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nearly thus: Orion, hunting on foot amid the moun
tains of Chios, encounters Artemis (Diana) with her
train. The goddess, at first indignant at the giant's
intrusion upon her grounds, becomes, in the second
place, enamored. Her pure love spiritualizes the
merely animal nature of Orion, but does not render
him happy. He is filled with vague aspirations and
desires. He buries himself in sensual pleasures. In
the mad dreams of intoxication, he beholds a vision of
Merope, the daughter of (Enopion, King of Chios.
She is the type of physical beauty. She cries in his
ear: "Depart from Artemis! She loves thee not;
thou art too full of earth." Awaking, he seeks the
love of Merope. It is returned. (Enopion, dreading
the giant and his brethren, yet scorning his pretensions,
temporizes. He consents to bestow upon Orion the
hand of Merope, on condition of the island being cleared
within six days of its savage beasts and serpents.
Orion, seeking the aid of his brethren, accomplishes
the task. (Enopion again hesitates. Enraged, the
giants make war upon him and carry off the princess.
In a remote grove Orion lives, in bliss, with his earthly
love. From this delirium of happiness he is aroused
by the vengeance of (Enopion, who causes him to be
surprised while asleep and deprived of sight. The
princess, being retaken, immediately forgets and
deserts her lover, who, in his wretchedness, seeks, at


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the suggestion of a shepherd, the aid of Eos (Aurora)
who, also becoming enamored of him, restores his
sight. The love of Eos, less earthly than that of
Merope, less cold than that of Artemis, fully satisfies
his soul. He is at length happy. But the jealousy
of Artemis destroys him. She pierces him with her
arrows while in the very act of gratefully renovating
her temple at Delos. In despair, Eos flies to Artemis,
reproves her, represents to her the baseness of her
jealousy and revenge, softens her, and obtains her
consent to unite with herself with Eos in a prayer
to Zeus (Jupiter) for the restoration of the giant to
life. The prayer is heard. Orion is not only restored
to life, but rendered immortal and placed among the
constellations, where he enjoys forever the pure affec
tion of Eos, and becomes extinguished each morning
in her rays.

In ancient mythology, the giants are meant to typify
various energies of nature. Pursuing, we suppose,
this idea, Mr. Home has made his own giants repre
sent certain principles of human action or passion.
Thus Orion himself is the worker or builder, and is
the type of action or movement itself ; but, in various
portions of the poem, this allegorical character is left
out of sight, and that of speculative philosophy takes
its place, a mere consequence of the general uncer
tainty of purpose, which is the chief defect of the work.
Sometimes we even find Orion a destroyer, in place


R. H. Home

of a builder; as, for example, when he destroys the
grove about the temple of Artemis, at Delos. Here
he usurps the proper allegorical attribute of Rhexergon
(the second of the seven giants named), who is the
breaker-down, typifying the revolutionary principle.
Autarces, the third, represents the mob, or, more
strictly, waywardness capricious action. Harpax,
the fourth, serves for rapine; Briastor, the fifth, for
brute force ; Encolyon, the sixth, the " Chainer of
the Wheel," for conservatism; and Akinetos, the
seventh, and most elaborated, for apathy. He is
termed " The Great Unmoved," and in his mouth is
put all the " worldly wisdom," or selfishness, of the
tale. The philosophy of Akinetos is, that no merely
human exertion has any appreciable effect upon the
movement; and it is amusing to perceive how this
great truth (for most sincerely do we hold it to be
such) speaks out from the real heart of the poet,
through his Akinetos, in spite of all endeavor to over
throw it by the example of the brighter fate of Orion.
The death of Akinetos is a singularly forcible and
poetic conception, and will serve to show how the
giants are made to perish, generally, during the story,
in agreement with their allegorical natures. The
" Great Unmoved " quietly seats himself in a cave
after the death of all his brethren, except Orion.

Thus Akinetos sat from day to day,
Absorbed in indolent sublimity,

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Reviewing thoughts and knowledge o'er and o'er;

And now he spake, now sang unto himself,

Now sank to brooding silence. From above,

While passing, Time the rock touch'd, and it oozed

Petrific drops, gently at first and slow.

Reclining lonely in his fixed repose,

The Great Unmoved unconsciously became

Attached to that he pressed; and soon a part

Of the rock. There clung th f excrescence, till strong hands.

Descended from Orion, made large roads,

And built steep walls, squaring down rocks foe use,

The italicized conclusion of this fine passage affords
an instance, however, of a very blameable concision,
too much affected throughout the poem.

In the deaths of Autarces, Harpax, and Encolyon,
we recognize the same exceeding vigor of conception.
These giants conspire against Orion, who seeks the
aid of Artemis, who, in her turn, seeks the assistance
of Phoibos (Phoebus). The conspirators are in a cave,
with Orion.

Now Phoibus thro' the cave
Sent a broad ray ! and lo ! the solar beam
Filled the great cave with radiance equable,
And not a cranny held one speck of shade.
A moony halo round Orion came,
As of some pure protecting influence,
While with intense light glared the walls and roof,
The heat increasing. The three giants stood
With glazing eyes, fixed. Terribly the light
Beat on the dazzled stone, and the cave hummed


R. H. Home

With reddening heat, till the red hair and beard

Of Harpax showed no difference from the rest,

Which once were iron-black. The sullen walls

Then smouldered down to steady oven-heat,

Like that with care attained when bread has ceased

Its steaming, and displays an angry tan.

The appalled faces of the giants showed

Full consciousness of their immediate doom.

And soon the cave a potter's furnace glowed

Or kiln for largest bricks, and thus remained

The while Orion, in his halo clasped

By some invisible power, beheld the clay

Of these his early friends change. Life was gone.

Now sank the heat the cave-walls lost their glare,

The red lights faded, and the halo pale

Around him into chilly air expanded.

There stood the three great images, in hue

Of chalky white and red, like those strange shapes

In Egypt's ancient tombs ; but presently

Each visage and each form with cracks and flaws

Was seamed, and the lost countenance brake up,

As, with brief toppling, forward prone they fell.

The deaths of Rhexergon and Blaster seem to discard
(and this we regret not) the allegorical meaning alto
gether, but are related with even more exquisite rich
ness and delicacy of imagination than those of the
other giants. Upon this occasion it is the jealousy of
Artemis which destroys.

But with the eve

Fatigue overcame the giants, and they slept.
Dense were the rolling clouds, starless the glooms;


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But o'er a narrow rift, once drawn apart,

Showing a field remote of violet hue,

The high moon floated, and her downward gleam

Shone on the upturned giant faces. Rigid

Each upper feature, loose the nether jaw;

Their arms cast wide with open palms; their chests

Heaving like some large engine. Near them lay

Their bloody clubs, with dust and hair begrimed,

Their spears and girdles, and the long-noosed thongs.

Artemis vanished ; all again was dark.

With day's first streak Orion rose, and loudly

To his companions called. But still they slept.

Again he shouted ; yet no limb they stirred,

Tho' scarcely seven strides distant. He approached,

And found the spot, so sweet with clover flower

When they had cast them down, was now arrayed

With manyheaded poppies, like a crowd

Of dusky Ethiops in a magic cirque

Which had sprung up beneath them in the night,

And all entranced the air,

There are several minor defects in Orion, and
we may as well mention them here. We sometimes
meet with an instance of bad taste in a revolting
picture or image; for example, at page 59 of this
edition :

Naught fearing, swift, brimful of raging life,
StifFning they lay in pools of jellied gore,

Sometimes, indeed very often, we encounter an alto
gether purposeless oddness or foreignness of speech.
For example, at page 78 :


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As in Dodona once, ere driven thence

By Zeus for that Rhexergon burnt some oaks.

Mr. Home will find it impossible to assign a good
reason for not here using " because."

Pure vaguenesses of speech abound. For example,
page 89:

One central heart wherein
Time beats twin pulses with humanity.

Now and then sentences are rendered needlessly
obscure through mere involution ; as at page 103 :

Star-rays that first played o'er my blinded orbs,
E'en as they glance above the lids of sleep,
Who else had never known surprise, nor hope,
Nor useful action.

Here the " who " has no grammatical antecedent,
and would naturally be referred to sleep; whereas it
is intended for " me," understood, or involved in the
pronoun " my " ; as if the sentence were written thus :
" rays that first played o'er the blinded orbs of me,
who," etc. It is useless to dwell upon so pure an

The versification throughout is, generally, of a very
remarkable excellence. At times, however, it is rough,
to no purpose ; as at page 44 :

And ever tended to some central point
In some place nought more could 1 understand,

R. H. Home

And here, at page 81 :

The shadow of a stag stoops to the stream,
Swift rolling toward the cataract and drinks deeply,

The ahove is an unintentional and false Alexandrine,
including a foot too much, and that a trochee in place
of an iambus. But here, at page 106, we have the
utterly unjustifiable anomaly of half a foot too little :

And Eos ever rises, circling

The varied regions of mankind, etc.

All these are mere inadvertences, of course ; for the
general handling of the rhythm shows the profound
metrical sense of the poet. He is, perhaps, somewhat
too fond of " making the sound an echo to the sense."
Orion embodies some of the most remarkable in
stances of this on record; but if smoothness, if the
true rhythm of a verse be sacrificed, the sacrifice is an
error. The effect is only a beauty, we think, where
no sacrifice is made in its behalf. It will be found
possible to reconcile all the objects in view. Nothing
can justify such lines as this, at page 69 :

As snake-songs 'midst stone hollows thus has taught me.

We might urge, as another minor objection, that all
the giants are made to speak in the same manner,
with the same phraseology. Their characters are
broadly distinctive, while their words are identical in
spirit. There is sufficient individuality of sentiment,
but little, or none, of language.


R. H. Home

We must object, too, to the personal and political
allusions, to the Corn-Law question, for example, to
Wellington's statute, etc. These things, of course,
have no business in a poem.

We will conclude our fault-finding with the remark
that, as a consequence of the one radical error of con
ception upon which we have commented at length,
the reader's attention, throughout, is painfully diverted.
He is always pausing, amid poetical beauties, in the
expectation of detecting among them some philo
sophical, allegorical moral. Of course, he does not
fully, because he cannot uniquely, appreciate the
beauties. The absolute necessity of reperusing the
poem, in order thoroughly to comprehend it, is also,
most surely, to be regretted, and arises, likewise, from
the one radical sin.

But of the beauties of this most remarkable poem,
what shall we say ? And here we find it a difficult
task to be calm. And yet we have never been accused
of enthusiastic encomium. It is our deliberate opinion
that, in all that regards the loftiest and holiest attri
butes of the true poetry, Orion has never been excelled.
Indeed, we feel strongly inclined to say that it has
never been equalled. Its imagination that quality
which is all in all is of the most refined, the most
elevating, the most august character. And here we
deeply regret that the necessary limits of this review
will prevent us from entering, at length, into specifi-


R. H. Home

cation. In reading the poem, we marked passage
after passage for extract; but, in the end, we found
that we had marked nearly every passage in the book.
We can now do nothing more than select a few. This,
from page 3, introduces Orion himself, and we quote
it, not only as an instance of refined and picturesque
imagination, but as evincing the high artistical skill
with which a scholar in spirit can paint an elaborate
picture by a few brief touches.

The scene in front two sloping mountains' sides
Displayed ; in shadow one and one in light.
The loftiest on its summit now sustained
The sunbeams, raying like a mighty wheel
Half seen, which left the forward surface dark
In its full breadth of shade ; the coming sun
Hidden as yet behind ; the other mount,
Slanting transverse, swept with an eastward face,
Catching the golden light. Now while the peal
Of the ascending chase told that the rout
Still midway rent the thickets, suddenly
Along the broad and sunny slope appeared
The shadow of a stag that fled across
Followed by a giant's shadow with a spear.

These shadows are those of the coming Orion and
his game. But who can fail to appreciate the intense
beauty of the heralding shadows ? Nor is this all.
This " Hunter of shadows, he himself a shade," is
made symbolical, or suggestive, throughout the poem,
of the speculative character of Orion ; and, occasionally,


R. H. Home

of his pursuit of visionary happiness. For example,
at page 81, Orion, possessed of Merope, dwells with
her in a remote and dense grove of cedars. Instead of
directly describing his attained happiness, his perfected
bliss, the poet, with an exalted sense of art for which
we look utterly in vain in any other poem, merely
introduces the image of the tamed or subdued shadow-
stag, quietly browsing and drinking beneath the cedars.

There, underneath the boughs, mark where the gleam

Of sunrise thro* the roofing's chasm is thrown

Upon a grassy plot below, whereon

The shadow of a stag stoops to the stream,

Swift rolling toward the cataract, and drinks.

Throughout the day unceasingly it drinks,

While ever and anon the nightingale,

Not waiting for the evening, swells his hymn,

His one sustained and heaven-aspiring tone,

And when the sun had vanished utterly,

Arm over arm the cedars spread their shade,

With arching wrist and long extended hands,

And grave-ward fingers lengthening in the moon,

Above that shadowy stag whose antlers still

Hung o'er the stream.

There is nothing more richly, more weirdly, more
chastely, more sublimely imaginative in the wide
realm of poetical literature. It will be seen that we
have enthusiasm, but we reserve it for pictures such
as this.

At page 62, Orion, his brother dead, is engaged

R. H. Home

alone in extirpating the beasts from Chios. In
the passages we quote, observe, in the beginning, the
singular lucidness of detail; the arrangement of the
barriers, etc., by which the hunter accomplishes his
purpose, is given in a dozen lines of verse, with far
more perspicuity than ordinary writers could give it
in as many pages of prose. In this species of narra
tion Mr. Home is approached only by Moore in his
Alciphron. In the latter portions of our extract observe
the vivid picturesqueness of the description.

Four days remain. Fresh trees he felled and wove

More barriers and fences ; inaccessible

To fiercest charge of droves, and to o'erleap

Impossible. These walls he so arranged

That to a common centre each should force

The flight of those pursued; and from that centre

Diverged three outlets. One, the wide expanse

Which from the rocks and inland forests led;

One was the clear-skyed windy gap above

A precipice ; the third, a long ravine

Which through steep slopes, down to the seashore ran

Winding, and then direct into the sea.

Two days remain. Orion, in each hand
Waving a torch, his course at night began,
Through wildest haunts and lairs of savage beasts.
With long-drawn howl, before him trooped the wolves,
The panthers, terror-stricken, and the bears
With wonder and gruff rage ; from desolate crags,
Leering hyenas, griffin, hippogrif,
Skulked, or sprang madly, as the tossing brands

VOL. VIII. 5. gt

R. H. Home

Flashed through the midnight nooks and hollows cold,

Sudden as fire from flint; o'er crashing thickets,

With crouched head and curled fangs dashed the wild boar,

Gnashing forth on with reckless impulses,

While the clear-purposed fox crept closely down

Into the underwood, to let the storm,

Whate'er its cause, pass over. Through dark fens,

Marshes, green rushy swamps, and margins reedy,

Orion held his way, and rolling shapes

Of serpent and of dragon moved before him

With highoreared crests f swan* like yet terrible ,

And often looking back with gemlike eyes,

All night Orion urged his rapid course

In the vexed rear of the swift-droving din,

And when the dawn had peered, the monsters all

Were hemmed in barriers. These he now overleaped

With fuel through the day, and when again

Night darkened, and the sea a gulf-like voice

Sent forth, the barriers at all points he fired,

'Mid prayers to Hephaestos and his Ocean-Sire.

Soon as the flames had eaten out a gap

In the great barrier fronting the ravine

That ran down to the sea, Orion grasped

Two blazing boughs ; one high in air he raised,

The other, with its roaring foliage trailed

Behind him as he sped, Onward the droves

Of frantic creatures with one impulse rolled

Before this night-devouring thing of flames,

With multitudinous voice and downward sweep

Into the sea, which now first knew a tide,

And, ere they made one effort to regain

The shore, had caught them in its flowing arms,


R. H. Home

And bore them past all hope. The living mass,
Dark heaving o'er the waves resistlessly,
At length, in distance, seemed a circle small,
'Midst which one creature in the centre rose,
Conspicuous in the long, red quivering gleams
That from the dying brands streamed o'er the waves.
It was the oldest dragon of the /ens,
Whose forky flags wings and horncrested head
O'er crags and marshes regal sway had held)
And now he rose up like an embodied curse,
From all the doomed, fast sinking some just sunk
Looked landward o'er the sea, and flapped his vans,
Until Poseidon drew them swirling down,

Poseidon (Neptune) is Orion's father, and lends him
his aid. The first line italicized is an example of
sound made echo to sense. The rest we have merely
emphasized as peculiarly imaginative.

At page 9, Orion thus describes a palace built by
him for Hephaestos (Vulcan) :

But, ere a shadow-hunter I became,
A dreamer of strange dreams by day and night,
For him I built a palace underground,
Of iron, black and rough as his own hands.
Deep in the groaning disembowelled earth,
The tower-broad pillars and huge stanchions,
And slant supporting wedges I set up,
Aided by the Cyclops who obeyed my voice,
Which through the metal fabric rang and pealed
In orders echoing far, like thunder* dreams,
With arches, galleries, and domes all carved
So that great figures started from the roof

R. H. Home

And lofty coignes f or sat and downward gazed
On those who stood below and gazed above
I filled it ; in the centre framed a hall ;
Central in that, a throne ; and tor the light,
Forged mighty hammers that should rise and /all
On slanted rocks of granite and of flint,
Worked by a torrent, for whose passage down
A chasm I hewed. And here the God could take,
'Midst showery sparks and swathes of broad gold fire.
His lone repose, lulled by the sounds he loved/
Or, casting back the hammer-heads till they choked
The water's course, enjoy, if so he wished.
Midnight tremendous, silence, and iron sleep,

The description of the hell in Paradise Lost is alto
gether inferior in graphic effect, in originality, in ex
pression, in the true imagination, to these magnificent
to these unparalleled passages. For this assertion
there are tens of thousands who will condemn us as
heretical ; but there are a " chosen few " who will
feel, in their inmost souls, the simple truth of the
assertion. The former class would at least be silent,
could they form even a remote conception of that con
tempt with which we hearken to their conventional

We have room for no further extracts of length;
but we refer the reader who shall be so fortunate as
to procure a copy of OHon f to a passage at page 22 ?

One day at noontide, when the chase was done.

R. H. Home

It is descriptive of a group of lolling hounds, inter
mingled with sylvans, fauns, nymphs, and oceanides.
We refer him also to page 25, where Orion, enamored
of the naked beauty of Artemis, is repulsed and frozen
by her dignity. These lines end thus :

And ere the last collected shape he saw
Of Artemis, dispersing fast amid
Dense vapory clouds, the aching wintriness
Had risen to his teeth, and fixed his eyes,
Like glistening stones in the congealing air.

We refer, especially, too, to the description of love,
at page 29; to that of a Bacchanalian orgy, at page
34; to that of drought succeeded by rain, at page
70 ; and to that of the palace of Eos, at page 104.

Mr. Home has a very peculiar and very delightful
faculty of enforcing, or giving vitality to a picture, by
some one vivid and intensely characteristic point or
touch. He seizes the most salient feature of his
theme, and makes this feature convey the whole.
The combined naivete and picturesqueness of some
of the passages thus enforced cannot be sufficiently
admired. For example :

The archers soon

With bowarm forward thrust, on all sides twanged
Around, above, below.

Now, it is this thrusting forward of the bow-arm
which is the idiosyncrasy of the action of a mass of
archers. Again : Rhexergon and his friends endeavor


R. H. Home

to persuade Akinetos to be king. Observe the silent
refusal of Akinetos the peculiar passiveness of his
action if we may be permitted the paradox :

" Rise, therefore, Akinetos, thou art king ! "
So saying, in his hand he placed a spear.
As though against a watt 't were set aslant.
Flatly the long spear fell upon the ground,

Here again, Merope departs from Chios in a ship :

And, as it sped along, she closely pressed

The rich globes of her bosom on the side

O'er which she bent with those black eyes, and gazed

Into the sea that fled beneath her face,

The fleeing of the sea beneath the face of one who
gazes into it from a ship's side, is the idiosyncrasy of
the action of the subject. It is that which chiefly
impresses the gazer.

We conclude with some brief quotations at random,
which we shall not pause to classify. Their merits
need no demonstration. They gleam with the purest
imagination. They abound in picturesqueness, force,
happily chosen epithets, each in itself a picture.
They are redolent of all for which a poet will value a

Her silver sandals glanced P the rays,
As doth a lizard playing on the hill,
And on the spot where she that instant stood
Ifaught but the bent and quivering grass was seen.

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Above the Isle of Chios, night by night,

The clear moon lingered ever on her course

Covering the forest foliage, where it swept

In its unbroken breadth along the slopes,

With placid silver; edging leaf and trunk

Where gloom clung deep around ; but chiefly sought

With melancholy splendor to illume

The dark-mouthed caverns where Orion lay,

Dreaming among his kinsmen,

The ocean realm below, and all its caves
And bristling vegetation, plant, and flower,
And forests in their dense petrific shade,
Where the tides moan for sleep that never comes*

A faun, who on a quiet green knoll sat
Somewhat apart, sang a melodious ode,
Made rich by harmonies of hidden strings,

Autarces seized a satyr, with intent,
Despite his writhing freaks and furious face,
To dash him on a gong, like that amidst
The struggling mass Encolyon thrust a pine,
Heavy and black as Charon's ferrying pole,
O'er which they, like a bursting billow, fell.

Then round the blaze,
Their shadows brandishing afar and athwart
Over the level space and up the hills,

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