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ence which saddens towards middle life, just when again, in May, 1845: “The reign of primroses and the man of action is in full tide of thought-anni- cowslips is over, and the oak now begins to take hilating affairs. A recluse like FitzGerald finds up the empire of the year, and wear a budding that his friends scatter, or marry, or die; he does garland about its brows. Over all this settles not easily replenish the stock. On a dreaming down the white cloud in the West, and the Mornmind-mirror, unclouded by strong will or desire, ing and Evening draw towards Summer.” It is memories of vanished scenes and presences are the very movement and inner sense of Nature vividly impressed, the flow of things, the sense of mirrored and reflected as perhaps it has been in distances, contrasts, and changes-
any other writer of letters, save one, in this time Yet ah! that Spring should vanish with the Rose, and country. That youth's sweet-scented manuscript should close.
FitzGerald happened upon Persian literature at "Life is a Dream” is the title given to his great
age of life when most men who have the time est drama by the profound Calderon. FitzGerald
to brood, think with some sadness of the turn saw the events of life pass before him as incidents
of their tide, and regret, after a fashion, joys nat. in a dissolving vision set in a circle of darkness,
ural to youth which have been sacrificed to work, like a magic-lantern picture. Either one loses
a sense of duty, ambition, religion or to shyness. oneself in active life, and then it seems real, or
He had all his days to brood in, and his was that one looks on, and then it seems like the scene
sensitive sensuous nature disjoined from capacity played in Prospero's enchanted island by spirits
for action, more to be found in the South and East clothed in flesh, taking different parts, lightly ap
than in the energetic North. The poetry of Hafiz pearing or vanishing heavily, in accordance with
and Omar Khayyam, with its catch at the sweet the will of an unseen Dramatic Author.
fruit of life, came to him at the appropriate moWe are no other than a moving row
ment. Especially in Omar he found something to Of magic shadow-shapes that come and go Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
his own spirit. “June over,” he writes in 1857, "a In Midnight by the Master of the Show.
thing I think of with Omar-like sorrow. And the “You say sometimes," wrote FitzGerald from roses here are blowing-and going as abundantly Wherstead, by the Orwell river, as early as 1835, as even in Persia.” "Omar breathes,” he said, “a “how like things are to dreams; or, as I think, sort of consolation to me." Not that FitzGerald to the shifting scenes of a play. So does this ever ranked the Persians as intellectually on place seem to me. All our family are collected a par with the great western poets, "their religion here; all my brothers and sisters, with their and philosophy is soon seen through, and always wives, husbands and children, sitting at different seems to be cuckooed over like a borrowed thirg occupations, or wandering about the grounds and which people having once got, don't know how to gardens, discoursing each tbeir separate concerns, parade enough”—but “Hafiz and Omar Khayyam but all united into one whole. The weather is ring like true metal.” And, later on, he wrote to delightful, but when I see them passing to and Cowell: "Oh, dear, when I do look into Homer, fro, and hear tbeir voices, it is like the scenes in Dante and Virgil, Æschylus, Shakespeare, etc., a play." FitzGerald was twenty-six when he those Orientals look-silly." After all, however, wrote thus, and another twenty years were to pass a goodly portion of the religion and philosophy before he translated Omar-years of develope- of Western poets is soon seen through, and is but ment of his temperament, with no spell of active cuckooed over. There are few voices in the life to break the dream or normalize the mode of world and many echoes, it has been said. seeing and expressing. His life was the exact an FitzGerald was absorbed in the Persian for a tithesis to, for instance, that of a sturdy pilgrim few years, produced the wondrous piece of poetry through nearly the same tract of time-- the late in which his spirit lives like an enchanter in his editor of the Edinburgh Review, whose recently magically built palace, and then passed away alpublished Letters afford a good standard of com together from bis Eastern wanderings. He had, parison.
it seemed, loaded all his "perilous stuff" on the One sees the dominant mood and style of Fitz- ship thus launched on its voyage, and turned Gerald maturing towards his world-disturbing more than ever, in the rest of his life, to the books poem. In 1844, for instance, his view of London which dealt with the visible and human.
Cerfrom Carlyle's attic: "The window was open and vantes, Boccacio, Montaigne, Madame de Sevigne, looked out on nursery gardens, their almond trees Horace Walpole, Crabbe, Lamb, Dickens, Trollope, in blossom, and beyond, bare walls of houses, and and above all, Walter Scott, and now and again over these, roofs and chimneys, and here and an hour of Sophocles and Virgil, became the chief there a steeple, and whole London crowned with companions of his solitude. He loved best the darkness gathering behind like the illimitable re writers in whom their To-day lived and breathed sources of a dream.” It is a true vision of the as a real presence; not the abstract thinkers or idea of London in the Platonic sense. Or here generalizing historians.
It is now worth asking what is this pbilosophy alter nothing. Sin is a meaningless word. Nothof which Omar Khayyam is the father, and the ing is certain except the pleasure of the present spirit and style of FitzGerald is the English hour-life itself is but a “momentary taste of Bemother, and, next, what is it in the present con ing from the well amid the waste.” Therefore endition of the Anglo-Saxon world which has of joy while you may the flower garden, the forbidlate given so successful a career to this philosophy? den wine, and the rosy lips of the beloved.
Some commentators, with ingenuity greater Waste not your hour, nor in the vain pursuit even than that of those who composed the Of This and that endeavor and dispute; headings to the Chapters of the Song of Solomon Better be jocund with the fruitful Grape,
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit. in the English Bible, have supposed Omar to be a mystic religionist signifying divine love under
“Make baste to eat, drink, and be merry,” etc. the images of the wine and long tressed cup
"The result," says FitzGerald, "is sad enough, bearer, as Hafiz and other Sufi poets did, or
saddest perbaps when most ostentatiously merry; pretended to do or have been supposed to
more apt to move sorrow than anger toward the do. Mr. FitzGerald himself could not take
old Tent-maker, who, after vainly endeavoring to this view. "Omar," he remarks in his Preface,
unshackle his steps from Destiny, and to catch “is said to have been especially hated and feared
some authentic glimpse of To morrow, fell back by the Sufis, whose practice he ridiculed, and
upon To-day (which has outlasted so many Towhose faith amounts to little more than his own,
morrows!)as the only ground he had to stand upwhen stripped of the mysticisin and formal recog
on, however momentarily slipping from under his
feet." It is, in fact, the wisdom of Horace, but inpition of Islamism under which Omar would not hide.... Having failed (however mistakenly) of
carnated in a warmer and more passionate poetry
than could arise from the mind of the habitue of finding any Providence but Destiny, and any world but this, he set about making the most of it; the Via Sacra. preferring rather to soothe the Soul through the
Doubtless to us Omar Khayyam would be nothSenses into acquiescence with things as he saw
ing were it not for FitzGerald. Magic indeed is them, than to perplex it with vain disquietude
the power of verse. Every quatrain in the ver
sion will outlive all articles written in excellent after what they might be. Thus Omar, despairing of a solution of the enigma of life, fell back, in
prose upon important topics in the solemn Times, theory at least, upon sensual pleasure as the only
from its first morning of creation to its last dawn true wisdom, and only diverted himself with spec
of reckoning. The poem lives with an astonishulative problems of Diety, Destiny, Matter and
ing life of its own, perhaps to endure as long as
the Psalms of Davià. Like the finest poet of the Spirit, Good and Evil, and other such questions, easier to start than to run down, and the pursuit present day, FitzGerald might have said, though of which becomes a very weary sport at last.”
he certainly would not have said: If, in accordance with FitzGerald and common
Yea, ere Saturnian earth her child consumes,
And I lie down with outworn ossuaries, sepse, one takes Omar Khayyam as a material
Ere death's grim tongue anticipates the tomb's Epicurean of the twelfth century, meaning what
Siste, viator; in this storied urn he says, his teaching is old and simple enough. My living heart is laid to throb and burn, He plays upor an instrument with few strings. Till end be ended, and till ceasing cease. Nothing is known beyond the circle of sensation. Yet their poetic vigor and beauty alone do not All revelations are but as tales told by dreamers explain the amazing hold which these quatrains, , who wake for a moment, then fall to sleep again.
after their obscure birth and childhood, have sudPhilosophic explanations are as empty and truth denly taken upon the English race. less as religious revelations. Heaven and Hell Something in their spirit, perhaps, suits a wanare but creations of imagination:
dering and dissatisfied folk, camping here and
there about the planet in virgin deserts, or upon Heav'n but the Vision of fulfilled Desire, And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
the ruins of old civilizations. In India, that "batCast on the Darkness into which Ourselves
tered Caravanserai, whose portals are Calcutta So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.
and Bombay, where Viceroy after Viceroy with Men are like pieces on a chess-board endowed his Staff abides his destined Hour and goes his with consciousness which makes them fancy that Way," or in South Africa, or Australia, or the they govern their own movements. They exult American Far West, where searchers for settlein success, or despond in failure, but really are ment are here to-day and gone to-morrow, the placed, and moved, and removed by the player. verse of the immobile dweller by the Deben may Or they are as a ball tossed down into the polo best express the sense of the transitory and the field and driven hither and thither. Destiny unreal. An American Ambassador has told us governs all from the first of days to the last; in that he heard a western pioneer mutter a FitzGervain men pray, and weep, and struggle; they can ald quatrain as he struck his little mining camp.
serve as a
But this is not the full explanation either. Justing capture of adherents by those wizards (in a as in the 'fifties there was something in FitzGer. respectful seose) who, lit by a dim but waxing ald's mood which made the old Persian's poetry a moon, follow Spiritualism, Christian Science and fertilizing seed-place, so there is now some recent the like obscure by paths. Another curious sign change in the mood of the Anglo Saxon race that is the development of a kind of religion of patriothas caused this wide response to Omar-in-FitzGer ism. Anti-Catholic journals and orators, the new ald. It is, one must imagine, that there has of priesthood have, since the Revolution, in Latin late been a wide and rapid decline in religious be countries, steadily taught the people to worship lief, so that a vast number of English people are abstract images called La France or Italia. These able to understand and largely sympathize with hierophants recall by their wrath when any insult the old rebel against the orthodox Islamite Puri- (to be avenged by seas of blood) is offered to these tanism of the East. Christian wisdom is exactly goddesses, that of those who cried out: "Great is opposite to that of Omar Khayyam, in that it af Diana of the Ephesians.” To their honor even firms a knowledge of the meaning and end of life, honor itself is to be sacrificed. Even in England avd of that which is outside or behind life, most and America there are some few signs of this tenincomplete, indeed, but sufficient to
dency to hypostasize the natural love of one's practical guide. A Christian might admire the country into the worship or adoration of an beauty of FitzGerald's poetry and think that it imaged Abstraction. A recent proposal that all was the best possible expression of life unillu children in national schools should perform a daily mined by revelation and unguided by faith. act of salutation to the national flag would have
Christians have at all time accepted the belief seemed strange to our grandfathers, and idolathat the world is under the Divine Government trous to Cromwell and Milton. Not long ago a Lonof the Being whom they call by different names don newspaper laid it down that "to extend the in their different languages; that this Being was area of Englishmen and the English language was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ; that the new religion of Anglo-Saxon civilization." men are here in the world merely as pilgrims on Alas! in need, sorrow, sickness, or any other adtheir way to their own country; that they are re versity, no man will derive consolation from the sponsible for their conduct, and are bound to live existence of the British Empire or the Amerisoberly and seriously; that they should look on the can Republic, and, on the approach of death, things on earth not as ends in themselves, but these circumstances, relatively speaking merely as provisions for the way. Enjoyments great, will seem but as the shadow of of the body or intellect are in the Christian view, dream. They minister to our pride, these vast not indeed to be condemned, but to be used with national estates, but console not our sorrows, and great caution and moderation least they should this is why, in spite of enormous success, we are prove temptations drawing men away from their still, as a German philosopher called us, "the most true path, the road of ad patriam. In this view, melancholy of races." There is no real cheerfulsuffering willingly and patiently endured, after ness or lightheartedness for those who are burthe example of the founder of the religion, is a dened with great possessions, and tormented by higher ideal by far than any pleasure, however never satisfied desires. legitimate. This whole conception of life is so FitzGerald first published his Omar Khayyam absolutely different from Omar's "Counsels of when the tide of optimistic belief in the sufficiency Despair” that, unless there had been some weak of material civilization was running its strongest, ening of it, popular reprints of the English ver and when our complacency was hardly disturbed sion could hardly have been appearing annually by the caveats entered, in their different ways, by in England "and almost daily” in America. Eng. Carlyle, and Matthew Arnold, and Ruskin. Epilish and American taste for fine poetry cannot cureanism, based on a pessimistic Agnosticism, alone account for this; it is not sufficiently strong clothed though it was in a heart penetrating form, or pure.
could not then produce its full effect. The presIt is clear in England, and far more in America, ent popularity of the poem, which FitzGerald there is much thought and feeling seeking for a did not live to suffer under, marks, I think, the new guiding conception and direction in life. rapid decline at once of the old religious Protes. It resembles capital which has lost its old invest tant conviction, and of the sanguine optimistic ment and is seeking for new securities. There is temper due to the rapid movement of scientific a disintegration of the solid and undoubting and discovery and mechanical invention. Realization, matter-of-fact belief. This is the reason of the as ever, has fallen far short of anticipation, and extraordinary popularity in England, and still an excessive estimate of the value of life has been more in America, of books attempting to find a followed by a tendency to question its whole new basis for religion, like those of the late Mr. wider purpose. As of old, voluptuous Sirens apHenry Drummond. Another sign is the increas peal to mariners weary of the sea, ayd doubtful
whether there is any end to their labors, or mean.
LAFCADIO HEARN. ing in their voyage. Why not end the voyage in "Twenty years ago Lafcadio Hearn was a rethese ever-alluring islands of pleasure, instead of porter on the staff of a Cincinnati newspaper passing them by with averted faces on the way to wbich I was directing. He came fron—90 man unknowo seas? If this life is all, is it not absurd knew where. He was a tiny fellow physically, to refuse the wine fobidden to Mussulmans, the and as myopic as a bat. He knew nothing about "free love" forbidden to Christians? Why not news, but he could write a 'story' that was as polyield to that immense constant attraction? Tius ished and as full of color as if it had come from the thought of Omar Khayyam, with the penetrat the pen of Gautier bimself. Despite his physing point given to it by the Suffolk dreamer, ique he was as courageous as a lion, and there was touches multitudes whose like it would fifty years no assignment of peril that he would not bid for ago have left indifferent. The garrison has been avidly. I remember that one day a famous steeple partly withdrawn from their hearts.
climber was going to scale the spire of the catheIt is a time of disenchantment and doubt. dral to repair the cross that topped the spire two That common-sense, non-mystical Protestantism, hundred feet above the sidewalk. It was a feat that foe to all enthusiasm and symbolic adoration all other steeple climbers had balked at, but this which satisfied men like Hoadly, and Wake, and fellow was master of his trade and accepted the Warburton, and Paley, and Whately, and prosaic contract. The afternoon he first scaled the spire, Englishmen at large, has received its mortal thousands of people watched him breathlessly as wound at the hands of Rationalism and Free Crit he slowly made his way up the outside of the icism, its own children. Like the character in steeple, fixing his ropes and footholds as he went. "Ariosto" it goes on fighting although, without Of course he was interviewed, and he said boastperceiving it, it is dead.
ingly that the task was so easy that he could just E'l poverino, che non se n'era accorto
as well carry a man up on his back.
That noon Andava combattendo, ed'era morto.
Hearn came to me and said timidly that he had It is not yet replaced. Yet we cannot live for read of the steeple climber's offer and would be ever upon individual and national comforts and glad to ascend the spire on his back. I was successes, or upon Stoical maxims, or without a amazed, and tried to point out to Hearn the peril wider, truer, and more adequate conception and
of the thing. embodiment of the Christian religion. Our race He would not listen. Finally my desire to get is too serious and sober, has been Christian for a 'good story' overcame my scruples, and I told too many centuries, inherits too much that is good Hearn I'd arrange the matter with the steeple from Catholic and Puritan, to do more than listen climber. I thought the latter was making a huge to the songs of the Sirens, half regretting that it bluff for business and advertising ends, but I was cannot make surrender. What is to follow? Per mistaken. He was as zealous as Hearn. Well, I haps the most permanent result of our occupation brought the two togeiher. They arranged their of India will be, not the over-precarious empire end of the feat, and I washed my hands of further itself, but restoration under influences flowing from responsibility for either the steeple climber's or the East of the true and essential meaning of our
Hearn's safety. own religion, so debased in the West by associa "At the appointed time, Hearn mounted the tion with utilitarian ends, optimistic philosophy, steeple climber's shoulders, and the dizzy journey and worldly prosperity. The translation in the began. Tens of thousands of people watched the nineteenth century of the Sacred Books of the foolhardy pair. At last the cross was reached, East, when the gold in them is sifted from the and Hearn left his pearch on the climber's shoul. dust, may prove to be even more important than ders, The steeple-Jack swarmed up the cross the revival of Greek learning in the sixteenth. and stood on his head on the apex of it. The Or, at any rate, we shall learn from the weariness mob in the streets below cheered the daring felborn of success, if not from great disasters, to es
low, but he was so high up in the air that the
cheers were inaudible. The two men returned teem at its true value, neither more nor less, all
to the ground safely. Hearn came back to the that intellectual and material progress, the rapid- office, and sat down and wrote two columns of a ity of which has somewhat disturbed correctness story describing his sensations, and the glories of of vision during these later ages of the world. the view be had obtained from the steeple top.
It was literature, this story, and it is regretable
that it bas been lost in the obscurity of a forgotON THE SHELF.—“You really have no business ten newspaper. Such a glowing description of a here, my friend,” said the book of verse to the city seen from a great height I never read before paper-backed novel. "Oh! why not?" "Well, to or since. The most interesting thing about it to be frank, you are not literature.” “But I am in was the fact that Hearn couldn't see five my sixty-sixth thousand!”—“Pure Fables," in feet beyond the tip of his nose, so myopic was London Academy.
William Drummond of Hawthorden (1585-1649)
is certainly worthy of comment, for was he not Interesting Notes in a Philadelphia Catalogue of Them.
"distinguished as the first Scottish poet who The second number of The Bulletin of the Free wrote well in English ?” Library of Philadelphia Mr. John Thomson de. Hallam and Hazlitt have both written highly in votes to the description of that series of works commendation of his sonnets. There is one piece known as “ The Library of Old Authors.” The
at the end of the volume which is attributed to
Drummond, but as to the authorship of which same excellent method as shown in Mr. Thomson's
doubt must always exist. It is unlike anything descriptive catalogue of the writings of Sir Wal
else he wrote, and was not published till 1691. It ter Scott is followed out. Tbis catalogue, the is entitled “ Polemo-Middinia," or the battle of the Number Two, then, is not alone valuable to libra dunghill. It has the appearance of being a part rians, but is of great use to readers. Just such
of a larger poem, and alludes to some rustic dis
pute which was probably a matter of considerable publications awaken the interest of the public, notoriety. The facts seem unknown now. It is for they engender curiosity, and curiosity is in the first macaronic poem by a native of Great fact the beginning of a desire for further knowl Britain, and the burlesque verse, with the interedge.
mingling of English with Latin words and the Mr. Thomson's catalogue is an extersive 'one,
contortions of the English by the use of Latin
terininations and Latin construction, is very clever representing a great many volumes of the six
and amusing. teenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The author was a firm royalist in principles and At the conclusion there is to be found a careful kept as clear as he could of the risks and troubles index. Taking at random some of the old authors
of the civil war, but did not long survive the mur
der of Charles I, his own life being shortened by represented, here is George Chapman, known to
grief for the death of his sovereigo. Drayton and us by “The Iliad of Homer" and "The Odyssey
Ben Jonson were among his friends. of Homer.” It may be said that of the nine hun
Here are the notes on another royalist poet, dred and ninety-nine Americans or English in the Richard Lovelace (1618-58). Who was Lucusta, thousand, all that they know about Homer is de
whom Lovelace loved ? rived from Chapman. Tlie particular edition Mr.
The poet fought for the King (Charles I), but Thomson describes is the one with introduction in 1648 was imprisoned for political reasons for a and notes by the Rev. Richard Hooper, of 1888, year, and ten years later died in great poverty!
* and he writes :
Lucusta to whom a large number of
the poems relate or were addressed, was probably George Chapman as a poet was cleverly described as “a rough nut externally, but one who
the same lady as the poet's Amarantha. It is sur
mised that the gentlewoman's name was Lucy contains a niost sweet kernel." His translation
Sacheverell, whom Lovelace called his Lux Casta. of Homer has been variously esteemed. It is in
She was a person of great beauty and fortune. rhymed verse of fourteen syllables. The last
Alexis in the “Amarantha " is the poet himself. twelve books were translated in less than fifteen
It is curios to notice that in the first edition of weeks. His Homer is generally admitted to be
"Lucusta," published in 1649, Amarantha is mis“one of the great achievements of the Elizabethan
printed Aramantha on the title page. age, a monument of skill and devotion.” Daniel, Ben Jonson, Waller, Pope, Coleridge and Lamb
Some time ago there was printed in The Times have all paid tribute to the energy and force of this Saturday Review surmises as to the date of the imtranslation. No one denies that it is a free transla prisonment of Sir Thomas Malory, the year of his tion, but Emerson, Swinburne, and notably Keats
death and his bequests. The great interest all the (in his well-known Sonnet), have all been enthu
world has in Sir Thomas Malory is because of his siastic admirers of Chapman's labors.
work “La Mort d'Arthure.” The edition in the In the note on “The Odyssey of Homer," by Philadelphia Free Library is by Thomas Wright, Chapman, Mr. Thomson gives something of the 1889. Mr. Thomson writes : history of the man and his books.
Sir Thomas Malory, who was probably born Chapman's "Odyssey" was originally published about 1430, compiled these romances early in in folio, 1614-16. Of this translation the edition
1470, or more than fifteen years ” before Caxton now under description was, in 1857, the only edi printed them, in 1485. For a full account of Caxtion besides that superintended by the author ton's edition, of which "only one complete copy is himself. Chapman adopted the ten-syllabled known," and of Wynkyn de Worde's edition of heroic couplet for the “Odyssey," and the great 1498, see Dibdin's “Typographical Antiquities” est complaint concerning his translation is that he (Vol. I, pp. 241-255), and the same author's “ Bib“too frequently wandered from the original and liotheca Spenceriana” (Vol. IV, pp. 403-409). not seldom curtailed passages."
Dibdin includes several interesting wood cuts in Of the main incidents of his life we have no his description of the latter edition. record. “What he was,” says Mr. Hooper, "where The edition under description is printed from a he lived, whether he was married, are all un reprint in 1634, when “the last of the black letter known to us.”
editions was published in three parts, in 4to, with It has been maintained (see Minto) that Chap three separate titles.” It has been also “ collated man was the rival poet referred to by Shakespeare with the text of Caxton,”and any important variain his Sonnets.
tions are shown in the notes.