Arthur Hugh Clough: The Critical Heritage

By Michael Thorpe | Go to book overview

46.

Samuel Waddington, from Arthur Hugh Clough

1883, Introduction, 3-21

In his Preface to the ‘first volume devoted to the criticism and study of Clough’ (some copies appeared in 1882), Waddington states, ‘I have more especially availed myself of the notices, reviews and other fugitive papers respecting him, which have been published during the last quarter of a century. ’ As Hutton argues in the next item, Waddington is relatively weak on the critical side— the extract given below being the best he can offer. He is primarily concerned with the Life and the content of the poems, but he wisely warns readers to guard against premature disappointment with the latter by reading them ‘whole’, not dipping merely.

…it seems probable, seeing that the minds of men are differently constituted, and variously influenced by imagination and reason, by thought and emotion, that there will ever be found in our midst these two schools holding opposite views respecting the province and proper sphere of poetry. The one delights, and will always continue to delight, in the form, the manner, the music, the metaphor, the graceful phrase, the uncommon, the well-chosen or, perhaps, archaic term, and all the thousand-and-one adjuncts that go to form the dress in which the poet clothes his thought, —or, alas, in some instances conceals his want of thought. The other school also delights in all these things; —it rejoices in the harmonious arrangement of words, and in the subtle felicity of expression; —it loves


the light that never was on sea or land;1

but these, these alone, these unaccompanied by any deep ‘under-song of sense, ’ are not sufficient for it, and it asks, ‘Is not the body more than raiment, and the soul of more importance than the body?’

1 Wordsworth, ‘Elegiac Stanzas Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm’.

-311-

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