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Delta's habits were regular, as his services of religion, and had scriptural life was even, and his morals perfect. readings and family-worship regularly He had none of those morbid traits of once a day. He was a very home-man feeling, which frequently stamp the pro--the best of his poetry is a reflex of his ductions of genius with striking origi- home joys and sorrows-and he took nalities; and while for this reason his affectionate interest in the welfare and poetry lacked the smack of wild 10- instruction of his little ones, and hapmance, and strong spirit of stirring pily was blest in life with a partner personality, by which we are alternately willing and able to second him in his pained and startled, in such writers as desire to educate his children in reliByron, so his character as a man comes gious purity and intellectual strength. out all the more perfect from whatever Everything about his home was dear canon of criticism we adopt in reference to him, and he gave heed to the most to his writings. In fact he was a good trifling circumstance connected with member of society, bound by all the the history of his children; a thing social ties, and by the earnest observ- which only that man shuns whose ances of religion; and hence, while, we heart is not sound at the core. The love the man the more, his conventional very trees and bushes in the garden had sameness makes his verses less attractive. each its history for him. "This one," To what extent a citizen may cultivate he would say, “ was planted by poor the growth of literature, without hurry- Charlie-all these smaller ones were ing himself into any whirlpools of mor- slips taken from it: that one there was bid excitement, without even sacrificing wee Willie's,” and so on; every spot the minutest obligations of his worldly bearing some secret charm for him; calling, Delta will always afford a re-every shrub and flower having its place markable example. His chief time for in the home affections; they all “took study was after the house was shut up root in woe. for the night. He could then with some In dealing with his friends, his manly degree of satisfaction sit down to read sincerity often led him to express his and write. Still even then he was not disapprobation of anything which dissafe, the uncertainties of his profession, pleased him in a manner too blunt and frequently requiring him to be obedient plain to be relished; but he was ever to the “night bell," when he would have ready to make immediate reparation, if preferred to pass the moonlight with the he thought he had done the slightest muses. That he possessed a share of injury to a fellow-man; and his zeal in moral courage and enthusiasm for his serving others, by word or deed, had posihobby, such as falls to the lot of few of|tively no end or limit, when the person us, is certain from the bare fact of his to be served was worthy of heart-service. steady application to literaturo, during Characteristically he says, in a letter to a life of unremitting labour and anxiety his friend Aird, “I have no wish to live as a physician. The time when he a day longer than I can be useful to my wrote his lectures on poetry happened fellow-creatures." to be the season of the year when sick- And much for rejoicing is there in ness of every kind is most common, so the fact, that he never sacrificed one of that, until ten or eleven at night, he the interests of his profession for liteseldom got pen to paper. On going to rature. The world has nourished many his bed-room, sometimes at three in the mistakes on this point, so much so that morning, his mind was so engrossed it has come to be regarded as an inevi. with his subject that it used to be five table consequence of literary studies, or six o'clock before sleep would visit and particularly the cultivation of him. This, however, he never allowed poetry, that they unfit men for every to interfere with his breakfast hour, and other occupation ; that, in fact, whilo he came down stairs to his days labours by this vocation they become the so fresh and cheerful that those who teachers of the world, they, at the same knew the restlessness and suffering of time, get separated from it, so as to behis nights, could not but wonder to see come the most ignorant of the very him.
topics on which they offer counsel. Far At an early period of life Mr. Moir from this being the case with Delta, le joined the Communion-table, and was was noted for his skill as a physician, never afterwards a season absent from his power of graphically delineating it. He was solicitous as to the family and treating disease equalling that of any practitioner of similar position and follows us up like a nightmare grinning pretensions He had no pedantry in horribly in the middle of each stanza. the sick chamber, and joined to his kind One of his most finished productions is ness of manner, was a half-prophetic “ Reminiscences of Boyhood," a fine insight into the nature of disease and sample of blank verse, full of feeling, the mode of its removal, springing from and illumined with his extensive knowledge of science and
That refulgent sunshine, only known a poet's method of generalising the To boyhood's careless and unclouded hours. facts before him. He was a gentleman,
Delta repeated himself; he lacked his blood flowed steadily, and his im
power, and was seldom very original. pulses were curbed by a mind of the
That thought of Wordsworth'smost perfect balance. His manners were simple, his social relations sincere
.... The best die first,
While they whose hearts are dry as summer's and strong, and his whole personnel
dust, pervaded by such a warm and holy | Burn to the socket, serenity, that there was none of the ex- he has used in two poems; once in aggeration of friendship in the phrase the domestic story of the “Lost by which he was designated by those Lamb”who knew him ; for, from first to last, he
When from the flocks that feed about, was in mind and heart the "amiable A single lamb thou choosest out, Delta.”
Is it not that which seemeth best,
That thou dost take, yet leave the rest ? Besides the works already enume Yes ! such thy wont, and even so rated, and the many miscellaneous pro
With his choice little ones below
Doth the Good Shepherd deal. ductions contributed to the periodicals, Delta was the author of the “Exile of And again almost in Wordsworth's Norogorod," a poem of 1400 lines, own words in the lines, “To the Bust “ Chatelar, a Drama, in Three Acts," of my Son Charles”— the “Lunatic of Love," consisting of The dearest soonest die, eight hundred lines, and five other tales
And bankrupt age but finds the brain,
In all its sluices dry. averaging five hundred lines each. The greater portion of this is perishable and! In his flower poem “ Lilies," we have perishing. He wrote too much and too a thought borrowed in a similar way fast to do justice even to himself; and from Hans Christian Anderson, and so great was his appetite for publication, rendered almost in the very words of that he sent his pieces out of his hands (the Danish poetfrequently in the crudest and most im No! other hearts and hopes be ours, imperfect state. Had he devoted his And to our souls let faith be given,
To think our lost friends only flowers whole time to literature, he would have
Transplanted from this world to heaven. written much less, because he would have been more severe in self-criticism;
In the “Fowler," the most picturesque and, by the concentration of his powers
and classical of any of his rustic sketches on fewer subjects, would have taken a
we meet with a paraphrase of that fine higher place in literature than that
expression in the “ Prometheus " which he is destined now to occupy.
"avnp.Ouov yɛlaoua," rendered thusWe may say of him, wbat, perhaps, we
The shore can say of no other writer who has Of ocean, whose drear multitudinous voice, written so much, that he has left behind
Unto the listening spirit of silence sang. bim a few things that will live for ever ; A noble couplet truly, but built on a and that in the whole mass of his borrowed thought. In fact, Delta's perishable productions, there is not one poetry is a recasting of his readings in which does not give evidence of a mind imaginative literature in the world of capable of better things.
personal feelings, experiences and friendOne of the happiest efforts of his youthships. His fine imaginative poem, “The ful genius is the “Silent Eve,” a sketch deserted Churchyard,” is a re-writing of so green and life-like in its picturesque an earlier production of his, called “Sodetail, as to be almost worthy of Words- litude;" and in like manner“ The Winter worth. Some of his "Scottish Melodies” Wild,” also an earlier piece, appears are fine things. “Eric's Dirge" would be again in a higher form in a later proone of the best of these, were notits whole duction, called " The Snow.” The maeffect marred by an abominable paren-Ljority of these early strains, out of which thetical Tennisonian iteration, which were elaborated many of his most suc
cossful and abiding things, are noticeable A rara
A rural church: some scattered cottage roofs,
From whose secluded hearths the thin blue smoke for their delicacy of fancy and feeling, Silently wreathing through the breezeless air,
Ascended, mingling with the summer sky:
A rustio bridge, mossy and weather-stained; frequent play on the same strain of sen
A fairy streamlet, singing to itself; timent, “mournfully reverting to the And here and there a venerable tree
In foliaged beauty of these elements,
And only these, the simple scene was formed. solate and disconsolate love, or symbolizing man's fate by the decay of the
Such gold-gaps and patches of green year." Though he wrote much, he im- and bluo take precedence of paintproved to the last, adding to the expe- ing, because while they present literal riences of his ripening years, a fuller transcripts of the scenes of nature, they tone of thought; while his heart lost suggest by a few broad touches, human none of its youthful freshness, but con- thoughts and feelings of a kindred tone, timnied young in sentiment to the very and carry both the mental and the visual last.
eye to scenes far away. These things His poetry has two prime excellences. the painter cannot accomplish -- the It is full of true domestic feeling, chas- limit to his expression is the edge of tened into a tender spirituality, by reli- his canvass. Right well could he sing gious faith and trust, and of descriptions of of scenery equal to the productions of
:: Meadows any writer of the present century. What
And palm-tree shadows, could excel in picturesqueness the follow And bee-hivo cones, and a thymy hill,
And greenwood mazes, ing, from the “Fowler:"
And greensward daisies,
And a foamy stream, and á clacking mill; Now day with darkness for the mastery strovo: The stars ha l waned away-all, save the last And fairest, Lucifer, whose silver lamp,
for it was the spirit of his love and life In solitary beauty, twinkling, shone
to cling to all things gentle, and beau'Mid the far west, where, through the clouds of
tiful, which could minister to the high rack Floating around, peep'd out at intervals
spirituality of his simple nature, wheA patch of sky; straightway the reign of night
ther green trees, or glad birds, or tender Was finished, and, as if instinctively, The ocean flocks, or slumbering on the wave flowers, or rosy-cheeked children; for Or on the isles, soem'd the approach of dawn
his heart was a stranger to sordid symTo feel; and, rising from afar were heard Shrill shrieks and pipings desolate--a panso pathies, and his genius sought kindred Ensued, and then the same lone sounds return' with the homely and the heart-warming. And suddenly the whirring rush of wings Went circling round us o'er the level sands,
Though so much that he has written Then died away; and, as we look'd aloft,
will soon be forgotten, his “ Domestic Between us and the sky we saw a speck
Verses," his “ Elegiac Effusions," and Of black upon the blue--some huge, wild bird, Osprey or eagle, high amid the clouds
a few of his sonnets and his prose tale, Sailing majestic, on its plumes to catch
“ Mansie Wauch," will live for ever as The earliest crimson of the approaching day.
productions worthy of the author of True to his fine heart is the lesson of
Delta's last work, the “ Lectures on humanity taught him by the slaughter
the Poetical Literature of the Last which he and the Fowler there committed on the wild flocks of sea birds.
Half Century," requires a brief notice
before we conclude this paper. This is Soul-sicken'd, satiate, and dissatisfied,
a book of wholesome, manly criticism ; An alter'd being homewards I return'd,
mot free from errors of judgment, or My thoughts revolting at the thirst for blood, So brutalizing, so destructive of
entirely purged of prejudice, yet conThe finer sensibilities which man
| taining errors and prejudices which, so In boyhood owns, and which the world destroys. Nature had preached a sermon to my heart:
far from detracting, only exhibit his And from that moment, on that snowy morn generous enthusiasm and goodness of (Seeing that earth enough of suffering has,
heart; and are as creditable, in a And death)-all cruelty my soul abhorr'd, Yea, loathéd the purpose and the power to kill. poetical sense, as if they were charac
teristics of perfection. Himself a poet, There is a little sketch in his poem and on terms of intimacy with many of on "Thomson's Birth Place," so short, the living writers whose works it was swoet, and sunny, that it might be placed his duty to criticise, it is pleasing that beside one of Wilson's, or Watteau's, or he has discharged his task in so geneMoreland's pictures, as a literary tran- rous and independent a manner, so that script of Nature's own outlines and cow we can well afford to forgive him for his lours; it is this;
To science, when it deades
In criticising the works of the writers Another prejudice, long cherished respectively comprised within the period and stoutly maintained, was that strange under consideration, the genial cha-conception of the nature and office of racter of Delta's mind evinces itself in poetry which placed it in opposition to the most pleasing manner. His dis- the revelations of science, as a creation tinctions are delicate, and his summings so distinct and remote from facts, as to up exhibit great breadth of appreciation, be in danger of annihilation in this age fulness of reading, and considerable of philosophical inquiry and precision. power of analysis. He has a keen eye This idea Hashes out frequently in his for borrowed lines, and all degrees of poems, but is expounded in full force in plagiarism. He hits off the character the last of these lectures, In his “ Reistics of the several authors by spark- miniscences of Boyhood ” he saysling epigrammatic comparisons, so pi
The leaden talisman of truth, quant in spirit, so kindly in tone, as to
Hath disenchanted of its rainbow hues provide a mélange of light reading, side The sky, and robbed the fields of half their by side with the most solid estimates of
flowers. modern poetical literature. But the book has two besetting sins.
And in another he expresses the wishThese are the classification of poets as And be my mind to merit and style, and the enunciation of what we regard as a most unphilo- Though we have not room to discuss sophical idea in regard to the relations this question here, nor if we had, would and objects of poetry itself. Some of it perhaps be fit we should; yet, we Delta's estimates are accurate and just, may dismiss the point by stating our and especially when they concern mi- opinion that science and poetry may nute particulars; but when he attempts harmoniously march together; the one to arrange the poets in the order of their widening the field of man's physical respective positions in literature, he and mental triumphs, the other minismakes (we think) some decisions so erro- tering to the requirements of his moral neous as to verge on the ludicrous. nature; both necessary elements of his What does the reader think of his character and life. If science teaches placing Sir Walter Scott " alone and us to regard as fictions many of the above all” in the list of modern poets- creations of the mind which so long above Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge; have been the truths of poetry ; if she above Campbell, Keats, Shelly, Tenny- discards the witches and their infernal son! “I at once put him far beyond broth; the seers, the demons, the fairies, Byron, Wordsworth, or any other com- and all the spells of a necromancy petitor for supremacy, on a throne by which has perished; she, at the same, the side of Shakspere.” And again, “I enlarges the sphere of man's thought challenge one instance from the whole and wonder; lifts him nearer to the history of literature, where that popu- Creator by an inspiration drawn from larity, whether slow 'or sudden, which the Creator's works; and so provides a was not deserved, has continued to en- region of new idealities wherein the dure; and assuredly Scott's must, while creatures of poetry and imagination a single human heart continues to may find “ room and verge enough” to beat." In poetry, there can be little develope each its particular form of ground for disputing that Scott was, to a being. Whatever increases man's knowconsiderable extent, extinguished by ledge of nature and himself, increases Byron, whose genius took a higher flight the domain of true poetry, by the prointo regions where Scott's less ample duction of a series of images and perwing would not carry him; and now, sonalities peculiar to the new life which Scott is least read of any of the seven has arisen; and it must be the task of whose names are believed, by Delta, to imagination to adapt itself continually hare been eclipsed by him. Scott's to the new conditions of existence, and immortality rests on his prose fictions, not to cling in sadness and tears and only the most partial nationality to perishing idols, merely because there could have prompted Delta to place his was once a time when they were worpoems“ alone and above all on a shelf shipped with hearts of devotion and by the side of Shakspere."
with eyes of faith.
SIR THOMAS MORE. BIOGRAPHY may be compared to a lamp parts and unimpeached integrity; wearperpetually burning before the niche ing the robes of a judge, and doubly exwhich contains the effigy of a great man. alted, in his old age, by seeing his son If it be feeble and dim, the image re- the Chancellor of England. Few of his mains half-shadowed; but if it throw a maxims, nevertheless, have been befull and brilliant light, the figure and queathed; though one axiom matriface of the dead are reflected in lumi- monial all chroniclers have thought prenous relief from the chiaroscuro of the cious enough to be preserved. “The past. Through the works in which our choice of a wife," said the forensic sage, ancestral master-spirits have embalmed" is like dipping your hand into a bag their minds for immortality, they “rule full of snakes, with only an eеl among our spirits from their urns;" but through them: you may happen to light upon the groves of the historical academy, the eel, but it is a hundred to one that they become visible as the lights to you are stung by a snake.” Sincere or which a hundred centuries may look not in this profession, Sir John three back for warning or example. Sir times risked the venom, for so many THOMAS MORE was one whose works times did he marry, and died at last, were dedicated to the future, but whose aged ninety, not like Cleopatra, by blood was shed for the past; in morals, warming an asp upon his breast, but a philosopher, mounting far above his from feasting too luxuriously on grapes. time; in religion, an enthusiast, cling- Thomas was by his first wife, who reing to superstitions by which an usurp-lated to her physicians a dream, which, ing church had profaned and polluted in that credulous age, obtained the the pure faith first preached abroad by credit of a prophecy. She had, she the fishers of Galilee. In depicting his said, a vision of all her children, and character, writers have sometimes con- among them was one whose countefounded the office of the historian with nance shone with a superior brightness. that of the funeral orator, or the partizan This was Thomas." He was born in of a hostile creed. There have, how-Milk-street, London, in 1480; the ever, been temperate and candid pens twentieth year of Edward the Fourth's employed in delineating his career, reign. Anecdotes are related of his which appears indeed so conspicuously | infancy, prophetic of a future greatness; in the annals of his age, that we find, but they are nurses' gossip, too puerile without unusual difficulty, the colours to be preserved. He was early placed to paint him for our biographical at St. Anthony's Free School, an angallery.
cient foundation, in ThreadneedleOf the stem from which he sprung, street, where, among other eminent his autographical epitaph declares the men, Whitgift and Heath had received truth, he was of an honourable but not their education. There, as he tells illustrious birth. Sir John More, the himself, he rather greedily devoured father, is supposed to have been de- than leisurely chewed his grammar scended remotely from an Irish stock; rules; but stayed only for a short while, but all the family papers being seized for his father had interest enough to after the attainder of the son, history is procure him admission into the family without the means of verifying this fact. of Cardinal Morton. This method of However, we look for nő pedigree in education was then much in vogue, the author of “Utopia.” He was at though considered the privilege of once the flower and the fruit of his noblemen's sons. The Cardinal, how, genealogical tree. No ancestral lustre ever, among all his patrician students gave an early glory to his name. His had none so illustrious as Thomas merits were original and personal-not More, who afterwards drew a generous derivative ; and heralds would have bla-portrait of him in his “Utopia," as well zoned him dimly in their books, since as in his “History of Richard III." they, as Burke has phrased it, seek no His policy crowned Henry in place of further for virtue than in the preamble his usurper, and united the Houses of of a patent or the inscription of a tomb. the Red and White Rose; and his taSir John, however, who was born about lents elevated him to the triple honours the year 1440, figured as a lawyer of fine of an Archbishop's mitre, Chancellor's