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undertakings. Debating societies, literary societies, magazines, boat clubs are only kept alive by constant effort, and have to be galvanized anew every October. Social life within the colleges will never, I believe, be created but by union among the colleges.
There is of course one great difficulty in the way of such union—the vast size of the metropolis, and the distance of the colleges from each other. It is here that London is at such a disadvantage compared with Oxford and Cambridge. It is not easy to think of London as a university town. The students are lost to each other and to themselves in such an ocean. But the difficulty may not prove insurmountable if it is fairly faced. If union in some forms should prove impossible, it may be found possible in other forms. What great difficulty would there be, for example, in the establishment of a London Union, that is, a common debating society, library, and reading-room for all London students ?
But that such plans may be matured, it is necessary that they should be discussed and ventilated. Before the London colleges can unite permanently, they must make each other's acquaintance and grow accustomed to each other's society It has long been discovered that as a cement and symbol of unity among men that have similar interests and are engaged in similar pursuits, there is nothing more useful than a magazine. The London Student has been projected with the view of representing the University in London both to its members and to the outer world. To the colleges themselves, both governing bodies and students, it will display the deficiencies of this great University; to the world it will display its merits. What these deficiencies and merits are has now, I hope, been made clear. It wants unity and organization ; it possesses everything else which the age requires in a university-a vast assemblage of learned men, vast museums and libraries, variety of instruction, cheapness, absence of great endowments, a disposition to make progress and try experiments, and lastly, religious comprehensiveness.
PRE-RAPHAELITE POETRY AND PAINTING.
By John BORNELL PAYNE,
The three great literatures of the nineteenth century are characterized each in different manner and degree by a vigorous attempt to break the yoke of Renaissance tradition. The models and ideas which had been handed down like a positum” of dogma from the great awakening of the fifteenth century, had, in process of time, ceased to match with the general features of European society; and even before the violent beginning of readjustment in the political sphere, the sensitive mirror of poetry had reflected in Lessing and Cowper some of the shadowy forces which waited their destined moment to come forth on the great stage of the world in thunder and flame. The immediate effect of the revolution was to reveal the magnitude of the breach which had opened unseen between literature and life. The revolutionary passion seized upon this doniain also, but it has not even yet subjugated it. One episode in this conflict recurs at each of the three independent centres, with no more than a local variety of feature and incident. Everywhere reinforced in its commencement by the surviving elements of feudalism and Catholicism, it was yet in substance a product of the new time. In France and in Germany, its rise, culmination, and transformation were witnessed by one generation. In England, the incomplete work of Walter Scott satisfied a society not profoundly affected by the European revolution. The Romantic Schools, headed by Tieck and Hugo,
extinct or transformed; but the last twenty years have seen the rise in England of a mediæval literature and art, more intense, if less vigorous—more delicate, if less enduring, than either. Among all the structures which the critical and creative faculties, working in harmony, have produced, none is more interesting than this, for none is more strictly limited to artistic aims, less confused by the intrusion of extraneous dogma and tendency. That it has attracted little critical attention is only a reason for attempting to give some account of its origin and history, at a moment when, by an inevitable process of transformation, these conditions are in course of being overlaid and obscured.
1.-" THE GERM." In 1850 there was published, or rather printed and offered for sale, in London, a small monthly magazine. It lived for four numbers, which appeared in January, February, March, and May. The first two bore the title : “ The Germ: Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art;" which was superseded in March by the title, “Art and Poetry," with a notice saying that the original designation had been misunderstood. The prospectus, printed on the back, appears likewise in two successive forms; in both of them, however, the statement of principles is substantially the same. “ The endeavour" will be made “ to encourage and enforce an entire adherence to the simplicity of nature, whether in art or poetry.” The tales, poenis,
as may seem conceived in the spirit or with the intent of exhibiting a pure and unaffected style." Each number will be adorned by an etching “illustrating this aim practically,” and “produced with the utmost care and completeness.” All this is pure Wordsworth, and reminds us of nothing but the famous preface to the “Lyrical Ballads,” which after remaining so many years without a proselyte, was now to receive posthumous recognition from an enthusiastic knot of writers and artists. The two first lines of a sonnet which adorns the cover by way of motto will serve to show that even the master himself could be equalled in self-conscious naïveté :
“When whoso merely hath a little thought,
Will plainly think the thought which is in him," &c. It has long been no secret that an actual confraternity was the basis of the pre-Raphaelite movement. The P.R.B. (PreRaphaelite Brothers) had formed their convictions very early in life, and quite independently of all external authority. It is perhaps permissible to conjecture that the most powerful intellectual influence among them in this first stage was that of Mr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose works, both artistic and literary, have had the not unexampled destiny of affecting profoundly the direction of contemporary art, without becoming known in any proportionate degree to the general public.
Mr. Millais's genius does not properly come under consideration here, as its manifestations have been exclusively pictorial, and he contributed neither by pen nor pencil to “ The Germ." Mr. Holman Hunt's etching in illustration of Mr. Woolner's poem, “My Beautiful Lady," opens the first number. hibits, in a powerful and uncompromising form, the revolutionary tendencies of the coterie. On the other hand it does not exhibit many of the special peculiarities of the artist's later
work. There are two drawings on the plate. In the upper of the two the lover (who, by the way, ought to be in modern English dress, to represent the strong local colour of the poem) appears in pointed shoes and Florentine hat, supporting, with too much delicacy to be graceful, a very slender damsel correspondingly attired, as she kneels leaning over the edge of a tank or moat to pluck a water-lily. The arrangement is as awkward as it can well be (let it be said without offence, for Mr. Hunt has since enabled us to contrast him with himself in this respect); but the awkwardness is plainly conscious, and expresses the studied simplicity of a sensitive refinement, warring in its gentle way with the aplomb and dexterity of mere facility or cleverness. The lower drawing shows us in the foreground the bereaved lover prostrate on the new-made tomb: a procession of monks in the distance has grace of a more ordinary kind. To understand how revolutionary this little drawing was in its aim and style, we must remember the condition of English art at the time. Landseer, Maclise, and Mulready were at the head of living painters. In various ways they all represented and embodied the tradition of Reynolds and Gainsborough. Of them, as of the whole school, many things might be said by way of praise, and many things which could not be said of their eager and contemptuous young rivals. But this must be said by way of abatement, that if painting has been a great and powerful portion of the spiritual inheritance of civilized man, it has been so because it dealt with thoughts and worked in a spirit of which their works furnish hardly a hint. With the single exception of Etty among figure-painters, we find in English painters of the accepted succession a want of outwardness, or objective intensity, an inability to conceive and an unwillingness to embrace great subjects, which are the real marks of decay in the general intellectual quality of art, since facility of lower kinds is always to be met with as long as art exists at all. The result or the concomitant of this state of things was a general oblivion of that which had in former days given great artists a hold on the highest minds. Even the most gifted men, as Sir Joshua Reynolds, held that the ideal qualities in art were connected with a set of mechanical rules, which might be abstracted from the works of the later Italian and French masters. These rules limited and described the high, almost unattainable ideal realm into which Mengs and other gifted continentals were admitted by virtue of hereditary capacity. It was enough for the but lately civilized Englishman to paint portrait, and genre, and incident: the great style was beyond him. This theory remained in substance and in practical effect unchanged until long after the great style
had been given up as too great for this world, and incident had usurped part of its deserted domain—until, in fact, this very phenomenon of pre-Raphaelitism came to shock or amuse mankind. Though tricked out in the strangest disguise of affectation and perverseness, it was really the grave and awful form of ancient art revisiting this inhospitable corner of the world.
Mr. Hunt's drawing had then a certain strangeness to the few persons who saw it in 1850. It is true that it was plain and easy, compared to some of the early contemporary paintings of the school. The detail and colour of these were alone enough to scare people, to say nothing of the drawing and composition. But a good deal of the odd look of this etching and other similar works arose simply from their intensity of feeling. Englishmen were not accustomed to it, and it affronted them by its obvious
Perhaps the sense of his unwelcomeness gave the returning Genius of imagination a constrained and affected air. The same compound influence made Keats's early poems appear ridiculous, and, to say the truth, it must always be so until the English mind changes its relative estimate of imaginative and other pleasures ; for good works of art cannot be precisely calculated to hit the holiday mood of an industrial society.
Mr. Hunt's work had the one saving merit of intensity; it looks as if all the man had been there ; not, like the works of his exalted contemporaries, as though the head did not know and the heart despised what the hand was doing. Among other noticeable qualities we may trace Wordsworthian simplicity in the sentiment, mediæval weight and stiffness in the draperies, and Continental Neo-Catholicism in the accessories.
Mr. Woolner's poem, “My Beautiful Lady,” of which a portion opens "The Germ," is known to the public in its complete form." All lovers of poetry recognise its great beauties : many are certainly also repelled by its realism. It may be interesting to quote a characteristic passage from this first state of the poem, to show the extent to which the simplicity of nature was imitated by these posthumous followers of Wordsworth :
“ This is why I thought weeds were beautiful;
Some weeds up near a little brook,
Then shut them in a book." But it is inexcusable to quote from this vigorous and noble poem without acknowledging our obligations to it for much pleasure often renewed. On this occasion we have, however, not only to praise it, but to assign to it its place in literary history, and this involves the consideration of its imperfections and excesses as well as of its excellences. The Wordsworthian