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stedfastly into the night, while sounds of anger and voices of delight alternate vex and soothe the ear of man.” But those sands bear no footprints. The next simoom will cover up the deepest track: and the one lesson taught by the long caravans of weary humanity that have toiled along that pilgrim-way, is the one-sided, and therefore false doctrine, that for the most part the vestiges of life will disappear! But, perhaps, the poet meant to correct the falsehood ? If so, his imagery is at least incongruous, and he should have placed us elsewhere than amid the desert sands. Yet we are not sure, after all, that such was the scene before him. For, the traveller, who is “ to take heart again,” is, or appears to be, a mariner “shipwrecked "in" sailing o'er life's desert main.” Does the desert, then, mean the sea; if so, where are the footprints? Or, if we imagine him gaining the shore from his shattered bark, what will the footprints tell him? Nothing to the purpose, certainly. That the island is inhabited, it may be; or that some one else has been shipwrecked there before him, not that he himself may reach with swelling sails the port at last.

Many readers will say that it is not fair to try a figure thus strictly by prosaic rules. We reply that our purpose is simply to illustrate the adaptation of such poetry to times of reverie, when the mind is content to accept impressions vaguely, not caring to analyze the images which connect themselves with congenial truth. But part of the glory of the highest poetry is that its pictures shape themselves into a grander distinctness the longer they are pondered. Mr. Tennyson, for instance, would never leave us in doubt whether a caravan were “shipwrecked " in the sandy desert, or a merchantman were striving to make out footmarks in the sea! Then we are not quite sure about Mr. Longfellow's teaching in this poem. We admit that “not enjoyment and not sorrow" is our true goal; but is it sufficient to make progress the aim of our being

“ So to act that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day?" Surely this is vague. The further lesson to labour and to wait is valuable; and a passage in “Hyperion,”—at the end of the first book-may be recollected, in which the thought is finely expanded. But there is something higher, nobler than this waiting; for what, after all, should the true man care to wait for ?

“So many worlds, so much to do,

So little done, such things to be,

How know I what had need of thee,
For thou wert strong as thou wert true.

The fame is quenched that I foresaw,

The head hath missed an early wreath.

I curse not nature, no, nor death ;
For nothing is that errs from law.
We pass; the path that each man trod

Is dim, or will be dim, with weeds :

What fame is left for human needs
In endless age? It rests with God.
O hollow wraith of dying fame,

Fade wholly, while the soul exults;

And self-infolds the large results

Of force that would have forged a name.” These words traverse in part the same line of thought as the “Psalm of Life," but how far deeper, more comprehensive, more · healthy the lesson !

Of " Excelsior,” Mr. Longfellow's other best-known piece; we only need say that when young ladies learn Latin, or when their brothers come home from school and give them the true rendering of the classical refrain, the effect is somewhat painfully disenchanting. It is touching, perhaps, to think of the youth with a flag upon his Alpenstock, scaling steep after steep, with the cry, Still higher;" but it is difficult to be enthusiastic about a young traveller, who at every stage ejaculates, “A taller man !” This defect, to our mind, is fatal to the poem; else, there is one thought finely suggested by it, although strangely enough often unnoticed. It is not aspiration, not success, but failure, of which the poet evidently means to speak. The climber rejects the allurements of home, scorns the thought of danger, breaks from the ties of love, stays not even at the altar of religion, that he may win his purpose. And he does not win it after all, but sinks upon the icy slope and dies! Then “from above serene and far, a voice fell like a falling star,"* COME UP HIGHER. That is, as it has been said, “Heaven is for earth's failures." Still, the sentiment is but half a truth; and the poem as entirely fails in disclosing the true secret of life as the “Psalm” on which we have commented, or, we may add, as the “ Builders."

It is where the poet' no longer essays so wide a view, but confines himself to some transient mood of feeling, or tender reminiscence, or half-melancholy view of one phase of life's experience, that his special charm appears. What can be more delightful than his “Children's Hour," or the poem beginning

** Come to me, O ye children ”? • By-the-bye, how incongruous this metaphor! The falling star by its instant's flash symbolises swiftness, hurry: the voice of Heaven is solemn and calm! It will be seen that for the moment we allow the popular rendering of the word.

their way.

The “Gleam of Sunshine," again, the musing on “Sand from the Desert,” in an hour-glass, "Santa Filomena," the “Prelude" to the collection entitled “The Waif,” with a score of brief lyrics on old legendary or chivalric themes, are absolutely perfect in

Of a yet higher strain are the “Hymn for my Brother's Ordination," the “ Two Angels,” the "Ladder of St. Augustine,” and “God's Acre.” “The Children of the Lord's Supper,” of which it is not for us to say how much is really translated from the Swedish, and how much is Mr. Longfellow's own, is the only piece in the English language which to us runs melodiously in hexameters. We have met with the beautiful lines beginning

" Ah, when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us," in a hymn-book; and well does the music, as well as the meaning of the words befit the hour of loftiest Christian devotion.

A secret of Mr. Longfellow's power is undoubtedly in the subtlety and grace of his analogies. Many a piece of his derives all its effect from some sudden turn of thought, bringing into view the likeness between outer things and the super-sensual reality. Often the scenery of the poem becomes a harmonious accompaniment to some train of emotion, as, for instance, the leaping spires of flame in "The Fire of Drift Wood” to the transient glimpses of memory and momentary relightings of the fire of olden affection. There is a piece of the same kind in the new collection, but hardly so felicitous :


“See, the fire is sinking low,
Dusky red the embers glow,

While above them still I cower,
While & moment more I linger,
Though the clock, with lifted finger,

Points beyond the midnight hour.
Sings the blackened log & tune
Learned in some forgotten June
From a schoolboy

at his play,
When they both were young together,
Heart of youth and summer weather

Making all their holiday.
And the night-wind rising, hark !
How above there in the dark,

In the midnight and the snow,
Ever wilder, fiercer, grander,
Like the trumpets of Iskander,

All the noisy chimneys blow!

Every quivering tongue of flame
Seems to murmur some great name,

Seems to say to me, 'Aspire !'
But the night-wind answers, 'Hollow
Are the visions that you follow,

Into darkness sinks your fire!'
Then the flicker of the blaze
Gleams on volumes of old days,

Written by masters of the art,
Loud through whose majestic pages
Rolls the melody of ages,

Throb the harp-strings of the heart.
And again the tongues of flame
Start exulting and exclaim :

• These are prophets, bards, and seers ;
In the horoscope of nations,
Like ascendant constellations,

They control the coming years.'
But the night-wind cries : 'Despair!
Those who walk with feet of air

Leave no long-enduring marks ;
At God's forges incandescent,
Mighty bammers beat incessant,

These are but the flying sparks.
*Dust are all the hands that wrought;
Books are sepulchres of thought;

The dead laurels of the dead
Rustle for a moment only,
Like the withered leaves in lonely

Churchyards at some passing tread.'
Suddenly the flame sinks down;
Sink the rumours of renown;

And alone the night-wind drear
Clamours louder, wilder, vaguer,
"'Tis the brand of Meleager

Dying on the hearth-stone here!'
And I answer, -Though it be,
Why should that discomfort me ?

No endeavour is in vain ;
Its reward is in the doing,
And the rapture of pursuing,

Is the prize, the vanquished gain."

Undoubtedly these comparisons often degenerate into conceits, giving the impression of being ingeniously brought to the subject, rather than having spontaneously shaped themselves out of the thought. We feel a certain aptness, but there is no revelation. Thus, in the “ Prelude," before quoted, the falling of darkness " from the wing of night” is likened to "a feather wafted downwards from an eagle in his flight.” Very pretty, but hardly more than a conceit. May not the same too be said of the bards “ whose distant footsteps echo through the corridors of time," and notably of the last simile

“The cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away"?

There is in the little volume now before us a notable example both of Mr. Longfellow's happy felicity of expression and of his tendency to the artificial and overstrained in fancy. The piece is entitled “The Bells of Lynn," and runs on in music to the close, when the effect of a sudden stoppage in the musical distant chime at the moment of the full moon's rising from the sea is thus expressed :

“And down the darkening coast run the tumultuous surges,
And clap their hands, and shout to you, O bells of Lynn!
Till from the shuddering sea, with your wild incantations,
Ye summon up the spectral moon, o bells of Lynn !
And startled at the sight, like the weird woman of Endor,

Ye cry aloud, and then are still, O bells of Lynn!” We have left ourselves no space to speak at any length of the other poems in this little book. Instead of doing so we will quote two sonnets—the former for its beautiful simile, the latter for its characteristic touch of sentiment wrought into a charming picture.

“How many lives, made beautiful and sweet

By self-devotion and by self-restraint
Whose pleasure is to run without complaint

On unknown errands of the Paraclete,
Wanting the reverence of unshodden feet,

Fail of the nimbus which the artists paint
Around the shining forehead of the saint,

And are in their completeness incomplete !
In the old Tuscan town stands Giotto's tower,

The lily of Florence blossoming in stone,-
A vision, a delight, and a desire,
The builder's perfect and centennial flower,

That in the night of ages bloomed alone,
But wanting still the glory of the spire."

6 'Tis late at night, and in the realm of sleep

My little lambs are folded like the flocks;
From room to room I hear the wakeful clocks
Challenge the passing hour, like guards that keep


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