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different constructions have been put on some of these words; but the contest seems to me to necessitate those before us. I quote, however, not from the original, but from an extract in the 'Remarks on Paradise Lost' by Richardson.
What the poet has to cultivate above all things is love and truth ;what he has to avoid, like poison, is the fleeting and the false. He will get no good by proposing to be “in earnest at the moment." His earnestness must be innate and habitual; born with him, and felt to be his most precious inheritance. “I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings,” says Coleridge, in the Preface to his Poems; " and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward ; it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me." --Pickering's edition, p. 10.
"Poetry," says Shelley, “lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar. It reproduces all that it represents; and the impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as memorials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself over all thoughts and actions with which it coexists. The great secret of morals is love, or a going out of our own nature, and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which exists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another, and of many others: the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause."-Essays and Letters, vol. i. p. 16.
I would not willingly say anything after perorations like these; but as treatises on poetry may chance to have auditors who think them selves called upon to vindicate the superiority of what is termed useful knowledge, it may be as well to add, that if the poet may be allowed to pique himself on any one thing more than another, compared with those who undervalue him, it is on that power of undervaluing nobody, and no attainments different from his own, which is given him by the very faculty of imagination they despise. The greater includes the less. They do not see that their inability to comprehend him argues the smaller capacity. No man recognises the worth of utility more than the poet: he only desires that the meaning of the term may not come short of its greatness, and exclude the noblest necessities of his fellow-creatures. He is quite as much pleased, for instance, with the facilities for rapid conveyance afforded him by the railroad, as the dullest confiner of its advantages to that single idea, or as the greatest two-idead man who varies that single idea with hugging himself on his " buttons” or his good dinner. But he sees also the beauty of the country through which he passes, of the towns, of the heavens, of the steam-engine itself, thundering and fuming along like a magic horse ; of the affections that are carrying, perhaps, half the passengers on their journey, nay, of those of the great two-idead man; and, beyond all this, he discerns the incalculable amount of good, and knowledge, and refinement, and mutual consideration, which this wonderful invention is fitted to circulate over the globe, perhaps to the displacement of war itself, and certainly to the diffusion of millions of enjoyments.
“And a button-maker, after all, invented it!” cries our friend.
Pardon me—it was 'a nobleman. A button-maker may be a very excellent, and a very poetical man too, and yet not have been the first man visited by a sense of the gigantic powers of the combination of water and fire. It was a nobleman who first thought of this most poetical bit of science. It was a nobleman who first thought of ita captain who first tried it—and a button-maker who perfected it. And he who put the nobleman on such thoughts was the great philosopher, Bacon, who said that poetry had “something divine in it,” and was necessary to the satisfaction of the human mind.
RICHARD DE BURY. RICHARD DE BURY, Bishop of Durham, was born in 1287; was tutor to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward III.; subsequently received the highest ecclesiastical preferments from the King; and died at his episcopal palace at Auckland, in 1345. He was an admirable scholar; and a most diligent collector of books. He bequeathed his valuable MSS. to a company of scholars at Oxford. The following extract is from the only known work of this learned prelate, entitled
· Philobiblon, a Treatise on the Love of Books. This was written in Latin in 1344; was printed in 1473; and was translated into English in 1832, by a gentleman of great acquirements, who published a limited impression.]
The desirable treasure of wisdom and knowledge, which all men covet from the impulse of nature, infinitely surpasses all the riches of the world ; in comparison with which, precious stones are vile, silver is clay, and purified gold grains of sand; in the splendour of which, the sun and moon grow dim to the sight; in the admirable sweetness of which, honey and manna are bitter to the taste. The value of wisdom decreaseth not with time; it hath an ever fourishing virtue that cleanseth its possession from every venom. O celestial gift of divine liberality, descending from the Father of light to raise up the rational soul even to heaven! Thou art the celestial alimony of intellect, of which whosoever eateth shall yet hunger, and whoso drinketh shall yet thirst; a harmony rejoicing the soul of the sorrorful, and never in any way discomposing the hearer. Thou art the moderator and the rule of morals, operating according to which none will err. By thee kings reign, and lawgivers decree justly. Through thee, the rusticity of nature being cast off, wits and tongues being polished, and the thorns of vice utterly eradicated, the summit of honour is reached, and they become fathers of their country and companions of princes, who, without thee, might have forged their lances into spades and plowshares, or perhaps have fed swine with the prodigal son. Where, then, most potent, most longed for treasure, art thou concealed ? and where shall the thirsty soul find thee? Undoubtedly, indeed, thou hast placed thy desirable tabernacle in books, where the Most High, the Light of light, the Book of Life, hath established thee. There then all who ask receive, all who seek find thee, to those who knock thou openest quickly. In books Cherubim expand their wings, that the soul of the student may ascend and look around from pole to pole, from the rising to the setting sun, from the north and from the sea. In them the Most High incomprehensible God himself is contained and worshipped. In them the nature of celestial, terrestrial and infernal beings is laid open. In them the laws by which every polity is governed are decreed, the offices of the celestial hierarchy are distinguished, and tyrannies of such demons are described as the ideas of Plato never surpassed, and the chair of Crato never sustained.
In books we find the dead as it were living ; in books we foresee things to come ; in books warlike affairs are methodized; the rights of peace proceed from books. All things are corrupted and decay with time. Saturn never ceases to devour those whom he generates, insomuch that the glory of the world would be lost in oblivion if God had not provided mortals with a remedy in books. Alexander the ruler of the world, Julius the invader of the world and of the city, the first who in unity of person assumed the empire in arms and arts, the faithful Fabricius, the rigid Cato, would at this day have been without a memorial if the aid of books had failed them. Towers are razed to the earth, cities overthrown, triumphal arches mouldered to dust ; nor can the king or pope be found, upon whom the privilege of a lasting name can be conferred more easily than by books. A book made, renders succession to the author ; for as long as the book exists, the author remaining áovatos, immortal, cannot perish; as Ptolemy witnesseth in the prologue of his Almazett, he (he says) is not dead, who gave life to science.
What learned scribe, therefore, who draws out things new and old from an infinite treasury of books, will limit their price by any other thing whatsoever of another kind ? Truth, overcoming all things, which ranks above kings, wine, and women, to honour which above friends obtains the benefit of sanctity, which is the way that deviates not, and the life without end, to which the holy Boetius attributes a threefold existence, in the mind, in the voice, and in writing, appears to abide most usefully and fructify most productively of advantage in books. For the truth of the voice perishes with the sound. Truth, latent in the mind, is hidden wisdom and invisible treasure; but the truth which illuminates books, desires to manifest itself to every disciplinable sense, to the sight when read, to the hearing when heard : it moreover, in a manner commends itself to the touch, when submitting to be transcribed, collated, corrected, and preserved. Truth confined to the mind, though it may be the possession of a noble soul, while it wants a companion and is not judged of, either by the sight or the hearing, appears to be inconsistent with pleasure. But the truth of the voice is open to the hearing only, and latent to the sight (which shows us many differences of things fixed upon by a most subtle motion, beginning and ending as it were simultaneously). But the truth written in a book, being not fluctuating, but permanent, shows itself openly to the sight passing through the spiritual ways of the eyes, as the porches and halls of common sense and imagination ; it enters the chamber of intellect, reposes itself upon the couch of memory, and there congenerates the eternal truth of the mind.
Lastly, let us consider how great a commodity of doctrine exists in books, how easily, how secretly, how safely they expose the nakedness of human ignorance without putting it to shame. These are the masters that instruct us without rods and ferulas, without hard words and anger, without clothes or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if investigating you interrogate them, they conceal nothing ; if you mistake them, they never grumble ; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you.
END OF VOL. I.
G. Woodfall and Son, Printers, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London.