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“ A loved bequest—and I may half impart
To those that feel the strong paternal tie,
That living flow'r uprose beneath his eye,
From hours when she would round his garden play,
Her lovely mind could culture well repay, And more engaging grew from pleasing day to day. “ I may not paint those thousand infant charms
(Unconscious fascination, undesign'd!)
For God to bless her sire and all mankind;
Or how sweet fairy-lore he heard her con
All uncompanion'd else her years had gone,
“ And summer was the tide, and sweet the hour,
When sire and daughter saw, with fleet descent,
Of buskin'd limb and swarthy lineament;
And bracelets bound the arm that help'd to light
Of Christian vesture and complexion bright,
In the foregoing stanzas we particularly admire the line66 Till now in Gertrude's eyes their ninth blue summer shone."
It appears to us like the ecstatic union of natural beauty and poetic fancy, and in its playful sublimity resembles the azure canopy mirrored in the smiling waters, bright, liquid, serene, heavenly! A great outcry, we know, has prevailed for some time past against poetic diction and affected conceits, and, to a certain degree, we go along with it; but this must not prevent us from feeling the thrill of pleasure when we see beauty linked to beauty, like kindred flame to flame, or from applauding the voluptuous fancy that raises and adorns the fairy fabric of thought, that nature has begun! Pleasure is “scattered in stray-gifts o'er the earth” -beauty streaks the “ famous poet's page” in occasional lines of inconceivable brightness; and wherever this is the case, no splenetic censures or “ jealous leer malign,” no idle theories or cold indifference should hinder us from greeting it with rapture. There are other parts of this poem equally delightful, in which there is a light startling as the red-bird's wing ; a perfume like that of the magnolia; a music like the murmuring of pathless woods or of the everlasting ocean. We conceive, however, that Mr. Campbell excels chiefly in sentiment and imagery. The story moves slow, and is mechanically conducted, and rather resembles a
Scotch canal carried over lengthened aqueducts and with a number of locks in it, than one of those rivers that sweep in their majestic course, broad and full, over Transatlantic plains and lose themselves in rolling gulfs, or thunder down lofty precipices. But in the centre, the inmost recesses of our poet's heart, the pearly dew of sensibility is distilled and collects, like the diamond in the mine, and the structure of his fane rests on the crystal columns of a polished imagination. We prefer the Gertrude to the Pleasures of Hope, because with perhaps less brilliancy, there is more of tenderness and natural imagery in the former. In the Pleasures of Hope Mr. Campbell had not completely emancipated himself from the trammels of the more artificial style of poetry-from epigram, and antithesis, and hyperbole. The best line in it, in which earthly joys are said to be
“ Like angels' visits, few and far between”
is a borrowed one.* But in the Gertrude of Wyoming “we perceive a softness coming over the heart of the author, and the scales and crust of formality that fence in his couplets and give them a somewhat glittering and rigid
* “ Like angels' visits, short and far between."
appearance, fall off,” and he has succeeded in engrafting the wild and more expansive interest of the romantic school of poetry on classic elegance and precision. After the poem we have just named, Mr. Campbell's Songs are the happiest efforts of his Muse :-breathing freshness, blushing like the morn, they seem, like clustering roses, to weave a chaplet for love and liberty; or their bleeding words gush out in mournful and hurried succession, like “ ruddy drops that visit the sad heart” of thoughtful Humanity. The Battle of Hohenlinden is of all modern compositions the most lyrical in spirit and in sound. To justify this encomium, we need only recall the lines to the reader's memory.
“ On Linden, when the sun was low,
All bloodless lay th' untrodden snow,
But Linden saw another sight,
By torch and trumpet fast array’d,
Then shook the hills with thunder riv'n,
But redder yet that light shall glow
The combat deepens. On, ye brave,
Few, few shall part, where many meet!
Shall be a soldier's sepulchre." Mr. Campbell's prose-criticisms on contemporary and other poets (which have appeared in the New Monthly Magazine) are in a style at once chaste, temperate, guarded, and just.
Mr. Crabbe presents an entire contrast to
* Is not this word, which occurs in the last line but one, (as well as before) an instance of that repetition, which we so often meet with in the most correct and elegant writers?