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Our noisy years feem moments in the being
Of the eternal filence: truths that wake,

To perish never ;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,

Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy !
Hence, in a season of calm weather,

Though inland far we be,
Our fouls have light of that immortal sea

Which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the more,

And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.' 11.-154-6. We have thus gone through this publication, with view to enable our readers to determine, whether the author of the verses which have now been exhibited, is entitled to claim the honours of an improver or restorer of our poetry, and to found a new school to supersede or new-model all our maxims on the subject. If we were to stop here, we do not think that Mr Wordsworth, or his adınirers, would have any reason to complain ; for what we have now quoted is undeniably the most peculiar and characteristic part of his publication, and must be defended and applauded if the merit or originality of his system is to be seriously maintained. In our own opinion, however, the demerit of that system cannot be fairly appretiated, until it be shown, that the author of the bad verses which we have already extracted, can write good verses when he pleases; and that, in point of fact, he does always write good verses, when, by any accident, he is led to abandon his system, and to transgress the laws of that school which he would fain establish on the ruin of all existing authority.

The length to which our extracts and observations have already extended, necessarily restrains us within more narrow limits in this part of our citations; but it will not require much labour to find a pretty decided contrast to some of the passages we have already detailed. The song on the restoration of Lord Clifford is put into the mouth of an ancient minstrel of the family; and in composing it, the author was led, therefore, almost irresistibly to adopt the manner and phraseology that is understood to be connected with that sort of composition, and to throw aside his own babvish incidents and fantastical sensibilities. How he has succeeded, the reader will be able to judge from the few following extracts. The poem opens in this spirited manner

High in the breathless hall the Minstrel fate,
And Emont's murmur mingled with the song.---
The words of ancient time I thus translate,
A festal strain that hath been Went long.

“ From

6. From town to town, from tower to tower,

The red rose is a gladsome flower.
Her thirty years of winter past,
The red rose is revived at last;
She lifts her head for endless Spring,

For everlasting blossoming!” Il. p. 128.9. After alluding, in a very animated manner, to the troubles and perils which drove the youth of the hero into concealment, the minstrel proceeds

('Alas! when evil men are strong

No life is good, no pleasure long.
The boy must part from Mosedale's groves,
And leave Blencathara's rugged coves,
And quit the flowers that summer brings
To Glenderamakin's lofty springs;
Must vanish, and his careless cheer
Be turned to heaviness and fear.
-Give Sir Lancelot Threlkeld praise !
Hear it, good man, old in days !
Thou tree of covert and of rest
For this young bird that is diftreft,
Among thy branches safe he lay,
And he was free to sport and play,

When Falcons were abroad for prey.' II. 133-4.
The poem closes in this manner.

6-Now another day is come,

Fitter hope, and nobler doom :
He hath thrown afide his crook,
And hath buried deep his book ;
Armour rufting in his halls
On the blood of Clifford calls ;-
“ Quell the Scot," exclaims the lance,
“ Bear me to the heart of France,
Is the longing of the shield-
Tell thy name, thou trembling field;
Field of death, where'er thou be,
Groan thou with our victory!
Happy day, and mighty hour,
When our shepherd, in his power,
Mail'd and hors'd, with lance and sword,
To his ancestors restored,
Like a reappearing Itar,
Like a glory from afar,
First shall head the flock of war!"

Alas! the ferrent harper did not know
That for a tranquil foul the lay was framed,

P 3


Who, long compellid in humble walks to go,
Was softened into feeling, footh'd, and tamed.
In him the savage virtue of the race,
Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts were dead:
Nor did he change ; but kept in lofty place
The wisdom which adversity had bred.
Glad were the vales, and every cottage hearth ;
The Shepherd Lord was honour'd more and more :
And, ages after he was laid in earth,
“ The Good Lord Clifford" was the name he bore.'

I. 136-138, All English writers of sonnets have imitated Milton; and, in this way, Mr Wordsworth, when he writes sonnets, escapes again from the trammels of his own unfortunate system; and the consequence is, that his sonnets are as much superior to the greater part of his other poems, as Milton's sonnets are superior to his. We give the following 'On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic.'

• Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee ;
And was the fafeguard of the Wett: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of liberty.
She was a maiden city, bright and free ;
No guile feduced, no force could violate;
And when she took unto herself a mate
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
These titles vanish, and that strength decay,
Yet shall come tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reach'd its final day :
Men are we, and muit grieve when even the shade

Of that which once was great is país’d away' 1. 132.
The following is entitled London.

& Milton! Thou should'st be living at this hour :
England hath need of thee : Me is a fen
Of lagnant waters : altar, sword and pen,
Firelide, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient Eoglish dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again ;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy foul was like a star, and dwelt apart :
Thou hadít a voice whose found was like the rea;
Pure as the naked heavens, a ajeltic,.free,
So didft thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godhness; and yet thy heart
The lowlicít duties on itself did lay.' I. 140.

We make room for this other ; though the four first lines are bad, and week-day man’ is by no means a Miltonic epithet.

I grier'd for Buonaparte, with a vain
And an unthinking grief! The vital blood
Of that man's mind what can it be? What food
Fed his first hopes ? What knowledge could he gain?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train
The governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood,
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees :
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk
Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk
Of the mind's business ; these are the degrees
By which true (way doth mount ; this is the stalk

True power doth grow on; and her rights are these.' I. 130 When we look at these, and many still finer passages, in the writiogs of this author, it is impossible not to feel a mixture of indignation and compassion, at that strange inkatuation which has bound him up from the fair exercise of his talents, and withheld from the public the many excellent productions that would otherwise have taken the place of the trash now before us. Even in the worst of these productions, there are, no doubt, occasional little traits of delicate feeling and original fancy; but these are quite lost and obscured in the mass of childishness and insipidity with which they are incorporated ; nor can any thing give us a more melancholy view of the debasing effects of this miserable theory, than that it has given ordinary men a right to wonder at the folly and presumption of a man gifted like Mr Wordsworth, and m de hiin appear, in his second avowed publication, like a bad imitator of the worst of his former productions.

We venture to hope, that there is now an end of this folly; and that, like other follies, it will be found to have cured itself by the extravagances resulting from its unbridled indulgence, In this point of view, the publication of the volumes before us may ultimately be of service to the good cause of literature. Miny a generous rebel, it is said, has been reclaimed to his allegiance by the spectacle of lawless outrage and excess presented in the conduct of the insurgents; and we think there is every reason to hope, that the lamentable consequences which have resulted from Mr Wordsworth's open violation of the established laws of poetry, will operate as a wholesome warning to those who might otherwise have been seduced by his example, and be the reans of restoring to that antient and venerable code its duc honour and authority.




From July to October 1807.

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