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another a heretic because his views are different from your own, you who would stigmatize the professors of other creeds as idolatrous,-consider the lesson of history. What is truth? Has it any absolute criterion? Your opinions are imagined to be conclusive and final; but have not the finalities of yesterday yielded to the larger generalizations of to-day? What assurance that, in the onward march of the collective soul, your doctrines shall not wane and vanish like the scattered dreams of your ancestors ? Your faith assumes to be perfect; but what is perfection? The realized anticipations of the present. But is humanity tottering into the grave, or yet crawling out of the cradle? Who shall set a limit to the giant's unchained strength? Is not man forever defining himself? Does he not mould himself incessantly in thoughts, sentiments, acts? And, as incessantly progressing by these determinations, does he not successively burst his environments as he assumes them, only to pass into new ones, from which he will again escape in his unflagging and indefinite ascent? Through the ages to be, as through the ages gone, it shall be asked, “Brethren, what of the night?' while to each and to all the same answer shall be returned, 'Lo, the morning cometh,

Poetry.-We have seen its ardent youth and its early manhood; not preoccupied, as we are, with theories; happy in contemplating lovely objects, dreaming of nothing else, and wishing only that they might be the loveliest possible; not that things were more beautiful then, but that men, in the vernal freshness of the senses, found them so. Now prettiness takes the place of the beautiful. To the impassioned succeeds the agreeable. It is no more the overflow of images, compelling relief in words, but the sentiment of gallantry, turning a delicate compliment and a graceful phrase. The literary exhaustion is manifested in verses like these of Wither:

• Shall I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair!
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day
Or the lowery meads in May,
If he thinks not well of me,
What care I hou fair she be?...
Great, or good, or kind or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair:

If she love me (this believe),
I will die cre she shall grieve.
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?'

But if like the rest, he is a reader and a versifier rather than a seer, he keeps close to the best he knows, pure enough to have delight in nature, reverent enough to give praise:

Now the glories of the year
May be viewed at the best,
And the earth doth now appear
In her fairest garments dress'd:
Sweetly smelling plants and flowers
Do perfume the garden bowers;
Hill and valley, wood and field,

Mixed with pleasure profits yield.' Withal, he has the dominating bent,- the serious thought of the long sad sleep beyond the dark gulf into which we plunge, uncertain of the issue:

'As this my carnal robe grows old,
Soil'd, rent, and worn by length of years,
Let me on that by faith lay hold
Which man in life immortal wears:
So sanctify my days behind,
So let my manners be refined,
That when my soul and flesh must part,

There lurk no terrors in my heart.' These are the words of a Puritan. We must expect even less substance in wits of the court, cavaliers of fashion,– Carew, Herrick, and Suckling. If the first is destitute of noble ideas, he gives us smooth and flexible verse, mere perfume and dainty form, with hardly a gem amid the rubbish-heap of trivialities:

*He that loves a rosy cheek,
Or a coral lip admires,
Or from star-like eyes doth seek
Fuel to maintain his fires,
As old Time makes these decay,
So his flames must waste away.
But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts and calm desires,
Hearts, with love combined,
Kindle never-dying tires;
Where these are not, I despise

Lovely cheeks or lips or cyes.' No fire in the second, but light; no passion, but sensuous reverie, with a radical indelicacy of fancy and a garrulous egotism. Let

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us hear the exquisite who wrote twelve hundred little

poems

in Arcadian repose, while public riot was drowning the voices of some and driving others to madness:

Some ask'd me where the Rubies grew:
And nothing did I say,
Bit with my finger pointed to
The lips of Julia.
Some ask'd how Pearls did grow, and where:
Then spoke I to my girl,
To part her lips, and shew me there

The quarrelets of Pearl,'
Again:

'Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair once; come and buy:
If so be you ask me where
They do grow? I answer, there
Where my Julia's lips do smile;-
There's the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show

All the year where cherries grow.'
It is not the inner character of things which moves him, but the
sense of bodily loveliness, which is perilously acute, nor easily
restrained within bounds by artistic tact. Where is the mount-
ing melody of Burns or Shelley ? Even at his prayers, his spirit
is mundane:

"When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drown'd in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the waich do keep,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When the artloss doctor secs
No one hope, but of his fees,
And his skill runs on the lees,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
When his potion and his pill,
Has, or none, or little skill,
Meet for nothing but to kill,

Sweet Spirit, comfort me!'
The third, handsome, rich, and prodigal, was a Royalist gentle-
man, and as such, wishing to try his hand at imagination and
style, was able to write in liquid numbers a love-song that was
in sympathy with the age:

"Why so pale and wan, fond lover:

Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,

Looking ill prevail?

Prithee, why so pale?
Why so dull and mute, young sinner!

Prithee, why so mute?

Will, when speaking well can't win,

Saying nothing do't.
Prithee, why so mute:

Quit, quit, for shame, this will not move:

This cannot take her.
If of herself she will not love,

Nothing can make her:
The devil take her!

He has none of the penetrating faculty which opens the invisible door of obscure, endless depths, leads us to the centre, and leaves us to gather what more we may of the treasure of pure gold. He has only fancy, which stays at externals. Thus:

Her feet beneath her petticoat
Like little mice stole in and out,

As if they feared the light,''
Again:

• Her lips were red, and one was thin,
Compared with that was next her chin,

Some bec had stung it newly.' ? The real bright being of the lip is there in an instant, but it is all outside; no expression, no mind. Now hear imagination speak:

'Lamp of life, thy lips are burning
Through the veil that seems to hide them,
As the radiant lines of morning

Through thin clouds, ere they divide them.'3 There is no levity here. He who sees into the heart of things sees too far, too darkly, too solemnly, too earnestly, to smile.

A second mark of decadence is the affectation of poets, their involved obscurity of style, their ingenious absurdities, their conceits. They desire to display their skill and wit in yoking together heterogeneous ideas, in justifying the unnatural, in converting life into a puzzle and a dream. They are characterized by the philosophizing spirit, the activity of the intellect rather than that of the emotions. The prevalent taste is to trace resemblances that are fantastic, to strain after novelty and surprise. Thus Donne, carliest of the school, says of a sea-voyage:

• There note they the ship's sicknesses,- the mast
Shaked with an age, and the bold and waist

With a salt dropsy clogged.'
When a flea bites him and his mistress, he says:

This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed and marriage temple is.
Though Parents grudge, and you, w'are met,

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And cloyster'd in the living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that selfe-murder added be,

And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.'
We find little to admire, and nothing to love. We see that far-
fetched similes, extravagant metaphors, are not here occasional
blemishes, but the substance. He should have given us simple
images, simply expressed; for he loved and suffered much: but
fashion was stronger than nature. Much in this manner, though
never in so light a humor, is the poetry of Herbert, whose quaint-
ness is vitally connected with essential beauty and sweetness of
soul. Let him live in these tender and beautiful lines:

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"Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,

The bridal of the earth and -ky;
The dews shall weep thy fall 10-night,

For thou must die.'
And in these, than which no profounder were uttered in the
Elizabethan

age:

More servants wait on Man
Than he'll take notice of; in every pathi
le treads down that which doth befriend him.
When sickness makes him pale and wan
O mighty Love! Mam is one world, and hath
Another to attend him.'

To the same class of verse concoctions of novel and remote analogies, belongs The Purple Island of Fletcher, five cantos of allegorical anatomy and one of psychology, a languid sing-song of laborious riddles. Other instances of the change, equally frigid if less extravagant, are Wotton's Character of' a Happy Life, Bacon's Life of Jan, Brook's Treatise of Religion, which are noticed only as indications that the sentiment of truth was encroaching upon the sentiment of beauty, that the imaginary figures of art were giving way to the precise formulas of logic.

Apart from the crowd of sedulous imitators, is one who, preserving something of the energy and thrill of the original inspiration, refuses to be perverted; a Scot,Drummond of Hawthornden,— whose private happiness was suddenly ruined, and whose public hopes were slowly wasted; a' brooding, silent, tragic soul, altogether too serious to be artificial, with the fundamental Saxon idea of man and of existence:

"This world a hunting is.

The prey poor man, the Nimrod fierce is death;
His speedy greyhounds are

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