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we had plentiful personifications; "the not sufficient for the purpose of “giving half-seen Form of Twilight roams astray," immediate pleasure to a human being,” un“Desolation stalks afraid ;” “ Content,” | der which necessity Mr. Wordsworth con. “ Independence," " Despair,” and the rest fesses the poet to lie. We allude to stanza of the mythology of the eighteenth centu- liv., which me must quote again : ry, are nearly as familiar to Mr. Wordsworth as to Gray or Collins. But here we
* His voice with indignation rising high
Such further deed in manhood's name forbade ; have a new world indeed : and if the other
The peasant, wild in passion, made reply was a world of gas-light, this may be com | With bilter insult and revilings sad; pared to the chill bleak light of a snowy Asked him in scorn, What business there he had ; dawn. A prominent article of the theory
What kind of plunder he was hunting now;
The gallows would of him one day be glad." was the use of the actual language of men, “purified,” that is, “ from all rational Here, if the first four lines, which certainly causes of dislike or disgust." This prin- I cannot claim the defence of being natural ciple, which, as most of our readers will language, are extremely bad, the three remember, has been ably combated by Inext, which undeniably are as natural as it Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria,' is is possible to conceive, seem to us to be far one of those fallacies which perhaps only worse. philosophers can refute, but which every | But the educational character of this peone can feel. Accordingly in no point did Iriod, which is shown in this baldness and Mr. Wordsworth come into more direct lawkwardness of composition, is evidenced collision with the the public feeling. Our still more decisively, we conceive, in the younger readers often, we believe, feel nature of the incidents chosen and the mansome astonishment at the dislike which the ner in which they are treated. The theory polished critics of that time manifested to litself appears to have been the fruit of the a poet whom all now admire; but the truth first burst of real thought in the young poet is, that almost all the passages which fur--thought, which, meeting with less passion nished them with their triumphant accusa in his nature than in that of most men, or tions of meanness and vulgarity have been at least most poets of that age, became al. gradually replaced or altered. Who re- most at once conscious philosophical remembers now, that the blind boy, who sails flection. Not so much then in that feeling so poetically in his turtle-shell, made his of power, which is the impulsive principle first expedition in
with most young men of genius, as in the
knowledge of it, Wordsworth set forth on his "A household tub, like one of those Which women use to wash their clothes?”
journey to the heights of Parnassus; and
far from the improvidence of too many traWho again recollects that “ We are seven" vellers on that road, he not only provides began,
his compass and map, but before he actually "A simple child, dear brother Jim"
sets off he obliges himself to practise dili
gently all the arts which so great an underor remembers the descriptions of dress and taking will be likely to require. Like a other such circumstances which are now man who should have to accomplish some recalled to mind by the two concluding perilous feat of the mountains, he is out lines of stanza i. (quoted above) of the pre- early and late, accustoming his eye to dissent poem? Of the faults of this nature, tinguish objects in the different lights of which Guilt and Sorrow' once exhibited, day and night, steadying his head by surthere can be no doubt that many must have veying precipices and chasms, and assuring disappeared under that unsparing hand of his foot by practice of difficult passages, correction and alteration which this poet is Daring the deepest recesses of our nature known to exercise, and to which this par with an audacity drawn in great measure ticular piece has now been lying subject for probably from the consciousness that he fifty years. Yet we have quoted many pas- was only experimentalizing, he chooses for sages in our abstract which could no more his heroes in both these cases characters proceed from Mr. Wordsworth's writing which even the metaphysical analyst can now than the first lisp of the child can be only regard without feelings of distress, recovered by the man. There is one re. when the professional has overcome the markable instance of his fearless carrying natural and healthy taste. In the one case, out of the principle we have mentioned in seenes of the utmost wretchedness, murder, the present poem, surely sufficient to con- desolation, brutality, death from want and vince himself that the natural language of misery, relieved with that dismal light, the men, even on “extraordinary occasions,” is consolation of the hero's being only hanged ; in the other, a minutely-realized picture of association of ideas. If all Byron's heroes the most fearful disease that human nature were “perfect Byron," Mr. Wordsworth's has ever exhibited, the less distressing por- characters down to the lowest are—not intions of the picture exhibiting the weak and deed images of himself, but figures betraywell-meaning overcome by the strong and ing his hand, his observation, his awkward. bad, the helpless and good starved to death, ness or his skill in every turn of their the innocent defrauded of happiness for life, construction. But overlooking this prevail. and positively the brightest incident of all ing defect, there are passages-how should being the murder upon the stage of the it be otherwise ?-of very great power. causer of all these horrors. Surely we are some of the sophistries of Oswald are put comforted to think that Mr. Wordsworth with great force, and many of the minor inhad to take fifty years before he could over-cidents excellently imagined. Of these we come his scruples at the exhibition of such would remark, Marmaduke's notice of the frightful and unalleviated miseries ; surely, old man's shaking (Act II. Sc. 1,) and Ostoo, we are glad, while looking at them, to wald's exclamation regard them as an experimental exhibition,
"Ha! speak! What thing art thou ?” a wax-work execution of some possible diseases, rather than to be called upon to sym- immediately after his free-thinking solilo. pathize with them as representing the actual quy. The whole of the following dialogue sufferings of flesh and blood. It is this we think as fine as it could be made; it feeling only which makes them tolerable. takes place when Oswald meets Marmadake, The rule,
who has just left the old man to his fate on
the desolate moor. "Si vis me flere, dolendum est Primum ipsi tibi,”
Deep, deep and vast, vast beyond human thought, has a converse as true as itself; where the Yet calm.- I could believe, that there was here poet suffers, the reader suffers too; but The only quiet heart on earth. In terror, where the poet is only an actor, the reader
Remember d lerror, there is peace and rest.
Enter OSWALD. is a spectator only. That considerable unhealthiness of mind
OSWALD. is shown both in this point and others is
Ha! my dear Captain.
MARMADUKE. undeniable; but who can be surprised if, at
A later meeting, Oswald, the time when all Europe was lighted up!
Would have been better timed. with the most fearful eruption of evil which
OSWALD. history has witnessed, the faces even of the
Alone. I see; healthiest of men looked pale and livid in
You have done your duty. I had hopes, which now the blaze? This, however, is to be emphati I feel that you will justify. cally remarked, that if Mr. Wordsworth has,
MARMA DUKE. for the exercise they afforded him, taken
I had fears, subjects which had best been left alone, if From which I have freed myself—but 't is my wish he has “ murdered to dissect," he has never,
To be alone, and therefore we must part. like the followers of the satanic school (of
Nay, then I am mistaken. There's a weakness whom England and France at present revel
Abou! you still; you talk of solitude in so undeniable an affluence), allowed the
I am your friend. excitement of evil to appear more enticing than the evil itself was disgusting. If he
What need of this assurance had done so, he would indeed have made At any time? and why given now? better poems; but-horrendum!-we should
OSWALD. have had our honored and noble-minded
You are now in truth my Master; you have taught bard in the same category with Harrison
me Ainsworth and Victor Hugo.
What there is not another living man Having said thus much to one particular Had strength to teach ;-and therefore gratitude point, we must be allowed to add a few
Is bold, and would relieve itselt by praise.
MARMADOKE. words on the merits of the tragedy generally considered. Few will be surprised to learn,
Wherefore press this on me? that what merit it has is essentially undra.
Because I feel matic. He is the true dramatist who repre That you have shown, and by a single instance, sents men as they appear, not to himself but How ihey who would be just must seek the rule to his neighbors,-mankind as they appear
By diving for it into their own bosoms.
To-day you have thrown off a tyranny to mankind. Here we have men as they
That lives but in the torpid acquiescence appear to the analyst of motives and the! or our emasculated souls, the tyranny
Of the world's masters, with the musty rules Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
Truth-and I feel it.
OSWALD. Henceforth new prospects open on your path;
What! if you had bid Your faculties should grow with the demand; Eternal farewell to unmingled joy I still will be your friend, will cleave to you
And the light dancing of the thoughtless heart; Through good and evil, obloquy and scorn,
It is the toy of fools, and little fit Of as they dare to follow on your steps.
For such a world as this. The wise abjure
All thoughts whose idle composition lives
In the entire forgetfulness of pain.
-I see I have disturbed you.
By no means.
Compassion !-pity !-pride can do without them; I witness'd, and now hail your victory.
And what if you should never know them more!
He is a puny soul, who, feeling pain,
Finds ease because another feels it too.
If e'er I open out this heart of mine
It shall be for a nobler end-10 teach
And not to purchase puling sympathy.
MARMADUKE. Who will turn pale upon you, call you murderer,
It may be so. And you will walk in solitude among them.
OSWALD, A mighty evil for a strong-built mind !
RemorseJoin twenty tapers of unequal height
It cannot live with thought; think on, think on, And light them joined, and you will see the less
And it will die. Whall in this universe, How it will burn down the taller; and they all
Where the least things control the greatest, where Shall prey upon the tallest. Solitude !
1 he faintest breath that breathes can move a The eagle lives in solitude!
What! feel remorse, where, if a cat had sneezed, Even so,
A leaf had fallen, the thing had never been The sparrow so on the house-top, and I,
Whose very shadow gnaws us to the vitals ? The weakest of God's creatures, stand resolved
MARMADUKE. To abide the issue of my act, alone.
Now, whither are you wandering? That a man OSWALD.
So used to suit his language to the time, Now would you ? and for ever?-My young
Should thus so widely differ from himselffriend,
It is most strange. As time advances either we become
OSWALD. The prey or masters of our own past deeds.
Murder !-what's in the word !Fellowship we must have, willing or no;
I have no cases by me ready made And if good angels fail, slack in their duty,
To fit all deeds. Carry him to the camp!Substituies, turn our faces where we may,
A shallow project ;-you of late have seen Are still forthcoming ; some which, though they More deeply, taught us that the institutes bear
or Nature, by a cunning usurpation m names, can render no ill services,
Banished from human intercourse, exist
That make the fields their dwelling. If a snake And opposites thus melt into each other.
Crawl from beneath our feet we do not ask
A license to destroy him: our good governors Time, since man first drew breath, has never
Hedge in the life of every pest and plague
That bears the shape of man; and for what purmoved With such a weight upon his wings as now;
But io protect themselves from extirpation ?But they will soon be lightened.
This flimsy barrier you have overleaped.
My office is fulfilled--the man is now
I have borne my burthen to its destined end."
We have said nothing of the baron Her. OSWALD.
bert, the doting father, or Idonea, the dutiAction is transitory-a step, a blow,
ful daughter of this play, for, in fact, they The motion of a muscle-ihis way or that 'T is done, and in the after vacancy
deserve little notice. Either Mr. Words. We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed : | worth did not think it worth while to draw
with more care characters which seem only liest, will be found to lie within the dates put in, like the back figures of a sketch, to we have named. “Lucy Gray,' We are make the two prominent ones intelligible, seven', 'Tintern Abbey', 'She dwelt amid or else he fell here into that common error the untrodden ways', 'The Two April of persons of undramatic mind who attempt Mornings and the Fountain', 'The Solitary this kind of composition, the mistake of Reaper', 'Nutting', 'Three years she grew making the characters no more than that in sun and shower,' with others, especially which their persona demands. No man, pieces of blank verse, are those which prehowever fond of his children, is only a sent in its greatest perfection the peculiar father, nor is any woman, however devoted spirit of this time. Nor is it to the Theory to her parents, only a daughter. If this that we owe these exquisite productions. were a true play, the whole interest would The Theory indeed was not without its depend on the sympathy which these two use; without it we should probably not characters excited. As it is, it remains an have had the strictness of truth and clear. important fault that we should be left with ness, whether of language or imagery ; to out any counteracting sympathy with the it we are also indebted for the conciseness good and innocent concerned-for sym- which here at least is not abruptness. But pathy with such mere spectra is out of the it is not by a difference in these points that question—to the uninterrupted contempla- the poems of this time are distinguished tion of the moral weakness of Marmaduke from those before and after. The differand the diabolical malignity of the God-de-ence is to be found in their impenetraserted Oswald. Thus much for the Edu- tion with the tenderest feeling and a holy cational Period of Mr. Wordsworth's life, and almost solemn sweetness. Mr. Wordsand the greater part of the present volume. worth's poems since, while composed of
But with the year 1798 commences the excellent material, pure and sweet fancies, true harvest of this poet's genius-what we moulded by a clear oversight into harmo. have called, to distinguish it from that nious or melodious verse, too often betray which follows, the Poetic Period. Rich their machinery, if not throughout yet in indeed was this! within the next six years, parts, so as to destroy their unity. But i. e., between 1798 and 1803 inclusive, was here all is fused into the perfect form,composed almost every one of those darling the best words in the best order.” Others poems, which we venture to prophesy will of his poems are made, these grow like be treasured safely by love and admiration, plants : others too grow like plants, but whatever becomes of those of greater pre- these grow like the loveliest of the race of tension and possibly of deeper but not such flowers, born, budded, and expanded in an perfect beauty. .
atmosphere of the most genial warmth and “Non satis est pulchra esse poemata: brightness, pure, free, and above all, perdulcia sunto,” is what we have too often to fect. There was another magician more feel in Mr. Wordsworth's works; but in powerful than the theory at work to produce this period they are often dulcia-of a per- this effect-another more powerful than suasive sweetness indeed almost unequalled even Genius alone. For the serious purpose in English poetry—at any rate since Shak- with which we remark it, there can be no speare, or shall we say Herrick ? Poems, impropriety in noticing that the poems of spontaneous as the songs of Burns, finished the year 1798 first bear witness to the pasas those of Horace, worthy of Shakspeare sion of Love. Under the softening and exin their grace and tenderness and philoso- alting influence of the affections it seems to phical insight, and in their peculiar tone of have been that Mr. Wordsworth reached thought and language entirely original, were his truest inspiration. poured forth at this time, if not in profu. But of this period the present volume sion, with a copiousness which bespoke a affords so few specimens that we have no “ well-spring." " It would be too much to excuse for dwelling upon it, and those say that all the productions of this period which it does give us are not among the can claim praise like this, yet it is remark- happiest. A poem entitled “The Forsaken,' able that scarcely any one is entirely defi- which looks like an excluded portion of the cient in that tenderness and loveliness which Affliction of Margaret,' is too short to progives his gems their greatest charm. Alduce the required effect. One or two new most all those pieces which have been ap- poems on the subject of Matthew are infe. proved by that best criticism, the love of rior to those we had by a great deal. But those who, whether able to give a reason the following and another, upon the grave for their delight or not, are yet marked by of Burns, are very spirited, and though in their affection for all things purest and love-l parts obscure, very beautiful.
“AT THE GRAVE OF BURNS-1803. I For he is safe, a quiet bed "I shiver, Spirit fierce and bold,
Hath early found among the dead,
Harbored where none can be misled,
Wronged, or distrest;
And surely here it may be said
That such are blest. Where Burns is laid.
And oh for Thce, by pitying grace And have I then thy bones so near,
Checked oft-times in a devious race, And thou forbidden to appear?
May He who halloweth the place As if it were thyself that's here,
Where Man is laid I shrink with pain;
Receive thy Spirit in the embrace And both my wishes and my fear
For which it prayed ! Alike are vain.
Sighing I turned away; but ere Off, weight-por press on weight!-away,
Night fell I heard, or seemed to hear, Dark thoughts !-ihey came, but not to stay ; Music thal sorrow comes not near, With chastened feelings would I pay
A ritual hymn, The tribute due
Chanted in love that casts out fear To him, and aught that hides his clay
By Seraphim.” From mortal view.
We have too soon ended the poetical and Fresh as the flower, whose modest worth He sang, his genius "glinted” forth,
enter on the philosophical portion of this Rose like a star that toucbing earth,
poet's life, which we should extend from For so it seems,
about 1803 to the present time. In the Doth glorify its humble birth
• Ode on the Intimations of Immortality,' With matchless beams.
while there still remains much of the divine The piercing eye, the thoughtful brow,
inspiration, there are noticeable also the The struggling heart, where be they now ? first stirrings of a change of spirit--an efFull soon the Aspirant of the plough,
fort and constraint arising from the preThe prompt, the brave, Slept, with the obscurest, in the low
sence in the poet's mind of a new and unAnd silent grave.
mastered element-visible even, at the first
appearance of the poem, in an awkwardness Well might I mourn that He was gone Whose light I hailed when first it shone;
of language and metre which has since When, breaking forth as Nature's own,
been in a great measure smoothed away. It showed my youth
Here we have the second awakening of the How Verse may build a princely throne
poet into the philosopher—the unconscious On humble iruth.
or semi-conscious philosopher into the conAlas! where'er the current lends,
scious one ;-a change of grievous import Regret pursues and with it blends,
in a nature where, as in this poet's, there Hage Criffel's hoary top ascends
was so little of human passion to subordiBy Skiddaw seen, Neighbors we were, and loving friends
nate the intellectual to the sensuous, the We might have been;
complex to the simple, the spiritual to the
passionate. In a man of warmer animal True friends though diversely inclined;
temperament either the change could not But heart with heart and mind with mind,
have taken place, or the excitement under Where the main fibres are entwined, Through Nature's skill,
which he would have composed would have May even by contraries be joined
prevented the evil consequence from being More closely still.
so visible on his poems,-would, at least The rear will start, and let it flow;
for the time, have re-embodied the philosoThou 'poor inhabitant below,'.
pher in the poet. With Mr. Wordsworth At this dread moment-even so
himself in earlier youth this, as we have Might we together Have sate and talked where gowans blow,
seen, had been the case, and the new ele. Or on wild heather.
ment, though obtrusive for a while, had been
gradually fused by the ardor of youthful What treasures would have then been placed
sympathies with men and nature into that Within my reach; of knowledge graced By fancy what a rich repast !
pure and genuine vein of poetry which so But why go on ?
enriched our literature. But now it seems Oh! spare to sweep, thou mournful blast,
as if that ardor was declining, and, unable His grave grass-grown.
to recover his former freedom, he strove There, too, a Son, his joy and pride,
for a new kind of liberty. A very consid(Not three weeks past the Stripling died,) erable change came over his whole style, Lies gathered to his Father's side,
and his manner of writing underwent an Soul-moving sight! Yet one to which is not denied
alteration as great as his manner of thinkSome sad delight,
ing. As the consciousness which now in.