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coolness of the judgment of friends, and the disappointment which poets feel at finding their cherished emotional thought but slightly as they interpret it, too often slightingly-reciprocated and appreciated. Theirs is direct, the other is reflex emotion, and so much less strong and stirring.
We make these observations not only on our own behalf as critics, not even as an act of justice to the writers of verse, but as a duty towards our readers. We think it not unlikely that some of our contributors may think that the critic is a cold-blood ed sort of animal, destitute of emotion, rather oyster-like in the nature of his passions and poetic faculty, and seldom aglow with the divine Promethean fire of imagination. We venture to assure them that critics, as a general rule, are “men of like passions” as others, though culture gives a cunning seeing to their eyes, as to faults and defects, which is not always possessed by others, and this is not without its compensating balance, of often being able to see beauties not readily discernible by uncritical eyes. Were it not so, what would be the worth of criticism P plainly nought. Poems are submitted the cultured perception of critics just as new inventions are submitted to experts, and cases are brought before judges, that they, looking carefully at both sides, may form an impartial judgment, just on the average, though not necessarily infallible. Criticism, like law, ought to have no passions and no friendliness. In fact, friendly criticism is faulty criticism ; but that says nothing at all against appreciative criticism, which is all right. Contributors may wisely bear this in mind, but readers ought also to be told that in these pages the poems selected for publication, for the most part, are subjected to an ordeal to which poetry in other serials is not exposed. They are brought before the mind as the subjects of criticism, and the reader's mind is therefore thrown into a state of artificial coldness towards them which may mar their zest and do them injustice on a first perusal.
In regard to the manner of criticism employed by ourselves, we may say that we read each piece submitted to us for criticism several times with a desire to do justice to the writers and a service to our readers. No single reading of any poem is enough for a critical perusal, because poetry is emotional, and unless our emotions and our intellect are brought or wrought into harmony with the writer's purpose, appreciation is impossible, depreciation is probable. Poetry, to be read thoroughly and enjoyed well, ought to be perused in the mood or humour, with the emotions free to be stirred, and with designed giving of the reins of will into the poet's hands; then, having found and felt the purpose of the writer, the critical reader must observe how this is effected, and whence the effects arise. Afterwards heart and art, being alike livingly and lovingly engaged in the perusal, the poem ought to be read again for the purpose of noting and enjoying the whole combined elements of the thoughts, imaginings, words, music, and suggestings of the Perhaps no better exercise in composition can be found than the practice of versification. It requires choiceness of phrase, and inspires selectness of diction ; it cultivates the sense of harmony, and induces variousness of forms of expression. On this account, perhaps, the better form for verse-culture is that of translation. In a poem by some known writer we are sure to have a poetic thought, and a pattern of melodious phraseology, and the ambition to match the "linked sweetness ” of the original in the substitutions of a version in another tongue greatly facilitates the formal if not the for. mative practice of versification. Here, for instance, we have a few translations which may be gathered together under the general title of “ Songs of Spring.' The first specimen consists of the four first verses of "Die Vereinigung ” (The Union), by Johann Heinrich Vo88 (1751-1826),
one of the most energetic members of the Dichter. bund (poetical confederacy) of the genius period of German poetry.
A SPRING SONG.
Look up, how fair that lightsome blue
Its boundless dome extending!
With golden kingcups blending!
Each tender leaf rejoices ;
Ring out from countless voices !
On lowly herb, on stately tree,
Young buds in crowds are swelling ;
Love's soul through all is welling.
[forth-breaking Like change our ransomed frames shall know
From death's dark slumber breaking. [awaking
Our second specimen is from the agreeable and tasteful poeto the Grand Duchy of Baden, Aloys Schreiber, entitled
THE CHILD AND THE FLOWERS.
Now, while gladness crowns the year!
And the summer days are near.
Choose me, that in holy gladness
Tender youth may blossom free; [Your sweet
This fair lesson teach I thee.
Hopeful, in her bridal wreath ;
Hopeful, round the bier of death.
Kind ones, let your
beauties blending Come to grace my bower of May; And through life your counsels lending,
Help to cheer its parting day:
We take next one of Heine's mystical hints of the brotherhood of all nature, which almost translates itself into English verse in its sweet simplicity, the song of the good daughter of the parson of Grünau, in the Idyl “Luise :'
THE PINE AND THE PALM.
A PINE tree standeth all lonesome,
On a dreary northern hill;
In his shroud so white and still.
In dreams he beholds a palm tree, [He dreameth, and lo
In a far-off southern land;
From translated verse we now turn to our MSS. of original poetry. We quote first a few stanzas, whose tone is somewhat Vanghan-like. They possess a pathetic interest, and have in them the true poetic power of touching the emotional nature. The meaning grows by perusal, and the effect increases as they are re-read. Perhaps if the poem had been more compressed it would have been more effective.
MY BURIED LOVE,
UPON her grave they grow,
To watch her in repose.
It seems so long ago ;,
A flower within a tomb.
up before me springs
[my saintly tireless
Yet now her fluttering wings,
[E'en Impatient, stretch themselves for heaven ward flight; Good-bye once more : I go to earthly things
With thee, my love, in sight;
In hope that soon the cloud
Before the morning's sun.
In patience do I wait,
Our next quotation is more ambitious in its aim, and takes a higher flight. We cannot say it is so well sustained or so consistent as it might have been. Stanzas two and three might be advantageously rewritten, with closer reference to six and seven, which ought to be the echo of them in a fresh reverberation of the emotional pain and pang.