Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/72

This page needs to be proofread.

54 NOTES AND QUERIES. [12 S. X.JAN. 21, 1922. The late Mr. , George E. J. Powell of ; Nant-Eos, near Aberystwyth, a Welsh squire j of literary and artistic tastes, and un- conventional character in other ways, was an intimate friend, and contemporary, of Swinburne's. He was a benefactor of the University College of Wales, to which he j gave books, pictures by Rossetti, Simeon Solomon, Leighton, and Herkomer, and a series of letters from Swinburne. He is, it may be presumed, the " M. Powel " sketched in Guy de Maupassant's amusing, if not always accurate, ' Notes sur Algernon Charles Swinburne,' which introduced Gab- riel Mourey's translation of ' Poems and Ballads ' (Paris, 1891). Maupassant was spending the summer of 1870 at Etretat -when Swinburne was staying there " chez un autre Anglais ... M. Powel, pro- prietaire d'un petit chalet qu'il avait baptise i ' Chaumiere Dolmance.' ' The Frenchman i was a guest at this petit chalet on more than j one occasion and gives a vivacious account of his experiences. Pendant tout le dejeuner on paiia d'art, de litterature et d'humanite ; et les opinions de ces ' deux amis jetaient sur les choses une espece de lueur troublante, macabre, car ils avaient une maniere de voir et de comprendre qui me les montrait comnxe deux visionnaires malades, ivres de poesie perverse et magique. A few days later he was invited to feast on a roast monkey : L'odeur seule de ce r6bi quand j'entrai dans la maison me souleva le coeur d'inquietude, et la saveur affreuse de la bete m'enleva pour tou jours 1'envie de recommencer un pareil repas. This time, ils me conterent des legendes islandaises traduites par M. Powel, d'une etrangete saisissante et terrible. We are told that <ie M. Powel etonnait le pays par une vie xtremement solitaire et bizarre aux yeux de bourgeois et de matelots peu accoutumes aux fantaisies et aux excentricites anglaises. He and his friend must certainly have set a high standard for future English visitors to Etretat. EDWARD BENSLY. "ABTEMUS WARD" (12 S. ix. 310, 375, 477). Mr. Don C. Seitz, in his biography of Artemus Ward published in 1919 by Harper and Brothers, gives a different origin of Mr. Browne's pen-name from MR. MORGAN in your issue of December 10. Mr. Seitz says (pp. 24 and 25) : The nom de plume, though variously accounted for, in one instance as the misspelling of the cognomen of the Revolutionary general, Artemas Ward, was really a home product. Waterford, his native town, was a land-grant given to pay claims rising out of Sir William Phipps's expedi- tion against the French of Canada in 1690. The Province of Massachusetts Bay, having failed to collect enough from the spoil of the Acadians to pay the bills, gave away much land. Some of this lay in New Hampshire, and the grants were disallowed by that colony in 1739. Maine, being then part of the Bay State, was drawn upon to make good in 1774 to the heirs of past creditors, and Waterford was a slice given to Seth Rice, Stephen Maynard, and John Gardner, " and Artemus Ward is joined " reads the record. Jabez Brown, Artemus Ward's great-grandfather, surveyed the tract in 1783. His grandfather was agent for the Massachusetts owners of the unsettled lands. His father, a surveyor, had much to do with them, so of course their names were familiar to the family. It is easy to conclude, therefore, that in picking a pen-name the young Yankee, chuckling at his shaky work-table in The Plain Dealer office, by idle chance was moved to select that of the ancient Boston proprietor. C. E. S. " TIME WITH A GIFT OF TEARS " (v.S. ' AUTHORS WANTED,' 12 S x. 18). The " humorous suggestion " mentioned by C. C. B. is a good example of the cvcoethesof trying to spoil poetry by reducing it to the lowest terms of the obvious and common- place. Of course Swinburne wrote the 1 lines as they stand, and if he had not, " the less Swinburne he." " Time with a gift of tears," if it is too brutally analysed, expresses the melancholy fact that none can live long without experiencing sorrow ; " Grief with a glass that ran," that most human grief, how- ever apparently deep, is really short-lived. The first sentiment is melancholy, the second "cynical," and both suggest Montaigne. Again, putting this explanation aside entirely, I should credit a really educated poet like Swinburne with the intention to delight the fit reader (1) by the chiasmus of sense, and (2) by the slight thrill of surprise with which one hails a slap in the face at the obvious. Thirdly, to come closer still to Poetry, it

should be pointed out that the correct text

' alliterates more subtly than the humorous ! perversion would : t g t g g as compared I with g g t t g. This point might be turned against me, as Swinburne rather preferred | the hammer -stroke style of alliteration to J the pendulum : but I am sure it would not j have occurred to the humorist, so I make I him a present of it. A precisely similar instance in Shelley, j ' P.U.,' Act I. (Mercury to the Furies), . . . Back to your towers of iron, And gaash beside your streams of fire, and wail Your foodless teeth . . .