1873 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Walter Savage Landor

Joseph Devey, "Classical School. Walter Savage Landor" A Comparative View of Modern English Poets (1873) 166-83.



Landor was a man of crotchety nature, of liberal but capricious sympathies. His feelings, though deep and capable of great expansion, were never under the control of a comprehensive intellect. He saw into the heart of nothing. He seems to have been born with a mind blurred over with ingrained prejudices, from which he could no more escape than from his own identity. As such, he would have furnished a very good exemplification of Descartes' doctrine of innate ideas. He also manifested from his cradle upwards a certain querulousness, which made him in youth quarrel with his tutors, in middle life with his tenants and his country, and in old age with his wife and himself. Hence, poor Landor, though blessed with robust health, and with all the luxuries that can make health enjoyable, had a sad time of it during his protracted sojourn amongst us. His life was little better than a battle and a march. He early left England for France, under the impression that its laws afforded no shelter for an honest man; but tired of France, he tried Italy. After a migratory sojourn in Italy, he came back to England, which he forsook for Italy again. Other poets have been buffeted about by the restless tide of necessity, but Landor's wanderings had no assignable cause but caprice. He appears to have thoroughly understood nobody, and nobody appears to have thoroughly understood him. His heart was not selfish, nor his temperament hypochondriacal But he had certain abstract notions of right and wrong which he persisted in carrying out, totally regardless of the actual fitness of things, or the social framework into which he was born. In the same manner, he had certain antique notions of art which he persisted in embodying in his works, without wasting a thought upon the suitability of such notions to the requirements of modern civilization. Hence, Landor, with a hand always ready to defend, and a purse always open to assist, the helpless, was the most unpopular man of his day; and with invention and imagination of no mean order, his poems were even less appreciated than himself.

The mind of Landor was cast in a mould essentially antique. He belonged more to the Rome of Camillus than to any other era of recorded time; for his habits were simple, his hatred of kings intense, his study of Greek models incessant. The Latin language was as familiar to him as his own, and had his preference not been interfered with, he would have chosen it as the vehicle of his thoughts to the world. As it is, many of his shorter pieces are written in Latin, which he thought was destined to replace the modern jargons of Europe. The Gothic element, out of which they had arisen, was to Landor essentially barbarous; and nothing like correct taste, until that element was eliminated, could be established among mankind. Hence, such of his pieces as are not Latin, or, like his Hellenics, direct translations from his Latin poems, wear a certain staid classical air, just as if Valerius Flaccus had discarded the toga and popped upon us in an English frock-coat and tight waistcoat. There is, in his pages, an absence of genuine bursts of feeling, a statuesque immobility, a serene chilliness, and an utter want of interest to support the reader in deciphering the meaning which constantly eludes his grasp. Yet Wordsworth declared he would sooner be the author of Landor's poems than of any other which had appeared during his time, and Southey averred that Landor nearly rivalled Milton. If Wordsworth was sincere, he was most inconsistent; for no poet so violently transgressed every precept of the Wordsworthian theory as Landor. But Southey's praise came direct from the heart. The opinion he expressed was the quintessence of candour and folly.

The connection between Southey and Landor constitutes one of the curiosities of literature. The temperaments of the two men were as conflicting as their principles, and their habits as antithetical as either; yet the extraordinary relish which both manifested for each other's poems became the foundation of a life-enduring friendship. It mattered little to Southey that Landor was a deist in religion, a republican in politics, the lampooner of his patrons, the defender of measures which Southey believed to be destructive of public morality, — Landor was the author of "Gebir" and "Julian," and as such entitled to the first place in his bosom. It mattered little to Landor that Southey was a bigoted Tory, a red-hot Churchman, the unflinching apostle of every doctrine he loathed, and the stout panegyrist of the men whom he abhorred, — Southey was the author of "Madoc," and therefore entitled to Landor's most cherished affection. By mutual gratulation they persuaded each other to persist in a course which rendered success impossible. Had not Landor volunteered to print Southey's poems at his own expense, his epical career would have been cut short with "Madoc." Had not Southey interposed to find a publisher for "Julian," Landor would have had to consult the taste of his epoch, or to abandon Parnassus. The fascination which Landor's poems had for Southey was hardly surpassed by the fascination which Southey's poems had for Landor. To some extent they bore a family likeness, and each, therefore, in praising the other was only justifying himself. Both were about the same remove from mediocrity; both constructed their works upon principles which completely override the genuine impulses of nature, and both sought to make up for their lack of dramatic interest, the one by statuesque embodiments of passion, the other by gorgeous scenic descriptions. Both in their poetical capacity failed to interest the age, and both thought that this was their highest badge of merit. It was this identity of the poetical situation which bridged over the gulf which separated their political and religious life, and made two individuals bristling with antagonisms, the staunchest associates and friends.

So great is the cementing influence of disappointed ambitions! "Gebir," which always possessed extraordinary fascination for Southey, may be said to be the first piece Landor wrote of any significance. The moral of the story consists in showing how far more sensible and felicitous is a life devoted to the pursuits of love and peace than to those of war and ambition. The hero is king of Gibraltar, who, on some miserable pretence of requiting Egypt for sheltering the enemies of his ancestors, invades that country at the head of ten thousand men. But Charoba, the young Egyptian queen, instead of fighting her assailant, is impelled by her confidant, Dalica, to come to some amicable adjustment with Gebir. The two monarchs very naturally fall in love with each other as soon as they meet. But very unnaturally, Dalica, mistaking her mistress's emotions of love for ebullitions of anger, proceeds to consult her witch-sister, Myrthir, as to the best means of extricating Charoba from her embarrassing position. These two people enweave a poisonous robe, which, like the shirt of Nessus, was destined to make very short work of the life of the wearer. But, before Gebir is presented with this bridal garment of death, the reader, on the morning of the day, gets a charming glimpse of Charoba at her morning ablutions:—

Next to her chamber, closed by cedar doors,
A bath of purest marble, purest wave,
On its fair surface bore its pavement high:
Arabian gold enchased the crystal roof
With fluttering boys adorn'd, and girls unrobed;
These when you touch the quiet water, start
From their aerial sunny arch, and pant
Entangled 'mid each other's flowery wreaths,
And each pursuing is in turn pursued.
Here came * * *
Charoba: long she lingered at the brink;
Often she sighed; and, naked as she was,
Sat down, and leaning on the couch's edge,
On the soft inward pillow of her arm
Rested her burning cheek: — she moved her eyes;
She blush'd; and, blushing, plunged into the wave.

Arrayed in costly jewels, the queen unwittingly proceeds to invest Gebir, as he sits enthroned, with the envenomed robe, a a festal gathering of the two nations. Her lover's first pallor Charoba mistakes for the influences of love, when, to her horror, he expires in agonies of pain, and the two nations recently reconciled by the alliance between their youthful monarchs, start asunder crowned with the garlands and in the midst of the festivity intended to consummate their union.

This is the main trunk of the story. But there are two episodes intertwined with it which bring out the opposite side of the contrast. Gebir has a brother engaged in the quiet pursuits of shepherd life. This brother captivates a sea-nymph, who reveals her fondness for him by inviting him to a wrestling-match, in which she proves the victor. The nymph however, acted with an astuteness hardly to be reconciled with deep affection. For, knowing her power, she allows Tamar to risk one of his sheep as his prize in the contest, against which she has nothing to wager but articles of no appreciable value to a seaside shepherd:—

But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue
Within, and they that lustre have imbibed
In the sun's palace porch, where, when unyoked,
His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave:
Shake one, and it awakens; then apply
Its polish'd lips to your attentive ear,
And it remembers its august abodes,
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there.

But the nymph, after prostrating her beloved, very selfishly runs off with his sheep, and leaves Tamar gazing after her in very vacant fashion:—

Restless, then ran I to the highest ground,
To watch her; she was gone, gone down the tide,
And the long moonbeam on the hard wet sand,
Lay like a jasper column half upreared.

It is this considerate nymph whom Gebir resolves to consult, that he may baffle the demoniac powers in Egypt, who have razed to the foundations a city which, at the desire of Charoba, he has been vainly endeavouring to build up. By her instructions, he performs certain rites at the place where his half-erected city disappeared, when the earth opens, and Gebir, descending into a yawning chasm, finds himself at once confronted by the spirits who have served their time out in the flesh, and with a crowd of others who are waiting to take their turn on the stage of the future. At the entrance he meets Aroar, a weird personage, who is neither alive or dead, but who contrives to amuse himself with politics, and very obligingly offers to be Gebir's guide on the occasion. Dante peopled Hades with his personal enemies; Ariosto with frigid, overchaste women; but Gebir meets no folks there but warriors, or those who have been or are destined to be impelled by the lust of conquest or power. Foremost among these tortured shades are Gebir's own ancestors. The hero then makes the acquaintance of the Stewarts, both father and son, and then is introduced to the immortal William, to whom, according to Southey, we are indebted, not only for our glorious constitution, but for the preservation of Protestantism. But the triumph of the Orange champion, however sacred to his friend, seemed to Landor only fit to be jeered at in the vaults of hell. Among other persons pointed out by the mysterious guide as undergoing condign punishment for his crimes, is George III., whom Southey placed in heaven, and held up to his readers as the incarnation of every public and private virtue. Landor, however, takes rather a different view of this monarch, though the portrait is somewhat disguised, to escape any notice that Attorney-General might have taken of the matter:—

"Aroar! what wretch that nearest us? what wretch
Is that, with eyebrows white and slanting brow?
———*———*———*———*———
He, too, among my ancestors?" "O king,
Iberia bore him; but the breed accurst,
Inclement winds blew blighting from north-east."

Gebir wishes to know by what crimes the man with the slanting brow had deserved his fate:—

"He was a warrior, then, nor fear'd the gods?"

To whom Aroar:—

"Gebir! he fear'd the demons, not the gods,
Tho' them indeed his daily face adored,
And was no warrior; yet the thousand lives
Squander'd as stones to exercise a sling."

Leaving George to his fate, Aroar and his companion scramble beyond the boundary of hell to quieter regions, where they are visited by the breezes which scatter perfumes around their path, and the beams which fill with liquid light the groves of the blessed. Heaven and Hades, in the imagination alike of poets and divines, have been separated by a wide gulf of space, — so wide, indeed, that the lightning's wing, after a day's travel, would flag over it like that of a tired bird. But Landor treats the two regions as wings of one compartment, dividing them only by a flaming arch, which parts asunder every two years in order that the damned and the blessed maybe refreshed with the sight of each other. They also derive from this ingenious contrivance the knowledge, not very gratifying to either party that the fires which constitute the misery of the one conduces to the happiness of the other.

The contrast between the fate of the ambitious and the peaceful is still more fully elaborated in the fortunate issue of Tamar's affairs as contrasted with the dolorous end of Gebir's overvaulting aspirations. The sea-nymph conducts Tamar to her ocean grot, triumphant over the waves, surrounded by immortals who congratulate the shepherd on his coming happiness. But instead of describing the consummation of this rather singular courtship, we are merely introduced to the topography of the situation:—

First arose
To his astonish'd and delighted view
The sacred isle that shrines the queen of love;
It stood so near him, so acute each sense,
That not the symphony of lutes alone,
Or coo serene, or billing strife of doves,
But murmurs, whispers, — nay, the very sighs
Which he himself had uttered once, he heard.
Next, but long after and far off, appear
The cloud-like cliffs and thousand towers of Crete,
And farther to the right the Cyclades,
———*———*———*———*———
He saw the land of Pelops, host of gods;
Saw the steep ridge where Corinth after stood,
Beckoning the Ionians with their smiling arts,
Into her sun-bright bay. ——*———*——
———*———*———*———*———
And now the chariot of the sun descends,
The waves rush hurried from his foaming steeds,
Smoke issues from their nostrils at the gate,
Which, when they enter, with huge golden bar,
Atlas, and Calpe close across the sea.

Thus, like Southey in critical emergencies, Landor is very disappointing: where we expect lovemaking, we get topographical information; and while we wait for a description of internal emotion, we are driven to despair by the projection of a frieze. We are left entirely to our own imagination to realize the great bliss which Tamar is enjoying as a counterfoil to the miseries reserved for his unfortunate brother, though the dark side of the picture is minutely portrayed. Horrid warnings assail Gebir on the very morning Tamar is led over the waves his bridal home. About to snatch his triumph, he is circumvented by "pain, diseases, death," and all the other evils which

Stamp on the slippery pavement of the proud,
And ring their sounding emptiness through earth.

Tamar's happiness involved that of his nymph bride and their associates. The disasters of Gebir destroyed the peace of Charoba and the fortunes of their subjects:—

Thus raved Charoba: horror, grief, amaze,
Pervaded all the host; all eyes were fix'd;
All stricken motionless and mute. The feast
Was like the feast of Cepheus, when the sword
Of Phineus, white with wonder, shook restrain'd,
And the hilt rattled in his marble hand.
She heard not, saw not; every sense was gone;
One passion banish'd all: — dominion, praise,
The world itself was nothing. Senseless man!
What would thy fancy figure now from worlds?
There is no world to them that grieve and love.

This poem ought to form the evangelium of the Peace Society, or of the respectable confraternity of Quakers. For vice and virtue are identified in it with ambition and repose and war, no matter what its object, earns for its instigate eternal castigation.

"Gebir" is the most complete of Landor's poems. It also contains more effective passages than any other of his finished productions. Though written on the threshold of manhood, he never surpassed the effort; in fact, he always seemed loathe to try. Yet "Gebir," though a striking production for a young man, will not place his name very high in the catalogue of poets. There is little imaginative passion in the piece, no flight from the region of incident into that of the abstract, nor is there any philosophy made sensible. The heart remains unmoved, and the understanding is not instructed. The utter improbability of the story, and the absurd motives upon which the cardinal incidents of the piece turn, destroy all appearance verisimilitude. To talk of deriving pleasure from a poem which one has to sit down to study like a geometrical problem, out of all question. Hence "Gebir" has never had, nor is to have, many readers. Hitherto, few beyond Shelley, De Quincey, and Southey set any store by the volume: Shelley, its wild radicalism; De Quincey, for its plastic beauty; and Southey, for its divine poetry. The two former qualities it possesses in a high degree; the latter it certainly has not.

The great fault of "Gebir" consists in inartistic treatment. The most prosaic details of the story are brought out, Southey-like, with painful elaboration; while those, in which the reader might naturally have been led to take an interest, are either summarily disposed of or omitted altogether. Hence the reader moves along on a certain monotonous level, where at one point he ought to scale the Olympian heights of rapire, and at the next to be plunged in the abyss of despair. A weak air of coldness chills even the warmest portions of the piece; as if the story had been sculptured in a frieze, and Landor, instead of dealing with flesh-and-blood emotions, was only versifying marble. In "Gebir" — as, indeed, in most of Landor's other pieces — the best descriptions come upon us like a succession of statues or figures in bas-relievo. They are beautifully grouped, and exquisitely finished. They remind us processions on antique marbles, or bronze mouldings on palace gates. We survey the works of the artist with a full appreciation of their beauty, but without feeling the slightest emotions of sympathy with the feelings they exhibit; we move through the scenes he depicts as through a hall of statuary, and marvel that the artist who could call up such figures before us, should have lacked the power to endue them with passion and intelligence.

Landor tried his hand at tragedy; but beyond incidental passages of some power, not to much effect. He regarded plot as mere trick. The ancients had not descended to it; why should he? The development of character arising out of the sequence of logical events, which constitutes the backbone the modern drama, Landor thought unworthy of a sensible man. The stage should represent, not phases of action, but phases suffering. This was natural enough when the faces of actors were covered with a mask, when a tragedy was a religious ceremony, when a chorus sermonized, at the end of the act upon the past, and threw out suggestions which prefigured t future. But to maintain this theory when the state of manners and society which necessitated it had passed away, would have been fatal to the genius of Shakespeare. But to Landor, the consequence has been simple extinction. None of his plays have been produced on the stage; nor can they, without considerable amount of tenacity, be mastered in the closet.

It is remarkable that Landor should have selected for the subject of his first tragedy the downfall of the Spanish Roderic, a theme which Scott and Southey were already brooding over for poetic purposes, and that a subject so teeming with romantic incident should have experienced such scanty justice at their hands. Landor's tragedy is in reality only a succession of fragmentary conversations divided into scenes which have little apparent connection, unless we imagine the historical situation as the background. There is no plot, no evolution of character, no development of concerted action. Corilla, Julian's daughter is seduced by Roderic; Egilona, Roderic's wife, marries Abdalagis. But there are no love entanglements, no expressions of attachment from any of the parties, and we are on made aware of these facts, as in a Greek play, by incident, reflection, assuming that they have actually taken place Moslem armies at the call of a recreant chief overrun Spain; a throne is overturned; the cross everywhere disappears before the crescent; austere pontiffs exchange the mitre for the turbo the frigid pursuits of the cloister for the wanton dalliances I love. But with the exception of the invading army, none of these things appear in the tragedy, and the invading army is only introduced as an appendage to Julian, who disappears in a most unsatisfactory manner at the close, leaving the reader with the invading army in a state of embarrassment, the one with a half-completed conquest, the other with a story still more incomplete, which commences in the middle, and suddenly collapses before the end. In fact, Landor's design seems to have been not so much to write a tragedy, which his piece is wrongly named, but to hold up the chief personage in his group, in a position of monumental implacability to the end of time. Everything appears to be sacrificed to the character of Count Julian, who is incessantly produced on the scene as the very incarnation of abyssmal sorrow, who, in the midst of his victories, has no hope either from men in this world, or from God in the next He feasts on grief, and really seems to enjoy the banquet in proportion to the bitterness of the viands served up to him. The ravishment of his daughter, the desolation of his kindred, the overturning of his creed, the butchery of his family, these are the things which, like the inverted pincushion of Villaneuf, he constantly presses to his heart, feeling no satisfaction but in the increase of his misery. As he has no pity on himself, he is inclined to have as little upon others. Nothing will content him but to have every one made as miserable as himself. The whole world must be involved in his ruin. His country he consigns to invaders, his religion to infidels, his wife and children to assassins, his daughter to exile, Roderic to ignominy, himself to perdition. Perhaps, there is no other example of sublime despair, of imperturbable grief, of lofty impenitence in any literature. But it is unnatural. We cannot conceive the existence of Landor's Julian in the world of fact, and in the world of art only as a monumental myth out of all character with the compatibilities of mediaeval existence.

Landor was so wedded to classical forms as to dramatize the life of Giovanna of Naples under the form of a trilogy, the first play culminating in the murder of her husband, Andrea of Hungary; the second in the trial of the queen before Rienzi at Rome; the third in the fall of Fra Rupert. His design was to rescue the fair queen from the cloud of suspicion under which she labours, conjointly with her Scottish cousin, of having been concerned in the plot which so summarily disposed of her husband. But Landor's success was by no meant equal to the chivalry of the effort. He would not write for living England, but for dead Athens; not for the present generation, but for a state of society more than two thousand years consigned to dust. Hence the greatest characters of the eighteenth century — Petrarch, Rienzi, Boccacio — are summoned before us; kingdoms are revolutionized; a lovely queen loses her throne, and goes through a succession of adventures, without exciting in us the slightest interest. All the characters seem cut out of the same block of granite; and as they are found at the beginning, they remain to the end. His heroes! never shape events: they are simply kicked about by circumstance, and only speculate upon whatever card that unspiritual god chooses to turn up.

Everything in the nature of action is supposed to take place behind the scenes. The reader knows nothing of any catastrophe which may be in course of preparation, until it bursts upon him from the secret laboratory of Fate. By this contrivance he is relieved of a certain amount of anxious suspense. He is also enabled to get through the most sensational page of the thirteenth century history, without experiencing a single feeling of vulgar interest. This was, to use Landor's phrase, treading down Alfieri at the heel. It was also treading down the patience of his readers. The trilogy, therefore, is the most unreadable portion of Landor's works. It is simply: unintelligible without a reference to the history of the period, nor has it any form of dramatic life beyond that of imaginary conversations.

How far Landor, had he given up his classical theories, would have been successful in this branch of his art, it is really impossible to say. He lacks pathos. He also exhibits no sense of the facetious. His histrionic mask evinces neither tears nor risibility. In particular passages, especially where there is room for statuesque display, he is very effective, as where Julian in the hour of victory confesses his own misery before the ruined Roderic, whom he has dethroned:—

I stand abased before insulting crime.
———*———*———*———*———
The band that hurl'd thy chariot o'er its wheels,
That held thy steeds erect and motionless
As molten statues on some palace-gate,
Shakes as with palsied age before thee now.

And in his "Andrea of Hungary," where Caraffa gives vent to his passion for what he cannot enjoy:—

The pagan
Who heaves up Etna ———*———*———
———*———*——— is better off than I am:
He groans upon the bed where lies his torment,
I very far away from where lies mine.

And where the same speaker again avows his love for Giovanna:

He who thinks little of such perfection,
Has left his thoughts among the worms which creep
In charnel-houses, among brainless skulls,
Dry bones without a speck of blood or thread
Of fibre, ribs that never cased a heart.
———*———*———*———*———
———*———*——— Even rocks and stones
Would split, if my heart's fire were pent within.

In a dramatic sketch intended to reproduce the events connected with the deaths of Cleopatra and Antony, a subject more germane to his taste than the mediaeval subjects he was always attempting to force into Greek frames, there are some passages which would do credit to the Elizabethan dramatists, as where Gallus indicates to Caesar his preference for his native country:—

Give me the banks of Arico, where young Spring,
Who knows not half the names of her own flowers,
Looks into Summer's eyes, and wakes him up
Alert, and laughs at him until he lifts
His rod of roses, and she runs away.

And again in his description of Cleopatra:—

Tho' more than thrice seven years have come, and stolen
Day after day a leaf or two of bloom,
She has but changed her beauty; the soft tears
Fall, one would think, to make it bloom afresh.

Equally characteristic is what I may call his bust of Julius Caesar:—

Well I remember that high-exalted brow,
Those eyes of eagle under it, those lips
At which the senate and the people stood
Expectant for their portals to unclose;
Then speech, not womanly, but manly sweet,
Came from them, and shed pleasure as the moon
Sheds light.

But such passages are rare; and even were they frequent, still, being discontinuous, insulated, and fragmentary, unconnected with any principles of consecutive action or philosophy, they would not entitle their author to a high place among his contemporaries.

That a writer so constituted as Landor, with fitful emotions and no great depth of intellect, should, like Prior, have amused himself with pelting bits of satire at the men and things which came in his way, and enshrining in verse any incident which captivated his attention, from the fall of a fan to the discovery of a planet, was a matter of course. These "vers de societe" constitute the greater portion of the books entitled "Heroic Idyls" and the "Fruits of an Old Tree," and the complete portion of the work which appeared under the singular name of "Dry Sticks Faggoted." Some of these verses, miscellaneous and fugitive in their nature, will bear comparison with any similar effusions in the language. Occasionally we get the caustic irony of Swift:—

How soon, alas! the hours are over,
Counted us out to play the lover!
And how much narrower is the stage,
Allotted us to play the sage!
But when we play the fool, how wide
The theatre expands; beside,
How long the audience sits before us,
How many prompters! what a chorus!

But the most numerous in the collection enshrine the fleeting feminine attachments which constituted the staple charm of his life:—

Soon, O lanthe! life is o'er,
And sooner beauty's heavenly smile:
Kiss only, and I ask no more,
Let love remain that little while.

And again:—

It often comes into my head
That we may dream when we are dead,
But I am far from sure we do;
O that it were so — then my rest
Would ever be among the blest,
For I should ever dream of you.

But sometimes these occasional verses soar above the region mere wit, and a tinge of melancholy sinks the thought deep into the heart, as in lines written while sitting in his room, as was his wont, without candles, while night was coming on:—

My pictures blacken in their frames,
As night comes on,
And youthful maids and wrinkled dames
Are now all gone.

Death of the day! — a sterner death
Did worse before:
The fairest form and balmiest breath
Away he bore.

And in the sorrowful lines in which he confesses his incompetency to renew a past amour:—

No, my own love of other years,
No, it must never be!
Much rests with you that yet endears—
Alas! but what with me?

Could those bright years o'er me revolve
So gay, o'er you so fair,
The pearl of life we would dissolve,
And each the cup might share.

You show that truth can ne'er decay,
Whatever fate befalls;
I, that the myrtle and the bay
Shoot fresh o'er ruined walls.

The bitterness of his feelings with regard to his private feuds could not be suppressed even in his address to the place, near Bath, which he had chosen for his last resting-place:—

Widcombe! few seek with thee their resting-place,
But I, when I have run my weary race,
Will throw my bones upon thy churchyard turf;
Although malignant waves on foreign shore
Have stranded me, and I shall lift no more
My hoary head above the hissing surf.

But the merit of the greater portion of these pieces consists not so much in the novelty or beauty of the thought, as in melody of rhythm and aptitude of expression. Had he written nothing else than these, they would have earned for him a very good place among the fugitive verse writers of his language, but. nothing more.

Landor's true place among the poets of this century should, therefore, hardly rise above the boundary line which separates the lowest assignable division of his art. In expressing in verse, as a sculptor in marble, any momentary embodiment of passion, or a group of figures in statuesque attitudes, perhaps no writer has excelled Landor. But poetry has to do, not with fixed phases of passion, not with stereotyped forms of beauty limited to points of time and space, but with progressive development of being, which soars beyond the boundaries of the present, and claims past and future worlds for its province. The imagination which would make the fortune of an artist or a sculptor, would form a very poor pittance for a poet. The triumph of the one is confined to fixing one fleeting moment of existence within a certain few inches of space. He is the slave of the clock, and cannot get out of his private room. But the other drags time, with all its baggage, at his chariot-wheels like a conqueror, and finds illimitable space too narrow for his conceptions. His imagination overleaps the walls of creation. The universe is but a scroll in his hands.