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For a' that, and a' that,
Their dignities, and a' that;
Are higher ranks than a' that.
5. Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will, for a' that,
For a’ that, and a' that,
It's coming yet, for a' that,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
26. bear the grec, be victorious.
CHARACTERIZATION BY LOWELL.' 1. It cannot be denied that in Wordsworth the very highest powers of the poetic mind were associated with a certain tendency to the diffuse and commonplace. It is in the understand
From Among My Books, by James Russell Lowell.
ing (always prosaic) that the great golden veins of his imagination are imbedded. He wrote too much to write always well; for it is not a great Xerxes' army of words, but a compact Greek ten thousand, that march safely down to posterity. He set tasks to his divine faculty, which is much the same as trying to make Jove's eagle do the service of a clucking hen. Throughout “The Prelude” and “The Excursion” he seems striving to bind the wizard Imagination with the sand-ropes of dry disquisition, and to have forgotten the potent spell-word which would make the particles cohere. There is an arnaceous quality in the style which makes progress wearisome. Yet with what splendors, as of mountain sunsets, are we rewarded! what golden rounds of verse do we not see stretching heavenward with angels ascending and descending! what haunting harmonies hover around us, deep and eternal, like the undying baritone of the sea ! and if we are compelled to fare through sand and desert wildernesses, how often do we not hear airy shapes that syllable our names with a startling personal appeal to our highest consciousness and our noblest aspiration, such as we wait for in vain in any other poet !
2. Wordsworth's mind had not that reach and elemental movement of Milton's, which, like the trade-wind, gathered to itself thoughts and images, like stately fleets, from every quarter; some deep with silks and spicery, some brooding over the silent thunders of their battailous armaments, but all swept forward in their destined track, over the long billows of his verse, every inch of canvas strained by the unifying breath of their common epic impulse. It was an organ that Milton mastered, mighty in compass, capable equally of the tempest's ardors or the slim delicacy of the flute ; and sometimes it bursts forth in great crashes through his prose, as if he touched it for solace in the intervals of his toil. If Wordsworth sometimes puts the trumpet to his lips, yet he lays it aside soon and willingly for his appropriate instrument, the pastoral reed. And it is not one that grew by any vulgar stream, but that which Apollo breathed through, tending the flocks of Admetus,—that which Pan endowed with every melody of the visible universe,-so that ever and anon, amid the notes of human joy or sorrow, there comes suddenly a deeper and almost awful tone, thrilling us into dim consciousness of forgotten divinity.
3. None of our great poets can be called popular in any exact sense of the word, for the highest poetry deals with thoughts and emotions which inhabit, like rarest sea-mosses, the doubtful limits of that shore between our abiding divine and our fluctuating human nature, rooted in the one, but living in the other, seldom laid bare and otherwise visible only at exceptional moments of entire calm and clearness. Of no other poet, except Shakespeare, have so many phrases become household words as of Wordsworth. If Pope has made current more epigrams of worldly wisdom, to Wordsworth belongs the nobler praise of having defined for us, and given us for a daily possession, those faint and vague suggestions of other world lines, of whose gentle ministry with our baser nature the hurry and bustle of life scarcely ever allowed us to be conscious. He has won for himself a secure immortality by the depth of intuition which makes only the best minds at their best hours worthy, or indeed capable, of his companionship, and by a homely sincerity of human sympathy which reaches the humblest heart. Our language owes him gratitude for the habitual purity and abstinence of his style, and we who speak it, for having emboldened us to take delight in simple things, and to trust ourselves to our own instincts. And he hath his reward. It needs not to bid
“Renowned Chaucer lie a thought more nigh
To rare Beaumond, and learned Beaumond lie
for there is no fear of crowding in that little society with whom he is now enrolled as fifth in the succession of the great English poets.
INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS
OF EARLY CHILDHOOD.
The child is father of the man ;
[INTRODUCTION.—This noble ode, characterized by Emerson as the “highwater mark of English thought in the 19th century," was composed partly in 11803 and partly in 1806. The mood of mind out of which it grew is set forth by Wordsworth himself in an explanatory piece, herewith appended. (See page 300.) It may be noted that the word “immortality" in the title is used in a larger sense than its ordinary meaning: it implies not only deathlessness, but eternality of existence; that is, eternal pre-existence as well as eternal future existence.]
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
To me did seem
Apparelled * in celestial light,
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
NOTES.—Line 6. of yore. Not in the
sense of olden times, but as re-
ence as expressed in the first line—“There was a time when meadow, grove," etc.
LITERARY ANALYSIS.-1-5. Analyze the first sentence. 4. What is the primitive meaning of " Apparelled ?"
1-9. Show the antithesis in the first stanza.-Compare the first stanza with this from Shelley :
"Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight: