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of all are the children of the air, from the slow beetle, drowsily humming homeward, to the swift swallow and the lightwinged hornet, that flies amost as fast as light itself. And who has not seen the merry dance of tiny gnats, who hover like faint clouds of mist, over hedges and fences, and, in the golden light of the setting sun, forget how near death is to birth. They seemingly move lawlessly up and down, enjoying the mere pleasure of motion. But an attentive observer will soon notice that they each know full well their appointed place they move now on this side up and down, and now on that; they dash diagonally through the crowd and resume their position, so that in reality the confused maze is a beautiful, though mysterious dance. Surely it is not without higher meaning, that even the tiny insect should thus show both will and enjoyment in regular motion.

After motion follows rest; for among animals also the law prevails, that rest is production, but motion consumption. Hence the most active of all live shortest, whilst tortoises, water-snakes and crocodiles live almost forever, like the ever-resting trees of the forest. The more regularly divided rest and motion are, the higher the animal's powersalthough we must not forget that the necessity for rest itself is a sign of inferiority, and hence the Eternal alone "never resteth." Hence we find animals to differ in few points more radically than in their sleep. The lowest classes exhibit no signs of such alternation-as their whole life is, perhaps, only a state between waking or sleeping. Closed eyes are no evidence; for many animals, even fishes and insects, have no eye-lids, and cannot shut their eyes. Others, and those of the most perfect, sleep with open eyes, their upper lids being too short, or their eyes themselves being so constructed. Stranger still it is, that the lower animals are affected only by the great changes of the seasons; so that they are lively in the summer sun, but fast asleep in cold winter. Only the higher organizations are affected by the slighter changes of day and night. The torpor of hybernating animals is no true rest, but merely a measure of self-preservation. The frozen frog and the ice-bound eggs of the caterpillar can hardly be said to be living. The marmot of Mont Blanc, which sleeps for ten months of the year, does not wake under

the surgeon's knife; his blood is stagnant, and his heart has ceased beating. Quite mysterious is as yet the periodical sleep of some insects. Deep under ground, some locusts sleep an unbroken sleep of seventeen years. All of a sudden they awake-who calls them? They feel an invincible impulse to rise to the surface, to greet the sweet light of day, to join the great chorus above with merry voice, to live and to enjoy.

The first discernment of night and day is found in the spotted crawfish, which sleeps in the day, and lives only at night. In the dark hours he catches small fishes, knocks them down, and then cuts them up into nice little bits, as with a knife. When sleep once commences among certain classes, it is lost no more; for it belongs necessarily to the economy of the more perfect animals. Hence, also, the strange effects of a privation of sleep among some of the most gifted. The wild are thus tamed, the docile taught to sing. The noble falcon of Iceland-that land of wonders which, amidst ice and fire, has given to the world some of the most useful animals, and some of the greatest warriors and thinkers-was, when first captured, placed on a hoop, and kept without sleep. After some days and nights passed in such cruel torture, his memory was so obscured that he forgot his old liberty, and became humbly subject to his new master!

Need we finally add, that animals discern, and show both pain and joy? They all avoid the former, and seek after pleasure. Various classes possess,


course, e, very different capacities, and what gives joy to some, is pain to others. Here, also, the law prevails, that the least perfect enjoy and suffer least; their nerves, through which, mainly, both sensations are felt, being too generally diffused. Hence some animals may be cut into pieces, and each piece grow into a perfect whole; the head of snails may be removed, and another will appear in its place. Grasshoppers have had cotton stuffed into the place of their bowels, and they have lived for weeks; turtles deprived of the brain, and even the heart, have lived for a month' The emperor Commodus beheaded os triches, whilst they were racing at full speed, and they still ran to the end of the course: Boerhaave offered food to a hungry cock, and cut off his head whilst he was running towards the grain; the

bird ran twenty yards to his food, and, when there, bent over to pick up the grains. Hence also the common superstition that snakes will not die before sunset; their tenacity of life is so great that the severed head of a viper bit the famous Charas, several days after its decapitation, fiercely enough to expose him to serious danger. How strongly this apparent insensibility contrasts with the tenderness of the elephant, which uses unceasing diligence in driving off flies, or the sensitiveness of the dog that trembles at the mere sight of the rod.

Still, pain ever quickly passes away, and joy is, with animals at least, the permanent purpose of life. They all enjoy rest or motion, heat or cold, food and warmth. The melancholy

bat loves its kindred, and revels in its nightly wanderings, and the jubilant lark rises on high, singing loud anthems of joy and thanksgiving. Merry bees seize each other, and whirl round in merry dance, and ants play and gambol in the bright sunshine, and wrestle like men with each other. The fish in the water sport and gambol in their limpid home, chasing and beating each other with flexible tails, in merry joy and gladness. The herons of Numidia even come into the villages, and dance in a circle with widely-spread wings. Thus, too, there is joy among men, as God has said: "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the field be joyful, and all that therein is, the world, and all that dwell therein !"




USTY lies the village turnpike, and the upland-fields are dry,
While the river, inly sighing. creeps in stealthy marches by;

And the clouds, like spectral Druids, in their garments old and gray,
Sweeping through the saddened silence, fold their sainted palms and pray.
As their tears of tender pity, soft and chrismal, trance the plain,

All the birds, like sweet-mouthed minstrels, blend their tuneful notes again, With the tinkling and the sprinkling

Of the gentle summer rain.


Tangled in the dreamy meshes of the soft and slumbrous haze,
How the rain-drops thrill the spirit in the mild September days;
Pouring on the golden-tinted autumn splendor of the leaves,

Rustling through the yellow grain-fields and the reapers' standing sheaves-
How they swell the silver streamlets, how they brim the land with glee!
So our lives shall brim with pleasure, pulsing like a living sea,

At the clattering and the pattering

Of the joyous autumn rain.


Sadly as when harp-strings quiver, wildly as a wail of doom,
Unappeased the night-wind surges through the elemental gloom.
All the inner light is winsome, though the outer dark be chill,
And my passing thoughts are fancies of a balm-entranced will-
I will charm the fleet-winged hours, they shall fold their pinions fair,
While I sit and weirdly listen, reading legends old and rare,

To the roaring and the pouring

Of the noisy winter rain.



OBERT BROWNING'S poetry is certainly very hard reading, like Cowley's and Dr. Donne's. But the difference between him and such obscurists is, that with the earlier poets, both the style and the sentiment were equally conceits-while Browning's style is the naturally quaint form of a subtle or sinwy thought. In any general classification of English poetry, Browning must be ranked with the modern school for his profound reality and humanity and faithful reliance upon nature. In any classification of poetry in general, he is strictly a dramatist-the most purely dramatic genius in English literature since the great dramatic days.


A great deal of the difficulty in reading his poetry arises from its purely dramatic conception and form. man Browning is not to be found in his poems, except inferentially, like Shakespeare in his dramas. The various play of profound passion is his favorite realm. He loves the South, and southern character, as Byron loved the East. But Byron's passion, however fiery and intense, is a passion of the sensesBrowning's is the passion of the soul, including and deepening the other. In other great English poets there is more daring indecency; but in none such startling audacity of passionate expression. It is the emotional nature of man with which he deals, and of man everywhere, and under all circumstances. Thus, while the quaint structure of his mind, and his rare and curious reading, show, for instance, his natural abstract sympathy with the fantastic horrors of the middle ages, springing, as they did, out of a kind of cold, religious logic; yet he dashes in the scene with a living picturesqueness, which invests it with a Jurid but appropriate splendor. So absolute is his dramatic form, that the "Heretic's Tragedy," in his last volame, "Men and Women," is as entirely mediæval as a fragment of an old cathedral. The intense satire and prodigious jeer of the poem arise from the reader's knowledge that it was written at the

present time. By some inexplicable power, which is entirely peculiar to Browning, without the faintest indication or expression of his personality, he seems to be present as a critic of all the scenes his various poems describe. But this consciousness on the part of the reader, never destroys, for a moment, the dramatic variety and completeness. The most exquisite illustration of this is "My Last Duchess." There is no prelude, no key-but not only is the story perfectly told, so that you feel yourself to be in medieval Italy, hearing an Italian talk, but without a word said, you have the whole thing impressed upon your mind as utterly iniquitous. We subjoin the two poems. The first is from his last volume, "Men and Women;" the second from the Dramatic Lyrics, in the second volume of his earlier works:


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"Browning's Poems. 2 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1848.

Men and Women. By ROBERT BROWNING. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1856.
Sordello. By ROBERT BROWNING. Chapman & Hall, London. 1840.

Christmas Eve, and Easter Day. By ROBERT BROWNING. Chapman & Hall, London.
Strafford, an Historical Tragedy. By ROBERT BROWNING. London.

Till, caught by Pope Clement, a-buzzing there, Hornet-prince of the mad wasps' hive, And clipt of his wings in Paris square, They bring him now to be burned alive. [And wanteth there grace of lute or clavieithern, ye shall say to confirm him who singeth

We bring John now to be burned alive.


"In the midst is a goodly gallows built; "Twixt fork and fork a stake is stuck; But first they set divers tumbrils a-tilt,

Make a trench all round with the city muck; Inside they pile log upon log, good store,

Fagots not few, blocks great and small, Reach a man's mid-thigh, no less, no more,For they mean he should roast in the sight of all.


"We mean he should roast in the sight of all,


"Good sappy savins that kindle forthwith; Billets that blaze substantial and slow; Pine-stump split deftly, dry as pith;

Larch-heart that chars to a chalk-white glow;

Then up they hoist me John in a chafe,
Sling him fast like a hog to scorch,
Spit in his face, then leap back safe,

Sing 'Laudes' and bid elap-to the torch.

"Laus Deo-who bids clap-to the torch


"John of the Temple, whose fame so bragged, Is burning alive in Paris square! How can he curse, if his mouth is gagged?

Or wriggle his neck, with a collar there?
Or heave his chest, while a band goes round?
Or threat with his fist, since his arms are

Or kick with his feet, now his legs are bound?
-Thinks John-I will call upon Jesus
[Here one crosseth himself.


"Jesus Christ-John had bought and sold, Jesus Christ-John had eaten and drunk; To him, the Flesh meant silver and gold. (Salvà reverentia.)

Now it was, 'Saviour, bountiful lamb,

I have roasted thee Turks, though men roast me.

See thy servant, the plight wherein I am!
Art thou a Saviour? Save thou me!'


"Tis John the mocker cries, Save thou me I


"Who maketh God's menace an idle word? -Saith, it no more means what it proclaims, Than a damsel's threat to her wanton bird ?For she too prattles of ugly names. -Saith, he knoweth but one thing,-what he knows?

That God is good and the rest is breath; Why else is the same styled, Sharon's rose? Once a rose, ever a rose, he saith. "CHORUS.

"O, John shall yet find a rose, he saith!

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The terrible diablerie of this poem is quite unmatched in English literature. It is as morally effective as a whole volley of sermons, or strings of resolutions of an anti-papal league. The stanzas strike home like the blows of a trip-hammer. The poem is as simple in drift as any amiable verse of Mrs. Barbauld. But the resemblance ends there. The conception, the method, the treatment, the moral, are peculiarly Browning's. It is the sinewy Saxon mind of the nineteenth century, sitting in judgment upon the spirit of the fourteenth. In rhythm, it is as melodious to the ear as a love-song of Moore's, with a deep, inward music, that haunts the heart, as all Browning's music does.

Here is "My Last Duchess," which, as a work of mere art, is no less composed and polished than Pope; but with such a pregnant meaning in every line, that you seem to have read a tragedy, or an old Italian romance, and not a mere sketch:



"That's my last duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive; I call That piece a wonder, now; Frà Pandolf's hands


Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will't please you sit and look at her? I said,

Frà Pandolf' by design, for never read Strangers, like you, that pictured counte

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Are you to turn and ask me. Sir, 'twas not Her husband's presence, only, called that spot

Of joy into the Duchess' cheek; perhaps Fra Pandolf chanced to say, 'Her mantle laps

Over my lady's wrist too much,' or, 'Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half blush that dies along her throat;' such stuff

Twas courtesy, she thought, and cause enough

For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart-how shall I say?-too soon made glad,

Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.

Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the west, The bough of cherries some official tool

Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule

She rode with round the terrace-all and each

Would draw from her alike the approving speech,

Or blush, at least. She thanked men-good; but thanked

Somehow I know not how as if she ranked

My gift of a nine hundred years old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech-(which I have not)---to make your will

Quite clear to such an one, and say, 'Just this

Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark;' and if she let
Herself be lessened so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made ex-


E'en then would be some stooping, and I chuse

Never to stoop. Oh! sir, she smiled, no doubt,

Whene'er I passed her; but who passed


Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;

Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands

As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet

The company below, thon. I repeat

The Count your master's known munifi


Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallow'd;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir! Notice, Neptune, tho'
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze
for me."


There is all Italy in that poem. thing could be simpler and more intelligible—nothing more various, subtle, intense, and tragical. The concentrated meaning of the last few lines; the sly, complaisant, cold-blooded, jealous selfishness, the mock refusal of the proffered honor of going first, which only his unreal words, and not his real manner, present -for the reader sees that the count's ambassador was holding back to let the duke advance; the self-possession which will not lose the chance of flattering itself by an affected contempt for the treasures of art; the hard, haughty, iron-willed, remorseless, sensitive, suspicious, smooth, gracious, and pitiless Italian noble, are as perfectly delineated in this sketch as in a portrait of Giorgione's. Then the love-tale with which they are enlivened, and the duke's contemptuous jealousy of appearing to have been jealous; the artist-monk who loves the lovely lady--her sweet, wasted nature, and lost life; her flower-like spirit, slowly sickening and withering in stately desolation-all these, with their wild changes in the fierce struggle, like the jangled strains of bells in a tempest, are so firmly and fully impressed, in much fewer words than they can be paraphrased, that we are disposed to rank this sketch with the best specimens of dramatic description.


Do you not observe in this, also, the presence of the poet as a kind of abstract moral and historical critic? thing is said or implied of him. But, as you read, you shudder-and that shudder is the protest of the moral nature, and seals the triumph of the poet's art.

The secret sympathy of Browning's genius with everything Italian, is one of the most remarkable peculiarities of his poetry. It is the key, also, to the character of his genius. Many of the recent English poets have had the same fondness for Italy. Byron was never so much Byron as in Italy; Shelley lived there; Keats died there. But none of them has so completely and dramatically reproduced the romance and trage

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