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many of their productions have won an honorable abidingplace in English literature. “The history of our poetical bias,” they remark in the preface to one of their volumes, “is simply what we believe, in reality, to be that of many others. Poetry has been our youthful amusement, and our increasing daily enjoyment in happy, and our solace in sorrowful hours. Amidst the vast and delicious treasures of our national literature, we have reveled with growing and unsatiated delight; and, at the same time, living chiefly in the quietness of the country, we have watched the changing features of nature; we have felt the secret charm of those sweet but unostentatious images which she is perpetually presenting, and given full scope to those workings of the imagination and of the heart which natural beauty and solitude prompt and promote. The natural result was the transcription of those images and scenes.” The Fairies of the Caldon-Low is one of the most delightful of their verse-stories. We quote the opening stanzas:
“And where have you been, my Mary,
And where have you been from me ?” “I've been to the top of the Caldon-Low,
The midsummer night for to see."
“ And what did you see, my Mary,
All up in the Caldon-Low?"
And I saw the merry winds blow.”
Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary Lamb, is the title of a collection of pleasant and instructive verses for the young, first published in 1809. The original edition of this collection very strangely disappeared in 1812, and until 1877 not a copy of the work was known to be in existence. In the latter year, however, a volume containing the poems entire was discovered in Australia, and from it an American edition was printed. The titles of a few of the pieces will sufficiently indicate their character:
Going into Breeches ; Choosing a Name; Cleanliness; Choosing a Profession; The First of April; Men, Women, and Monkeys, etc. There are in this collection several highly humorous and really poetical pieces, intermixed with some severe moralizing upon topics of rather an antiquated and sometimes gloomy nature.
HISTORICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS STUDIES.
The student should thoroughly acquaint himself with the history of England from the time of the Conquest to the close of the fourteenth century. Besides the works mentioned in preceding lists, let him read Froissart's Chronicles (abridged edition); also Pierson's England in the Fourteenth Century; Longman's History of Edward I. (London, 1869).
He should make some acquaintance with the literary history of Italy during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. He should learn about the lives and works of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, and endeavor to understand their subsequent influence upon English literature.
For Dante, see Symond's Introduction to the Study of Dante (London, 1873); Emerson's Representative Men; Lowell's Among My Books; Carlyle's Heroes and Hero - Worship (London, 1841); Dante as Philosopher, Patriot, and Poet, by Vincenzo Botta (New York, 1865); Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe (Bohn); Longfellow's translation of the Divina Commedia (1867-1870).
For Petrarch, see Campbell's Life of Petrarch; The Sonnet: Its Origin, Structure, and Place in Poetry, by Charles Tomlinson ; Sismondi's Literature.
For Boccaccio, see Sismondi's Literature.
CHAUCER: Warton's History of English Poetry; Lowell's My Study Windows; Marsh's Origin and History of the English Language; The Riches of Chaucer, by Charles Cowden Clarke; Chaucer's Prologue and Knightes Tale, edited by R. Morris ; Morley's English Writers, Vol. II.; Carpenter's English of the Fourteenth Century; Hazlitt's English Poets ; Coleridge's Table Talk; An Essay on the Language and Versification of Chaucer, by Thomas Tyrwhitt; Taine's English Literature ; Canterbury Chimes, by Storr and Turner; Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Explained, by Saunders; Stories from Old English Poetry, by Mrs. Richardson.
COLERIDGE: Hazlitt's English Poets ; Swinburne's Studies and Essays ; Leigh Hunt's Imagination and Fancy; Shairp's Studies in Poetry; Carlyle's Life of John Sterling; Carlyle's Reminiscences ; Coleridge's Biographia Literaria.
CRABBE: Jeffrey's Essays; Roscoe's Essays.
Keats: Jeffrey's Essays; The Life of K’eats, by Lord Houghton; Mat. thew Arnold's Essay on Keats in Ward's English Poets. Read Shelley's Adonais.
CAMPBELL: Jeffrey's Essays ; Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age.
Tennyson: Kingsley's Miscellanies; Hutton's Essays; Stedman's Victorian Poets ; Hadley's Essays.
Morris: Stedman's Victorian Poets ; Swinburne's Essays and Studies.
LONGFELLOW: Before reading Evangeline, study the history of the French in America. An account of the removal of the Acadians is given in the fourth volume of Bancroft's United States. Before reading Miles Standish, study the history of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.
Definitions--Anglo-Saxon Allegories—The Vision of Piers Plowman
Roman de la Rose-Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose—The Court of
An allegory is a narrative in which abstract ideas are represented by figures. Allegory usually appears in the personification of human qualities, but it includes also the metaphorical use of words and forms to designate subjects to which they are not properly applicable. Allegories are of three classes : the allegory proper, the parable, and the fable. With respect to their meaning and purpose, they may be didactic or satirical. The taste for allegory was very early developed in literature; indeed, its origin may be traced in the primitive myths of our ancestors. The difference between a myth and an allegory, according to Worcester, is that while the former “springs up spontaneously and by an act of inspiration,” the latter is “a reflective and artificial process.” We have elsewhere spoken of the allegorical poems which were written during the Anglo-Saxon period and preserved in the Vercelli and Exeter manuscripts. We find the use of allegorical prose still earlier; for the Venerable Bede in describing Solomon's temple shows how each part may be interpreted as representing some moral truth-for instance, that the windows are the teachers of holiness through whom the light of heaven enters, and that the cedar from the mountains of Lebanon represents the incorruptible virtues of the pure in heart. During the Middle Ages the use of allegory in interpreting the meaning of Scripture was very generally resorted to. In fact, as Morley says, “We find the taste for allegory coloring almost the whole texture of European literature and remaining for a long time dominant."
The first poetical allegory of any special note in our literature is Langland's Vision of Piers Plowman, which we have described in the chapter on the poetry of the Transi-. tion Period. This work is essentially satirical in its purpose, and its ridicule is directed against the vices and corruptions of the church and the State. The allegorical form of the poem was probably chosen from the fact that this had already become the favorite form in which to disguise and announce severe or otherwise unpalatable truths, and that the double-meaning which it carried with it might afford a means of retreat to the writer in case he should be involved in difficulties. “There is no doubt,". says Marsh, “that this poem planted deep in the English mind the germ of that religious revolution which was so auspiciously begun and perfected in the sixteenth century, as well as of the political reforms which followed a hundred years later." Regarded in this light, the study of the allegory becomes doubly interesting and important.
The allegory early became a favorite form of composition with the romance writers of France. About the middle of the thirteenth century, Guillaume de Lorris, a Trouvère, began a long allegorical love-poem called Roman de la Rose. That part of the poem known to have been written by Lorris closes abruptly at the end of the 4030th line; and whether this break was made intentionally by the author, or was caused by his death, or whether the remaining por