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tions deserve to be: exhibited, because we feel ourselves impressed as by a dis they recapitulate our whole existence; course of Théodore Jouffroy. After all, but not the little effects of the little Wordsworth is convinced ; he has spent agitations which pass through us, and his life meditating on these kinds of the imperceptible oscillations of our ideas, they are the poetry of his relig. every-day condition. Else I might end ion, race, climate; he is imbued with hy explaining in rhyme that yesterday them; his pictures, stories, interpretamy dog broke his leg, and that this tions of visible nature and human life morning my wife put on her stockings tend only to put the mind in a grave inside out. The specialty of the artist disposition which is proper to the inner is to cast great ideas in moulds as I enter here as in the valley of great; Wordsworth's moulds are of Port Royal: a solitary nook, stagiant bad common clay, cracked, unable to waters, gloomy woods, ruins, grave. hold the noble metal which they ought stones, and above all the idea of re to contain.
sponsible man, and the obscure beyɔnd, But the metal is really noble; and to which we involuntarily move I for besides several very beautiful sonnets, get the careless French fashions, the there is now and then a work, amongst custom of not disturbing the even tenor others his largest, The Excursion, in of life. There is an imposing seriouswhich we forget the poverty of the get- ness, an austere beauty in this sincere ting up to admire the purity and eleva- reflection ; we begin to feel respect, we tion of the thought. In truth, the stop and are moved. This book is like author hardly puts himself to the trou- a Protestant temple, august, though ble of imagining; he walks along and bare and monotonous. The poet sets converses with a pious Scotch pedler: forth the great interests of the soul : this is the whole of the story. The poets of this school always walk, look
“On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life,
Musing in solitude, í oft perceive at nature and think of human destiny ; Fair trains of imagery before me rise, it is their permanent attitude. He con- Accompanied by feelings of delight verses, then, with the pedler, a medita
Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed ;
And I am conscious of affecting thoughts tive character, who has been educated And dear remembrances, whose presence by a long experience of men and things, soothes who speaks very well (too well !) of Or elvates the Mind, intent to weigh the soul and of God, and relates to him
The good and evil of our mortal state.
-To these emotions, whencesoe'er they the history of a good woman who died
come, of grief in her cottage; then he meets Whether from breath of outward circuma solitary, a sort of skeptical Hamlet- stance,
Or from the Soul-an impulse to herself, morose, made gloomy by the death of
I would give utterance in numerous verse. his family, and the disappointments Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and suffered during his long journeyings ; Hope, then a clergyman, who took them to
And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith ;
Of blessed consolations in distress; the village churchyard, and described
Of moral strength, and intellectual Power; to them the life of several interesting Of joy in widest commonalty spread ; people who are buried there. Observe Of the individual Mind that keeps her own that, just in proportion as reflections
Inviolate retirement, subject there
To Conscience only, and the law supreme and moral discussions arise, and as
Of that Intelligence which gover ns allscenery and moral descriptions spread I sing." before us in hundreds, so also disserta. This intelligence, the only holy part of tions entwine their long thorny hedge man, is holy in all stages ; for this, rows, and metaphysical thistles multi- Wordsworth selects as his characters ply in every corner. In short, the poem
a pedler, a parson, villagers ; in his is as grave and dull as a sermon. And
eyes rank, education, habits, all the yet, in spite of this ecclesiastical air and worldly envelope of a man, is without the tirades against Voltaire and his age, * interest; what constitutes our worth ** This dull product of a scoffer's pen
is the integrity of our conscience Impure conceits discharging from a heart Hardened by impie'us pride!
science itself is only profound when it Wordsworth's Works, 1 vols. 1849 ; The Er * Wordsworth's Works, 7 vols. 1849, vii. sursion, book 2; The slitary.
The Excursion, Preface, ii.
penetrates moral life ; for this life fails in the eventide, at the close of the ser. nowhere:
vice, rolls slowly in the wilight of
arches and pillars. “ To every Form of being is assigned An active principle:-howe'er removed
When a certain phase of human in. From sense and observation, it subsists telligence comes to light, it does so In all things, in all natures; in the stars from all sides; there is no part where Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds, In flower and tee, in every pebbly stone
it does not appear, no instincts which That pa ves tlie brooks, the stationary rocks, it does not renew. It enters simulThe moving waters, and the invisible air. taneously the two opposite camps, and Whate'er exists hath properties that spread
seems to undo with one hand what it Beyond itself, commuricating good, A siinple blessing, or with evil mixed;
has made with the other. If it is, as it Spirit that knows no insulated spot, was formerly, the oratorical style, we No chasm, no solitude ; from link to link find it at the same time in the service It circulates, the Scul of all the worlds." *
of cynical misanthropy, and in that of Reject, then, with disdain this arid decorous humanity, in Swift and in science :
Addison. If it is, as now, the philo
sophical spirit, it produces at once con"Where Knowledge, ill begun in cold remarks On outward things, with formal inference
servative harangues and socialistic
utopias, Wordsworth and Shelley.* The Or, if the mind turn inward, she recoils, latter, one of the greatest poets of the At once-or, not recoiling, is perplexed
age, son of a rich baronet, beautiful as Lost in a gloom of uninspired research. Viewing all objects unremittingly
an angel, of extraordinary precocity, In disconnexion dead and spiritless; gentle, generous, tender, overflowing And still dividing, and dividing still, with all the gifts of heart, mind, birth, Breaks down all grandeur." I
and fortune, marred his life, as it were, Beyond the vanities of science and the wantonly, by allowing his conduct to pride of the world, there is the soul, be guided by an enthusiastic imaginawhereby all are equal, and the broad tion which he should have kept for his and inner Christian life opens at once
verses. From his birth he had “the its gates to all who would enter: vision of sublime beauty and happi. “ The sun is fixed,
ness; and the contemplation of an And the infinite magnificence of heaven
ideal world set him in arms against the Fixed within reach of every human eye.
real. Having refused at Eton to be a The sleepless Ocean murmurs for all ears, fag of the big boys, he was treated by The vernal field infuses fresh delight
boys and masters with a revolting Into all hearts. .. The primal duties shine aloft like stars,
cruelty ; suffered himself to be made a The charities that soothe and heal and bless martyr, refused to obey, and, falling Are scattered at the feet of man-like flow back into forbidden studies, began to
form the most immoderate and most So, at the end of all agitation and all poetical dreams. He judged society search appears the great truth, which by the oppression which he underwent, is the .z.bstract of the rest :
and man by the generosity which he
felt in himself; thought that man was Lifą i repeat, is energy of love Divine or human ; exercised in pain,
good, and society bad, and that it was In strife and tribulation; and ordained, only necessary to suppress established If so approved sid sanctified, to pass, institutions to make earth a paradise." Through shadi:s and silent rest to endless He became a republican, a communist, joy." $
preached fraternity, love, even abstiT'he verses sustain these serious nence from flesh, and is a means the thoughts by their grave harmony, as a abolition of kings, pruests, and God.* motet accompanies meditation or pray- We can fancy the indignation which
They resemble the grand and such ideas roused in a society so obstimonotonous music of the organ, which nately attached to established order
* Wordsworth's Works, 2 vols. 1849, vii. so intolerant, in whic! above the conbook 9; Discourse of the Wanderer, opening * See also the novel of Godwin, Caled verses, 315..
Williams, and uthers. t Ibid. vii. ; The Excursion, book 4; De- † Queen Mab, and notes At Oxford Shelley spondency Corrected, 137
issued a kind of thesis calling it “On the $ Ibid. last lines of book 5, The Pastor, 20. Necessity of Athcism.'
servative and religious instincts, Cant ordinary eyes seero dull and insens,ble spoke like a master. Shelley was ex- are, to a wide sympathy, living and peiled from the university; his father divine existences, which are an agreerefused to see him ; the Lord Chan-able change from men.
No virgin cellor, by a decree, took from him, as smile is so charming as that of the being unworthy, the custody of his two dawn, nor any joy more triumphant children; finally, he was obliged to than that of the ocean when its waves quit England. I forgot to say that at swell and shimmer, as far as the eye eighteen he married a young girl of in- can reach, under the lavish splendoi ferior rank, that they separated, that of heaven. At this sight the heart rises she committed suicide, that he under: unwittingly to the sentiment of ancient mined his health by his excitement and legends, and the poet perceives in the suffering,* and that to the end of his inexhaustible bloom of things the peace. life he was nervous or ill. Is not this ful soul of the great mother by whom the life of a genuine poet? Eyes fixed every thing grows and is supported. on the splendid apparitions with which Shelley spent most of his life in the he peopled space, he went through the open air, especially in his boat; first world not seeing the high road, stum- on the Thames, then on the Lake of bling over the stones of the roadside. Geneva, then on the Arno, and in the He possessed not that knowledge of Italian waters. He loved desert and life which most poets share in common solitary places, where man enjoys the with novelists. Seldom has a mind pleasure of believing infinite what he been seen in which thought soared in sees, infinite as his soul. And such loftier regions, and more removed from was this wide ocean, and this shore actual things. When he tried to create more barren than its waves. This characters and events in Queen Mab, love was a deep Teutonic instinct, in Alastor, in The Revolt of Islam, in which, allied to pagan emotions, pro Prometheus — he only produced un- duced his poetry, pantheistic and yet substantial phantoms. Once only, in full of thought, almost Greek and yet the Cenci, did he inspire a living figure English, in which fancy, plays like a (Beatrice) worthy of Webster or old foolish, dreamy child, with the splendid Ford ; but in some sort this was in spite skein of forms and colors. A cloud, a of himself, and because in it the senti- plant, a sunrise,--these are his char. ments were so unheard of and so acters: they were those of the primistrained that they suited superhuman tive poets, when they took the lightconceptions. Elsewhere his world is ning for a bird of fire, and the clouds for throughout beyond our own. The laws the flocks of heaven. But what a of life are suspended or transformed. secret ardor beyond these splendid We move in Shelley's world between images, and how we feel the heat of heaven and earth, in abstraction, dream- the furnace beyond the colored pharland, symbolism : the beings float in it toms, which it sets afloat over the like those fantastic figures which we horizon 1* Has any one since Shak see in the clouds, and which alternately speare and Spenser lighted on such undulate and change form capriciously, tender and such grand ecstasies? Has in their robes of snow and gold. any one painted so magnificently the
For souls thus constituted, the great cloud which watches by : 'ght in the consolation is nature. They are too sky, enveloping in its net the swarm ol finely sensitive to find amusement in golden bees, the stars : the spectacle and picture of human “The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes, passions. Shelley instinctively avoid.
And his burning plumes outspread, ed that spectacle ; the sight re-opened Leaps on the back of my sailing rack. his own wounds. He was happier in
When the morning star shines dead ...1
That orbed maiden with white fire ladea, the woods, at the sea-side, in contem
Whom mortals call the moon, plation of grand landscapes. The rocks, clouds, and meadows, which to * See in Shelley's Works, 1853, The Witch
of Atlas, The Cloud, To a Skylark, the end • Some time before his death, when he was of The Revolt of Islam, Alastor, and the twenty-nine, he said, "If I dic now, I shall whole
of Prometheus. han lived as long as my father."
| The Clonda c. ii. goa.
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like foor, As fair as the fabulous aspl Adels,
And flowerets which druopio g as day d:ooped Read again those verses on the garden, Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue, in which the sensitive plant dreams. To roof the glow-worm from the evening Alas ! they are the dreams of the poet, and the happy visions which floated in Every thing lives here, every thang his virgin heart up to the moment when breathes and yearns for something. it opened out and withered. I will This poem, the story of a plant, is also pause in time; I will not proceed, as the story of a soul-Shelley's soul, the he did, beyond the ions of his sensitive. Is it not natural to conFring-time:
found them? Is there not a commu. * The snowdrop, and then the violet,
nity of nature amongst all the dwellers Arose from the ground with warm rain wet, And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, every thing ; in the universe is a soul;
in this world? Verily there is a soul in From the turf, like the voice and the instru- be the existence what it will, uncultured
or rational, defined or vague, ever beThen the pied wind-flowers and the talip yond its sensible form shines a secret tall,
essence and something divine, which And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
we catch sight of by sublime illumina. Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's reo
tions, never reaching or penetrating it. cess, Till they die of their own dear loveliness. It is this presentiment and yearning
which sustains all modern poetry, And the Naiad-like lily of the vale, Whom youth makes so fair and passion so
now in Christian meditations, as with pale,
Campbell and Wordsworth, now in Thai the light of its tremulous bells is seen Through their pavilions of tender green ;
pagan visions, as with Keats and
Shelley. They hear the great heart of And the hyacinth purple, and white, and nature beat; they wish to reach it; blue,
they try all spiritual and sensible apWhich Aung from its bells a sweet peal proaches, through Judea and through Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,
Greece, by consecrated doctrines and It was felt like an odour within the sense ; by proscribed dogmas. In this splenAnd the rose like a nymph to the bath ad- did and fruitless effort the greatest bedrest,
come exhausted and die. Their poetry, Which unveiled the depth of her glowing which they drag with them over these breast,
sublime tracks, is torn to pieces. One Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air The soul of her beauty and love lay bare ;
alone, Byron, attains the summit; and And the wand-like lily, which lifted up,
of all these grand poetic draperies, As a Mänad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
which float like banners, and seem to Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
summon men to the conquest of suGazed through the clear dew on the tender preme truth, we see now but tatters sky
scattered by the wayside. And on the stream whose inconstant bosom Yet these men did their work. Under Was prankt, under boughs of embowering their multiplied efforts, and by their
blossom, With golden and green light, slanting through
unconscious working together, the idea Their heaven of many a tangled hue,
of the beautiful is changed, and other Broad water-lilies lay tremulously,
ideas change by contagion. Conserva. And starry river-buds glimmered by,
tives contribute to it as well as revolu. And around them the soft stream did glide tionaries, and the new spirit breathes and lance
through the poems which bless and With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.
those which curse Church and State. And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss, We learn from Wordsworth and Byron, Which led through the garden along and by profound Protestantism † and con.
across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossomirg trees,
* Shelley's Works, 1853, The Senate Plant.
490. Were all paved with daisies and delicate “Our life is turned out of her course, whenbells,
ever man is made an offering, a sacrifice, a tool,
or imploment, a passive thing employed as a • The Cloud, c. iv. yogi
brate mean."—Wordsworth, the Escursion.
firmed skepticism, that in this sacred | losophy is dried up. Amidst the agitacant-defended establishment there is tions of sects, endeavoring to transform matter for reform or for revolt; that each other, and rising Unitarianism, we we may discover moral merits other hear at the gates of the sacred ark'the than those which the law tickets and continental philosophy roaring like a opinion a scepts; that beyond conven- tide. Now already it has reached tional confessions there are truths ; literature: for fifty years all great that beyond respected social conditions writers have plunged into it,--Sydney there are grandeurs ; that beyond reg. Smith, by his sarcasms against the ular positions there are virtues ; that numbness of the clergy, and the oppres greatness is in the heart and the genius; sion of the Catholics; Arnold, by his and all the rest, actions and beliefs, are protests against the religious monopoly subaltern. We have just seen that be- of the clergy, and the ecclesiastical yond literary conventionalities there is monopoly of the Anglicans ; Macaulay å poetry, and consequently we are dis- by his history and panegyric of the posed to feel that beyond religious dog- liberal revolution ; Thackeray, by at. mas there may be a faith, and beyond lacking the nobles, in the interests of social institutions a justice. The old the middle class ; Dickens, by attack edifice totters, and the Revolution en ing dignitaries and wealthy men, in the ters, not by a sudden inundation, as in interests of the lowly and poor; Currer France, but by slow infiltration. The Bell and Mrs. Browning, by defending wall built up against it by public intol. the initiative and independence of woerance cracks and opens: the war men; Stanley and Jowett, by introwaged against Jacobinism, republican ducing the German exegesis, and by and imperial, ends in victory; and giving precision to biblical criticism; henceforth we may regard opposing Carlyle, by importing German metaideas, not as opposing enemies, but as physics in an English form;. Stuart ideas. We regard them, and, accommo- Mill, by importing French positivism in dating them to the different countries, an English form ; Tennyson himself, by we import them. Roman Catholics are extending over the beauties of all lands enfranchised,rotten boroughs abolished, and all ages the protection of his the electoral franchise lowered ; unjust amiable dilettantism and his poetical taxes, which kept up the price of corn, sympathies, each according to his are repealed; ecclesiastical tithes power and his difference of position; changed into rent-charges; the terrible all retained within reach of the shore laws protecting property are modified, by their practical prejudices, all the assessment of taxes brought more strengthened against falling by their and more on the rich classes; old in- moral prejudices; all bent, some with stitutions, formerly established for the more of eagerness, others with more of advantage of a race, and in this race of distrust, in welcoming or giving entrance a class, are only maintained when for to the growing tide of modern democthe advantage of all classes; privileges racy and philosophy in State and become functions; and in this triumph Church, without doing damage, and of the middle class, which shapes gradually, so as to destroy nothing, and opinion and assumes the ascendency, to make every thing bear fruit the aristocracy, passing from sinecures o services, seems now legitimate only
a national nursery, kept up to furnish public men. At the same time
CHAPTER II narrow orthodoxy is enlarged. Zoology, astronomy, geology, botany, anthro
Lord Byron. poiogy, all the sciences of observation, so much cultivated and so popular,
I forcibly introduce their dissolvent discoveries. Criticism comes in from I HAVE reserved for the last the greatGermany, re-handles the Bible, re-writes est and most English of these literary
he history of dogma, attacks dogma men; he is so great and so English itself. Meanwhile poor Scottish phj. that from him alone we shall lear