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More thick than vultures wing'd
To fields with carnage strewn, the Accursed throng'd,
Making thick night, which neither earth nor sky
Could pierce, from sense expunged. In phalanx now
Anon in breaking legion, or in globe,
With clang of iron pinion, on they rush'd,
And spectral dart high held. Nor quailed the Saint,
Contending for his people on that mount,
Nor spared God's foes ; for as old minster towers,
Besieged by midnight storm, send forth reply
In storm outrolld of bells, so sent he forth
Defiance from fierce lip, vindictive chaunt,
And blight and ban, and maledictive rite,
Potent on face of spirits impure to raise

These plague-spots three, -Madness, Defeat, Despair. (pp. 41, 42.) An echo of later and more melancholy music is heard in these other lines

Lost, lost, all lost! Oh tell us what is lost?
Behold, this too is hidden! Let him speak
If any knows. The wounded deer can turn
And see the shaft that quivers in its flank;
The bird looks back upon its broken wing:
But we, the forest children, only know

Our grief is infinite and hath no name.
And who is not reminded of the perfect melody of “ Lalla
Rookh ” by the exquisite verses (pp. 56, 57)—

Then the breasts of the maidens began to heave

Like harbour waves, when beyond the bar
The great waves gather, and wet winds grieve,

And the roll of the tempest is heard afar.
We will kiss, we will kiss those bleeding feet ;

On those bleeding hands our tears shall fall ;
And whatever on earth is dear or sweet

For that wounded heart we renounce them all. Those examples show, perhaps, that Mr. De Vere's muse is now and again mimetic. But they show also that she is a truo singer, with an ear that is always correct, and a voice that is not only always melodions, but sometimes equal to the highest efforts of song.

Hitherto what we have been saying has been said in Mr. De Vere's praise. But a critic, if he wishes to preserve his character, must find fault. We have some difficulty in doing ourselves that justice at present. Still, we think, we have

, scen a few faults in Mr. De Vere's work, and we think it

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proper to make them known to the reader. We mention them all the more readily, because they arise out of one of his most amiable excellences, and because, in the judgment of many persons, they may not be regarded as faulty at all.

We first point out Mr. De Vere's occasional diffusiveness. It is a truism that language should be used as sparingly as possible; that the thinner the medium of communication between the soul of a poet and the soul of his reader, the better; and that the fewer the appendages about a leading idea the greater its chances of being effective. Strength, directness, incisiveness, terseness, are essential qualities of a perfect style. These qualities are sometimes wanting in the style of Mr. De Vere, yet often present in most complete combination. It is, moreover, a bad thing and a suspicious thing to make much or handle fondly any single idea, and the best part of a poet's work must be done rather by suggestion than by formal expression. But sometimes Mr. De Vere, when he introduces us to an idea, not only makes our visit to it somewhat protracted, but generally ends by introducing us to its friends and relations. This, as we said, is a result of one of his most amiable excellences—the love with which he lingers about the children of his brain, and the difficulty he finds in leaving their company. But though it is an amiable characteristic, we think it a fault. And we think it a fault into which the very highest poets never fall, and into which Mr. De Vere never falls in his moments of highest inspiration. In the greatest poets always, in Mr. De Vere very often, there is a fiery impatient rush to wreak their thought upon expression, which precludes all side-glances and passing salutations. That is a fact well worth remembering. For it is only what is written with true ardour that is really and truly immortal. Whilst the elaborated epics, wrought out so scientifically, tempered and traced so beautifully, lie rusted and useless, the rough red-hot spear-points that were, like Joe Gargery's verses, struck out—" as if, Pip, you had struck out a horse shoe at a single blow”—it is these “thoughts that breathe and words that burn” that live in the memories of men for ever.

Arising out of the faults which we have just mentioned, is another in Mr. De Vere, which we regard as of vastly greater importance. It is his tendency to be incongruous in his use of metaphorical language. The instances of this fault in a person of his ability cannot be very glaring. He never could speak as did that poetic impostor who bridled in his struggling muse in vain, and so made himself an everlasting place in the grammatical pillory. But up and down Mr. De Vere's book

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we have found a considerable number of images which will not stand too close a scrutiny. For instance, in page 8, it is written

Dewy pastures sunset-dazed, Smiled him a welcome ; and in the same page,

a golden marge Girdled the water-tongues with flag and reed ; and in page 11,

Faith is no gift that gold begets, or feeds :

More oft by gold extinguish’d. We humbly suggest that when any one is dazed he can hardly be said to smile a smile of welcome, or to do anything which is not idiotic; and an idiotic smile could not be regarded as a particular compliment to the Apostle of Ireland. Nor is it very intelligible how the margin of a headland can be said to girdle it; and, though we have often heard of bridling the tongue, we never heard of girdling it before. We have no objection to hear Faith spoken of as begotten and fed—there is no incongruity there—but when we hear it spoken of in the same breath as begotten and fed and extinguished, we do object, and say that if Faith begins by being an animate creature and that too a mammal) it cannot properly end by being a candle. These things are extremely small in themselves, and therefore we treat them lightly. Nor would we notice them at all but for one reason; and that is, that these little mistakes hint the existence of a very serious, but very curable disease, in Mr. De Vere. They hint at his not taking proper pains to secure clear and complete poetic vision. The man who, as he writes, sees the object of which he is writing, could never be guilty of the schoolboy blunder of “mixing his metaphors.” And Mr. De Vere does, from pure inattention we know, mix his metaphors from time to time. We must, moreover, be pardoned for saying that he carries his carelessness into matters of higher importance. He is occasionally inconsistent in his narrative. We have an instance in “ The Disbelief of Milcho.” Throughout that poem-which the reader already knows to be extremely beautiful-S. Patrick is represented as hoping for the conversion of Milcho. He knows that his old master will be a difficult subject to manage, but he does not despair of his ability, with God's help, to bring him to Faith. When he sends messengers forward to announce his coming, here is part of the message which they are to deliver to Milcho :

" and I come In few days' space with

tidings of that God Who made all worlds

But thou, rejoice in hope !”


But, later on, it turns out that Patrick must have known for a fact that Milcho would not be converted. For Milcho himself (who, we suppose, had not a better memory than the Saint) tells of a prophecy which in years before S. Patrick himself had delivered. Milcho had had a strange dream, and had mentioned the dream to his young Christian slave. “And thus,” says Milcho, remembering the event, “and thus that knave my vision glossed”:

they that walk with me shall burn like me By Faith. But thou that radiance wilt repel,

Housed through ill-will in Error's endless night. We have tried very hard to make the Saint's hope of Milcho's conversion harmonize with his certainty that Milcho would not be converted. Perhaps, if only regarded as a theological puzzle, the case may be said to be explicable, as is the case of Jonah and the City of Nineveh. We are certain it cannot be explained in that way. But even if it could, that would not relieve Mr. De Vere from the imputation of having made a serious mistake. Theological puzzles are out of place in a poem. If they be admissible in poetry at all, they are so much in Mr. Browning's line, that we would advise Mr. De Vere to let the author of “ Caliban upon Setebos” enjoy a monopoly.

Here, for the present, we take leave of Mr. De Vere. We have tried to do him simple justice; to speak of his excellences without flattery, and of his defects without asperity. Our one object was to make his true merits known; and that we wished to do, not so much for his sake, as for the sake of our generation. We have not praised him because he is an Irish Catholic and we happen to write in the Dublin REVIEW. We have praised him because he deserves to be praised. He has given us poetry which, in execution, is equal to any of our times, and which in conception is immeasurably superior to any that our times have produced. He is not, indeed, in the first class with Dante and Milton, but he is, at least, in the second class with Wordsworth and Tennyson. He is not

the great Catholic Poet for whom we have so long been waiting, but he is that poet's forerunner, and he has made straight that poet's paths. One thing, however, he is emphatically and for ever. He is the Poet of Catholic Ireland.


The Month, Sept. and Oct. 1, 1872, Art. VII. Among the Prophets."

London : Simpkin, Marshall, & Co. THERE is so much to be said, at least on the surface, against

the position now occupied by the heathen classics in Catl:olic education-and so many able and thoughtful Catho. lics are deeply dissatisfied with that position that there is sure to be constant controversy on the subject, until some concordat be concluded ; until some view be arrived at, which shall be substantially accepted by a vast majority of Catholic thinkers. It is of very great importance, therefore, to do whatever may be possible towards the conclusion of such a concordat, because of the evils which ensue from mutual dissension among loyal and devoted Catholics on a matter immediately and urgently practical. For this reason we should feel ourselves to be violating even a kind of duty, if we allowed a quarter to pass without drawing all the attention in our power to some remarks in the current number of the “Month." We have neither time nor space to enter on the subject ourselves at present; all which we can attempt is, to indicate the significance of what is found in the pages of our admirable contemporary.

The special importance of this towards the conclusion of what we have called à concordat, arises from the fact, that the "Month” has always been peculiarly sensitive as to the evil of unduly depreciating classical studies; and that we may be certain therefore that whatever concession it may make in favour of their less exclusive use, will be ratified by a very large number of their warmest upholders. We may be allowed further to add, that its remarks on the present occasion impress us as singularly well-balanced and temperate; and moreover that those views from which it most widely dissents, are treated with undeviating charity and forbearance.

Without further preamble then, we will give our readers

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