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ed to the close-the last line being great as the first-and all between accordant, and all true to nature. Without rain and wind, what would be a thunder-storm? The "densissimus imber obeys the laws and so do the ingeminanting Austri-and the shaken woods and the stricken shores. BULLER. Well done, Virgil-well done, North.
NORTH. I cannot rest, Buller-I can have no peace of mind but in a successful defense of these Ditches. Why is a Ditch to be despised? Because it is dug? So is a grave. Is the Ditch-wet or dry-that must be passed by the Volunteers of the Fighting Division before the Fort can be stormed, too low a word for a Poet to use? Alas! on such an occasion well might he say, as he looked after the assault and saw the floating tartans-implentur fossa-the Ditch is filled! BULLER. Ay, Mr. North, in that case the word Ditch-and the thing-would be dignified by danger, daring, and death. But here
NORTH. The case is the same-with a difference, for there is all the Danger-all the Daring all the Death-that the incident or event admits of—and they are not small. Think for a moment. The rain falls over the whole broad heart of the tilled earth-from the face of the fields it runs into the Ditches the first unavoidable receptacles-these pour into the rivers-the rivers into the river mouths-and then you are in the Sea.
BULLER. Go on, sir, go on.
NORTH. I am amazed-I am indignant, Buller. Ruit arduus æther. The steep or high ether rushes down! as we saw it rush down a few minutes ago. What happens?
"Et pluviâ ingenti sata læta, boumque labores Diluit?"
Alas! for the hopeful-hopeless husbandman now. What a multiplied and magnified expression have we here for the arable lands. All the glad seed-time vain-vain all industry of man and oxen-there you have the true agricultural pathos-washed away-set in a swim-deluged! Well has the Poet-in one great line-spoke the greatness of a great matter. Sudden afflictionvisible desolation-imagined dearth.
BULLER. Don't stop, sir, you speak to the President of our Agricultural Societygo on, sir, go on.
NORTH. Now drop in-in its veriest place, and in two words, the necessitated Implen
tur fossa. No pretense-no display-no phraseology-the nakedest, but quite effectual statement of the fact-which the farmer
I love that word farmer-has witnessed as often as he has ever seen the Comingthe Ditches that were dry ran full to the brim. The homely rustic fact, strong and impressive to the husbandman, cannot be dealt with by poetry otherwise than by setting it down in its bald simplicity. Seek to raise-to dress-to disguise-and you make it ridiculous. The Mantuan knew betterhe says what must be said—and goes onBULLER. He goes on-so do you, siryou both get on. NORTH. And now again begins Magnification,
"Et cava flumina crescunt
The "hollow-bedded rivers" grow, swell, visibly wax mighty and turbulent. imagine that you stand on the bank and see the river that had shrunk into a thread getting broad enough to fill the capacity of its whole hollow bed. The rushing of arduous ether would not of itself have proved sufficient. Therefore glory to the Italian Ditches and glory to the Dumfriesshire Drains, which I have seen, in an hour, change the white murmuring Esk into a red rolling river, with as sweeping sway as ever attended the Arno on its way to inundate Florence.
BULLER. Glory to the Ditches of the Vale of Arno-glory to the Drains of Dumfriesshire. Draw breath, sir. Now go on, sir.
NORTH. "Cum sonitu." Not as Father Thames rises-silently-till the flow lapse over lateral meadow-grounds for a mile on either side. But " cum sonitu," with a voice-with a roar-a mischievous roar—a roar of ten thousand Ditches.
BULLER. And then the "flumina"va" no more-will be as clear as mud.
NORTH. You have hit it. They will be -for the Arno in flood is like liquid mud— by no means enamoring, perhaps not even sublime-but showing you that it comes off the fields and along the Ditches-that you see swillings of the "sata læta boumque labores.'
BULLER. Agricultural Produce!
NORTH. For a moment-a single moment-leave out the Ditches, and say merely, "The rain falls over the fields-the rivers
swell roaring." No picture at all. You must have the fall over the surface-the gathering in the narrower artificial-the de
livery into the wider natural channels-the | ing the mountain tops-which, as I take it, fight of spate and surge at river mouth
"Diluit: implentur fossæ, cava flumina crescunt Cum sonitu"-
is, where it stands and looking before and after a perfect line; and that to strike out "implentur fossa" would be an outrage on it-just equal, Buller, to my knocking out, without hesitation, your brains-for your brains do not contribute more to the flow of our conversation-than do the Ditches to that other spate.
BULLER. That will do-you may stop. NORTH. I ask no man's permission-I obey no man's mandate to stop. Now Virgil takes wing-now he blazes and soars. Now comes the power and spirit of the Storm gathered in the Person of the Sire-of him who wields the thunderbolt into which the Cyclops have forged storms of all sorts-wind and rain together-" Tres imbri torti radios!" &c. You remember the magnificent mixture. And there we have VIRGILIUS versus HOMERUM.
BULLER. You may sit down, sir. NORTH. I did not know I had stood up. Beg pardon.
BULLER. I am putting Swing to rights for you, sir.
NORTH. Methinks Jupiter is twice apparent-the first time, as the President of the Storm, which is agreeable to the dictates of reason and necessity;-the second-to my fancy-as delighting himself in the conscious exertion of power. What is he splintering Athos, or Rhodope, or the Acroceraunians for? The divine use of the Fulmen is to quell Titans, and to kill that mad fellow who was running up the ladder at Thebes, Capaneus. Let the Great Gods find out their enemies now-find out and finish them-and enemies they must have not a few among those prostrate crowds-" per gentes humilis stravit pavor." But shattering and shiver
is here the prominent affair-and, as I said, the true meaning of "dejicit"—is mere pastime as if Jupiter Tonans were disporting himself on a holiday.
BULLER. Oh! sir, you have exhausted the subject-if not yourself-and us; I beseech you sit down ;-see, Swing solicits you-and oh! sir, you-we-all of us will find in a few minutes' silence a great relief after all that thunder.
NORTH. You remember Lucretius?
BULLER. No, I don't. To you I am not ashamed to confess that I read him with some difficulty. With ease, sir, do you?
NORTH. I never knew a man who did but Bobus Smith; and so thoroughly was he imbued with the spirit of the great Epicurean, that Landor-himself the best Latinist living-equals him with Lucretius. The famous Thunder passage is very fine, but I cannot recollect every word; and the man who, in recitation, haggles and boggles at a great strain of a great poet deserves death without benefit of clergy. I do remember, however, that he does not descend from his elevation with such ease and grace as would have satisfied Henry Home and Hugh Blair-for he has so little notion of true dignity as to mention rain, as Virgil afterwards did, in immediate connection with thunder.
"Quo de concussu sequitur gravis imber et uber, Omnis utei videatur in imbrem vortier æther, Atque ita præcipitans ad diluviem revocare." BULLER. What think you of the thunder in Thomson's Seasons?
NORTH. What all the world thinks-that it is our very best British Thunder. gives the Gathering, the General engagement, and the Retreat. In the Gathering there are touches and strokes that make all mankind shudder-the foreboding-the ominous! And the terror, when it comes, aggrandizes the premonitory symptoms. "Follows the loosened aggravated roar" is a line of power to bring the voice of thunder upon your soul on the most peaceable day. He, too-prevailing poet-feels the grandeur of the Rain. For instant on the words, "convulsing heaven and earth," ensue,
"Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail, Or prone-descending rain." Thomson had been in the heart of thunderstorms many a time before he left Scotland; and what always impresses me is the want of method-the confusion, I might almost say-in his description. Nothing contradic
tory in the proceedings of the storm; they all go on obediently to what we know of nature's laws. But the effects of their agency on man and nature are given-not according to any scheme-but as they happen to come before the poet's imagination, as they happened in reality. The pine is struck first
then the cattle and the sheep below-and then the castled cliff-and then the
Start at the flash, and from their deep recess Wide-flaming out, their trembling inmates shake."
No regular ascending or descending scale here; but wherever the lightning chooses to go, there it goes-the blind agent of indiscriminating destruction.
BULLER. Capricious Zig-zag.
NORTH. Jemmy was overmuch given to mouthing in the seasons; and in this description-matchless though it be--he sometimes out-mouths the big-mouthed thunder at his own bombast. Perhaps that is inevitable-you must, in confabulating with that Meteor, either imitate him, to keep him and yourself in countenance, or be, if not mute as a mouse, as thin-piped as a fly. In youth I used to go sounding to myself among the mountains the concluding lines of the Re
"Amid Carnarvon's mountains rages loud
The repercussive roar; with mighty crush,
Tumble the smitten cliffs, and Snowdon's peak
Are they good-or are they bad? I fearnot good. But I am dubious. The previous picture has been of one locality-a wide one-but within the visible horizon-enlarged somewhat by the imagination, which, as the schoolmen said, inflows into every act of the senses-and powerfully, no doubt, into the senses engaged in witnessing a thunder-storm. Many of the effects so faithfully, and some of them so tenderly painted, interest us by their picturesque particularity:
"Here the soft flocks, with that same harmless look
They wore alive, and ruminating still
In fancy's eye; and there the frowning bull, And ox half-raised."
We are here in a confined world-close to us and near; and our sympathies with its inhabitants-human or brute-comprehend
| the very attitude or postures in which the lightning found or left them; but the final verses waft us away from all that terror and pity-the geographical takes place of the pathetic-a visionary panorama of material objects supersedes the heart-throbbing region of the spiritual-for a mournful song, instinct with the humanities, an ambitious bravura displaying the power and pride of the musician, now thinking not at all of us, and following the thunder only as affording him an opportunity for the display of his own
BULLER. Are they good-or are they bad? I am dubious.
NORTH. Thunder-storms travel fast and far-but here they seem simultaneous; Thule is more vociferous than the whole of
Wales together-yet perhaps the sound itself of the verses is the loudest of all-and we cease to hear the thunder in the din that describes it.
BULLER. Severe-but just.
NORTH. Ha! thou comest in such a questionable shape
ENTRANT. That I will speak to thee. How God bless you, dear sir? do, my how do do?
you NORTH. Art thou a spirit of health or goblin damned?
ENTRANT. A spirit of health.
NORTH. It is it is the voice of TALBOYS. Don't move an inch. Stand still for ten seconds on the very same site, that I may have one steady look at you, to make assurance doubly sure-and then let us meet each other half-way in a Cornish hug.
TALBOYS. Are we going to wrestle already, Mr. North?
NORTH. Stand still ten seconds more. He is he-You are you-gentlemen-H. G. Talboys-Seward, my crutch-Buller, your
TALBOYS. Wonderful feat of agility! Feet up to the ceiling
NORTH. Don't say ceiling. TALBOYS. Why not? ceiling-coelum. Feet up to heaven.
NORTH. An involuntary feat-the fault of Swing-sole fault-but I always forget it when agitated
BULLER. Some time or other, sir, you will fly backwards and fracture your skull.
NORTH. There, we have recovered our equilibrium-now we are in grips, don't fear a fall-I hope you are not displeased with your reception.
TALBOYS. I wrote last night, sir, to say I was coming-but there being no speedier
conveyance I put the letter in my pocket, | the full force of the words-" Fortunate and there it is
(On reading "Dies Boreales.-No. 1.") A friend returned! spring bursting forth again! The song of other years! which, when we roam, Brings up all sweet and common things of home, And sinks into the thirsty heart like rain! Such the strong influence of the thrilling strain By human love made sad and musical, Yet full of high philosophy withal, Poured from thy wizard harp o'er land and main! A thousand hearts will waken at its call,
And breathe the prayer they breathed in earlier youth
May o'er thy brow no envious shadow fall! Blaze in thine eye the eloquence of truth!
Thy righteous wrath the soul of guilt appal, As lion's streaming hair or dragon's fiery tooth! TALBOYS. I blush to think I have given you the wrong paper.
NORTH. It is the right one. But may ask what you have on your head? TALBOYS. A hat. At least it was so an hour ago.
NORTH. It never will be a hat again. TALBOYS. A patent hat-a waterproof hat it was swimming, when I purchased it yesterday, in a pail-warranted against Lammas floods
NORTH. And in an hour it has come to this! Why, it has no more shape than a coal-heaver's.
TALBOYS. Oh! then it can be little the worse; for that is its natural artificial shape. It is constructed on that principle-and the patentee prides himself on its affording equal protection to head, shoulders, and back-helmet at once and shield.
NORTH. But you must immediately put on dry clothes
TALBOYS. The clothes I have on are as dry as if they had been taking horse-exercise all morning before a laundry-fire. I am waterproof all over-and I had need to be sofor between Inverary and Cladich there was much moisture in the atmosphere.
NORTH. Do-do-go and put on dry clothes. Why the spot you stand on is absolutely swimming
TALBOYS. My sporting-jacket, sir, is a new invention-an invention of my own-to the sight silk--to the feel feathers--and of feathers is the texture-but that is a secret, don't blab it-and to rain I am impervious as a plover. NORTH. Do-do-go and put on dry clothes. TALBOYS. Intended to have been here last night-left Glasgow yesterday morning, and had a most delightful forenoon of it in the steamer to Tarbert. Loch Lomond fairly outshone herself-never before had I felt
Isles." The Bens were magnificent. At Tarbert-just as I was disembarking-who should be embarking but our friends Outram, M'Culloch, Macnee
NORTH. And why are they not here?
TALBOYS. And I was induced-I could not resist them--to take a trip on the Inverarnan. We returned to Tarbert and had a glorious afternoon till two this morningthought I might lie down for an hour or two -but, after undressing, it occurred to me that it was advisable to redress--and be off instanter-so, wheeling round the head of Loch Long-never beheld the day so lovely -I glided up the gentle slope of Glencroe and sat down on "Rest and be thankful"to hold a minute's colloquy with a hawk-or some sort of eagle or another, who seemed to think nobody at that hour had a right to be there but himself-covered him to a nicety with my rod--and had it been a gun, he was a dead bird. Down the other-that is, this side of the glen, which, so far from being precipitous, is known to be a descent but by the pretty little, cataractettes playing at leapfrog-from your description I knew that must be Loch Fine-and that St. Catherine's. Shall I drop down and signalize the Inverary Steamer? I have not time-so through the woods of Ardkinglass-surely the most beautiful in this world--to Cairndow. Looked at my watch-had forgot to wind her up set her by the sun-and on nearing the inn door an unaccountable impulse landed me in the parlor to the right. Breakfast on the table for somebody up stairs-whom nobody-so the girl saidcould awaken-ate it-and the ten miles were but one to that celebrated Circuit Town. Saluted Dun-nu-quech for your sake --and the Castle for the Duke's-and could have lingered all June among those gorgeous groves.
NORTH. Do-do-go and put on dry clothes.
TALBOYS. Hitherto it had been coolshady-breezy-the very day for such a saunter-when all at once it was an oven. I had occasion to note that fine line of the Poet's "Where not a lime-leaf moves," as I passed under a tree of that species, with an umbrage some hundred feet in circumference, and a presentiment of what was coming whispered "Stop here"-but the Fates tempted me on-and if I am rather wet, sir, there is some excuse for it-for there was thunder and lightning, and a great tempest.
NORTH. Not to-day? Here all has been | all fiery green in the gloom-sat down-as hush.
TALBOYS. It came at once from all points of the compass-and they all met-all the storms-every mother's son of them at a central point where I happened to be. Of course, no house. Look for a house on an emergency, and if once in a million times you see one-the door is locked, and the people gone to Australia.
NORTH. I insist on you putting on dry clothes. Don't try my temper.
TALBOYS. By-and-by I began to have my suspicions that I had been distracted from the road-and was in the Channel of the Airey. But on looking down I saw the Airey in his own channel-almost as drumly as the mire-burn-vulgarly called road-I was plashing up. Altogether the scene was most animating-and in a moment of intense exhilaration—not to weather-fend, but in defiance-I unfurled my Umbrella.
composedly as you would yourself, sir-on a knoll, in another region-engirdled with young birch-groves-as beautiful a restingplace, I must acknowledge, as, after a lyrical flight, could have been selected for repose by Mr. Wordsworth.
NORTH. I know it-Arash-alaba-chalinora-begota-la-chona-hurie. Archy will go for it in the evening-all safe. But do go and put on dry clothes. What now, Billy? BILLY BALMER. Here are Mr. Talboy trunk,
NORTH. Who brought it?
BILLY. Nea, Maister-I dan't kņa'—I 'spose Carrier. I ken't reet weel-ance at Windermere-watter.
NORTH. Swiss Giantess-Billy.
NORTH. You will find the Swiss Giantess as complete a dormitory as man can desire, Talboys. I reserve it for myself in event of NORTH. What, a Plover with a Parapluie ? rheumatism. Though lined with velvet, it TALBOYS. I use it, sir, but as a Parasol. is always cool-ventilated on a new princiNever but on this one occasion had it affront-ple-of which I took merely a hint from the ed rain.
Punka. My cot hangs in what used to be
NORTH. The same we sat under, that dog- the Exhibition-foom-and her Retreat is now day, at Dunoon?
TALBOYS. The same. Whew! Up into the sky like the incarnation of a whirlwind! No turning outside in-too strong-ribbed for inversion before the wind he flew-like a creature of the element-and gracefully accomplished the descent on an eminence about a mile off.
a commodious Dressing-room. Billy, show Mr. Talboys to the Swiss Giantess.
BILLY. Ay-ay, sir. This way Mr. Talboy-this way, sir.
TALBOYS. What is your dinner-hour, Mr. North?
NORTH. Sharp seven-seven sharp.
TALBOYS. And now 'tis but half-past two.
NORTH. Near Orain-imali-chauan-mala- Four hours for work. The Cladich-or chuilish?
TALBOYS. I eyed him where he lay-not without anger. It had manifestly been a wilful act--he had torn himself from my grasp and now he kept looking at me-at safe distance as he thought-like a wild animal suddenly undomesticated-and escaped into his native liberty. If he had sailed before the wind-why might not I? No need to stalk him—so I went at him right in front -but such another flounder! Then, sir, I first knew fatigue. NORTH.
"So eagerly THE FIEND O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense,
whatever you call him-is rumbling disorderly in the wood; and I noted, as I crossed the bridge, that he was proud as a piper of being in Spate-but he looks more rational down in yonder meadow-and- -HEAVEN HAVE MERCY ON ME! THERE'S LOCH AWE!! NORTH. I thought it queer that you never looked at it.
TALBOYS. Looked at it? How could I look at it? I don't believe it was there. If it was-from the hill-top I had eyes but for the Camp-the Tents and the Treesand "Thee, the spirit of them all!" Let me have another eye-full-another soul-full of the Loch. But 'twill never do to be losing time in this way. Where's my creel-where's my creel?
NORTH. On your shoulders—
TALBOYS. And my Book? Lost-lostlost! Not in any one of all my pockets. I shall go mad.
NORTH. Not far to go. Why your Book's in your hand.