holiday-making undergraduate, ’ which caused him to attempt to employ the metre of Homer and Virgil in English poetry, but it must also have implied a certain defective sensibility to sound and rhythm not to have promptly abandoned the experiment.
It is inconceivable that anyone of real poetic instinct and feeling should have found the hexameters of the Bothie either impressive or amusing. Mr. Robertson says that Clough probably did not think hexameters, quâ hexameters, ‘tractable to serious (English) verse. ’ Our contention is that he ought not to have considered them tractable to English verse at all, and that if he did so originally, the Bothie, and the rest, not to mention Longfellow’s Evangeline, should have sufficed to undeceive him. If his sense of rhythm was not strong enough to save him from so unwise an adventure, his sense of humour—Mr. Robertson declares that he had a sense of humour—should have been strong enough for the purpose. Altogether we are afraid that the zeal of his new defender will not avail to put Clough once more upon the pedestal. In the words of Swift—
His kind of wit is out of date.1
And so is his kind of verse.
In the Academy of October 2 your reviewer writes an article on Arthur Hugh Clough, which, as a life-long admirer and careful student of that poet, I should much like to supplement.
The writer states it as his opinion that the reputation of Clough has reached its vanishing point, and that ‘his kind of wit, ’ as well as his ‘kind of verse, ’ is out of date.
1 ‘Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift’.