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Garrett, Edmund Henry / Victorian Songs Lyrics of the Affections and Nature
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Victorian Songs

"'Let some one sing to us, lightlier move
The minutes fledged with music'."


[Illustration: Full-page Plate]

Victorian Songs

Lyrics of the Affections
and Nature


Collected and Illustrated
by Edmund H Garrett
with an Introduction by
Edmund Gosse


Little Brown and Company
Boston 1895

_Copyright, 1895._

University Press:
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.

[Transcriber's Note:

Some printings of the book have a two-page Editor's Note before the
Contents, acknowledging the "publishers and authors who have given
permission for the use of many of the songs included in this volume".
It has been omitted from this e-text.]



Where are the songs I used to know?

Christina Rossetti.

AÏDÉ, HAMILTON (1830). Page
Remember or Forget 3
Oh, Let Me Dream 6
Love, the Pilgrim 7

Lovely Mary Donnelly 9
Song 13
Serenade 14
Across the Sea 16

Serenade 18
A Love Song of Henri Quatre 20

ASHE, THOMAS (1836-1889).
No and Yes 22
At Altenahr 23
Marit 24

A Night in June 26

Dream-Pedlary 30
Song from the Ship 33
Song 34
Song 35
Song, by Two Voices 36
Song 38

Cradle Song 39
My Roses blossom the Whole Year Round 41
Cradle Song 42

BOURDILLON, F. W. (1852).
Love's Meinie 43
The Night has a Thousand Eyes 44
A Lost Voice 45

Serenade 46
Song 48

COLLINS, MORTIMER (1827-1876).
To F. C. 49
A Game of Chess 50
Multum in Parvo 52
Violets at Home 53
My Thrush 54

Too Late 56
A Silly Song 58

DARLEY, GEORGE (1795-1846).
May Day 60
I 've been Roaming 62
Sylvia's Song 63
Serenade 64

A Winter Sketch 66
The Second Madrigal 69

DE VERE, AUBREY (1788-1846).
Song 70
Song 72
Song 74

DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870).
The Ivy Green 75

The Ladies of St. James's 77
The Milkmaid 81

DOMETT, ALFRED (1811-1887).
A Glee for Winter 84
A Kiss 86

DUFFERIN, LADY (1807-1867).
Song 88
Lament of the Irish Emigrant 90

Winds To-day are Large and Free 94
Let us Wreathe the Mighty Cup 96
Where Winds abound 97

GALE, NORMAN (1862).
A Song 98
Song 99

Song for the Lute 101

HOOD, THOMAS (1798-1845).
Ballad 102
Song 104
I Remember, I Remember 106
Ballad 108
Song 110

The Brookside 111
The Venetian Serenade 113
From Love and Nature 115

The Long White Seam 116
Love 118
Sweet is Childhood 120

KINGSLEY, CHARLES (1819-1875).
Airly Beacon 121
The Sands of Dee 122
Three Fishers went Sailing 124
A Farewell 126

Rose Aylmer 127
Rubies 128
The Fault is not Mine 129
Under the Lindens 130
Sixteen 131
Ianthe 132
One Lovely Name 133
Forsaken 133

A Garden Lyric 134
The Cuckoo 137
Gertrude's Necklace 139

LOVER, SAMUEL (1797-1868).
The Angel's Whisper 141
What will you do, Love? 143

MACKAY, CHARLES (1814-1889).
I Love my Love 145
O Ye Tears! 147

MAHONEY, FRANCIS (1805-1866).
The Bells of Shandon 149

Song 153

A Love Symphony 156
I made Another Garden 158

The Lost Chord 160
Sent to Heaven 162

PROCTER, B. W. (BARRY CORNWALL) (1787-1874).
The Poet's Song to his Wife 165
A Petition to Time 167
A Bacchanalian Song 168
She was not Fair nor Full of Grace 170
The Sea-King 172
A Serenade 174
King Death 176
Sit Down, Sad Soul 178
A Drinking Song 180
Peace! What do Tears Avail? 182
The Sea 184

Song 186
Song 188
Song 189
Three Seasons 190

A Little While 191
Sudden Light 193
Three Shadows 194

SCOTT, WILLIAM BELL (1812-1890).
Parting and Meeting Again 196

A Merry Bee 198
The Songstress 199
The Violet and the Rose 200

Regrets 201
Daisy's Dimples 203
A Lover's Lullaby 204

A Match 205
Rondel 208
Song 209

TENNYSON, ALFRED (1809-1892).
The Bugle Song 210
Break, Break, Break 212
Tears, Idle Tears 213
Sweet and Low 215
Turn, Fortune, Turn thy Wheel 216
Vivien's Song 217

At the Church Gate 218
The Mahogany Tree 220

Dayrise and Sunset 223
The Three Troopers 225
The Cuckoo 228




Listen--Songs thou 'lt hear
Through the wide world ringing.

Barry Cornwall.


A baby was sleeping
_Samuel Lover_ 141
"A cup for hope!" she said
_Christina G. Rossetti_ 190
A golden bee a-cometh
_Joseph Skipsey_ 198
A little shadow makes the sunrise sad
_Mortimer Collins_ 52
A little while a little love
_Dante Gabriel Rossetti_ 191
A thousand voices fill my ears
_F. W. Bourdillon_ 45
Across the grass I see her pass
_Austin Dobson_ 81
Ah, what avails the sceptered race!
_Walter Savage Landor_ 127
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon
_Charles Kingsley_ 121
All glorious as the Rainbow's birth
_Gerald Massey_ 153
All through the sultry hours of June
_Mortimer Collins_ 54
Along the garden ways just now
_Arthur O'Shaughnessy_ 156
Although I enter not
_William Makepeace Thackeray_ 218
As Gertrude skipt from babe to girl
_Frederick Locker-Lampson_ 139
As I came round the harbor buoy
_Jean Ingelow_ 116
Awake!--The starry midnight Hour
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 174
Awake thee, my Lady-love!
_George Darley_ 64
Back flies my soul to other years
_Joseph Skipsey_ 199
Break, break, break
_Alfred Tennyson_ 212

Came, on a Sabbath noon, my sweet
_Thomas Ashe_ 23
Christmas is here
_William Makepeace Thackeray_ 220
Come, rosy Day!
_Sir Edwin Arnold_ 20
Come sing, Come sing, of the great Sea-King
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 172
Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas
_Dinah Maria Mulock Craik_ 56

Drink, and fill the night with mirth!
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 180

Every day a Pilgrim, blindfold
_Hamilton Aïdé_ 7

Fast falls the snow, O lady mine
_Mortimer Collins_ 49
First the fine, faint, dreamy motion
_Norman Gale_ 98

Hence, rude Winter! crabbed old fellow
_Alfred Domett_ 84
How many Summers, love
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 165
How many times do I love thee, dear?
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 38

I bring a garland for your head
_Edmund Gosse_ 101
I had a Message to send her
_Adelaide Anne Procter_ 162
I have been here before
_Dante Gabriel Rossetti_ 193
I leaned out of window, I smelt the white clover
_Jean Ingelow_ 118
I looked and saw your eyes
_Dante Gabriel Rossetti_ 194
I made another garden, yea
_Arthur O'Shaughnessy_ 158
I remember, I remember
_Thomas Hood_ 106
I sat beside the streamlet
_Hamilton Aïdé_ 3
I wandered by the brook-side
_Lord Houghton_ 111
I walked in the lonesome evening
_William Allingham_ 16
If I could choose my paradise
_Thomas Ashe_ 22
If love were what the rose is
_Algernon Charles Swinburne_ 205
If there were dreams to sell
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 30
I 'm sitting on the stile, Mary
_Lady Dufferin_ 90
In Clementina's artless mien
_Walter Savage Landor_ 131
In Love, if Love be Love, if Love be ours
_Alfred Tennyson_ 217
Into the Devil tavern
_George Walter Thornbury_ 225
It was not in the winter
_Thomas Hood_ 102
I 've been roaming! I 've been roaming!
_George Darley_ 62

King Death was a rare old fellow!
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 176
Kissing her hair I sat against her feet.
_Algernon Charles Swinburne_ 208

Lady! in this night of June
_Alfred Austin_ 26
Last time I parted from my Dear
_William Bell Scott_ 196
Let us wreathe the mighty cup
_Michael Field_ 96
Little dimples so sweet and soft
_J. Ashby Sterry_ 203
Lullaby! O lullaby!
_William Cox Bennett_ 42
Lute! breathe thy lowest in my Lady's ear
_Sir Edwin Arnold_ 18

Mirror your sweet eyes in mine, love
_J. Ashby Sterry_ 204
Mother, I can not mind my wheel
_Walter Savage Landor_ 133
My fairest child, I have no song to give you
_Charles Kingsley_ 126
My goblet's golden lips are dry
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 34
My love, on a fair May morning
_Thomas Ashe_ 24
My roses blossom the whole year round
_William Cox Bennett_ 41

O for the look of those pure gray eyes
_J. Ashby Sterry_ 201
O happy buds of violet!
_Mortimer Collins_ 53
"O Heart, my heart!" she said, and heard
_Dinah Maria Mulock Craik_ 58
O lady, leave thy silken thread
_Thomas Hood_ 104
O lips that mine have grown into
_Algernon Charles Swinburne_ 209
O Love is like the roses
_Robert Buchanan_ 48
O May, thou art a merry time
_George Darley_ 60
O roses for the flush of youth
_Christina G. Rossetti_ 188
O spirit of the Summertime!
_William Allingham_ 13
O ye tears! O ye tears! that have long refused to flow
_Charles Mackay_ 147
Often I have heard it said
_Walter Savage Landor_ 128
Oh, a dainty plant is the Ivy green
_Charles Dickens_ 75
Oh, hearing sleep, and sleeping hear
_William Allingham_ 14
Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by
_Hamilton Aïdé_ 6
Oh, lovely Mary Donnelly, my joy, my only best!
_William Allingham_ 9
"Oh, Mary, go and call the cattle home"
_Charles Kingsley_ 122
One lovely name adorns my song
_Walter Savage Landor_ 133

Peace! what can tears avail?
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 182

Seated one day at the Organ
_Adelaide Anne Procter_ 160
Seek not the tree of silkiest bark
_Aubrey de Vere_ 72
She was not fair, nor full of grace
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 170
She 's up and gone, the graceless Girl
_Thomas Hood_ 108
Sing!--Who sings
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 168
Sit down, sad soul, and count
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 178
Sleep sweet, belovëd one, sleep sweet!
_Robert Buchanan_ 46
Sleep! the bird is in its nest
_William Cox Bennett_ 39
Softly, O midnight Hours!
_Audrey de Vere_ 70
Strew not earth with empty stars
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 35
Sweet and low, sweet and low
_Alfred Tennyson_ 215
Sweet is childhood--childhood 's over
_Jean Ingelow_ 120
Sweet mouth! O let me take
_Alfred Domett_ 86

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean
_Alfred Tennyson_ 213
Terrace and lawn are white with frost
_Mortimer Collins_ 50
Thank Heaven, Ianthe, once again
_Walter Savage Landor_ 132
The fault is not mine if I love you too much
_Walter Savage Landor_ 129
The ladies of St. James's
_Austin Dobson_ 77
The night has a thousand eyes
_F. W. Bourdillon_ 44
The Sea! the Sea! the open Sea!
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 184
The splendour falls on castle walls
_Alfred Tennyson_ 210
The stars are with the voyager
_Thomas Hood_ 110
The streams that wind amid the hills
_George Darley_ 63
The Sun came through the frosty mist
_Lord Houghton_ 115
The Violet invited my kiss
_Joseph Skipsey_ 200
There is no summer ere the swallows come.
_F. W. Bourdillon_ 43
Three fishers went sailing away to the West
_Charles Kingsley_ 124
To sea, to sea! the calm is o'er
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 33
Touch us gently, Time!
_B. W. Procter_ (_Barry Cornwall_) 167
Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel and lower the proud!
_Alfred Tennyson_ 216
Two doves upon the selfsame branch
_Christina G. Rossetti_ 189

Under the lindens lately sat
_Walter Savage Landor_ 130

Wait but a little while
_Norman Gale_ 99
We have loiter'd and laugh'd in the flowery croft
_Frederick Locker-Lampson_ 134
We heard it calling, clear and low
_Frederick Locker-Lampson_ 137
What is the meaning of the song
_Charles Mackay_ 145
"What will you do, love, when I am going"
_Samuel Lover_ 143
When a warm and scented steam
_George Walter Thornbury_ 228
When along the light ripple the far serenade
_Lord Houghton_ 113
When another's voice thou hearest
_Lady Dufferin_ 88
When I am dead, my dearest
_Christina G. Rossetti_ 186
When I was young, I said to Sorrow
_Aubrey de Vere_ 74
When Spring casts all her swallows forth
_George Walter Thornbury_ 223
When the snow begins to feather
_Lord de Tabley_ 66
Where winds abound
_Michael Field_ 97
Who is the baby, that doth lie
_Thomas Lovell Beddoes_ 36
Winds to-day are large and free
_Michael Field_ 94
With deep affection
_Francis Mahoney_ 149
Woo thy lass while May is here
_Lord de Tabley_ 69




Their songs wake singing echoes in my land.

Christina Rossetti.

Sweet and low, sweet and low _Frontispiece_
"Oh! let me dream of happy days gone by" 6
Across the Sea 16
"My love on a fair May morning" 24
Song in the Garden 38
The night has a thousand eyes 44
A Game of Chess 50
"I 've been roaming, I 've been roaming" 62
"A maid I know,--and March winds blow" 82
"That bright May morning long ago" 90
"I remember, I remember" 106
I wandered by the brook-side 112
"Three fishers went sailing away to the West" 124
Ianthe 132
Gertrude's Necklace 140
"She turned back at the last to wait" 158
King Death 176
"I looked and saw your eyes" 194
Break, Break, Break 212
"When Spring casts all her swallows forth" 224




The writer of prose, by intelligence taught,
Says the thing that will please, in the way that he ought.

Frederick Locker-Lampson.

_No species of poetry is more ancient than the lyrical, and yet none
shows so little sign of having outlived the requirements of human
passion. The world may grow tired of epics and of tragedies, but each
generation, as it sees the hawthorns blossom and the freshness of
girlhood expand, is seized with a pang which nothing but the spasm of
verse will relieve. Each youth imagines that spring-tide and love are
wonders which he is the first of human beings to appreciate, and he
burns to alleviate his emotion in rhyme. Historians exaggerate, perhaps,
the function of music in awakening and guiding the exercise of lyrical
poetry. The lyric exists, they tell us, as an accompaniment to the lyre;
and without the mechanical harmony the spoken song is an artifice. Quite
as plausibly might it be avowed that music was but added to verse to
concentrate and emphasize its rapture, to add poignancy and volume to
its expression. But the truth is that these two arts, though sometimes
happily allied, are, and always have been, independent. When verse has
been innocent enough to lean on music, we may be likely to find that
music also has been of the simplest order, and that the pair of them,
like two delicious children, have tottered and swayed together down the
flowery meadows of experience. When either poetry or music is adult, the
presence of each is a distraction to the other, and each prefers, in the
elaborate ages, to stand alone, since the mystery of the one confounds
the complexity of the other. Most poets hate music; few musicians
comprehend the nature of poetry; and the combination of these arts has
probably, in all ages, been contrived, not for the satisfaction of
artists, but for the convenience of their public._

_This divorce between poetry and music has been more frankly accepted in
the present century than ever before, and is nowadays scarcely opposed
in serious criticism. If music were a necessary ornament of lyrical
verse, the latter would nowadays scarcely exist; but we hear less and
less of the poets devotion (save in a purely conventional sense) to the
lute and the pipe. What we call the Victorian lyric is absolutely
independent of any such aid. It may be that certain songs of Tennyson
and Christina Rossetti have been with great popularity "set," as it is
called, "to music." So far as the latter is in itself successful, it
stultifies the former; and we admit at last that the idea of one art
aiding another in this combination is absolutely fictitious. The
beauty--even the beauty of sound--conveyed by the ear in such lyrics as
"Break, break, break," or "When I am dead, my dearest," is obscured, is
exchanged for another and a rival species of beauty, by the most
exquisite musical setting that a composer can invent._

_The age which has been the first to accept this condition, then, should
be rich in frankly lyrical poetry; and this we find to be the case with
the Victorian period. At no time has a greater mass of this species of
verse been produced, not even in the combined Elizabethan and Jacobean
age. But when we come to consider the quality of this later harvest of
song, we observe in it a far less homogeneous character. We can take a
piece of verse, and decide at sight that it must be Elizabethan, or of
the age of the Pléiade in France, or of a particular period in Italy.
Even an ode of our own eighteenth century is hardly to be confounded
with a fragment from any other school. The great Georgian age introduced
a wide variety into English poetry; and yet we have but to examine the
selected jewels strung into so exquisite a carcanet by Mr. Palgrave in
his "Golden Treasury" to notice with surprise how close a family
likeness exists between the contributions of Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats,
and Byron. The distinctions of style, of course, are very great; but the
general character of the diction, the imagery, even of the rhythm, is
more or less identical. The stamp of the same age is upon them,--they
are hall-marked 1820._

_It is perhaps too early to decide that this will never be the case with
the Victorian lyrics. While we live in an age we see the distinction of
its parts, rather than their co-relation. It is said that the Japanese
Government once sent over a Commission to report upon the art of Europe;
and that, having visited the exhibitions of London, Paris, Florence, and
Berlin, the Commissioners confessed that the works of the European
painters all looked so exactly alike that it was difficult to
distinguish one from another. The Japanese eye, trained in absolutely
opposed conventions, could not tell the difference between a Watts and a
Fortuny, a Théodore Rousseau and a Henry Moore. So it is quite possible,
it is even probable, that future critics may see a close similarity
where we see nothing but divergence between the various productions of
the Victorian age. Yet we can judge but what we discern; and certainly
to the critical eye to-day it is the absence of a central tendency, the
chaotic cultivation of all contrivable varieties of style, which most
strikingly seems to distinguish the times we live in._

_We use the word "Victorian" in literature to distinguish what was
written after the decline of that age of which Walter Scott, Coleridge,
and Wordsworth were the survivors. It is well to recollect, however,
that Tennyson, who is the Victorian writer_ par excellence, _had
published the most individual and characteristic of his lyrics long
before the Queen ascended the throne, and that Elizabeth Barrett, Henry
Taylor, William Barnes, and others were by this date of mature age. It
is difficult to remind ourselves, who have lived in the radiance of that
august figure, that some of the most beautiful of Tennyson's lyrics,
such as "Mariana" and "The Dying Swan" are now separated from us by as
long a period of years as divided them from Dr. Johnson and the author
of "Night Thoughts." The reflection is of value only as warning us of
the extraordinary length of the epoch we still call "Victorian." It
covers, not a mere generation, but much more than half a century. During
this length of time a complete revolution in literary taste might have
been expected to take place. This has not occurred, and the cause may
very well be the extreme license permitted to the poets to adopt
whatever style they pleased. Where all the doors stand wide open, there
is no object in escaping; where there is but one door, and that one
barred, it is human nature to fret for some violent means of evasion.
How divine have been the methods of the Victorian lyrists may easily be

_"Quoth tongue of neither maid nor wife
To heart of neither wife nor maid,
Lead we not here a jolly life
Betwixt the shine and shade?_

_"Quoth heart of neither maid nor wife
To tongue of neither wife nor maid,
Thou wagg'st, but I am worn with strife,
And feel like flowers that fade."_

_That is a masterpiece, but so is this:--_

_"Nay, but you who do not love her,
Is she not pure gold, my mistress?
Holds earth aught--speak truth--above her?
Aught like this tress, see, and this tress,
And this last fairest tress of all,
--So fair, see, ere I let it fall?_

_"Because, you spend your lives in praisings,
To praise, you search the wide world over:
Then why not witness, calmly gazing,
If earth holds aught--speak truth--above her?
Above this tress, and this I touch,
But cannot praise, I love so much!"_

_And so is this:--_

_"Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will._

_"This be the verse yon grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill."_

_But who would believe that the writers of these were contemporaries?_

_If we examine more closely the forms which lyric poetry has taken since
1830, we shall find that certain influences at work in the minds of our
leading writers have led to the widest divergence in the character of
lyrical verse. It will be well, perhaps, to consider in turn the leading
classes of that work. It was not to be expected that in an age of such
complexity and self-consciousness as ours, the pure song, the simple
trill of bird-like melody, should often or prominently be heard. As
civilization spreads, it ceases to be possible, or at least it becomes
less and less usual, that simple emotion should express itself with
absolute naïveté. Perhaps Burns was the latest poet in these islands
whose passion warbled forth in perfectly artless strains; and he had the
advantage of using a dialect still unsubdued and unvulgarized.
Artlessness nowadays must be the result of the most exquisitely finished
art; if not, it is apt to be insipid, if not positively squalid and
fusty. The obvious uses of simple words have been exhausted; we cannot,
save by infinite pains and the exercise of a happy genius, recover the
old spontaneous air, the effect of an inevitable arrangement of the only
possible words._

_This beautiful direct simplicity, however, was not infrequently secured
by Tennyson, and scarcely less often by Christina Rossetti, both of whom
have left behind them jets of pure emotional melody which compare to
advantage with the most perfect specimens of Greek and Elizabethan song.
Tennyson did not very often essay this class of writing, but when he
did, he rarely failed; his songs combine, with extreme naturalness and
something of a familiar sweetness, a felicity of workmanship hardly to
be excelled. In her best songs, Miss Rossetti is scarcely, if at all,
his inferior; but her judgment was far less sure, and she was more ready
to look with complacency on her failures. The songs of Mr. Aubrey de
Vere are not well enough known; they are sometimes singularly charming.
Other poets have once or twice succeeded in catching this clear natural
treble,--the living linnet once captured in the elm, as Tusitala puts
it; but this has not been a gift largely enjoyed by our Victorian

_The richer and more elaborate forms of lyric, on the contrary, have
exactly suited this curious and learned age of ours. The species of
verse which, originally Italian or French, have now so abundantly and so
admirably been practised in England that we can no longer think of them
as exotic, having found so many exponents in the Victorian period that
they are pre-eminently characteristic of it. "Scorn not the Sonnet,"
said Wordsworth to his contemporaries; but the lesson has not been
needed in the second half of the century. The sonnet is the most solid
and unsingable of the sections of lyrical poetry; it is difficult to
think of it as chanted to a musical accompaniment. It is used with great
distinction by writers to whom skill in the lighter divisions of poetry
has been denied, and there are poets, such as Bowles and Charles
Tennyson-Turner, who live by their sonnets alone. The practice of the
sonnet has been so extended that all sense of monotony has been lost. A
sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning differs from one by D. G. Rossetti
or by Matthew Arnold to such excess as to make it difficult for us to
realize that the form in each case is absolutely identical._

_With the sonnet might be mentioned the lighter forms of elaborate
exotic verse; but to these a word shall be given later on. More closely
allied to the sonnet are those rich and somewhat fantastic
stanza-measures in which Rossetti delighted. Those in which Keats and
the Italians have each their part have been greatly used by the
Victorian poets. They lend themselves to a melancholy magnificence, to
pomp of movement and gorgeousness of color; the very sight of them gives
the page the look of an ancient blazoned window. Poems of this class are
"The Stream's Secret" and the choruses in "Love is enough." They satisfy
the appetite of our time for subtle and vague analysis of emotion, for
what appeals to the spirit through the senses; but here, again, in
different hands, the "thing," the metrical instrument, takes wholly
diverse characters, and we seek in vain for a formula that can include
Robert Browning and Gabriel Rossetti, William Barnes and Arthur Hugh

_From this highly elaborated and extended species of lyric the
transition is easy to the Ode. In the Victorian age, the ode, in its
full Pindaric sense, has not been very frequently used. We have
specimens by Mr. Swinburne in which the Dorian laws are closely adhered
to. But the ode, in a more or less irregular form, whether pæan or
threnody, has been the instrument of several of our leading lyrists. The
genius of Mr. Swinburne, even to a greater degree than that of Shelley,
is essentially dithyrambic, and is never happier than when it spreads
its wings as wide as those of the wild swan, and soars upon the very
breast of tempest. In these flights Mr. Swinburne attains to a volume of
sonorous melody such as no other poet, perhaps, of the world has
reached, and we may say to him, as he has shouted to the Mater

_"Darkness to daylight shall lift up thy pæan,
Hill to hill thunder, vale cry back to vale,
With wind-notes as of eagles Æschylean,
And Sappho singing in the nightingale."_

_Nothing could mark more picturesquely the wide diversity permitted in
Victorian lyric than to turn from the sonorous and tumultuous odes of
Mr. Swinburne to those of Mr. Patmore, in which stateliness of
contemplation and a peculiar austerity of tenderness find their
expression in odes of iambic cadence, the melody of which depends, not
in their headlong torrent of sound, but in the cunning variation of
catalectic pause. A similar form has been adopted by Lord De Tabley for
many of his gorgeous studies of antique myth, and by Tennyson for his
"Death of the Duke of Wellington." It is an error to call these iambic
odes "irregular," although they do not follow the classic rules with
strophe, antistrophe, and epode.

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