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the Books,—"the two noblest of things, sweetness and liyht.' '* The eiipv^s- is the man who tends toward sweetness and light; the a^ijs3 on the other hand, is our Philistine.* The immense spiritual significance of the (•reeks is due to their having been inspired with this central and happy idea of the essential character of human perfection; and Mr. Bright's> misconception of culture, as a smattering of Greek and Latin, comes itself, after all, from this wonderful significance of the Greeks having affected the very machinery of our education, and is in itself a kind of homage to it.
In thus making sweetness and light to be characters of perfection, cultivre is of like spirit with poetry, follows one law with poetry. Far more than on our freedom, our population, and our industrialism, many amongst us rely upon our religious organizations to save us. 1 have called religion a yet more important manifestation of human nature than poetry, because it has worked on a broader scale for perfection, and with greater masses of men. But the idea of beauty and of a human nature perfect on all its sides, which is the dominant idea of poetry, is a true and invaluable idea, though it has not yet had the success that the idea of conquering the obvious faults of our aniinality, and of a human nature perfect on the moral side,—which is the dominant idea of religion,—has been enabled to have; and it is destined, adding to itself the religious idea of a devout energy, to transform and govern the other.
The best art and poetry of the Greeks, in which religion and poetry are one, in which the idea of beauty and of a human nature perfect on all sides adds to itself a religious and devout energy, and works in the strength of that, is on this account of such surpassing interest and instructiveness for us, though it was,—as having regard to the human race in general, and, indeed, having regard to the Greeks themselves, we must own,—a premature attempt, an attempt which for success needed the moral and religious fibre in humanity to be more braced and developed than it had yet been. But
2 "Well endowed by nature."
3 "III endowed by nature."
* Arnold's name for the middle class of English
society, whose defect he declares to be narrowness.
s John Bright, a Liberal statesman, who had scoffed at Arnold's advocacy of culture.
♦ Swift derived the words from the labor of the
bees, that fill their hives "with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two I noblest of things, sweetness and light." The terms stand for spiritual beauty and intellectual breadth.
Greece did not err in having the idea of beauty, harmony, and complete human perfection, so present and paramount. It is impossible to have this idea too present and paramount; only, the moral fibre must be braced too. And we, because we have braced the moral fibre, are not on that account in the right way, if at the same time the idea of beauty, harmony, and complete human perfection is wanting or misapprehended amongst us.
NATURAL MAGIC IN CELTIC LITERATURE*
The Celt's quick feeling for what is noble and distinguished gave his poetry style; his indomitable personality gave it pride and passion; his sensibility and nervous exaltation gave it a better gift still, the gift of rendering with wonderful felicity the magical charm of nature. The forest solitude, the bubbling spring, the wild flowers, are everywhere in romance. They have a mysterious life and grace there; they are Nature's own children, and utter her secret in a way which makes them something quite different from the woods, waters, and plants of Greek and Latin poetry. Now of this delicate magic, Celtic romance is so pre-eminent a mistress, that it seems impossible to believe the power did not come into romance from the Celts. Magic is just the word for it,—the magic of nature; not merely the beauty of nature,—that the Greeks and Latins had; not merely an honest smack of the soil, a faithful realism,—that the Germans had; but the intimate life of Nature, her weird power and her fairy charm. As the Saxon names of places, with the pleasant wholesome smack of the soil in them,—Weathersfiold, Thaxted, Shalford,—are to the Celtic names of places, with their penetrating, lofty beauty,—Velindra, Tyntagel, Caernarvon,—so is the homely realism of German and Norse nature to the fairy-like loveliness of Celtic nature. Gwydion wants a wife for his pupil: '' Well,'' says Math, '' we will seek, I and thou, by charms and illusions, to form a wife for him out of flowers. So they took the blossoms of the oak, and the blossoms of the broom, and the blossoms of the meadow-sweet, and produced from them a maiden, the fairest and most graceful that man ever saw. And they baptized her, and gave her the name of FlowerAspect, "t Celtic romance is full of exquisite
t From Oh the Study of Celtic TMerature (lRfifil.
The Celtic race Is represented mainly by the
Welsh, the Irish, and the Highland Scotch, t This and the following ((notations are taken
from the Welsh Mabtnoglon, translated by
Lady Charlotte Guest.
'' But turn we,'' as Wordsworth says, '' from these bold, bad men," the haunters of Social Science Congresses. And let us be on our guard, too, against the exhibitors and ext oilers of a "scientific system of thought" in Words worth's poetry. The poetry will never be seen I aright while they thus exhibit it. The cause i of its greatness is simple, and may be told quite | simply. Wordsworth's poetry is great because of the extraordinary power with which Wordsworth feels the joy offered to us in nature, the joy offered to us in the simple primary af fections and duties; and because of the extraordinary power with which, in case after case, he shows us this joy, and renders it so as to make us share it.
The source of joy from which he thus draws is the truest and most unfailing source of joy accessible to man. It is also accessible universally. Wordsworth brings ns word, therefore, according to his own strong and characteristic line, he brings us word
"Of Joy In widest commonalty spread. 'i
Here is an immense advantage for a poet. Wordsworth tells of what all seek, and tells of it at its truest and best source, and yet a source where all may go and draw from it.
Nevertheless, we are not to suppose that everything is precious which Wordsworth, standing even at this perennial and beautiful source, may give us. Wordsworthians are apt to talk as if it must be. They will speak with I the same reverence of The Sailor's Mother, for example, as of Lucy Gray. They do their master harm by such lack of discrimination. Lucy
, , , , iT *"° ! Gray is a beautiful success; The Sailor'* Moth
the meadows. And there was a river betore . . ., . _ . . , , . , . ,
.. , , . . , , , , er is a failure.T To give aright what he wishes
them, and the horses bent down and drank the . ... . , , „ ••
, , .. , ., . .to give, to interpret and render successfully, is
water. And they went up out ot the river by »' 1'
a .l—'il- _- not
touches like that, showing the delicacy of the
"And in the evening Peredur entered a valley, and at the head of the valley he came to a hermit's cell, and the hermit welcomed him gladly, and there he spent the night. And in the morning he arose, and when he went forth, behold! a shower of snow had fallen the night before, and a hawk had killed a wild fowl in front of the cell. And the noise of the horse scared the hawk away, and a raven alighted upon the bird. And Peredur stood and compared the blackness of the raven anil the whiteness of the snow, and the redness of the blood, to the hair of the lady whom best he loved, which was blacker than the raven, and to her skin, which was whiter than the snow, and to her two cheeks, which were redder than the blood upon the snow appeared to be.''
And this, which is perhaps less striking, is not less beautiful:
"And early in the day Geraint ami Enid left the wood, and they came to an open country, with meadows on one hand and mowers mowing
a steep bank, and there they met a slender j stripling with a satchel about his neck; and he had a small blue pitcher in his hand, and a bowl on the mouth of the pitcher."
And here the landscape, up to this point so (ireek in its clear beauty, is suddenly magicalized by the romance touch:
"And they saw a tall tree by the side of the river, one-half of which was in flames from the root to the top, and the other half was green and in full leaf."
Magic is the word to insist upon,—a magically vivid and near interpretation of nature; since it is this which constitutes the special charm and power of the effect I am calling atlention to, and it is for this that the Celt's sensibility gives him a peculiar aptitude.
always within Wordsworth's own command. It is within no poet's command; here is the part of the Muse, the inspiration, the God, the "not ourselves."- In Wordsworth's case, the accident, for so it may almost be called, of inspiration, is of peculiar importance. No poet, perhaps, is so evidently filled with a new
1 The Recluse, line 771.
2 Arnold elsewhere speaks of deity as the "tend
ency not ourselves that makes for righteousness."
• From the Preface to The Poems of Wordsworth. chosen and edited by Arnold (1871H. In the passage Just preceding. Arnold deprecates the attempt to make Wordsworth sponsor for any complete philosophical or social system, such, for instance, as a Social Science congress might dryly and dismally quote and discuss.
t Swinburne thought otherwise. See his Miscellanies.
and sacred energy when the inspiration is upon him; no poet, when it fails him, is so left '' weak as is a breaking wave.'' I remember hearing him say tha' '' Goethe's poetry was not inevitable3 enough." The remark is striking and true; no line in Goethe, as Goethe said himself, but its maker knew well how it came there. Wordsworth is right, Goethe's poetry is not inevitable; not inevitable enough. But Wordsworth's poetry, when he is at his best, is inevitable, as inevitable as Nature herself. It might seem that Nature not only gave him the matter for his poem, but wrote his poem for him. He has no style. He was too conversant with Milton not to catch at times his master's manner, and he has fine Miltonic lines; but he has no assured poetic style of his own, like Milton. When he seeks to have a style, he falls into ponderosity and pomposity. In the Excursion we have his style, as an artistic product of his own creation; and although Jeffrey* completely failed to recognize Wordsworth 's real greatness, he was yet not wrong in saying of the Excursion, as a work of poetic style: "This will never do." And yet magical as is that power, which Wordsworth has not, of assured and possessed poetie style, he has something which is an equivalent for it.
Every one who has any sense for these things feels the subtle turn, the heightening, which is given to a poet's verse by his genius for style. We can feel it in the
"After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well"is of Shakespeare; in the
"... though fallen on evil days. On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues"*—
of Milton. It is the incomparable charm of Milton's power of poetic style which gives such worth to Paradise Regained, and makes a great poem of a work in which Milton's imagination does not soar high. Wordsworth has in constant possession, and at command, no style of this kind; but he had too poetic a nature, and had read the great poets too well, not to catch, as I have already remarked, something of it occasionally. We find it not only in his Miltonic lines; we find it in such a phrase as this, where the manner is his own, not Milton's:
"... the fierce confederate storm
although even here, perhaps, the power of style,
which is undeniable, is more properly that of
eloquent prose than the subtle heightening and
3 I. e.. spontaneous
« Francis Jeffrey, flrpt editor of the Edinburgh Review.
5 Macbeth, III, 11, 23.
« Par. Lost, vll, 25.
7 The Rrrlu»e, 11. 831-833.
change wrought by genuine poetic style. It is style, again, and the elevation given by style, which chiefly makes the effectiveness of Laodamia. Still, the right sort of verse to choose from Wordsworth, if we are to seize his true and most characteristic form of expression, is a line like this from Michael:
"And never lifted up a single stone." There is nothing subtle in it, no heightening, no study of poetic style, strictly so called, at all; yet it is expression of the highest and most truly expressive kind.
Wordsworth owed much to Burns, and a style of perfect plainness, relying for effect solely on the weight and force of that which with entire fidelity it utters, Burns could show him:
"The poor Inhabitant below
And softer flame;
Every one will be conscious of a likeness here to Wordsworth; and if Wordsworth did great things with this nobly plain manner, we must remember, what indeed he himself would always have been forward to acknowledge, that Burns used it before him.
Still, Wordsworth's use of it has something unique and unmatchable. Nature, herself, seems, I say, to take the pen out of his hand, and to write for him with her own bare, sheer, penetrating power. This arises from two causes; from the profound sincereness with which Wordsworth feels his subject, and also from the profoundly sincere and natural character of his subject itself. He can and will treat such a subject with nothing but the most plain, first-hand, almost austere naturalness. His expression may often be called bald, as, for instance, in the poem of Resolution and Independence; but it is bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness which is full of grandeur.
Wherever we meet with the successful balance, in Wordsworth, of profound truth of subject with profound truth of execution, he is unique. His best poems are those which most perfectly exhibit this balance. I have a warm admiration for Laodamia and for the great Ode; but if I am to tell the very truth, I find Laodamia not wholly free from something artificial, and the great Ode not wholly free from something declamatory. If I had to pick out poems of a kind most perfectly to show Wordsworth 's unique power, I should rather choose poems such as Michael, The Fountain, The JJiph
8 A Bard'* Epitaph, St. 4.
hind llcaptr. And poems with the peculiar and unique beauty which distinguishes these, Wordsworth produced in considerable number; besides very many other poems of which the worth, although not so rare as the worth of these, is still exceedingly high.
On the whole, then, as I said at the beginning, not only is Wordsworth eminent by reason of the goodness of his best work, but he is eminent also by reason of the great body of good work which he has left to us. With the ancients T will not compare him. In many respects the ancients are far above us, and yet there is something that we demand which they can never give. Leaving the ancients, let us come to the poets and poetry of Christendom. Dante, Shakespeare, Molierc, Milton, Goethe, are altogether larger and more splendid luminaries in the poetical heaven than Wordsworth. But I know not where else, among the moderns, we are to find his superiors
He is one of the very chief glories of English Poetry; and by nothing is England so glorious as by her poetry. Let us lay aside every weight which hinders our getting him recognized as this, and let our one study be to bring to pass, as widely as possible and as truly as possible, his own word concerning his poems: "They will eoii]>erate with the benign tendencies in human nature and society, and will, in their degree, be efficacious in making men wiser, better and happier."
JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE
THE SAILING OK THE SPANISH
The weather moderating, the fleet was again collected in the Bay of Ferroli by the 6th 16th* of July. All repairs were completed by the llth-mst, and the next day, 12th-22nd, the
l Off nort hwestern 2 The first date Is Old Spain. Style; see note on
• The story of the spectacular but ill-fated expedition of the Spanish Armada lias often been told, but by no one perhaps more graphically than by Krourtc. His first account Is that In the "(Jth chapter of his History of Kiifiland (1836-1870), from which ha« been taken this description of the sailing of the Armada. Later In life, after much additional research, Kroude wrote and published The Spanish Story of the Armaria (IH'.rJ). About the same time he was appointed to a lectureship at Oxford, where he delivered some lectures on the subject which were published after his death tKnatliih Seamen in the XVlth Century, 180."»). From these the second selection above has been taken.
In the summer of 1588, Philip II. of Spain, who
Armada took leave of Spain for the last time.
The scene as the fleet passed out of the harbour must have been singularly beautiful. It was a treacherous interval of real summer. The early sun was lighting the long chain of the Galician mountains, marking with shadows the cleft defiles, and shining softly on the white walls and vineyards of Corufla. The wind was light, and tailing towards a calm; the great galleons drifted slowly with the tide on the purple water, the long streamers trailing from the trucks, the red crosses, the emblem of the crusade, showing bright upon the hanging sails. The fruit boats were bringing off the _..sl fresh supplies, and the pinnaces hastening to the ships with the last loiterers Od shore. Out of thirty thousand men who that morning stood upon the decks of the proud Armada, twenty thousand and more were never again to see the hills of Spain. Of the remnant who in two short months crept back ragged and torn, all but a few hundred returned only to die.
The Spaniards, though a great people, were usually over conscious of their greatness, ami boasted too loudly of their fame and prowess; but among the soldiers and sailors of the doomed expedition against England, the national vainglory was singularly silent. They were the flower of the country, culled and chosen over the entire Peninsula, and they were going with a modest nobility upon a service which they know to be dangerous, but which they believed to be peculiarly sacred. Every one, seaman, officer, and soldier, had confessed and communicated before he went on board. Gambling, swearing, profane language of all kinds had been peremptorily forbidden. Private quarrels and differences had been made up or suspended. . . In every vessel, and in the whole fleet, the strictest order was prescribed and observed. Medina Sidonia led the way in the San Martin, showing lights at night, and firing guns when the weather was hazy. Mount's
was trying to restore the Catholic faith throiiKli the Protestant countries of Europe, fitted out Ills "Invincible Armada" with the purpose of invading England. His great Admiral. Santa Cruz, had Just died, and the expedition was given into the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. a wealthy nobleman of little experience and less ability, who ought to have been allowed tit remain at home among his orange groves. His Instructions were to effect a junction with the Duke of Parma, a general in the Spanish service in the Low Countries, and to assist the latter in transporting his army to the English shores. The obvious tactics for the English to pursue was to cripple and if possible defeat the fleet as it sailed through the English Channel. The fleet started from Lisbon on the 20th of May. but was delayed on the route six weeks by bad weather.
Bays was to be the next place of rendezvous if they were again separated.
On the first evening the wind dropped to a calm. The morning after, the 13th--3rd, a fair fresh breeze came up from the south and southwest; the ships ran rlowingly before it; and in two days and nights they had crossed the bay,* and were off Ushant.'- The fastest of the pinnaces was dispatched from thence to Parma, with a letter bidding him expect the Duke's immediate coming.
But they had now entered the latitude of the storms which through the whole season had raged round the English shore. The same night a southwest gale overtook them. They lay-to, not daring to run further. The four galleys unable to keep the sea were driven in upon the French coast, and wrecked. The Santa Ana, a galleon of eight hundred tons, went down, carrying with her ninety seamen, three hundred soldiers, and fifty thousand ducats in gold. The weather was believed to be under the peculiar care of God. and this first misfortune was of evil omen for the future. The storm lasted two days, and then the sky cleared, and again gathering into order they proceeded on their way. On the 19th-^9th they were in the mouth of the Channel. At daybreak on the morning of the 20tb-30th the Lizard was under their lee, and an English fishing-boat was hanging near them, counting their numbers. They gave chase, but the boat shot away down wind and disappeared. They captured another an hour or two later, from which they learnt the English fleet was in Plymouth, and Medina Sidonia called a council of war to consider whether they should go in, and fall upon it while at anchor. Philip 's orders, however, were peremptory that they should turn neither right nor left, and make straight for Margate roadst and Parma. The Duke was unenterprising, and consciously unequal to his work; and already bending under his responsibilities, he hesitated to add to them.
Had he decided otherwise it would have made no difference, for the opportunity was not allowed him. Long before the Spaniards saw the Lizard they had themselves l>een seen, and
"On the English coast of Cornwall, between Land's F.nd on th" west nnd Lizard Head on the east.
< Ot Biscay.
." An islsnri off the extreme northwestern coast of France. I
t Just north of Dover, opposite Calais. Vessels | sailing up the Kngllsh Channel atid through Hover Strait would round the North Foreland j and Margate to pass Into the Thames. The , passage of the fleet up the Channel wns vir , ttially a running light, beginning at Plymouth ami lasting for a week. I
on the evening of the lllth L".lth, the beacons along the coast had told England that the hour of its trial was come.
DEFEAT Oh' THE ARMADA
In the gallery at .Madrid there is a picture, painted by Titian, representing the Genius of Spain coming to the delivery of the afflicted Pride of Christ. Titian was dead, but the temper of the age survived, and in the study of that great picture you will see the spirit in which the Spanish nation had set out for the conquest of England. The scene is the seashore. The Church a naked Andromeda,! with dishevelled hair, fastened to the trunk of an ancient disbranched tree. The cross lies at her feet, the cup overturned, the serpents of heresy biting at her from behind with uplifted crests. Coming on before a leading breeze is the sea monster, the Moslem fleet, eager for their prey, while in front is Perseus, the Genius of Spain, banner in hand, with the legions of the faithful laying not raiment before him, but shield and helmet, the apparel of war for the Lady of Nations to clothe herself with strength and smite her foes.
In the Armada the crusading enthusiasm had reached its point ami focus. England was the stake to which the Virgin, the daughter of Sion, was bound in captivity. Perseus had come at last in the person of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and with him all that was best and brightest in the countrymen of Cervantes.i to break her bonds and replace her on her throne. They had sailed into the channel in pious hope, with the blessed banner waving over their heads.
To be the executor of the decrees of Providence is a lofty ambition, but men in a state of high emotion overlook the precautions which are not to be dispensed with even on the sublimest of errands. Don Quixote, when he set out to redress the wrongs of humanity, forgot that a change of linen might be necessary, and that he must take money with him to pay his hotel bills. Philip II., in sending the Armada to England, and confident in supernatural protection, imagined an unresisted triumphal procession. He forgot that contractors might be rascals, that water four months in the casks in a hot climate turned putrid, and that putrid water would poison his ships' companies, though
i Creator of Don Quixote. I he hnlf-mad knlghtcrrant.
i:Andromeda, according to the Greek legend, was exiwsetl to he devoured by a sen-monsler, but was rescued by IVrseus.