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ning hills. He attended to them him- wood-work'; and when Mr. Collins
self, and appeared to derive from them and a crowd of country people came
his principal, if not his only support. to see what was the matter, he burst in Many of his hours he spent in wan- out at the top of the spire in an erup
dering alone over the hills. But it tion of flame and smoke, gave a laugh1. was a pleasure to him to meet with any ing yell as he vanished, and, at the 61 casual strangers, however squalid their same moment, the building fell in, and He wretchedness. He also spoke without all the inhabitants of the old churche reluctance to persons of the highest yard were heard to groan in their is class of society who happened to fall graves, while Miss Lascelles was ob
within his reach. But if he found liged, by the smell of sulphur, to use e them barren and worthless he swung her smelling-bottle. But after all, Mr. : them off impatiently, often with some Collins, I doubt whether any apparie grim jest, and, shaking his bent brows, tion you might have found and invited
way sullen and thought- home with you, would have enjoyed ful.
your supper as much as we.” On the present occasion the wolf “ No; I suppose not. And, in fact, : man, as he might himself have said, my surpise and disappointment were as had on his sheep's clothing, and seem- foolish as that of a farmer, some miles ed cheerful and hospitable. He de- from this, who received an anonymous sired his ancient helpmate to prepare letter, telling him that in the middle of tea, and fry some slices of bacon; and, a certain wood, on such a day, he would with this, and bread and honey from find something far more strange and Collins' hives, they had a meal which precious than the crown jewels--a spe. sufficed to refresh them.
cimen, indeed, of the most wonderful “What can have taken you," said thing on earth.' He went, expecting Collins, “ to the old church at such an a bushel of diamonds, or Fortunatus's hour of such an evening? Did you purse, or something equally unlike wait till it was pitch dark in order to turnips and clover, and was much astosee the view the better?"
nished and puzzled at seeing only a Darkness," answered Walsing- poor little chubby baby. Yet the letham, “is sometimes well worth see- ter-writer said true enough. I do not ing. We, however, wanted only to know that even I have much right to view the sunset from the church, and complain on the present occasion.” proposed to return by twilight and “ Then I am sure we have not,” moonlight. But the storm overtook said Maria ; " but I am afraid you are us, and, no doubt, also detained Mrs. very wet-and she glanced at his hat, Nugent at the farm-house, where she which lay on the floor beside him.” had stopped behind us for a few mo “Oh! my old hat is soaked a little. ments. We were, of course, glad of So many queer mists and vapours must the shelter afforded by the ruin. What rise up in it from one's brains, espewe should have done at last, but for cially when one has happened to look you, I cannot imagine.”
into a newspaper or a fashionable no« Oh! the darkness would not have vel, that it need not flinch from a few ate you; and a night in the old church aerial clouds descending on it. It is a in such weather would have been a sort of temporary firmament between foretaste of a kind of dim and bleak the storms and clatter of one's head ghostland, much like, I suppose, to below, and the other capricious meteorthat which we shall all one day visit. ology up above. And so Metaphysics As it is, no doubt the ringing of the are only the Moore's Almanac of our bell will be attributed to an evil spirit brain-weather. Many a system, inby half the county. I myself was ra- deed, in the Almanac of a past year is ther in hopes of finding some huge falsified by the event, and reprinted skeleton, or demon, hard at work pull- with a fresh date, as if it would be vaing the rope, and was rather disap- lid for the next twelvemonth." pointed at seeing only you."
He laughed a short sardonic laugh, Ay,” said Walsingham, o it and then fixed his eyes upon the fire, as would make no bad tale. Suppose we if he had uttered his oracle and was spread the rumour :-A nameless fiend content. amused himself with ringing the bell Walsingham smiled, and said —« It till his burning hands set the rope on would be amusing to have a complete fire, which communicated with the history of coverings for the head write
ten on that principle. Their pictu- integuments are concealed the extreme resque varieties and diverse uses have boundaries of his Being, which, though often been noticed by travellers, artists, certainly finite, philosophers aver to and so forth. But the relation of the be all but infinite. head-garment to the thoughts would • Or,” said Walsinghanı, “ as give a new point of view.”
may express it in Orphic song :“Well,” said Collins, with a tone Oh! wondrous powers, ye shoes and hat, between defiance and jesting, “there
That bound our human span, are many odd facts to be noted on that How idly sages puzzle at matter. As the land-shells of Ma
The limits set to man! deira are altogether different from those of the neighbouring island of
Thus does the conversation of poets Porto Santo, so the Portuguese popu- and moralists, when they have not the lation of the one place wear a small fear of a pompous public before them, funnel-shaped, or unicorn cap, and often become mere doggrel and absurthe same race in the other adorn them- dity, and yet suits for the time both selves with a flat bonnet."
the men and the occasion. Such talk " Ah !" said Walsingham, with helped on the hour till Maria bade bland seriousness, “ remarks of that them good-night, and thanking them depth and originality recall the famous both, and especially Collins, for his Pythian verses of Nathaniel Lee, the kindness, left them to themselves. She Trophonian prophet :
retired to think, to remember Arthur,
to shudder at the image of the last • Methinks I'see a hieroglyphic bat
vessel, to pray, and then to sleep. In Skim o'er the zenith in a slip-shod hat.'”
the mean-time, Collins made more tea Both Collins and Maria now laugh- for himself, Walsingham having bad ed loud and merrily; and the Recluse enough, and drank it by bowlsful, said, “Well, no one can deny that the without milk, and sweetened with his whole of man is included between his own honey. hat and shoes. In these mysterious
“That,” said Walsingham to Col- ishing through the tempestuous and lins, “was a striking event of which fiery air.” we have been witnesses at the church. “Why," answered Collins,“ do But I should like to have observed, any thing of the kind ? It might be unseen, the demeanour of the people worth while to know what really hapwhen they reached the burning edifice, pened. But what we should gain by as I suppose a crowd of them soon did. taking the mere name of the real erent There is much to attract and awaken and appending a fiction to it, I do not one in the thought of a living world see. When I am not in a very ferostartled by the conflagration of a cious humour I do not mind seeing a neighbouring world of graves and, soldier, for I know what he and his ghosts.
But it ought to be painted dress are, and mean. But some lord on both sides. I mean both from the or linendraper coxcomb, in the maspoint of view of the actual beings re- querade dress of a soldier, is a thing to garding this convulsion in the realm be drifted, as soon as possible, down of the past, and from that of the ruin the great sewer of perdition. The and its graves impersonated and spirit- uniform, on such shoulders, is but a ualized, and brought face to face with red rag thrown into the kennel; and bodily mortals. One might round the the biped is but the fleshy effigy of a whole into a little Grecian tragedy, man a good deal more offensive than a the action consisting of the efforts of wax one at a puppet-show. Now s the men to save the buildings, and I hold it to be with your supposed their lamentations over memorials of poem. By all means give us as much their ancestors, and the Chorus being truth as possible, even though the dose a band of spectres, with the grey old is ever so bitter. But lies, whether in founder of the church, clothed in his verse or prose, are an abominatico pall of lead and years, leading the under the sun, and above it too, i grisly troop, and wailing and admon- such pests are known there, which for
the sake of the super-solars, I hope is But herein is the difference, that the not the case. Truth, man? truth is poem is not meant to convey knowthe only true poetry, if the business of ledge or produce conviction, but to poetry is to move the feelings, which, excite a state of feeling at once lively for ought I see, might as well be left and harmonious. That the feelings unmoved. But bread and meat, which may be lively, the poem must have we do want daily, are facts. Ambrosia energy, distinctness, glow; that they is doubtless a fact too—for the gods. may be harmonious, it must have But for me, a man, it is a fiction. consistency and completeness, and Bread and truth are all man wants; must lead to the apprehension of a and a loaf is only an eatable lump of peaceful order supreme over all con. truth fitted for the body, as truth is the fusion. But it may have all these reinvisible, but no less substantial, bread quisites, and therefore be a good of the spirit. Tea, too, is truth in its poem, and yet be far from a literal way, and very good for a thirsty throat. representation of the fact, event, Talk to me of nectar by the hour, but thought, or emblem, which supplies my mouth would still be dry, and I the pretext for it. If you rightly should wish you drinking it at Olym. weigh all these conditions of a poem's pus, or any where away from me. existence, you will see, I think, that it
"• What is truth ?" said jesting Pi. may and often must admit free and late, and would not wait for an answer. marvellous displays of fancy, legend, But I stand in his shoes, and wait in- superstition, and symbolic necromanstead of him."
cy. In a word, it must boldly say, “Truth is every thing that is. To produce an impression equivalent Every thing is truth; and every no. to that which this actual, but superthing is lie. Destiny for ever spins abundant, overwhelming world would things-realities. But man is the only produce in a mind capable of embracbeast I know of that spins nothings— ing it as a whole. I will shape a
So he tries to world of my own, no less vivid and swindle destiny and his own fellow- coherent, but rounded in a smaller beasts. But destiny spins on un- circle, readily intelligible to man, and swindled, and leaves him to die like a delightful to him, as free from the starved spider in his own cobweb. baffling, confounding immensity of Honesty is the only true religion ; all that in which he lives. Every thing, else is mere superstition, mose or less therefore, which we borrow from the poetic—that is, more or less false.” actual for the uses of poetry, must be
“A compendious creed, and that translated, not transferred, its form
sounds as if it would have saved Aris- and colouring modified from that et totle, Quintilian, Strada, and the consistent with and dependent on the
Schlegels a good deal of trouble. But appearances of the actual world, to look closer. All that I, too, want is those required by the unity of the Truth, but Truth made intelligible and imaginary creation. Such seem to effectual for man. In order to this, me the laws required by the slightest what is essential and characteristic in song ; and yet adequate to explain an image or feeling must be separated the Odyssey, Hamlet, and Herman from what is accidental or futile I and Dorothea.” mean, from what must seem so to us “ Well, a very pretty scheme. But for doubtless, nothing really is so,– in my notion a mere 'jugglery. The must be divided from the endless, un- moment you separate a part of human manageable All, which would only be- existence from the great All it be
That is, it must be mark- longs to, and seek to shape it into a ed out as a distinct Whole by itself, minor, dependent, and analogous, but with its own beginning, progress
, and distinct world, which, as I understand, conclusion. Now, if this be rightly is your notion, that moment you lose done, we shall have the essential. all law and measure of truth and Thought filling its own circle, exclud- falsehood. A feeling, an image, an ing all that is extraneous to itself, and event is true that is real, genuine, not taking in and embodying from with when detached, but only when con. out whatever is necessary to its own nected with its original circumstances completeness and evidence. All this, and atmosphere. Suppose, while the however, is quite as true of a history, clay of nature is yet soft and plastic, or a theory, or a speech, as of a poem, I break off a finger or an ear from VOL. XLIV.
the great image; this is, no doubt, a deck, and set the sailors off in an inreal part of the whole. But then the sane dance ? We, and the world too, fractional edge recalls that it is only are in just this need, and the poets a portion, and ought to be replaced help us a little.” in its former position. But if I again Walsingham answered calmly,knead it
and round it off into a se. “I do not remember that the seamen parate work, betraying no violent dis- in the Greek story were much the betlocation, it ceases to be any thing but ter for throwing Arion overboard.” a fiction of my hands. I cannot make “ Ah! I suppose in that tale some it a small total, recalling in minuter poet was pleading his own cause and lines, and representing the great one, that of his brethren. In this matter, because the great one is too vast, and however, we shall not agree ; but I I see it only in part. An Illiad was do hold most firmly to the belief that very well, because those for whom it the task of life is a hard, stern, Sparwas written believed it all true, read tan work—to climb with bleeding it as history, and had no more doubt feet among rocks of ice and lava. We of Jupiter and Pallas than of Achilles must have done, once for all, with coband Agamemnon. To us, who have webs and rose-vapours, election riblooked at the wrong side of the pup- bons and rockets, flummery and finery pet-show, it has lost half its value. of all kinds. Sentimental sighing But remember, besides, that the free has no business in a world where extemporaneous Homeric rythm is there are so many heart-brokenvery unlike our modern metres. To groans. The will is the foundation me it seems that the very fact of writ- of a man. He should stand up-speak ing in artificial elaborate verse is a pro- out-hold fast-stamp his thoughts clamation of a design to be absurd." in strong words—and leave lies, songs,
“ Verse cught to be, and to have flatteries, fancies, and all other mental the evidence of being, the spontaneous sillabub whatever to womanish and and only suitable utterance of lively sickly stomachs. Then when he stands, and delightful emotion. If not, doubts as I often do, alone upon the bare less it is bad and a trick."
hil-top, and thinks of the laws, max. “ Almost all I know of, indeed, is ims, amiabilities, decencies, and re. so. As for the verse of Homer and putations that make up what we call Shakspeare it is only prose fused and our country, and which are but one fluid.
But almost all else is prose great fermenting mass of falsehood, pinched, twisted, filed, scraped, and let him rejoice that he dares keep his notched into arbitrary forms, in hopes, own soul pure and in arms, and not of producing any independent breathe the air of heaven which has feeling, but of awakening some echo not yet been all filled with the reek of the feeling which the authentic of men's vanity and voluptuousness melody of words begets. But, in For in our smooth, delicate, moral fine, explain it how you will, all fic- days, even conscience has been made tion in verse or prose is to me abhor- nothing more than a kind of volupturent. I hate straw-men, snow-men, ous self-indulgence. 0! for some rag-men, colossal dolls, bronze kings rude old John Baptist or Wickliffe, and dukes, and all the sons of scare. to go through the land and cry, crows. I loathe your modern ro- Wo? Wo! and make our feeble mance which sets up its tawdry wooden busy men of talents and notoriety, Highlanders and calumetted Indians and European reputation—Heaven at the door with as keen an eye to help them -skip at his voice like gain, and to the public's gross crav- grasshoppers from before the tramp ings, as the keeper of a snuff-shop. of a rhinoceros.” We have not too much thought and " Why should not he who so energy among us for actual life, and strongly conceives also perform ?" it is idiotic to waste what we have in “O! a man may fancy indeed that aimless sympathies, and to spend our his arms are long enough to reach days in tracing out the baby-house the stars; but when, in trying even labyrinths of songs and sornets. What to raise them above his own head, they would you think of a man who, when have been heavily beaten back and his ship was sinking, and the only crushed by the demon of the air, he chance lay in working with every must be content, for a while at least, sinew, should begin to fiddle on the to rest, and nurse his pangs. But
you, you for whose pipings and mad- stones. The marble carvings which
toys they are indeed worthless, nay, Walsing iam shook his head, but dangerous. That which he handles as not angrily, and said—“ One builds a squib, he may find burst between his Cyclopian walls, another fashions fingers as a bomb. But of such men, marble carvings. Each must work and those who work for them, there as he can. But remember that the need be no discourse between us." Cyclopian wails, though they stood 66 Of such men I fear there must indeed, and stand, became useless be discourse between us, if we are to monuments of a dead past, and the discourse at all, and in speaking not fox and the robber kennel among the forget ourselves.”
They bade each other good-night, sense of the graceful, the harmonious, and lay back in their chairs at opposite the complete, without which life to sides of the fire. Collins went to Walsingham appeared so bare and sleep. But Walsingham sat revolv- empty. It was a character which, ing the conversation that had passed in its dim but broken strength, and and his present position. He thought large though interrupted outline, that he saw most distinctly the fallacy seemed to him more imposing than of his host's views as to poetry ; and any other he had known, than all that judged from this evening's experience he could find in himself. His curiothat he was not a very acute reasoner, sity and his sympathy with the mysteso far at least, as reasoning is carried rious were awakened, and were excited on by analysis. He also regarded the more by his ignorance of the prehim as narrow and partial in all his vious history, which in spite of fervid feelings and aims, viewing many longings after a high course of human things with undue violence, and with action, had thrown Collins into this undeserved indifference turning from solitude a brooding aimless hermit. others. The mind, he said to him Now, as was his custom, he began self, of this recluse resembles a smith's to collect and arrange all he knew of forge, with its small glowing light, its the man, and the recent circumstances deep imaginative shadows, the strenu- that had brought them acquainted. ous image of the workman, and the But here his thoughts were turned weighty and colossal processes to into a different direction, for, with the which the whole is devoted. “ Well,” events of the evening, the image of he thought, “ let others forge crowbars Maria recurred to him. He recalled and ploughshares, nay, even weapons his previous feelings of admiration for and armour ; enough for me, in my her; his delight in her pure, unselfish sunny chamber, with vine-leaves round elevation of heart ; his own intellecthe windows, to mould graceful figures, tual superiority, which had enabled or even to engrave the small and un- him to see over and round her opi. obtrusive gem.” His mind, however, nions; and the coldness and weakness did not rest here. He could not escape of his faith in invisible realities, comfrom the feeling that, after all, there pared with her devout and practical was in Collins an earnest though rug- reliance. The unspeakable loveliness ged and painful force of some kind, of her whole being presented itself whether of will, or feeling, or imagi- anew to him ; and he reflected with nation, which bore down the poet. how much pleasure he had been able This energy but half understood it- to give her fresh knowledge, and to self, and was unaccompanied by any set her mind in movement in new di