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poetry because of its inherent worth, there is a significance in his work which students of literary history have not failed to mark. In a real sense Cowper was the spiritual predecessor of the great Romanticists. He had a sympathy for outcast humanity as sincere as Shelley's, if less passionate; his love of nature was as deep-seated as Wordworth's, though his musings on nature never led him to the heights which Wordsworth attained through his “impassioned contemplation.”
The best one volume edition of Cowper is the Globe (Macmillan); the volume of selections in the Athenæum Press series (Ginn) is representative and inexpensive. Southey's Life, though written long ago, is still valuable; more recent is Goldwin Smith's in the E. M. L. Leslie Stephen's essay, in his Hours in a Library, and Bagehot's, in his Literary Studies, are suggestive.
prejudices, much remains of permanent value. His best songs, written in most part during the last six years of his life, his simple pictures of Scottish domesticity, his satires on cant and makebelieve in Church and State, and his two unique contributions to English poetry, Tam O'Skanter and The Jolly Beggars,—these have passed out of the narrow circle of Scottish and local verse, and have become part of the world's literature.
The best edition of Burns's poetry is the Centenary (four volumes, T. C. and E. C. Jack). The one volume Cambridge edition (Houghton Mifflin) contains the Centenary text and some of the notes. Shairp's Life, in the E. M. L., is the best brief biography. Carlyle's well known essay, Stevenson's, in his Familiar Studies of Men and Books, and Henley's, in the Centenary and Cambridge editions, are all valuable.
WORDSWORTH (1770-1850) rupted by periods of reckless and enthusiastic William Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, relaxation; a life which from some points of view Cumberland, in 1770. After spending his school was a tragic failure, involving many besides Burns years among the lakes and hills he went up to himself in the wreck. Yet it is noteworthy that St. John's College, Cambridge, where in 1791 he such stern moralists as Wordsworth and Whittier graduated. Twice during the Revolution he should have been willing to forgive Burns's many visited France; the first time on a walking tour weaknesses, and to point only to the largeness of during one of his long vacations from Cambridge, his accomplishment.
the second in 1791, after his graduation. The He was born in Ayrshire, near the west coast first time he had been comparatively unmoved of Scotland, in 1759. His father, William Burnes, by the events that were taking place on the contiwas a hard-working man of the peasant class, but nent; the second, he was drawn into the whirl of mentally superior to the average small farmer, French politics, and became an enthusiastic supand the equal of any one in ambition for his porter of the Revolution, returning to England children. By the time Burns was fifteen he was only when his guardians recalled him by stopping doing much of the work of his father's farm; his allowance. The years from 1792 to 1795 were in 1784, when his father died, he and his brother darkened by doubt and spiritual distress. The Gilbert undertook farming for themselves, but excesses of the Terror, which he had at first tried with poor financial results. It was about this to justify as the necessary preliminary to a social time that he met Jean Armour, later his wife. regeneration, became more and more appalling; During 1785 and 1786 he wrote much of the verse gradually his faith in the French cause was shaken, on which his fame depends; had he never pub and at the same time he began to lose faith in lished anything but the 1786 volume of Poems, humanity. From this state of despairing uncerChiefly in the Scottish Dialect, he would have tainty he was recalled by the sympathetic friendbeen sure of ultimate recognition. Here, in the ship of his sister Dorothy. On a precariously little volume printed at Kilmarnock, the proceeds small income the two began housekeeping, and of which were to defray the cost of Burns's in under the influence of Dorothy, and freed from tended emigration to America, were The Twa the necessity of earning his daily bread, WordsDogs, The Holy Fair, The Cotter's Saturday Night, worth devoted himself as seriously as Milton had To a Mouse, To a Daisy, and the Epistle to Davie. done to preparation for the writing of poetry. The success of this venture prompted Burns to From 1795 to 1797 the brother and sister lived at change his plans, and in the same year he went Racedown, Dorsetshire; here they were visited up to Edinburgh, where he became the lion of by Coleridge, at whose suggestion the Wordsthe season. A second volume, published in worths moved to Alfoxden, Somersetshire, within Edinburgh in 1787, brought him more renown a mile and a half of Coleridge's home at Nether and a considerable sum of money. In 1788 Stowey. Here was formed one of the most notable he married Jean Armour, and took up farming of literary friendships. Coleridge encouraged at Ellisland. But his venture proved unsuccess- | Wordsworth by his sympathetic praise; Wordsful, and in 1789 he was glad to fall back on an worth in turn stimulated Coleridge. Together appointment to the excise service that brought the two men tramped over the Quantock hills, him fifty pounds per year. In 1791 he moved and planned the volume that appeared in 1798 as to Dumfries, and there, after five years of hard the Lyrical Ballads. The importance of the work labor as exciseman, he died.
was two-fold. Historically it is significant in the Burns's poetry has at times been overpraised, development of Romanticism as the first example especially by Scottish critics; but after all allow- of conscious protest against the ideals of Pseudoances have been made for national or personal | Classicism. And here the the two friends pub
lished some of their noblest work—the Lines on pathy and understanding, and both were animated Tintern Abbey, and The Rime of the Ancient by the same Divinity Mariner,-poems which would have brought distinction to any volume.
“Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, When the Lyrical Ballads appeared the two And the round ocean and the living air, poets, with Dorothy Wordsworth, were already And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: on their way to Germany, where Wordsworth A motion and a spirit, that impels wrote some of his brief lyrics and began The All thinking things, all objects of all thought, Prelude. Returning to England in 1799, he took And rolls through all things.' a house at Grasmere, in the lake country where
Other men had held such a philosophy; it remained he had grown up, and where he was to make his
for Wordsworth to give expression to it in the home for-the rest of his life. In 1802 he married
noblest verse of the nineteenth century. Mary Hutchinson; in 1813 he moved to Rydal
The best one-volume editions of Wordsworth are Mount, a few miles from Grasmere. The same!
the Oxford (Oxford Univ. Press), the Cambridge year he was pensioned by the government by
(Houghton Mifflin), and the Globe (Macmillan). being appointed Distributor of Stamps for West
The Life by Myers, in the E. M. L., is an adequate moreland. The remainder of his life was un
survey; Legouis's La Jeunesse de Guillaume Wordseventful. Like others of his circle, he grew more
worth (translated by Matthews, Dent and Co.), is and more conservative as time passed; occasion
an exhaustive study of the years covered by The ally he made a trip to Scotland or the continent,
Prelude. Arnold's essay in the Essays in Crilibut there is little to record until 1843. In this
cism, Pater's in Appreciations, and Sir Walter year the laureateship fell vacant through the
Raleigh's Wordsworth are all authoritative. For death of Southey; the appointment of Wordsworth
contemporary criticism nothing is better than was a tribute to his genius and a mark of the esteem in which he was held by the nation. Seven
Coleridge's in the Biographia Literaria. years later he died, and was buried in the churchyard at Grasmere. Wordsworth wrote his finest verse compar
COLERIDGE (1772-1834) atively early in his life. Tintern Abbey ap Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Devonpeared in 1798; the best sonnets soon after the shire, in 1772. He received his preparatory turn of the century; The Prelude, though not education at Christ's Hospital, London, where published until 1850, was completed in 1805; his precocity gained for him the title of "the inthe Intimations of Immortality was published in spired charity boy.” Here he met Lamb, whose 1807. During his last forty years he added much essays picture the life of these early years, and to the bulk of his poetry, but wrote few of his who remained one of his few constant friends. greatest poems. And yet fame came to Words From Christ's Hospital Coleridge went up to worth late in life. In 1800 he was an innovator, Cambridge University just as Wordsworth was whose theories appeared heretical, and whose leaving. His career was erratic, and in 1794 he great work was curiously intermingled with poems left without a degree. He had already met that the critics quickly singled out for ridicule. Robert Southey, with whom he planned the ideal By 1840, however, the theories propounded in commonwealth on the banks of the Susquethe preface to the second edition of the Lyrical hanna which the dreamers named “PantisocBallads had in part been accepted by the public, racy." In 1795 he married; in 1796 he brought and in part modified by Wordsworth himself; out his first volume of verse. In 1797 he visited his poor work was being forgotten; and his great the Wordsworths at Racedown; the next year, in contribution to the world's literature had been company with Wordsworth, he was planning the recognized.
Lyrical Ballads. To this volume Coleridge conThe precise nature of this contribution cannot tributed four poems, most important of which be explained in the present limits, but two sug was The Rime of The Ancient Mariner. In gestions can be made: no poet had ever written 1798, the year of the Lyrical Ballads, Coleridge so nobly of the beauties of nature; few poets had went with Wordsworth to Germany, and plunged done more than Wordsworth to point out the into the study of German philosophy and literaessential dignity of mankind. And in one respect ture. In 1800 he settled at Keswick, a few miles Wordsworth was unique. Always keenly sensitive from Grasmere, where he had the companionship to the beauty of nature, and aware that from of Wordsworth and Southey. The remainder of association with nature came peace and consola his life was in many ways unfortunate. His tion to mankind, Wordsworth cast about for a poetical powers were stunted by his addiction reason for a phenomenon difficult to explain by to laudanum; he planned much, but accomplished any theory that regarded nature as inanimate little. Occasional lectures on literature, much or unconscious. In Tintern Abbey he suggests brilliant but rather formless conversation on his solution of the problem. In moments of philosophy, and very little actual writing, occupied mystic contemplation it had been vouchsafed to his last twenty years. Like Wordsworth and him to see the divine unity of all creation; a Southey, he became more and more conservative spiritual unity, in which nature and man were as he grew older, and looked back with horror on but different manifestations of the same creative the youthful enthusiasms of his republican days. Power, and capable of influencing one another Much of Coleridge's prose work is significant because each was conscious of the other's sym- and interesting, but it is as the author of the
Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, and Christabel, worked at the task, writing novels and receiving that he is remembered. In these poems he was | compensation at a rate unheard of, and turnusing material the most unusual, often frankly | ing over the proceeds to the creditors. But his supernatural; but by the witchery of his art was life was not long enough. In 1831 a paralytic able to induce in the reader what he himself in a stroke enfeebled his powers, if not his will; in fine phrase calls the “momentary suspension of 1832 he died, leaving a part of the debt to be disbelief which constitutes poetic faith.” He cleared off by royalties received after his death. was one of the great geniuses of English literature, Scott's contribution to English literature was and one of the pathetic group the promise of great and many-sided. His work as editor and whose early years was never completely fulfilled. collector of Scottish ballads was more valuable But in the case of Coleridge the actual accomplish- than that of any of his contemporaries; his poetment, fragmentary though it is, is sufficient to | ical romances are among the best examples of merit all the praise that time has brought him. | English narrative verse. But his chief glory is
The best edition of Coleridge's poetry is the | the magnificent series of novels: the studies of two volume publication of the Oxford University Scottish life and manners, such as The Heart of Press; the Globe (Macmillan) is convenient, and Midlothian, and the tales of past history, such as contains an admirable biographical sketch by Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward. Through these J. D. Campbell, which is not surpassed in value by novels Scott made the largest single contribution Traill's Life in the E. M. L. William Hazlitt's to the great stock of English fiction. My First Acquaintance With Poets is a classic The best source of information about Scott is portrait of Coleridge as he appeared to a gifted the Life by his son-in-law, J. G. Lockhart (7 vols., contemporary; Carlyle's portrait in his Life of Black). Briefer biographies are Hutton's, in John Sterling (chap. “Coleridge") is brilliant if the E. M. L., and Saintsbury's (Scribner's). Sir somewhat unsympathetic.
Walter's own Journal (David Douglas) gives interesting first-hand information concerning the
later years of his life. SCOTT (1771-1832) Sir Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, in
BYRON (1788–1824) 1771, the son of an attorney, and a member of the Clan Buccleuch. After a boyhood spent in | George Gordon Byron was born in London, reading, and assimilating Scottish legend, he en January, 1788, but lived for some years of his tered the University of Edinburgh, but did not youth in Scotland. In 1798, through the death take a degree. When he was twenty-one he was of a great-uncle, he became the sixth Baron Byron, called to the bar, and though his practice was and the inheritor of the ruined family seat, Newnever extensive, he was always in more or less stead Abbey. As a boy he was hot-tempered, intimate contact with the law. His first literary proud, and unnecessarily sensitive on account of work of importance was a group of translations a lameness that never left him. In 1805 he began from the German, Bürger's Lenore appearing at Trinity College, Cambridge, a career which as Scott's William and Helen. In 1802-03 he was boisterously irregular, and only slightly dispublished The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, tinguished by the appearance in 1807 of a volume the best collection of Scottish ballads until Child's of poems called Hours of Idleness. In 1809, when great work began to appear in 1882. Between | he had come of age, he took his seat in the House 1805 and 1810 Scott won an international reputa of Lords, and in the same year began the wandertion as a narrative poet through The Lay of the ings over Europe which were later to be described Last Minstrel, Marmion, and The Lady of the Lake. in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, of which the first In 1813 he bought Abbotsford, where he estab two cantos appeared in 1812. The result of this lished himself as a country gentleman About publication Byron has recorded in his statement this time Byron's poetry began winning the popu that he awoke one morning and found himself larity which Scott's had formerly enjoyed. Real famous. The next year, 1813, The Giaour began izing that he could not compete with Byron, the series of oriental tales that outdid even Childe Scott took up a manuscript untouched since Harold in popularity. In January, 1815, he mar1805, wrote the last two-thirds of it in six weeks, ried Miss Anna Milbanke; a year later the two and in 1814 published Waverley, the first of his had separated, Lady Byron returning to her historical novels. Between 1814 and 1832 he father's home, and the poet, ostracized by society, wrote in all thirty-two novels, and did a good going to Switzerland, where for some time he was deal of other literary work besides. At the acces in the company of the Shelleys. From 1816 to sion of George IV Scott was knighted and created 1819 he was much of the time in Venice, living a a baronet; at this time-1821–he was probably life that was currently reported to be a riot of the largest figure in the English literary world. debauchery, and in which, when all allowances But in 1826 the wheel of Fortune turned. In have been made for the exaggerations of scandalthis year two publishing houses in which Scott ous gossip, there were many black passages. The was interested failed with large liabilities. Re third and fourth cantos of Harold appeared in fusing to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws, 1818; the same year he began Don Juan, publishalthough he knew that he was legally entitled to ing it at intervals from 1819 till his death. His their protection, Scott undertook single-handed | dramas, of which Cain and Manfred are the to pay off an indebtedness of nearly one hundred greatest, appeared between 1821 and 1824; in and twenty thousand pounds. For six years he | 1822 he published the Vision of Judgment, a reply
to Southey's eulogy of George III, and one of the most successful of all parodies. In 1823 the Greek revolutionists appealed to Byron for help against Turkey; to their call he responded enthusiastically and unselfishly. In January, 1824, he reached Greece; three months he spent at Missolonghi, drilling troops and combating fever; and then he died.
Byron has to his credit four distinct accomplishments, any one of which, unless it be the first, would have made him a poet of rank. He expressed in his verse, and in his personality, the melancholy pride and despair, and the revolt against society, which were general in Europe during the years following the collapse of the French Revolution, but which have come to be considered characteristically “Byronic." He was a brilliant teller of tales, which, though lacking many of the finer poetic qualities, are yet masterly narratives. He was a descriptive poet whose pictures of the grander manifestations of Nature's power were painted with a sweep and magnificence unequalled in English verse. And in Don Juan, his masterpiece, he showed himself a daring and trenchant critic of contemporary society, and of the foibles of human nature at large. It is to his carelessness of form, and his lack of intellectual power, that Byron owes the refusal of the world to grant him a place in the small circle of the greatest poets.
The best one volume edition of Byron is the Cambridge (Houghton Mifflin); the standard library edition is that of G. E. Prothero and E. H. Coleridge (John Murray). Essays and biographical memoirs have been numerous; Nichol's Life, in the E. M. L., and Noel's, in the Great Writers series, are both good. Matthew Arnold's volume of selections in the Golden Treasury series is prefaced by a valuable essay.
July of 1822 Shelley was drowned while sailing in the Gulf of Spezzia.
To understand Shelley one must think of him as both poet and philosopher. His poetical reputation rests primarily upon his lyric power. Even in Prometheus it is the lyrical and not the dramatic elements that make the work successful; in the better known and briefer works, such as The Cloud, To a Skylark, To Nighi, and the Ode to the West Wind, the imagery is daringly magnificent, and the technique virtually perfect. But Shelley was at least as much interested in his message as in the form which this message assumed. Living in the years when the conservative reaction after the failure of the French Revolution was most pronounced, he never allowed his faith in humanity to be shaken, but constantly urged the perfectibility of mankind, and the power of love to regenerate the world. When once custom had been abolished, warfare ended, and the tyranny of church and state forever broken, then, Shelley believed, the golden age of freedom and love shadowed forth in the last act of Prometheus Unbound would be realized on the earth. There was, of course, much of the dreamer in Shelley; but to call him with Arnold "a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain,” is to do him scant justice. For in some respects-as witness his sympathy for animals, his hatred of war, and his passionate longing for intellectual and religious freedom,-Shelley's weakness was only that of the man “ahead of his times.” And the very essence of his philosophy, self-sacrifice for the good of the world, was nearer the essence of Christianity than the Churchmen who condemned him for atheism were willing to admit.
Good one volume editions of Shelley's poetry are the Globe (Macmillan), Cambridge (Houghton Mifflin), and Oxford (Oxford Univ. Press). The Life by Dowden (two vols., Lippincott), is exhaustive, but is somewhat injured by a good deal of special pleading. Symonds's Life, in the E. M. L., is an excellent brief biography, Trelawney's Recollections of the Last Days of Byron and Shelley is a vivid contemporary account of the close of Shelley's life.
SHELLEY (1792–1822) Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Field Place, Sussex, in 1792. After some years at Eton, where the yoke of educational tradition galled him, he went up to Oxford in October, 1810. In March, 1811, he was expelled for having written a pamphlet entitled On the Necessity of Atheism, and left college determined to give his life to the cause of intellectual freedom. During the summer of the same year he eloped with Harriet Westbrook, a London school-girl, whom he married in Edinburgh. His life with her came to an end in the summer of 1814 when he left England with Mary Godwin, the brilliant daughter of William Godwin, whose philosophical liberalism strengthened Shelley in his defiance of law and tradition. In 1816 Harriet Westbrook Shelley drowned herself; shortly thereafter Shelley married Mary Godwin. By 1818 he was living in Italy, virtually as an exile, deprived by law of the custody of Harriet's children, and fearing to return to England lest further legal action be taken against him. But here in Italy he did his greatest work, Prometheus Unbound, The Cenci, Adonais, and Hellas, besides a large number of magnificent lyrics, all appearing between 1818 and 1822. In
KEATS (1795-1821) John Keats was born in London, in 1795. He was the son of Thomas Keats, at first chief hostler and later manager of the “Swan and Hoop" inn, and of Frances Jennings, whose father was the proprietor of the inn. When Keats was eight years old his parents, eager for his advancement, sent him to school at Enfield. Here he won the literary prizes “as a matter of course." His father died in 1804, and at the death of his mother in 1810 Keats found himself under the guardianship of two successful but somewhat narrowminded merchants. They at once withdrew him from school and apprenticed him to a surgeon at Edmonton. In 1814, when his indenture was cancelled by mutual agreement, he was sufficiently interested in medicine to continue his studies in the London hospitals. But already his chief
concern was with poetry, and in 1815 he wrote written in actual collaboration with his sister: at least one of his great sonnets, On First Look the Tales from Shakespeare (1807). But although ing Into Chapman's Homer. By the latter part Lamb had written some verse and a good deal oi of 1816 he had definitely made up his mind to i prose before the Tales appeared, and had pubgive his life to poetry; in 1817 appeared his first lished his collected Works in 1818, it was not till volume, Poems by John Keats, containing the 1820 that he began the series of essays by which he sonnet on Homer and Sleep and Poetry, besides is best known. In this year the London Magasine some less noteworthy verse. In the spring of was established; to it Lamb contributed the 1818 came Endymion, which at first passed un Essays of Elia. The latter years of his life were noticed, but later was savagely attacked by uneventful. His sister demanded an increasing Blackwood's and the Quarterly for its formlessness amount of care, and though his pension brought and lack of restraint. Towards the end of 1818 him leisure, he did little after its bestowal to add Keats met Fanny Brawne, with whom he was to his reputation as a man of letters. soon in love, but whom he could not marry on The charm of Lamb's essays is due in part to account of his poor health. In February of 1820 the humor and pathos which pervade them, and he was definitely threatened with consumption; in part to the intimate relationship which Lamb when in July his third volume, containing the at once establishes between himself and the great odes and The Eve of St. Agnes, appeared, reader. Writing as if for a circle of friends, Lamb Keats was so ill that a voyage to Italy was pro has put his own personality into his essays so posed as the only means of saving his life. In the completely that he has become one of the best middle of September he sailed with his friend known of English writers, while by his simple Severn, and reached Rome in December. Here, unpretentiousness he has concealed an art as in February, 1821, he died, and was buried in the great as Addison's, albeit of a very different Protestant cemetery.
sort. Keats was first and last an artist, keenly sen The best edition of Lamb's works is that of sitive to beauty, and comparatively unaffected E. V. Lucas (Methuen), who is also the author of by the changes that came over Europe during the best biography. his lifetime. Yearning for an ideal beauty as his own hero Endymion longed for his moon-goddess, Keats gratified this desire through the creation of beauty in his verse. In the 1817 volume, and
HAZLITT (1778–1830) in Endymion, it was largely beauty of detail that occupied him, beauty of lines and passages rich
William Hazlitt, the son of a Unitarian minister, with “a fine excess" of sensuous imagery. But
was educated for the ministry, studied art for a the poems of 1820, especially St. Agnes and
time, was encouraged by Coleridge to pursue an
interest in metaphysics, and first came before the the odes, have all the imaginative richness of the earlier work, and are strengthened by a sense of
public as a writer on philosophical subjects. The form that had hitherto been lacking.
maturing of his tastes finally led him to literature Good editions of Keats's poems are the Cam
and journalism. He wrote for several of the bridge (Houghton Mifflin), the Globe (Macmillan),
dailies and periodicals, doing most work for Leigh and the Oxford (Oxford Univ. Press). The best
Hunt's Examiner. He was acquainted with the is H. Buxton Forman's (Gowans and Gray, Glas
Lake poets, Lamb, and the London literary set, gow; 4 vols.). Sir Sidney Colvin's Life in the E.
and though he sooner or later quarrelled with M. L. is a good brief biography.
almost all his friends the estrangement was not usually permanent. His work of greatest general interest was done in Characters of Shakespeare's
Plays (1817), Lectures on the English Poets (1818), LAMB (1775-1834)
English Comic Writers (1819), Dramatic Literature
of the Age of Elizabeth (1821), and two collections Charles Lamb was born in London in 1775, the of miscellaneous essays, Table Talk and The son of a lawyer's clerk. From 1782 to 1789 he Plain Speaker. His interest in the French Revowas a student at Christ's Hospital, where he lution and Napoleon led him to write a life of formed with Coleridge a friendship that was to be Napoleon, not very much esteemed. Personally life-long. After leaving school he went to work Hazlitt was shy, irascible, and curiously susceptas a clerk in the South Sea House; in April of 1792 | ible to feminine attraction. As a critic he is at he moved to the East India House and began the once independent and dogmatic, of fine taste, and service that was to be ended thirty-three years on the whole sympathetic in his attitude toward later when Lamb was pensioned by the Company. the newer spirit in literature. With Lamb and The year 1796 brought tragedy into the house Coleridge he did valuable service to the cause of hold of his father, with whom Lamb was still literature by helping to establish a proper ap living. A taint of insanity ran in the family; in preciation of Shakespeare and his fellow dramathis year Mary Lamb became violently insane tists. His style, not so intimate or charming as and killed her mother. The rest of his life Lamb Lamb's, has a rich personal flavor and vivaaty, spent in caring for his sister—the Bridget Elia of and is superior to Lamb's in point and vigor. the essays—who was subject to the recurrence The standard edition of Hazlitt is edited by of her malady, but who in her rational periods Waller and Glover (Dent). Augustine Birrel's was a sympathetic and stimulating companion. Life (E. M. L.) is good; more extensive are the Lamb's first literary work of importance was Memoirs (2 vols., 1867) by W. C. Hazlitt.