Nightingale Valley.

A Collection, Including a Great Number of the Choicest Lyrics and Short Poems in the English Language.
Edited by Giraldus.

 

 

Giraldus.
[i.e. William Allingham]

 

Preface.

 

Text
Editionsbericht
Literatur

 

THE intention of this book simply is to delight the lover of poetry. Specimens critical and chronological have their own worth; we desire to present a jewel, aptly arranged of many stones, various in colour and value, but all precious. Nothing personal or circumstantial, nothing below a pure and loving loyalty to the Muse, has been wittingly suffered to interfere betwixt the idea and its realization. Much, it is true, is perforce omitted; but should the brotherly reader and the judicious critic haply find the little volume, per se, a good thing, they will scarcely complain that it does but its part. Do we curse the cup of refreshing handed us from the well because it is not twice as large – when the well itself, too, remains? Those who best know of such things will the most readily see that a collection in any sense complete or exhaustive has not been thought of here, but an arrangement of a limited number of short poems, with some eye to grouping and general effect, and to the end (as said) of delight.

But of delight – noble and fruitful. The grand word "Poetry" has its mean associations. – as "organ" may suggest a solemn cathedral, or a Savoyard and monkey. True Poetry, how[VI]ever, is not, as some suppose, a kind of verbal confectionery, with cramp fantastic laws that impose great labour to little purpose.

If one has anything to express in words, why go thus roundabout? asks our sternly prosaic friend. The relations of the human mind with the world are not so simple as he takes for granted. Men are not only intellectual and moral, but emotional and imaginative. Sorrow and joy are very real, yet often very illogical; and so also, and oftener, are those faint rapid shadows and gleams that pass continually over the mind, composing the midtiplex hue of life. The moods of the sagest, are they never submissive to the wind in a keyhole, the crackling of the flame, a vernal odour, or the casual brightness or gloom upon a landscape? At the least touch of any sense gates to Infinity are ready to fly open.

Such is man's nature; and since he further finds himself urged to regulate what belongs to him, without and within, and mutually to control the one by the other, so, as he gains industrial, scientific, religious development, he also becomes an Artist – in picture, in sculpture, in architecture, in music, in verse.

Language has music in it; from this Poetry (Verse-Poetry is always meant) derives its form and quality. It is the most melodious arrangement of language. The proportionality necessary for this end excites mystically a desire for proportionality in all other respects, reaching inward to the very spirit of the thought which is [VII] to be expressed. The stimulated and thoroughly alert Imagination requires its pure insight to be shapen forth in the most perfect possible diction – judging all by a fine rapid-glancing logic, peculiar, airy, genuine. In short, Musical Proportionality is the life-principle of Poetry, and the product Poetic Beauty. As for the use of Poetry – I will tell you this accurately, when you can put me Love into a crucible, and Faith into a balance.

Such an attempt being too difficult, let us agree to abide by matter-of-fact. And matter-of-fact shows us that Verse-Poetry (daughter of Language and Music, born at a time of the world whereto History stretches not backward) has been cherished and beloved amongst all the nations, ancient and modern, barbarous and civilized. Babes love the sound of it, youth passionately delights in it, age remembers it gladly; it helps memory, purifies and steadies language, guards elocution; it gives wings to thought, touches hidden verities, can soothe grief, heighten joy, beautify the common world, and blend with the divinest aspirations.

Poetry and Science (rank them as you please) are equally founded on the nature of man in mystic relation with the Universe.

How Poetry manages to evince itself in material form would be hard or impossible to explain; even if possible, still doubtless the secrets ought to be kept, like those of love. The profane, when they suppose themselves to [VIII] comprehend either, have but lost the degree of sympathetic knowledge – of instinctive and genuine feeling, which they inherited as men. It is difficult indeed to become a critic and remain a man. Fitly, therefore, to examine even the shortest genuine Poem is the rarest success of literary judgment. Perhaps it is not venturing too far to say that a true Poem is always conceived by a sort of happy chance – descending, as it were, out of the sky; but, as a finished whole, is the fruit of a most actively attentive condition (yet with ease – not strained) of the rarest natural endowment.

Every Poet is not a great one; but, whatever his rank in the guild, he is a maker, creator in little, and his successful work fine and true of its kind, possessing (however simple and modest) a secure, determinate, dignified aspect, standing firm with good hold upon the ground, and proving its direct right to exist as much as a healthy human being when he looks into your eye. Every true Poet is such by the same peculiar and inimitable fire that so splendidly beams from the greatest; and is born capable to discover the art of poetry, had it been thitherto unknown. Some poems have soul in a bad body, and are by nature soon for death; many things under the name are only puppets, dolls, mere wax and wood, – finer and prettier, sometimes, and, for a little, more admired than what is alive.

Our Book hopes to please best the most unsectarian worshipper of Song, – one who can equally enjoy the floating charm of "Claribel," [IX] or "Tell me, thou Star," a thing of close-wrought gold like "My Last Duchess" or "Ulysses," the work-a-day vigour of Scott's lyrics, the sympathies of Wordsworth in their pensive and deliberate movement, the celestial-infantine fancies of William Blake, and the unconscious pathos and picturesqueness of an Old Ballad. He will perhaps compare Shelley's "Fugitives" mth Campbell's more realistic treatment of a similar theme in "Lord Ullin's Daughter," finding himself in the midst of either storm – with the lovers pushing off from shore, where

"In the scowl of Heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking,"

and with the other two, murmuring proud pleasure,

"While, around, the lash'd ocean,
Like mountains in motion,
Is withdrawn and uplifted,
Sunk, shatter'd, and shifted
              To and fro."

He will love Herrick (naturally and always a true lyrist), and taste, almost with a kind of awe, the delicately delicious lighter movements of our grand Master, like those of Philomel herself to the Faëry Queen –

"Philomel with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
    Lulla, lulla, lullaby :"

and then admire how one little Song (such a one is "Go, lovely Rose,") can save a sinking Poet, like a solitary plank in the shipwreck of his fame. He will bring fit audience to the [X] subtle, romantic vibrations of Coleridge's too often despondingly-introspective mind, or to the winged rush of Shelley's most eager spirit, leaving air alive with billows of melody, or to the rich and dreamful tones of that even younger voice which too soon fell silent. He will gladly claim America for blood-relation in intellect and poetry, on account of her one Great Writer (as yet), whose prose is so royally precious as to outvalue even his own verse, fine as that is. Nor will he fail to recognize the sad fantastic tune of the few weird notes, sounding as from a cave, which belong to the poet of "the Raven;" or the firm and trustworthy tone of Bryant, the transatlantic Campbell. He will be one who can appreciate the emphatic swing of "Ye Mariners," and the mysterious modulation in such words as "Wild roses and ivy serpentine." And he will greatly rejoice to remember that of the men who have enriched these pages and the world, some are still living, "to brighten the sunshine."

 

 

 

 

Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

Nightingale Valley.
A Collection, Including a Great Number of the Choicest Lyrics and Short Poems in the English Language.
Edited by Giraldus.
London: Bell and Daldy 1860, S. V-X.

URL: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/006504759
URL: https://archive.org/details/nightingalevall00alli
URL: https://www.google.de/books/edition/Nightingale_Valley/VWZKAAAAIAAJ

Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).

 

 

 

Literatur

Bark, Joachim: Zwischen Hochschätzung und Obskurität. Die Rolle der Anthologien in der Kanonbildung des 19. Jahrhunderts. In: Autoren damals und heute. Literaturgeschichtliche Beispiele veränderter Wirkungshorizonte. Hrsg. von Gerhard P. Knapp. Amsterdam u.a. 1991 (= Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, 31/33), S. 441-457.

Bark, Joachim: Art. Anthologie. In: Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik. Bd. 1. Tübingen 1992, Sp. 678-684.

Brandmeyer, Rudolf: Poetiken der Lyrik: Von der Normpoetik zur Autorenpoetik. In: Handbuch Lyrik. Theorie, Analyse, Geschichte. Hrsg. von Dieter Lamping. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart 2016, S. 2-15.

Genette, Gérard: Paratexte. Das Buch vom Beiwerk des Buches. Frankfurt a.M. 2001 (= suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, 1510)

Houston, Natalie M.: Anthologies and the Making of the Poetic Canon. In: A Companion to Victorian Poetry. Hrsg. von Richard Cronin u.a. Malden, MA 2002, S. 361-377.

Korte, Barbara u.a. (Hrsg.): Anthologies of British Poetry. Critical Perspectives from Literary and Cultural Studies. Amsterdam u.a. 2000.

Lasner, Mark S.: William Allingham. A Biographical Study. Philadelphia 1993.

Legette, Casie: Cutting Lyric down to Size. Victorian Anthologies and the Excerpt as Poem. In: Genre. Forms of Discourse and Culture; 50 (2017), S. 397-419.

Lethbridge, Stefanie: Lyrik in Gebrauch. Gedichtanthologien in der englischen Druckkultur 1557 – 2007. Heidelberg 2014 (= Anglistische Forschungen, 442).

Martus, Steffen u.a. (Hrsg.): Lyrik im 19. Jahrhundert. Gattungspoetik als Reflexionsmedium der Kultur. Bern u.a. 2005 (= Publikationen zur Zeitschrift für Germanistik, 11).

Pforte, Dietger: Auswahlbibliographie deutschsprachiger Anthologien von 1800 bis 1950. In: Die deutschsprachige Anthologie. Bd. 1. Hrsg. von J. Bark u.a. Frankfurt a.M. 1970, S. 1-159.

Sarkhosh, Keyvan / Syrovy, Daniel: Anthologien. In: Handbuch Komparatistik. Theorien, Arbeitsfelder, Wissenspraxis. Hrsg. von Rüdiger Zymner u. Achim Hölter. Stuttgart u. Weimar 2013, S. 337-340.

 

 

Edition
Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer