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which were, as he fondly hoped and believed, to complete his greater Testament.

In his last books are many noble poems which express his growing pantheism. The volume entitled Astrophel, after the Arcadian poem that opens it, and published in 1894, twelve years after Tristram of Lyonesse, contains one of the most characteristic of them all, ' A Nympholept’:

I dare not sleep for delight of the perfect hour,

Lest God be wroth that his gift should be scorned of man.
The face of the warm bright world is the face of a flower,

The word of the wind and the leaves that the light winds fan

As the word that quickened at first into flame, and ran,
Creative and subtle and fierce with invasive power,

Through darkness and cloud, from the breath of the one God, Pan,

Needless to tell, what so many of these later pages show, that his sea-obsession, too, lasted and never lost its force. Guy de Maupassant has narrated for us one of his early adventures at Etretat, which helped, it is said, to inspire Ex Voto, and in which Swinburne (who for long secretly hoped to die at last by drowning) all but lost his life. The story may be summarised as follows from the original notes :

One morning some sailors gave the alarm, crying out that a swimmer was drowning near the Porte d'Amont. They took a boat, and I went with them, The swimmer, not knowing the terrible current that runs there, had been drawn in, but luckily picked up by a fishing boat behind the Petite Porte. I learnt the same evening that the imprudent bather was an English poet, M. Algernon Charles Swinburne, who had been staying for a few days with a M. Powel, owner of a little chalet that he had baptised Chaumière Dolmancé. M. Powel it seems astonished the natives by a life solitary and bizarre. The two foreigners asked M. de Maupassant to join them at déjeuner next day; and he found them in a pretty garden behind a low thatched house built of Ajnt. Both were of small stature, M. Powel fat, M. Swinburne thin, thin and surprising at a first glance,-indeed in the guest's eyes a kind of fantastic apparition that reminded him of Edgar Poe.'

Other adventures almost as perilous might be told of him when he was a much older swimmer. In 1882 we hear again of him and Mr. Watts-Dunton in Guernsey, and swimming in Petit Bot Bay, and trying the amphibious resources of Sark. Later years took them

I'Le front était très grand sous des cheveux longs, et la figure allait se rétrécissant vers un menton mince ombré d'une maigre touffe de barbe. Une très légère moustache glissait sur des lèvres extraordinairement fines et serrées et le cou qui semblait sans fin unissait cette tête, vivante par les yeux clairs chercheurs et fixes, à un corps sans épaules, car le haut de la poitrine paraissait à peine plus large que le front. Tout ce personnage presque surnaturel était agité de secousses nerveuses. Il fut très cordial, très accueillant; et le charme extraordinaire de son intelligence me séduisit aussitôt.'

Guy de Maupassant, however, indulged in such fantastic fictions about Swinburne, that he must be accepted with caution. Swinburne used to call him that liar of the first magnitude-Guy de Maupassant!!!

again to Norfolk and the Isle of Wight. But the exact record of these episodes, celebrated in the pages that contain A Swimmer's Dream, Les Casquets and their fellow-poems, must be left for another day.

What is to be said of him now he has gone, and lies buried by the seacoast he loved, at Bonchurch? What will time, the great decider of men's labour and fame, eventually say of him? We are too near him to judge with any certainty how he will appear to those who look back to him as he looked back to Coleridge and Shelley. But it is hard to believe that any change of the perspective will dim the brightness and apparent greatness of his lyric achievement. He was prodigal of his music, that new music he had taught the old tongue; over-prodigal at times, seeing that verse may run once too often even in the triple-lilt of his magical cadences. But he has left English poetry reinforced at point after point, where he used his strength on his real themes, and while he was at heart a Pagan-a Pagan of the Pagans--he was religious in his worship of nature, and if pantheism ever becomes a church, he will help to furnish its litany.

The news of the death of his old friend George Meredith comes to interrupt this imperfect tribute to him. It recalls the letter, already alluded to in another page, that the great poet and novelist wrote to mark his loss only a month ago ; and this recalls the brave letter Swinburne wrote at the outset of their literary careers to protest against an irresponsible review of Mr. Meredith's book of poems, Modern Love. Swinburne's letter is dated the 7th of June 1862, and it deserves quoting because it links the two great Victorians together, and shows again Swinburne's loyalty to his art and his fellow-artists :

Praise or blame should be thoughtful, serious, careful, when applied to s work of such subtle strength, such depth of delicate power, such passionate and various beauty, as the leading poem of Mr. Meredith’s volume; in some points, as it seems to me (and in this opinion I know that I have weightier judgments than my own to back me) a poem above his aim and beyond the reach of any but its author. ... As to execution, take almost any sonnet at random out of this series, and let any man qualified to judge for himself of metre, choice of expression, and splendid language, decide on its claims. And after all the test will be unfair ; every section of this great progressive poem being connected with the other by links of the finest and most studied work. manship

"Splendid language,' to take the word from this letter, was a thing Swinburne cared for, not only in George Meredith but in his own work, almost beyond all else. He used it and lavished it, even too freely at times for the day of plain prose ; and there Meredith, regarded as a contemporary influence, had the advantage, being a novelist and having his prose medium to restrain him. Swinburne's one novel, which Meredith considered a marvel of dramatic self-repression,

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surprisingly finished narrative prose as it is, is still a poet's novel. For the rest let us end remembering how he triumphed with 'splendid language' in Itylus, in Atalanta, in Erechtheus-noblest Greek play written in English, in his Songs before Sunrise and his hymns of the sea and the earth : everything that could be done with it, he could do,-everything but restrain it. He was poetry's prodigal, or rather say of him as George Meredith said, --song was his natural voice. He was the greatest of our lyrical poets-of the world's, I could say, considering what a language he had to wield.'

ERNEST Rhys.

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF ABDUL

HAMID II AND HIS COURT

1

CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH

READERS of the Story of My Struggles will well remember the account of my first meeting with the young prince, Hamid Efendi, then sixteen years old, and how he used to listen to the French lessons I gave to his sister, Princess Fatma Sultan, to whom he was particularly devoted. As he used to come very frequently to the palace of Galib Pasha, the son of Reshid Pasha and husband to his above-mentioned sister, I have retained a fresh memory of those memorable hours of my French tutorship. The pale and frail-looking Hamid Efendi used to lean with one hand upon my knee, and, fixing his black eyes upon me, he seemed anxious to snatch away every French word from my lips. He changed his position only when the usual cup of black coffee was brought, or when the Princess, called away by some domestic affair, had retired from behind the curtain, where she was sitting during the lesson. When he addressed me with his timid, slow, and shy voice he rarely touched the subject of my instruction, but preferably began a conversation about his sister, her husband, and the father of the latter-namely, Reshid Pasha, who was then the influential Grand Vizier of Sultan Abdul Medjid. So inquisitive and scrutinising were his questions that I was frequently perplexed as to the satisfactory answer. Whilst I was reflecting, Hamid Efendi looked stealthily towards the curtain, inquiring whether his sister had already returned, or whether she had listened to his inquisitive conversation. It was only later on that I was enlightened about this behaviour. I was told that the young prince Hamid Efendi played the part of a spy in the Imperial harem, and, being in the service of the ruling party, he was much feared by those ladies who do not enjoy the Imperial favour in a high degree, and Hamid Efendi's malicious looks were watched and feared by the party in ascendency. The reason of his resorting to such unprincely activity lies in the humble and submissive position he occupied in his most tender age, having lost his mother in 1849, when seven years old, and being handed over to the influential Peresto Hanim, the fourth legal wife of Sultan Abdul Medjid, who was herself childless and had taken care of the young Prince. I am told by good authority that his mother, Chandir by name, did not belong to the better class of Odalisks, but rather to the inferior ones, called housemaids, and it was only accidentally that she attracted the favour of the Sultan. Grown up without the maternal love, and feeling himself strange and forsaken in the Imperial harem, the hotbed of intrigues and plots, the young Prince Hamid Efendi grew suspicious, and thought himself surrounded by enemies and detractors on all sides. Eshinef Efendi, his lala (governor) of that time, and afterwards treasurer in the old palace of Sarai-Burnu, related to me curious stories about the early developed closeness of his pupil, who, whilst humble and submissive to everybody, eminently played the part of a secretmonger, and, thrusting himself into every circle, very soon became the depositary of all Court secrets and harem stories. In this respect he differed greatly from his younger brother, Reshad Efendi, who distinguished himself by seriousness and grave character, and was never well disposed towards his elder brother.

The youthful days of Hamid Efendi were not very gay: he neither loved nor was beloved by anybody ; his primary instruction was neglected, and instead of devoting his time to his lessons he preferred to roam about in the various households of the harem ladies, to inform himself of all kinds of slander and scandal, of which there is plenty of material in the palace; and in the course of time he in fact became the main fountain of all kinds of harem gossip. As the ladies' department of the Imperial palace is strictly secluded from the rest of the world, few Turks, and still less foreigners and Christians, can have an idea of the horrible life carried

on by the inmates of the harem. Originally uneducated and barbarous * Circassian girls, who were either bought indirectly from the slave* dealers at Topkhane or from the ladies of the chief dignitaries, these

members of the Imperial household live in constant enmity and

jealousy with each other ; each of them is ready to calumniate the 6 others, to diminish their beauty, and to lower their value in the eyes

of the Sultan. Anybody who lends assistance as a sneak to these female rivals is most welcome, and young Hamid Efendi, having been the foremost of these informers, his services were much appreciated, and it was in this way that he became the favourite of Pertevala Kadin, the Sultan-Valida of Abdul Aziz, an uneducated woman, well known for her fanaticism and belief in sorcery and magic power. The main reason for her attachment to Hamid Efendi was the distrust of Abdul Aziz, her ruling son, against Murad Efendi, the heir presumptive ; and the latter was already at that early time a rival in the eyes of Hamid Efendi. It was in the company of the said lady that Hamid Efendi contracted the disastrous propensity for sorcery and all

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