Verses New and Old. By Arthur Munby. (Bell and Daldy.)
Lyrical Fancies. By S. H. Bradbury (Qaallon). (Moron.)—We put these two books together for the purpose of contrasting them. They are both written by gentlemen who would scarcely claim to be classed amongst the vales sacri, but Mr. Munby has produced a volume that a man is justified in giving to the world, whilst Mr. Bradbury, in oui- opinion, has simply added to that enormous mass of verse which
"Rings round the same unvaried chimes, With sure returns of still expected rhymes."
We will proceed to show the difference as it strikes us. Mr. Munby conceives a clear idea in his mind and expresses it in language which is at the same time terse, striking, and rhythmical. Whether he is dis- coursing in verse on the phenomena of the social life of the present day, or describing natural scenery, or writing a ballad, and he does all three with great felicity, he always knows what he means to say, and says it effectively. Mr. Bradbury, on the other hand (and he is the type of a large class), seems not to care about meaning if he can string a number of poetical words together ; his thought is hazy, and his phrases conventional; we doubt whether he and his like ever have a distinct image in their mental vision, or exactly realize what sense they mean to convey by the words of their verses. We will conclude with a descriptive stanza from each author, which we think will serve as well as any other to confirm our opinion that Mr. Munby writes because ha has an idea in his head, and Mr. Bradbury because he has some pretty words in his memory. Here is Mr. Munby on the close of day at Perivale (vide Trollope)
" Oh I the stern and stolid quiet at the closing of the day !
When the purple furrows gleam Cold and steely, and the team
Loiters homeward, and the hawthorn blooms in blood drops not in may ; When the harvest months are done,
And the autumn rains begun, And the black earth reeks with odours, at the closing of the day. "Oh ! the dim and solemn quiet at the closing of the day !
When the leaves are dropping slow, And the wet birds come and go Through the hedges, and white winter is already on its way ; When the smoke of mouldering tare; Loosely borne on lagging airs, Frets the nostrils with its savour, at the closing of the day." And here is Mr. Bradbury on the poetry of earth:— " Old earth in vernal beauty lies, The trees bow to the flowers, A mellow glory floods the skies, The grass is bathed with showers.
A calm sweet spirit walks the air Each leaf and blossom thrills ; This ruddy morn all things are fair, From sky to plashing rills.
" Of wealthy blooms all redly rimmed Earth's spirit never tires - In tears her smile is never dimmed ; Seas welter in her fires.
Fresh murmurs ripple through the dew Fresh wild-flowers hide our feet, The birds with ripening beauty swell, The winds and blossoms meet."