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Poxray.—The Legend of Phyllis, with a Year of Sang. By William Sawyer. (Longmans.) Mr. Sawyer has achieved, as a poet, a success which has only fallen short of making him famous. There are some names—we may say roughly, half a score of names—which every cul- tured person knows, names of men and women, about the value of whose work every qualified reader has a distinct idea ; that Mr. Sawyer has not reached this level is more his misfortune than his fault, and so one is inclined to say after reading this volume. If it had had the benefit of one of those adventitious circumstances which sometimes lift men into fame, if it had been written by a peer or by a peasant, it might have made no inconsiderable stir. But Mr. Sawyer's poetry is just of the sort that may be said to deserve celebrity without being abloto com- mand it. It shows culture, feeling, imagination, skill of versification, almost every praiseworthy quality and attainment, but it lacks the power which takes the heart of the world by storm. And perhaps, too, it fails because the poet has not obviously found anything to sing about, or rather, anything that he must sing about. The "Log,end of Phyllis and Demo- phoon "is apretty subject, fascinating as most classical subjects are to men of taste, but it is not what we may call a helpful subject for a writer who wants to catch the ears of men. There are those to whom we listen, whatever they may choose to sing ; there are others on whom we enforce, if they are to please us, our own tastes and interests. And we do not think that Mr. Sawyer handles his classical subject quite rightly. Take this description of Phyllis :—

" Wound gold about her brae', The gold of gathered tresses woven fair, Glittered for diadem. Around her feet Wide as a wave. a robe of shimmering sweep, Purple and gold inwoven, thread for thread, Sparkled its shining way. Enmeshed in light, Her bosom netted in a diamond net Shone pearl-wise, and for girdle, glittering

With gems through all its undulant length, a snake

Of triple coil circled her waist, and lolled A heavy head with onyx aspic eyes.

So moved she lustrous, gleaming in the sun, In the snatched moment of the absolute prime Of beauty, blossom-brief, and in the touch Of its own ripe perfection perishing."

Good verse, certainly, with a genuine glow and richness about it, but with how little of the classical spirit and tone ! How much truer this rings, though the metre is not very happily chosen!— "HOME AGAIN.

" Home again! spared the peril, of years. Spared of rough seas and rougher lands, And I look in your eyes once, once again, Hear your voices and grasp your hands ; " Not changed the least, least bit in the world ; Not aged a day, as it seems to me ! The same dear faces, the same dear home,— All the same as it need to be!

"Ah! here is the garden ; here the limes Still in their sunset green and gold, And the level lawn with the pattern in't Where the grass has been newly roll'd.

" And here come the rabbits lumping along,— No! that's never the same white doe 'With the pinky lops and the munching mouth; Yet 'tie like her as snow to snow.

"And here's Nep in his old heraldio style, Erect, chain-tightening all he can,

With Topsy wagging that inch of tail,—

What, you know me again, old. man ?

"The pond where the lilies float and bloom! The gold fish in it just the same, Too fat to stir in the cool,—yes, one Shoots, and gleams, and goes out like flame: "And still in the meadow, daisy-white, Its whistling flight the arrow wings, And the fallen target's central gold' Glitters,—a planet with its rings I "And yonder's the tree with the giant's face, Sharp nose and chin against the blue, And the wide elm-branches, meeting, hear Our famous swing between the two.

" No change ! nay, it only seems !set night I blurted back your fond good-byes, As I heard the rain drip from the eaves And felt its moisture in my eyes.

" Only last night that you throng'd the poreh, Each choking words we could not say, And poor little Jim's white face peep'd out, Dimly seen while I stole away.

"Poor little Jim in this happy hour His wee, white face our hearts recall, And I miss a hand and a voice, and see The little crutch beside the wall.

"So all life's sunshine is flecked with shade, So all delight is touched with pain, So tears of sorrow and tears of joy Welcome the wanderer home again! "

Idylls and Lyrics. By W. Forsyth. (Blackwood.) Most of Mr- Forsyth's poems--a.nd the same indeed might have been said of the preceding volume—have already appeared in print, and that in periodi- eels which never admit oontribntions below a certain degree of merit, Here, again, we have the verse of an able and accomplished man, who. can handle with ease themes from classical or mediaeval literature, and who always, whatever his defects, writes gracefully and correctly. "Isis," "RephmAns," "Daphne," " The Conquest of Bacehrts," are all productions of merit. Perhaps their chief fault is a want of interest. Verse, as we have said before in other words, must be exceedingly good if it would deal with such themes. By the " Rose-a-Lynn " a com- parison is suggested with the poetry of Scott which enables us to ap- praise more accurately than is often possible the value of Mr. Forsyth's work. Here he seems tons to fail in qualities which were conspicuously present in Scott, in clearness and the power of graphic presentment of events. In reading Mat-mien and its fellows, at least you never doubt the poet's meaning, and you never fail to see clearly the scenes and personages which are presented. Now we found the "Rose-a-Lynn " obscure, and this,. in a poem of the narrative kind, is a fatal defect. Mr. Forsyth's best poetical faculty seems to be in song-writing. There is positive genius in the cleverness and unexpectedness of the stanza which we quote below from "The Evergreen ;"—

" That they die in their youth whom the Gods beloved, Was an ancient belief, we are told; And 'tie true, for those locks of silver prove There are hearts that can never grow old.

The cloud may come with the rain behind, But the greener the green leaves grow; And the oak tree laughs at the winter's wind, And the Holly at the snow, Brave heart,— And the Holly at the snow."

We have another accomplished verse-writer who is not without some claim to the higher title of poet in Mr. H. Cholmondeley-Pennell, who publishes Modern Babylon, and other Facets. (J. C. Rotten.) Here,. again, the lyrical pieces are, on the whole, the best. There is much fun and spirit in "Fire " and " Holyhead to Dublin ;" and The Oxford and Cambridge Boat-Race" is a " Pindaric " of some merit, though keeping far closer to its subject than Pindar ever does. But lyrics, if they are quoted, must be quoted complete, and we must give as a specimen of Mr. Cho1mondeley-Penell's work the concluding stanzas of his

principal poem ;— " I see far back, thro' the years of the long-ago.

A lifeless chaos, a God with a cloud-wrappd face : Beach forward, my thought, look up, sweep the mists from thy brow,—.

Behold a cosmos, a Christ-lit glory in apace.

"Behold, as engrained with a pencil of light on the earth, Brush'd thro' the eea's green, the blue of the sky, The purpose eternal, creative, ruling their birth,

That shall not be changed, nor blotted out when they die,—

" PHOGRIISS.—A progress of all things under the sun, To perfection; of things that have life, great and small, An infinite progress of endless existence begun, And man—man's body and spirit and mind—before all.

" Not thro' this orb alone, this glitt'ring atom in space, But onwards thro' sphere over sphere, exhausting the uses of each, Going from strengthunto strength, up to the holiest place Where Heaven is in sight, —the Heaven of Heavens within reach.

"Progress untold, unmeted by system and line, Theo' centuries past and ages yet for to come,—

I have said ye are Gods,' the temples of Love divine—

Be strong, be loving, 0 Gods! progress to your home.

"I see far back, thro' the mists of the long-ago,

A pulseless, godless, loveless, chaos of slime,—

Leap forward, my thought, with pinions strengthened anew, Behold the Cosmos, the finished wonder of Time.

"The Phoenix of worlds: and she needs neither any sun, Nor beauty of stars, nor the silver shining of night, Nor splendour, nor glory, nor joys evermore begun, For God-The-Life is her joy, God-The-Love is herlight"

—Hillside Rhymes. (Glasgow : J. Maclehose. London: Macmillan.), The most ambitious poem in this -volume bears the title of "Alta Montium : among the Uplands," and is a careful and, on the whole, fairly successful study of Wordsworth. The writer's strong love of nature has evidently given him a power of observation, and, though this in a less degree, of description also. His weakest point is his versification. Ho handles the metre—blank verse, which young poets so erroneously- imagine to be easy—with but indifferent skill. Hero is a passage which reproduces more of the spirit than the form of the "Excursion :"— " And still there may be seen, on that dim track, Memorial solemn that our human heart Is linked on to the past in life and death, When shepherd old in plain deal coffin laid, With plaid for pall spread o'er the rustic cart, Is slow borne to the lonely hill of graves, To share the peace of his forefathers' sleep: Content, in life and death, with simple lot; Now joyous with the hills in Uod's sunshine, Then stilrd to solemn thought whene'er they hid Their faces reverent in His awful storm; A daily duty done through all the years, And now the Sun is his sole monument."

—Eros Agonistes. By E. B. D. (H. S. King.)—This is a love- story, told in sonnets, or rather, the story of a love cherished, but never told. The material is somewhat slender of substance, beaten out, so to speak, finer than its nature will properly allow ; but the work is done with considerable skill, and a really pathetic effect is not unfrequently attained. And the kind of verse chosen, the sonnet, with its special difficulties, not being toe great for the writer's ingenuity and industry, helps him to reaeh mere excellence of form than lie might have attained in an easier metre. We quote one of the later sonnets. The speaker, it mast be remembered, is separated hopelessly from the lady of his love, who does not even know of his passion: "This thought most vexes my tormented heart, Haunting the footsteps of my lonely way,—

Do what I will, my sot cannot impart One touch of joy or sorrow to her day Whose slightest momentary whim to please, Or win the gnerdon of a passing look, I could endure all pain, and think it ease.

Ali, woe is me ! Only from some deep nook

Of my sad heart goeth perpetual prayer Amid the roar and bustle of the crowd, Silently up to heaven for her welfare.

Though the blast roar without and storm be loud, At that dim shrine, in plaintive litany, The voice of pleading love continually doth cry."

—Delhi, cad other Poems. By Charles A. Kelly. (Longman.)-- This volume comes before us with a certain recommendation of success. It is described on its title-page as "a new and enlarged edition." And of this success it is not undeserving, though we are bound to say that volumes equally, possibly more, meritorious fail to attain it. Mr. Kelly writes, we perceive, M.A., after his name, and we may con- jecture that he has studied the volumes of Newdigate and Chancellor's Prize Poems with attention. Here are some lines which might well 4‘ bring dawn " the crowded theatre :— " Or view with awe-strnok eyes the wondrous aisle Where streams the moonlight like an angel's smile. There lives in stone the artist's rare design, Green leaves, fair flowers, and sculptured texts divine. Wrought to the life, the pictured bulbul sings, And the limped tiger crouches ere he springs ; Blooms the blue lotus, delicately clear, And blush the breathing roses of Cashmere."

Both "Delhi" and " The Mutiny " are written in vigorous verse of this kind. Among what are, we presume, the lately added pieces, we find what seems to us to touch a higher standard. We quote a sonnet to the memory of Justice Norman :— " An awful voice he heard, and might not stay

In that far city, where he grasped so long The Sword of Justice, temperate, calm, and strong.

Alas, the noble spirit past away! 'Tie not for us, frail creatures of a day, To scan the Eternal purpose, or arraign

The sovereign mercy ; but not all in vain

We mourn the kindly voice, the genial away;

And mark the mellow wisdom, skilled to tread The subtle web of wordy sophistries,

Melt with a mild forgiveness, softly said By dying lips, ere closed the dying eyes. So muse I, while the Orient dews are shed O'er the green turf where gentle Norman lies."

—Ccesar in Britain, by Thomas Kentish (Pickering), isa tale in verse of Caesar's invasion, about which our author appears to have obtained information which enables him to correct the "Commentaries." The last canto winds up with a crashing defeat inflicted upon the Roman legions, and tells us how Caesar came,—

At length to the resolve to leave The country, hopeless to achieve A conquest, or expect to tame A people such, as never yet, His else victorious arms had met."

It is only fair to say that the verse sometimes rises above the level, and a deplorably low level it is, of the lines which we have quoted. It is often fluent, and occasionally spirited, but it is continually sinking into what is very little better than doggrel. We cannot say that we found the story, taken apart from the versa, at all interesting.—At Home on Leave. By J. 'D. R. Gribble. (Traner.) The author describes his volume as "Love Songs from India, New and Old." We tan find nothing in it but verse of indifferent quality, neither good enough nor bad enough to quote. A certain interest attaches to some of the translations or rather adaptations of Sanscrit legends which are in- cluded with Mr. Dribble's original poems.—Deigkton Farm, by Thomas Bradfield (Hodder and Stoughton), is a love-story which might have been fairly readable, had it had been told in prose, but which has been spoilt by being put into blank—very blank—verse. Does Mr. Bradfield, of whose general tone and purpose we desire to speak with all respect, think that we are dealing him hard measure ? We will quote a few lines at random:— " The first sweet sense of love had gently crept Within her heart: those soft and flattering words Made her soul thrill, as oft and oft she heard Again that vain speaking with tender warmth. She went in when his steps had died away, Still feeling as if he were standing there And saw her blushes," he.

—Mr. James 31. Fleming, who writes Carmina Mee (Chapman and Hall), must not allow himself such rhymes as forest," "no rest," plough- share," "now share," though it may be said for them that they have attracted our attention, which nothing else in the volume was likely to have done.