Slike strani

Then walk up to the casket,
Thy life is near the door,
'Twill open if you ask it,

And o'er thee, spirit pour.

Thou art not far from heaven,

Thou art not far from love;
Thy dower is sevenfold seven,
Thy hopes are fixed above.

Yet earth does well to keep thee,
For thy good deeds are needed :
We only yet would steep thee

In spirit-powers: unheeded.

Thy husband oft is with thee, dear,
And he has led thee on:

One day thou shalt see all things clear,
For home will then be won,

And separation's day be done."

"The Birth of Aconite," p. 77, is very powerful, both in conception and execution; of a somewhat similar strain, though in blank verse, to Part iii. of Shelley's "Sensitive Plant." But how the doctor reconciles it with his science and theology I cannot understand. I presume he believes that God created the aconite no less than He created the olive, the palm, and the vine; yet he writes as if it were created by the devil. This sort of loose undefined Manicheism, which Plato, by-the-bye, explicitly sets forth in the Timæus, is very common among Christians, in spite of the great monotheistic text (Isa. xlv. 5-7): “I am the Lord; and there is none else, there is no god beside Me. I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do

all these things." They love to symbolise their Lord and the Holy Spirit by the lamb and the dove, which are among the most silly and cowardly and helpless of animals; they are dreadfully affronted if you consider the vulture, the ape, the toad equally symbolic of their God; yet nothing can be more evident than that every thing and being created (not excluding their devil) must faithfully represent or express some portion or characteristic of the Creator. If "I am the vine" is a true text, equally true must be "I am the aconite;" nay, our total-abstinence friends would maintain that the former has been and is far more extensively fatal to our race than the latter. So much for theology as for science, it surely scorns idea of classing things as in origin and essence good or evil, according as they seem beneficial or noxious to man. Spinoza is here incomparably more enlightened than this nineteenth-century man of science.

We now reach "W. M. W.," p. 89, a poem addressed to the writer's brother (author, I presume, of "Spirit Drawings, a Personal Narrative," 1858), followed by another to "E. W." his wife, on the death of their little son, who in a third poem, "Teddy's Flower," sends them a message of good cheer from the world of spirits, as the close informs us :

"Teddy through Hood,

Who has walked through Teddy's wood,

And seen his garden wall,

Because Hood loves the small."

I am bound to add that though the message is delivered by Hood, its style and character are of

Wilkinson. I quote the "W. M. W.," as very solemn and beautiful, especially for an improvisation :

"Brownness of autumn is around thee, Brother,
Darkness of life has fallen on thy path;
Sadness hath been unto thee as a mother,
Sadness is not another name for wrath.

God gave, God takes away: His hand is on thee:
Heavy its print hath been upon thy brow.
Yet even that stroke a second heart hath won thee,
And warmer thoughts within thy bosom glow.

Thy little Teddy, like a shaft of lightning,

Shears through the gloom of worldliness around;
And from his early gloomy grave a brightening
Shoots forth its pillar: pierces the profound.

Thy night is dying, and thy day is nearing,

Wrap round thee then the mantle of the light.
Leave troubling, shun dull care and duller fearing :
Thy day is strong: arise: assert thy might.

The spirit, strong in love to thee and thine,
Commits these verses to a brother's hand.
They come to earth mixed with her bitter wine,

They glow with sparklings from the heavenly strand."


We are here in the heart's holy of holies, the inmost sanctuary of love and sorrow, sorrow more beautiful than beauty's self;" where criticism the most just and righteous bows its head and is silent, feeling that this is also the inviolable sanctuary, the inexpugnable fortress, of all the fond frail superstitions that are born of love and grief and hope, feeling that here even spiritism is sacred, though it has been prostituted by the vilest of the vile.

Our next piece is "Saturday Night," p. 96, ending

with a reminiscence of Goethe:

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"Week's curtain, folded round
Time with a solemn sound,
Life sleeps within thy folds,
The past like dreams it holds.

Surely 'tis God's intent
That life should well be blent
With sleep, when every tread
Has memory overhead.

So may we pass each glance,
That the whole's countenance,
When met on shore of heaven,
May be good, true, and even."

I cite a little of "The Fairies' Welcome," p. 99, because of the structure of its eight-lined stanza; it was a wonderful tour de force to rush out sixteen such stanzas in "from thirty to forty-five minutes."

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All hail again

Ye bands of life,

Ye sons of God
From fairy climes :
Ye unmade men,
Unknown to strife,
Whose feet are shod
With heavenly rhymes."

Here are the first and the last stanza of "The

Dance of Life," p. 105:

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"'Tis not in round of commonplace

Life keepeth measure:

But rhythmical her atoms trace
The turf of pleasure.

There is no lazy-footed tread

In all creation;

But being doth with being thread

"God weaveth, in a word,
In circles fine:

And His bright love is stirred
Through rounded line:
For this is e'en completion,

And this is new beginning:
And swiftness urgeth mission,
And dance is mood of winning."

Song, "Its Divine Birth," p. 135, is unfortunately too long for quotation here. Let us have a short piece in a very different mood, “Napoleon to Napoleon," p. 193; remembering that it was written about fourteen years before Sedan :-—

"Weird sisters set thee where thou art :

Thou shalt not stand :

Thou seest already the fell dart-
Thou seest the hand.

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