and intelligential love."
I would praise her soul (temerarious if!)"
Stopped Sun-toper as ever drank hard-
Stares foolish, hazed,
Totty with thine October tankard."
of Keats, what a jargon! And in this distorted fashion
of speech all the work labors for utterance. The diction
is affected and abominable, the technique is barbarous,
slovenly and wilful. There is no excuse for an artist
in words today allowing himself such gross liberties
with his mother tongue. Tennyson and Milton have not
lived in vain, and Mr. Swinburne, while he is a deadly
model, is an indispensable master. But the English,-
I mean, we English,-are the lords of whim, and every
stripling who cannot master his art with ease, sets
himself to acquire fame by his oddity.
affection of style is about as sensible as an affectation
of dress. Mannerism is odious, manner is adorable. Affectation
is the cardinal sin in all art. For art is the outcome
of expression, and expression is the revelation of self,-sincere
or nothing. The only excuse for manner and style is
the compelling blind necessity the person has felt for
just that expression and no other. He then becomes master
even of his own style. But the little man is a slave
to manner, even to his own manner; he is a mannerist.
that Mr. Francis Thompson is a mannerist, not at all.
He is too young to be a mannerist. His manner is his
own, and it is entirely sincere, but it is an essentially
bad manner. And in ten years, unless he assiduously
correct it, and strive for simplicity and naturalness
and common dignity, it will have been stereotyped, it
will have become mannerism.
there were nothing, however, in this new book of poems
but a strange manner of verse and a rough provincial
accent, it certainly would not be worth mentioning.
But there is more than that. There are fitful, wayward
gleams of imagination, as I have said.
the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars."
laboring, vast, Tellurian galleon,
Riding at anchor off the orient sun,
Had broken its cable, and stood out to space."
is not common to write so. And a few lines like these
fully justify one in taking Mr. Thompson to task for
his multitude of offences, his vagaries, his slipshod
verse, his intolerable ugliness of phrase, his unhappy
minting of words, and his straining of fancies to their
death. He treats a fancy of a conceit as a child might
treat a butterfly. He pulls the gauzy wings apart until
the poor thing is wracked beyond all hope of loveliness
forever. Indeed all his fault is the fault of youth.
Whatever his age, he is a very young poet. He follows
his eye too far abroad. He is not content to be simple;
he has that great first lesson still to learn.
with the sea-breeze hand in hand,
Came innocence and she."
skin was like a grape, whose veins
Run snow instead of wine."
the rose's scent is bitterness
To him that loved the rose."
thy poet-mouth was able
For its first young starry babble."
to unedge the scythe of Time.
chambers in the house of dreams
Are fed with so divine an air,
That Time's hoar wings grow young therein."
pang of all the partings gone,
And partings yet to be."
we are born in other's pain
And perish in our own."
such as these (five of them are from one poem) are simple
enough, but they are painfully infrequent in this overrated
volume. Acres of turgid juvenility and a few spears
of poetry,-no such very great things after all.
I cannot feel that Mr. Thompson has yet written a single
poem, I can only feel that he has allowed himself to
put forth a premature volume of execrable verse, blotched
here and there with an untutored though genuine fancy.
Still his failures and offences are alike pardonable
in his years,-I should say, in his inexperience. And
if he will devote himself to the goddess Simplicity,
that beauty whom the old parishioner of Rydal so shamefully
bedraggled, he may yet write something that people can
read, which shall also be worthy of his own vision.
few romantic reports of Mr. Thompson's private life
speak him a man of single purpose and childish heart,
one indeed unlikely to be spoiled by praise of critics,
or perturbed even for a moment by frank impressions
such as these.