« НазадПродовжити »
reconciling the interests of a Catho shouts of public joy. Children, tic country with a Protestant Admi women, and old men, present the nistration, and the disagreement of affecting union of every age, as well the two religious creeds, add every as every wish, with love of liberty day fresh obstacles to a government and their country. Even the conalready sufficiently controlled in its fusion that necessarily prevails in proceedings.
so large a multitude increases the The progress of knowledge, if in interest of the spectacle :-no bayoreality it has made any progress,
nets, which intimidate rather than has had no influence on the morals protect the peaceful citizens, are to of the people, and, perhaps, these be seen: they all walk at their ease, two things have nothing in common. with no other order than what naThe morals of the Bernese are what ture prescribes to every age. Flowers they were before the Revolution, are in every hand, and songs in and, it appears, that the Republic, every mouth ; and in all this long or rather the heads of the govern- procession there is but one weapon, ment were never at any period very the sword, which, in the hands of strict in their principles. It does the hero of Laupen, had dispersed not appear, since the distant period the enemies of the State. of 1414, that reform has given to Arrived at the sacred field of batthe people many virtues in ex tle, after having silently indulged change for their former credulity.' those feelings which it must natuIncredulity is no rare thing at Berne, rally excite, they assemble round and profligacy is no less common. the venerable pastor, whose sacred Few strangers have visited this city mouth alone is thought worthy to and not convinced themselves of the recount the particulars of the gloritruth of these facts, in that quarter ous victory. His simple harangue of the town which is built upon the produces a profound impression pon borders of the Aar, where the baths his hearers; and when they hear, are situated. It is very remarkable, for the thousandth time, the details that Berne, which is equal in this which they learned in their infancy, respect to the most enlightened Ca the emotion of every heart is painted pitals of Europe, produced, perhaps, on every face. The sword of Rothe first atheist. The author here dolph d'Erlach, carried by the chief récollects having read in the works of this illustrious house, was raised of the celebrated historian Muller, over the field of battle, that all eyes that one Loefeer, who, to use Muller's may behold the instrument of public own words, professed that opinion liberty; and the hand of the pastor which is called atheism, was burnt crowns it with laurels, in the midst in 1375, at the request of the official of the acclamations of the people, of the bishop. When he was 'con and every one bows before the troducted to the place of execution, phy of Laupen. Why should these with all the ceremouy usual in such scenes give rise to painful as well as cases, My friend,” said he to the tender emotions? History records, executioner, so there is not wood with grief, that some time after the enough ;' and he died with the same battle of Laupen, when the saviour indifference. What more can the of Berne retired to his fields, like philosophers of the nineteenth cen the Roman Consuls, enjoying the tury do, says the author, than the respect of his fellow-citizens, he was freethinkers of the fourteenth have assassinated by his son-in-law, with already done!
sword which was hung on The author terininates his in-' the wall of his apartment; but the teresting account of Berné, by a stain imprinted on the steel is lost description of the fête celebrated on in the splendid renown which has the anniversary of the battle of Lau for so many ages attended the fame pen, fought on the 25th of June, of the hero of Laupen. 1339. On the eve of the day, the "It is by such fètes," judiciously people assemble in a large field, and observes the author, “ celebrated in celebrate, with music and patriotic several parts of Switzerland, that songs, the annual return of this in these wise Republicans formerly teresting festival. At the break of kept alive the sacred fire of paday, the whole multitude set off, triotism in the bosom of rising with the sound of instruments and generations; it is by endeavouring
vnly 'assii liberties,
more and more to form such institu- upon the wrecks of their ancient tions, that their successors may pre- customs, the vent the decay Happy the people, says he, with national fêtes to learn how to honor great sensibility, “who can found, and cherish their country."
EXTRACTS FROM THE SUICIDES.
The jetty tresses of her flowing hair
Across the snowy shoulder, careless lay
bet af lilly My soul is sick, and low, and languishing ;
ON THE GENIUS OF SPENSER, AND THE SPENSERIAN
SCHOOL OF POETRY.
(Continued from page 341.).
In estimating therefore the rela- enable a writer to excel in subjects tive merits of any poet, we must which do not accord with the spirit never take into consideration whe which he imbibes from his youthful ther he possesses the wit of Swift, studies, and therefore the pre-emithe humour of Smollet, the classical
every writer should be esticorrectness of Pope, the occasional mated by the degree of excellence, strength and energy of Dryden, the which he has attained in the partisublimity of Milton, the enthusiasm cular style and line of subjects which of Homer, the tenderness of Virgil, have exercised his pen. the courtly refinement of Horace, It may still be maintained, howthe judgment of Quintillian, the ever, that certain subjects or styles elegance of Politian, the fire and of poetry are more congenial to our rapidity of Ariosto, the simplicity feelings than others, and that the of Fontaine, the navietè of Bruyere, poets who write on such subjects the philosophy of Young, or the should rank before all others. What luxuriance of Rousseau. The ques these subjects or styles are, I do tion to be considered in estimating not know, but so far as I do know, his poetic excellence is, not whether I have reason to believe that no he possesses all these qualities in a such styles or subjects are to be high degree, but whether he possess found. "What pleases one man, will es those particular qualities which please another, and another, though properly belong to the design and not all men; and it is evident, that spirit of his undertaking. To what on whatever subject a person writes, purpose would we ask whether he it must be pleasing to him, for if it possessed the wit of Swift, if the were not, he would have chosen nature of his subject would not some other subject. Whatever law suffer him to display it. Every of our nature has rendered it pleaswriter imbibes a particular turn or ing to him, will render it equally so character of mind, from the nature to others, and accordingly we find of the studies to which he devotes many prefer the wit of Hudibras, to himself in his youth, while the feel the philosophy of Blackmore. Every ings are, as I have already observed, style has its own class of admirers, susceptible of every impression. not that they are insensible to the This cast of mind can never be sup beauties of other styles, but that planted by any subsequent studies, they do not find them so congenial because his feelings are not after- to their own taste and genius. When wards so pliant in yielding to im one class, however, stands up and pressions of any kind. If he read maintains that the style and manner tender and pathetic works, they which they admire is superior to all attune his soul to congenial sympa. others, and should consequently be thies, and he rejects ever after preferred to all others, they are only through life every thing harsh and exposing their ignorance at the very offensive to the feelings. The sen moment they affect to be enlightensible plant is not more instantane ing the world. Every style has its ously affected by the touch, than own charms for its own admirers : such a person is by coarseness and the feelings and emotions which it indelicacy; and, therefore, let cri- awakens in the breast, are those tics talk what they please about the which are most congenial to their versality or universality of genius, natural dispositions : other styles such a writer would not excel in excite other feelings in other minds, a subject which required wit and and the highest merit of any probroad humour, had nature endowed duction is, to call into existence those him with the collected intelligence identical sympathies and affections, of the human race. No genius will which the poet intended to create.
What more can be effected by this If this circumstance, however, could particular style which is to exclude not totally extinguish an exelasive all others? Will its admirers main- style or school of poetry, it would tain its superiority because it pleases receive its death blow from another them most. The admirers of every quarter. There can be no poets unother style can make use of the same less there be readers of poetry, for argument, and therefore every style without readers no one would puh.' can be proved best and worst at the lish. The readers of poetry, how. same moment. Besides if we culti ever, would now be so comparatively vate only one style of poetry, we few, being confined to the mere adshall have neither poetry nor poets mirers of the Lake School, that the in the course of a century. This sale of poetic works would not deeffect I believe, has not been antici. fray the expenses of publication, and pated by the most sagacious legis- publishers are too wise to publish at tor in any of our modern schools; à certain loss. Perhaps it may be but without pretending to the spi- said, that the Lake poetry is at prerit of prophecy, I feel confident that sent confined to its admirers, and this would be the result.
still enriches the publisher and the suppose the Lake School were to poet. This however is not the fact: exclude all others, it is obvious that for one real and unaffected admirer every person who had not a genius of the Lake poetry, there are perfor this species of poetry, should de- haps ten readers, and consequently sist from writing altogether, and ten purchasers. One half of these that our poets would consequently readers at least, are merely pretendbe limited to a very small number. ed admirers of the Lake School, peoThe poetic spirit which is at present ple who, having no judgment of communicated from mind to mind, their own, blindly admire whatever'. that spirit which is purified by com- they find admired by such of their munication, and strengthened by ex friends as appear to have wiser heads. pansion, would, in this case, instant than themselves. The other two ly perish. In whatever style a poet fifths are probably composed of those writes, he is continually, though who read or purchase all the poeti: often unconsciously, taking his il- cal productions of the day, soine lustrations, associations, images, sen- through a laudable curiosity of be timents, shade and colouring, from coming acquainted with whatever is the great poetic spirit which is al- excellent, and others, through a fear ready abroad and diffused through of being found ignorant of any new an endless diversity of styles, and publication. It is obvious, however, peculiarities of manner. But this that if the Lake School once became diversity would be at an end, this an exclusive one, those who read it spirit would die of itself, if only at present merely to shew their judgone style of poetry were once culti ment in preferring it to all others, vated. It would not, therefore, be would immediately fall off, for as cultivated long, because it would there would remain no opportunity soon lose that peculiarity of manner of giving ita preference, there would which characterized it at the mo be no pretension consequently to the mient, being only a certain ramifi. exercise of a superior judgment, and cation of the great poetic spirit of no one would continue to read the the age. This spirit may be aptly Lake poetry who did not really adcompared to a great river, which mire it. branches into different directions, Though no school of poetry has and supplies each branch with the as yet succeeded in putting down waters of its parent stream. As the rest, there is a mistaken opinion, none of these branches can exist which has, more or less, infected all unless supplied from the main river, the schools, or, at least, a portion of so can no particular style or school each, and this opinion is, I believe, of poetry exist, that attempts to ex peculiar to the present age, that ist by itself, and that does not draw there must be some certain style of its strength and vigour from that poetry, some certain measure, some poetic spirit which is diffused, as I * certain manner, some certain class have just observed, through an end- of subjects and of images, superior less diversity of style and manner. to all others, and that, consequently,
all others should give way to them. objects ; whether it be written in We all seem to forget, that neither Ottava rima, in the stanza of Spenstyle, measure, nor manner, consti ser, &c.; whether the phraseology tutes a particle of the essense of possess a certain antiquated form poetry, and that the prosaic form is and turn of expression, and a ceras capable of being poetic as any tain infantine simplicity and caremeasure that can be pointed out. lessness of manner, which not only Some writers have gone so far, as leads us to suppose it was written to place Ossian at the head of all without the least thought or reflecpoetic productions, but to judge of tion, but inclines us to fall in love poetry by the squabblings of mo with the baby innocence of its audern critics, it would not be poetry thor. These matters can be ascerat all. We must seek for the essence
tained in a trice; they may be of poetry, therefore, in sentiment, taught to a child at the age of nines pathos, imagery, delineation, inven- and, consequently, we can now be tion, sublimity of conception, &c. better critics at nine, than we could And the greatest poet is he who formerly at forty, with the addiexcels in these ; not the tame and tional advantage of being able to starched advocate of one unvaried, decide the merit of any poetical style and manner. In the days of work, in one-fortioth of the time. Pope, we hear of no disputes rela It would be an insult to the in: tive to measure, style, and manner,
tellectual character of the presenti because they had 'sense enough to age, to prove, that our modern poetic perceive, that the best style was scales and compasses tend only to that which was most accordant to the perversion of true taste and the genius of the poet. In com sound judgment, and that the critic paring a poem written in hexameter who would confine a great genius verse with one written in the Ottava to the stanza of Spenser, or to any rima, no critic thought of preferring other stanza, to subjects, images, one to the other, in consequence of styles and measures of a certain chathe measure. This was not the cri. racter, is actually labouring to com. terion by which they estimated po- plete this perversion. Every school etic pre-eminence. The same ob- of poetry is, therefore, a nuisance, servation applies to subject, images, because they all draw certain lines &c. It never once occurred to them, around them, beyond which the poet that to appreciate the true merit of must not venture his excursive flight. a poein, they should take into con It is useless, however, to prescribe sideration the subject and images. laws to tle poet. Of all men, he They did not go thus mechanically pays least obedience to the precept, to work, for they had not, as yet,
Lös hither shalt thou go, and no invented a scale and compass, by
farther. He wanders wherever which the merit of all poems what imagination solicits his presence : ever might be ascertained at once, he tramples under foot every obstawithout the trouble of judging every cle which impedes his career; he poem by laws peculiar to itself. It wings his majestic flight beyond the was, then, imagined, that what con- niggard empalement within which stituted the excellence of one poem, critical sagacity would confine his was not what constituted the excel- flight. Ocean is only a drop, and lence of another; that each required the earth a speck in the immensity a treatment, a class of images, a dis- of his creation; and if even space position of parts, and a light and had bounds, he would spurn its emshade, peculiar to itself; and they, palement, and explore new regions consequently, judged it necessary to of “untried being.” The poet, who enter into the design and spirit of exults in the security of his own the poet, before they could venture strength, either laughs at or pities to determine its comparative worth. the solemn gravity and affected wisAt present, an easier road lies open dom of those who “ write receipts to the critic: he has only to run how poems may be made.": A meover a poem, and see whether the chanical eritic, prescribing laws to subject be of a romantic character; a poet, is like an apothecary prewhether the images be scrupulously scribing medicine to a physician. and studiously selected from natural The apothecary has only one receipt Eur. Mag. Vol. 82.