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The Poetical Works of Robert Buchanan

(3 vols. London: Henry S. King & Co., 1874. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1874.)

Vol. II. continued


‘The Swallows’ - originally appeared in Wayside Posies, a collection of anonymous poems, edited by Robert Buchanan, engraved by the Brothers Dalziel and published by G. Routledge in 1866. ’The Swallows’ was included in Ballads of Life, Love, and Humour (1882) and the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘On A Young Poetess’s Grave’ - originally published as the last five verses of ‘A Drawing-Room Ballad’ in London Society (July, 1868).



UNDER her gentle seeing,
     In her delicate little hand,
They placed the Book of Being,
     To read and understand.

The Book was mighty and olden,
     Yea, worn and eaten with age;
Though the letters looked great and golden,
     She could not read a page.

The letters flutter’d before her,
     And all look’d sweetly wild:
Death saw her, and bent o’er her,
     As she pouted her lips and smiled.

And weary a little with tracing
     The Book, she look’d aside,
And lightly smiling, and placing
     A Flower in its leaves, she died.

She died, but her sweetness fled not,
     As fly the things of power,—
For the Book wherein she read not
     Is the sweeter for the Flower.



‘Sea-Wash’ - originally appeared in Wayside Posies, a collection of anonymous poems, edited by Robert Buchanan, engraved by the Brothers Dalziel and published by G. Routledge in 1866, under the title, ‘On The Shore’. The poem was included in Ballads of Life, Love, and Humour (1882) and the ‘Early Poems’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus edition of the Poetical Works.



     WHEREFORE so cold, O Day,
     That gleamest far away
O’er the dim line where mingle heaven and ocean,
     While fishing-boats lie netted in the gray,
And the smooth wave gleams in its shoreward motion—                    [1:5]
     Wherefore so cold, so cold?
     Oh say, dost thou behold
A Face o’er which the rock-weed droopeth sobbing,
     A Face just stirred within a sea-cave old
By the green waters throbbing?                                                         [1:10]

     Wherefore, O Fisherman,
     So full of care and wan,
This weary, weary morning shoreward flying,
     While, stooping downward, darkly thou dost scan
That which below thee in thy boat is lying.
     Wherefore so full of care?
     What dost thou shoreward bear
Caught in thy net’s moist meshes, as a token?
     Ah! can it be the ring of golden hair
Whereby my heart is broken?

     Wherefore so still, O Sea,
     That washest wearilie
Under the lamp lit in the fisher’s dwelling,
     Holding the secret of thy deeps from me,
Whose heart would break so sharply at the telling?
     Wherefore so still, so still?
     Say, in thy sea-cave chill,
Floats she forlorn with foam-bells round her breaking,
     While the wet Fisher lands and climbs the hill
To hungry babes awaking?

Alterations in the 1884 edition of The Poetical Works of Robert Buchanan:
v. 1, l. 5: And still smooth waves break in their shoreward motion—
v. 1, l. 10: By the green water’s throbbing? ]



‘London, 1864’ - from London Poems, 1866. The poem was revised for the 1874 Poetical Works, and this version of ‘London, 1864’ was then included in the ‘London Poems’ section of the Chatto & Windus 1884 edition of the Poetical Works.

‘The Modern Warrior’ - although this was its first appearance in book form, ’The Modern Warrior’ was included in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works.and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.



Robert Buchanan published Napoleon Fallen in January, 1871. In November of the same year he published The Drama of Kings, which was conceived as a trilogy with Napoleon Fallen forming the second part. The Drama of Kings was further revised for the 1874 Poetical Works and this revised version was then reprinted by Chatto & Windus in The Poetical Works of 1884 and 1901. These various revisions are dealt with in the sections of this site devoted to the original versions of Napoleon Fallen and The Drama of Kings. The following section is the first revision of material from The Drama of Kings. The ‘songs’ were extracted from the original text and retitled, so, in the hopes of avoiding confusion (!) I have added some notes to the links which include the relevant page numbers of The Drama of Kings.






     *** These ‘Songs,’ inasmuch as they formed a portion of the ‘Drama of Kings,’ preceded by a long period the publication of Victor Hugo’s series under the same admirable title. The ‘Drama of Kings’ was written under a false conception, which no one discarded sooner than the author; but portions of it are preserved in the present collection, because, although written during the same feverish and evanescent excitement, they are the distinct lyrical products of the author’s mind, and perfectly complete in themselves.
                                                                                                                                       R. B.


‘Ode To The Spirit Of Auguste Comte’ - Dedication (pp. vii-xiii).

‘A Dirge For Kings’ - In the version of Napoleon Fallen in The Drama of Kings, Buchanan replaced the opening scene with the German Citizens with this Chorus. In the subsequent version, ‘The Fool of Destiny’, the first scene was reinstated and this chorus was omitted.

‘The Perfect State’ - Choric Epode (pp. 271-276).

‘The Two Voices’ - from Choric Interlude: The Two Voices (pp. 265-269).

‘Ode Before Paris’ - Chorus (pp. 281-284).

‘A Dialogue In The Snow’ - from the dialogue between Chorus and A Deserter (pp. 321-332).

‘The Prayer In The Night’ - Chorus (pp. 333-338).

‘The Spirit Of France’ - Chorus (pp. 380-382)

‘The Apotheosis Of The Sword’ - from the Scene inside the Hall of Mirrors (pp. 394-403).

‘The Chaunt By The Rhine’ - from the same Scene, the dialogue between the Chorus and The Chiefs (pp. 407-417).






‘Faces On The Wall’ is a sonnet sequence originally published in The Saint Pauls Magazine of May, 1872. The original version consisted of 12 sonnets, including one dedicated to Robert Browning. This, the eighth sonnet, was omitted (presumably following Browning’s objection) in the version in the 1874 Poetical Works. The 11 sonnet version of ‘Faces on the Wall’ was subsequently published in the Chatto & Windus editions of The Poetical Works in 1884 and 1901.




‘I. Lone House’

‘II. Storm And Calm’

‘III. Without And Within’

‘IV. Napoleon’

‘V. Abraham Lincoln’

‘VI. Walt Whitman’

‘VII. O Faces!’

‘VIII. Triflers’

‘IX. The Wanderers’

‘X. The Watcher Of The Beacon’

‘XI. ‘And The Spirit Of God Moved Upon The Waters’



The Poetical Works of Robert Buchanan

(3 vols. London: Henry S. King & Co., 1874. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1874.)


Vol. III.





The third volume of the 1874 Poetical Works consists of revisions of The Book of Orm and The Drama of Kings. The volume begins with the following introductory verse:


WHEN in these songs I name the Name of GOD,
I mean not Him who ruled with brazen rod
The rulers of the Jew; nor Him who calm
Sat reigning on Olympus; nay, nor Brahm,
Osiris, Allah, Odin, Balder, Thor,
(Tho’ these I honour, with a hundred more);
Menu I mean not, nor the Man Divine,
The pallid Rainbow lighting Palestine;
Nor any lesser of the gods which Man
Hath conjured out of Night since Time began.
I mean the primal Mystery and Light,
The most Unfathomable, Infinite,
The Higher Law, Impersonal, Supreme,
The Life in Life, the Dream within the Dream,
The Fountain which in silent melody
Feeds the dumb waters of Eternity,
The Source whence every god hath flown and flows,
And whither each departs to find repose.

This is followed by the ‘Coruisken Sonnets’ which were originally Part VII of The Book of Orm (‘Part VIII: The Coruisken Vision, or, The Legend of the Book’ is omitted entirely) and then the revised version of The Book of Orm appears. This arrangement is also adopted for the 1884 Chatto & Windus edition of the Poetical Works although the above verse now follows the ‘Coruisiken Sonnets’ and is titled: ‘Proem. To Book of Orm and Political Mystics’.




Late in the gloaming of the year,
I haunt the melancholy Mere;
A Phantom I, where phantoms brood,
In that soul-searching solitude.
Hiding my forehead in the dim
Hem of His robe, I question Him!


*** For a detailed description of Loch Coruisk, see the writer’s
Prose Works, Volume 5 of this collection.




‘Coruisken Sonnets’ - from The Book of Orm, 1870. Slight changes were made to a few of the Sonnets and these revisions were repeated in the 1884 Poetical Works.

     I. Lord, Is It Thou?

     II. We Are Fatherless

     III. We are Children  

     IV. When we are all Asleep    

     V. But the Hills will bear Witness  

     VI. Desolate!  

     VII. Lord, art Thou here?    

     VIII. God is beautiful  

     IX. The Motion of the Mists  

     X. Coruisk  

     XI. But whither?  

     XII.God is pitiless  

     XIII. Yea, pitiless  

     XIV. Could God be judged!  

     XV. The Hills on their Thrones  

     XVI. King Blaabhein  

     XVII. Blaabhein in the Mists  

     XVIII. The Fiery Birth of the Hills  

     XIX. The Changeless Hills    

     XX. O Mountain Peak of a God

     XXI. God the Image

     XXII. The Footprints  

     XXIII. We are Deathless  

     XXIV. A Voice in the Whirlwind  

     XXV. Cry of the little Brook  

     XXVI. The Happy Hearts of Earth  

     XXVII. Father, forgive Thy Child  

     XXVIII. God’s Loneliness

     XXIX. The Cup of Tears

     XXX. The Light of the World  

     XXXI. Earth’s Eldest Born  

     XXXII. What Spirit cometh?  

     XXXIII. Stay, O Spirit!  

     XXXIV. Quiet Waters  


The ‘Coruisken Sonnets’ are followed by a revised version of The Book of Orm (1870).




     ‘This also we humbly beg,—that Human things may not prejudice such as
are Divine, neither that from the unlocking of the Gates of Sense, and the
kindling of a greater Natural Light, anything of incredulity or intellectual
night may arise in our minds towards DIVINE MYSTERIES.’—

     ‘To vindicate the ways of God to man.’—MILTON.

     ‘God’s Mystery will I vindicate, the Mystery of the Veil and of the Shadow;
yea, also Death and Sorrow, God’s divine Angels on all earths; and I will
vindicate the Soul, that the Soul may vindicate the Flesh; and all these things
shall vindicate Evil, proving God’s mercy to His creatures, great and small.’—




To F. W. C.

FLOWERS pluckt upon a grave by moonlight, pale
And suffering, from the spiritual light
They grew in: these, with all the love and blessing
That prayers can gain of God, I send to thee!


‘The Book Of The Visions Seen By Orm The Celt’


     I. The Veil Woven

     II. Earth the Mother

     III. Children of Earth  

     IV. The Wise Men



     I. The Shadow  

     II. The Rainbow



     I. Phantasy  

     II. The Dream of the World without Death  

     III. Soul and Flesh





     I. “O Thou whose Ears incline unto my Singing”    

     II. Quest  

     III. The Happy Earth

     IV. O unseen One!

     V. World’s Mystery

     VI. The Cities  

     VII. The Priests

     VIII. The Lamb of God

     IX. Doom

     X. God’s Dream  

     XI. Flower of the World  

     XII. O Spirit!



     I. Orm’s Vision

     II. The Face and the World  

     III. Orm’s Awakening  



     I. The Inscription without  

     II. The Tree of Life

     III. The Seeds  

     IV. Fire and Water; or, A Voice of the Flesh

     V. Sanitas  

     VI. The Philosophers  

     VII. The Devil’s Prayer - the original title is ‘Prayer from the Deeps’.

     VIII. Homunculus; or, The Song of Deicides  

     IX. Roses  

     X. Hermaphroditus

     XI. After  

     XII. His Prayer  




The revised version of The Book of Orm is followed by the revision of The Drama of Kings (1871), which is retitled ‘Political Mystics’. This new version included a further revision of Napoleon Fallen (1871), now retitled ‘The Fool of Destiny’. The various revisions are dealt with in the sections of this site devoted to the original versions of Napoleon Fallen and The Drama of Kings.




Shades of the living Time,
     Phantoms men deem real,
Rise to a runic rhyme,
     Cloak’d from head to heel!
One by one ye pass
As in a magician’s glass,
One by one displace
The hood which veils the face;
And ever we recognise,
     With terrible deep-drawn breath,
Christ’s inscrutable eyes,
     And the bloodless cheeks of Death!





‘I. Ode Of Nations’ - Chorus (pp. 47-54).

‘II. The Avatar’s Dream’ - Buonaparte’s soliloquy (pp.110-128).

‘III. The Elemental Quest’ - Chorus (pp. 128-136).

‘IV. The Elemental Doom’ - Choric Interlude: The Titan (pp. 137-156).





‘The Fool of Destiny’ is a reworking of the original version of Napoleon Fallen, published in January, 1871, and the version (still called ‘Napoleon Fallen’) included as the second part of The Drama of Kings which was published in November, 1871.

‘The Fool Of Destiny’ - Napoleon Fallen, 1871. Revision in The Drama of Kings‘Napoleon Fallen’ (pp. 157 - 260).





‘The Teuton Monologue’ - a combination of the two speeches by The Royal Chancellor (pp. 301-306, 308-315).


‘The Reply’ - Chorus (pp. 315-321).





‘The City of Man’ - originally appeared as ‘The Final Chorus, or Epode’ of Napoleon Fallen. In The Drama of Kings it was revised and moved to the end of the poem where it appeared as the ‘Epode’ (pp. 443-437).



         COMFORT, O free and true!
         Soon shall there rise for you
A City fairer far than all ye plan;
         Built on a rock of strength,
         It shall arise at length,
Stately and fair and vast, the City meet for man!

         Towering to yonder skies  
         Shall the fair City rise,
Dim in the dawning of a day more pure:
         House, mart, and street, and square
         Yea, and a Fane for prayer—
Fair, and yet built by hands, strong, for it shall endure.

         In the fair City then
         Shall walk white-robëd men,
Wash’d in the river of peace that watereth it;
         Woman with man shall meet
         Freely in mart and street—
At the great council-board woman with man shall sit.

         Hunger and Thirst and Sin 
         Shall never pass therein;
Fed with pure dews of love, children shall grow.  
         Fearless and fair and free, 
         Honour’d by all that see, 
Virgins in golden zones shall walk as white as snow.

         There, on the fields around,
         All men shall till the ground,
Corn shall wave yellow, and bright rivers stream;
         Daily, at set of sun,
         All, when their work is done,
Shall watch the heavens yearn down and the strange starlight gleam.

         In the fair City of men
         All shall be silent then,
While on a reverent lute, gentle and low,
         Some holy Bard shall play
         Music divine, and say
Whence those that hear have come, whither in time they go.

         No man of blood shall dare
         Wear the white mantle there;
No man of lust shall walk in street or mart;
         Yet shall the Magdalen
         Walk with the citizen;
Yet shall the sinner stand gracious and pure of heart.

         Now, while days come and go,
         Doth the fair City grow,
Surely its stones are laid in sun and moon.
         Wise men and pure prepare
         Ever this City fair.
Comfort, O ye that weep; it shall arise full soon.

         When, stately, fair, and vast,
         It doth uprise at last,
Who shall be King thereof, say, O ye wise?—
         When the last blood is spilt,
         When the fair City is built,
Unto the throne thereof the Monarch shall arise.

           Flower of blessedness, 
           Wrought out of heart’s distress,
Light of all dreams of saintly men who died,
           He shall arise some morn
           One Soul of many born,
Lord of the realms of peace, Heir of the Crucified!

           O but he lingereth,
           Drawing mysterious breath
In the dark depths where he was cast as seed.
           Strange was the seed to sow,
           Dark is the growth and slow;
Still hath he lain for long—now he grows quick indeed.

           Quicken, O Soul of Man!
           Perfect the mystic plan—
Come from the flesh where thou art darkly wrought;
           Wise men and pure prepare
           Ever thy City fair—
Come when the City is built, sit on the Throne of Thought.

           Earth and all things that be
           Wait, watch, and yearn for thee,
To thee all loving things stretch hands bereaven;—
           Perfect and sweet and bright,
           Lord of the City of Light,
Last of the fruits of Earth, first of the fruits of Heaven!   









‘On Mystic Realism’ - The Drama Of Kings, 1871.

‘Note On The ‘Book Of Orm’ - this mainly consists of extracts from two reviews of The Book of Orm, from The Nonconformist (18 May, 1870) and The Spectator (25 June, 1870), both of which are available in the Book Reviews section.




AS the ‘Book of Orm,’ on its first appearance, perplexed many critics, and as it has been repeatedly described as a sort of imitation of the Celtic antique, I append to this volume two admirable résumés of its true purport and scope, carefully suppressing, as far as possible, all comment laudatory or the reverse, as well as extracts. Neither describes the argument quite as I should describe it, but both are wonderfully close to my meaning, all things considered, and are fine specimens of expository criticism. The first is from the Nonconformist:—

     ‘In “Orm the Celt” Mr. Buchanan has found an excellent medium for bringing the mystery of man’s life into direct contact with the mystery of nature, and exhibiting them in their direct and mutually operative influences. The substance of this volume is properly the problems of the world, and the re-statement of them finds dramatic justification in the place and function of the Celtic genius in the world’s development. All is touched with the faint, far-drawn light of the wan morning moon; and there is a ghostliness about the form of the whole conception; for it is the Celtic phantasy that Mr. Buchanan uses to veil or to reveal (as it may be) the story of a remarkably strong interior life, &c.
     ‘The “Song of the Veil,” with which the book opens, is the lyric of man’s individuality, determined by the faith in God, whom yet to see face to face were but misery and death in the brightness of an ineffable consuming glory.

‘“Yet mark me closely!
Strongly I swear,” &c. &c.

     ‘The halo of the Celtic glamour that wells and spreads round all the problems of life is there, and the measure is most happily used to express it. We have not quoted this passage as being the most effective in the book; but only as showing how characteristically Mr. Buchanan has caught the Celtic spirit, and how completely he can adapt his rhythms to express it. The “Songs of the Veil” are the various forms in which the questionings as to this primal mystery have revealed themselves, as read through the Celtic character; and indeed there is an attempt throughout the book to indirectly deal with the main lines of philosophic thought of the present day. The poem—the “Philosophers”—in this section, and several others further on, are decisive proof of this.
     ‘“The Man and the Shadow” is meant to exhibit the unfading reality of that alone in human life and experience which seems in the eye of sense the most unreal and phantasmal. “Songs of Corruption” is the next section. With sufficient significance, too, for it is intended to exhibit how, through the pathway of corruption and death, the Shadow at once justifies its essential reality, and by tender memories keeps closer hold of the Phantasy; and how wanting this process of death and visible change by which we are led on gently from the sweet pleasure of delight in the visible to a still deeper joy in the unseen world, we were but miserable wanderers through ever-lengthening vales of tears. Death is the great justifier and crown-bringer of the Shadow; the churchyard is the perpetual peaceful witness of the true reality of man.
     ‘This, then, is the lyric of the bliss and comfort of death and corruption.
     ‘“The Songs of Seeking” reveal the strange off-glance of Christianity which looks through all the strivings of spiritual man; and we have here fitly towards the close the poem of “The Lamb of God;” the ripple of whose sweet glowing music is soon disturbed by the upraised tokens of doom that so strangely trouble men’s hopes. In what follows—“The Lifting of the Veil,” “Coruisken Sonnets,” &c.—we see figured forth the strange strivings of man towards a rest which eludes him through the distressful problems of parting, and the pain ensuing from the upliftings of the veil in these awful dispensations. In the “Devil’s Mystics” we have “The Philosophers,” which begins thus:—

‘“We are the drinkers of Hemlock!
     Lo! we sit apart,
Each right hand is uplifted,
     Each left hand holds a heart;
At our feet rolls by the tumult,
     O’er our heads the still stars gleam—
We are the drinkers of Hemlock!
     We drink and dream!”

And then comes “Homunculus; or the Song of Deicides.”
     ‘“The Vision of the Man Accurst” is a most powerful poem, justifying the thought of ultimate restoration even to the worst of men, and exhibiting the peculiar form of hope and faith which the Celtic mind, in its incapacity to fix itself to definite forms of belief, is destined to throw across the later conclusions respecting the final destiny of humanity. No idea could possibly be given of the poem by any extract—to attempt it would simply be like cutting off a part of a living thing to show the beauty of its life, but we are sure that no reader could read this poem without being touched to tender sympathy, and to some enlargement of human hopes.’
     The second, more exhaustive, is from the Spectator:—
     ‘In a previous volume of poems—two or three of which are republished here in their natural connection, with a great additional number of the same cycle—Mr. Buchanan gave us specimens of studies after the genius of the Celtic literature, i.e., of the wild, and tender, and ghostly treatment of the emblems of Nature, as if she were, not what Wordsworth and his school found or made her, a minister of human strength and wisdom, a rich field whence the hardy spirit of self-possessing humanity can draw an endless store of joy and guidance, but rather a mighty and mystic phantom, scaring us with strange hieroglyphs of infinite meaning, and startling our ears as with the inarticulate moan of a waste and “melancholy ocean.” . . . That feeling of blind sensitiveness to influences in which no trust is felt, that kind of shiver of the soul and body which the old superstition attributes to the tread of some mortal foot above the spot where your body is destined to lie, runs through almost every page of this book. Mr. Buchanan begins with describing,—

‘“How God in the beginning drew
Over His face the Veil of blue,
Wherefore no soul of mortal race
Hath ever looked upon the Face,”

and telling us that Earth once had the full vision of her Master and Creator; but that when man came to live on earth she was struck blind and dumb, lest she should tell him too much for his peace. Earth’s wise men, using the utmost resources of science, fail to pierce behind the veil, and report to the people that there is no God, and that it is better not to be, as they descend wearily from their dreary heights of frigid speculation. After this pröem on the mystery which seems to draw a physical veil over the face of God, there follow various books intended to illustrate the analogous mystery of the physical veil which is drawn over the soul of man, and its uses,—the shadow of fear ever haunting the body, and yet the body in some sense softening the violence of purely spiritual changes. Both the unity and the discord between the soul and the body are insisted upon with a weird emphasis:—

‘“My Soul, thou art wed
     To a perishable thing,” &c.

In contrast to this strongly-flavoured assertion of the lesson which the carnal has for the spiritual part of man, take the following equally strong assertion of the imprisoning and eclipsing character of the bodily tenement which the soul inhabits:—

                                 ‘“Not yet, not yet,
One dweller in a mortal tenement,” &c. &c.

From this delineation of the mystery inherent in the tie between soul and flesh, Mr. Buchanan returns again to the other and still deeper mystery of the relation between man and God, and in a series of short but passionate poems expresses the sense of mystery excited by God’s apparent tolerance of evil, rejects the “severe” codes of religion which justify the condemnation of sinners to enduring pain, and cries for a revelation of the true divine life behind the veil. Then he answers his own impatient cry in a striking dream of the petrifying effect which a real unveiling of the infinite Life would have upon such finite natures as ours. The veil of blue is supposed to be drawn aside, and the immutable face of the Almighty seen gazing calmly down on earth, with this result:—

‘“At the city gateway
The Sentinels gather’d,” &c. &c.

We hardly apprehend the relation of the section which follows to the plan of the book. It consists of a number of sonnets, apparently written near Loch Coruisk in the island of Skye, and representing the varying moods and emotions of man toward the Divine Ruler,—from bitter rebellion to profound humility and repentance,—and scarcely seems to contribute anything to the progress of the thought. 1 It repeats the complaint of God’s invisibility, of which a mystical explanation had been already offered, accuses God of being at once beautiful and pitiless, and altogether seems to be a return to an earlier stage in the development of the thought. Last, come sections in which a more or less coherent attempt is made to explain away all moral evil as “defect,” and justify the existence even of sin and temptation as forms of good. We will give a specimen, not by any means the finest, but one of the shortest and most easily separable from the context:—

‘“‘Sad, and sweet, and wise,
     Here a child reposes,’”’ &c. &c.

—of which it is, we suppose, the general drift to teach that the spirit of evil itself bewails the death of innocence, strews its grave with blossoms which represent something more than innocence, namely, love and the red life-blood of self- immolation, and strengthens that parent humanity which gave birth to innocence, so that it is able to endure its loss,—in return for which that childlike innocence which died but has recovered a transfigured life in a purer world, prays for the pardon of the spirit which has thus strewn its grave with the most perfect blossoms of beauty, and is assured that its prayer shall be heard. The rest among this cycle of poems are all in the same general strain, intended to hint that,—

                             ‘“All evil is defect;
The limb deformed for common use of life
Defect,—but haply in the line of growth.”

—to which in general Mr. Buchanan seems to add that the body which limits the soul, and the physical aspects of the universe which limit our knowledge of God, are also what he deems moral evil, ‘defect, but in the line of growth,’—a creed which he works out with much depth and beauty, and, let us add, a creed in no way necessarily connected with his theory of moral evil.
     ‘Taken as a whole,—and we must remember that the author himself asserts that this book is not only still partly unfinished, but when finished only a prelude to another poem, which will embody more fully his conception of life,—the “Book of Orm” is certainly a striking attempt to combine a quasi-Ossianic treatment of Nature with a philosophy of rebellion rising into something like a Pantheistic vision of the necessity of evil.’
     I will not attempt to make minor objections to the above really admirable exposition; save to observe, that ‘Orm,’ rightly read, contains no ‘blind sensitiveness,’ far less any want of ‘trust’ in unseen influences, and that the words ‘a philosophy of rebellion’ are perhaps inadequate as applied to a work the whole scope or object of which is—

‘To vindicate the ways of God to Man!’


     1 These sonnest are now separated from the context, and made to precede the ‘Book of Orm.’—R.B.



Next: Selected Poems (1882)

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