his originals... should have been in his homeland we submit to carrying our own skin on our own shoulders.

Under these influences, for a time Germany became the country of choice for romanticism over Italy or Spain. English fairy tale writers chose its forests and ruined castles as the setting for their tales of robbery and murder. One of the best in a bad class of fiction, ^. ^. , was Harriet Lee's The German's Tale: Kruitzner in the Canterbury Tales series, written in collaboration with her sister Sophia (1797–1805). Byron read it at age fourteen, was deeply impressed by it, and made it the basis of his only drama, Werner.

  • Madam Radcliffe.

422 c^ History of English T^omantics.

was unsuccessful on stage. "Kruitzner" is conceived with some pressure, but is written in a dull and awkward way. The historical period is the end of the Thirty Years' War. It does not rely primarily on the venerable "Gothic" machinery for its effect, although again it makes moderate use of the sliding wall and secret passageway.

We are at the dawn of the new century, the date of the 'Lyric Ballads' (1798) and the sight of Waverley's novels. Looking back over the years since Thomson published his Winter in 1726, one wonders what the Romantic movement in England did for literature; if it deserves the name of a "movement" that had no leader, no program, no organ, no theory of art and very little coherence. As we learn from the critical writings of the time, the movement, as it were, was not wholly unaware of its own goals and directions. The expression "School of Warton" implies a certain solidarity, and there was much exchange of views and some personal contacts between men who had literary sympathies; also some skirmishes between opposing camps. Gray, Walpole, and Mason form a group that encourages each other's study through correspondence and occasional meetings. Shenstone was interested in Percy and Gray's collections of ballads in Warton's History of English Poetry. Akenside read "Fleece" by Dyer and Gray read "Minstrel" by Beattie in MS. The Wartons were friends with Collins; Collins, friend and neighbor of Thomson; and Thomson, a frequent visitor to Hagley and the Leasowes. Chatterton tried to take Rowley under Walpole's wing and left his verses

The German tributary. 423

Aminated by Mason and Gray. However, on the whole, the English Romantics had little fellowship; they worked individually and were dispersed and isolated in terms of location, occupations and social affiliation. It doesn't appear that Gray marked Collins, or the Wartons, or Shenstone, or Akenside; nor that MacPherson, Clara Reeve, Mrs. Radcliffe and Chatterton never saw each other or the first. There was not that common purpose and avid partisanship which characterized the Parisian network whose story was told by Gautier, or that romantic school whose members were so brilliantly sketched by Heine.

But call it a movement or just a deviation, a trend; What did it do for literature? A lot in terms of stimulation and preparation. It loosened classical ties, widened the range of sympathy, stimulated curiosity about new and varied forms of art, and placed the literary mind in a receptive and expectant attitude, favorable to original creative pursuits. There never was a more romantic generation than that which came on the scene at the end of the eighteenth century: a generation which turned away from Ossian and Rousseau and The Sorrows of Werther and The Relics of Percy and the romances of Mrs. Radcliffe nurtured. A lot had happened in the department of literature and antique books as well. Books like Tyrwhitt's Chaucer and Warton's History of English Poetry were of real importance, while the collection and preservation of old English poetry by scholars like Percy, Ritson, Ellis and others was pious work before it was too late.

But if we ask what were the positive additions

424 a// History of English nantism.

The response to modern English literature is disappointing. No one will claim that Rowley's poems "Caractacus", "The Monk", "The Grave of King Arthur", "The Friar of Gray Orders", "The Castle of Otranto" and "The Mysteries of Udolpho" are things of lasting value . : or even that The Bard, The Castle of Indolence, and the Poems of Ossian are on a level with work done in the same spirit by Coleridge, Scott, Keats, Rossetti, and William Morris. The two leading English poets of the j^n du slide, Cowper and Burns, were not romantics. It fell to the 19th century to carry out the work that the 18th century had only prophesied.


[This bibliography is intended to provide practical assistance to any reader wishing to follow the history of the subject on their own. By no means does it include all books and authors mentioned in the text; still less anything read or consulted in preparation of the work.]

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346, 348, 364, 365 Boyesen, H.H., 23

Battle of Otterburn, The, 278 Braes of Yarrow, The, 61, 297 Bayly, T. H., 254 Brandl, Alois, 391-93

Beattie, Jas., 85, 97, 166, 186, Bravo von Venice, The, 409 242, 245-47, 251, 302-05, 422 Brentano, Clemens, 384, 402

Bristowe-Tragödie, Die, 346,

349. 366, 370 Brockes, B. H., 106 Brown, „Capability“, 124, 130 Brown, Chas. B., 403 Brown Robyns Geständnis,


Beaumont and Fletcher, 284 Beauties of Shakespeare, The,

377 Beckford, Wm., 403, 405

Bedingfield, Thos., 85, 97, 215 Bell, Edward, 340, 342 Bell of Arragon, The, 172 Belle Dame sans Merci, La, Browne, Sir Thos., 40, 66

299 Browne, Wm., 79

Bells Fugitive Poetry, 159, Browning, Robert, 43

161 Brunettiere, Ferdinand, 2, 5, 11,

Bentham, Jas, 180 14

Beowulf, 25, 318 Bryant, Jacob, 356

Beresford, Jas., 391 Brydges, Saml. Egerton, 336

Berkeley, Geo., 31 Buchanan, Robt., 272

Bernart de Ventadour, 64 Citizens, G.A., 279, 289, 301,

Bertram, 420 375, 376, 382, ​​389-97. 416, 417

Index. 437

Burney, Francis, 252 Castles of Athlin and Dun- Burning Babe, The, 41 Bayne, The, 250, 258, 261 Burns, Robt., 57, 95, 112, 187, Cath-Loda, 334

334, 360, 424 Royal and Noble Catalog

Burton, JH, 178 autores, 230

Burton, Robt., 162 Cato, 51. 218, 388

Byron, Geo. Gordon, Lord, 5, Literatura Celta (Sullivan),

16, 24, 36, 49, 78, 98, 107, 135, 315, 325

181, 222, 229, 238, 250, 255, Celtic Literature, on the study

262, 328-30, 333, 353, 362, 370, by (Arnold), 315

402, 405, 406, 420, 421, Cerdick, 329

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel

Calderón de la Barca, Pedro, von, 244

25 Cesarotti, M., 321, 337

Caleb Williams, 403 Masters of Virtue, The, 241-

Calverley, CS, 270 43

Cambridge, R.O., 84, 89, 92, Chanson de Roland, The, 27,

98, 151, 228, 229 64

Cameron, Ewen, 335 Chappell, Wm., 270

Cameron, Julia M., 393 Resources, 382, ​​391

Campbell, Thos., 142, 143 Chase, The (Scott), 391

Campbell, JF, 314, 322, 323, Chase, The (Somerville), 124

325, 327 Chateaubriand, F. A. de., 255,

Canning, Geo., 402, 403 332, 333

Canterbury Tales (Chaucer), Chatterton (Jones e Her-

27. 63, 35 S. 359 Mann), 373

Canterbury Tales (Lee), 421 Chatterton (Masson), 362

Caractacus, 190, 194, 195, 306, Chatterton (Vigny), 372, 373

424 Chatterton, Thos., 152, 188, 211,

Caradoc, 195 235, 245, 294, 317, 328, 339-

Carew, Thos., 66 73.384.422.423

Carey, Henry, 57 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 27, 28, 30,

Caric-thura, 334 63, 66, 69, 108, 154, 188, 199,

Carle von Carlisle, The, 293 212, 213, 244, 266, 272, 279,

Carlyle, Thos., 317, 330, 334, 280, 294, 301, 304, 322, 342,

397-400 358-60, 363, 371, 382, ​​383, 423

Carmen Seculare, 35 Chesterfield, Philip Dormer

Carter, Jno., 189 Stanhope, Earl of. 40, 50, 137

Carthon, 311, 333, 335 Chevy Chase, 274, 283-S6, 300,

Castelo da Preguiça, the, 75, 85, 346, 377

92-94, 97, 104, 114, 165, 219, Type. FJ, 267, 284

424 Bond Mauritius, 292

Castle of Otranto, The, 188, son of Elle, The, 289, 290, 301

211, 215, 223, 229, 231, 236 – Criança Águas, 281, 295, 298, 301

43, 247, 249, 253, 255, 340, Childe Harold, 98, 250, 333,

346, 362, 367. 401, 409, 411, 334, 364

414, 415, 421, 424 children in the forest,

Castle Spectre, The, 401, 413-273, 2S3. 2S5. 288, 302

15 Choice of Hercules, Der, 85

43 8 Index.

Christian von Troyes, 27 Corneille, Pierre, 38, 65, 67

Christabel, 363, 369, 394 Corsair, The, 334

Christian Ballads, 165 Cottle, Joseph, 350, 358, 368

Christ Church o* the Green, 66 Conde de Narbonne, The, 240

Churchill, Chas., 353 Country Walk, The, 142

Cibber, Colley, 74, 176 Cowley, Abraham, 37, 38, 53, Cid, The, 298 66, 79, 120, 228

Terrible Night City That, Cowper, Wm., 53, 57, 103, 108,

162 no, 112, 115, 424

Clarissa Harlowe, 252, 421 Coxe, AC, 165

Classic and Romantic, 11 Crabbe, Geo., 103

Classics and Romantics, 2 Crashaw, Richard, 41

Classic Walpurgis Night, 385 Croft, Herbert, 367, 368

Claudina von Villa Bella, 417 Croma, 336

Clerk, Archibald, 313, 320, 321, Cromwell, 19, 35

323, 324 Croxall, Saml., 84

Clerk Colvin, 279, 417 Crusade, The, 199

Clerkes Tale, The, 280, 281 Cumberland, Richard, 74, 177

Coleridge, ST, 59, 66, 73, Cumnor Hall, 94

108, 110, 161, 188, 262, 265, Kyder, 104, 124

269, 299, 328, 363. 366, 368,

369. 372, 376. 387. 388, 394, Ironside, Anne L., 49

419-21, 424 Dalrymple, Sir David, 291, Colin's Error, 84 306, 336

Collins, Wm., 25, 75, 104, nein, Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser, / 112, 114, 118, 129, 136, 142, 266

151, 155, 156, 158, 163, 165, Dante Alighieri, 22, 28, 29, 64,

166, 168-72, 175, 184, 186, 193, 235

197, 215, 251, 279, 281, 384, Darke Ladye, The, 369

403, 422, 423 Darthula, 314. 335

Collection of Old Ballads, A., Darwin, Erasmus, 99

(Video) 18th Century Literature | 1700-1789 | History of English Literature | Lecture 10

284 Davenant, Wm., 67, 74, 137, 226

Colman, Geo., Jr., 176, 254, 417 David Balfour, 258

Colvin, Sidney, 16-18 Davies, John, 137

Begleiter des Oxford On the Origin of the English Nation

Manual, 202 192

Complaint of Ninathoma, The, On the Causes of Condemnation

328 *Mortis, 191

Complete Art of Poetry, The, On the Imitation of Christ, 64

69, 72 Dean of Lismore's Book, The, Comus, 16, 144, 149, 150, 215 314

Conan, 195 Death of Calmar and Orla, The, Concubine, The, 85, 95 328

Conjectures About Death With original from Cuthullen, The, 335

Position, 387 Death of Hoel, The, 195

Conquest of Granada, 44. Death of Mr. Pope, 85

Contemplation, 297 Defense of Poetry, 72, 274

Cooper's Hill, 39 Defense of Coriolanus's Epilogue, 72, 74 Conquest of Grenada, 71

Index. 439

DeFoe, Daniel, 40 Dream, A, 85

Demonology and Witchcraft, Dream of Gerontius, O, 41

42, 189 drummer, Der, 408

Demosthenes, 3 Dryden, J No., 27, 41, 44, 49, 50 Deirdre, 314-53. 62, 63, 66-68, 70, 71, 74,

Denham, Sir Jno., 39 79, 80, 104, 137, 148, 149, 177,

Denis, Michael, 337, 377 192, 209, 210, 212, 213, 2i6,

Dennis, Jno, 49, 62, 69, 72, 74, 265.283

285 Dugdale, Wm., 198

Descent of Odin, The, 191, 192, Dunciad, The, 34, 56

220 ^ Dürer, Albrecht, 162

Deschanel, Emile, 2 D'Urfey, Thos., 74

Description of the Leasowes, Dyer, Jno., 75, 102, 103, 106,

133, 139 119, 124, 142-45. 168, 215,

Descriptive Poem, A, 185 422

Abandoned Farm /

177 Early English Metripal Ro-Deserted Village, The, 91, 207 Mances, 301

Art and German Art, Eastlake, Sir Chas., 54,^5, 199,

Some Flying Leaves, 231-33

of, 380, 381 Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 145

Old French Dictionary- Edda, The, 64, 190, ig6, 220,

Expressions, 221 313, 390

Dictionary of National Biog-Edinburgh Review, The, 350,

raps, 359 397

Day of Wrath, 64 Education, 85, 89, 90, 126

Lamentation at Cymbeline, The, 75, Education of Achilles, The,

163 85, 97

Dissertatio de Bardis, 195 Edward, 274, 300

Dissertation on Fable and Edwards, Thos., 53, 89, 161

Romance, 242, 245-47 Bursts of Sensitivity, 250

Dissertation on the Authentic Literature of the 18th Century

Stadt Ossian, 320 (Gosse), 84, 104, 106, 163,

Divine Comedy, Tues, 27 169, 362

Divine Emblems, 164 Elegant Extracts, 211

Dobson, Austin, 272 Elegies (Shenstone's), 137, 138

Dobson, Susannah, 221 Elegy on the Death of Prince Dodd, Wm., 377 Frederick, 85

Doddington, Geo. Bubb, em Elegy an Thyrza, 135

Dodsley, Jas., 349 Elegy written in a cemetery Dodsley, Robert, 84, 85, 132, in South Wales, 176

133, 135, 139, 209 Elegy Written in a Country Dodsley's Miscellany, 137, 159, Churchyard, 103, 137, 157,

165 163, 167, 173-77, 204

Don Juan, 5, 49 Elioure and Also, 346, 352, Donne, Jno., 28, 37, 66 354

Dorset, Chas. Sackville, Earl Ellis, Geo., 188, 301, 402, 423

von, 283 Elstob, Elisabeth, 192

Douglas, 170, 276, 308 Emerson, R. W., 66, 388



Emilia Galotti, 380

Endymion, 370

English and Scottish Folk Ballads, The, 267

English Bards and Scottish Revisers, 405

English Garden, Der, 123-27,


English Literature in the Eighteenth Century (Perry), 7, 163, 207, 211, 337

English Metamorphosis, 364,

365 English Romantic Movement,

Die (Phelps), 84, 85, 197,

283, 297, 329 English scholars,

249, 262 Enid. 281 authenticity investigation

of the Rowley Poems, 359 Inquiry into the Present State

of educated learning, 208 Enthusiast, The, 151-53, 160 Epigoniad, the, 89 Epistle of Eloisa to Abelard,

56, 157, 163, 218, 220 Brief and Augustus, 66, 69, 72,

115 Epistle to Mathew, 370 Epistle to Sacheverel, 80 Epistle to the Earl of Burlington, 120, 129 Epitaphium Damonis, 146 Epithalamium, 84 Erl-King, The, 386, 416 Erskine, Wm., 203, 404 Essay of Dramatic Poetry, 68, 70 Ensaio sobre Antiguidade e Modernidade

Lernen, 69 Essay on Criticism, 47, 50, 388 Essay on Gothic Architecture,

180 Essay on Gray (Lowell), 209 Essay on Homer, 387, 389 Essay on Man, 34, 41, 113, 175 Essay on Poetry, 47 Essay on Pope (Lowell), 60, 169, 173

Essay on Pope (Warton), 97, 118, 149, 160, 163, 185, 193, 206, 212-20, 224 Essay on Satire, 47, 80 Essay on Scott, 400 Essay on Shakespeare, 69, 72 Essay on the Ancient Minstrels, 245, 293, 302 Essay on Rowley's Poems,

359 essay on truth, 303

essays on german literature,

23 essays on men and manners,

127 essays on poetry and poets,

363 Ethelgar, 328 Etherege, Geo., 38 Evans, Evan, 195 Eva von St. Agnes, Die, 98, 257,

363 Eva von St. John, The, 417 Eva von St. Mark, The, 177,

371 Evelina, 243, 252 Evelyn, Jno., 7 Evergreen, The, 284, 286 Excelente balada de Charitie, 284;

Para, 366 Field Trip, Die (Mallet), 124 Field Trip, Die (Wordsworth),


Fables, (.<Esop), 84

Fables (Drj^den), 63

Fairy Queen, Die, 16, 37, 66, 77-101, 154, 215, 225, 365

White Annie, 281, 295

Fair Circassian, O, 84

Linda Eleanor, 367

Beautiful Janet, 268

Fair Margaret e Sweet William, 268, 279, 283, 286, 300

Farewell Hymn, Lá, 85

Death's Vengeance, A, 249, 420

Mortal Sisters, The, 191

Fausto, 27, 141, 384, 385, 401



Fergusson, Jas., 233 Feudal Tyrants, 409 Fichte, J. G., 387 Fielding, Henry, 26, 40, 76,

383 Filicaja, Vincentius, 49 Fingal, 309, 311, 313, 317, 322,

324. 335. 336, 338 Fire King, The, 417 First Impressions of England,

109, 133 Fischer, Der, 386 Fisher, The, 416 Five English Poets, 372 Five Pieces of Runic Poetry,

190 Flaming Heart, It, 41 Fleece, It, 124, 144, 145, 422 School of Poets of the Flesh, It,

272 Fletcher, Giles, 78 Fletcher, Jno., 25, 51, 79, 117,

162, 210 Fletcher, Phineas, 78 Ford, Jno., 241 Foreign Review, The, 398 Forsaken Bride, The. 280 Fouque, F. de la M., 4, 26, 384 Fragmente antiker Poesie,

306, 307, 309, 311, 323, 326,

328, 336 Frankenstein, 401, 403, 406 Frederick and Alice, 416 Frederick, Prince of Wales, 84,

137 Fredolfo, 420 Freneau, Philip, 177 Ordensbruder Grey, The, 298,

301, 424 Froissart, Jean, 27, 64, 236 De Shakspere ao Papa, 39,

60 Fröhling, Der, 106 Fuller, Thos., 28 Furnivall, F.J., 292 Fust von Stromberg, 399

Gammer Gurton's Nadel, 293 Gandalin, 381

walk behind the iron hammer,

Der, 386 "Garlands", Die, 284 Garrick, David, 162, 209, 287 Gaston de Blondville, 250, 259-

62 Gates, L. E., 41, 44 Gautier, Theophile, 372, 423 Gay Goshawk, The, 279 Gay, Jno., 35, 57, 273 Gebir, 18, 245 Proceedings of a Skull, 190, 423;

377 Genius of Christianity, The,

332 Gentle Shepherd, The, 79 Georgics, The, iii German's Tale, The, 421 Geron der Adelige, 381 Gerstenberg, H. W. von, 190,

377. 387 History of German Literature (Hettner) 300, 378,

387 art history of

Antiquity, 384 Ghost-Seer, The, 419 Gierusalemme Liberata, 214,

225 Gilderoy, 283

Gildon, Chas., 49, 62, 69, 72 Giles Jollop, 418 Gil Maurice, 276 Gilpin, Wm., 185 Glanvil, Joseph, 390, 408 Gleim, J. W. L., 375 Glenfinlas, 417 Goddwyn, 344, 363-65 Godred Crovan , 329 Godwin, Wm., 403 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, 3,

4, II, 31, 141, 252, 255, 275,

330, 334, 377-81, 384-87, 389,

397-99, 404, 409, 416, 417 "Gottinger Hain," The, 378 Gotz von Berlichingen, 334,

375. 380, 381, 385. 393-404,

418 Golden Donkey, Der, 16



Golden Treasure, The, 57, 277 Golo und Genoveva, 399 \Goldsmith, Oliver, 76, gi, 112, 113, 162, 177, 186, 207-11, 287,

354 Gondibert, 137 Goi'thmund, 329 Gosse, Edmund, 39, 53, 60, 84, 103, 106, 163, 169, 192, 272, 362 Gottfried von Straßburg, 3, 64 Gottsched, J. C, 374, 383 Gower, Jno., 266, 272 Grainger, James, 124, 287 Granville, Geo., 47 Grave, The, 104, 163, 164, 175 Grave of King Arthur, The,

199-201, 424 Graves, Richard, 130-33, 137 Gray, Thos., 25, 32, 52, 53, 75, 8g, 103, 117-19. 123, 136, 137, 139, 145, 151, 155, 157-60, 163, 164, 166-69, 172-85, 190-206, 199, 201, 204, 206, 209, 211, 215, 216, 218, 220, 221, 229, 235, 238, 251, 276, 286, 302, 306-08, 336, 352, 356, 362, 377. 384. 387, 422, 423 Green, Matthew, 136 Grene Knight, The , 293 Grim White Woman, The, 407 Grongar Hill, 104, 119, 142, 143,

145 Grose, Francis, 187 Grounds of Criticism in Tragedy, The, 71 Grundtvig, Svend, 266 Guardian, The, 120, 126, 413 Guest, Lady Charlotte, 189 Gulliver's Travels, 26 Gummere, F. B., 276 Gwin, King of Norway, 367

Hagley, 108, Protokoll, 122, 127, 131,

133, 136, 183, 303, 422 Hales, J. W., 289, 290 Hallam, Henry, 189 Haraburgian Dramaturgy,

379» 387

Hamilton, Wm., 61, 279 Hamlet, 387, 401 Hammond, Jas., 137 Hardyknut, 286 Harper's Daughters, The, 409 Hartmann von Aue, 64, 381 Harvey, Geo., 336 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 403 Haystack in the Flood , Der,

299, 363 Hayward, A., 234 Hazlit t, Wm. , 161^254

-^faztrffrwrc., 205

Hearne, Thos., 201 Hedge, F.H., 11, 14, 16

Heilas, The, 329 Saint Vehm, Der, 418 Heine, Heinrich, 2, 24, 330, 402,

423 Erbe von Lynne, The, 290 Helen de Kirkconnell, 274 Heliodorus, 244 Hellenics, 3 Henriade, The, 50, 214, 216,

217 Henry e Emma, ​​​​295, 296 Herbert, Geo., 28, 66, 228 Herd, David, 299 Herder, J. G. Von, 274, 300, 301,

337, 376, 378, 380, 384, 387,

389, 416 Hermann e Dorothea, 4, 385 Eremitas de Warkworth, Die,

186, 289, 294, 298 Hermit, The (Beattie), 186, 305 Hermit, The (Goldsmith), 113,

186 Hermit, The (Parnell), 186 Herrick, Robert, 66 Hervarer Saga, The, 192 Hervey, Jas., 421 Hettner, H. J. T., 378, 379, 381,

383, 387 Hicks, Geo., 192, 193 Hill, Aaron, 217 Hind und der Panther, The,

41 History of Denmark, 190, 221, 377

Index. 443

History of the Troubadours, 221, Haus von Aspen, The, 418

222 House of Superstitions, The History of Romanticism, 372 85

Heral Historical Anecdotes - "How to Sleep the Brave", 168

dryness and chivalry, 221 Howitt, Wm., 133, 134, 364

Historical Doubts, 230 Hugo, Victor Marie, 3, 19, 35, Historical Survey of German 36, 77, 115, 209

Poesie, 397, 398, 418 Hume, Robert, 100, 303, 308

Historicamente por Peyncteynge em The Hunt for the Cheviot, The,

England, 351 <. -^, 278, 295

History of Architecture, 233 Huon de Bordeaux, 382

History of Bristol, 348, 364 Hurd, Richard, 221-26, 245, 246, History of Charoba, Queen of 375, 387

Egypt, 245"; Hussar of Magdeburg, Der,

History of England (HunW; 393 years

100 / Hino (Thomson), 106

History of English Literatjure Hymn to Adversity, 167, 173

(Taine), 316 ^\ Hymn to Divine Love, 85

Hymn to the History of English Poetry May 85

(Warton), 36, 205, 206, 2it, Hino ao Supreme Being,

245, 260, 359, 432, 423 85

History of English Thought in Hyperion, 35

18th century, 32, A-^

41 idle, the. 207 me

History of Gardening, 119, 123 Idylls of the King, The, 146

Historij'- der deutschen Literatur II Bellicoso, 153

(Scherer), 374, 380, 382, ​​385, II Pacific, 153, 154

394 II Pensaroso, 104, 115, 142, 147, history of the opinion on the 149, 150, 154, 162, 170, 175,

Shakespeare's writings, 74 334

History of Santon Barsisa, 413 Iliad, A, 16, 36, 56, 58, 214;

54. 55. 231 Imaginary Conversations, 18, Hobbes, Thos., 226 43

Holty, LHC, 375 Immortality, 85

Hole, R., 336 Indian Burying Ground, The, Home, Jno., 132, 170, 276, 308, 177

309 Indian Emperor, The, 44

Homer, 3, 25, 35. 37, 50, 55, 100, Ingelow, Jean, 270

215, 222-24, 271, 284, 285, inscription to a cave, 136

310, 313, 318, 330, 335, 376, Institution des Ordens der

387-89 Garter, 159, 193, 194

Casas dos Poetas, 133, 364 Introduction to Lusíadas, 85

Horace, 38, 47, 55. 72, 156, 223, Iphigenia of Tauris, 3, 385,

2S5, 4" 397

Houghton, J. Monckton Milnes, Irlanda, Wm. H., 77.294

Sir, 370 Irene, 51

Hours in a Library, 235 Isis, 176

Hours of Idleness, 329 Italian, Tues, 250, 252, 263



Italian Journey, 385" Ivanhoe, 4, 23, 188, 237, 262, 404

Jamieson, Robert, 292 Jane Shore, 286 Januar und Mai, 63 Jemmy Dawson, 273 Jephson, Robert, 240 Jew's Daughter, The, 300 Jock o' Hazeldean, 269, 277,


Johnnie Armstrong, 274, 278, 283

Johnnie Cock, 279, 280

Johnson, Saml., 37, 40, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 59, 66, 68, 70, 71, 89, 90, 94, 97, 99, 104, 105, 113, 131, 132, 136 -39, 144, 145, 150. 151, 172-75, 177, 179, 186, 196-98, 207, 224, 243, 274, 285, 287-89, 295, 302, 303, 312, 313, 320 , 328, 354, 355

Toinville, Jean Sire de, 27, 64

Jones, Inigo, 121, 230

Jonson, Ben, 25, 50, 71, 79, 97, 210, 285

Jordan, Der, 85

Magazine nos Lagos, 183, 184

Journey through Holland, 257

Joyce, R. D., 314

Julius Caesar, 377

Junius, Letters from, 353

Kabbalah and Love, 409

Kalewala, Die, 313

fight the dragon,

386 Kant, Immanuel, 31, 387 Katharine Janfarie, 277 Kavanagh, Julia, 249, 262 Keate, Geo., 182 Keats, Jno., 18, 35, 94, 107, 169,

177, 257, 262, 265, 353, 362,

363, 370-72, 424 Souvenirs, Die, 418 Kemp Owen, 279 Kenil Worth, 94, 260 Kenrick, 329

Kent, Wm., 129, 135, 152 Kersey's Dictionary, 360, 361 King Arthur's Death, 278 King Estmere, 279, 300 King John and the Abbot, 301 Kinmont Willie, 278 Kittridge, G. L., 191, 192 Kleist, E. C. von, 106 Klinger, F, M., 379 Klopstock, F. G., 338, 377 Knight, Chas., 74 Knight of the Burning Pistle,

Die, 284 Knox, v., 211, 212, 228 Knythinga Saga, Die, 196 Kotzebue, A.F.F. from, 400, 400;

409, 421 Song of War, 377 Kruitzner, 421, 422

La Bruyere, Jean de, 138

La Calprenede, G. de C. Chevalier de, 6

Lachin Y. Gair, 329

Lamentation of Lady Anne Bothwell, 283

Lady of the Lake, Die, 96,

299- 399 La Fontaine, Jean de, 38 Laing, Malcolm, 318, 320, 329 L’Allegro, 104, 129, 142, 144,

147, 149, 150, 154, 158, 170 Lamartine, A. M. L. de, 176 Lamb, Chas., 28, 161, 199 Land of Liberty, 85 Land of the Muses, The, 85 Lander, W. S., 3, 18, 34, 42,

136, 245, 293 Lang, Andrew, 272 Langbaine, Gerard, 49, 62, 69, 71 Langley, Batty, 54, i2t, 233 Lansdowne, Geo. Grandville,

Earl of, 47, 74 Laocoon, 384, 387 Maiden of Fair Wone, The, 397 Lay of the Last Minstrel, The,

165, 191, 336. 404 Laity of Ancient Rome, 269, 298



Lay two Scottish Cavaliers,

269​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Livro, 314, 323 Lear, 217 Leasowes, The, 127, 130-37,

139, 152, 183, 213, 422 Le Bossu, Rene, 49 Lectures on Translation

Homer, 389 Legend of Sir Guy, 278 Legenda Aurea, 3 Lee, Harriet und Sophia, 421 Le Lac, 176 Leland, Thos., 244, 247 Lelands Collectanea, 260 Lenora, 391-97. 4i5, 417 Lenox, Charlotte, 70 Lenz, J, M. R., 379, 387 Leonidas, 337 Lessing, G. E., 56, 300, 375,

376, 379. 380. 384, 387, 397 Letourneur, Pierre, 337 Letter from Italy, 57, 218 Letter to Master Canynge, 344 Letters on Chivalry and Romance, 221-26, 245 Letters to Shenstone, Lady

Luxborough's, 135, 229 letters from Dupuis and Cotonet,

18-22 Lewis, M. G., 249, 252, 262, 376,

394. 396, 400, 401, 404-18, 420 Leiden, Jno., 417 Library of Romance, 381 Life of Lyttelton (Phillimore),

74, 108 lines to observe a flower,

368 lines written at Tintern Abbey, 140 Literary Movement in France, .

Die, 35, 44, 61 Literatura Runica, 191 Little Musgrave and Lady

Barnard, 283 Lives of English Poets

(Winstanley), 69 Lives of Novelists (Scott),


Lives of the Poets (Johnson),

51, 68, 90, 97, 105, 114, 131,

139, 150, 172, 196, 286 Lloyd. Roberto, 85, 91, 98, 151,

176 Lockhart, J. G., 29S, 391, 398,

402, 403, 406 Longfellow, H. W., 198, 199,

269 ​​Longinus, 38 Longsword, Earl of Salisbilpy,

244, 247, 248 Lord Lovel, 268 Lord Randall, 275 Lord Thomas e Fair Annet,

268 Lotus Eaters, The, 18, 92 Love and Madness, 368 Love's Labour's Lost, 379 Lowell, J.R., 27, 59, 114, 139,

144, 169, 173, 206, 209, 403 Lowth, Robert, 85, 387 Liirlei, Die, 402 Lukens, Chas., 393 Lusiad, The, 85, 94 Lycidas, 37, 115, 145, 149, 150,

154, 192 Lydgate, Jno., 206, 266, 344, 359 Lyric Ballads, 58, 109, 112,

160, 183, 218, 288, 299, 316,

422 Gesture of Lytel by Robyn Head,

O. 274 Lytelton, Geo. Sir, 90, 91,

95, 108, III, 121, 127, 131,132,

135-37, 303

Mabinogion, The, 189 Macaulay, T. B., 69, 238, 269,

272, 298 Macbeth, 223 McClintock, W. D., 102 Mackenzie, Henry, 252, 390 Mackenzie, Jno., 321 McLauchlan, Thos., 314 Macmillan's Magazine, 326 McNeil, Archibald, 326 MacPherson, Jas., 24, 195, 294,

302, 306-3S, 377, 423



Madden, Sir Frederick, 292 Malherbe, Frangois de, 38 Mallet, David, 75, 105, 106,124,

235, 283, 286 Mallet, P. H., 190, 191, 196,

221, 374, 377 Malone, Edmond, 32, 356, 362 Malory, Sir Thos., 27 Manfred. 334

Man of Feeling, The, 252, 390 Mansus, 146 Manuel, 420 Map, Walter, 27 Marble Faun, The, 23 Mariner's Wife, The, 95 Marlowe, Christopher, 66 Marmion, 203, 234, 258, 336, 399,

404, 411 Marriage of Frederick, 84 Marriage of Gawaine, The, 278 Mary Hamilton, 280 Mason, Wm., 85, 91, 123-27,

129, 151, 153-55. 160, 165, 167,

176, 180, 183, 190, 194-96, 211,

213, 215, 221, 251, 276, 306,

307, 337. 352.422, 423 Masson, David, 148, 362 Mather, Cotton, 408 Mathias, Thos. J., 393 Maturin, Chas. Roberto, 249,

420 Meditations (Harvey) 421 Melmoth the Wanderer, 249,

420 Memories of the Old Che-

Valerie, 221, 222 Memoirs of a Sad Dog. 353 Mendez, Moses, 85, 91, 159 Misanthropy and Repentance, 400 Merchant of Venice, The, 372 Meyrick, Sir Saml. R., 189 Miguel. 4

Mickle, Wm. J., 85, 94-96 Middle Ages, Die (Hallam) 189 A Midsummer Night's Dream, A,

76, 235, 382 Miller and the king's daughter,

Morrer, 283 Miller, Johann M., 375, 400

Miller, Hugh, 108, 109, 130, 133,

136 Milles, Jeremiah, 356, 361 Milnes, R. Monckton, 370 Milton, Jno., 16, 34, 37, 40, 52, 53. 55. 56, 63, 66, 69, 78, 79, 94, 104, NEIN. III, 115, 129, 140, 142, 144, 146-62, 170, 173, 193, 199, 212, 213, 215, 216, 218, 219, 222, 225, 244, 265, 283,

297. 318, 371, 374, 391

Miltonic Imitations in Dodsley, Liste von, 159-61

Minister, Ali, 409

Memory beds, Die, 375

Minot, Lawrence, 293

Menestrel, The, 85, 97, 245, 302-05, 422.

Minstrels, Ancient and Modern, 270

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 262, 267, 277, 299, 404.

Spiegel, Der, 85

Miscellaneous Poems (Dryden), 192, 283

Miss Kitten, 393

Modern painter, 26, 34

Moser, Justus, 375, 380

Molière, J.B.P., 38

Monasticon, Anglican um, 198

Mönch, The, 249, 262, 263, 401, 404, 407-13. 420, 424

Monody on Chatterton's death, 368

Monody Written near Stratford-upon-Avon, 201

Monologue, A, 176

Montagu, Elizabeth R., 303,

337 Monthly Magazine, O, 391,

392 Monthly Review, The, 397 Moral Essays, 220 More, Hannah, 151 Morning, 85

Morris, Wm., 191, 203, 424 Morte Artus, 64, 390 Motherwell, Wm., 270, 299 Mud King, The, 418



Müller, Friedrich, 399 Müller, Johannes, 376 Mulgrave, Jno. Sheffield, Conde

von, 47, 63' Murdoch, Patrick, 105 Musaeus, 85, 153-55 Musen Almanach, 393 Musset, Alfred de, 18-22 Myller, C. H., 375 Mysterious Mother, The, 237,

238, 241, 251, 253, 401, 409 Mysteries of Udolpho, The,

250, 252-55, 262, 263, 401, 424

Glossary of Nares and Halliwell, i8g

Nathan the Wise, 376, 397

Nativity Dice 85

nature, 388

Natureza da Poesia, Die, 162

New vocals from Spenser's Fairy Queen, A, 84, 85

Newman, F. W., 389

Newman, J.H., 41

Milton's New Memoirs, 149

New Gardening Principles, 121

Song of the Nibelungs, A, 25, 64,

313. 375, 376 Nichols' Anecdotes, 192 Night Piece on Death, 61, 177 Night Thoughts, 104, 163, 175,

387. 421 Noble Moringer, The, 418 Nocturnal Reverie, 57, 61 Noel, Roden, 363 Nonne Prestes Tale, The, 28 Northanger Abbey, 263, 264 Northern Antiquities, 190 Northumberland Betrayed by

Douglas, 278 Know Thyself, 137 Non-Brown Maid, Die, 274, 295,

296, 300, 302 Notes and figures to

Ossian, 318 Notes on the Authenticity of

Ossians Gedichte, 326 Notre Dame de Paris, 3

Neue Heloise, La, 31 Novalis, 384

Oberon, 382

Notes on the English Gauge, 206

Observations on Modern Gardening (Whately), 123

Observations on The Faery Queene, 99-101, 204, 213, 223

Observations on the Interior of Great Britain, 185

Remarks on the Poems of Thomas Rowley, 356

Oden, (Akensides), 142

Oden, (Collins'), 142, 155, 156

Oden, (Ashes), 362

Oden, (J. Wartons), 142, 155, 156

Odes, For the New Year, 199. On a Distant Prospect of Eton College, 167, 173, 216. On His Majesty's Birthday, 199. On the Approach of Summer, 158. On the Death of Thomson, 163, 165, 194. April 1, 158. On the investiture of the Duke of Grafton, 159. On the morning of the Nativity, 147, 149. 150, 156. On the Passions, 166, 169,

175. On the Spring, 167, 173. On the Superstitions of the Scottish Highlands, 25, 114, 170-72. Sent to Mr. Upton, 201. For a Greek urn, 18. For a nightingale (Keats) 18. For a harp ^olus, 165. For Curio, 85. For the night (Col-lins), 156, 165, 168 . (Warton), 165. For Fear, 156. For Freedom, 363. For Freedom, 194. For Oblivion, 176. For Darkness,

176. For peace, 305. For Pyrrha, 156. For simplicity, 156. For solitude, 165. For the Hon. Charles Townsend,



84. To the Marquess of Tavistock, 84. To the Nightingale (Warton), 165. To the Queen, 84. Written at Vale Royal Abbey, 204 Odyssey, The, 16, 269 CEdipus Rex, 3, 19, 241 Of Heroic Virtue Of Poetry, 192, 197, 192 Old English Ballads, 276 Old English Baron, The, 241-

43, 249

Oldmixon, Jno., 62

Antique Parts (Dodsley) 209

Olive, Die, 84

At King Arthur's Round Table, 201

On Modern Gardening (Walpole), 123, 130

On Myself, 79

At the Church of Our Lady, 344

On the Prevailing Taste for Old English Poets, 211

No Rio Duddon, 162

On Witches (Glanvil), 408

Opie, Amelie, 252

Orkney, 191

Origin of Romantic Fiction, A, 205

Spenser's original song, An, 84

Ormond, 403

Osori, 420

Ossian (MacPherson), 25, 117, 178, 195, 235, 245, 256, 302, 306-38, 355, 356, 377, 378, 423, 424

Ossian, Poems by, in the Original Gaelic (Clerk), 313

Ossian, Poems by, in the original Gaelic (in Gillie's collection), 326

Ossian, Poems by, in the original Gaelic (Text der Highland Society), 321, 324, 326

Ossian, Poems by, in the original Gaelic (in Stewart's collection), 326

Othello, 372

Otto von Wittelsbach, 398 Otway, Thos., 74, 210 Ovid, 25 Oxford Sausage, The, 199

Pain and Patience, 84 Palamon and Arcite, 28, 215 Palgrave, F.T., 57, 277 Pamela, 252 Paradise Lost, 50, 52, 55-57,

104, no, 129, 145, 147, 148,

151, 217. 375 Paradise Regained, 147, 148 Goblin Parliament, Die,

344, 365 Parnell, Thos., 58, 61, 177, 186,

210 Parzival, 64

Pastoral ballad, A., 138 Pastoral in the way of

Spenser, A., 85 Pastoral Ode, A.. 133 Pastoral (Philips'), 80 Pastoral (Papst), 57, 112, 193,

215, 216 Pater, Walter, 7, 8, 16 Paul und Virginia, 22, 112 Pearch's Collection, 159, 182,

185 Peck, F., 149

Pellissier, George, 35, 44, 61, 65 Pepys, Saml., 283, 291 Percy FohoMS., The, 288, 290-

93 Percy, Tho., 186, 196, 212,

235, 246, 272, 284, 306, 319,

326, 383, 387, 422. See also

relics. Perigrine Pickle, 139 Pearl. Die, 189 Perry, TS, 7, 163, 176, 211,

212, 251, 337 Persiles and Sigismonda, 244 Peter Bell, 299 Petrarch, Francesco, 29 Peveril of the Peak, 420 Pastor's Daughter, Des, 396 Phelps, W.L., 84, 85, 191, 197,

283, 297, 329

Index. 449

Philander, 85 Preface to the Pope's Shakespeare,

Filanteu, 85 72

Philips, Ambrose, 80, 102, 284 Prelude, The, 304

Philips, Edward, 67, 80 Price, Richard, 205

Philips, Jno., 104, 124 Prior, Matthew, 35, 57, 63, 84,

Phillimore's Life of Lyttelton, 159, 2gi, 295, 296, 382

74. 108 Prioresse Tale, The, 279, 342

Phcenix, The, 241 Progress of Envy. die, 85, 91

Pieces of Poetry, The Old Popular Progress, 173

Poetry, 293 Progress of Romanticism, The,

Pilgrimage, O, 5 243-45

Píndaro, 35, 54, 89 Prologue to the opening of

Pitt, Christopher, 85 Drury Lane, 59, 70

Pitt, Wm., 90, 132, 133 Proud Maisie, 277

Pizarro, 400 Psalm 41, 84

Plato, 42, 47 Psyche, 85

Alegrias da Esperança, The, 142, Pugin, A.N.W., 234

143 Pure, artistic and grotesque

Pleasures of the Imagination, The, Art, 17

124, 139-42, 157 search for literature, 393

Melancholy's Joys, The, Pye, H.J., 392

142, 156-58, 160, 161, 194

Joys of Memory, The, 142 Quarles, Francis, 164 Poe, Edgar A., ​​​​​​202, 356, 390,

403 Root. J. B., 38, 44, 65. 379

Poem in Praise of Blank Verse, Radcliffe, Anne, 232, 237, 249-

217 64.402.408.409.411.421.423

Poems after the Minstrels, Rambler, The, 97, 287, 288, 353

375 Ramsay, Allan, 61, 79, 284, 286,

Poems after Walther's 297, 300

Vogelweide, 375 Robbery of the castle. the, 36, 220

Pope, Alexander, 33, 36, 39, 41, Rapin, Rene. 49

47. 50-54. 56-59, 61, 63, 65, 66, Rasselas, 186

69, 72, 75, 77-79, 92, 93, 99, Rauber, Die. Lake Thieves.

102, 105, 108, 111-13, 115. 120, Reeve, Clara, 241-45, 247. 249-

121, 126, 129, 136, 149, 150, 64, 423

154. 157, 159. 162, 163, 193, Regnier, Mathurin, 38

210, 212-20, 228, 235, 265, 382, ​​Old English relics

383, 388 poems, 139, 188, 190, 206. 209,

Popular songs and ballads 211,223,265,274,278,287-302,

(Jamieson), 292 317, 346, 362, 369, 376, 423

Folk Tales of Western Remorse, 420

Planalto 322, 323, 325 Report of the Committee of

Porter, Jane, 252, 371 Highland Society em Ossian,

Portuguese Letters, As, 22 319

Lectures on Dissolution and Independence of Sacred Poetry,

Hebrews, 387 339

Foreword to the retirement of Johnson's Shaks, 305

pere, 70 revenge, die, 353



Resurrection of Ballad Poetry in

18th century, 290 The Revolt of Islam, The, 5 Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 202, 303 Richardson, Saml., 31, 32, 40,

76, 252, 421 riddles wisely explained,

270 Ridley, G., 85

Rime of Sir Thopas, The, 28 Rising in the North, The, 278 Ritson, Joseph, 188, 205, 246,

287, 290, 293, 294, 301, 423 Knights of Toggenburg, 386 Thieves, Die, 385, 391, 402, 417,

418, 420 Robin Hood e o Monge, 273,

278, 283 Robin Hood and the Elder,

292 Robin Hood e o Potter,

273 Ballads of Robin Hood, The,

281-83, 301 Robin Hood (Ritson's), 292 Robinson Crusoe, 5, 26 Rogers, Saml., 142, 181 Rokeby, 277 RoUa, 400, 409 Rolls of St. Bartholomew's

Priory, O, 358 Roman de la Rose, O, 37, 64 Romance, 390 Romance of the Forest, O,

250, 253, 255, 256 Romancero, The, 64 Romance e Classical in

English Literature, The, 102 Romantic Tales, 409 Romanticism (Pater). 7 Romantic School, Die, 2, 423 Romanunt of the Rose, The, 27 Romanunt of the Cnyghte, The,

348 Romeo und Julia, 377 Ronsard, Stone of, 22 Roscommon, W. Dillon, Earl

von, 47 Ross, Thos., 321, 322

Rossetti, D. G., 4, 270, 272. 367,

372, 424 Papéis carousel, 252 Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 31,

112, 252, 330, 381, 423 Rovers, The, 402 Rowe, Nicholas, 210, 219, 286 Rowley Poems, The, 211, 339-

67, 424 Anglo-Saxon rudiments

Grammar, 192 Rugantino, 409 Ruins of Netley Abbey, The,

182 Ruinen von Rom, The, 144, 145 Ruskin, Jno., 26, 34, 102, 255 Rymer, Thos., 49, 62, 70 Reyse of Peyncteynge in Eng-

countries. O, 349

Sachs, Hans, 381 Sadduceismus Triuniphatus,

408 Sagen der Vorzeit, 418 Sanger's Flight, Der, 275 Saint Alban's Abbey, 262 Sainte-Beuve, C. A, 56 Sainte Palaye, J. B. de la C,

221, 222, 374 St, Irvine, the Rosicrucian,

403 St. Lambert, CF, 106 St. Leon, 403

St. Pierre, J.H.B. de, 112 Saintsbury, Geo., iii, 131 Saisons, Les, 106 Sally in our Alley, 57 Salvator Rosa, 255 Sammlung Deutscher Volks-

Lieder, 418 Samson Agonistes, 148, 184 "Saturday Papers", Addison's,

148 Schelling, F. W. J. von, 387 Scherer, Wilhelm, 300, 374,

376, 380, 382, ​​394 Schiller, J.C.F. from, 11, 76,

379, 384-87, 391, 401, 409, 419, 420

Index. 451

I Schlegel, A.W. of, 14, 73, Shenstone, Wm., 75, 84, 91, 97,

301, 377, 384, 392 98, 102, 103, year, 127, 130-39,

Schmidt, Erich, 382, ​​392 151, 152, 159, 162, 168, 184,

Bella Helena, Die, 385 186, 215, 229, 273, 2S7, 422,

Erudite Gypsy, The, 408 423

Teacher Tue 84, 91, 92, Pastoral Calendar Tue 154

97, 104, 130, 136, 138, 362 Sheridan, R. B., 76, 162, 400, Schopenhauer, Arthur, 119 413, 420

Scott, Sir Walter, 3, 16, 24, 26, Sheridan, Thos., 74

27, 42, 94, 96, 139, 187-89, 191, Sheringham, Robert, 192

200, 203, 223, 232, 234, 238, Sicilian Romance, O, 250,

248, 249, 258, 260, 262, 267, 253

269, 277, 298-301, 333, 334. Sidney, Sir Philip, 25, 71, 72,

344. 350, 358, 359. 376. 389- 239, 274

96, 398-400, 402, 404-06, 410, Siegwart, 400

411, 416-18, 420, 424 Sigurd, o Volsung, 191

Schottic Poems (Ritson's), 293 Sim, Jno., 94 .

Scribleriad, The, 228, 229 Sinclair, Archibald, 325

Scudery, Madeleine de, 6 Sinclair, Sir Jno., 321

Sean Dana, 326 Sir Cauline, 289, 290, 298

Seasons, The (Mendez), 85 Sir Charles Grandison, 388

Seasons, The (Thomson), 52, Sir Hugh, 279

75. 79. 103. 105-20, 124, 170, Sir Lancelot du Lake, 278

152, 305, 374 Sir Patrick Spens, 300

Selden, John, 283 Irma Helen, 363

A selection by Gray (Phelps), Sisters, The, 270

191 Six Bards of Ossian Versified, Newman The Selections, 336

(Gates), 41, 44 Skeat, W. W., 340, 355, 358-61, Seven Champions of Christen- 364

dom, The, 37 Skene, W. F., 314, 323

Shadwell, Thos., 74 Sketches of Eminent States- Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley men, 234

Cooper, Earl von, 41, 62, 226, Smart, Christopher, 85

382 Smith, Adam, 105

Shairp, J.C., 315 Smollett, Tobias, 76, 139

Shakspere changes, list of. Lone Reaper, The, 115

74 Somerville, Wm., 106, 124, 135

Shakespeare editions, list of. Song of Harald the Brave

74 196

Shakespeare Illustrated, 70 Song of Ragner Lodbrog, 197

Shakspere, Wm.. 18, 25, 40, 50, Song to lla, 355

51, 63, 68-78, 89, III, 117, 140, Songs of Selma, The, 331

170, 171, 198, 208-10, 213, 216 - Sonnet to Chatterton, 370

19, 225, 237, 298, 362, 375, Sonett an Mr. Gray, 201

377-80, 3S3, 391 Sonnet to Schiller, 419

Shelley, Mary, 403, 406 Sonnet for the River Lodon,

Shelley, P. B., 5, 43, 107, 241, 161

362, 370, 372, 403, 406 Sophocles, 3, 19, 241, 379

452 summary.

Sophonisba, 75 Strawberry Hill, 173, 179, 229, Leiden des Werthers, The, 31, 230, 232, 234, 236, 340

330-32, 399. 423 Tempestade de Borberg, 399

Sotheby, Wm., 382 Säugen, Sir Jno., 57

Southey, Robert, 206, 299, 350, Cane, The, 124

355, 358, 368, 398, 419 Sullivan, Wm. R., 314, 325

Southwell, Robert, 41 Sweet Williams Ghost, 279, Spanier no Peru, The, 400, 280, 295, 300, 394

409 Swift, Jonathan, 40, 42, 162, Specimens of Ancient Sculp- 382

ture, 189 Swinburne, A. C, 35, 168

Early English specimens Syr Gawaine, 293

Poeta, 301 Sir Martyn, 95, 96

Specimens of the Welsh Bards, Rune Mythology System,

195 191

Spectators, The, 35, 37, 42, 49,

51, 55, 62, 120, 126, 139, 141, Taine, H. A., 302, 316

148, 178, 227, 284. 353, 377 Story of a bathtub, 42

Speghts Chaucer, 360 Tales of Terror, 409, 417

Spence, Joseph, 132 Tales of Wonder, 404, 409, 416 Spencer, W. R., 392, 394 -18

Spenser, Edmund, 16, 25, 33, Talisman, The, 188

37, 63, 68, 69, 77–101, 129, 151, Tam Lin, 268, 279, 295, 417

154, 157, 159, 163, 170, 198, Tam o'Shanter, 187, 360

199, 212, 213, 216, 2ig, 222, Tannhiuser, 268

224-26, 235, 244, 265, 279, 304, Tasso, Torquato, 25, 49, 50, 359. 371 170, 219, 222-26

Milz, The, 104, 136 Tate, Nahum, 74

Magnificent Schilling, O, 104 Tatler, O, 62

Ladies Squire, The, 85, 91 Taylor, Jeremy, 40

Stanley, J. T., 392 Taylor, Wm., 376, 391-98, 417 – State of German Literature, 18

The, 401 Tea Table Miscellany, The, Stedman, E. C, 162 284, 297

Steevens, Geo., 32 Temora, 309, 313, 314, 316, 321, Stello, 372 323, 338

Stephen, Leslie, 32-34, 40, 102, Tempest, The, 70, 76, 171, 215

234, 237, 327 Temple, Sir Wm., 69, 120, 192, Sterne, Lawrence, 31, 32, 252 197

Stevenson, R.L., 258 Tennyson, Alfred, 18, 27, 35, Stillingfleet, Benjamin, 53, 161 92, 93, 146, 200, 270, 281

Voices of the Peoples, 300, 337, Thackeray, W.M., 56, 80, 252,

416 254

Stolberg, Friedrich Leopold, Thaddeus of Warsaw, 243, 252

Graf, 376, 377 Thales, 85

History of William Canynge, Theagenes and Chariclea, 244

Yes, 355 Theater of Poets, 67, 81

Strange, The, 400 Theocritus, 36

Stratton Water, 299 Thesaurus (Hicks'), 192, 193

Index. 453

Thomas a Kempis, 64 On naive and sentimental

Thomas Rymer, 268 Talic Poetry, 11, 387

Thompson, Wm., 84 About Ossian and the Songs

Thomson, Jas., 52, 74, 75, 79, old Volker, 338

84, 85, 92-95. 97, 98,^102-19; Uhland, Ludwig, 384

124, 133-36, 142, 151, 157, 159, Ulysses, 18, 35

168, 184, 198, 215, 235, 251, Disjointed thoughts on

302, 303, 305, 374, 384, 422 gardening, 127, 132

Thompson, Jas. (2d), 162 General Prayer, A, 41

Thoreau, HD, 107 Unnatural Flights into Poetry,

Tieck, Ludwig, 22, 377, 384 47

A country gentleman from Eng-Upton, John, 85

earth, 85 Uz, J.P., 106 Death's Dance, Der, 386

For Helen, 202 vanity of dogmatizing, A,

For melancholy, 251 408

Tom Jones, 186, 263 Vathek, 403, 405

Tom Thumb, 285 Virgil, 25, 37, 49, 50, 55, no,

"I stayed up late", 392 223, 285, 335

Torfseus Thormodus, 191 verses by Sir Joshua Reynolds,

To the Nightingale (Mrs 202

Winchelsea), 61 lines written in 1748, 133

To the Nightingale (Sra. Rad-Vicar de Wakefield, The,

Stones), 251,209

To the nightingale. See odes. Vigny, Alfred Victor, Comte

Zum Flussotter, 161 de, 372, 373

Tournament, Die, 348, 365 Villehardouin, Geofifroy de, 27,

City and Countryside Magazine, 64

Die, 346, 352 Villon, Francois, 64, 216

Last Age (Tyrwhitt's) Justification Tragedies 359

Considered, O, 70 Virtuous, O, 84, 91, 14I;

Tressan, L., E. de L., Comte 22S

of, 381 Vision, As (combustions), 334

Triumph der Isis, The, 199 Vision, The (Croxall), 84

Triumph der Melancholie, The, Vision of Patience, The, 84

305 Vision von Solomon, A, 84

Triumphs of Owen, The, 195 Voltaire, F. M. A. de, 214, 216,

Tristan and Isolde, 3, 64 237, 379, 381, 382

Trivia, 35 By Arnim, Achim (L.J.),

Troilus e Creseide, 28 384

True Principles of the Gothic Voragine, Jacobus de, 3

Architecture, 234 Lectures on Drama

Turk and Gawin, The, 293 Arts and Literature, 14

TVra Corbies, The, 275 Voss, J. H., 375 Two Sisters, The, 270, 279

Tyrwhitt, Thos., 63, 188, 211, Wackenroder, W. H., 384

213, 246, 301, 355-57. 359. Wagner, H.L., 379

423 Awakening of Angantyr, The, 192

Tytler, Sir A. F., 391, 419 Wallenstein, 385, 419



Waller, Edmund, 38, 39, 52, 53, 80, 216

Walpole, Horace, 32, 89, 120, 122, 129, 130, 135, 145, 159, 166, 173, 178, 179, 181, 229-43, 249-55, 258, 286, 306, 336, 337, 349-52, 354, 383, 401, 408, 417, 422

Walsh, Wm., 50, 53

Walther von der Vogelweide, 64

Wali, Wali, 274, 300

Obstinate Wife of Bath, The, 301

Warburton, Wm., 237

Wardlaw, Right, 286

Ward's English Poets, 53, iii, 131, 169, 364

Warton, Joseph, 32, 75, 118, 142, 149, 151-53, 155. 156, 160, 163, 168, 171, 185, 193, 197-99, 206, 207, 212-20, 223, 226, 262, 302, 355, 375, 383. 387, 422, 423

Warton, Thos., Jr., 32, 36, 53, 75, 84, 85, 99–101, 150, 151, 156–58. 161, 163, 168, 171, 194, 197-207, 211, 213, 221, 224, 226, 245, 251, 260, 291, 293, 294, 302, 356, 359, 375, 387, 403, 422, 423; 423;423; 423

Warton, Thos., Sr., 85, 197

Waverley Novels, The, 188, 258, 262, 400, 422

Way, GL, 301

Weber's Metric Romances, 188

Weber, Veit, 400, 418

Webster, Jno., 66

Werner, 421

Wesley, John, 31

Westen, Gilbert, 84, 85, 89-91, 98, 126, 133, 151, 160, 193, 194

Whately, Thos., 122

whistle, o. 334

White Deer por Rylstone, The, 184

Whitefield, Geo., 31

Whitehead, Wm., 84, 197

Whittington and his cat,

273 Wieland, 403 Wieland, CM, 106, 377, 378,

381, 397 esposa de Usher's Well, The,

269, 279 Wild Hunters, The, 391 Wild Hunters, The, 404,

416 Wilkie, Wm., 85 William Master, 384, 387 William Tell, 385 William e Helen, 391, 398,

404 Willie drowned in yarrow,

170 Willie's Lady, 279 Wilson's Life in Chatterton,

368 Winchelsea, Anne Fink,

Countess of, 57, 61 Winckelmann, J.J., 384, 385 Windsor Forest, 57, 58, 215,

220 Winstanley, William, 62, 69 Winter, ip3-io6, 142, 422 Wither, Geo., 57 Wodrow, Jno., 334, 335 Wolfram von Eschenbach,

64 Wolfred von Dromberg, 398 Wonders of the Unseen

Welt, 408 Wood, Anthony, 291 Wood, Robert, 387-89 Worde, Wynkyn de, 274 Wordsworth, Wm., 4, s, 45, 58,

103, 107, 109, 112, 115, 135,

143-45, 160, 162, 183, 184, 218,

220, 288-90, 298, 299, 304, 316,

326, 328, 339, 344 Worm, Ole, 191, 193 Shipwreck of Hesperus, Day,

269 ​​​​Wren, Sir Christopher, i2i.

230 Written in an inn at Henley,


Index. 455

Escrito em Stonehenge, 201 Young Hunting, 279

Written in Monasti-Young Lochinvar of Dugdale, 277

con, 198 Young Waters, 300

Yarrow revisited, 344 Zapolya, 420

Unvisited Yarrow, 298 Zastrozzi, 403

Young, Edward, 56, 149, 163, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Der, 386

213, 387, 38S, 421 magic ring, Der, 4


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What was the writing style of the 18th century? ›

In eighteenth-century writing, sentence construction involved periodic and complex sentences, often diluting the subject, verb, object pattern to which we are so accustomed. Eighteenth-century writing also poses a fairly different orthography[the system of spelling and letters] than does present-day English.

What are the four names of 18th century period in English literature? ›

This “long 18th century” has been given many names: The Age of Reason, The Age of Enlightenment, The Age of Individualism, and The Age of Empiricism.

What is the golden age of English novel? ›

The 19th century is considered by some to be the Golden Age of English Literature, especially for British novels. It was in the Victorian era that the novel became the leading literary genre in English.

Why did English novel rise in 18th century? ›

The 18th century marked the period where novels were distributed on a large scale, and a certain level of demand arose among English readers. This demand is also due to people's desire for reading about everyday events, events which went on to shape the lives and actions of fictional characters.

Who is the father of 18th century novel? ›

The influence of books such as “Don Quixote” which was one of the books that provided a model for 18th century writers. The father of the English novel is generally considered to be Daniel Defoe.

Which is the greatest novel of 18th century and who wrote it? ›

In some ways the most 'literary' novel of the 18th century was the next big commercial success: Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, the first two volumes of which were published in York in 1759, then in London in 1760.

What were two examples of the development of novels 18th century? ›

Books such as 'Don Quixote', 'Decameron', 'Morte d' Arthur' and 'Pilgrim's Progress' laid the foundations for the development of the novel. 'Pamela', 'Joseph Andrew's, 'Tristram Shandy', and 'Robinson Crusoe' were some of the notable books that became famous in the 18th century.

What was the most popular form of literature in 18th century England? ›

Epistolary fiction

It reached a peak of popularity in the 18th century with novels including Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) and Clarissa (1747–48), and Frances Burney's Evelina (1778).

What was the dominant genre of fiction in the 18th century? ›

During the 18th century the novel adopted features of the old romance and became one of the major literary genres. The dominant genre in world literature, the novel is a relatively young form of imaginative writing.

How did Enlightenment affect English literature on the 18th century? ›

Literature, like many other fields, was greatly changed during the Enlightenment, a period during which independent though was embraced, skepticism ran freely through work, and new values, including an emphasis on science, became quite common among the educated classes.

Who is the father of the English novel? ›

Sir Walter Scott called Henry Fielding the “father of the English novel,” and the phrase still indicates Fielding's place in the history of literature.

What were three major events in the 18th century? ›

18th Century History

The American Revolution (1775–1783), the French Revolution (1789–1799), and the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) would be the most successful of these uprisings, which shook the power of European monarchies.

What are the two major artistic movements in the 18th century? ›

In Western art history, the movements most often associated with the 18th century include the Rococo and Neoclassicism, while the artists most often associated with the period are Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Antoine Watteau, and Jacques-Louis David.

What were the three major artistic movements during the 18th century? ›

The eighteenth century was marked by at least three distinctive styles: the Baroque, the Rococo and Neoclassicism.

What were the two greatest literary forms of the eighteenth century? ›

The two greatest literary forms during the eighteenth century were the novel and JOURNALISM*.

What are the two entirely new forms gifted to English literature in the 18th century? ›

Expert-Verified Answer. Answer: The novel and the periodical paper are the two gifts of the eighteenth century to English literature.

What two forms of literature were fading away in the 18th century? ›

Drama and poetry were the two literary forms that were fading away.

What was the biggest problem of the 18th century? ›

The eighteenth-century was marked by terrible poverty. At the Reformation in England the poor had been made a charge on the parish in which they resided and forbidden to wander beyond it. In Ireland there was no such universal provision, and the poor often wandered the country looking for work or begging.

What was the most important movement of the 18th century? ›

The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was an intellectual and cultural movement in the eighteenth century that emphasized reason over superstition and science over blind faith.

What is one of the most important feature of the 18th century? ›

The idea of a status hierarchy or “social class” was a distinguishing key feature in the 18th Century. This hierarchy determined everything about society and etched their fate eternally in stone. Among the differences in these classes were the attitudes that each one exhibited.

What is 18th century handwriting called? ›

The primary style of old handwriting in the mid 1700s through the 1800s is sometimes called Copperplate or English Round Hand. This style of writing is much more recognizable and readable than the older Secretary Hand style discussed last week, and it is much less ornate as well.

What particular form of literature became popular during the 18th century? ›

Sentimental novels, also referred to as novels of sensibility, emerged as a genre in the second half of the 18th century.

Why did novels become popular in the 18th century? ›

The 18th century marked the period where novels were distributed on a large scale, and a certain level of demand arose among English readers. This demand is also due to people's desire for reading about everyday events, events which went on to shape the lives and actions of fictional characters.

Could people read in the 18th century? ›

Professor Williams calls the 18th century “the great age of elocution”, in which people from all backgrounds had “a near obsession with learning to read aloud”.

Did people read in the 1800s? ›

Victorians were avid readers. Just as we bury our faces in our mobile devices on the morning commute, so too did Victorians with the latest penny fiction. The increased literacy rate from schooling, cheaper production, and broader availability of books through libraries all benefited reading.

Who read novels called? ›

A bibliophile or bookworm is an individual who loves and frequently reads and/or collects books.

What are the major characteristics of 18th century English literature? ›

The 18th-century literature was characterized by the spirit of realism and romantic features like enthusiasm, passion, imaginations, etc. declined in this period. Reason, intellect, correctness, satirical spirit, etc. were the main characteristics of 18th-century literature.

What are the most important features of the 18th century novel? ›

Realism. A key concern in the eighteenth century novel is its preoccupation with realism, and realistic depiction of society. Broadly speaking, 'realism' is a term that can be applied to the accurate depiction of the everyday life of a place or period in a literarily work.

When did humans learn to read silently? ›

This book explains how a change in writing—the introduction of word separation—led to the development of silent reading during the period from late antiquity to the fifteenth century.

What was the literacy in England in the 18th century? ›

In 1800 around 40 percent of males and 60 percent of females in England and Wales were illiterate; by 1900 illiteracy for both sexes had dropped to around 3 percent.

What has the 18th century gifted English literature with? ›

Answer: The novel and the periodical paper are the two gifts of the eighteenth century to English literature.

What did writing look like in the 1800s? ›

The primary style of old handwriting in the mid 1700s through the 1800s is sometimes called Copperplate or English Round Hand. This style of writing is much more recognizable and readable than the older Secretary Hand style discussed last week, and it is much less ornate as well.

What was the US literacy in the 1800s? ›

However, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, illiteracy was very common. In 1870, 20 percent of the entire adult population was illiterate, and 80 percent of the black population was illiterate. By 1900 the situation had improved somewhat, but still 44 percent of blacks remained illiterate.

Did people speak English in the 1800s? ›

The number of speakers of English is estimated to have risen from 26 million in 1800 to over 126 million over the same time.

What do you call a person who collects books but doesn t read them? ›

Bibliomania is the title of a 19th Century novel by Thomas Frognall Dibdin which claimed to explore "book madness" - the act of being unable to stop collecting literature. By his definition, those afflicted with bibliomania were obsessed with unique books such as first editions and illustrated copies.

What do you call a person who buys books but doesn t read them? ›

Tsundoku (積ん読) refers to the phenomenon of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one's home without reading them.

What do you call someone who collects books but doesn t read them? ›

If you intentionally collect books, you might have "bibliomania." But if you buy books with the intention of reading them, then they pile up, you could be engaging in something called "tsundoku." It's a Japanese term for people who have piles of literature they haven't got round to reading.


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