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Men in this country, from whom we might have expected better things, have glided too much into the current. The cry is for action, vehement passion, immediate effect, and few have the courage to stop their ears. These thoughtful few even must sometimes join the multitude, lest they should be rebuked for sheer singularity. The soul requires little or no training to relish Byron. Unwashen guests may drink of the wine which he has mingled. But with Wordsworth it is the reverse. He has thought deeply and long. In the whole range of poetic literature, ancient and modern, we know not an instance of such patient attention, of such indefatigable meditation. Milton Milton was Commonwealth's man. Cowper brooded over his own crushed and helpless spirit. Thomson was a lover of indolence and of the good things of this life. Coleridge poured forth his gorgeous stores in conversation, and, though leaving works which shall never perish, died amidst magnificent unaccomplished projects. But Wordsworth has consecrated himself to his undertaking, with uncomplaining, unexampled, and iron diligence. Genius has been defined the power of hard thinking. The Poet, while he would reject this as an exclusive definition, has practically embraced it as an important part. In this fact there is much to account for the treatment which his volumes have received. His poems are not made to please, in the common use of that word. They require what the reader is not accustomed to yield.*

* Wordsworth thus contrasts Science and Poetry. "The man of science seeks truth as a remote and unknown benefactor; he cherishes and loves it in his solitude: the poet, singing a song in which all human beings join with him, rejoices in the presence of truth as our visible friend and hourly companion. Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is in the

We fear, however, that the causes of this general dislike to Wordsworth lie deeper. We apprehend that there are certain things connected with the intellectual and active habits of the people of this country not wholly favorable to a proper estimate of a great poet. This tendency in the general mind is developed in various ways. There is a resolute repugnance to the authority of distinguished names. In past ages, concurrence in judgment on the part of a few leading minds was considered to be probable evidence of the soundness of that judgment. But such concurrence now is regarded as a suspicious circumstance. The illus

countenance of all science. Emphatically may it be said of the poet, as Shakspeare hath said of man, 'that he looks before and after.' He is the rock of defence of human nature; an upholder and preserver, carrying everywhere with him relationship and love. In spite of difference of soil and climate, of language and manners, of laws and customs; in spite of things silently gone out of mind, and things violently destroyed; the poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire of human society, as it is spread over the whole earth, and over all time. The objects of the poet's thoughts are everywhere: though the eyes and senses of men are, it is true, his favorite guides, yet he will follow wheresoever he can find an atmosphere of sensation in which to move his wings. Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge; it is as immortal as the heart of man. If the labors of men of science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we habitually receive, the poet will sleep then no more than at present, but he will be ready to follow the steps of the man of science, not only in those general indirect effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the science itself."

We leave our readers to judge whether the Poet, who has meditated so deeply and thought so well on the nature and objects of his vocation, as is indicated in the above passage, will not be likely to write poetry worthy of attention.

trious dead are dragged forth to meet the ordeal of a keen and unsanctified criticism. We cannot comfort ourselves with the memory of Socrates, but we must be confronted with the charges of some sophist or some tanner. We cannot exalt the human mind by recalling the names of Lord Bacon and of Robert Hall, but at the risk of hearing bribery laid at the door of the one, and opium-eating at that of the other. Every point in the moral character of a great man must be vindicated, before we can touch the productions which he has left as a precious legacy for all time.

This habit of eagle-eyed and unhallowed criticism prevails in this country. A great name must have some op, probrious mark attached to it, because the man who wears that name is not absolutely perfect, or because the ardor of true genius has not been, in every instance, united to a most scrupulous accuracy. Now when we open the pages of an author of any repute, we need to cherish reverence and humility. We must have some faith in his power to enlighten and instruct us. We must not carry a hard heart in our bosoms, nor a tomahawk in our hands. We must throw aside prejudice, and be ready to weigh, inwardly digest, love, and treasure up. Wordsworth has spent a long life in the study of his noble art. He is educated in the mysteries of his calling. In addition to a large measure of natural sensibility, he has qualified himself by a patient study of nature and of the human faculties. Is he then not entitled to our confidence? May we not challenge for him, as a passport to his writings, what multitudes in our days are so willing to abjure, - a worthy name, a high authority?

There is, moreover, in this country, too much of sectarian judgment. An author must be of our political or religious creed, or we cannot tolerate him. He must entertain pre

cisely the same notions with ourselves on the questions of liberty, church and state, the authority of bishops, etc. If one of another communion furnishes a book of poetry, our first questions are: Does he believe in the divine right of kings? Is he sufficiently anti-popish? Is there not some political or religious heresy couched under his hexameters ? Such extreme suspiciousness shows that we are in some doubt about the foundations of our own faith. It also indicates a state of heart totally unfit to come into the presence of a master-spirit of our race. It may be important, in some respects, to know that Lord Bacon was churchman, and a chancellor, and not wholly free from the sin of believing in alchemy. But what have these things to do with the general estimate of his writings? So of Wordsworth. His views on church government, and on republicanism, may not coincide with those generally entertained in this country. But can we not rise superior to such considerations ? Is he not a man and a poet? Does he not treat of human sympathies? Does he not speak a universal language? Has he not shed a benign light on the truth which is never to perish, on questions interesting to man in all states and stages of his being? We look on the poet as the benefactor of our race. In perusing his works, we feel a new interest, not alone in our English descent; a new bond of affection, not alone for our mother speech. The poet has enlarged the sphere of human knowledge; he has quickened the sympathies of our common humanity.

We may be permitted to mention, that the unsettled state of the public mind in this country, on many questions in mental and moral philosophy, is unfavorable to a due appreciation of Wordsworth. The Poet is a philosopher. He has studied hard and thought clearly. His poems are con

structed on fixed principles. He has not judged it worth while to write at random, in fits of inspiration, without any well-considered plan, or any determinate object. He has higher ideas of his vocation than to trust to some lucky moment, or to ring changes on a few set phrases. No intelligent man can read his Prefaces and Notes, without being convinced that the Poet has accurately studied the mental and moral faculties. Whether his doctrines are right or wrong, he has well considered them, and has made them the foundation of his claim as a poet. We do not say that the reader must think in all respects like his author, in order to derive pleasure and instruction from his writings. Wordsworth has many detached passages of singular power and beauty, open to the comprehension and love of all. The deep pathos and perfect nature of nearly the whole of the first two books of the Excursion, will find a response in every heart which is not utterly dead. But a deeper meaning frequently pervades a poem. Fine views of thought intertwine themselves in the texture of a piece, which is outwardly unassuming and simple. This is eminently the case in the poems where imagination and reflection are predominant. It is not required of an author, that he should at all times remain on a level with an indolent reader's comprehension. There are passages in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in Milton, which, wholly apart from their costume, require from him who opens the page the closest study. The groundwork of the poem, the nature of the conception, will not be obvious to an unreflecting mind. Now, among the mass of educated people in this country, there is no distinct apprehension of the peculiar merits of Wordsworth, because they have not themselves any clear conception of the powers of mind requisite in the production of poetry.

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