« AnteriorContinuar »
Of things unnoticed when they first were Note, too, the bow that she was wont to heard,
bear Some lover's song, some answering maid She laid aside to grasp the glittering prize, en's word?
And o'er her shoulder from the quiver fair
Three arrows fell and lay before her eyes What makes these longings, vague, with Unnoticed, as amidst the people's cries 621 out a name,
She sprang to head the strong Milanion, And this vain pity never felt before, 590 Who now the turning-post had wellnigh This sudden languor, this contempt of won.
fame, This tender sorrow for the time past o'er, But as he set his mighty hand on it, These doubts that grow each minute more White fingers underneath his own were laid, and more?
And white limbs from his dazzled eyes did Why does she tremble as the time grows flit;
Then he the second fruit cast by the maid, And weak defeat and woful victory fear? But she ran on awhile, then as afraid
Wavered and stopped, and turned and But while she seemed to hear her beating made no stay heart,
596 Until the globe with its bright fellow lay. Above their heads the trumpet blast rang out,
Then, as a troubled glance she cast And forth they sprang; and she must play around, her part.
Now far ahead the Argive could she see, Then flew her white feet, knowing not a And in her garment's hem one hand she doubt,
wound Though, slackening once, she turned her To keep the double prize, and strenuously head about,
600 | Sped o'er the course, and little doubt had But then she cried aloud and faster fled
she Than e'er before, and all men deemed him To win the day, though now but scanty dead.
Was left betwixt him and the winningBut with no sound he raised aloft his hand, place. And thence what seemed a ray of light there flew
Short was the way unto such winged feet; . And past the maid rolled on along the Quickly she gained upon him, till at sand;
605 Then trembling she her feet together He turned about her eager eyes to meet, drew,
And from his hand the third fair apple And in her heart a strong desire there cast. grew
She wavered not; but turned and ran so To have the toy: some god she thought I fast had given
After the prize that should her bliss fulfil, That gift to her, to make of earth a heaven. That in her hand it lay ere it was still.
Then from the course with eager steps she Nor did she rest, but turned about to win ran,
610 | Once more an unblest woful victory— 646 And in her odorous bosom laid the gold. | And yet-and yet—why does her breath But when she turned again, the great begin limbed man
To fail her, and her feet drag heavily? Now well ahead she failed not to behold, Why fails she now to see if far or nigh And, mindful of her glory waxing cold, The goal is? Why do her gray eyes grow Sprang up and followed him in hot pursuit,
650 Though with one hand she touched the Why do these tremors run through every golden fruit.
She spreads her arms abroad some stay | To which the mud splashed wretchedly; 10 to find,
And the wet dripped from every tree Else must she fall, indeed, and findeth this, Upon her head and heavy hair, A strong man's arms about her body And on her eyelids broad and fair; twined.
654 The tears and rain ran down her face. Nor may she shudder now to feel his kiss, So wrapped she is in new unbroken bliss; By fits and starts they rode apace, 15 Made happy that the foe the prize hath | And very often was his place won,
Far off from her; he had to ride She weeps glad tears for all her glory done. | Ahead, to see what might betide
When the roads crossed; and sometimes,
when Shatter the trumpet, hew adown the posts! There rose a murmuring from his men, 20 Upon the brazen altar break the sword, 660 | Had to turn back with promises; And scatter incense to appease the ghosts | Ah me! she had but little ease; Of those who died here by their own award. And often for pure doubt and dread Bring forth the image of the mighty Lord, She sobbed, made giddy in the head And her who unseen o'er the runners hung, By the swift riding; while, for cold, 25 And did a deed forever to be sung. 665 Her slender fingers scarce could hold
The wet reins; yea, and scarcely, too, Here are the gathered folk, make no delay; She felt the foot within her shoe Open King Schøneus' well-filled treasury, | Against the stirrup: all for this, Bring out the gifts long hid from light of To part at last without a kiss
Beside the haystack in the floods. The golden bowls o'erwrought with imagery,
For when they neared that old soaked hay, Gold chains, and unguents brought from They saw across the only way over sea,
670 That Judas, Godmar, and the three The saffron gown the old Phænician | Red running lions dismally
Grinned from his pennon, under which Within the temple of the goddess wrought. | In one straight line along the ditch,
They counted thirty heads. Oye, 0 damsels, who shall never see · Her, that Love's servant bringeth now to
So then, you,
| While Robert turned round to his men, Returning from another victory, 675 | She saw at once the wretched end, 40 In some cool bower do all that now is due! And, stooping down, tried hard to rend Since she in token of her service new Her coif the wrong way from her head, Shall give to Venus offerings rich enow, And hid her eyes; while Robert said: Her maiden zone, her arrows, and her bow. “Nay, love, 'tis scarcely two to one;
At Poictiers where we made them run 45
So fast—why, sweet my love, good cheer, THE HAYSTACK IN THE FLOODS The Gascon frontier is so near,
Nought after us.”
But, “O,” she said,
The gratings of the Chatelet; Along the dripping leafless woods, The swift Seine on some rainy day The stirrup touching either shoe, Like this, and people standing by, She rode astride as troopers do; And laughing, while my weak hands try 55 With kirtle kilted to her knee,
To recollect how strong men swim.
All this, or else a life with him
“Eh! lies, my Jehane? by God's head,
Jehane the brown! Jehane the brown!
He answered not, but cried his cry, 60
So, scarce awake,
She laid her hand upon her brow,
For Robert—both his eyes were dry,
A wicked smile
With a start Wrinkled her face, her lips grew thin, Up Godmar rose, thrust them apart; A long way out she thrust her chin: 90 From Robert's throat he loosed the bands “You know that I should strangle you Of silk and mail; with empty hands While you were sleeping; or bite through Held out, she stood and gazed, and saw, 140 Your throat, by God's help—ah!” she said, The long bright blade without a flaw “Lord Jesus, pity your poor maid! Glide out from Godmar's sheath, his hand For in such wise they hem me in,
In Robert's hair; she saw him bend I cannot choose but sin and sin,
Back Robert's head; she saw him send Whatever happens: yet I think
The thin steel down; the blow told well, 145
Right backward the knight Robert fell, And so should I just reach my rest.” And moaned as dogs do, being half dead, “Nay, if you do not my behest, 100 Unwitting, as I deem: so then O Jehane! though I love you well,” Godmar turned grinning to his men, Said Godmar, “would I fail to tell Who ran, some five or six, and beat 150 All that I know?” “Foul lies,” she said. | His head to pieces at their feet.
Then Godmar turned again and said: narrowly confined to mainly practical “So, Jehane, the first fitte is read! ends-a kind of “good round-hand;" (40 Take note, my lady, that your way as useless as the protest that poetry Lies backward to the Chatelet!” 155 might not touch prosaic subjects as with She shook her head and gazed awhile Wordsworth, or an abstruse matter as At her cold hands with a rueful smile, with Browning, or treat contemporary As though this thing had made her mad. life nobly as with Tennyson. In subor
dination to one essential beauty in all This was the parting that they had
good literary style, in all literature as a Beside the haystack in the floods.
fine art, as there are many beauties of poetry so the beauties of prose are many,
and it is the business of criticism WALTER HORATIO PATER
to 150 estimate them as such; as it is good in (1839-1894)
the criticism of verse to look for those STYLE
hard, logical and quasi-prosaic excellences
which that too has, or needs. To find Since all progress of mind consists for in the poem, amid the flowers, the althe most part in differentiation, in the lusions, the mixed perspectives, of Lycidas resolution of an obscure and complex for instance, the thought, the logical object into its component aspects, it is structure:-how wholesome! how desurely the stupidest of losses to confuse lightful! as to identify in prose what things which right reason has put asun we call the poetry, the imaginative (60 der, to lose the sense of achieved distinc- power, not treating it as out of place tions, the distinction between poetry and a kind of vagrant intruder, but by and prose, for instance, or, to speak more way of an estimate of its rights, that is, exactly, between the laws and char- [10 of its achieved powers, there. acteristic excellences of verse and prose Dryden, with the characteristic incomposition. On the other hand, those stinct of his age, loved to emphasize the who have dwelt most emphatically on the distinction between poetry and prose, the distinction between prose and verse, protest against their confusion with each prose and poetry, may sometimes have other coming with somewhat diminished been tempted to limit the proper func effect from one whose poetry was so (70 tions of prose too narrowly; and this prosaic. In truth, his sense of prosaic again is at least false economy, as being, excellence affected his verse rather than in effect, the renunciation of a certain his prose, which is not only fervid, richly means or faculty, in a world where [20 figured, poetic, as we say, but vitiated, after all we must needs make the most of | all unconsciously, by many a scanning things. Critical efforts to limit art a line. Setting up correctness, that humpriori, by anticipations regarding the ble merit of prose, as the central literary natural incapacity of the material with excellence, he is really a less correct which this or that artist works, as the writer than he may seem, still with an sculptor with solid form, or the prose- / imperfect mastery of the relative pro 180 writer with the ordinary language of noun. It might have been foreseen that, men, are always liable to be discredited in the rotations of mind, the province by the facts of artistic production; and of poetry in prose would find its assertor; while prose is actually found to be a [30 and, a century after Dryden, amid very colored thing with Bacon, picturesque different intellectual needs, and with the with Livy and Carlyle, musical with need therefore of great modifications in Cicero and Newman, mystical and inti literary form, the range of the poetic mate with Plato and Michelet and Sir force in literature was effectively en
Thomas Browne, exalted or florid, it may larged by Wordsworth. The true disbe, with Milton and Taylor, it will be tinction between prose and poetry he loo useless to protest that it can be nothing regarded as the almost technical or ac at all, except something very tamely and cidental one of the absence or presence
of metrical beauty, or, say! metrical re- lences of literary form in regard to science straint; and for him the opposition came are reducible to various kinds of painsto be between verse and prose of course; taking; this good quality being involved but, as the essential dichotomy in this in all “skilled work” whatever, in (150 matter, between imaginative and unim the drafting of an act of parliament, as aginative writing, parallel to De Quin in sewing. Yet here again, the writer's cey's distinction between “the literature sense of fact, in history especially, and of power and the literature of knowl- (100 | in all those complex subjects which do edge,” in the former of which the com but lie on the borders of science, will still · poser gives us not fact, but his peculiar take the place of fact, in various desense of fact, whether past or present. grees. Your historian, for instance, with
Dismissing then, under sanction of absolutely truthful intention, amid the Wordsworth, that harsher opposition of multitude of facts presented to him poetry to prose, as savoring in fact of the must needs select, and in selecting (160 arbitrary psychology of the last century, assert something of his own humor, someand with it the prejudice that there can thing that comes not of the world without be but one only beauty of prose style, I but of a vision within. So Gibbon moulds propose here to point out certain qual- (110 his unwieldy material to a preconceived ities of all literature as a fine art, which, view. Livy, Tacitus, Michelet, moving if they apply to the literature of fact, full of poignant sensibility amid the apply still more to the literature of the records of the past, each, after his own imaginative sense of fact, while they ap sense, modifies—who can tell where and ply indifferently to verse and prose, so far to what degree?-and becomes someas either is really imaginative certain thing else than a transcriber; each, as (170 conditions of true art in both alike, which he thus modifies, passing into the domain conditions may also contain in them the of art proper. For just in proportion secret of the proper discrimination and as the writer's aim, consciously or unguardianship of the peculiar excel- (120 consciously, comes to be the transcribing, lences of either.
not of the world, not of mere fact, but The line between fact and something of his sense of it, he becomes an artist, quite different from external fact is, in his work fine art; and good art (as I deed, hard to draw. In Pascal, for in- hope ultimately to show) in proportion stance, in the persuasive writers generally, to the truth of his presentment of that how difficult to define the point where, sense; as in those humbler or plainer (180 from time to time, argument which, if functions of literature also, truth-truth it is to be worth anything at all, must to bare fact, there is the essence of consist of facts or groups of facts, be- such artistic quality as they may have. comes a pleading-a theorem no (130 Truth! there can be no merit, no craft longer, but essentially an appeal to the at all, without that. And further, all reader to catch the writer's spirit, to beauty is in the long run only fineness think with him, if one can or will—an of truth, or what we call expression, the expression no longer of fact but of his finer accommodation of speech to that
world prospective, or discerned below —The transcript of his sense of fact (190 the faulty conditions of the present, in rather than the fact, as being preferable, either case changed somewhat from the | pleasanter, more beautiful to the writer actual world. In science, on the other himself. In literature, as in every other hand, in history so far as it conforms (140 product of human skill, in the moulding to scientific rule, we have a literary do of a bell or a platter for instance, whermain where the imagination may be ever this sense asserts itself, wherever thought to be always an intruder. And the producer so modifies his work as, as, in all science, the functions of liter- over and above its primary use or intenature reduce themselves eventually to tion, to make it pleasing (to himself, the transcribing of fact, so all the excel- , of course, in the first instance) there, [200