Imágenes de páginas

• is Bethlehem.' (Gen. xxxv. 16–20.) The 'pillar' of Rachel was known in the time of Moses (ibid. 20)—and mention is made of it by Jerome, and the Bordeaux Pilgrim, in the fourth century, and by subsequent authorities. Mohammedans and Christians agree in their supposed identification of the spot, nor do we see any reason to question their opinion in the matter. It is a small building, covered by a dome-a mound, in the grave form, within, marks the space where the ashes of Rachel-of our mother Rachel,' as the Jews call her, are supposed to rest. From the tomb of Rachel to the convent of Elias there is a gentle ascent, the summit of which gives the traveller along this road his first view of Jerusalem.

As we were advancing to its summit, we began to call to remembrance some of the beautiful allusions of Holy Writ to the “city of the great King,” the type of the spouse of Christ, “the joy of the whole earth,” and which for many ages was "full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city,” and which in its glorious towers and palaces and bulwarks, was unto God himself “ Gilead and the head of Lebanon.” In a moment JERUSALEM was before our view! We stood still in solemn silence, and again went forward, and stood still and gazed. Our feelings were so overpowering, that we could neither understand them nor give them expression. "I am strangely disappointed," at last said my companion; "yet there is something in the scene strangely affecting.” In the language of Scripture,-pætly applied by accommodation, and partly used, as by the inspired writers, as descriptive of the present desolations of the wondrous city, the only suitable response could be given,-"How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! how is she become as a widow!" “From the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed.” “All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?” “Many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God.” “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” “ Yes," replied my friend, “ Jerusalem was the most highly favoured, and the most guilty; and it is now the most signally punished city on the face of the globe. Ages have passed away since its glorious temple and palaces, and towers and residences, were overthrown; and it is not now that we have to expect to find in it anything approaching to its former magnificence. The beauty of its situation is all that we can hope to discern; and that beauty of situation,-in the eminence and slopes of the platform on which it stands, and in its natural defences on two of its sides, -still remains.'-Vol. i. pp. 402, 403.

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As we advanced, our view of Mount Zion greatly improved; and its steep slopes to the south reminded us of its impregnableness in the days of old. A good part of it was literally “ ploughed as a field.” The valley of Hinnom, associated so much with darkness, impurity, and blood, appeared like a deep and yawning gorge, with the facings of its nearly bare rocks on each side much cut and broken. It is now called Wádí Jehennam, or the Valley of Hell. In connexion with this name, we thought of the passage of Jeremiah, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter," though it is not strictly applicable to its present designation. We passed along the western side of this ravine, keeping the great aqueduct from Solomon's pools, the Birket es-Sultán, or the Lower pool of Gihon, to the right, till we crossed the valley opposite the citadel, having the “ Tower of David,” or Hippicus, as one of its most prominent objects. When about to enter the Báb el-Khalíl, or the gate of Hebron, known also by the name of the Yáfá or Joppa Gate, we were taken by the Turkish soldiers on guard to the tents of the officers superintending the quarantine establishment. When we had told them of our long journey through the desert, and when I had presented to them a special letter of introduction which the Governor in Council of Bombay had kindly given to me instead of a passport, they informed us that the quarantine regulations would to a great extent be dispensed with in our case. We were to be allowed to enter the city, under the care of a guidiáno, who should attend us for a couple of days, and give us at the same time liberty to move about as we pleased, without our touching any of the people in the streets—a condition which, owing to the commencement of the influx of pilgrims, we could not observe, and on which our attendant did not insist.

We entered the gate, and our feet stood within Jerusalem! Never did we pass through a town with such interest as on this occasion.'Vol. i. pp. 403, 404.

Dr. Wilson's description of the modern city is so mixed up with antiquarian discussion, as not to admit of extract or abridgment: nor can we at present command space in which to give any account of his travels through those • Lands of the Bible' which lie northward of Jerusalem. We should have been glad, also, to have made our readers acquainted with the substance of the matter presented at the close of the second volume, under the head of General Researches'—relating to the condition of the Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Mussulmans, over Syria. To this last portion of Dr. Wilson's work, we may find occasion to return, but in the meanwhile, beg to commend his publication to the attention of our readers, as one of great general interest, and as a valuable contribution to the stores of our Biblical literature. There is a carelessness, and an occasional faultiness in the style, which we felt disposed at first to notice, but the substantial worth of these volumes has disarmed us of our purpose in that respect.



Art. IX. Bells and Pomegranates. By ROBERT BROWNING.

E. Moxon, 1841-46. ROBERT BROWNING has conquered for himself a high rank amongst contemporary poets, and there are few persons, we presume, who pretend to an acquaintance with the literature of the day, to whom his name has an unfamiliar sound. If they have not read his poems, they have heard them praised; the chances are, that among their acquaintance, two or three are warm admirers; and in no scanty number of families may one hear energetic protests against the affectation' of the title which it has pleased him to adopt as a collective name for the effusions of the last five years. · Bells and Pomegranates ! exclaims the testy objurgator, ' what “stuff! What is the sense of such an affected title? Whereupon some admirer replies: 'Bells and Pomegranates, sir, is a Rabbinical symbol, used by Mr. Browning to indicate an alternation of music with discoursing, sound with sense, poetry with thought.' The testy old gentleman refuses to accept such an explanation, and closes the discussion by observing—Rabbinical, indeed ! we want English, not Hebrew, sir !'

Such an objection, such a discussion proves at least that Robert Browning has a place apart from and above the herd of implacable verse-writers, ambitious of demonstrating that poetry is a drugambitious of proving the truth of Göthe's sarcasm

• Wer treibt die Dichtkunst aus der Welt?

Die Poeten! The objection proves that he has his place in our literature; otherwise, no one would trouble himself with a mere title. Accordingly, we think our duty as critics is calmly to consider his claims to renown; for whatever may be the opinion formed of his poetical powers, the very fact that such powers have in our day raised a man into reputation in a department where, since the giants who lately trod the stage have passed into silence, so few naines have been heard above the crowd—this fact, we say, has a significance in it, which the future historian of literature will have to ponder on.

There is one distinction we would wish clearly to establish before proceeding further. Horace declares that a poet is born, not made. In some sense, this is not true. A poet must be made as well as born: he must live in a certain condition of circumstances; either his epoch must be favourable to the musical expression of great convictions, or his own education must be favourable to the acquisition and practice of his art. All this looks very much like

. a truism, we are aware; but it is not our fault if obvious considerations have been so long overlooked that we are forced to recur

to them. What we mean to educe is this: unquestionably a poet must be born with certain faculties which no education can supply, without which all education is incapable of producing lasting poetry. In a tribe of savages there will be found one or two men in whom some uncontrollable impulse urges them to pour forth their feelings into a rude but rhythmic melody. There is a song in the mind of every true poet; and it is only as a singer that he is a poet. No education creates this impulse in the breast of the savage. Nature created him a Bard, and as such his tribe salutes him.

That which is indispensable in a tribe of savages is also indispensable in a civilized nation; but with some apparent qualifications. Poetry, in as far as it is a Song, cannot be learned; but in as far as it is an Art, it can be learned. In the productions of what are called real poets-great poets, whether they wrote epics, or mere lyrics—there is a vitality which is so charming that it makes us overlook a thousand faults; but, on the contrary, in the productions of those whom we may call poets made mere imitators, clever arrangers-there is amidst all the splendour of ornament a want of life, of freshness, of conviction; so that we are never roused to rapture, we are never haunted by their strains till they become familiar as household words;' and in them we are intolerant of the faults which in the works of real poets are passed over unheeded. The reason is plain The reason is plain: a rose is not the less a rose because it has many specks of dirt upon it; but one of those specks would ruin a piece of china. And by an instinctive justice in mankind it is always the poets made upon whom much criticism is exercised at the time of their appearance. The Singer is listened to; the Artist is criticised.

Among the poets to whom we should deny the name of Singers there are many of very remarkable pretensions; and their works show to what a height a man may raise himself who was made, not born, a poet. In fact, the born poets are extremely rare. The test to apply is to ask yourself-Would Mr. have been a 'poet, if other poets had not written before him? Is the irre'sistible oiorgos within him which would, in all conditions of life, have goaded him to that fine frenzy in which Song is speech?" If you have any sagacity, you cannot be long in determining this question.

The Singer is born according to the will of Nature; the Artist is made according to the accidents of the times, and of his own condition. The one is born in all ages, in all conditions; the other is only producible under certain conditions. It is impossible to predict the appearance of the one; but of the other we may confidently say, 'such a time is favourable-such a time is un

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favourable.' And we have hammered away at this distinction in order that we might conclude with saying: The present moment is by no means favourable to poetry; a conclusion which the reader will long ago have drawn for himself, but which is here recorded, 1st, that we may explain why the present is unfavourable to poetry; and 2nd, that we may the better understand how Robert Browning has been able to reach the place he occupies.

The present moment is unfavourable to poetry, because there reigns an intellectual anarchy, and an exhaustive spirit of application, which prevent sympathy in any great convictions, and which pin us down to the present, by barricading us from the future. It is an age of application, rather than of invention. There is prodigious intellectual activity, but it is not employed in opening up new tracks of thought. Great ideas are in the process of incarnation; great changes are taking place within the womb of society; but it is a period of gestation, and we are not yet on the eve of a new birth. All the great epochs in the history of literature have been stirring, troubled epochs, when society was in travail, and the poet's song was either a song of jubilee for the coming era, or the last cry of despair over the departing. In such periods there is an excitement in the public mind favourable to literature, which is the expression of society-and particularly to poetry. A man gifted with a musical feeling, and strongly influenced by the tendencies of the age, will then rise up, and by uttering in articulate and beautiful tones the thoughts and aspirations which are agitating the dumb millions, be saluted as their Poet; but the very same man, thrown upon other times, would distinguish himself in some other way, so that men should never suspect that he had in him the material for a poet. In our day, we may observe how few men of remarkable powers have given any labour to poetry; and this is the more striking, because almost all our writers have the accomplishment of verse ;' so that if they do not throw their thoughts into poems, it is from an instinctive or reflective sense of the futility of such an employment of their energies. Let us take Macaulay as an example. No one will pronounce him a born poet'; yet who will deny that he has greater talents than many men who in their day have been regarded as great poets? and if he had given up his days and nights to the practice of his art, he would assuredly have attained to mastery; but he would not have produced poems such as would rouse the enthusiasm of the public, and deserve the attention of posterity; simply because he would have no exalted aspirations, no great convictions, afforded him by his epoch as the inspiration of his song. Unable to reflect the Present, he would be forced to give some pale copy of the Past; to the Future no

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