WALTER LANDOR, when a Rugby boy, was famous among other feats of strength and skill, for the wonderful precision with which he used a cast net; and he was not often disposed to ask permission of the owners of those ponds or streams that suited his morning's fancy. One day a farmer suddenly came down upon him; and ordered him to desist, and give up his net. Whereupon Landor instantly cast his net over the farmer's head; caught him; entangled him; overthrew him; and when he was exhausted, addressed the enraged and discomfited face beneath the meshes, tilt the farmer promised to behave discreetly. The pride that resented a show of intimidation, the prudence that instantly foresaw the only means of superseding punishment, and the promptitude of will and action, are sufficiently conspicuous. The wilful energy and self-dependent force of character displayed by Walter Landor as a boy, and accompanied by physical power and activity, all of which were continued through manhood, and probably have been so, to a great extent, even up to the present time, have exerted an influence upon his genius of a very peculiar kind: — a genius healthy, but the healthfulness not always well applied — resolute, in a lion-like sense, but not intellectually concentrated and continuous; and seeming to be capable of mastering all things except its own wilful impulses.
Mr. Landor is a man of genius and learning, who stands in a position unlike that of any other eminent individual of his time. He has received no apparent influence from any one of his contemporaries; nor have they or the public received any apparent influence from him. The absence of any fixed and definite influence upon the public is actually as it seems; but that he has exercised a considerable influence upon the minds of many of his contemporaries is inevitable, because so fine a spirit could never have passed through any competent medium without communicating its electric forces, although from the very fineness of its elements, the effect, like the cause, has been of too subtle a nature to leave a tangible or visible impress.
To all these causes combined is attributable the singular fact, that although Walter Savage Landor has been before the public as an author during the last fifty years, his genius seldom denied, but long since generally recognized, and his present position admissibly in that of the highest rank of authors — and no man higher — there has never been any philosophical and critical estimate of his powers. Admired he has often been abundantly, but the admiration has only been supported by "extract," or by an off-hand opinion. The present paper does not pretend to supply this great deficiency in our critical literature; it will attempt to do no more than "open up" the discussion.
Walter Landor, when at Rugby school, was a leader in all things, yet one who did not associate with his schoolfellows — the infallible sign of a strong and original character and course through life. He was conspicuous there for his resistance to every species of tyranny, either of the masters and their rules, or the boys and their system of making fags, which things he resolutely opposed "against all odds;" and he was, at the same time, considered arrogant and overbearing in his own conduct. He was almost equally famous for riding out of bounds, boxing, leaping, net-casting, stone-throwing, and for making Greek and Latin verses. Many of these verses were repeated at Rugby forty years after he had left the school. The "master," however, studiously slighted him so long, that when at last the token was given of approbation of certain Latin verses, the indignant young classic being obliged to copy them out fairly in the "play-book," added a few more, commencing with,—
Haec sunt malorum pessima carminum
Quot Landor unquam scripsit; at accipe
Quae Tarquini servas cloacam,
Unde tuum, dea flava nomen &c.
From Rugby to Trinity College, Oxford, was the next remove of Walter Landor. He was "rusticated" for firing off a gun in the quadrangle; but as he never intended to take a degree, he did not return. He left Oxford — let all the juvenile critics who have taken up facile pens of judgment about Mr. Landor during the last ten years, tremble as they read, and "doubt their own abilities" — in the summer of 1793, when he put forth a small volume of poems. They were published by Cadell, and it will not be thought very surprising that the first poems of a young man, at that time quite unknown to the world, should in the lapse of fifty years have become out of print. His next performances may, with sufficient trouble, be obtained. They are the poems of Gebir, Chrysaor, the Phocaeans, &c., and the very high encomiums passed upon Gebir by Southey, with whom Landor was not acquainted till some twelve years afterwards, were accounted as sufficient fame by their author.
Southey's eulogy of the poem appeared in the Critical Review, to the great anger of Gifford, whose translation of Juvenal was by no means so much praised in the same number. One of the most strikingly characteristic facts in connection with Mr. Landor is, that while he has declared his own doubts as to whether Nature intended him for a poet, "because he could never please himself by anything he ever did of that kind," it must be perfectly evident to everybody who knows his writings, that he never took the least pains to please the public. The consequences were almost inevitable.
After leaving Trinity, Mr. Landor passed some months in London, learning Italian, and avoiding all society; he then retired to Swansea, where he wrote Gebir — lived in comparative solitude — made love — and was happy.
The "attitude" in which the critical literati of the time received the poem of Gebir, was very much the same as though such a work had never been published. A well-written critique, however, did appear as one exception, in a northern provincial paper, in which Mr. Landor was compared, in certain respects, with Goethe; another we have also seen, which was full of grandly eloquent and just expressions of appreciation — printed, we believe, in Aberdeen, within two years since, and signed G. G.; — but the earliest was written by Southey, as previously stated. No doubt Mr. Landor has read the latter, but it is his habit (and one more common among authors of original genius than is at all suspected) never to read critiques upon himself. His feeling towards this department of literature may be estimated by his offer of a hot penny roll and a pint of stout, for breakfast (!) to any critic who could write one of his Imaginary Conversations — an indigestible pleasantry which horribly enraged more than one critic of the time. Of Gebir, however, Coleridge was accustomed to speak in terms of great praise; till one day he heard Southey speak of it with equal admiration, after which Coleridge altered his mind — "he did not admire it — he must have been mistaken."
A few biographical memoranda of Mr. Landor will be found interesting, previous to offering some remarks on his genius and works. During the time be was studying Italian in London, after leaving Trinity, his godfather, General Powell, was anxious that he should enter the army, for which he seemed peculiarly adapted, excepting that he entertained republican principles which "would not do there." This proposal being negatived, his father offered to allow him £400 per annum, if he would adopt the law and reside in the Temple; but declared that be would allow him but little more than one-third of that sum, if he refused. Of course Walter Landor well knew that he might have enjoyed a gay London life with £400 per annum, in the Temple, and neglected the law, as, here and there, a young gentleman of the Temple is apt to do; he, however, preferred to avoid false pretences, accepted the smaller income, and studied Italian.
Mr. Landor wrote verses in Italian at this period, which were not very good, yet not perhaps worse than Milton's. The poetry of Italy did not captivate his more severely classical taste at first; he says it seemed to him "like the juice of grapes and melons left on yesterday's plate." He had just been reading Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Pindar. But his opinion was altered directly he read Dante, which he did not do till some years afterwards.
That his uncle was not so far wrong in thinking Landor well suited to a military life, the following anecdote will serve to attest. — At the breaking out of the Spanish war against the French, he was the first Englishman who landed in Spain. He raised a few troops at his own expense and conducted them from Corunna to Aguilar, the head-quarters of Gen. Blake, Viceroy of Gallicia. For this he received the thanks of the Supreme Junta in the Madrid Gazette, together with an acknowledgment of the donation of 20,000 reals from Mr. Landor. He returned the letters and documents, with his commission, to Don Pedro Cevallos, on the subversion of the Constitution by Ferdinand, — telling Don Pedro that he was willing to aid a people in the assertion of its liberties against the antagonist of Europe, but that he could have nothing to do with a perjurer and traitor.
Mr. Landor went to Paris in the beginning of the century, where he witnessed the ceremony of Napoleon being made Consul for life, amidst the acclamations of multitudes. He subsequently saw the dethroned and deserted Emperor pass through Tours on his way to embark, as he intended, for America. Napoleon was attended only by a single servant, and descended at the Prefecture, unrecognized by anybody excepting Landor. The people of Tours were most hostile to Napoleon; Landor had always felt a hatred towards him, and now he had but to point one finger at him, and it would have done what all the artillery of twenty years of war had failed to do. The people would have torn him to pieces. Need it be said Landor was too "good a hater," and too noble a man, to avail himself of such an opportunity. He held his breath, and let the hero pass. Perhaps, after all, there was no need of any of this hatred on the part of Mr. Landor, who, in common with many other excessively wilful men, were probably as much exasperated at Napoleon's commanding successes, as at his falling off from pure republican principles. Howbeit, Landor's great hatred, and yet "greater" forbearance are hereby chronicled.
In 1806, Mr. Landor sold several estates in Warwickshire which had been in his family nearly seven hundred years, and purchased Lantony and Comjoy in Monmouthshire, where he laid out nearly £70,000. Here he made extensive improvements, giving employment daily, for many years, to between twenty and thirty labourers in building and planting. He made a road, at his own expense, of eight miles long, and planted and fenced half a million of trees. The infamous behaviour of some tenants caused him to leave the country. At this time he had a million more trees all ready to plant, which, as he observed, "were lost to the country by driving me from it. I may speak of their utility, if I must not of my own." The two chief offenders were brothers who rented farms of Mr. Landor to the amount of £1500 per annum, and were to introduce an improved system of Suffolk husbandry. Mr. Landor got no rent from them, but all manner of atrocious annoyances. They even rooted up his trees, and destroyed whole plantations. They paid nobody. When neighbours and workpeople applied for money, Mr. Landor says, "they were referred to the Devil, with their wives and families, while these brothers had their two bottles of wine upon the table. As for the Suffolk system of agriculture, wheat was sown upon the last of May, and cabbages for winter food were planted in August or September." Mr. Landor eventually remained master of the field, and drove his tormentors across the seas; but so great was his disgust at these circumstances that he resolved to leave England. Before his departure he caused his house, which had cost him some £8000 to be taken down, that his son might never have the chance of similar vexations in that place.
In 1811, Mr. Landor married Julia, the daughter of J. Thuillier de Malaperte, descendant and representative of the Baron de Neuve-ville, first gentleman of the bed-chamber to Charles the Eighth. He went to reside in Italy in 1815, and during several years occupied the Palazzo Medici, in Florence. Subsequently he purchased the beautiful and romantic villa of Count Gherardesca at Fiesole, with its gardens and farms, scarcely a quarter of an hour's walk from the ancient villa of Lorenzo de' Medici, and resided there many years in comparative solitude.
Of the difference between the partialities of the public, and the eventual judgments of the people; between a deeply-founded fame and an ephemeral interest, few more striking examples will perhaps be discovered in future years than in the solitary course of Walter Savage Landor amidst the various "lights of his day." He has incontestably displayed original genius as a writer; the highest critical faculty — that sympathy with genius and knowledge which can only result from imagination and generous love of truth — and also a fine scholarship in the spirit as well as the letter of classical attainments. But the public, tacitly, has denied his claims, or worse — admitted them with total indifference, — letting fall from its benumbed fingers, work after work, not because any one ventured to say, or perhaps even to think, that the books were unworthy, but because the hands were cold. A writer of original genius may be popular in his lifetime, as sometimes occurs, by means of certain talents and tacts comprehended in his genius; by the aid of startling novelties, or by broad and general effects; and by the excitement of adventitious circumstances; — on which ground is to be worked the problem of Lord Byron's extensive popularity with the very same daily and yearly reading public that made mocks and mowes at Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Shelley, and Keats. But, as a general rule, the originality of a man, say and do what he may, is necessarily in itself an argument against his rapid popularity. In the case of Mr. Landor, however, other causes than the originality of his faculty have opposed his favour with the public. He has the most select audience perhaps, — the fittest, fewest, — of any distinguished author of the day; and this of his choice. "Give me," he said in one of his prefaces, "ten accomplished men for readers, and I am content;" — and the event does not by any means so far as we could desire, outstrip the modesty, or despair, or disdain, of this aspiration. He writes criticism for critics, and poetry for poets: his drama, when he is dramatic, will suppose neither pit nor gallery, nor critics, nor dramatic laws. He is not a publican among poets — he does not sell his Amreeta cups upon the highway. He delivers them rather with the dignity of a giver, to ticketted persons; analyzing their flavour and fragrance with a learned delicacy, and an appeal to the esoteric. His very spelling of English is uncommon and theoretic. He has a vein of humour which by its own nature is peculiarly subtle and evasive; he therefore refines upon it, by his art, in order to prevent anybody discovering it without a grave, solicitous, and county approach, which is unspeakably ridiculous to all the parties concerned, and which no doubt the author secretly enjoys. And as if poetry were not, in English, a sufficiently unpopular dead language, he has had recourse to writing poetry in Latin; with dissertations on the Latin tongue, to fence it out doubly from the populace. "Odi profanum vulgus, et arceo."
Whether Mr. Landor writes Latin or English, poetry or prose, he does it all with a certain artistic composure, as if he knew what he was doing, and respected the cunning of his right hand. At times he displays an equal respect for its wilfulness. In poetry, his Gebir, the Phocaeans and some other performances take a high classic rank. He can put out extraordinary power both in description and situation; but the vitality, comprehended in the power, does not overflow along the inferior portions of the work, so as to sustain them to the level of the reader's continued attention. The poet rather builds up to his own elevations than carries them out and on; and the reader passes from admiration to admiration, by separate states, or by shocks, and not by a continuity of interest through the intervals of emotion. Thus it happens that his best dramatic works, — those, the impression of which on the mind is most definite and excellent, — are fragmentary; and that his complete dramas are not often read through twice, even by readers who applaud them, but for the sake of a particular act or scene.
A remark should be made on Mr. Landor's blank verse, in which the poems just named, and several others, are written. It is the very best of the regular-syllable class, the versification of "numbers," as they have been characteristically called by the schools. His blank verse is not only the most regular that ever was written, but it is the most sweet, and far less monotonous than we should expect of a musical system which excludes occasional discords. It has all the effect of the most melodious rhyming heroic verse; indeed, it often gives the impression of elegiac verses in rhyme. As blank verse it is a very bad model. There is more freedom in his dramatic verse, and always the purest style.
His dramatic works (except the compact little scenes entitled Pentalogia, which are admirable,) are written upon an essentially undramatic principle; or, more probably, on no principle at all. Mr. Landor well knows "all the laws," and they seem to provoke his will to be lawless. In this species of drama-looking composition he displays at times the finest passion, the most pure and perfect style of dramatic dialogue, and an intensity of mental movements, with their invisible, undeclared, yet necessarily tragic results; all of which proves him to possess the most wonderful three-fourths of a great dramatic genius which ever appeared in the world. But the fourth part is certainly wanting by way of making good his ground to the eyes, and ears, and understanding of the masses. In his Andrea of Hungary, the action does not commence till the last scene of the third act; and is not continued in the first scene of the fourth! Instead of the expected continuation, after all this patience, the confounded reader has his breath taken away by the sauntering entrance of Boccacio — the novelist — accompanied by Fiammetta, who having nothing whatever to do with the drama, the former sings her a little song! This extremely free-and-easy style of treading the boards is so very new and delightful that it excites the idea of continuing the scene by the introduction of the Genius of the Drama, with a paper speech coming out of his mouth, on which is inscribed the Laws of Concentration and Continuity, the Laws of Progressive action, and the Art of Construction. To whom, Enter the Author, with a cast-net. He makes his cast to admiration; trips up the heels of the Genius of the Drama, and leaves it sprawling. It is his own doing.
In whatever Mr. Landor writes, his power, when he puts it forth, is of the first order. He is classical in the highest sense. His conceptions stand out, clearly cut and fine, in a magnitude and nobility as far as possible removed from the small and sickly vagueness common to this century of letters. If he seems obscure at times, it is from no infirmity or inadequacy of thought or word, but from extreme concentration, and involution in brevity — for a short string can be tied in a knot, as well as a long one. He can be tender, as the strong can best be; and his pathos, when it comes, is profound. His descriptions are full and startling; his thoughts, self-produced and bold; and he has the art of taking a common-place under a new aspect, and of leaving the Roman brick, marble. In marble indeed, he seems to work; for there is an angularity in the workmanship, whether of prose or verse, which the very exquisiteness of the polish renders wore conspicuous. You may complain too of hearing the chisel; but after all, you applaud the work — it is a work well done. The elaboration produces no sense of heaviness, — the severity of the outline does not militate against beauty; — if it is cold, it is also noble — if not impulsive, it is suggestive. As a writer of Latin poems, he ranks with our most successful scholars and poets; having less harmony and majesty than Milton had, — when he aspired to that species of "Life in Death," — but more variety and freedom of utterance. Mr. Landor's English prose writings possess most of the characteristics of his poetry; only they are more perfect in their class. His Pericles and Aspasia, and Pentameron, are books for the world and for all time, whenever the world and time shall come to their senses about them; complete in beauty of sentiment and subtlety of criticism. His general style is highly scholastic and elegant, — his sentences have articulations, if such an expression may be permitted, of very excellent proportions. And, abounding in striking images and thoughts, he is remarkable for making clear the ground around them, and for lifting them, like statues to pedestals, where they may be seen most distinctly, and strike with the most enduring though often the most gradual impression. This is the case both in his prose works and his poetry. It is more conspicuously true of some of his smaller poems, which for quiet classic grace and tenderness, and exquisite care in their polish, may best be compared with beautiful cameos and vases of the antique.
Two works should be mentioned — one of which is only known to a few among his admirers, and the other not at all. Neither of them were published, and though printed they were very little circulated. The first is entitled, Poems from the Arabic and Persian. They pretended to be translations, but were written by Landor for the pleasure of misleading certain orientalists, and other learned men. In this he succeeded, and for the first time in the known history of such hoaxes, not to the discredit of the credulous, for the poems are extremely beautiful, and breathe the true oriental spirit throughout. They are ornate in fancy, — graceful, and full of unaffected tenderness. They were printed in 1800, with many extremely erudite notes; in writing which, the author, no doubt, laughed very much to himself at the critical labour and searching they would excite. The other production is called A Satire upon Satirists, and Admonition to Detractors, printed in 1836. It contains many just indignations, terrible denunciations, and cleaving blows against those who used not many years since to make a rabid crusade upon all genius; but the satire occasionally makes attacks upon some who do not deserve to be so harshly treated by a brother author; and we cannot but rejoice that this satire (in its present state) has not been published.
Mr. Landor's wit and humour are of a very original kind, as previously remarked. Perhaps in none of his writings does their peculiarity occur so continuously as in a series of Letters, entitled High and Low Life in Italy. Every sarcasm, irony, jest, or touch of humour, is secreted beneath the skin of each tingling member of his sentences. His wit and his humour are alike covered up amidst various things, apparently intended to lead the reader astray, as certain birds are wont to do when you approach the nests that contain their broods. Or, the main jests and knotty points of a paragraph are planed down to the smooth level of the rest of the sentences, so that the reader may walk over them without knowing anything of the matter. All this may be natural to his genius; it may also result from pride, or perversity. So far from seeking the public, his genius has displayed a sort of apathy, if not antipathy, to popularity; therefore, the public must court it, if they would enjoy it; to possess yourself of his wit you must scrutinize; to be let into the secret of his humour you must advance "pointing the toe." Such are the impressions derivable front Mr. Landor's writings. In private social intercourse nothing of the kind is apparent, and there are few men whose conversation is more unaffected, manly, pleasing, and instructive.
The imagination of Mr. Landor is richly graphic, classical, and subtly refined. In portraying a character, his imagination identifies itself with the mentality and the emotions of its inner being, and all those idiosyncracies which may be said to exist between a man and himself, but with which few, if anybody else, have any business. In other respects, most of his characters — especially those of his own invention — might live, think, move, and have their being in space, so little does their author trouble himself with their corporeal conditions. Whether it be that their author feels his own physique so strongly that it does not occur to him that any one else can need such a thing — he will find all that for them — or that it is the habit of his genius to abstract itself from corporeal realities, (partly from the perverse love a man continually has of being his own "opposite,") and ascend into a more subtle element of existence, — certain it is that many of his characters are totally without material or definite form; appear to live no where, and upon nothing, and to be very independent agents, to whom practical action seldom or never occurs. "They think, therefore they are." They feel, and know (they are apt too often to know as much as their author) therefore they are characters. But they are usually without bodily substance; and such form as they seem to have, is an abstraction which plays round them, but might go off in air at any time, and the loss be scarcely apparent. The designs of his larger works, as wholes, are also deficient in compactness of form, precision of outline, and condensation. They often seem wild, not at all intellectually, but from ungoverned will. It is difficult not to arrive at conclusions of this kind — though different minds will, of course, see differently — after a careful study of the dramas of Andrea of Hungary, Giovanna of Naples, and Fra Rupert; the Pericles and Aspasia, the Pentameron and Pentalogia, &c. The very title of the "Imaginary Conversations" gives a strong foretaste of Mr. Landor's predominating ideality, and dismissal of mortal bonds and conditions. The extraordinary productions last named are as though their author had been ratified while listening to the conversation, or the double soliloquies, of august Shades; all of which he had carefully written down on resuming his corporeality, and where his memory failed him he had supplied the deficiency with some sterling stuff of his own. The Landorean "peeps" seen through these etherial dialogues and soliloquies of the mighty dead, are seldom to be mistaken; and though hardly at times in accordance with their company, are seldom unworthy of the highest.
As a partial exception to some of the foregoing remarks, should be mentioned the "Examination of William Shakspeare before Sir Thomas Lacy, Knt., touching Deer-stealing." Of all the thousands of books that have issued from the press about Shakspeare, this one of Mr. Landor's is by far the most admirable. It is worth them all. There is the high-water mark of genius upon every page, lit by as true a sun as ever the ocean mirrored. Perfect and inimitable from beginning to end, that it has not become the most popular of all the books relating to Shakspeare, is only to be accounted for by some perversity or dulness of the public. The book is, certainly, not read. There is great love and reading bestowed upon every cant about Shakspeare, and much interest has been shown in all the hoaxes. Perhaps the public thought this book was authentic.
"Other stars await other discoveries. Few and solitary, and wide asunder, are those who calculate their relative distances, their mysterious influences, their glorious magnitude, and their stupendous height. 'Tis so, believe me, with the truest and best poetry. Homer they say was blind; he might have been ere he died; that he sat among the blind, we are sure. * * * Be patient! From the higher heavens of poetry, it is long before the radiance of the brightest star can reach the world below. We hear that one man finds out one beauty, another man finds out another, placing his observatory and instruments on the poet's grave. The worms must have eaten us before it is rightly known what we are, it is only when we are skeletons that we are boxed and ticketed, and prized and shown."
LANDOR, Examination of William Shakspere, p. 218.
In an age of criticism like this, when to "take" a position over a man and his work, is supposed to include proportionably superior powers of judgment, though not one discovery, argument, or searching remark, be adduced in proof; when analysis is publicly understood to mean everything that can be done for the attainment of a correct estimate, and the very term, alone, of synthesis looks pedantic and outre; and when any anonymous young man may gravely seat himself; in the fancy of his unknowing readers, far above an author who may have published works — of genius, learning, or knowledge and experience, at the very period that his "We Judge" was perhaps learning to write at school, — it is only becoming in an attempt like that of the present paper, to disclaim all assumption of finality of judgment upon a noble veteran of established genius, concerning whom there has never yet been one philosophically elaborated criticism. To be the first to "break ground" upon the broad lands of the authors of characters and scenes from real life, is often rather a perilous undertaking for any known critic who values his reputation; but to unlock the secret chambers of an etherial inventiveness, and pronounce at once upon its contents, would only manifest the most short-sighted presumption. Simply to have unlocked such chambers for the entrance of others, were task enough for one contemporary.
Any sincere and mature opinions of the master of an art are always valuable, and not the less so when commenting upon established reputations, or those about which a contest still exists. We may thus be shaken in our faith, or confirmed in it. Mr. Landor's mode of expressing his opinion often amounts to appealing to an inner sense for a corroboration of the truth. He says, in a letter to a friend, "I found the Faery Queen the most delightful book in the world to fall asleep upon by the sea-side. Geoffrey Chaucer always kept me wide awake, and beat at a distance all other English poets but Shakspeare and Milton. In many places Keats approaches him." After remarking on the faults and occasional affectations discoverable in two or three of the earliest poems of that true and beautiful genius, Mr. Landor adds that he considers "no poet (always excepting Shakspeare) displays so many happy expressions, or so vivid a fancy as Keats. A few hours in the Paecile with the Tragedians would have made him all he wanted — majestically sedate. I wonder if any remorse has overtaken his murderers."
Mr. Landor is not at all the product of the present age; he scarcely belongs to it; he has no direct influence upon it: but he has been an influence to some of its best teachers, and to some of the most refined illustrators of its vigorous spirit. For the rest — for the duty, the taste, or the favor of posterity — when a succession of publics shall have slowly accumulated a residuum of "golden opinions" in the shape of pure admiring verdicts of competent minds, then only, if ever, will he attain his just estimation in the not altogether impartial roll of Fame. If ever? — the words fell from the pen — and the manly voice of him to whom they were applied, seems to call from his own clear altitude, "Let the words remain." For in the temple of posterity there have hitherto always appeared some immortalities which had better have burnt out, while some great works, or names, or both, have been suffered to drift away into oblivion. That such is likely to be the fate of the writings of Walter Savage Landor, nobody can for a moment believe; but were it so destined, and he could foresee the result, one can imagine his taking a secret pleasure in this resolution of his works into their primitive elements.