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responsible criticism-qualities due to no prescription of academic authority, but in part to natural sense and selfrespect, in part to the code of habitual honour which rather impels than compels a man to avow his words and his works—these qualities, which preserve from mere contempt even the Philistines of French literature when we turn from them to their English fellow-soldiers, have I suspect blinded Mr. Arnold to the real colours under which they also serve. As yet however they have not made a prey of him ; Delilah has merely woven the seven locks of the champion's head with the web and fastened it with the pin ; he has but to awake out of his sleep and go away with the pin of the beam and with the web. But next time he goes to Gaza and sees there the Academy he must beware of going in unto that siren, or in the morning he may find the gates too heavy to carry off. We may trust indeed never to find him there eyeless at the mill with slaves; but it is no good sign that he should ever be blind of this eye or deaf of that ear-blind to infirmities on this side, or deaf to harmonies on that. I write not as a disciple of the dishevelled school, "romantique à tous crins;" all such false and foolish catchwords as the names of classic and romantic I repudiate as senseless, and revere form or harmony as the high one law of all art. It is because, both as poet and critic, Mr. Arnold has done the service he has in the front rank of an army which finds among us few enough of able recruits, that I grudge in him the least appearance of praise or dispraise unworthy of his rank and office. Otherwise he would be as welcome for me as another Englishman to deny the power and variety, the supple sweetness and the superb resources of French verse in its depths and heights of song;
as welcome to ignore the higher and enhance the mino, merits of a foreign literature; to mistake for the causes th effects of these minor merits, which in their turn become (as in this case of the Academy) causes of grave error and defect, weakening where they should strengthen the hands and eyes they have in training. But in a child and champion of the light the least obliquity or obscurity of vision is to be noted as dangerous. If to any one these seem things of minor moment, to a poet such as he is they cannot; to him they must be more serious than to another. We owe him too much to keep silence here, though we might allow as harmless such graceful errors of pastime or paradox as the faith in Oxford which will not allow that she has ever“ given herself to the Philistines;” the beauty of the valley of Sorek has surely blinded him to the nation and nature of the Gazites and Ascalonites who have dwelt there now and again as surely as have many of their betters. Both here and in the Academy there may be a profession, a tradition of culture, of sweetness, urbanity, loyalty to the light; but where, we may too often have had to ask, are the things themselves? By their fruits ye shall know them ; and what are these ? In them both, if not of them, there may be good men and great; have such been always their leaders? or were ever such their types ?
“ Not here, O Apollo !
Are haunts meet for thee ;
In cliff to the sea."
There, and not in the academies or the market-places of the Philistines, for peace or war ; there, where all airs are full of the breath and all fields of the feet of the gods ; where the sea-wind that first waved the wet hair of Venus moves now only the ripples that remember her rising limbs ; where the Muses are, and their mother. There is his place, who in such a place long since found Circe feasting and heard Apollo play ; there, below the upper glens and wellsprings of the Centaurs, above the scooped sea-shelves and flushing sands of the Sirens. Whatever now he say or do, he has been and will remain to us a lover and a giver of light; unwittingly, by impulse, for pure love of it; and such lead further and lighten otherwise than they know. All conscious help or guidance serves us less than unconscious leadership. In his best words there is often a craft and a charm; but in his best work there is always rest, and air, and a high relief; it satisfies, enlarges, refreshes with its cool full breath and serenity. On some men's nerves the temperature strikes somewhat cold ; there are lungs that cannot breathe but in the air of a hothouse or a hospital. There is not much indeed of heat or flame in the Vestal or lunar light that shines from this hearth ; but it does not burn down. His poetry is a pure temple, a white flower of marble, unfretted without by intricate and grotesque traceries, unvexed within by fumes of shaken censers or intoning of hoarse choristers ; large and clear and cool, with many chapels in it and outer courts, full of quiet and of music. In the plainest air played here there is a sound of sincerity and skill; as in one little Requiescat, which without show of beauty or any thought or fancy leaves long upon the ear an impressure of simple, of earnest, of weary melody, wound up into a sense of rest. We do not always want to bathe our spirit in overflowing waters or flaming fires of imagination ; pathos and passion and aspiration and desire are not the only springs we seek for song. Sorrows and joys of thought or sense meet us here in white raiment and wearing maiden crowns. In each court or chapel there is a fresh fragrance of early mountain flowers which bring with them the wind and the sun and a sense of space and growth, all of them born in high places, washed and waved by upper airs and rains. Into each alike there falls on us as we turn a conscience of calm beauty, of cool and noble repose, of majestic work under melodious and lofty laws ; we feel and accept the quiet sovereignties of happy harmony and loyal form, whose service for the artist is perfect freedom : it is good for us to be here. Nor are all these either of modern structure or of Greek; here is an Asiatic court, a Scandinavian there. And everywhere is the one ruling and royal quality of classic work, an assured and equal excellence of touch. Whether for Balder dead and the weeping gods in Asgard, or for the thought-sick heart-sore king of a weary land far east, blinded and vexed in spirit with the piteous pains and wrongs of other men, the same good care and wise charm of right words are used to give speed of wing and sureness of foot to the ministering verse. The stormy northern world of water and air and iron and snow, the mystic oppression of eastern light and cruel colour in fiery continents and cities full of sickness and splendour and troubled tyrannies, alike yield up to him their spirit and their secret, to be rendered again in just and full expression. These are the trophies of his work and the gifts of his hand; through these and such as these things, his high and distinct seat is assured to him among English poets.
NOTES ON THE TEXT OF SHELLEY.
It is seldom that the work of a scholiast is so soon wanted as in Shelley's case it has been. The first collected edition of his works had many gaps and errors patent and palpable to any serious reader. His text is already matter for debate and comment, as though he were a classic newly unearthed. Certain passages begin to be famous as crucial subjects for emendation; and the master-singer of our modern poets shares with his own masters and models the least enviable proof of famethat given by corrupt readings and diverse commentaries. Awaiting the appearance, now long looked for, of a surer and carefuller text, I have but a word to say in passing, a hand to lend in this humble service of verbal emendation. One poet only of late times, and that but once, has suffered more than Shelley from the negligence and dullness of those to whose hands the trust of his text was committed. The last relics of Landor came before us distorted and deformed in every page by this shameful neglect; and the value is thus impaired of some among the most precious and wonderful examples extant of great genius untouched by great age, full of the grace, the