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Climbing suffused with sunny air,
Bestowed on this transcendant hour!
Were wont to stream before my eye,
And Night approaches with her shades."*-(P. 193—197.) The little song on the September month is full of a sort of cheerful pathos exquisitely borrowed from the scenery of this mellow season. Our readers will, we are sure, sympathise with our admiration of it.
“ The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
Are hung, as if with golden shields,
* The multiplication of mountain-ridges, described, at the commencement of the third stanza of this Ode, as a kind of Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapours, or sunoy haze,-in the present instance by the latter cause.
Unruffled doth the blue Lake lie,
The Mountains looking on.
Albeit uninspired by love,
Than music of the Spring.
Proceeds, from some uneasy seat
Therein a portion claim.
These vespers of another year,
And earth's precarious days.
Unchecked is that soft harmony:
These Choristers confide." (P. 187, 188.)
Within the mind strong fancies work,
Thence offer nightly sacrifice ;)
Wrinkled Egyptian monument;
On which four thousand years have gazed ! “ Ye plowshares sparkling on the slopes !
Ye snow-white lambs that trip
Sigh forth their ancient melodies!
Perchance was on the blast,
That Choice lacked courage to bestow! « My soul was grateful for delight
That wore a threatening brow;
Though habitation none appear,
(P. 201-205.) These charming specimens are with us a decisive proof of the power of Mr. Wordsworth's mind to sustain itself, if, by a strange perverseness of bias, it were not frequently otherwise disposed, at a very lofty level of poetic composition. But we lament to say there is a frequent recurrence of his bad habits and downward ambition throughout this little collection. His genius has a lofty bearing, looking heaven-ward towards the eagle's path; art and imitation combine to keep it down, and compel it to breathe a grosser atmosphere in a lower scale of thought and sentiment. His inequalities are as great as those supposed in his Pilgrim's Dream,” between the star and the glow-worm; which
poem we should select as one of those instances of that depression of taste which interrupts the triumphs of his genius. Not even a dream can cover the extravagance of a dialogue between a glow-worm and one of those celestial luminaries which rational conjecture contemplates as a world of souls; but Mr. Wordsworth has exhibited them in controversy together concerning their respective pretensions, in which, for the sake of the instruction, the weight of sentiment and morality inclines to the side of the reptile. When a worm reasons, perhaps we ought to think it enough, and not expect it to rhyme also; but wherever the attempt is made, it is our duty to mark the failure; and Mr. Wordsworth must allow us to say, that even in lines the most creeping we cannot allow the words “no” and "know," to stand for rhyme.
The Poem “ addressed to on the longest day;
The “ Hint from the Mountains, for certain political aspirants ;' “ Dion;" the poem, beginning with “ Lady, I rifled a Parnassian cave;" would leave the collection improved by their absence in case of another edition, and we are compelled to say
of “ the Prioress's Tale,” that it has failed, to our imagination at least, to
“ Call up hiin who left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold.” We should be glad that this tale should not be thrice told, but that this collection should, by leaving it out of a future edition, be further improved in negative merit. It is horrible in its facts, disgusting in its narration, and odiously profane in its language.
We ought not to close the book without giving due praise to the prose dissertation on the peculiar scenery of the lakes, at the end of the book. The Essay was published some years ago, as we are told in the advertisement, as an introduction to some views of the lakes by the Rev. Joseph Wilkinson, and is now, with emendations and additions, attached to this volume. It certainly is of value as an illustration of the poems now under our review, but we rate its absolute merit very high. Among many topics of rural beauty, it contains an ingenious illustration of the advantages which winter has over summer in the display of mountainous prospect; a very interestingly picturesque description of the disposition and effect of the cottages in the vales; and more particularly of the gradual formation of woody scenery, by nature and time. We think we shall be excused if we lay before our readers what occurs on the lastmentioned subject.
“ If these general rules be just, what shall we say to whole acres of artificial shrubbery and exotic trees among rocks and dashing torrents, with their own wild wood in sight--where we have the whole contents of the nurseryman's catalogue jumbled together-colour at war with colour, and form with form-among the most peaceful subjects of Nature's kingdom every where discord, distraction, and bewilderment! But this deformity, bad as it is, is not so obtrusive as the small patches and large tracts of larch plantations that are over-running the hillsides. To justify our condemnation of these, let us again recur to Nature. The process, by which she forms woods and forests, is as follows. Seeds are scattered indiscriminately by winds, brought by waters, and dropped by birds. They perish, or produce, according as the soil upon which they fall is suited to them; and under the same dependence, the seedling or sucker, if not cropped by animals, thrives, and the tree grows, sometimes single, taking its own shape without constraint, but for the most part being compelled to conform itself to some law imposed upon it by its neighbours. From low and shel