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THE SCOTSMAN'S RETURN FROM ABROAD.
IN A LETTER FROM MR. THOMSON TO MR. JOHNSTOne.
N mony a foreign pairt I've been,
An' mony an unco ferlie seen,
Since, Mr. Johnstone, you and I
At last, across the weary faem,
Fresh tokens o' my native land.
For after years wi' a pockmantie
mony a fash and sair affliction I gie't as my sincere conviction
Ferlie-a strange sight.
Cocklerye a hill in the Lothians.
Talisker, Isla, Glenlivet - three well-
Of a' their foreign tricks an' pliskies,
Nae doot, themsels, they ken it weel,
As Scotsmen scorn to fyle their moo's wi'.
An', man, I was a blythe hame-comer
An' blythe was I, the morrow's morn,
I was, and I will no deny it,
I wondered they had done sae weel.
Pliskie a very puzzling word to trans-
Wersh-distastefully insipid. What is
No. 611 (No. CXXXI. N.s.)
Snowkit-snuffed, but very energetic.
Stookit corn-corn in shock.
Dirlin'-between ringing and rattling:
A hantle-much (handful).
I saw I had mysel' to blame;
For had I but remained at hame,
The kirk was filled, the door was steeked ;
Up to the pu'pit ance I keeked;
I was mair pleased than I can tell
It was the minister himsel'!
Prood, prood was I to see his face,
Unfit for ony congregation.
Syne, while I still was on the tenter,
Syne, as though a' the faith was wreckit,
Was no the man he used to be.
O what a gale was on my speerit
We were a' damned, an' that was clear.
THREE PHASES OF LYRIC POETRY.
S modern dramatic poetry is largely composed without reference to the stage, so a wide latitude is now assumed in the application of the title lyric poetry. While a certain regard must still be had to the outward appearance of that form of verse which originally implied the accompaniment of appropriate music, it is the case that anything approaching the twanging of the actual lyre is not in the thoughts of many modern lyrists. The instrumental part of lyric poetry-and sometimes, indeed, all that implies actual musical expression-is frequently quite subordinate to the development of judgment, or passion, or sentiment, or reflection.
The three writers to be considered here-Mr. E. W. Gosse, Dr. T. G. Hake, and Mr. A. Lang-write lyric poetry in the wider acceptation of the term, though one and all of them are possible lyrists in the strict sense. That is, they might, if they chose, write on the prescribed themes-Devotion, Loyalty, Patriotism, Love, Revelry, War --and, by strict attention to rule, satisfy the demands of the rhetoricians. Indeed, in a certain sense, they have all done as much. the three, perhaps Mr. Gosse comes nearest the popular estimate of the lyrist, having in his verse not only poetic quality but spontaneous and captivating musical expression. He is a singer whose note and melody give him the prerogative of the sentimental songster. Delicate instinct and rich penetrative feeling predominate in his best verse over intellectual subtlety and grave judgment, and not seldom he approaches that lyrical climax which gives the impression that the poetsings because he must.' In versification like Mr. Lang's, such an influence is hardly possible. Every separate Ballade' suggests the resolution to oppose Sterne's injunction, 'Let no man say to himself Come, I will write a duodecimo.' These lyrics will not be read for their purely poetical qualities, so much as for their lithe and nimble movement, their imitative cleverness, and their sage trickery. On the other hand, the melody of his verse is probably a secondary consideration with Dr. Hake, and yet it is the case that his versification is fluent and melodious, and his imagery frequently rich, apt, and beautiful. In contrast to the method of Mr. Lang, Dr. Hake has an eloquence of earnestness, and a melodious movement that does not merely trip under the sway of his bow-hand, but comes of his fine sympathetic sense of fitness. In contradistinction, moreover, to Mr. Gosse, Dr. Hake impresses first by the reach and massive quality of his thought rather than by the richness of his note and his mellifluous cadences.
What these three lyrists, then, present for consideration may be broadly stated as sentimental, artificial, and philosophical lyric
poetry. In Mr. Gosse the predominant feature is feeling, in Mr. Lang it is form, while in Dr. Hake it is insight. All three are observers, but while in Mr. Lang observation is playful, in Mr. Gosse it is sympathetic, and in Dr. Hake judicial. Dr. Hake concerns himself with problems that are psychological or spiritual, Mr. Gosse has a quick sense of emotion and of touching incident, and Mr. Lang dallies with intellectual puzzles and social oddities. There is room for Mr. Lang's attitude, and reason in his treatment, just because the world is always young and cleverness cannot fail of admiration; there is a distinct sphere and a cordial welcome therein for Dr. Hake, for he is a prophet that speaks with the authority and the versatile interest that come of much shrewd introspection; and it is impossible that there should ever be too much of that pure sentiment, that limpid melodious utterance, so eminently characteristic of Mr. Gosse.
There was a certain sensuousness, and as it were a straining after glow and warmth of colour, in Mr. Gosse's earlier volume of lyricsOn Viol and Flute'-and it is pleasing to note that this is less prominent in his recently published volume of 'New Poems.' In his introductory address Ad Auditorem he declared his function to be,
With colour, verse, and harmony to frame
A house of beautiful delights, whose name
May stir the world with pleasure like fine pearls,
There is no necessity for entering here upon the vexed questions that are implied in the well-known expression Art for Art's sake;" but what has just been referred to as a tendency to overdo emotional feeling by a certain lingering wantonness of expression may be illustrated by two stanzas from a poem entitled 'Sunshine before Sunrise':
My arm was round her small head sweetly fashioned,
So silent were we that our hearts' impassioned
Oh how the tender throbbing of her bosom
Beat, bird-like, crushed to mine in that embrace,
This is beautifully expressed, and probably the details are fairly accurate, but then it is questionable whether there is anything sufficiently interesting in such proceedings to warrant unreserved publication. In a word, Mr. Gosse had to come through his period of admiration, practice, imitation, and nobody who carefully considers these earlier poems will deny that he bore himself well. Perhaps it was inevitable that, under certain potent influences, in or about 1870, the poet should talk of the faint gray grass,' of one girl's 'wonderful hair,' and the bodice' silken stir' of another, of one