A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 451 pages of information about A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century.

[58] “Where the lady Mary is,
       With her five handmaidens whose names
     Are five sweet symphonies,
       Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
     Margaret and Rosalys.” 
             —­“The Blessed Damozel.”

[59] Cf. Browning’s “The Heretic’s Tragedy,” supra, p. 276.

[60] This was the subject of Massinger’s “Virgin Martyr.”

[61] “Essays and Studies,” pp. 85-88.

[62] See “A Study of Ben Jonson”; “John Ford” (in “Essays and Studies"); and the introductions to “Chapman” and “Middleton” in the Mermaid Series.

[63] Vide supra, pp. 90, 109, 330, and vol. i., pp. 221-22, 301.

[64] See especially “A Study of Victor Hugo” (1886); the articles on “L’Homme qui Rit” and “L’Annee Terrible” in “Essays and Studies” (1875); and on Hugo’s posthumous writings in “Studies in Prose and Poetry” (1886); “To Victor Hugo” in “Poems and Ballads” (first series); Ibid. (second series); “Victor Hugo in 1877,” Ibid.

[65] See “Ave atque Vale” and the memorial verses in English, French, and Latin on Gautier’s death in “Poems and Ballads” (second series).

[66] “A Ballad of Francois Villon.” Vide supra, pp. 298-99.

[67] “Essays and Studies,” pp. 45-49.

CHAPTER VIII.

Tendencies and Results.

It has been mentioned that romanticism was not purely a matter of aesthetics, without relation to the movement of religious and political thought.[1] But it has also been pointed out that, as compared with what happened in Germany, English romanticism was almost entirely a literary or artistic, and hardly at all a practical force, that there was no such Zusammenhang between poetry and life as was asserted by the German romantic school to be one of their leading principles.  Walter Scott, e.g., liked the Middle Ages because they were picturesque; because their social structure rested on a military basis, permitted great individual freedom of action and even lawlessness, and thus gave chances for bold adventure; and because classes and callings were so sharply differentiated—­each with its own characteristic manners, dialect, dress—­that the surface of society presented a rich variety of colour, in contrast with the drab uniformity of modern life.  Perhaps to Scott the ideal life was that of a feudal baron, dwelling in a Gothic mansion, surrounded by retainers and guests, keeping open house, and going a-hunting; and he tried to realise this ideal—­so far as it was possible under modern conditions—­at Abbotsford.  He respected rank and pedigree, and liked to own land.  He was a Tory and, in Presbyterian Scotland, he was an Episcopalian.  But his mediaeval enthusiasms were checked by all kinds of good sense.  He had no wish to restore mediaeval institutions in practice.  In spite of the glamour which he threw over feudal life, he

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