ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Campbell has no need of my alliance, nor | they might have seen the sun shining on shall I presume to offer it; but I do hate a footman's livery, or on a brass warmingthat word “invariable." What is there of pan; but could the “calm water," or the human, be it poetry, philosophy, wit, wis-wind,” or the sun,” make all, or any dom, science, power, glory, mind, matter, of these “poetical ?" I think not. Mr. life, or death, which is “invariable ?” of Bowles admits “the Ship” to be poetical, but course I put things divine out of the ques- only from those accessaries: now if they tion. Of all arrogant baptisms of a book, confer poetry so as to make one thing poetthis title to a pamphlet appears the most ical, they would make other things port complacently conceited. It is Mr. Camp-ical; the more so, as Mr. Bowles calls i bell's part to answer the contents of this “ship of the line” without them, that is performance, and especially to vindicate to say, its “masts and sails and streamers. his own “Ship,” which Mr. Bowles most “blue bunting,” and “coarse canvas," and triumphantly proclaims to have struck to "all poles." So they are; and porcelais his very first fire.

is clay, and man is dust, and flesh is gratis “Qaoth he, there was a Ship;

and yet the two latter at least are the sal Now let me go, thou gray-hair'd loon, jects of much poesy. Or my staff shall make thee skip."

Did Mr. Bowles ever gaze upon the sea? It is no affair of mine, but having once I presume that he has, at least upon a iedbegun (certainly not by my own wish, but piece. Did any painter ever paint the si called upon by the frequent recurrence to only, without the addition of a ship, boat, my naine in the pamphlets), I am like an wreck, or some such adjunct? ls the sea Irishman in a "row," "any body's custom- itself a more attractive, a more moral, a er.” I shall therefore say a word or more poetical object with or withont a two on the “Ship.

vessel, breaking its vast but fatiguing Mr. Bow les asserts that Campbell's “Ship monotony? Is a storm more poetical witheat of the Line” derives all its poetry not a ship; or, in the poem of the Shipwreck from art," but from “nature.“Take is it ihe storm or the ship which ma away the waves, the winds, the sun, one interests? both much undoubtedly; but will become a stripe of blue bunting; and without the vessel, what should we care the other a piece of coarse canvas on three for the tempest? It would sink into mere tall poles." Very true; take away the descriptive poetry, which in itself wa “waves,” “the winds," and there will be never esteemed a high order of that art. no ship at all, not only for poetical, but I look upon myself as entitled to talk for any other purpose; and take away "the of naval matters, at least to poets: - with sun,” and we must read Mr. Bowles's pam- the exception of Walter Scott, Moore, and philet by candlelight. But the “poetry" Southey, perhaps (who have been voyagers), of the “Ship” does not depend on the I have swam more miles than all the rest waves;" on the contrary, the “Ship of the of them together now living ever said. Line” confers its own poetry upon the and have lived for months and months waters, and heightens theirs. I do not shipboard; and during the whole period deny, that the waves and winds,” and of my life abroad have scarcely ever pased above all “the sun,” are highly poetical; a month ont of sight of the ocean: beides we know it to our cost, by the many de- being brought up from two years tili tea scriptions of them in verse: but if the on the brink of it. I recollect, when waves bore only the foam upon their anchored off Cape Sigeuin, in 1810, in a bosoms, if the winds wasted only the sea- English frigate, a violent squall combina weed to the shore, if the sun shone neither on at sunset, so violent as to make a upon pyramids, nor fleets, nor fortresses, imagine that the ship would part cable. would its beams be equally poetical ? 1 or drive from ber anchorage. Mr. Had think not: the poetry is at least reciprocal. house and myself, and some officers had Take away “the Ship of the Line” ogwing- been up the Dardanelles to Abydos, and ing round” the scalin water,” and the were just returned in time. The aspect calm water becomes a somewhat monoton- of a storm in the Archipelago is as pork ous thing to look at, particularly if not ical as need be, the sea being particularly transparently clear; witness the thousands short, dashing and dangerous, and the who pass by without looking on it at all. navigation intricate and broken by the inde What was it attracted the thousands to the and currents. Cape Sigeum, the tamali o launch? they might have seen the poetical the Troad, Lemnos, Tenedos, all added to “calm water” at Wapping or in the "Lon- the associations of the time. But what don Dock," or in the Paddington Canal, seemed the most “poetical" of all at the or in a horse-pond, or in a slopbasin, or moment,

were the numbers (about two in any other vase. They might have heard hundred) of Greek and Turkish craft the poetical winds howling through the which were obliged to "cut and mun" bet chinks of a pigstye, or the garret-window; fore the

wind, from their unsafe anchorage.

some for Tenedos, some for other isles, The beautiful but barren Hymettus, the some for the main, and some it might be whole coast of Attica, her hills and mounfor eternity. The sight of these little lains, Pentelicus, Anchesmus, Philopappus, scudding vessels, darting over the foam are in themselves poetical, and would be in the twilight, now appearing and now so if the name of Athens, of Athenians, disappearing between the waves in the and her very ruins, were swept from the cloud of night, with their peculiarly white earth. But am I to be told that the “nature" sails (the Levant sails not being of coarse of Attica would be more poetical without canvas,” but of white cotton), skimming the “art” of the Acropolis ? of the Temple along as quickly, but less safely than the of Theseus ? and of the still all Greek sea-mews which hovered over them; their and glorious monuments of her exquisitely evident distress, their reduction to flutter- artificial genius? Ask the traveller what ing specks in the distance, their crowded strikes him as most poetical, the Parthenon, succession, their littleness, as contending or the rock on which it stands? The COLUMNS with the giant element, which made our of Cape Colonna, or the Cape itself? The stout forty-four's teak timbers (she was rocks at the foot of it, or the recollection built in India) creak again; their aspect that Falconer's ship was bulged upon thein? and their motion, all struck me as something There are a thousand rocks and capes, far far more “poetical ” than the mere broad, more picturesque than those of the Acrobrawling, shipless sea, and the sullen winds, polis and Cape Sunium in themselves; could possibly have been without them. what are they to a thousand scenes in the

The Euxine is a noble sea to look upon, wilder parts of Greece, of Asia Minor, and the port of Constantinople the most Switzerland, or even of Cintra in Portugal, beautiful of harbours, and yet I cannot but or to many scenes of Italy, and the Sierras think that the twenty sail of the line, some of Spain? But it is the "art,” the coluinns, of one hundred and forty guns, rendered the temples, the wrecked vessel, which it more poetical” by day in the sun, and give them their antique and their modern by night perhaps still more, for the Turks poetry, and not the spots themselves. Withilluminate their vessels of war in a man- out them, the spots of earth would be unner the most picturesque, and yet all this noticed and unknown; buried, like Babylon is artificial. As for the Euxine, I stood and Nineveh, in indistinct confusion, withupon the Symplegades - I stood by the out poetry, as without existence; but to broken altar still exposed to the winds whatever spot earth these ruins were upon one of them-1 felt all the “poetry" transported, if they were capable of transof the situation, as I repeated the first portation, like the obelisk, and the sphinx, lines of Medea ; but would not that “poetry" and the Memnon's head, there they would have been beightened by the Argo? It was still exist in the perfection of their beauty 66 even by the appearance of any merchant- and in the pride of their poetry. I opposed, vessel arriving from Odessa But Mr. and will ever oppose, the robbery of ruins Bowles says, "why bring your ship off the from Athens, to instruct the English in stocks?” For no reason that I know, except sculpture; but why did I do so? The that ships are built to be launched. The ruins are as poetical in Piccadilly as they water undoubtedly neightens the poetical were in the Parthenon; but the Parthenon associations, thus it does not make them; and its rock are less so without them. Such and the ship amply repays the obligation: is the poetry of art. they aid each other; the water is more Mr. Bowles contends, again, that the pypoctical with the ship- the ship less so ramids of Egypt are poetical, because of without the water. But even a ship, laid the association with boundless deserts,” up in dock, is a grand and a poetical sight. and that a "pyramid of the same dimenEven an old boat, keel upwards, wrecked sione” would not be sublime in "Lincoln's upon the barren sand, is a “poetical" ob-Inn Fields:" not so poetical certainly; but ject (and Wordsworth, who made a poem take away the “pyramids,” and what is about a washingtub and a blind boy, may the desert ?” Take away Stone-henge from tell you so as well as 1); whilst a long Salisbury-plain, and it is nothing more extent of sand and unbroken water, without than Hounslow-Heath, or any other uninthe boat, would be as like dull prose as closed down. It appears to me that St. Peang pamphlet lately published.

ter's, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the PaWhat makes the poetry in the image of latine, the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venus the marble waste of Tadmor,” in Grainger's di Medicis, the Hercules, the dying Gla"Ode to Solitude," so much admired by diator, the Moses of Michel Angelo, and Johnson? Is it the "marble," or the “waste,” all the higher works of Canova (I have althe artificial or the natural object? The ready spoken of those of ancient Greece, **waste" is like all other wastes; but the still extant in that country, or transported marble” of Palmyra makes the poetry of to England), are as poetical as Mont Blanc the passage as of the place.

or Mount Ætna, perhaps still more so, as

rose ?"

they are direct manifestations of mind, and, the celestial armour, and the very brazen presuppose poetry in their very conception; greaves of the wellbooted Greeks? Is it and have, moreover, as being such, a some- solely from the legs, and the back, and the thing of actual life, which cannot belong breast, and the human body, which they to any part of inanimate nature, unless we inclose? In that case, it would have been adopt the system of Spinoza, that the world more poetical to have snade them fight is the Deity. There can be nothing more naked; and Gulley and Gregson, as being poetical in its aspect than the city of Venice: nearer to a state of nature, are more poetdoes this depend upon the sea, or the ical, boxing in a pair of drawers, than Heecanals?

tor and Achilles in radiant armour, and “The dirt and sea-weed whence proud Venice

with heroic weapons,

Instead of the clash of helmets, and the Is it the canal which runs between the pa- rushing of chariots, and the whizzing of lace and the prison, or the “Bridge of Sighs" spears, and the glancing of swords, and which connects them, that renders it poet- the cleaving of shields, and the piercing of ical? Is it the “Canal Grande,” or the Ri- breast-plates, why not represent the Greeks alto which arches it, the churches which and Trojans like two savage tribes, tagging tower over it, the palaces which line, and and tearing, and kicking, and biting, and the gondolas which glide over the waters, gnasbing, foaming, grinning, and goaging, that render this city more poetical than in all the poetry of martial nature , unitRome itself? Mr. Bowles will say, per- cumbered with gross, prosaic artificial arms, haps, that the Rialto is but marble, the an equal superlluity to the natural warrior, palaces and churches only stone, and the and his natural poet? Is there any thing gondolas a “coarse” black cloth, thrown unpoetical in Ulysses striking the horses of over some planks of carved wood, with a Rhesus with his bou (having forgotten his shining bit of fantastically-formed iron at thong), or would Mr. Bowles have had him the prow, "without the water. And I tell kick them with his foot, or smack then bim that without these the water would be with his hand, as being more unsophistinothing but a clay-coloured ditch, and cated ? whoever says the contrary, deserves to be In Gray's Elegy, is there an image mare at the bottom of that were Pope's heroes striking than his " shapeless sculptare!" are embraced by the mud nymphs. There Of sculpture in general, it may be observed

, would be nothing to the canal of that it is more poetical than nature itself, Venice more poetical than that of Padding- inasmuch as it represents and bodies forth ton, were it not for the artificial adjuncts that ideal beauty and sublimity which is above mentioned, although it is a perfectly never to be found in actual nature

. This natural canal, formed by the sea, and the at least is the general opinion; but, alvar innumerable islands which constitute the excepting the Venus di Medicis, I dife site of this extraordinary city.

from that opinion, at least as far as regardi The very Cloaca of "Tarquin at Rome female beauty; for the head of Lady (barAre as poetical as Richmond - Hill; many lemont (when I first saw her, nine years will think more so. Take away Rome, and ago ) seemed to possess all that sculpture leave the Tiber and the seven hills in the could require for its ideal. I recollect set nature of Evander's time: let Mr. Bowles, ing something of the same kind in the head or Mr. Wordsworth, or Mr. Southey, or of an Albanian girl, who was actually any of the other “naturals,” make a poem ployed in mending a road in the mountains upon them, and then see which is most and in some Greek, and one or two Italia poetical, their production, or the common- faces. But of sublimity, I have never seen est guide - book which tells yon the road any thing in human nature at all to ar from St. Peter's to the Coliseum, and in- proach the expression of sculpture, either in forms you what you will see by the way. the Apollo, the Moses, or other of the The ground interests in Virgil, because it sterner works of ancient or modern art will be Rome, and not because it is Evan- Let us examine a little further this -bab der's rural domain.

ble of green fields," and of bare nature is Mr. Cowles then proceeds to press Homer general, as superior to artificial imagery into his service, in answer to a remark of for the poetical purposes of the fine arts, Mr. Campbell's, that "Homer was a great in landscape-painting, the great artist doci describer of works of art.” Mr. Bowles not give you a literal copy of a country, contends that all his great power, even in but he invents and composes one. Nature

, this, depends upon their connexion with in her actual aspect, does not furnish him nature. The “shield of Achilles derives its with such existing scenes as he required poetical interest from the subjects described Even where he presents yon with some fa on it." And from what does the spear of mous city, or celebrated scene from moet Achilles derive its interest? and the hel- tain or other nature, it must be taken from met and the mail worn by Patroclus, and some particular point of view, and wich

any other.

[ocr errors]

such light, and shade, and distance, as "tower," it would have been as poetical as serve not only to heighten its beauties, but if he had compared her to a tree. to shadow its deformities. The poetry of “The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex," Nature alone, exactly as she appears, is not is an instance of an artificial image to exsufficient to bear him out. The very sky of his painting is not the portrait of the sky press å moral superiority. But Solomon, it

is probable, did not compare his beloved's of Nature; it is a composition of different nose to a "tower” on account of its length, skies, observed at different times, and not but of its symmetry; and, making allowance the whole copied from any particular day: for eastern hyperbole and the difficulty of And why? Because Nature is not lavish of finding a discreet image for a female nose her beauties; they are widely scattered, in nature, it is perhaps as good a figure as and occasionally displayed, to be selected with care, and gathered with difficulty.

Art is not inferior to nature for poetical Of sculpture I have just spoken. It is the great scope of the sculptor to heighten diers a more noble object of view than the

purposes. What makes a regiment of solNature into heroic beauty, i. e. in plain

same mass of mob? Their arms, their dresses, English, to surpass his model. When Ca

their banners, and the art and arsificial nova forms a statue, be takes a limb from one, a hand from another, a feature from symmetry of their position and movements. a third, and a shape, it may be , from a and a Roman toga, are more poetical than

A Highlander's plaid, a Mussulman's turban, fourth. probably at the same time improv- the tattooed or untattooed buttocks of a Newing upon all, as the Greek of old did in

Sandwich savage, although they were deembodying his Venus. Ask a portrait - painter to describe his like the idiot in his glory.”

scribed by William Wordsworth hiniself agonies in accommodating the faces with

I have seen as many mountains as most which Nature and his sitters have crowded his painting-room to the principles of his men, and more fleets than the generality

of landsmen: and, to my mind, a large art: with the exception of perhaps ten faces in as many millions, there is not one which convoy, with a few sail of the line to con

duct them, is as noble and as poetical a he can venture to give without shading prospect as all that inanimate nature can much and adding more.

Nature, exactly,

produce. I prefer the “mast of some great simply, barely Nature, will make no great ammiral,” with all its tackle, to the Scotch artist of any kind, and least of all a poet - fir or the Alpine tannen; and think that the most artificial, perhaps, of all artists

more poetry has been made out of it. In in his very essence. With regard to na- what does the infinite superiority of “Faltural imagery, the poets are obliged to take coner's Shipwreck,” over all other shipsone of their best illustrations from art. wrecks, consist? In bis admirable applicaYou say that a “fountain is as clear or tion of the terms of his art; in a poet-sailclearer than glass,” to express its beauty – or's description of the sailor's fate. These “O fong Bandusiæ, splendidior vitro!"

very terms, by his application, make the In the speech of Mark Antony, the body of strength and reality of his poem. Why? Cæsar is displayed, but so also is his mantle: because he was a poet, and in the hands

of a poet art will not be found less “You all do know this mantle,"

ornamental than nature. It is precisely

in general nature, and in stepping out “Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through." of his element, that Falconer fails; where If the poet had said that Cassius had run and such branches of learning.”

he digresses to speak of ancient Greece, his fist through the rent of the mantle, it would have had more of Mr. Bowles's “na- fame rests, the very appearance of Nature

In Dyer's Grongar Hill, upon which his ture" lo help it; but the artificial dagger herself is moralized into an artificial image: is more poetical than any natural hand without it. In the sublime of sacred poeto

“Thus is Nature's vesture wrought,

To instruct our wandering thought; ry, “Who is this that cometh from Edom? Thus she dresses green and

gay, with dyed garments from Bozrah ?” Would To disperse our cares away.' "the comer” be poetical without his “dyed And here also weh the telescope, the garments ?” which strike and startle the mis-use of which, from Millon, has rendered spectator, and identify the approaching Mr. Bowles so triumphant over Mr. Camp

bell. The mother of Sisera is represented list- “So we mistake the future's face, ening for the wheels of his chariot.So- Eyed through Hope's deluding glass." lomon, in his Song, compares the nose of And here a word, en passant, to Mr. his beloved to "a tower," which to us ap- Campbell: pears an eastern exaggeration. If he had said, that her stature was like that of a

“As yon summits, soft and fair,
Clad in colours of the air,

object.

ical,

Which, to those who journey near, who has rendered the "game of cards poet-
Barren, brown, and rough appear,

is by far the greater of the two.
Still we tread the same coarse way-
The present's still a cloudy day."

But all this “ ordering” of poets is purely

arbitrary on the part of Mr. Bowles. There Is not this the original of the far-famed

may or may not be, in fact, different orders “ Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, of poetry, but the poet is always ranked And robes the mountain in its azure hue ?"

according to his execution, and not accordTo return once more to the sea. Let any ing to his branch of the art. one look on the long wall of Malamocco, Tragedy is one of the highest presumed which curbs the Adriatic, and pronounce orders. Hughes has written a tragedy, and between the sea and its master. Surely a very successful one; Fenton another; that Roman work (I mean Roman in con- and Pope none. Did any man, however.ception and performance), which says to will even Mr. Bowles himself rank Hughes the ocean, “thus far shalt thou come, and and Fenton as poets above Pope? Was eva no further,” and is obeyed, is not less sub-Addison (the author of Cato ), or Rowe lime and poetical than the angry waves (one of the higher order of dramatists, a which vainly break beneath it.

far as success goes), or Young, or even OtMr. Bowles makes the chief part of a way and Southern, ever raised for a mi ship's poesy depend on the “wind :" then ment to the same rank with Pope in the why is a ship under sail more poetical than estimation of the reader or the critic, before a hog in a high wind? The hug is all na- his death or since? If Mr. Bowles wil ture, the ship is all art, "coarse canvas,"contend for classifications of this kind, let “blue bunting” and “tall poles ;" both are him recollect that descriptive poetry has violently acted upon by the wind, tossed been ranked as among the lowest branches here and there, to and fro; and yet nothing of the art, and description as a mere ornabut excess of hunger could make me look ment, but which should never form "the upon the pig as the more poetical of the subject” of a poem. The Italians, with the two, and then only in the shape of a griskin. most poetical language, and the most fasti

Will Mr. Bowles tell us that the poetry dious taste in Europe, possess now fre of an aqueduct consists in the water which great poets, they say, Dante, Petrarch, it conveys ? Let him look on that of Just-Ariosto, Tasso, and lastly Alfieri; and when inian, on those of Rome, Constantinople, do they esteem one of the highest of these, Lisbon, and Elvas, or even at the remains and some of them the very highest ? Peof that in Attica.

trarch, the sonneteer: it is true that some We are asked “what makes the venerable of his Canzoni are not less esteemed, bat towers of Westminster Abbey more poetical, not more; who ever dreams of his Latin as objects, than the tower for the manu- Africa ? factory of patent-shot, surrounded by the Were Petrarch to be ranked according to same scenery?" I will answer - the archi- the “ order” of his compositions, where tecture. Turn Westminster Abbey, or Saint would the best of sonnets place him? With Paul's, into a powder-magazine, their poet- Dante and the others ? No; but, as I have ry, as objects, remains the same: the Par- before said, the poet who erecutes bezt is thenon was actually converted into one by the highest, whatever his department

, and the Turks, during Morosini's Venetian siege, will ever be so rated in the world's estern. and part of it destroyed in consequence. Had Gray written nothing but his Elegs, Cromwell's dragoons stalled their steeds in high as he stands, I am not sure that be Worcester cathedral; was it less poetical, would not stand higher; it is the corner: as an object, than before? Ask a foreigner stone of his glory: without it, bis odei on his approach to London, what strikes would be insufficient for his fame. The him as the most poetical of the towers be- depreciation of Pope is partly founded upona fore him: he will point out St. Paul's and a false idea of the dignity of his order of Westminster Abbey, without , perhaps, poetry, to which he has partly contributed knowing the names or associations of either, by the ingenuous boast, and pass over the “tower for patent-shot,” not that, for any thing he knows to the

“That not in Fancy's maze he wanderd long contrary, it might not be the mausoleum

But stoop'd to Truih, and moralized his song." of a monarch, or a Waterloo-column, or a He should have written "pose to truth" la Trafalgar-monument, but because its archi- my mind the highest of all poetry is ethic tecture is obviously inferior.

al poetry, as the highest of all carthly To the question, "whether the descrip- objects must be moral truth. Religion dat tion of a game of cards be as poetical, sup- not make a part of my subject; it is some posing the execution of the artists equal, thing beyond human powers, and be as a description of a walk in a forest?" it failed in all human hands except Milton inay be answered, that the materials are and Dante's, and even Dante's powers certainly not equal; but that “the artist,” | are involved in his delineation of human

« 前へ次へ »