« НазадПродовжити »
sufficiently exalted for poetry in the the beholders. " A poet then who seeks 3 vf niysteries of death and of life in the af once for beauty and sublimity in
desires and hopes which have their their native home of the human soulresting-place near the throne of the who resolves "non sectari rivulos sed pe
Eternal-in affections, strange and won- tere fontes"--can hardly be accused with "; strous in their working, and unconquer- justice of rejecting the themes most
able by time, or anguish, or destiny? worthy of a bard. His office is, indeed, 3:"How little comparatively of allusion is more arduous than if he selected those
there even in Shakspeare, whose qenius subjects' about which hallowing associwill not be regarded as rigid or austere, ations have long clustered, and which to other venerablenesses than those of other poets have already rendered sacred. * the creation, and to qualities less com- But if he can discover new depths of mon than the human heart! The very affection in the soul or throw new luxuries which surround his lovers—the tinges of loveliness on objects hitherto pensive sweetnesses which steal away common, he ought not to be despised in the sting from his saddest catastrophes proportion to the severity of the work, --are drawn from man's universal' im- and the absence of extrinsic aid ! munities, and the cldest sympathics of Wordsworth's persons are not invested the universe. The divinity which with antique robes, nor clad in the sym* hectges his kings" is only humanity's bols of worldly pomp, but they are finer essence.
Even his Lear is great apparelled in celestial light." By his only in intellectual might and in the power “ the bare earth and mountains terrible strangeness of his afflictions. bare” are covered with an imaginative While invested with the pomp and cir- radiance more holy than that which old cumstance of his station, he is froward, Greek poets shed over Olympus. The impatient, thankless—less than a child world, as consecrated by his poetic wisin his liberality and in his resentments ; dom, is an enchanted scene-redolent but when he is cast abroad to seek a with sweet humanity, and vocal with lodging with the owl and to endure the “ echoes from beyond the grave.). fury of the elements, and is only a poor
We shall now attempt to express the and despised old man, the exterior crust reasons for our belief in Wordsworth's 'which a life of prosperity had hardened genius, by first giving a few illustrations over his soul is broken up by the vio- of his chief faculties, and then considerlence of his sorrows, his powers expand ing them in their application to the uses within his worn and wasted frame, of philosophical poetry. his spirit awakens in its long-forgotten We allude first to the descriptive strength, and even in the wanderings faculty, because though not the least of distraction gives hints of the pro- popular, it is the lowest which Words
foundest philosophy, and manifests a worth possesses. He shares it with : real kingliness of nature-a sweet and many others, though few, we think,
most affecting courtesy—of which there enjoy it in so eminent a degree. It is was no vestige in the days of his pride. difficult, indeed, to select passages from The regality of Richard lies not in his works which are merely descriptive;
" compliment extern”--the philosophy but those which approach nearest to por4. of Hamlet has a princeliness above that traiture, and are least imbued with fan
T of his rank-and the beauties of Imogen tasy, are master-pieces in their kind. ein are shed into her soul only by the se- Take, for example, the following pic· lectest influences of creation.
ture of masses of vapour receding among 1. The objects which have been usually the steeps and summits of the mountains, Tegarded as the most poetical derive after a storm, beneath an azure sky; from the soul itself the far larger share the earlier part of which seems almost of their poetical qualities. All their like another glimpse of Milton's hea
power to elevate, to delight, or to awe ven ; and the conclusion of which im* us, which does not arise from mere presses us solemnly with the most awful - form, colour, and proportion, is mani- visions of Hebrew prophecy:
festly drawn from the instincts common Erd'? to the species. The affections have A single step, which freed me from the skirts min. first consecrated all that they revere. Of the blind vapoor, opened to my viewe 19.01% Cornice, frieze, jutting, or architrave,''
Glory beyond all glory ever seen ... are fit nestling-places for poetry, chiefly
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul
The appearance instantaneously disclosed, ortlias they are the symbols of feelings of "Was of a mighty city--boklly say
grandeur and duration in the hcarts of A wilderness of building, sinking fashi!
" A step,
each soft shade of the images, in words, admiration of his genius with the lifewhich at once make us conscious of blood of hearts neither unreflecting nor their most transient beauty. At all ungentle?!! errn au s , events, there was surely no offence in an B ut inost of the subjects of Mr. individual's rejecting the aid of a stile Wordsworth, though not arrayed in any regarded as poetie, and relying for his adventitious pomp, have a real and in- / fame on the naked majesty of his con- nate, grandeur. True, it is, that he ceptions. - The triumph is more signal moves not among the regalities, but when the Poet uses language as a inir- among the humanities of his art. True ror, clear, and itself invisible, to reflect it is, that his poetry does not,“ make its his creations in their native hues,than bed and procreant cradle" in the when he employs it as a stained and "jutting, frieze, cornice, or architrave" fallacious medium to exhibit its own of the glorious edifices of human power, varieties of tint, and to shew the objects The universe, in its naked majesty, and which it partially reveals in its own pris man in the plain dignity of his nature, matic colourmg.
are his favourite themes. And is there But it is said that the subjects of no might, no glory, no sanctity in these? Wordsworth's poetry are not in them, Earth has her own venerablenesses her selves so lofty as those which his noblest awful forests, which have darkened her predecessors have chosen. If this be hills for ages with tremendous gloom; true, and he has yet succeeded in dis- her mysterious springs pouring out evercovering within them poetical affinities, lasting waters from unsearchable reor in shedding on them a new conse- cesses; her wrecks of elemental concration, he does not surely deserve ill tests ; her jagged rocks, monumental of of his species. He has left all our old an earlier world. The lowliest of her objects of veneration uninjured, and has beauties has an antiquity beyond that enabled us to recognize new ones in the of the pyramids. The evening breeze peaceful and familiar courses of our has the old sweetness which it shed
being. The question is not whether over the fields of Canaan, when Isaac , there are more august themes than those went out to meditate. The Nile swells · which he has treated, but whether these with its rich waters towards the bul
last have any interest, as seen in the rushes of Egypt, as when the infant Molight which he has cast around them. ses nestled among them, watched by the If they have, the benefits which he has sisterly love of Miriam. Zion's hill conferred on hu inanity are more signal, has not passed away with its temple, and the triumph of his own powers is nor lost its sanctity amidst the tumultuinore undivided and more pure, than if ous changes around it, nor even by the he had treated on subjects which we accomplishment of that awful religion have been accustomed to revere. We of types and symbols which once was are more indebted to one who opens enthroned on its steeps. The sun to to us a new and secluded pathway in which the poet turns his eye is the the regions of fantasy with its own ver- same which shone over Thermopylæ ; dant inequalities and delicate overshad the wind to which he listens swept ings of foliage, than if he had stepped over Salamis, and scattered the armamajestically in the broad and beaten ments of Xerxes. Is a poet utterly highway to swell the triumphant pro- deprived of fitting themes, to whom cession of laurelled bards. Is it matter ocean, earth, and sky are open who has
of accusation that a poet has opened an eye for the most evanescent of nap visions of glory about the ordinary walks ture's hues, and the most ethereal of
of life that he has linked holiest asso- her graces--who can“ live in the rain| ciations to things which hitherto have bow and play in the plighted clouds,”
been regarded without emotion--that or send into our hearts the awful lonem; he has made beauty “a simple product liness of regions "consecrate to eldest
of the common day ?” Shall he bę de time" Is there nothing in man, connied the poetic faculty who without the sidered abstractedly, from the distincattractions of story--without the blan- tions of this world nothing in a being dishments of diction without even the who is in the infancy of an immortal aid of those associations which have eno life-who is lackeyed by 1fa thousand crusted themselves around the oldest liveried angels”.who is even “splendid themes of the poet, has for many years in ashes and pompous in the grave?—to excited the animosities of the most po- awaken ideas of permanence, solemnity, pular critics, and mingled the love and and grandeur. Are there no themes
***isufficiently exalted for poetry in the 'the beholders. A poet then who seeks Juniysteries of death and of life in the at once for beauty and sublimity in
desires and hopes which have their their native home of the human soulresting-place near the throne of the who resolves "non sectari rivulos sed peEternal in affections, strange and won- tere fontes"--can hardly be accused with drous in their working, and unconquer- justice of rejecting the themes most
able by time, or anguish, or destiny? worthy of a bard. His office is, indeed, 'How little comparatively of allusion is more arduous than if he selected those 29. there even in Shakspeare, whose genius subjects about which hallowing associ?? will not be regarded as rigid or austere, ations have long chustered, and which 'to other venerablenesses than those of other poets have already rendered sacred. • the ereation, and to qualities less com- But if he can discover new depths of mon than the human heart! The very affection in the soul-or throw new luxuries which surround his lovers the tinges of loveliness on objects hitherto pensive sweetnesses which steal away common, he ought not to be despised in the sting from his saddest catastrophes proportion to the severity of the work,
snare drawn from man's universal in- and the absence of extrinsic aid ! *" munities, and the eldest sympathics of Wordsworth's persons are not invested * the universe. The divinity which with antique robes, nor clad in the sym
..“ hetges his kings" is only humanity's bols of worldly pomp, but they are ? finer essence. Even his Lear is great “apparelled in celestial light." . By his - only in intellectual might and in the power “ the bare earth and mountains 1!. terrible strangeness of his afflictions. bare” are covered with an imaginative
While invested with the pomp and cir- radiance more holy than that which old 1'cumstance of his station, he is froward, Greek poets shed over Olympus. The 9., 'impatient, thankless-less than a child world, as consecrated by his poetic wis: in his liberality and in his resentments ; dom, is an enchanted scene redolent ! but when he is cast abroad to seek a with sweet Irumanity, and vocal with
lodging with the owl and to endure the “echoes from beyond the grave." ;
fury of the elements, and is only a poor We shall now attempt to express the 1. and despised old man, the exterior crust reasons for our belief in Wordsworth's "which a life of prosperity had hardened genius, by first giving a few illustrations 's over his soul is broken up by the vio- of his chief faculties, and then consider
lence of his sorrows, his powers expand ing them in their application to the uses within his worn and wasted frame, of philosophical poetry his spirit awakens in its long-forgotten We allude first to the descriptive strength, and even in the wanderings faculty, because though not the least of distraction gives hints of the pro- popular, it is the lowest which Words
foundest philosophy, and manifests a worth possesses. He shares it with | real kingliness of nature-a sweet and many others, though few, we think, ..most affecting courtesy of which there enjoy it in so eminent a degree. It is
was no vestige in the days of his pride. difficult, indeed, to select passages from w The regality of Richard lies not in his works which are merely descriptive;
"compliment extern”--the philosophy but those which approach nearest to porv. of Hamlet has a princeliness above that traiture, and are least imbued with fan
es of his rank--and the beauties of Imogen tasy, are master-pieces in their kind. BRE' are shed into her soul only by the se- Take, for example, the following picsi, lectest influences of creation.'
ture of masses of vapour receding among The objects which have been usually the steeps and summits of the mountains, regarded as the most poetical derive after a storm, beneath an azure sky; * from the soul itself the far larger share the earlier part of which seems almost $! of their poetical qualities. All their like another glimpse of Milton's chearit. power to elevate, to delight, or to awe ven ; and the conclusion of which imof us, which does not arise from mere presses us solemnly with the most awful ... form, colour, and proportion, is manis' visions of Hebrew prophecys' " and festly drawn from the instincts common
i Til to the species. The affections have a single step, which freed me from the skirts s first consecrated all that they reyere. 's Of the blind vapoor, opened to my viewi. Hvis Cornice, frieze, jutting, or architrave,” in Glory beyond all glory ever seen.. ; are fit nestling-places for poetry, chiefly,.. ,
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul
"The appearance instantaneously disclosed, ,111a3 they are the symbols of feelings of All Was of a mighty city--boldly say'!..
grandeur and duration in the hearts of grin wilderness of building, sinking far.
And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth : 1 Of stone and ivy, and the spread ? Far sinking into splendour-without end!
of the elder's bushy head; Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
Some jealous and forbidding cell, With alabaster domes and silver spires;
That doth the living stars repel, And blazing terrace upon terrace high
And where no flower hath leave to dwell." " Uplifted: here serene pavilions bright In avenues disposed; there towers begirt
Her's are eyes serenely bright, With battlements that on their restless fronts
And on she moves--with pace how light! Bore stars, illumination of all gems!
Nor spares to stoop her head, and taste. O'twas an unimaginable sight;
The devy turf, with flowers bestrown; Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and And in this way she fares, till at last emerald turf,
Beside the ridge of a grassy grave Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky, In quietness she lays her down; Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,
Gently as a weary wave Molten together, and composing thus,
Sinks, when the summer breeze hath died, Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Against an anchor'd vessel's side; Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Even so, without distress, doth she Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
Lie down in peace, and lovingly." In fleecy folds voluminous enwrapped.
White Doe of Rylstone, Canto 1. Right in the midst, where interspace appeared
What, as mere description, can be Of open court, an object like a throne Beneath a shining canopy of state
more masterly than the following picStood fix'd; and fix'd resemblances were seen ture of the mountain solitude, where a To implements of ordinary use,
dog was found, after three months. But vast in size, in substance glorified;
watching by his master's body--though Such as by Hebrew prophets were beheld
the touches which send the feeling of In vision forms uncouth of mightiest power, For admiration and mysterious awe !"
deep loneliness into the soul, and the Escursion, B. II. bold imagination which represents the
huge recess as visited by elemental preContrast with this the delicate grace sences, are produced by higher than deof the following picture, which repre- scriptive powers ?sents the white doe of Rylstone-ihat
“ It was a cove, a huge recess, most beautiful of mysteries-on her
That keeps till June December's snow ; ; Sabbath visit to the grave of her sainted A lofty precipice in front, lady:
A silent tarn below!
Far in the bosom of Helvellyn, " Soft-the dusky trees between
Remote from public road or dwelling, And down the path through the open green
Pathway, or cultivated land;
From trace of human foot or hand.
There, sometimes does a leaping fish
Send through the Tarn a lonely cheer ;
The crags repeat the raven's croak
In symphony austere;
Thither the rainbow comes, the cloud; "
And mists that spread the flying shroud,
And sun-beams; and the sounding blast
That, if it could, would hurry past, White is she as lily in June;
But that enormous barrier binds it fast." . And beauteous as the silver moon,
We must abstain from farther examWhen out of sight the clouds are driven
ples of the descriptive faculty, and allude And she is left alone in heaven; Or like a ship some gentle day
to that far higher gift which Words-, In sunshine sailing far away,
worth enjoys in his profound acquaintA glittering ship, that hath the plain
ance with the sanctities of the soul. of ocean for her own domain.
He does not make us feel the strength
of the passions, by their violent contests What harmonious pensive changes Wait upon her as she ranges
in a transient storm, but the measureRound and through this pile of state,
less depth of the affections when Overthrown and desolate !
they are stillest and most holy. We Now a step or two her way
often meet in his works with little pasIs through space of open day."
sages in which we seem almost to conWhere the enamourd sunny light in Brightens ber that was so bright;
template the well-springs of pure emoNow doth ad icáte shadow fal, noge tion and gentle pathos, and to see the Falls upon her like a breath,
old clefts in the rock of humanity From some lofty arch on wall, 1996. gada gond B whence they (arise. In these we may
As she passes underneath sri T'l'Now some loomy nook bliteke 11 d not rarely perceive the true elements of "Dofithe klorf which she makes, onw duiw tales of the purest sentiment and most * High ribbed cault of stone, or callis y 1790 genuine tragedies. No moct has done With perfect cunning framed, as well as such justice to the depth and the ful
ness of maternal love. What, for in- itself thus becomes a passion to one stance, can be more tear-moving than whom it has bereaved ; or the waters these exclamations of a mother, who which flowed over the object of once for seven years has heard no tidings of happy love, become a solace to the an only child, abandoning the false stay mourner, who nurses holy visions by of a pride which ever does unholy vio- their side. But an instinct which has lence to the sufferer :
none of that tendency to go beyond “ Neglect me! no, I suffer'd long
itself, when its only object is lost, has From that ill thought; and, being blind, no earthly relief, but is left utterly desoSaid, “ Pride shall help me in my wrong; late. The hope of a lover looks chiefly Kind mother have I been, as kind
to a single point of time as its goal ; As ever breathed :” and that is true;
that of a mother is spread equally over I've wet my path with tears like dew, Weeping for him when no one knew,
existence, and when cut down, at once My son, if thou be humbled, poor,
the blossoming expectations of a whole Hopeless of honour, or of gain,
life are withered for ever. Oh ! do not dread thy mother's door;
Can any thing be more true or intense Think not of me with grief or pain :
than the following description of reI now can see with better eyes; And worldly grandeur I despise,
morse, rejecting the phantoms of superAnd fortune with her gifts and lies."
stitious horror as powerless, and repre. How grand and fearful are the follow
senting lovely and uncomplaining forms ing conjectures of her agony !
of those whose memories the sufferer " Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan,
had dishonoured by his errors, casting ► Maim'd, mangled by inhuman men;
their silent looks perpetually upon him : Or thou upon a desert thrown
- Feebly must they have felt Inheritest the lion's den;
Who, in old time, attired with snakes and whips Or hast been summond to the deep,
The vengeful Furies, Beautiful regards Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep Were turn'd on me—the face of her I loved ; : . An incommunicable sleep.”
The wife and mother pitifully fixing And how triumphant does the great
Tender reproaches, insupportable!" instinct appear in its vanquishing even
We will give but one short passage the dread of mortal chilness- asking more to shew the depth of Wordsand looking for spectres - and con- worth's insight into our nature-but it cluding that their appearance is not is a passage which we think unequalled possible, because they come not to its in its kind in the compass of poetry. intense cravings :
Never surely was such a glimpse of " I look for ghosts; but none will force
beatific vision opened amidst mortal af. Their way to me : 'tis falsely said
Aliction; such an elevation given to That ever there was intercourse
seeming weakness ; such consolation Between the living and the dead;
ascribed to bereaved love by the very For surely then I should have sight
heightening of its own intensities. The of him I wait for day and night,
poet contends, that those whom we reWith love and longings infinite."
gard as dying broken-hearted for the loss Of the same class is the poem on the of friends, do not really perish through death of a noble youth, who fell in at- despair; but have such vivid prospects tempting to bound over a chasm of the of heaven, and such a present sense Wharf, and left his mother childless.- that those who have been taken from What a volume of thought is there in
them are waiting for them there, that the little stanzas which follow :
they wear themselves away in longings If for a lover the lady wept,
after the reality, and so hasten to enjoy A solace she might borrow
it :From death, and from the passion of death,
- Full oft the innocent sufferer sees w Old Wharf might heal her sorrow,
Too clearly; feels too vividly; and longs 5.1.1 She weeps not for the wedding-day,
To realize the vision with intense la 17 Which was to be to-morrow :
And overconstant yearning-there-there lies Her hope was a farther-looking hope,
The excess by which the balance is destroy d. And her's is a mother's sorrow !
Too, too contracted are these walls of flesh, Here we are made to feel not only the
This vital warmth too cold, these visual orbs
Though inconceivably endow'd, too dim . vastness of maternal affection, but its
For any passion of the soul that leads difference from that of lovers. The last,
To extasy; and, all the crooked paths being a passion, has a tendency to grasp of time and change disdaining, takes its courie and cling to objects which nay sustain Along the line of limitles desires," it, and thus fixes even on those things But the imaginative faculty is", that which have swallowed its hopes, and with which Wordsworth is most emi. draws them into its likeness. Death nently gifted. As the term IMAGINA