Lyra Celtica Notes, cont'd
THE PROLOGUE TO GAUL. PAGE 187
Comes from the Sean Dana: vide Dr John Smith's Collection of Ancient Poems (1780), (vide Note to page 13 supra, and also Introduction).
IN HEBRID SEAS. PAGE 189
This stirring Hebridean poem is given as from the ancient Gaelic. Probably by this is meant merely old Gaelic, mediaeval or even later. The translation is by Mr Thomas Pattison, and is included in his Gaelic Bards. He has the following note upon it: "This effusion, although in its original form it is only a kind of wild chant--almost indeed half prose--yet it is the germ of the ballad. It occurs in many of the tales contained in that collection, the repository of old Gaelic lore, the Popular Tales of the West Highlands, sometimes more and sometimes less perfect. The original will be found in the second volume of the Tales. . . . The vigorous and elastic spirit that pervades these verses must have strung the heart of many a hardy mariner who loved to feel the fresh and briny breeze drive his snoring birlinn bounding like a living creature over the tumbling billows of the inland loch or the huge swell of the majestic main."
LULLABY. PAGE 193
Supposed to be the composition of the wife of Gregor MacGregor after the judicial murder of her husband.
DROWNED. PAGE 194
This folk-poem, the antiquity of which may be anywhere from a hundred to two hundred years or more, is given in the translation of the Rev. Dr Stewart of Nether Lochaber.
ALEXANDER MACDONALD. PAGE 195
This celebrated Gaelic poet was born in the first half of the 17th century. In the Highlands and Western Isles he is invariably styled Mac Mhaighstir Alastair--ie. the son of Mr Alexander. Alastair the Elder resided at Dalilea in Moydart of Argyll, and was both Episcopal clergyman and official tacksman. He was a man of immense strength and vigour and his muscular Christianity may be inferred from the saying current in Moydart that "his hand was heavier on the men of Suainart than on the men of Moydart." Alexander Macdonald had a good education for his time--first under his father, and later, for a year or so, at Glasgow University. Poverty, however, compelled him to leave Glasgow and retire to Ardnamurchan, where, as his biographer, Mr Pattison, says, he lived, teaching and farming, and composing poetry, until the advent of the year 1745. In this momentous year he left not only his farm and his teaching, but even his eldership in the Established Church,and forsook all to join Prince Charlie, and to take upon him the onus of a change to the detested Roman Catholic faith. He was a Jacobite of the Jacobites, and his fiery and warlike songs were repeated from mouth to mouth throughout Celtic Scotland. It is supposed that he had a commission in the Highland army of the Prince, though whether he served as an officer is uncertain; at any rate, after the battle of Culloden he had to share the privations of his leaders, and he lived in hiding in the woods- and caves of the district of Arisaig. On one occasion, when lurking among these caves with his brother Angus, the cold was so intense that the side of Macdonald's head which rested on the ground became quite grey in a single night. When the troubles were over he went to Edinburgh, where he taught the children of a staunch Jacobite, but soon returned to his beloved West, where he remained till his death. Macdonald's first published book was a Gaelic and English Vocabulary (1741), nor was it till ten years later that his poems were published in Edinburgh--said to be one of the earliest volumes of original poems ever published in Gaelic. Pattison declares that he is the most warlike, and much the fiercest of the Highland poets; and altogether ranks him as, if not the foremost, certainly second only to the famous Duncan BAn MacIntyre. His poem called "The Birlinn of the Clan-Ranald" is by this critic, and most others, ranked as the finest composition in Modern Gaelic; certainly many Highlanders prefer it even to the "Coire Cheathaich," or the still more famous "Ben Domin of Duncan Bàn. Assuredly no one could read this poem "Of the hurling of the birlinn through the cold glens of the sea, loudly snoring," without being stirred by its vigour and power. The portion here given is merely a fragment, for the original is much too long for quotation--indeed, it is said to be the longest poem in Gaelic, except such as are Ossianic. For a full account of Macdonald and his poems, including the translation of the greater part of "The Manning of the Birlinn," see Pattison's Gaelic Bards.
ANGUS MACKENZIE. PAGE 201
"The Lament of the Deer " is the work of a favourite Highland poet whose name is particularly familiar in the Northern Highlands. Angus Mackenzie was head forester of Lord Lovat, and most of his poems have the impress of his well-loved profession. "The Cumba nam Fiadh" was composed during the recovery from a severe illness, when the poet's chief regret was his inability to be with Lovat and his Frasers at the hunting of the stag. The translation here given was made by Charles Edward and John Sobieski Stuart, and is to be found in their Lays of the Deer Forest (Blackwood, 1848).
DUNCAN BÀN MACINTYRE. PAGE 203
A name loved throughout the Highlands and Islands. Even the most illiterate crofters are familiar with Duncan Bàn and much of his poetry, and there are few who could not repeat at least some lines of "Ben Dorain," The Hunter Bard of Glenorchy, as he is often called--though his best title is the affectionate Gaelic "Duncan of the Songs"--was born on the 20th of March 1724, at Druimliaghart in Glenorchy, Argyll. His first song was composed on a sword with which he was armed at the battle of Falkirk--where he served on the Royalist side as substitute for a gentleman of the neighbourbood. "This sword," says his biographer, Thomas Pattison, "the poet lost or threw away in the retreat. On his return home therefore, the gentleman to whom it belonged, and whose substitute he had been, refused to pay the sum for which he had engaged Duncan Bàn to serve in his stead. Duncan consequently composed his song on 'The Battle of the Speckled Kirk'--as Falkirk is called in Gaelic--in which he good-humouredly satirised the gentleman who had sent him to the war, and gave a woeful description of the black sword that worked the turmoil,' and whose loss, he says, made its owner 'as fierce and furious as a grey brock in his den.' The song immediately became popular, and incensed his employer so much that he suddenly fell upon the poor poet one day with his walking-stick, and, striking him on the back, bade him 'go and make a song about that.' He was, however, afterward compelled by the Earl of Breadalbane to pay the bard the sum of 100 merks Scots (##16, 17s.6d.), which was his legal due." Although in his later years he was for a time one of the Duke of Argyll's foresters, most of his later life was spent in Edinburgh, where he was one of the City Guard. In that city he died in 1812 in his eighty-ninth year, and lies in Greyfriars Churchyard. In all there have been seven editions of his Gaelic Songs. "Ben Dorain" has been translated several times, most successfully by Thomas Pattison and the late Professor Blackie. The version here given is that of the former; while the following poem ("The Hill Water," page 208) is that of Professor Blackie.
Translations of both "Ben Dorain (in full) and of "Coire Cheatbaich" (The Misty Corrie) are included in Pattison's Gaelic Bards. Professor Blackie's version of "Ben Dorain" is in his well-known book, Altavona.
MARY MACLEOD. PAGE 210
The most famous of Hebridean poets was born in Harris of the Outer Hebrides in 1569. She may be regarded either as the last of the poets of the Middle Scoto-Celtic period, or, more properly, as the first of the moderns. She is generally spoken of in the Western Isles as Màiri nighean Alastair Ruaidh (Mary, daughter of Alexander the Red). "Although she could never either read or write, her poetry is pure and chaste in its diction, melodious, though complicated, in its metre, clear and graceful, and frequently pathetic" (Pattison). She died at Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye, in 1674, at the great age of 105. For some reason, Mary Macleod was banished from Dunvegan by Macleod of Macleod, but his heart was melted by the song here given, and the exile was recalled, and that, too, with bonour, and enabled to live in Macleod's country thenceforth in prosperity and happiness.
MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY SCOTO-CELTICMONALTRI. PAGE 217
These lines tell their own tale. The translation given is that of Thomas Pattison.
HIGHLAND LULLABY. PAGE 218
This lullaby first appeared in the Duanaire, edited by D. C. Macpherson (1864). It is supposed to be sung by a disconsolate mother whose babe has been stolen by the fairies. In each verse she mentions some impossible task she has performed, but still she has not found her baby. Coineachan is a term of endearment applied to a child. (Quoted by Fionn" in the Celtic Monthly for September 1893.)
BOAT SONG. PAGE 219
This boat song, so familiar to West Highlanders, is in the rendering of Professor Blackie.
JOHN STUART BLACKIE. (1809-1895.) PAGE 222
The late Professor Blackie was born in Glasgow and brought up for the law. This he forsook for literature, and ultimately, in 1852, was appointed to the Greek Chair in Edinburgh University. All particulars of the brilliant Professor's life and writings will be found in the recently published biography by Miss Anna Stoddart. Professor Blackie's name will always be held in affectionate regard for his unselfish efforts to preserve and cultivate the Gaelic language and literature, and because of his having been mainly instrumental in founding the Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh. His poetical writings are mostly to be found in Lays and Legends of Ancient Greece (1857), Lyrical Poems (1860), and Lays of the Highlands and Islands (1872).
ROBERT BUCHANAN. PAGE 224
The foremost Scoto-Celtic poet of our time, was born in Glasgow, 1841. It would be needless to give particulars concerning the life and work of so eminent a contemporary. Lovers of the Celtic Muse will doubtless be familiar (or if not, ought to be) with Mr Buchanan's Book of Orm. Much of his early poetry is strongly imbued with the Celtic atmosphere. Those who have read his several volumes of verse need no further guidance, but readers unacquainted with the poetical work of one of the foremost poets of our day should obtain the collective edition of his poems published by Messrs Chatto & Windus. "The Flower of the World" (page 224), "The Dream of the World without Death" (pages 228-234) are from The Book of Orm; "The Strange Country" comes from Miscellaneous Poems and Ballads (1878-1883). No more memorable poem than "The Dream" has been written by an Anglo-Celtic poet.
LORD BYRON. (1788-1824.) PAGES 238-239
Byron is represented in Lyra Celtica by virtue of his Celtic blood and undoubtedly Celtic nature, rather than because there is much trace of Celtic influence in his poetry. The two lyrics given here may be taken as fairly representative of that part of his poetical work which may with some reason be called Celtic, though, of course, there is nothing in them which radically differentiates them from the lyrics of any English poet. More than one eminent critic, foreign as well as British, has claimed for Byron that he was the representative Celtic voice of the early part of the century but Byron was really much more the voice of his own day and time than anything more restricted.
CRODH CHAILLEAN. PAGE 240
This familiar Highland Milking Song is given in the translation of Dr Alexander Stewart of Nether Lochaber.
MACCRIMMON'S LAMENT. PAGE 241
Perhaps the most famous pipe-tune in the Highlands is the "Cumha mhic Criomein," composed by Donald Bàn MacCrimmon, on the occasion of the Clan MacLeod, headed by their chief, embarking to join the Royalists in 1746. The Lament is said to have been composed by Donald Bàn under the influence of a presentiment that he as well as many others of the clan would never return; a presentiment fulfilled, for he was killed in a skirmish near Moyhall. The tune and the chorus are old, but it is commonly believed the poem was composed by Dr Norman Macleod; at any rate, they first appeared in a Gaelic article on the MacCrimmons, which he contributed in 1840 to "Cuairtear nan Gleann" ("Fionn," the Celtic Monthly). The translation here given is that of Professor Blackie.
IAN CAMERON ("IAN MOR") PAGE 242
Translated from the Gaelic by Miss Fiona Macleod.
JOHN DAVIDSON. PAGE 243
Mr Davidson was born at Barrhead, near Paisley, on April 11th, 1857. After his preliminary education at the Highlanders' Academy, Greenock, he went to Edinburgh University. For a time he taught in Greenock, and also gained a certain amount of literary experience in occasional contributions to the Glasgow Herald and other papers. In 1886 he published Bruce: a Drama, followed by Smith: a Tragedy (1888), Scaramouch in Naxos: and other Places (1889), In a Music Hall, and other Poems (1891), Fleet Street Eclogues (1893), Ballads and Songs (1894), Second Series of Fleet Street Eclogues (1895), besides several volumes of prose papers and fiction. Although Bruce was Mr Davidson's first published work, he had begun to write at a much earlier period: his An Historical Pastoral was composed in 1877; A Romantic Farce in 1878; while Bruce was written four years before its publication. Mr Davidson's later poetical writings have been mainly in the form of songs and lyrical ballads, and these have placed him in the foremost rank of the younger poets of to-day. He has the widest range, the largest manner, and the intensest note of any of the later Victorians. The two poems by which he is represented here are eminently characteristic, and none the less Celtic in their essential quality from the fact that the one deals with a loafer of the London streets and the other with a scenic rendering of an impression gained in Romney Marsh. Mr Davidson's latest writings are "The Ballad of an Artist's Wife," not as yet issued in book form, and the just published second series of the Fleet Street Eclogues (John Lane). Both "A Loafer" and "In Romney Marsh" are from Ballads and Songs.
JEAN GLOVER. (1758-1800) PAGE 246
The author of "O'er the Muir amang the Heather" was the daughter of a Highland weaver settled in Kilmarnock. She married a strolling actor, and her fugitive songs became familiar throughout the West of Scotland. "O'er the Muir amang the Heather" has become a classic.
GEORGE MACDONALD. PAGE 247
This popular Scottish novelist and poet was born at Huntly, in Aberdeenshire, December 10, 1824. As a novelist he has almost as large an audience as have any of his contemporary romancists. His poems are less widely known, though in them he has expressed himself with great variety and subtlety. The Celtic element is not conspicuous in Dr Macdonald's work either in prose or verse; but sometimes, as in the little song "Oimé," quoted here, it finds adequate expression. This song is from his early volume Within and Without.
RONALD CAMPBELL MACFIE. PAGE 249
The author of Granite Dust (Kegan Paul) is one of the most promising of the younger Celtic Scots.
WILLIAM MACDONALD. PAGE 250
One of the band of young writers associated with The Evergreen (Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, Edinburgh). Mr Macdonald has not yet issued his poems in book form.
AMICE MACDONELL. PAGE 251
Miss Macdonell has not, so far as I know, published a volume. "Culloden Moor" appeared in the Celtic Monthly in June 1893.
ALICE C. MACDONELL. PAGE 252
Miss Alice Macdonell of Keppoch has contributed many poems to Scottish and other periodicals. "The Weaving of the Tartan" appeared in the Celtic Monthly for December 1894.
WILLIAM MACGILLIVRAY. (1796-1852.) PAGE 254
The author of "The Thrush's Song" was not a poet, but occasionally indulged in the pleasure of verse-making. He was a well-known Highland ornithologist, and it may be added that his attempt at an onomatopoeic rendering of the song of the thrush has been pronounced by Buckland and other ornithologists to be remarkably close.
FIONA MACLEOD. PAGE 255
Miss Macleod is one of the younger writers most intimately associated with the Celtic Renascence in Scotland. "The Prayer of Women" (see page 255) is from Pharais: a Romance of the Isles (Frank Murray, Derby, 1894); The Rune of Age" and "A Gaelic Milking Song" are from The Mountain Lovers (John Lane); the "Lullaby" and the two songs of Ethlenn Stuart are from her last volume, The Sin-Eater: and other Tales (Patrick Geddes and Colleagues, Edinburgh). "The Closing Doors" has not been published hitherto. The brief lyric, "The Sorrow of Delight," was contributed to an as yet unpublished fantastic sketch, The Merchant of Dreams, written in collaboration with a friend. Such of the poems scattered through her several volumes, and others, as she wishes to preserve in connected form, will be published by Miss Macleod early in 1896 (Patrick Geddes and Colleagues), under the title of Lyric Runes and Fonnsheen.
NORMAN MACLEOD. PAGE 266
There is no Highlander held in more affectionate remembrance and admiration than the late Dr Norman Macleod: and with justice; for no one worked more arduously, understandingly, and sympathetically for the cause of the Gaelic language, Gaelic literature, and the Gaelic people than the famous poet-minister, who, to this day, is commonly spoken of as "The Great Norman." It was, however, Dr Norman the elder who wrote "Fiunary,"--and not, as commonly stated, the late Dr Norman. His "Farewell to Fiunary" is probably the most universally-known modern poem in the West Highlands. (For critical remarks as to the authenticity of this poem, see Dr Nigel M'Neil's Literature of the Highlanders, pp. 283-286.)
SARAH ROBERTSON MATHESON. PAGE 267
Mrs Robertson Matheson, some of whose poems in periodicals have attracted the attention of lovers of poetry, is chief secretary and treasurer of the Clan Donnachaidh Society. The fine lyric, "A Kiss of the King's Hand," appeared in the Celtic Monthly for May 1894; but I regret that version has inadvertently been followed, for it twice misspells tae for "to," and in the third line of the third quatrain has a misreading ("jewels" instead of "ruffles").
It may interest many readers to know that "A Kiss of the King's Hand" decided the descendant of Flora Macdonald to leave Mrs Robertson Matheson the last heirloom of Scottish romance, the "ring of French gold" given by Prince Charlie to Flora, and holding the lock of hair cut from "the king's head" by her and her mother.
DUGALD MOORE. PAGE 268
"The First Ship" is so remarkable a poem that it is difficult to understand how it has met with so little recognition, and escaped most, if not all, of the Scottish and British anthologists. Dugald Moore was the son of Highland parents, and was born in Glasgow in 1805. His first book was entitled The Bard of the North, and consisted of a series of poetical tales illustrative of Highland scenery and character (1833). The Hour of Retribution and The Devoted One appeared respectively in 1835 and1839. Moore died unmarried in the 36th year of his age (Jan. 2, 1841), and was buried in the Necropolis of Glasgow. It is a pity that the poem could not have appeared without its fourth stanza, which is inferior to the others.
LADY CAROLINE NAIRNE. (1766-1845.) PAGE 269
Needless to say anything here concerning the "Flower of Strathearn." Baroness Nairne was mainly Celtic in blood and wholly Celtic in genius. "The Land o'the Leal" is now one of the most famous and most loved lyrics in the English language. (Readers may be referred to Life and Songs of Baroness Nairne, 1868.)
ALEXANDER NICOLSON. PAGE 270
Besides this fine poem, "On Skye," Sheriff Nicolson has translated the "Birlinn" of Alexander Macdonald, and has written many moving verses full of Gaelic sentiment of a robust kind.
SIR NOËL PATON. PAGE 272
Joseph Noël Paton was born at Dunfermline on the 13th of December 1821; and while his father was also of partial Celtic origin, Sir Noël is, through his mother, the descendant of the last of the Scoto-Celtic kings. Of his career as a painter it is not necessary to speak here. His two volumes of poetry are Poems by a Painter (1861) and Spindrift (1867). The best account. of the life and work of this distinguished Scot is the monograph recently published by Mr David Croal Thomson, as the "Art-Annual" of The Art Journal. The two poems by which Sir Noël is represented in this book are not to be found in either of his volumes, and their appearance here is due to the courtesy of the author.
WILLIAM RENTON. PAGE 274
Mr Renton was born in Perthshire, of Scoto-Celtic parents. "Mountain Twilight" is taken from his first volume of poems called Oils and Water Colours (Hamilton Edinburgh, 1876). Mr Renton's only other volume of verse is his Songs (Fisher Unwin, 1893).
LADY JOHN SCOTT. PAGE 275
The author of "Durisdeer" was of mixed Highland and Lowland descent. Her poem has a permanent place in our literature because of its haunting passion and pain.
EARL OF SOUTHESK. PAGE 276
Lord Southesk (James Carnegie) was born in 1827. He first made his name in literature by his strange and vigorous Jonas Fisher (1875). This was followed by Greenwood's Farewell (1876), and The Meda Maiden (1877); though most of the poems contained in these two volumes, with several others, are comprised in The Burial of Isis (1884).
JOHN CAMPBELL SHAIRP. PAGE 277
This able Scottish writer was of Celtic origin through his mother. Readers unacquainted with the poems of the late Principal Shairp, and ex-Professor of Poetry at Oxford, will do best to turn to the posthumous volume, edited, with a memoir, by Francis Turner Palgrave, entitled Glen Dessary (Macmillan, 1888).
UNA URQUHART. PAGE 279
I know nothing else of Gaelic or English verse by this young writer. "An Old Tale of Three," as it appears here, is a rendering of the original by Miss Fiona Macleod.
LOST LOVE. PAGE 280
The author of this poem is unknown. The original is in the Gaelic of the Western Isles, and is one of the several fugitive songs rescued by Thomas Pattison. The version given here, however, is not identical with his, the first and last quatrains having been added by another hand.
CONTEMPORARY ANGLO-CELTIC POETS (WALES)
GEORGE MEREDITH. PAGE 283
Mr George Meredith, who recently has been addressed in a dedication as "The Prince of Celtdom," is rather the sovereign of contemporary English literature. Although of Welsh descent and sympathies, and with a nature pre-eminently Celtic in its distinguishing characteristics Mr Meredith was born in Hampshire on February 12, 1828. Part of his early education was received in Germany, and after his return to England it was intended that he should pursue the legal profession: an intention set aside on account of an irresistible bias toward literature. His first published writings were in verse: and now this early little book, Poems, published in his twentythird year (1851) is one of the rarest treasures for the bibliophile. It is dedicated to Thomas Love Peacock, whose intellectual influence upon the young writer is obvious. In 1850 the poet married the daughter of Peacock, but it was not till a year or two later that he definitely set himself to the profession of literature as also a means of livelihood. It is characteristic of him that his first prose book should be one of his most individual writings; for The Shaving of Shagpat might have been written at almost any period of its author's career. A fascinating, and perplexing production it must indeed have seemed at that time, published as it was in a year which, with the exception of two radically distinct American works of pre-eminent note, Longfellow's Hiawatha and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, was a singularly barren one. The fantasy has always remained a favourite with staunch Meredithians. It was followed two years later by the somewhat akin Farina;and two years passed again before that first important work appeared which so profoundly affected the minds and imagination of Mr Meredith's contemporaries--the now famous Ordeal of Richard Feverel, (1859). Since that date Mr Meredith has given us what many consider the greatest literary legacy of our time; and unquestionably he has had no compeer in brilliant delineation of life at white heat. It is unnecessary to specify the works of an author with which all lovers of literature must be familiar; but a word must be added as to the delight which the reading world has known this year in the publication of The Amazing Marriage, one of the most brilliant and vivid of all Mr Meredith's romances, and, in its display of his characteristic quality at his best, ranking with Harry Richmond, The Egoist, and Diana of the Crossways. As a poet George Meredith is less widely known, or, rather, is less widely accepted. There are, nevertheless, many who regard his poetic achievement as perhaps the most essential part of what he has given us. In depth of thought, in clarity of vision, and in remarkable expressional subtlety, often, --if not invariably, set forth in a lyric utterance whose only fault is that of an occasional apparent incoherence due to rapidity of thought and eagerness of rhythmic emotion--he stands here, as in all else, alone. From that extraordinarily powerful study of contemporary life, expressed emotionally and rhythmically in singularly convincing verse, Modern Love, to his latest volume, The Empty Purse, there is a range of rhythmic and lyric beauty which may well be a challenge to posterity to redeem the relative neglect of the mass of Mr Meredith's contemporaries. I am not of those who consider Mr Meredith's least popular poems as mere cryptic utterances in verse; for everywhere I find the lyric spirit,--hampered, at times, it is true, by a wind-rush of images, and by a sudden drove of unshepherded words. But who could read "Love in the Valley," "The Lark Ascending," "The Woods of Westermain, "The South-Wester," "The Hymn to Colour," to mention five only, without recognising that here indeed we have one of the great poets of our time. The poems by which, owing to the gracious courtesy of Mr Meredith--who has consented to forego for once his great objection to the appearance of any of his poems in miscellaneous collections--he is here repre. sented, are from his later volumes. The "Dirge in Woods," "Outer and Inner," and the superb "Hymn to Colour," are from A Reading of Earth (1888), the volume which contains "Hard Weather," "The South-Wester," "The Thrush in February," "The Appeasement of Demeter," "Woodland Peace," the noble ode "Meditation under Stars," and that flawless and memorable sonnet, "Winter Heavens." The "Night of Frost in May" is from the volume entitled The Empty Purse (1892). MrMeredith's other volume of poetry, the favourite with most of his readers, is Poems and Lyrics of the Joy of Earth (1883). This book includes "TheWoods of Westermain," "The Day of the Daughter of Hades," "The Lark Ascending," "Phoebus with Admetus," "Melampus," "Love in a Valley," and the group of sonnets beginning with "Lucifer in Starlight," and ending with "Time and Sentiment." All Mr Meredith's poetical writings are now published by Messrs Macmillan.
SEBASTIAN EVANS. PAGE 292
Born in 1830, the grandson of the Rev. Lewis Evans, a well-known Welsh astronomer, and the son of the Rev. Arthur Benoni Evans, a linguist, scholar, and author. He was not the only one of this parentage who came to some distinction for his brother, John Evans, F.R.S., became President of the Society of Antiquaries, and his sister, Anne, had some repute as a poetess and musician. Sebastian Evans won a fair measure of fugitive fame by his Brother Fabian's Manuscript and Other Poems (Macmillan, 1865). In the early '70's Dr Evans published his second volume, In the Studio: a Decade of Poems (Macmillan). The true note of his strangely subtle and illusive muse is not that of either irony or audacity as commonly supposed, but rather a living belief in the passage of the contemporary mind and aspiration from the sureties of the ancient faith to the assurance of a still finer faith to come. Among his short poems perhaps the most indicative is that entitled "The Banners"--
Lordly banners, waving to the stars,
Flap upon the night-wind, heavy with the dew,
Trustful youth is wending to the wars,
Strong in ancient faith to battle with the new.
Lordly banners, trodden in the clay,
Lie upon the mountain dank with other dew,
Hapless Youth hath lost the bloody day,
Ancient faith is feeble, stronger is the new.
Lordly banners, other than of yore,
Flap upon the night-wind, heavy with the dew:
Youth to battle girdeth him once more,
New and Old are feeble,--mighty is the True!
EBENEZER JONES. (1820-1860.) PAGE 293
Of Welsh parentage and descent, Ebenezer Jones was born in Islington, London. Much has been written upon the famous Chartist poet, both in his relation to the socialistic movements in which be participated, and in literary criticism of his two at one time much discussed volumes, Studies of Sensation and Event (1843), and Studies of Resemblance and Consent (1849); but perhaps the best critical summary of his life-work is that of Mr Wm. J. Linton in Miles' Poets and Poetry of the Century, Vol. V. The two poems by which Ebenezer Jones is represented here are respectively from his second and first volumes.
EMILY DAVIS (MRS PFEIFFER). (1841-1890.) PAGE 296
Mrs Pfeiffer, many of whose poems achieved a wide popularity, was the daughter of a Welsh gentleman settled in Oxfordshire, and an officer in the army. She was born in Wales. Of her several volumes of verse, the first was Gerards Monument, etc. (1873), and the best are Sonnets and Other Songs, Under the Aspens (1884), and Sonnets(1887).
ERNEST RHYS. PAGE 297
"The House of Hendra" is not given here intact: for the whole poem, see A London Rose, etc. (Elkin Mathews). Mr Rhys is the most noteworthy of the younger generation of Welsh poets and romancists, and may well be accepted as the leader of the Neo-Celtic movement in Wales. He has in a more marked degree than almost any of his compatriots of his own period the gift of style; and already his enthusiasm, knowledge, and fine and notable work in prose and verse have brought him to the front as the recognised representative of young Wales. Of Welsh parentage, Mr Rhys was born in London in 1860, spent much of his boyhood in South Wales, and his youth and early manhood in the north-country, where he intended to follow the profession of a mining engineer. However, he came to London in the early eighties and settled down to literary work. His first publication in book form was The Great Cockney Tragedy (1891). His poems first became known to the outside reading world through his contributions to The Book of the Rhymers' Club (1893). In the following year he published his first and as yet sole volume of verse: A London Rose: and Other Rhymes, whence comes the fine "House of Hendra" by which he is represented here. Besides other writings, in prose, Mr Ernest Rhys was editor of the "Camelot Series" of popular reprints and translations in 65 volumes (1885-1890), and now is critical editor of The Lyric Poets (Dent) one of the most delightful poets-series extant.
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