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says, " is the only fame of which a wise man ought to be ambitious, because it is the only lasting and living fame. Bonaparte will be forgotten before his time in purgatory is half over, or but just remembered, like Nimrod or other cut-throats of antiquity, who serve us for the commonplaces of declamation. Put out your mind in a great poem, and you will exercise authority over the feelings and opinions of mankind as long as the language lasts."

The two poems upon which Southey evidently most genially labored are - Thalaba” and “ The Curse of Kelama.” They bear the most distinct traces of his idiosyncrasies as evinced in boyhood, when a translation of the “Jerusalem Delivered " seems to have first directly appealed to his poetic instinct. The scenes of enchantment particularly fascinated him; then came "Ariosto” and “ Spenser.” The narrative form, and the imaginative and romantic character of these works, harmonized with Southey's mind, and they continued his poetic vein after the taste of the age had become wedded to the natural, the human, and the direct, in poetry. His tone and imagery were somewhat modified by Bowles and Coleridge; but he remained essentially in the class of romantic and narrative bards, in whose productions general effects, vague dramatic and supernatural charms, and heroic chronicles, form the pervading traits. Another characteristic of the modern poetry he lacked was concentration.

One concise, vivid, and inspired lyric outlives the most labored epic. Sterling's brief tribute to “ Joan of Arc” brings her nearer to us than Southey's quarto.

As works of art, the varied rhyme and rhythm, and prolific fancy, won for Southey's long poems a certain degree of attention and respect; but he is remembered more for certain fine passages than for entire compositions. In these, his claim to the title of poet, in the best sense of the word, asserts itself; and, but for these, he would rank only as a clever improvisatore. Learning, indeed, overlays inspiration in his long poems. He faithfully explored Welsh annals for the materials of “Madoc,” Hindoo mythology and Asiatic scenery for the “ Curse of Kehama," and Gothic history for “Roderic.” All narrative poems are some

' what indebted to external materials; but these must be fused, as we have before hinted, into a consistent and vital whole by the glow of some personal sentiment, ere they will find universal response. Thus, the intense consciousness of Byron, the chivalric zeal of Campbell, and the amorous fancy of Moore, give a life and significance to their stories in verse that invest them with a sympathetic atmosphere and unity of feeling. There is little of this in Southey's narratives; they are more ingenious than glowing, more imaginative than natural; and they entertain more than they inspire. He seems destitute of that sacred reserve which renders manners so efficient, deepens love's channel, and hallows truth to consciousness; that instinctive suggestiveness, which is a great secret of Dante's power, giving sublime intimations of Tennyson's exquisite sentiment, vaguely hinting the inexpressible, and of Wordsworth's solemn mysticism, as in the “ "Ode on the Prospect of Immortality.” To such lofty and profound elements the poetry of Southey has no claims; but, in descriptive aptitude, and especially in rhetorical effect, he is sometimes remarkable. Occasionally, in these qualities, in their simplicity, he reminds us of the old dramatists; thus, in Madoc:

“ The masters of the song
In azure robes were robed — that one bright hue,
To emblem unity, and peace, and truth,
Like Heaven, which o'er a world of wickedness
Spreads its eternal canopy serene."

And again, in the same poem :

“ 'T is pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear

Of tempests and the dangers of the deep,
And pause at times and feel that we are safe,
Then listen to the perilous tale again,
And with an eager and suspended soul
Woo terror to delight us.

In Roderic is a fine and characteristic image:

- Toward the troop he spread his arms,

As if the expanded soul diffused itself,
And carried to all spirits with the act
Its affluent inspiration."

The description of moonlight in this poem, so justly admired, we perceive, by one of the author's letters, was drawn from an actual scene, which evidences the absolute need of strong personal impressions even for an imaginative poet. The description of the ruins of Babylon, in Thalaba —

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is one of the happiest examples of Southey's powers of language, and musical adaptation of rhythm to sense.. To one having a natural feeling of wonder and fine elocutionary powers, it is susceptible of the most solemn recitative effect. The beautiful passage in his “Curse of Kehama," commencing, “They sin who tell us love can die," the ballads of "Mary of the Inn” and "The Battle of Blenheim," the "Verses to a Dead Friend,” and “ The Ilolly Tree,” are among the fugitive pieces, written from actual emotion, which illustrate Southey's affections, and have endeared him as a lyrist.

Ile remarks, in one of his letters, that he most nearly resembles Charbrera, an Italian bard of the fifteenth century, who enjoyed high honors for his verses, and died at a prosperous old age. His works are comparatively neglected at present; but Maffei, the literary historian, ascribes his success to merits very similar to those we have recognized in Southey. According to this critic, it was a saying of Chiarbrera that lie wished to follow the example of Columbus and discover a new world, or perish, and that poetry should“ lift the eyebrow ;” thus declaring surprise to be the great effect, and novelty the great means, of poetic excellence. Accordingly, his verse was prized chiefly for its style, which innovated greatly upon familiar models, and for its erudition, which was remarkable for that day. Thus his renown was gained by ingenuity and scholarship, rather than through intense natural sympathy or genuine inspiration. We therefore find Southey's own estimate of his poetry, in a great degree, confirms our own. But this coincidence is as clearly, though less directly, suggested by his casual observations on the art, in his letters to cotemporary writers, and his advice to young poets who sought encouragement from his counsel.

It is obvious, from the incidental views thus honestly expressed, that he had not a vivid and permanent consciousness of a poet's birthright; that the art was too much a branch of authorship, and too little a sacred instinct, in his estimation; and that the more erratic versifiers of the age, less elaborate, but far more intense and genuine, won their larger popularity on legitimate grounds. He tells one of his correspondents, who had solicited his opinion of a poem, that his friends reckon him “a very capricious and uncertain judge of poetry;” and elsewhere, in speaking of the error which identifies the power of enjoying natural beauty with that of producing poetry, he says, “One is a gift of Ileaven, and conduces immeasurably to the happiness of those who enjoy it; the second has much more of a knack in it than the pride of poets is always willing to admit.”' If Southey's poetic faculty and feeling had been equal to his “ knack" of versifying, he would have been quite as reluctant to ascribe to ingenuity what was consciously derived from a power above the will. Perhaps he was chagrined into this commonplace view of the art by the fact that, while Scott was receiving three thousand guineas for the "Lady of the Lake,” the “ Curse of Kehama” was going through the press at the expense of Landor.

The professional character of Southey's life is almost incompatible with the highest literary results. His great merit as a writer consists in the utility of a portion of his works, and their unexceptionable morality and good sense. The most surprising quality he exhibited as an author was industry. Ilis name is thoroughly respectable in literature as it was in life; but it would be unjust to the chivalric and earnest genius of the age, elsewhere manifested in deeper and more significant, though less voluminous records, to award to Southey either the title of a great poet or a leader of opinion. Ilis career, in regard to the latter, is clearly explained in his biography. We perceive that, even in boyhood, the intellect predominated in his nature. In the heyday of his blood, the companionship of bolder spirits and less chastened enthusiasts, the infectious atmosphere of the French Revolution, and the activity of the poetical instinct, not yet formalized into service, made him, for a while, the independent thinker in religion and politics, and induced visions of social


equality which he hoped to realize across the sea.

But early domestic ties and a natural love of study won him gradually back to conservative quietude. More than either of his brother poets, Southey had the temperament and taste of a scholar. He neither felt as deeply nor dreamed as habitually as Coleridge. The sensuous and the imaginative were not so united in his being with the intellectual. He needed less excitement; his spirit was far less adventurous ; and life did not press upon and around him with such prophetic and inciting power.

It is neeilless to ascribe the change in his views altogether to interest; this may have had its influence, but the character of the man yields a far more natural solution of the problem. He was doubtless as sincere when he accepted the laureateship as when he wrote " Wat Tyler;" but, in the latter case, his "blood and judgment were not well commingled.” Southey, the Bristol youth, penniless, aspiring, and fed with the daily manna of poetic communion, looked upon society with different eyes than Southey, the recognized English author, resident of Cumberland, and father of a family. He knew how to use materials aptly, how to weave into connected and intelligible narrative the crude and fragmentary data of history and memoirs. In this manner he greatly served all readers of English. His “Life of Wesley" is the most authentic and lucid exposition of an extraordinary phase of the religious sentiment on record. Of Brazil and the Peninsular War he has chronicled memorable things in a perspicuous style. Few pictures of British life are more true to fact and suggestive than " Espriella's Letters.” The “Life of Nelson” is a model of unaffected, direct narrative, allowing the facts to speak for themselves through the clearest possible medium of expression; and yet this most popular of Southey's books, far from being the offspring of any strong personal sympathy or perception, was so entirely a literary job, that he says it was thrust upon him, and that he moved among the sea-terms like a cat among crockery. For a considerable period after the establishment of the “Quarterly," he found reviews the most profitable labor. Many of these are judicious and informing, but they seldom quicken or elevate either by rhetorical or reflective

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