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offers herself never wholly disappear from poetry; they revive, or they melt into one another, defeating the effort to range them under definite classes or in sharply separated periods.

I We may first name the simple, almost physical, delight in the scenes of the home landscape, which seized especially on the early poets of Greece and the Middle Ages. Objects were painted singly and with a few clear touches; the meadow in spring, the living stream, the cool sheltering wood, the flower at their feet, as we always see with children, appear to limit their horizon. Poetry in this phase, in truth, but sets to song the cry of delight when infant eyes open on the cowslip field; and early as the style began, it repeats itself ever and anon, in Wordsworth's phrase, "Where life is wise and innocent."

II Even, however, in the earliest days of surviving poetry, from Homer himself, landscape, taking also a wider range, appears as the background to human life—as scenery to the play. It is thus by snatches and side glimpses that Nature, as a rule, is seen in the poetry of Greece, epic or lyric. Here we find a close analogy between painting and poetry, and this primitive mode in verse has been truly likened to the exquisitely imaginative fragments of landscape which delight us in the figuresubjects of the old Italian and Flemish artists, before landscape as such was dealt with as by itself sufficient.

III In classical poetry, however, the range gradually widens. Civilisation and the life in cities threw then, as they throw now, the sensitive soul upon the pure charm of Nature, whilst Nature, through roads and resting-places, became everywhere more accessible. Philosophy-conscious thought upon thought-compels man to ask the origin and the meaning of the visible world. Nature, as the immediate work, and in some sense the expression of the Divine, is rendered by Hebrew poetry; as a vast vague power appears distinctly with Lucretius. Deep interest in the landscape, a certain passion for it as such, sympathy with Nature, make themselves heard in Roman song; landscape now at once contrasts with, and supports humanity.

IV Presently the Hebrew and the Roman sentiment are united and expanded by Christianity so vastly that poetry hence

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forth prepares to be penetrated by what one may call the modern spirit. And the popular recognition of this change, this development, is well founded, despite the attempts which began with the Italian Renaissance to renew the classical spirit. Neo-paganism is a hollow theatrical mask; the old world, broadly speaking, does differ widely from the modern. Greek, Latin, Hebrew poetry alike think of Nature as subordinate in interest, or as external to man. But the long interval of European dislocation and reconstruction now intervenes; more than six centuries, during which light struggles with darkness and barbarism, must be overleapt before the modern world-the mediaeval-modern perhaps one might name it was born; before Poetry lifted her voice to charm and to comfort mankind again.

The horizon henceforth was immensely enlarged; at first. seen only from the valley just as it lies about us, the landscape is now studied, as it were, from the mountain top. Religion, Man, Nature, these permanent elements of the landscape in poetry, wrought upon by mediaeval thought, by the Renaissance, by our own modern atmosphere, so largely tinged by physical science, have given rise to certain deeper, more intimate, relations between Nature and the soul. "Mellower years,' in Wordsworth's phrase, "brought a riper mind, And clearer "insight." Landscape now appears as matter of pure description, human interests being subordinate, like the figures introduced in the work of painters from Claude to our own time.

With this also, in a kind of contrast, poetry devoted to regions -1632 or spots of historical interest may be named. This latter

form, however, leads naturally to didactic treatment; and the danger of hence declining into prosaic style has rendered it comparatively infrequent.

More distinctly modern is the attempt to penetrate the inner soul of the landscape itself; drawing from it moral lessons or parables for encouragement, or, indeed, for warning, when before the poet's mind is the unsympathetic aspect of Nature, her merciless indifference to human life. Under another conception the landscape becomes a symbol of underlying spiritual truths. Or again, it is, as it were, clothed in

the hues of human passion, idealised by strong emotion—a mood which easily falls into exaggerated figures, or what Mr. Ruskin may imply by "the pathetic fallacy."


Here we may also note how, at least in the English work of this century, a remarkable element pervades the landscape of the poets. Whether in regard to distances or to nearer objects, a greater truth, a finer and closer accuracy is constantly given. In this, the latest of our styles, we may trace the influence of facts made known by science; the geological elements which have shaped the mountain; the intimate structure of the flower; or, more important, the lessons of thorough methodical investigation which physical science has impressed, not only on poetry, but upon every branch of human study.

We may perhaps now suggest the deepest point of view in our poetical treatment of the landscape, nay, the very basis of the deepest accents of song, in the phrase used by a writer to whom I have already been indebted: "the recognition of "mind by mind ";1 of the unity between the wonders of the world without with the wonders of the world within; the perception of Divine purpose; the organic "pre-established "harmony" (to take the old formula) between our sensations of charm and the scene before us; the beauty of the world, which in itself as another deeply feeling writer 2 has observed-Nature, as it were, does not need for use, or to gain her own aims, coming forward, almost as a living personality—the Alma Venus of Lucretius-to meet and vitalise the sense of beauty implanted in man. These phrases, indeed, only attempt imperfectly to set forth what we can rather feel than express, but what, indeed, it is the privilege of Poetry herself, in her highest moods, to awaken in the sympathetic soul. Yet, like all that belongs to the spiritual side of human nature, these thoughts come only by glimpses-seen, and hardly seen;-like fairy treasures they vanish when touched by the "dead hand" of definition.

A noble passage from S. Augustine's Confessions 3 may sum up this subject in better words than mine. Nature, he argues, leads him up to God by her beauty—

1 Duke of Argyll, The Unity of Nature (1888).


J. B. Mozley, University Sermons.

3 B. X, vi.


"What is this? I asked the earth, and it answered me, I 66 am not He; and all that is therein confessed the same. I "asked the sea and the depths, and the creeping things with "life, and they answered, We are not thy God, seek thou above us. I asked the breezy gales, and the airy universe, and all "its denizens replied, Anaximenes is mistaken, I am not God. "I asked heaven, sun, moon, stars: Neither are we, say they, "the God whom thou seekest. And I said unto all things "which stand about the gateways of my flesh (i.e. are acces"sible to the senses), Ye have told me of my God, that ye are "not He; tell me something of Him. And they cried out with


a loud voice, He made us."



THESE many moods in which poets have tried to translate Nature must obviously bring with them a great and delightful variety in treatment. Throughout, however, the governing rule, which, consciously or not, has been almost always followed, may be expressed in the noteworthy phrase used by Beethoven as the motto of his great Pastoral Symphony, "Mehr Ausdruck "der Empfindung als Malerei": It is not so much painting, as the rendering of inner sentiment. With this as a kind of text, to be before the mind always, let us approach our only too vast theme, following within the domain of each language a rough chronological order, and beginning with the Greek and the Roman poets-those who, after all and above all, in the region of their art,

Are yet a master light of all our seeing

guides and models now for near two thousand years, unsurpassed, and seldom equalled.

Epic poetry properly deals with the acts and passions of man. Hence in the verse of that still greatest of all poets, Homer, or whoever left us Iliad and Odyssey, natural description as such is always purely incidental to the narrative, introduced most often in the form of comparison. But Homer's vast range of simile thus brings in wild beasts and birds, beside the landscape, scattered everywhere in profusion; and he has painted all with a picturesque vigour, as famous

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