always be associated, for it is a work that can neither be superseded nor excelled.
He was the first to arouse English scholars to the importance of this, as may be read in the dedication of a partial edition taken from the Percy manuscripts and published in London in 1861.
He recognized in them the true foundation of the finest literature of the modern world, and he considered them so much the better from the fact that they were not composed to be printed, but to be recited or sung.
Matthew Arnold wrote in a letter from America: After lecturing at Taunton, I came to Boston with Professor Child of Harvard, a very pleasant man, who is a great authority on ballad poetry, very warm praise, considering the source whence it came.
Late in life Professor Child edited separate versions in modern English of some curious old ballads, and sent them as Christmas presents to his friends.
It is not surprising that he should have been interested as well in the rude songs of the British sailor
James Russell Lowell resigned the chair of poetry at Harvard no one could be found who could exactly fill his place, and it was much the same at Oxford after Matthew Arnold retired.
The difference between then and now would seem to reside in the fact, that poetry is more easily remembered than prose.
From the time of Homer uner and amusing writer.
We find nothing concerning Disraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins.
Neither do we hear of critical and historical writers like Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Carlyle, and Froude.
He went, however, to call on Carlyle in England, and was greatly impressed by his conversation.
The scope of Longfellow's reading doespetual iambics of Byron and Wordsworth.
Evangeline is perhaps the most successful instance of Greek and Latin hexameter being grafted on to an English stem.
Matthew Arnold considered it too dactylic, but the lightness of its movement personifies the grace of the heroine herself.
Lines like Virgil's Illi inter sese multa VI bra
e was any truth in it, it seems probable that he would have confided the fact to more intimate friends.
There are well-authenticated instances of visions seen by persons in a waking condition — this always happens, for instance, in delirium tremens-but they are sure to indicate nervous derangement, and are commonly followed by death.
If there was ever a poet with a sound mind and a sound body, it was James Russell Lowell.
Edwin Arnold considered him the best of American poets, while Matthew Arnold did not like him at all. Emerson, in his last years, preferred him to Longfellow, but it is doubtful if he always did so. The strong point of his poetry is its intelligent manliness,--the absence of affectation and all sentimentality; but it lacks the musical element.
He composed neither songs nor ballads,--nothing to match Hiawatha, or Gray's famous Elegy.
America still awaits a poet who shall combine the savoir faire of Lowell with the force of Emerson and the grace and purity of Lo
, though excellent in themselves, were not suited to the taste of his audiences.
But Sumner was always strong and effective, and that is, after all, the main point.
Like Webster he possessed a logical mind, and the profound earnestness of his nature gave an equally profound conviction to his words.
Besides this, Sumner possessed the heroic element, as Patrick Henry and James Otis possessed it. After Webster's death there was no American speaker who could hold an audience like him.
Matthew Arnold, in his better days, said that Burke's oratory was too rich and overloaded.
This is true, but it is equally true that Burke is the only orator of the eighteenth century that still continues to be read.
He had a faulty delivery and an ungainly figure, but if he emptied the benches in the House of Commons he secured a larger audience in coming generations.
The material of his speeches is of such a vital quality that it possesses a value wholly apart from the time and occasion of its del
r evenings in Rome, and I said, In all kinds of study and reading, but just now P-- was at work on Browning's Ring and the Book.
Mr. Longfellow laughed. I do not wonder you call it work, he said.
It seems to me a story told in so many different ways may be something of a curiosity — not much of a poem.
I have since observed that poets as a class are not fair critics of poetry; for they are sure to prefer poetry which is like their own. This is true at least of Lowell, Emerson, or Matthew Arnold; but when I came to read The Ring and the book I found that Longfellow's objection was a valid one.
I remarked that Rev. Mr. Longfellow had a decided partiality for Browning.
Yes, he said; Sam likes him, and my friend John Weiss prefers him to Tennyson.
My objection is to his diction.
I have always found the English language sufficient for my purpose, and have never tried to improve on it. Browning's Saul and The Ride from Ghent to Aix are noble poems.
Carlyle also, I said, has
uch verses as:
What time the gods kept carnival; Tricked out in gem and flower; And in cramp elf and saurian form They swathed their too much power.
A person who lacks some knowledge of geology would not be likely to understand this.
Matthew Arnold and Edwin Arnold had no very high opinion of Emerson's poetry; and even Carlyle, who was Emerson's best friend in Europe, spoke of it in rather a disparaging manner.
The Mountain and the Squirrel and several others have been translated intoeld a very similar opinion, and David A. Wasson considered Emerson's Problem one of the great poems of the century.
These men were all poets themselves, though they did not make a profession of it, and in that character were quite equal to Matthew Arnold, whose lecture on Emerson was evidently written under unfavorable influences.
They were men who had passed through similar experiences to those which developed Emerson's mind and character, and could therefore comprehend him better than othe