There Binckes and Kimberley maintain the Sacred Truth. Powis and Hamlin here with equal Claim,. There Birch and Hooper Right Divine convey,.
Harley shall cease to trick, and Seymour cease to rail:. And Halifax and Howe meet civilly at Court. Brereton and Burnaby the Court shall grace,. Forgotten Molineux and Mason now.
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Revive and shine again in Fox and Howe. Bold Bellasis and Patriot D'Av'nant then,. Burnet declares how French Dragooning rose,. And North 's and Nottingham 's strong Reasonings be admir'd. When Somerset and Devonshire give Place. To Wyndham 's Bradford, and to Richmond 's Grace,. And Marlborow, for antient Crimes, receive his just Reward. France, that this happy Change so wisely has begun,. Come on, young James 's Friends, this is the Time, come on;. Hedges now rules the State, and Rooke the Main.
And French Intrigues are broach'd o'er English Wine. Affronting Wyndham, and applauding James. E'en Finch and Mulgrave, whom the Court caress,. Archbishop Ken shall from Long-Leat be drawn,. While firm Nonjurors from behind stand crouding for the Lawn. See by base Rebels James the Just betray'd,. Not tho' young D'Av'nant, Saint John should protect,. Nay, should Tredenham in St. Mawes compare his Songs to mine;. Tredenham, tho' St. Mawes were Judge, his Laurel should resign.
To convey the message of those ancients whom he loved so well, in that English tongue which he was taught by them to use so perfectly;—to serve as an eternal protest against charlatanism and vulgarity;—is exactly the mission he would have chosen for himself The few writers of our language, therefore, who give us 'an ideal of excellence, the most high and the most rare,' have an important function; we should study their works continually, and it should be a matter of passionate concern with us, that the 'ideals,' that is, the definite and perfect [p.
Arnold tried all three. First, then, as a lyricist.
Thyrsis, Let Pity Move Thee Sheet Music by Thomas Morley
Arnold as a Lyricist. The action is usually vapid, the verse musical, the time quick. Unlike the Epic and Drama, it has no preferred verse or meter, but leaves the poet free to choose or invent appropriate forms. In this species of verse Arnold was not wholly at ease.
As has been said, one searches in vain through the whole course of his poetry for a blithe, musical, gay or serious, offhand poem, the true lyric kind. The reason for this is soon discovered. Obviously, it lies in the fundamental qualities of the poet's mind and temperament. Though by no means lacking in emotional sensibility, Arnold was too intellectually self-conscious to be carried away by the impulsiveness common to the lyrical moods.
With him the intellect was always master; the emotions, subordinate. With the lyricist, the order is, in the main, at least, reversed. The poet throws off intellectual restraint, and "lets his illumined being o'errun" with music and song. This Arnold could not or would not do. Then, too, Arnold's lyrics are often at fault metrically. This, combined with frequent questionable rhymes, argues a not too discriminating poetical ear.
He also lacked genius in inventing verse forms, and hence found himself under the necessity of employing or adapting those already in use. In this respect he was notably inferior [p. Again, considerable portions of his lyric verse consist merely of prose, cut into lines of different length, in imitation of the unrhymed measures of the Greek poet, Pindar. The Bishop of Derry, commenting on these rhythmic novelties, likens them to the sound of a stick drawn by a city gamin sharply across the area railings,—a not inapt comparison.
That they were not always successful, witness the following stanza from Merope :—. Surely this is but the baldest prose. At intervals, however, Arnold was nobly lyrical, and strangely, too, at times, in those same uneven measures in which are found his most signal failures—the unrhymed Pindaric.
Philomela written in this style is one of the most exquisite bits of verse in the language. As one critic has put it, "It ought to be written in silver and bound in gold. In the more common lyric measures, Arnold was, at times, equally successful. Saintsbury, commenting on Requiescat , says that the poet has "here achieved the triple union of simplicity, pathos, and in the best [p. He also speaks enthusiastically of the "honey-dropping trochees" of the New Sirens , and of the "chiselled and classic perfection" of the lines of Resignation.
Herbert W. Paul, writing of Mycerinus , declares that no such verse has been written in England since Wordsworth's Laodamia ; and continues, "The poem abounds in single lines of haunting charm. Arnold as a Dramatist. In nature, it partakes of both lyric and epic, thus uniting sentiment and action with narration. Characters live and act before us, and speak in our presence, the interest being kept up by constantly shifting situations tending toward some striking result. As a dramatist, Arnold achieved no great success.
Again the fundamental qualities of his mind stood in the way. An author so subjective, so absorbed in self-scrutiny and introspection as he, is seldom able to project himself into the minds of others to any considerable extent. His dramas are brilliant with beautiful phrases, his pictures of landscapes and of nature in her various aspects approach perfection; but in the main, he fails to handle his plots in a dramatic manner and, as a result, does not secure the totality of [p.
Frequently, too, his characters are tedious, and in their dialogue manage to be provokingly unnatural or insipid. They also lack in individuality and independence in speech and action. Many of his situations, likewise, are at fault. For instance, one can scarcely conceive of such characters as Ulysses and Circe playing the subordinate roles assigned to them in The Strayed Reveller. A true dramatist would hardly have committed so flagrant a blunder. Merope is written in imitation of the Greek tragedians.
It has dignity of subject, nobility of sentiment, and a classic brevity of style; but it is frigid and artificial, and fails in the most essential function of drama—to stir the reader's emotions.
Empedocles on Etna , a half-autobiographical drama, is in some respects a striking poem. It is replete with brilliant passages, and contains some of Arnold's best lyric verses and most beautiful nature pictures; but the dialogue is colorless, the rhymes poor, the plot, such as it contains, but indifferently handled, and even Empedocles, the principal character, is frequently tedious and unnatural.
Arnold's dramas show that his forte was not in character-drawing nor in dialogue. Arnold as a Writer of Epic and Elegy. It is simple in construction and uniform in meter, yet it admits of the dialogue and the episode, and though not enforcing a moral it may hold one in solution. Elegiac poetry is plaintive [p.
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Both epic and elegy are inevitably serious in mood, and slow and stately in action. In these two forms of verse Arnold was at his best. Stockton pronounced Sohrab and Rustum the noblest poem in the English language. Another critic has said that "it is the nearest analogue in English to the rapidity of action, plainness of thought, plainness of diction, and nobleness of Homer.
Especially is it successful in emphasizing his idea of unity of impression; "while the truth of its oriental color, the deep pathos of the situation, the fire and intensity of the action, the strong conception of character, and the full, solemn music of the verse, make it unquestionably the masterpiece of Arnold's longer poems, among which it is the largest in bulk and also the most ambitious in scheme. The Forsaken Merman and Saint Brandan , which are dealt with elsewhere in this volume, are good examples of his shorter narrative poems. In Thyrsis , the beautiful threnody in which he celebrated his dead friend, Clough, [p.