The Poems of Henry Kendall


Henry Kendall

To N. D. Stenhouse, Esq.

Dark days have passed, but you who taught me then
To look upon the world with trustful eyes,
Are not forgotten! Quick to sympathise
With noble thoughts, I’ve dreamt of moments when
Your low voice filled with strains of fairer skies!
Stray breaths of Grecian song that went and came,
Like floating fragrance from some quiet glen
In those far hills which shine with classic fame
Of passioned nymphs and grand-browed god-like men!
I sometimes fear my heart hath lost the same
Sweet sense of harmony; but this I know
That Beauty waits on you where’er you go,
Because she loveth child-like Faith! Her bowers
Are rich for it with glad perennial flowers.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A lofty Type of all her sex, I ween,
My English brothers, though your wayward race
Now slight the Soul that never wore a screen,
And loved too well to keep her noble place!
Ah, bravest Woman that our World hath seen
(A light in spaces wild and tempest-tost),
In every verse of thine, behold, we trace
The full reflection of an earnest face
And hear the scrawling of an eager pen!
O sisters! knowing what you’ve loved and lost,
I ask where shall we find its like, and when?
That dear heart with its passion sorrow-crost,
And pathos rippling, like a brook in June
Amongst the roses of a windless noon.


The Bard of ancient lore! Like one forlorn,
He turned, enamoured, to the silent Past;
And searching down its mazes gray and vast,
As you might find the blossom by the thorn,
He found fair things in barren places cast
And brought them up into the light of morn.
Lo! Truth, resplendent, as a tropic dawn,
Shines always through his wond’rous pictures! Hence
The many quick emotions which are born
Of an Imagination so intense!
The chargers’ hoofs come tearing up the sward—
The claymores rattle in the restless sheath;
You close his page, and almost look abroad
For Highland glens and windy leagues of heath.

Let me here endeavour to draw the fair distinctions between the great writers, or some of the great writers, of Scott’s day; borrowing at the same time a later name. I shall start with that strange figure, Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was too subjective to be merely a descriptive poet, too metaphysical to be vague, and too imaginative to be didactic. As Scott was the most dramatic, Wordsworth the most profound, Byron the most passionate, so Shelley was the most spiritual writer of his time. Scott’s poetry was the result of vivid emotion, Wordsworth’s of quiet observation, Byron’s of passion, and Shelley’s of passion and reflection. Scott races like a torrent, Byron rolls like a sea, Wordsworth ripples into a lake, Tennyson flows like a river, and Shelley gushes like a fountain. As Tennyson is the most harmonious, so Shelley is the most musical of modern bards. I fear to touch upon that grand old man, Coleridge; he appears to me so utterly apart from his contemporaries. He stands, like Teneriffe, alone. Can I liken him to a magnificent thunder-scorched crag with its summits eternally veiled in vapour?—H.K.

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