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All this, or else a life with him,
"Eh! lies, my Jehane? by God's head, For which I should be damned at last; At Paris folks would deem them true!
105 Would God that this next hour were past!" Do you know, Jehane, they cry for you:
“Jehane the brown! Jehane the brown! He answered not, but cried his cry,
60 Give us Jehane to burn or drown!'“St. George for Marny!” cheerily; Eh-gag me Robert !-sweet my friend, And laid his hand upon her rein.
This were indeed a piteous end Alas! no man of all his train
For those long fingers, and long feet, Gave back that cheery cry again; And long neck, and smooth shoulders And, while for rage his thumb beat fast 65 sweet; Upon his sword-hilt, some one cast An end that few men would forget About his neck a kerchief long,
That saw it-So, an hour yet: And bound him.
Consider, Jehane, which to take
115 Of life or death!” Then they went along To Godmar; who said: “Now, Jehane,
So, scarce awake, Your lover's life is on the wane 70 Dismounting, did she leave that place, So fast, that, if this very hour
And totter some yards: with her face You yield not as my paramour,
Turned upward to the sky she lay,
Her head on a wet heap of hay,
And did not dream, the minutes crept
Round to the twelve again; but she, She laid her hand upon her brow,
Being waked at last, sighed quietly, Then gazed upon the palm, as though And strangely childlike came, and said: 125 She thought her forehead bled, and “ "I will not." Straightway Godmar's head, “No,'
As though it hung on strong wires, turned She said, and turned her head away, Most sharply round, and his face burned. As there were nothing else to say, 80 And everything were settled: red
For Robert—both his eyes were dry, Grew Godmar's face from chin to head: He could not weep, but gloomily 130 "Jehane, on yonder hill there stands He seemed to watch the rain; yea, too, My castle, guarding well my lands: His lips were firm; he tried once more What hinders me from taking you, 85 To touch her lips; she reached out, sore And doing that I list to do
And vain desire so tortured them, To your fair wilful body, while
The poor gray lips, and now the hem 135 Your knight lies dead?
Of his sleeve brushed them.
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, 95 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 They could not make me eat or drink, 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,
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;" 140 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. 160 fine art, as there are many beauties of
poetry so the beauties of prose are many, WALTER HORATIO PATER
and it is the business of criticism 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
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- (80 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 enThomas 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 (90 useless to protest that it can be nothing regarded as the almost technical or acat 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 sense of it, his peculiar intuition of a vision within. 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
“fine” as opposed to merely serviceable scholar, and in what he proposes to do art, exists.
Literary art, that is, like will have in mind, first of all, the scholar all art which is in any way imitative or and the scholarly conscience the male reproductive of fact-form, or color, or conscience in this matter, as we must incident-is the representation of such think it, under a system of education fact as connected with soul, of a specific which still to so large an extent limits (260 personality, in its preferences, its volition real scholarship to men. In his selfand power.
criticism, he supposes always that sort Such is the matter of imaginative or of reader who will go (full of eyes) warily, artistic literature—this transcript, not (210 considerately, though without consideraof mere fact, but of fact in its infinite va- tion for him, over the ground which the riety, as modified by human preference female conscience traverses so lightly, so in all its infinitely varied forms. It will amiably. For the material in which he be good literary art not because it is works is no more a creation of his own than brilliant or sober, or rich, or impulsive, the sculptor's marble. Product of a or severe, but just in proportion as its myriad various minds and contend- (270 representation of that sense, that soul- ing tongues, compact of obscure and fact, is true, verse being only one de- minute association, a language has its own partment of such literature, and im- abundant and often recondite laws, in aginative prose, it may be thought, (220
be thought, (220 the habitual and summary recognition being the special art of the modern world. of which scholarship consists
. A writer,
. That imaginative prose should be the
full of a matter he is before all things special and opportune art of the modern anxious to express, may think of those world results from two important facts laws, the limitations of vocabulary, strucabout the latter: first, the chaotic va- ture, and the like, as a restriction, but riety and complexity of its interests, if a real artist, will find in them an (280 making the intellectual issue, the really opportunity. His punctilious observance master currents of the present time in- of the proprieties of his medium will calculable—a condition of mind little diffuse through all he writes a general susceptible of the restraint proper to (230 air of sensibility, of refined usage. Exverse form, so that the most character- clusiones debitae naturae—the exclusions, istic verse of the nineteenth century has or rejections, which nature demandsbeen lawless verse; and secondly, an all- we know how large a part these play, pervading naturalism, a curiosity about according to Bacon, in the science of everything whatever as it really is, in- nature. In a somewhat changed sense, volving a certain humility of attitude, we might say that the art of the (290 cognate to what must, after all, be the scholar is summed up in the observance less ambitious form of literature. And of those rejections demanded by the naprose thus asserting itself as the special ture of his medium, the material he must and privileged artistic faculty of the (240 use.
Alive to the value of an atmospresent day, will be, however critics may phere in which every term finds its utmost try to narrow its scope, as varied in its degree of expression, and with all the excellence as humanity itself reflecting jealousy of a lover of words, he will resist on the facts of its latest experience a constant tendency on the part of the an instrument of many stops, meditative, majority of those who use them to efface observant, descriptive, eloquent, analytic, the distinctions of language, the 300 plaintive, fervid." Its beauties will be not facility of writers often reinforcing in this exclusively “pedestrian:" it will exert, respect the work of the vulgar. He will in due measure, all the varied charms feel the obligation not of the laws only, of poetry, down to the rhythm which, [250 but of those affinities, avoidances, those as in Cicero, or Michelet, or Newman, at mere preferences, of his language, which their best, gives its musical value to through the associations of literary hisevery syllable.
tory have become a part of its nature, The literary artist is of necessity a prescribing the rejection of many a
neology, many a license, many a gipsy still more of the words he would reject phrase which might present itself as (310 were the dictionary other than Johnactually expressive. His appeal, again, son's; and doing this with his peculiar is to the scholar, who has great experience sense of the world ever in view, in search in literature, and will show no favor to of an instrument for the adequate expresshort-cuts, or hackneyed illustration, or sion of that, he begets a vocabulary an affectation of learning designed for the faithful to the coloring of his own spirit, unlearned. Hence a contention, a sense
and in the strictest sense original. (370 of self-restraint and renunciation, having That living authority which language for the susceptible reader the effect of a needs lies, in truth, in its scholars, who, challenge for minute consideration; the recognizing always that every language attention of the writer, in every [320 possesses a genius, a very fastidious minutest detail, being a pledge that it is genius, of its own, expand at once and worth the reader's while to be attentive purify its very elements, which must too, that the writer is dealing scrupulously needs change along with the changing with his instrument, and therefore, in- thoughts of living people. Ninety years directly, with the reader himself also, ago, for instance, great mental force, that he has the science of the instru- certainly, was needed by Wordsworth, (380 ment he plays on, perhaps, after all, with to break through the consecrated poetic a freedom which in such case will be the associations of a century, and speak the freedom of a master.
language that was his, that was to become For meanwhile, braced only by (330 in a measure the language of the next those restraints, he is really vindicating generation. But he did it with the tact his liberty in the making of a vocabulary, of a scholar also. English, for a quarter an entire system of composition, for him- of a century past, has been assimilating self, his own true manner; and when we the phraseology of pictorial art; for half speak of the manner of a true master a century, the phraseology of the great we mean what is essential in his art. German metaphysical movement of (390 Pedantry being only the scholarship of eighty years ago; in part also the lanle cuistre (we have no English equiva-guage of mystical theology: and none but lent), he is no pedant, and does but show pedants will regret a great consequent his intelligence of the rules of lan- (340 | increase of its resources. guage in his freedoms with it, addition years to come its enterprise may well or expansion, which like the spontaneities lie in the naturalization of the vocabuof manner in a well-bred person will lary of science, so only it be under the still further illustrate good taste.-The eye of sensitive scholarship-in a libright vocabulary! Translators have not eral naturalization of the ideas of science invariably seen how all-important that too, for after all, the chief stimulus of (400 is in the work of translation, driving for good style is to possess a full, rich, comthe most part at idiom or construction; plex matter to grapple with. The litwhereas, if the original be first-rate, erary artist, therefore, will be well aware one's care should be with its elemen- 1350 of physical science; science also attaintary particles, Plato, for instance, being ing, in its turn, its true literary ideal. often reproducible by an exact following, And then, as the scholar is nothing withwith no variation in structure, of word out the historic sense, he will be apt to after word, as the pencil follows a draw- restore not really obsolete or really worning under tracing-paper, so only each out words, but the finer edge of words word or syllable be not of false color, to still in use: ascertain, communicate, 1410 change my illustration a little.
discover—words like these it has been part Well! that is because any writer worth of our “business” to misuse. And still, translating at all has winnowed and as language was made for man, he will searched through his vocabulary, is (360 be no authority for correctnesses which, conscious of the words he would select limiting freedom of utterance, were yet in systematic reading of a dictionary, and but accidents in their origin; as if one