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beautiful, hungry face that longs for love,' of young lovers away in the hollows,

Where, in sultry twilight weather,

Lips and hair may melt together,

and that he should begin a poem on the 'Renaissance '- -a poem, too, with fine execution in it, and features of fair and bursting promisewith a stanza so well worked up to a model as this :

Between the gray land and the purple sea,
Mother of flowers, my heart takes hold on thee,
Rise up, O mother, like some sea-green blossom,
Or like a daffodil appear to me!

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The tone, too, of poems like 'Lying in the Grass,' In the Bay, Encomium Mortis,' and the 'Paradise of a Wearied Soul,' is in keeping with the artistic expression just considered. Still, there are in these and the other poems in the volume 'On Viol and Flute' the germs of that healthy poetical sentiment already spoken of as characteristic of Mr. Gosse. One cannot fail to see in them abundance of original power of observation, of tender sympathy for Nature's ways, of quick associative grasp, and lucidity of melodious expression. One must admire the skill of form displayed in the sonnets, the appreciation of finely grouped natural effects in such poems as The Almond Tree, Moorland,' 'Lübeck,' and 'To Henrik Ibsen in Dresden,' and the force of conception and the ingenious elaboration of a poem like The Mandrakes.' The invocation to Blake, in this poem, though not without touches of echo, as for instance,

Regent above us in all true men's sight,


has a passionate intensity and a rush of fluent melody that make it impressive and memorable, while the description of Kalliope, though somewhat luscious, is direct and with details as of sculpture :

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Her face was even as apple-blossom is,

When first the winds awaken it; her mouth
Seemed like the incarnation of a kiss;

A philtre for all sorrows; in heart-drouth
A fountain breathing of the fragrant south;
A cage for songs ;-a violin-who knows?

Perchance a rose-tree of the world's great rose !

In his New Poems' Mr. Gosse shows more self-dependence. Here the motive is more direct, there is less straining after conceits, the imagery is fresh and bracing, while frequently there is a ring as from the dainty music of the Caroline epoch with which the poet is so familiar. Maturity of observation and restraint of feeling mark the treatment of lovers here, as, e.g., in Winter Green,'' The Lover and the Waterlily,' and 'By the River.' The following from 'Leave

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Taking,' is at once legitimate in fervour and a well-turned con

ceit :

Yet tremble not, sweet veined hand and soft,

And press not mine with such a cold farewell,
Lest I remember, now too late, how oft

My heart has moved thee with its ebb and swell,
Lest I should take those fingers frail and white,
And kiss them warm in mine own will's despite.

Then how subtle is the movement, how rich and graceful the melody, how delicately introduced the personal element of this stanza, the first of a Serenade:

The lemon-petals gently fall

Within the windless Indian night,

The wild liana'd waterfall

Hangs, lingering like a ghostly light;

Drop down to me, and linger long, my heart's entire delight!

That is swinging and quivering with rich and ready music, of a quality akin to Herrick's Charm me asleep' and the 'Bugle Song' of Mr. Tennyson. And, while on the subject of expression, let us listen to this description of the nightingale's voice from The Whitethroat' :


Ah! how they answer from the woodland glades !
How deep and rich the waves of music pour

On night's enchanted shore!

From star-lit alleys where the elm-tree shades

The hare's smooth leverets from the moon's distress;

From pools all silvered o'er,

Where water-buds their petals upward press,
Vibrating with the song, and stir, and shed
Their inmost perfume o'er their shining bed,-
Yea, from each copse I hear a bird,
As by a more than mortal woe undone,
Sing, as no other creature ever sang,
Since through the Phrygian forests Atys heard
His wild compeers come fluting one by one,
Till all the silent uplands rang and rang.

But the strongest and most gratifying feature of these poems is their fresh delicacy of feeling, arising from exquisite appreciation of the beauty and winning tenderness of outward nature. There breathes from them a bracing and invigorating influence, as from the varied charms of summer meadows or the breath of purple moors and hills. It is in The Farm,' with its charming situation

Where every spring the blackcaps come,
And build themselves a downy home;

in 'Verdleigh Coppice,' with its great trunks that catch the sunset, and the

Creamy glint of waving barley, and a scarlet flash of poppies,

Seen through columns where the evening wind is moaning to its rest;

it is present with its refining purity and sweetness in The Burden of Delight,' The Houseleek,' 'My Own Grave,' The Palinode,' where the beetle


Saw the moon, and rose, and whirred
His gauzy wings in gorgeous flight,
And upwards faded like a bird;

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it is a pathetic accompaniment to the touching narrative of The New Endymion' and 'The Loss of the "Eurydice"-a poem at once strong in grasp of its theme, stately and energetic in movement, and tender and hopeful in spirit-it lights up with ineffable touch the pastoral Gifts of the Muses,' and the idyllic Sisters; and it overlies and deepens and mellows the sentiment in the dainty and melodious Return of the Swallows.' The larks and the thrushes to no purpose had called for the swallows, who on the other hand kept persistently to the fragrant air, over the roofs of the white Algiers '

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But just when the dingles of April flowers
Shine with the earliest daffodils,
When, before sunrise, the cold clear hours
Gleam with a promise that noon fulfils,-
Deep in the leafage the cuckoo cried,
Perched on a spray by a rivulet-side,
Swallows, O swallows, come back again
To swoop and herald the April rain.

And something awoke in the slumbering heart
Of the alien birds in their African air,

And they paused, and alighted, and twittered apart,
And met in the broad white dreamy square,

And the sad slave woman who lifted up

From the fountain her broad-lipped earthen cup,
Said to herself, with a weary sigh,

'To-morrow the swallows will northward fly.'

As exercises in poetical form, Mr. Gosse gives us in this volume 'Alcyone,' a very clever sonnet in dialogue, and (besides a good sonnet or two in ordinary arrangement) a rondeau and a rondel. One admires the ingenuity and the prettiness of such things, and, if they are particularly elaborate and intricate, then one may even be amazed at the labour implied and the success achieved. But the presence of these poems in shape' (as Puttenham would have called them) is only a mere variation in Mr. Gosse's New Poems,' and, though they show excellent taste and brilliant mastery of versifica tion, they are not of much importance in any estimate that may now be given of his poetical work. They serve here, however, as a connecting link between the work of Mr. Gosse and that of Mr. Andrew Lang.


As has been already indicated, Mr. Lang's little volume is a collection of exercises in lyrical form. The title Ballades in Blue China' may owe something to Mr. Dobson's 'Proverbs in Porcelain,' and at any rate it is interesting to find, at the end of the collection, a dizain by A. D. testifying that, as couples wend their way through an ingenious dance,

So, to these fair old tunes of France,
Through all their maze of to-and-fro,
The light-heeled numbers laughing go,
Retreat, return, and ere they flee,
One moment pause in panting row,
And seem to say-Vos plaudite!

That is at once a high compliment to Mr. Lang, and a bit of good sensible criticism. Every one of these little lyrics is just the kind of thing that demands at its close a hearty round of applause, as recognition of its nimbleness, precision, and brilliancy. The poet has voluntarily placed himself within strict and narrow limitations, and the pleased surprise, as, at every successive pause, he comes well through his task, finds expression in spontaneous applause. It is perhaps a pity that the nature of the case should force the reader into such an attitude, for he is apt to think exclusively, or at any rate mainly, of the purely mechanical features of the poems, and to overlook their substantial merits. It is true, of course, that the same objection may in a degree be made to the sonnet, and it is the case that the artifice necessary in the composition of a sonnet is a prominent consideration with both author and reader, the accomplishment itself being as rare as it is dainty. At the same time, the purely mechanical element is less pronounced in the sonnet than it is in these old tunes of France,' which on the other hand inevitably carry back the student of versification to Puttenham's chapter 'Of Proportion in Figure.' We begin to think of the brave days of the 'lozange,' the 'fuzie,' the 'pillaster,' and the figure ouall,' and of the shrewd critic's quaint admission that the poetic conceit' of the 'posie transposed' is 'a thing, if it be done for pastime and exercise of the wit without superstition, commendable inough and a meete study for ladies, neither bringing them any great gayne nor any great losse unlesse it be of idle time.' It would be nonsense, and impertinence, to say that such a description is applicable to Mr. Lang's clever and graceful Ballades,' but it must be admitted that they are artificial enough to suggest the allusion. Moreover, just as those that constructed the 'lozange' and indulged in the exercise of constructing the figure ouall' were sometimes reduced to considerable straits in their ingenious and nice fitting and sorting, so Mr. Lang himself has occasionally to write for the sake of his indispensable rhymes. Consider autumn and its effects here, for example:

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We built a castle in the air,
In summer weather, you and I,

The wind and sun were in your hair,-
Gold hair against a sapphire sky :

When Autumn came with leaves that fly
Before the storm, across the plain,

You fled from me with scarce a sigh

My Love returns no more again!

One of the strongest and most energetic numbers of the collection is the Ballade of Dead Cities,' dedicated to Mr. Gosse. Here are the first stanza and the envoy :—

The dust of Carthage and the dust

Of Babel on the desert wold,
The loves of Corinth, and the lust
Orchomenos increased with gold:
The town of Jason, over-bold,
And Cherson, smitten in her prime-
What are they but a dream half-told?
Where are the cities of old time?


Prince, all thy towns and cities must
Decay as these, till all their crime,

And mirth, and wealth, and toil are thrust
Where are the cities of old time.

A good specimen of the author's delicacy of fancy, his lightness of touch, and his command of melodious grace, is the Ballade of His Choice of a Sepulchre ':

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