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boldness of imagination, but at the same time - -one of the many generous and affectionate acts diffuse in style, and in many parts wild and inco- of his busy life. În 1797 he published his Letters herent. In imitation of Dante, the young poet from Spain and Portugal, and took up his resiconducted his heroine in a dream to the abodes of dence in London, in order to commence the study departed spirits, and dealt very freely with the of the law. A college-friend, Mr C. W. W. Wynn, 'murderers of mankind,' from Nimrod the mighty gave him an annuity of £160, which he continued hunter, down to the hero conqueror of Agincourt to receive until 1807, when he relinquished it on
obtaining a pension from the crown of £200. The A huge and massy pile
study of the law was never a congenial pursuit Massy it seemed, and yet with every blast
with Southey ; he kept his terms at Gray's Inn, As to its ruin shook. There, porter fit,
but his health failed, and in the spring of 1800 he Remorse for ever his sad vigils kept. Pale, hollow-eyed, emaciate, sleepless wretch,
again visited Portugal. After a twelvemonth's
residence in that fine climate, he returned to Inly he groaned, or, starting, wildly shrieked, Aye as the fabric, tottering from its base,
England, lived in Bristol a short time, and then Threatened its fall—and so, expectant still,
made a journey into Cumberland, for the double Lived in the dread of danger still delayed.
purpose of seeing the lakes and visiting Coleridge, They entered there a large and lofty dome, who was at that time residing at Greta Hall, O'er whose black marble sides a dim drear light Keswick-the house in which Southey himself Struggled with darkness from the unfrequent lamp. was henceforth to spend the greater portion of Enthroned around, the Murderers of Mankind- his life. A short trial of official life also awaited Monarchs, the great! the glorious ! the august ! him. He was offered and accepted the appointEach bearing on his brow a crown of fire
ment of private secretary to Mr Corry, Chancellor Sat stern and silent. Nimrod, he was there, of the Exchequer for Ireland ; the terms, prudently First king, the mighty hunter; and that chief
limited to one year, being a salary of about £350, Who did belie his mother's fame, that so
English currency. His official duties were more
nominal than real, but Southey soon got tired of And he who murdered Tully, that cold villain
the light bondage, and before half of the stipuOctavius——though the courtly minion's lyre
lated period of twelve months was over, he had Hath hymned his praise, though Maro sung to him, got, as he said, unsecretaryfied, and entered And when death levelled to original clay
on that course of professional authorship which The royal carcass, Flattery, fawning low,
was at once his business and delight. In the Fell at his feet, and worshipped the new god. autumn of 1803, he was again at Greta Hall, KesTitus was here, the conqueror of the Jews,
wick. While in Portugal, Southey had finished a He, the delight of humankind misnamed;
second epic poem, Thalaba, the Destroyer, an Cæsars and Soldans, emperors and kings,
Arabian fiction of great beauty and magnificence. Here were they all, all who for glory fought,
For the copyright of this work he received a Here in the Court of Glory, reaping now
hundred guineas, and it was published in 1801. The meed they merited. As gazing round,
The sale was not rapid, but three hundred copies The Virgin marked the miserable train,
being sold by the end of the year, its reception, A deep and hollow voice from one went forth :
considering the peculiar style of the poem, was 'Thou who art come to view our punishment,
not discouraging. The form of verse adopted by Maiden of Orleans ! hither turn thine eyes ;
the poet in this work is irregular, without rhyme ; For I am he whose bloody victories
and it possesses a peculiar charm and rhythmical Thy power hath rendered vain. Lo! I am here, harmony, though, like the redundant descriptions The hero conqueror of Agincourt,
in the work, it becomes wearisome in so long a Henry of England !'
poem. The opening stanzas convey an exquisite
picture of a widowed mother wandering over the In the second edition of the poem, published in sands of the East during the silence of night : 1798, the vision of the Maid of Orleans, and everything miraculous, was omitted. When the poem first appeared, its author was on his way to Lisbon,
Night in the Desert. in company with his uncle, Dr Herbert, chaplain to the factory at Lisbon. Previous to his de
How beautiful is night! parture in November 1795, Southey had married
A dewy freshness fills the silent air ; Miss Edith Fricker of Bristol, sister of the lady No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain, with whom Coleridge united himself; and imme
Breaks the serene of heaven : diately after the ceremony they parted. My In full-orbed glory, yonder moon divine mother,' says the poet's son and biographer,' wore
Rolls through the dark-blue depths. her wedding-ring hung round her neck, and pre
Beneath her steady ray served her maiden name until the report of the
The desert-circle spreads, marriage had spread abroad.? Cottle, the gener
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky. ous Bristol bookseller, had given Southey money
How beautiful is night! to purchase the ring. The poet was six months with his uncle in Lisbon, during which time he had applied himself to the study of the Spanish
Who, at this untimely hour,
Wanders o'er the desert sands? and Portuguese languages, in which he afterwards
No station is in view, became a proficient. The death of his brother
Nor palm-grove islanded amid the waste. in-law and brother-poet, Lovell, occurred during
The mother and her child, his absence abroad, and Southey on his return
The widowed mother and the fatherless boy, set about raising something for his young friend's
They, at this untimely hour, widow. She afterwards found a home with Southey
Wander o'er the desert sands.
horrors are described with the power of Milton ; III.
and Scott has said that the following account of Alas! the setting sun
the approach of the mortals to Padalon, or the Saw Zeinab in her bliss,
Indian Hades, is equal in grandeur to any passage Hodeirah's wife beloved,
which he ever perused :
Far other light than that of day there shone
Upon the travellers, entering Padalon.
They, too, in darkness entering on their way,
But far before the car
A glow, as of a fiery furnace light,
Filled all before them. 'Twas a light that made
Darkness itself appear
Shrank inward from the molten atmosphere.
Their way was through the adamantine rock Stunned with the heavy woe, she felt like one
Which girt the world of woe : on either side
Its massive walls arose, and overhead
Arched the long passage ; onward as they ride,
With stronger glare the light around them spreadAnd, looking up to her fixed countenance,
And, lo ! the regions dread-
The world of woe before them opening wide,
There rolls the fiery flood,
Girding the realms of Padalon around.
A sea of flame, it seemed to be
Sea without bound ;
For neither mortal nor immortal sight
Could pierce across through that intensest light. The metre of Thalaba, as may be seen from this
When the curse is removed from the sufferer, specimen, has great power, as well as harmony; Ladurlad, and he is transported to his family in in skilful hands. It is in accordance with the the Bower of Bliss, the poet breaks out into that subject of the poem, and is, as the author himself remarks, the Arabesque ornament of an Arabian apostrophe to Love which is so often quoted, but tale.? Southey had now cast off his revolutionary never can be read without emotion : opinions, and his future writings were all marked
Love. by a somewhat intolerant attachment to church and state. He established himself on the banks They sin who tell us Love can die. of the river Greta, near Keswick, subsisting by With life all other passions fly, his pen and a pension which he had received from
All others are but vanity. government. In 1804, he published a volume of In heaven Ambition cannot dwell, Metrical Tales, and in 1805, Madoc, an epic poem,
Nor Avarice in the vaults of hell ; founded on a Welsh story, but inferior to its
Earthly these passions of the earth, predecessors. In 1810, appeared his greatest
They perish where they had their birth.
But Love is indestructible : poetical work, The Curse of Kehama, a poem of
Its holy flame for ever burneth, the same class and structure as Thalabā, but in
From heaven it came, to heaven returneth. Thyme. With characteristic egotism, Southey Too oft on earth a troubled guest, prefixed to The Curse of Kehama a declaration At times deceived, at times oppressed, that he would not change a syllable or measure
It here is tried and purified, for anyone :
Then hath in heaven its perfect rest :
It soweth here with toil and care,
But the harvest-time of Love is there.
Oh! when a mother meets on high
The babe she lost in infancy, Kehama is a Hindu rajah, who, like Dr Faustus,
Hath she not then, for pains and fears, obtains and sports with supernatural power. His
The day of woe, the watchful night, adventures are sufficiently startling, and afford For all her sorrows, all her tears, room for the author's striking amplitude of descrip
An over-payment of delight? tion. The story is founded, says Sir Walter Scott, "upon the Hindu mythology, the most Besides its wonderful display of imagination gigantic, cumbrous, and extravagant system of and invention, and its vivid scene-painting, The idolatry to which temples were ever erected. The Curse of Kehama possesses the recommendation scene is alternately laid in the terrestrial paradise of being, in manners, sentiments, scenery, and -under the sea-in the heaven of heavens—and costume, distinctively and exclusively Hindu. in hell itself. The principal actors are, a man Its author was too diligent a student to omit who approaches almost to omnipotence; another whatever was characteristic in the landscape or labouring under a strange and fearful malediction, the people. Passing over his prose works, we which exempts him from the ordinary laws of next find Southey appear in a native poetical nature; a good genius, a sorceress, and a ghost, dress, in blank verse. In 1814 he published with several Hindustan deities of different ranks. Roderick, the Last of the Goths, a noble and The only being that retains the usual attributes of pathetic poem, though liable also to the charge of humanity is a female, who is gifted with immor- redundant description. The style of the versificatality at the close of the piece. Some of the tion may be seen from the following account of scenes in this strangely magnificent theatre of the grief and confusion of the aged monarch, when he finds his throne occupied by the Moors volume of narrative verse, All for Love, and The after his long absence :
Pilgrim of Compostella (1829). He continued his
ceaseless round of study and composition, writing The sound, the sight
on all subjects, and filling ream after ream of Of turban, girdle, robe, and scimitar, And tawny skins, awoke contending thoughts
paper with his lucubrations on morals, philosophy, Of anger, shame, and anguish in the Goth;
poetry, and politics. He was offered a baronetcy The unaccustomed face of humankind
and a seat in parliament, both of which he prudConfused him now—and through the streets he went
ently declined. His fame and his fortune, he With haggard mien, and countenance like one
knew, could only be preserved by adhering to his Crazed or bewildered. All who met him turned, solitary studies ; but these were too constant and And wondered as he passed. One stopped him short, uninterrupted. The poet forgot one of his own Put alms into his hand, and then desired,
maxims, that 'frequent change of air is of all things In broken Gothic speech, the moon-struck man that which most conduces to joyous health and To bless him. With a look of vacancy,
long life. From the year 1833 to 1837 he was chiefly Roderick received the alms; his wandering eye engaged in editing the works of Cowper, published Fell on the money, and the fallen king,
in fifteen volumes. About the year 1834, his wife, Seeing his royal impress on the piece,
the early partner of his affections, sank into a state Broke out into a quick convulsive voice, That seemed like laughter first, but ended soon
of mental imbecility,' a pitiable state of existence, In hollow groan suppressed : the Mussulman
in which she continued for about three years, and Shrunk at the ghastly sound, and magnified
though he bore up wonderfully during this period The name of Allah as he hastened on.
of affliction, his health was irretrievably shattered. A Christian woman, spinning at her door,
In about a year and a half afterwards, however, Beheld him—and with sudden pity touched,
he married a second time, the object of his choice She laid her spindle by, and running in,
being Miss Caroline Bowles, the poetess. My Took bread, and following after, called him back- spirits,' he says, 'would hardly recover their And, placing in his passive hands the loaf,
habitual and healthful cheerfulness, if I had not She said, 'Christ Jesus for his Mother's sake
prevailed upon Miss Bowles to share my lot for Have mercy on thee !' With a look that seemed
the remainder of our lives. There is just such a Like idiocy, he heard her, and stood still, Staring a while ; then bursting into tears,
disparity of age as is fitting ; we have been well Wept like a child.
acquainted with each other more than twenty
years, and a more perfect conformity of disposiOr the following description :
tion could not exist.' Some members of the poet's grown-up family seem to have been averse to this
union, but the devoted attentions of the lady, and A Moonlight Scene in Spain.
her exemplary domestic virtues, soothed the few How calmly, gliding through the dark-blue sky, remaining years of the poet's existence. Those The midnight moon ascends! Her placid beams, attentions were soon painfully requisite. Southey's Through thinly scattered leaves, and boughs grotesque, intellect became clouded, his accustomed labours Mottle with mazy shades the orchard slope ;
were suspended, and though he continued his Here o'er the chestnut's fretted foliage, gray habit of reading, the power of comprehension was And massy, motionless they spread ; here shine
gone. “His dearly prized books,' says his son, Upon the crags, deepening with blacker night Their chasms; and there the glittering argentry
were a pleasure to him almost to the end, and
he would walk slowly round his library looking Ripples and glances on the confluent streams.
at them, and taking them down mechanically.' A lovelier, purer light than that of day Rests on the hills; and oh ! how awfully,
Wordsworth, writing to Lady Frederick Bentinck Into that deep and tranquil firmament,
in July 1840, says, that on visiting his early friend, The summits of Auseva rise serene !
he did not recognise him till he was told.' Then The watchman on the battlements partakes
his eyes flashed for a moment with their former The stillness of the solemn hour; he feels
brightness, but he sank into the state in which I The silence of the earth; the endless sound
had found him, patting with both hands his books Of flowing water soothes him ; and the stars, affectionately like a child.' Three years were Which in that brightest moonlight well-nigh quenched, passed in this deplorable condition, and it was a Scarce visible, as in the utmost depth
matter of satisfaction rather than regret that death Or yonder sapphire infinite, are seen,
at length stepped in to shroud this painful spectacle Draw on with elevating influence
from the eyes of affection as well as from the gaze Towards eternity the attempered mind. Musing on worlds beyond the grave, he stands,
of vulgar curiosity. He died in his house at Greta And to the Virgin Mother silently
on the 21st of March 1843. He left at his death Breathes forth her hymn of praise.
a sum of about £12,000, to be divided among his
children, and one of the most valuable private Southey having in 1813, accepted the office of libraries in the kingdom. The life and correspondpoet-laureate, composed some courtly strains that ence of Southey have been published by his son, tended little to advance his reputation. His Car- the Rev. Charles Cuthbert Southey, in six volumes. men Triumphale (1814) and The Vision of Judg- His son-in-law, the Rev. J. Wood Warter, pubment (1821) provoked much ridicule at the time, lished his Commonplace Book, 4 vols., and Selecand would have passed into utter oblivion, if Lord tions from his Letters, 4 vols. In these works Byron had not published another Vision of Fudg- the amiable private life of Southey-his indefatiment-one of the most powerful, though wild and gable application, his habitual cheerfulness and profane, of his productions, in which the laureate lively fancy, and his steady friendships and true received a merciless and witty castigation, that generosity, are strikingly displayed." The only even his admirers admitted to be not unmerited. drawback is the poet's egotism, which was inThe latest of our author's poetical works was a ordinate, and the hasty uncharitable judgments sometimes passed on his contemporaries, the result
She saw her brother Peterkin partly of temperament and partly of his seclusion
Roll something large and round from general society. Southey was interred in
Which he beside the rivulet, the churchyard of Crosthwaite, and in the church
In playing there, had found ; is a marble monument to his memory, a full-length
He came to ask what he had found, recumbent figure, with the following inscription
That was so large, and smooth, and round. by Wordsworth on the base of the monument :
Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh, Ye vales and hills, whose beauty hither drew
• 'Tis some poor fellow's skull,' said he, The poet's steps, and fixed him here, on you
“Who fell in the great victory. His eyes have closed ; and ye, loved books, no more Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore,
I find them in the garden, To works that ne'er shall forfeit their renown,
For there's many here about; Adding immortal labours of his own ;
And often, when I go to plough, Whether he traced historic truth with zeal
The ploughshare turns them out! For the state's guidance, or the church's weal ;
For many thousand men,' said he, Or Fancy, disciplined by studious Art,
"Were slain in that great victory.' Informed his pen, or Wisdom of the heart, Or Judgments sanctioned in the patriot's mind
Now tell us what 'twas all about,' By reverence for the rights of all mankind.
Young Peterkin he cries : Large were his aims, yet in no human breast
While little Wilhelmine looks up, Could private feelings find a holier nest.
With wonder-waiting eyes ; His joys, his griefs, have vanished like a cloud
"Now tell us all about the war, From Skiddaw's top; but he to Heaven was vowed
And what they killed each other for.' Through a life long and pure, and steadfast faith
'It was the English,' Kaspar cried, Calmed in his soul the fear of change and death.
• Who put the French to rout;
But what they killed each other for, Few authors have written so much and so well,
I could not well make out. with so little real popularity, as Southey. Of all But everybody said,' quoth he, his prose works, admirable as they are in purity of
*That 'twas a famous victory. style, the Life of Nelson alone is a general favourite. The magnificent creations of his poetry-piled
“My father lived at Blenheim then, up like clouds at sunset, in the calm serenity of his
Yon little stream hard by ; capacious intellect—have always been duly appre
They burned his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly ; ciated by poetical students and critical readers ;
So with his wife and child he fled, but by the public at large they are neglected. An
Nor had he where to rest his head. attempt to revive them, by the publication of the whole poetical works in ten uniform and cheap
“With fire and sword, the country round volumes, has only shewn that they are unsuited to
Was wasted far and wide; the taste of the present generation. The reason And many a childing mother then, of this may be found both in the subjects of
And new-born baby, died ; Southey's poetry, and in his manner of treating
But things like that, you know, must be them. His fictions are wild and supernatural, and
At every famous victory. have no hold on human affections. Gorgeous and
“They say it was a shocking sight sublime as some of his images and descriptions
After the field was won ; are, they come like shadows, so depart. They
For many thousand bodies here are too remote, too fanciful, and often too learned.
Lay rotting in the sun ; The Grecian mythology is graceful and familiar;
But things like that, you know, must be but Southey's Hindu superstitions are extrava
After a famous victory. gant and strange. To relish them requires considerable previous reading and research, and this
'Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good prince, Eugene.' is a task which few will undertake. The dramatic art or power of vivid delineation is also compara
'Why, 'twas a very wicked thing !'
Said little Wilhelmine. tively unknown to Southey, and hence the dia
Nay—nay—my little girl,' quoth he, logues in Madoc and Roderick are generally fat “It was a famous victory. and uninteresting. His observation was of books, not nature. Some affectations of style and ex
And everybody praised the duke, pression also marred the effect of his conceptions,
Who this great fight did win.' and the copious flow of his versification, unrelieved
And what good came of it at last ?' by bursts of passion or eloquent sentiment, some
Quoth little Peterkin. times becomes heavy and monotonous in its uni
Why, that I cannot tell,' said he, form smoothness and dignity.
But 'twas a famous victory.'
The Battle of Blenheim.
Old Kaspar's work was done,
Was sitting in the sun :
The Holly Tree.
The holly tree?
Its glossy leaves
Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen
at Rugby School, whence he was transferred to Wrinkled and keen ;
Trinity College, Oxford. His first publication No grazing cattle through their prickly round was a small volume of poems, dated as far back Can reach to wound ;
as 1795. The poet was intended for the army, but, But as they grow where nothing is to fear,
like Southey, he imbibed republican sentiments, Smooth and unarmed the pointless leaves appear.
and for that cause declined engaging in the proI love to view these things with curious eyes,
fession of arms. His father then offered him an And moralise :
allowance of £400 per annum, on condition that And in this wisdom of the holly tree
he should study the law, with this alternative, if Can emblems see
he refused, that his income should be restricted to Wherewith perchance to make a pleasant rhyme, one-third of the sum. The independent poet preOne which may profit in the after-time.
ferred the smaller income with literature as his Thus, though abroad perchance I might appear companion. He must soon, however, have sucHarsh and austere,
ceeded to the family estates, for in 1806, exasperTo those who on my leisure would intrude ated by the bad conduct of some of his tenants, Reserved and rude,
he is said to have sold possessions in WarwickGentle at home amid my friends I'd be
shire and Staffordshire, and pulled down a handLike the high leaves upon the holly tree.
some house he had built. This rash impulsiveness And should my youth, as youth is apt, I know,
will be found pervading his literature as well as Some harshness shew,
his life. In 1808, Mr Landor joined the Spaniards All vain asperities I day by day
in their first insurrectionary movement, raising a Would wear away,
troop at his own expense, and contributing 20,000 Till the smooth temper of my age should be reals to aid in the struggle. In 1815, he took up Like the high leaves upon the holly tree.
his residence in Italy, having purchased a villa
near Florence. There he lived for many years, And as, when all the summer trees are seen So bright and green,
cultivating art and literature, but he again returned The holly leaves a sober hue display
to England and settled in Bath. The early poetLess bright than they,
ical works of Landor were collected and repubBut when the bare and wintry woods we see, lished in 1831. They consist of Gebir, a sort of What then so cheerful as the holly tree?
epic poem, originally written in Latin (Gebirus, So serious should my youth appear among
1802), which De Quincey said had for some time The thoughtless throng,
the sublime distinction of having enjoyed only two So would I seem amid the young and gay
readers-Southey and himself;' Count Julian, More grave than they,
a tragedy, highly praised by Southey ; and various That in my age as cheerful I might be
miscellaneous poems, to which he continued As the green winter of the holly tree.
almost every year to make additions. He also
' cultivated private renown,' as Byron said, in the Some of the youthful ballads of Southey were shape of Latin verses and essays, for which the extremely populár. His Lord William, Mary the noble poet styled him the deep-mouthed Bæotian, Maid of the Inn, The Well of St Keyne, and The Savage Landor. This satire, however, was pointOld Woman of Berkeley, were the delight of most less ; for as a ripe scholar, imbued with the spirit young readers seventy years since. He loved to of antiquity, Mr Landor transcended most of his sport with subjects of diablerie ; and one satirical
contemporaries. His acquirements and genius piece of this kind, The Devil's Thoughts, the joint
were afterwards fully displayed in his Imaginary production of Southey and Coleridge, had the Conversations, a series of dialogues published at honour of being ascribed to various persons. The intervals between 1824 and 1846, by which time conception of the piece was Southey's, who led off they had amounted to one hundred and twenty-five with the following opening stanzas :
in number, ranging over all history, all times, and From his brimstone bed at break of day
almost all subjects. Mr Landor's poetry is infeA-walking the devil is gone,
rior to his prose. In Gebir there is a fine passage, To visit his snug little farm the earth,
amplified by Wordsworth in his Excursion, which And see how his stock goes on.
describes the sound which sea-shells seem to make Over the hill and over the dale,
when placed close to the ear : And he went over the plain,
But I have sinuous shells of pearly hue And backward and forward he switched his long Within, and they that lustre have imbibed tail,
In the sun's palace-porch, where when unyoked As a gentleman switches his cane.
His chariot-wheel stands midway in the wave :
Shake one and it awakens, then apply
And murmurs as the ocean murmurs there.
ing beautiful illustration of grief :
Wakeful he sits, and lonely and unmoved,
As oftentimes an eagle, when the sun
Throws o'er the varying earth his early ray,
Stands solitary, stands immovable, This gentleman, the representative of an ancient
Upon some highest cliff, and rolls his eye, family, was born at Ipsley Court, Warwickshire, Clear, constant, unobservant, unabased, on the 30th of January 1775. He was educated In the cold light.