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It was, indeed, a small voice in “Orion and other Poems,” published in 1880; it was lost to some degree in “In Divers Tones,” where the poet wrote in mixed mood, poems serious following so close upon, or followed so closely by, poems light, trivial and unworthy that we feel as we peruse them now that the poet

resting in an inn "—the inn of art, and had not fixed his eye on the end of the journey ; but in “Songs of the Common Day," where he endeavours to




“ What beauty clings
In common forms, and find the soul

Of unregarded things !" the voice that we find strong and assured in “ The Book of the Native” is speaking

And now we are going to make yet broader claims for our poet. Every singer, to be worthy of consideration, must have spontaneity, must "harmonize his genius to the spirit of his times," and, most important of all, must have a message for mankind. Roberts, in our opinion, possesses these three essentials.

Stedman has said that, “In the case of the minor poets, excessive culture and wide acquaintance with methods and masterpieces often destroyed spontaneity.” This was true to a very large extent of the previous work by Roberts, but in the “ The Book of the Native" he has used simple ballad measures—used them with the freedom and naturalness of the early balladists, and in their use has shown an art conscience which is not obtrusive, but which never leaves him while he is serious, and only deserts him once or twice when in lighter vein-and, by the way, there should have been no lighter vein in this volume. has likewise harmonized his genius with the spirit of his times. He is at once broadly religious and accurately scientific. A few lines from “ Origins," a poem, terse, packed with suggestive sentences, will serve as an illustration : Inexorably decreed

We work out blind desires.
By the ancestral deed,

And for our sons ordain
The puppets of our sires,

The blessing or the bane."
Space will not permit us to dwell on this at greater length, and we must hasten
to examine his message.
It is threefold. The first is borrowed from Wordsworth's

"Of joy in widest commonalty spread." a message eternally fresh and needful to be reiterated in each age. He has stated his point of view in “The Heal-All," a poem which is a palpable imitation Wordsworth's “The Lesser Celandine,” which we, craving the Wordsworthians' pardon, think a finer poem than the one that doubtless inspired it ; finer because the writer has “the sense for form and style, the passion for just expression, the sure and firm touch of the true artist” that are lacking in Wordsworth's sadly inartistic and gloomily thoughtful poem. The closing stanza gives a centre for the student of Roberts' work :

Thy simple wisdom I would gain--

To heal the hurt life brings,
With kindly cheer, and faith in pain,

And joy of common things." Along with this austere yet profound simplicity we have a yearning after the beautiful, an instinct for it, as strong as the instinct of a Keats. He, too, realizes that “Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty," but we find in his work that while he has taken this point of view of Keats, he has so combined it with Wordsworth's message,

Of joy in widest commonalty spread," that he has really given us a message of his own :

Beside his threshold is the shrine

Where truth and beaut dwell !" Keats gave the message that

Some shape of beauty moves away the pall

From our dark spirits ; but instead of looking to his threshold for beauty he expected her from her height ; he found her in the past; he saw her on a Grecian urn, in the glorious mythology of the Greeks, which gave us his Endymion and Hyperion. But Roberts has restated his message with a new meaning. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” and that joy we find not in “wreathing some flowery band to bind us to the earth," not in conning the dreams of the ages, but in the threshold facts of every-day life, in "the joy of common things.

He does not ask, “ Where is it now, the glory and the dream ? " The commonest facts of existence contains it for him.

We now come to what seems to us the poet's greatest contribution to literature. This, too, will at first sight seem to be partially borrowed from Wordsworth and Goethe. Wordsworth felt :

A presence that disturbs me with the joy And the blue sky, and in the mind of man :
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime A motion and a spirit that impels
Of something far more deeply interfused, All thinking things, all objects of all
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air, And rolls through all things."

Goethe looked on the seen universe as “the living mantle ” of the Unseen Artificer which had been woven in the whirring looms of time ; but neither poet, it seems to us, brought man into vital, concrete contact-physical kinship with the universe about him. Roberts, we are of the opinion, has done this. He has taken a step in advance of his predecessors. There are, it is true, suggestions of the step he has taken in several of Emerson's poems, but the utterance given in “ Origins " is distinctly his own : In ignorance we stand,

We feel the sap go free
With fate on either hand,

When spring comes to the tree ;
And question stars and earth

And in our blood is stirred
Of life, and death, and birth.

What warms the brooding bird.
With wonder in our eyes

The vital fire we breathe
We scan the kindred skies,

That bud and blade bequeathe,
While through the common grass

And strength of native clay
Our atoms mix and pass.

In our full veins hath sway." This is mature work; these are important truths which give the poet who stands on them an assured position and undoubted longevity. It would be difficult to work out any of these veins; they have all three rich ore, and stretch from eternity to eternity ; and the poet who works them is no longer a poet of promise, but a poet of real achievement.

We cannot close without making special reference to several poems that are in parts as perfect as the worker in words could make them. "Up and Away in the Morning" has a swing and rush that it would be hard to excel :

“ Long is the heart's hope, long as the day

(Oh, up and away in the morning.) Heart has its will and hand has its way Till the world rolls over and ends the day

(Oh, up and avay the morning.)" The “ Laughing Sally" is a ballad that has touches which, in fire, in force, in the music of great guns and the booming of great seas, in pictorial fulness, rhythmic strength, and felicity of phrase, make it an excellent companion piece for Tennyson's “Revenge.' Less in power, it is true, but of the same brood. It is full of such lines as :

“ The hunt of the tireless hound." Or :

* By the grimmest whim of chance." Or this magnificent burst:

“ Blood and fire on the streaming decks,

And fire and blood below ;
The heat of hell, and the reek of hell,

And the dead men laid arow." But in the whole volume, in all of his poetry, indeed, there is nothing finer than “An Epitaph for a Husbandman ;” nay, we will go farther. We believe, and we believe after almost two years consideration-ever since it appeared in the Cosmopolitan”—that it has several stanzas which make it a poem to be placed beside Wordsworth's “ Daffodils" or “The Solitary Reaper." It is true that the two opening stanzas are marred by the anacoluthon, and that the closing stanza has lost something in rhythm in the line

“ Tenderly now they throng." But it has three stanzas, flawless in workmanship, tender and delicate in feeling : Busy, and blithe, and bold,

The clods he used to cleave
He laboured for the morrow –

Now cover him.
The plough his bands would hold
Rusts in the furrow.

• But the green, growing things

Lean kindly to his sleep" His fields he had to leave,

White roots and wandering strings, His orchards cool and dim ;

Closer they creep." Here the manner is distinctly the poet's own. It has the “ lyrical cry,” but it is individual. The closing stanza has a “natural magic,” and the simple line

“ He laboured for the morrow has a “moral profundity” that stamps this verse poetry of the highest kind. The line just quoted is a powerful repetition of a truth uttered by the poet eight years ago, when he wrote “ The Sower:”

Godlike, he makes provision for mankind." “ The Book of the Native,” coming at a time when the world is in a mad rush for power and gold, is like a balmy spring day. Certainly there is in it little trace of the saeculum realisticum in which we live. The poet is steeped in the worship of Nature and Nature's God, and the humanistic interest he adds to Nature will refresh any sojourner in life who meets with his poems. So much of a nature poet is he, that in a poem entitled “ Twilight on Sixth Avenue" he fails to become a part of the life about him, and his spirit wanders to where

“A lonely ocean Washes a lonely wood.'

T. G. Marquis.


HE publication of Rudyard Kipling's volume of poems, "The Seven Seas,"

marks the rise of a new star of the first magnitude above the poetical horizon. Those who have read his occasional verses in the magazines and the headpieces in his Indian stories, and compared them with his previous performance in “ Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads," have awaited with expectant interest a new volume promising richer fulfilment. “The Seven Seas” places Mr. Kipling far in advance of all his younger contemporaries. No other poet of to-day has written such vigorous, manly, melodious verse. It would be hard to find throughout the range of English poetry a greater mastery of lyrical forms. In many of the shorter poems, the apt epithet, the choice phrasing, and the rush of melody ennoble thought otherwise unworthy of poetical expression. The English public has been quick to recognize the extraordinary merit of his new book of poetry, is testified by its immense sale. . It cannot be doubted that when these poems are known they will be as widely circulated in the colonies as in England.

For Rudyard Kipling is a poet of the English race. He is the poet of the " Four New Nations and the “Seven Seas." Here are some lines from a stirring song, “ The Native Born”: “I charge you charge your glasses

Last toast--and your foot on the table !I charge you drink with me,

A health to the Native-born !
To the men of the four new nations,
And the Islands of the Sea ;

A health to the Native-born ( stand up!) To the last least lump of coral

We're six white men arow, That none may stand outside,

All bound to sing o' the little things we care And our own good pride shall teach us

about, To praise our comrade's pride !

All bound to fight for the little things we care

With the weight of a six-fold blow!

By the might of our cable-tow ( take hands !) "We've drunk to the Queen - God bless her! From the Orkneys to the Horn, We've drunk to our Mother's land ;

All round the world (and a little loop to pull We've drunk to our English brother

it by), (And we hope he'll understand.)

AN round the world (and a little strap to We've drunk as much as we're able,

buckle it), And the Cross swings low for the morni;

A health to the Native-born!" The note of many of these poems is patriotism-not merely the love of England-Mr. Kipling is a native of Bombay--but that wider patriotism which embraces the nations of the world's greatest empire. One is startled by the exuberance of his enthusiasm as it pours itself out in the rich melody of song. The reading of these poems must stir in the most sluggish heart pride of empire and pride of race. If ever a party in this country had to fight for the maintenance of British connexion, they would find in this volume the most effective sort of campaign literature ready to hand. Take this lyric, “The Song of the Sons,” froni the group called “A Song of the English": “One from the ends of the earth - gifts at an Those that have stayed at thy knees, Mother, open door ;

go call them in ; Treason has much ; but we, Mother, thy We that were bred overseas wait and would sons, have more !

speak with our kin. From the whine of a dying man, from the Not in the dark do we fight, haggle and flout snarl of a wolf-pack freed ;

and gibe ; Turn, and the world is thine. Mother, be Selling our love for a price ; loaning our hearts proud of thy seed !

for a bribe. Count, are we feeble or few ? Hear, is our Gifts have we only to-day--Love without speech so rude?

promise or fee. Look, are we poor in the land ? Judge, are Hear, for thy children speak from the upperwe men of The Blood ?

most parts of the sea !" Then follow the songs of the cities of the empire, among which are Halifax, Quebec, Montreal and Victoria ; and then, “England's Answer: " Truly ye come of The Blood ; slower to But we do not fall on the neck nor kiss when bless than to ban ;

we come together ; Little use to lie down at the bidding of any My arm is nothing weak, my strength is not

gone by ; Flesh of the flesh that I bred, bone of the bone Sons, I have borne many sons, but my dugs that I bare ;

are not dry. Stark as your sons shall be ; stern as your Look! I have made ye a place and opened fathers were.

wide the doors, Deeper than speech our love, stronger than That ye may talk together, your barons and life our tether ;



Wards of the Outer March ; Lords of the Also, we will make promise. So long as The Lower Seas ;

Blood endures, Ay, talk to your grey Mother that bore you I shall know that your good is mine; ye shall on her knees !

feel that my strength is yours; That ye may talk together, brother to bro In the day of Armageddon, at the last great ther's face

fight of all, Thus for the good of your peoples ; thus for That Our House shall stand together, and the Pride of the Race.

the pillars do not fall." But Rudyard Kipling has wider claims to eminence than that of a singer of patriotic songs. He is the new poet of the sea. In that marvelous monologue, * McAndrew's Hymn,” he says :

“ Lord, send a man like Robbie Burns to sing the song o' Steam." He is himself the new Robbie Burns. Those who think that, with the advent of steam, the romance of the sea has fled, will be rudely undeceived by reading the sea-pieces in his volume.

To the poet every part of the machinery joins in his sea-symphony.

Fra skylight left to furnace-bars, backed, bolted, braced an' stayed,
An' singin' like the Mornin' Stars for joy that they are made ;
While, out o' touch o' vanity, the sweatin' thrust-block says :

Not unto us the praise, or man-not unto us the praise !
Now a' together, hear them lift their lesson-theirs an' mine :
*Law, order, duty an' restrain, obedience, discipline !
Mill, forge an' try-pit taught them that when roarin' they arose,
An' whiles I wonder if a soul was gied them wi' the blows.
Oh, for a man to weld it then, in one trip-hammer strain,

Till even first-class passengers could tell the meanin' plain!"
No other poet has sung of the sea in notes so varied. The “Song of the
Dead” is a mighty sea dirge, full of majestic dignity ; while for the note of
pathos, what could be tenderer than this :

The Liner she's a lady, an' she never looks nor 'eeds-
The Man-o'-war's 'er 'usband, an'e gives 'er all she needs;
But, oh! the little cargo-boats that sail the wet seas roun',
They're just the same as you an' me a-plyin' up an' down!
Plyin' up an' down, Jenny, 'angin' round the yard,

All the way by Fratton tram down to Portsmouth and;
Anythin' for business, an' we're growing old--

Plyin' up an down, Jenny, waitin' in the cold !"
For an example of the stirring narrative style in sea poetry, “The Rhyme of
the Three Sealers” is unsurpassed for vigour of language and movement. “The
Last Chantey” is in still another tone ; it might be called the Deep Sea Chantey.
As to its subject-matter, it is enough to say that, beside it, Byron's “Vision of
Judgment” is stale and flat.

A long article might be written on Mr. Kipling's range and choice of metrical forms. No one else is at present writing in such varied and tuneful metres. The “ Song of the Banjo” makes us wonder how even an undoubted genius can manipulate the English language so as to produce such perfect accord in sound and sense.

Doubtless, it is very largely this tunefulness in metre that commends these poems to the popular ear, and the question must arise as to their fitness as a vehicle for lofty thought. But that is a matter for criticism, and our object here is not to enter into a close analysis of the relations between matter and form, but only to endeavour to secure a wider reading for these poems among our own people. It may be said, however, that the book is greater in promise than in achievement, and it is impossible to yield higher praise than that, for Mr. Kipling is already enrolled in the great line of English poets. High water mark in this volume is reached in the beautiful and dignified lines, “To the True Romance," and it is in this poem that we find the promise for the future. As Mr. Kipling leaves his youth behind him he will correct faults of taste in his poetry,.

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