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background to human figures, then in Titian's work to Turner's,1 Landscape appears as, itself and by itself, an unfailing source of pure, lasting pleasure.
To trace landscape in colour through its parallel course to landscape in words would be a most interesting essay. This cannot be here attempted; but it may help to clear up our main subject if we cast a prefatory glance at the characteristics of the two arts; so far as words can render the silent inner effect which picture or poem, in proportion to their merit in art, leave on the sensitive spectator. In common, both, it is almost a truism to say, are bound to exhibit Nature as seen through, coloured, penetrated by the poet's or the painter's soul; whilst they, in turn, if genuinely gifted for art, frame their ideal landscape on the great lines, and after the laws and inner intention of Nature herself: reverting thus to realism in its real essence through the union of observation and individual genius. In varying degrees Nature must thus be generalised or modified; bare realistic photography, or a mere catalogue of details,—each fails to give the landscape, rendered in words or colours, that union with human feeling which, whether by way of sympathy or of contrast, art itself and the human soul always imperatively call for. The absence of this marriage of Man and Nature is what leaves us cold, we hardly know why, before many a skilful landscape picture, and is what tempts us to skip the poet's descriptive passages.—Thus far for what is common between the rival arts; we may now compare them. Poetry, rendering the scene or subject chosen in successive verbal pictures, and bringing before us images of scent and sound and movement, has at first sight vast advantages over painting, confined, as the artist is, in regard to form, to a single instant, and unable to do more than barely suggest motion; whilst his colours, with the light and shade, available as materials, cannot go beyond one octave, as it were, in the long scale
1 I allude to the magnificent specimen, said to be a view from Friuli, in the Buckingham Palace collection. This, the faded frescoes in the Scuola del Santo, Padua, and the backgrounds to some of his figure-pictures, show a depth and truth of sentiment not always found in Titian's subject-inventions, and suggest that had the due season arrived, he might have ranked easily among the very greatest of the landscapists,
of Nature, ranging from absolute darkness to midday splendour. Add to this that the poet can prepare the reader's mind for his landscape, connecting it easily with the always underlying human sentiment, whilst the painter must produce his effect almost wholly by the canvas presented. Yet, on the other hand, who can question that colours, even a single colour, shall place the scene before eye and mind with a vivid truth, a realisation, which the genius of the Muse herself, concentrating all the skill of all the poets who have ever been, cannot even approach? —And it adds to the interest of this comparison, that among the different races of mankind it will often be found that one has been gifted most for the pen, another for the palette.
The task before us is sufficiently large, and it will be best to sketch its limitations at once. My scheme does not aim to cover the whole field even of Western poetry. Both in extent and in the varied command of language requisite for such an anthology, it would be beyond my powers; and far more, such a world-wide gathering as that which the distinguished German Herder attempted in his Popular Songs.2 Thus, in the first portion of my work, I can only allude to the singular development of Landscape in Poetry displayed, according to Humboldt, long before the Christian era, in the Indian Vedas, in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, and with greater fullness in the poems of Kalidasa, contemporaneous with Vergil and Horace. Amongst Kalidasa's, Humboldt especially praises the landscapes in the Megadhuta or Cloud Messenger, so named from the drifting vapour to which the lover confides his grief. We find here a meditative dreamlike sentiment, a sympathetic nearness to Nature, which, in contrast with the Greek apartness from her, the Greek definiteness of outline, may be truly called romantic. The poem "paints with admir"able truth to nature, the joyful welcome which . . . hails the "first appearance of the rising cloud, showing that the looked
1 Almost wholly, because a landscape known to the spectator, or one obviously dealing with some familiar human incident or passage in literature (like the names affixed to " 'programme" music), may more or less dispose the spectator to grasp the painter's idea.
2 Volks Lieder, 1778.
"for season of rains is at hand.” 1 But this rich vein of song, with whatever treasures are lying hid from us, like gold within the rock, in all that Persia, Arabia, China, may also preserve, must be here passed by; in Pindar's phrase, they "speak "only to the wise." And we shall afterwards have to notice other inevitable omissions.
The subject, even when limited, has thus far, I believe, been but briefly handled; I might almost repeat with that deep-souled and prophetic bard who did most for Roman nature-scenes, "the pathless places of poetry are our wandering ground,' Avia Pieridum peragro loca. But it is in no spirit of boasting that this is noted; the fact is rather a source of anxiety, an appeal to the reader for a judgment, lenient if not favourable, of an attempt which cannot escape frequent deficiencies.
Although Landscape in Poetry has not hitherto, so far as my knowledge goes, at least in our language, been so much as mapped out systematically, yet I have been greatly aided by certain previous essays. Most important of these is the sketch (which does not exclude landscapes in prose or in colour) by that many-sided man of science, Alexander von Humboldt, in Cosmos, his great Physical Description of the Universe. Another and a more detailed survey is given in the volume of lectures by my gifted predecessor Oxford, J. C. Shairp: 2, but it is chiefly our own poets who here are analysed; the series, perhaps rather arbitrarily selected, ending with Wordsworth. Briefer, but with more variety in range, is an outline prefixed to Mr. J. Gilbert's excellent and carefully illustrated volume, Landscape in Art before Claude and Salvator.3 And a very few but well chosen poets have been similarly treated in Mr. P. G. Hamerton's Landscape. In case of Greek and Roman literature I am
1 Cosmos, Part II: The authorised translation, edited by E. Sabine, 1849, has here been used.
2 The Poetic Interpretation of Nature.
3 Murray, 1885. This very interesting work shows wide study and refined By aid of illuminations and the backgrounds in early painting it traces landscape from classical art onwards, thus covering ground untouched by any other book I have met with. It deserves to be better known.
also indebted much to the work of two friends, W. Y. Sellar's admirable monographs on Lucretius and Vergil,1 J. W. Mackail's select Epigrams from the Greek Anthology,2 and his brilliant Latin Literature.3 Other sources of aid will be named as they And there will be more such than I can notice or
It is hardly needful to say that Nature, as here spoken of, falls short of the large sense in which Marcus Aurelius used the word :—" O Nature, from thee are all things, in thee are "all things, to thee all things return;" nor do we speak of that personification in J. S. Mills' phrase as "a collective "name for everything that is," or as including "not only "all that happens, but all that is capable of happening.' Compared with Nature in her infinite vastness, her infinite minuteness, our sphere is indeed limited. It is the surface of this little world —or, indeed only a small part of that surface with sky and its earthborn features, and beyond, the heavenly bodies, as the fine old phrase names them, with which we are concerned; yet the aspects of Nature to man as he sees and loves and strives to render them in poetry, from the beginning we shall find have constantly either expressed or implied the sense of Divine causation or presence; and with this, that mysterious sense that we also are in some way one with what we see; that silent voices are speaking to us from land and sky, even that whatever we find of real existence, of the hyperphenomenal (if I may use the word) in ourselves, is immanent throughout the Cosmos. Or (to quote from an eminently thoughtful writer 5) man's personifications of natural
1 Published by the Clarendon Press.
2 With translation and notes.
3 Murray, 1895. These four last-named volumes, uniting scholarly thoroughness of treatment with fine taste and enthusiastic love of poetry, have a charm and a value comparatively unfrequent in literature of this class. They exhibit classical study less as a means than as an end, opening to us the innermost spirit of poetry, the secret chambers of the heart, by the master-key of sound scholarship-Literae Humaniores, in the highest sense of the words.
4 Compare Dante, looking back from the Starry Heaven
Vidi questo globo
5 Duke of Argyll, The Philosophy of Belief, 1896.
Par. xxii, 134.
scenery, we may say, are "not the result of any mere ignorant fancy by which we project ourselves into external Nature, but "evidently the result of an instinctive recognition of that 'special kind of agency which is, indeed, familiarly known to
us as existing within ourselves, but which is also universally 66 recognised and identified as existing outside of us and around us, on every side. It is a reflection of that infinite Reason, "that Logos-of which we partake, and without which in "Nature was not anything made that was made. All things, "including ourselves, are full of it."
It is not meant that these larger thoughts have been always -perhaps have been often-within the direct consciousness of poets in their landscape. Yet the sense (to sum up this argument) of the purpose infused through "everything that is," from the adjustment of sun and planets to the smallest function microscopically traceable in plant and animal structure-in one word, the sense of the unity of Nature, rendered in terms appropriate to each age as it passes; these have been deep underlying principles, a secret inspiration from the first, in the unsophisticated human mind and heart, and should always be kept in view through our survey from Homer to Tennyson.
Hence in many different modes it is that landscape appears in poetry; the soul of Nature has spoken to man with all her vast in the epithet which Shelley took from Lucretius, her "daedal "-fullness. Some of these modes it will be best to define briefly. The task is indeed difficult; indulgence is besought for it, as a mere sketch-map for the wide regions we have to traverse.
Four or five main aspects of Nature taken by man's mind in poetry may suffice. These can be ranged broadly from simple to complex, forming a development which, at the same time, answers more or less to the order of date. But it should always be remembered that art is free, that the poets especially do not always confine themselves to a single mode of treatment; that human nature itself remains, as Thucydides long since said, much the same throughout. The new is latent in the old, the old breathes forth through the new. Hence the various aspects of landscape in which Nature