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“Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward.' It has soothed my afflictions, it has multiplied and
In offering to the attention of the of the word life in its widely expublic, two volumes on the poetry of tended sense, as comprehending all life, some apology seems necessary for the functions, attributes, and capaprefixing to my book a title of such bilities peculiar to sentient beings. indefinite signification.
Whatever may be the opinion of be understood to mean mere versi- the public respecting the manner in fication, and life mere vitality, it which my task has been executed, would be difficult indeed to estab- the enjoyment it has afforded to the lish their connection with each other. writer, in being the means of a reThe design of the present work is newed acquaintance with the printo treat of poetic feeling, rather than ciples of intellectual happiness, is poetry; and this feeling I have en- already in possession; and I have deavoured to describe as the great only to wish that the reader may connecting link between our intel- be induced to seek the same enjoy. lects and our affections; while the ment, in a more spiritual intercustoms of society, as well as the course with nature, and a more license of modern literature, afford profound admiration of the beauty me sufficient authority for the use and harmony of the creation.
POETRY OF LIFE.
CHARACTERISTICS OF POETRY. lating men to write Poetry: the love of fame,
the want of money, and an internal restlessThat the quality of modern Poetry is a ness of feeling, which is too indiscriminately subject of general complaint with those who called genius. The first of these ceases would purchase--that the price affixed to it with the second, for without the means of by the judgment of the public is equally circulation there can be no hope of fame. complained of by those who would sell—in The third alone operates in the present day, short, that Poetry is at present “a drug in and small, indeed, is the recompense bethe market," is a phrase too hackneyed, too stowed in these ungrateful times upon the vulgar and too frequently assented too, to poets who write hecause they cannot help it. need repetition here; except as an established Yet after all, is not this the true and legitifact, the nature, cause, and consequence of mate method by which the genuine coin of which, I propose endeavouring to point out genius is moulded ? The love of fame is a in the following pages.
high and soul-stirring principle, but still it is Wherever a taste for Poetry exists, there degraded with the stigma of selfish aggranwill be a desire to read as well as to write ; dizement, and who does not feel that a shade to receive as well as to impart that enjoy- | is cast upon those expressions of noble sentiment which poetic feeling affords. In other ment, which bear the impress of having been cases of marketable produce, the supply is prepared and set forth solely for public approfound to keep pace with the demand, ex- bation. The want of money is, indeed, a cept when physical causes operate against potent stimulus. How potent let the midit. If the poets of the present day have night labours of the starving poet testify. “written themselves out,” as the common and The want of money may it is true, urge onunmeaning expression is, what, with a ra- ward towards the same goal as the love of pidly increasing population, should hinder fame, but the one operates, as it were, from the springing up of fresh poets to delight behind, by the painful application of a goad; the world? The fact is, that most of the while the other attracts, and fascinates by the living poets have betaken themselves to brightness of some object before, which too Prose as a more lucrative employment, thus often proves to be an ignis fatuus in the disproving, that the taste for Poetry is la- tance. But there is within the human mind mentably decreasing in the public mind; an active and powerful principle, that awakand while on one hand, genius is weeping ens the dormant faculties, lights up the brain, over her harvest “whitening in the sun," and launches forth imagination to gather up without hope of profit to repay the toil of from the wide realm of nature the very esgathering in the golden store ; on the other, sence of what every human bosom pines for, criticism is in arms against less sordid adven- when it aspires to a higher state of existturers, and calls in no measured terms upon ence, and feels the insufficiency of this. It the mighty minstrels of past ages to avenge is this heaven-born and ethereal principle, Parnassus of her wrongs.
not inaptly personified as the Spirit of Poesy, Three different motives operate in stimu- | that weaves a garland of the flowers which