The Living Age, Vol. 269

The Living Age, Vol. 269

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Excerpt from The Living Age, Vol. 269: April, May, June, 1911

We cannot, especially with Mr. Barnes' delightful Dorset poems in our mind, exactly say of the English peas artry, carent vate sacro. But we fear it must be owned that they are less susceptible of poetical handling than their northm neighbors. The English peasant of the Midlands and the South nuds scarcely a place in the pages or Jane Austen. We feel little doubt that one 0: so kindly a nature, specially in her character of clergy mans daughter, was good to the poor. But hardly ever in her pages is a poor man or woman sympathet leally painted. The north of England fared better. Much of Wordsworth's genius was devoted to the presentation of the poetical side of humble life, and of those emotions which are shared by the general heart of men, as illus trated in the lives of Cumbrian shep herds and other simple folk. Mrs. Gaskell's Mary Barton, with its vivid photographs of Manchester workmen and workwomen, may be said to have been an epoch-making book. And the greatest of English women writers, George Eliot, chose for the hero of her most perfect work (the exquisite tale of Silas Marner) a Derbyshire weaver; while in her other great novels, the novels in which she is most truly her self, we find a gallery - second only to Scott's, and drawn as it would seem from Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Notts, tnd Warwickshirbof men and women of nearly every class, whose enthusi asm has been aroused by the great Wesleyan and Evangelical movement that one redeeming feature, apart from the great European struggle, in the crass dullness of eighteenth century lie.

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