« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Our noisy years feem moments in the being
To perish never ;
Nor man nor boy,
Though inland far we be,
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
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,
6. From town to town, from tower to tower,
The red rose is a gladsome flower.
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.
When Falcons were abroad for prey.' II. 133-4.
6-Now another day is come,
Fitter hope, and nobler doom :
Alas! the ferrent harper did not know
Who, long compellid in humble walks to go,
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 ;
Of that which once was great is país’d away' 1. 132.
& Milton! Thou should'st be living at this hour :
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
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.
QUARTERLY LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS,
From July to October 1807.
AGRICULTURE. The Fourteen Books of Palladius Rutilius Taurus Æmilianus on Agriculture. Translated by the Rev. T. Owen.
A Treatise on Gypsum, on its various Uses, and on its Appearance as a Manure. By Sutton Thomas Hood, Esq. ls. 6d.
The life of Thuanus, with some Account of his Writings, and a Translation of the Preface to his History. By the Rev. J. Collinson. Svo.
Memoirs of John Lord de Joinville, Grand Seneschal of Champagne, written by Himself, containing a History of Part of the Life of Louis IX. King of France, surnamed St Louis, including an Account of that King's Expedition to Egypt, in the year 1218, &c. &c. Translated by Thomas Johnes, Esq. M. Ý. 2 vol. 4to. 4.1. 43 boards.
The Lives of British Statesmen. By John Macdiarmid, Esq. with Plates. 4t0. 21. 2s. bound.
Memoirs of the Life of the Great Condé, written by His Serene Highness Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, with Notes. Translated by Fanny Holcroft. 8vo. 9s. bound.
An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D. late Professor of Moral Philosophy and Logic in the Marischal College and University of Aberdeen, including his original Letters. By Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Bart. Second Edition. 3 vol. 8vo. 27s. boards.
BOTANY. Index Plantarum, or an Alphabetical Arrangement of all the Genera and Species of Plants hitherto described, with References to Original Authorities for each Genus and Species, &c. &c. By W. B. Coyt.
The Fortress, a Melo-Drama. By T. E. Hook, Esq. 2s.
Chronological, Biographical, and Miscellaneous Exercises, on a new Plan: designed for the Daily Use of Young Ladies. By William Butler. The Third Edition, greatly enlarged. 7s. boards, or 75. 6d. bound.
Advice to Youth, containing a Compendium of the Duties of Human Life in Youth and Manhood. By Hugh Blair. ls. 6d.