Page images

stances, and by internal emotions. dawning national literature." _“AuThere is more of genius than art in it; thors, here, cannot afford to trim the and more of the true spirit of poetry lamp much. If they would live by their than characterizes many of the popular pens, they must write by the job, and poems of the day.

take long ones too. They cannot af. The preface to this volume is worth ford to exhibit such a multitude of vaperusing, were it merely for the bolde riæ lectiones as Pope could.”—“But. ness and independence of thought which our correctesť poets are not our greatit displays. A few extraets from it may est. (We say our's, when we talk of hot prove uninteresting. I have but England.) The master spirits, who little to say,” remarks our author, "by rise, like the Dië majores, above the way of preface. An independent mind herd of the correct, the polished, the deought not to beg an excuse; and an au- cent, and the pretty, have never been thor ought not to publish, unless he be- too lavish of their corrections, and yet lieves he needs none. This second part their fame will live the longest. Is not of Prometheus is entirely new. It is, Chaucer the most inmortali of our like the first, discursive, but not entirely poets? He has certainly been the destitute of a plan to those who can de longest lived, and has now alt the freshtect it. It must stand or fall by its own ness of a green old age. But he wrote merits, and therefore needs no farther much, very much indeed, and one would apology. It was written hastily, in a think rather rapidly and negligently; very few days. This is no apology, if yet his readers love him none the tess for it is bad. If it is good it needs none." that. Did Shakespeare and Spencer : We know not how strictly the opis correct much? I trow not. Even nions of our readers wilt coincide with Milton seems often to have left his those, which the author advances on the finest passages, as they came fresh from subject of poetry. To allow fair op the overflowing riches of his mind; at portunity for judgment to be passed, least, one would think he did not blot they are here subjoined. "I do not much, when he sent cowls and houds, like that poetry, which bears the marks beads and reliques, flying over the back of the file and the burnisher. I like to side of the world into limbo: see it in the full ebullition of feeling and All this is very fine, and apparently fancy, foaming up with the spirit of life, very plausible. But we think some que and glowing with the rainbows of a glad ries might be put to the author, the corinspiration. It would be a mournful rect answers to which would subvert, in task to distil off the vivida vis that a great degree, the hypothesis he has comes out only in the moments of hap- assumed. In fact, all his remarks on py excitement, and reduce the living the old writers are merely hypothetical. materials to a capat mortuum of chaste If Milton does not show us the marks of and sober reason. When there is a the labor limæ in some of his most adquick swell of passion, and an ever mired passages, then, it may be safely coming and going of beauty, as the said, there is nothing of the kind proved light of the soul glances over it, I would by the variæ lectiones of Pope. And not have the heart to press it down to who can tell us whether Chaucer, of its solid quintessence. This would do, Spencer, or Shakespeare, did not apif poetry was meant to be a string of ply to his verses - the file and the burproverbs, moving on, in the rank and nisher ?” Granting they did not, will file of couplets, with the regular slow- this justify an individual, at the present step of a Prussian army. But I like to advanced age of the world, in running see something savage and luxuriant in counter to the rules of criticism handed warks of imagination, throwing itself out down to us from time immemorial ? like the wild vines of the forest, ram- The judicious critic, says Horace, wilt bling and climbing over the branches, order you to blot, and to re-write any and twining themselves into a maze of ill-formed verses. windings." * * Again, I contend that this free and

delere jubebat,

Et malè formatos incudi reddere versus careless style is the natural one of a

17. Poe. 410.

to the poem.

It is sure,

«.Write much, if you please, but keep

Mind can caise it long, and prune it well,” saith the old from its unseen conceptions, where they lie rule of criticism. “Corrige, sodes, hoc,

Bright in their mine, forms, hues, that look

XXV. et hoc.”-One remark more, and then

We have so many qu. --Stamp'd by the seal of nature that the web thors at the present day, in every de- of Mind, where all its waters gather pure, partment of polite literature, that he, Shall with unguestion'd spell all meaner hearts


XXXV. who wishes his productions to descend to posterity stamped with the seal of Speaking of the splendour of ancient approbation, must bring his taste as times, their glory and renown, their adwell as his genius to bear upon them. vancement in arts and refinement, and Taste is now the grand requisite in the records of their fame which have works of inagination: with it much been preserved to our times, the poet may be done as to acquiring fame; with exclaims-out it, litile. The introductory stanzas of this con

«Wegaze on them, and on the ancient page, tinuation of “Prometheus” are (though Through the expanding haziness of age,

And read its mystic characters, which seem, there are some few exceptions) charge "The fading forms of a majestic dream; able with an apparent obscurity, that Feels the warm spirit kindle-t is the sound

Cold is the heart, that not on such a theme renders them, if not altogether uninter

Of a gone trumpet rolling on the streamesting, yet certainly unnatural. Thiş Of Time, and catching still at each rebound. is perhaps to be attributed to the ex- Deeper and dearer tones to bear its warning

XXXVI. cited state of mind under which the au

round," &c. thor wrote; for he had given us warn, There is certainly something that aping in his first volume, that, as the poen proaches sublimity in the passage just had been written thus far under the in- quoted: and there are not wanting lines fluence of excited feelings, so it should equally grand in other parts of the be continued. This is, in no small man- poem. Take the following address to ner, compensated by the brilliancy and the Sun, and the succeeding one to the perspicuity of other parts of the work. Ocean.

We commence pur extracts by way "Thou lookest on the Earth, and then it smiles; pf specimen.

Thy light is híd, and all things droop and s. The world, that is, seems Eden to the child, Laughs the wide sea around her budding isles,

mourn ; The rainbows on a bubble are a spell

When through their heaven thy changing car To chain him in sweet wonder. 0! how wild

is borne; Do the first waken'd throbs of feeling swell!

Thou wheelst away thy flight, the woods are There is no music like the village bell,

"shorn That ofer the far hill sends its silvei sound,

Of all their waving locks, and storms awake; . There is no beauty like the forms, that dwell

All, that was once so beautiful, iş torn In flower and bud, and shell and insect, found,

By the wild winds, which plough the lonely lake, When through the water'd vale we take our

And in their maddening rush the crested moun. infant round.”

tains shake.”

CXXI. 56 The world imagined, to the world we feel, Is glóry and magnificence; we turn

"Thine are themountains where they purely lift From earth in sated' weariness, but kneel

Snows that have never wasted, in a sky Before the pomp we dream of-when the urn

Which hath nostain: below the storm may drift Holds all that now has form and life, we spurn

Jts darkness, and the thunder-gust roar by ; The shackles, that debase'us and confine;

Aloft in thy eternal smile they lie Deep in its central fountain mind will burn Dazzling but cold ;-thy farewell glanoe looks Brighter in darkness, like the gems that shine

there, With a fix'd eye of fire, the stars of cave and

And when below thy hues of beanty die mine.

Girt round them as a rosy belt, they bear

Into the high dark vault, a brow that still is fair." " When the gay visions once so fair are fled,

CXXV. When time has dropp'd his rose-wreaths, and his brow

I, too, haye been upon thy rolling breast, Ilath only snows to shade it; hearts have bled Widest of waters! I have seen thee lie

And heal'd themselves to be all callous; now Calm as an infant pillow'd in its rest

In the cold years of vanish'd hope we ploughi On a fond mother's bosom, when the sky, And sow in barrenness to reap in blight Not smoother, gave the deep its azure dye,

Then the soul in its solitude doth bow Till new heaven was arch'd and glass'd below, To its own grandeur, and from outer night And then the clouds, that gay in sunset fly, Turns to the world within, and finds all love and Cast on it such a stain, it kindled so, light."

XIV, XV. As in the cheek of gouth the living roses grow,


“1, too, have seen thee on thy surging path, few moments longer by some brief reWhen the night tempest met thee; thou didst marks on this more important topic.

dash Thy white arms high in heaven, as if in wrath

We hold it as an indisputable truth, Threatning the angry sky; thy waves did lash that an author is, in an essential degree,

Thelabouring vessel, and with deadening crash responsible for the writings he pubRush madly forth to scourge its groaning sides ; Onwards thy billows came to meet and clash

lishes. If they produce good effects, In'a wild warfare, till the lifted tides

he is to be praised; if evil, he is to be Mingled their yesty tops, where the dark storm

censured. To decide this matter, it is cloud rides." CXXIX. CXXX.

the privilege of the public to call him We have now, we think, said enough before their tribunal, and then to bestow of our author in a literary point of view; upon him his deserts. In thus bring. and, we may add, that the praise wé ing our author to pass the ordeal of crihave bestowed has resulted from a firm ticism, far be it from us to wound unpersuasion of its justice. The extracts necessarily the delicate and susceptible we have given are, however, but a feelings of Dr. P. He stands too higla small specimen of his numerous pro- in our estimation as a man and as a ductions. There is one falling off in poet, to admit for a moment a suspicion the second part of “Prometheus,” that of such a design. But there are things it would be unpardonable to pass over

in volumes which deserve severe unnoticed. When speaking of youth censure from the Christian moralist; as the season for enjoyment,


nor should we esteem our duty dis. that Nature

charged were we not to notice them. In

fact, the unsettled state of the moral and designed

religious principles of the author, as disThe beautiful years to be alone the time, played in his poems, was the chief cause

When we can fondly love, and loving find In the ador'd the same glad pussion chime,

ihat led us to think of noticing them at As if two spirits met in one most luneful all; and—we repeat it—we think we rhyme."

CLXVIII. should be doing injustice to ourselves,

and to the cause which we profess to Excepting the last line, the whole stanza serve, did we pass them over in silence. is quite beautiful.

There is a species of moody sceptiThe faults of Dr.P. arise chiefly from cism prevalent in several portions of the hasty manner in which many of the these volumes which destroys, in many pieces appear to have been written. instances, their moral beauty; and Indeed, for so young an author, he has there seems to be something like a conpublished far too much. "It is worse tempt cast upon the religion we profess, than useless for an individual to give to that can not fail to wound the feelings the world every thing he writes, espe- of true Christian piety. The author cially when his productions are con- had announced to his readers in his fessedly written in haste. The public first volume, that although he exwill scarcely tolerate it; nor in fact will pressed opinions” in that volume, "opthe author advance his own reputation posed to the commonly received opiby it. Haste in the composition, and nions of society," he trusted he should rapidity in the publication of an author's never become the advocate or the works, are inconsistent with that de. pander of vice." It is certainly to be ference for public opinion which every hoped that his productions never may. literary adventurer ought to entertain. Now, though a persuasion of the

truth There is one light in which, as Chris- of his own opinions might lead Dr. P. tian journalists, it is our duty to notice to differ from the majority of his counthese volumes. We refer to the moral trymen, still a deference for public opicharacter of the productions, and to the nion, and a just sense of the claims influence they are calculated to exercise which the public have upon his talents, over the minds of our people. And al- should have led him to omit such porthough we have been drawn to a greater tions of his works as are so grossly exlength than we had intended, in our eb- ceptionable. One stanza in the first servations on the literary merits of our part of “ Prometheus" is almost withauthor; we shall detain our readers-a out a parallel in the coarseness of its



por wear

infidelity, though if there can be any These specimens will show the strugsort of palliation for it, it may be gle that seems to be going on in the auascribed to the extraordinary excitement thor's mind. At one time, he is ready of mind under which the author wrote. to reject religion; and, at another, he One of his critics has termed it « is almost persuaded to be a Christian. thing less than an effusion of madness." To us, there is in this indecision some" I ask not pity," says our author, thing of favourable aspect; it allows us

still to hope for the better. nor will I incline Weakly before the cross, nor in the blood

The influence which poetry exerts Of others wash away my erimes I stood over the minds of men is so unbounded, Alone, wrapp'd in suspicion and despair, For they did goad me early to that mool

that it ought always to be the aim of I hate not men, but yet I will not share the poet, to disseminate correet moral Again their follies, hopes, their toils and fears, principles amongst his admirers. Other

wise much evil may be propagated, and “ The mantle of the Hypocrite, nor bow Before a fancied Power, por lisp the creed,

much injury consequently done to soWhich offers them new life, they know not how, ciety through his instrumentality. It is A blind belief, whose ministers will lead, perhaps unfortunate for the present age Even as a hireling slave the shackled steed, The many, who to nature's laws are blind."

that our best poet is also our worst: we

CLVIII. CLIX. mean Lord Byron. There are some This evinces, in a striking manner, things in sentiment in the volumes be

This evinces, in a striking manner, fore us, which bear a striking analogy the morbidness of his feelings. To do justice to the author, we give some

to some of the opinions expressed by counterbalancing stanzas, which will this noble author. It is to be hoped, show the vacillating state of his religi- that many of his productions are only

however, for the honour of humanity, ous opinions; or, rather, the varying the effusions of those hours of insanity, tone of his excited feelings, (for he seems to have no settled opinions, or

which, we have too much reason to be. fixed principles on the subject of reli. lieve, are often the lot of men that feel gion.)

deeply the ills of life, and yet waste

many of its hours in idleness and de"I am not to the hope of Heaven a foe:

bauchery. Against Dr. P. charges of It comforts, lifts, and widens all, who share In the pure streams, that from its fountain flow :

the latter kind cannot be brought: his We must be pure ourselves, if we would dare character stands unimpeached. And Take of the holy fire, that wells and gushes it is only with regard to the sentiments there,” &c. Part II.-XCI. XCII.

advanced in his poetry, that we have

made these observations. To be free “There is a mourner, and her heart is broken from the charge, that he is “the adShe is a widow, she is old and pool Her only hope is in that sacred token

vocate or the pander of vice,” is not Of peaceful happiness, when life is o'er:

enough for the poet. He should be the She asks nor wealth, nor pleasure, begs no more Than Heaven's delightful volume, and the sight

Was it merely poe

herald of virtue. Of her Redeemer. -Sceptics! would you pour try, without any respect to moral sentiYour blasting vials on her head, and blight ment, that raised Milton, and Young, Sharon's sweet rose, that blooms and charms and Cowper, to so high a station among her being's night?

the bards in our language ? Did not Softly pour The breathings of her bosom, when she prays

religion add a grace to their strains Low-how'd before her Maker, then no more

which the cold principles of philosophy She muses on the griefs of former days, could never reach? Her full heart melts and flows in Heaven's dis

Let our author consider candidly the solving rays.

remarks we have now made, and we “And faith can see a new world, and the eyes Of saints look pity on her: Death will come

think he will be convinced of the imA few short moments over, and the prize propriety of permitting “even the apOf peace' eternal wails her, and the tomb

pearance of evil” to deface his otherBecomes her fondest. pillow, all its gloom wise admirable poetry. Is scatter'd. What a meeting there will be To her and all she loved here, and the bloom With these remarks, we close our Of new life from those cheeks shall never flee protracted notice of these interesting Theirs is the health, which lasts through all volumes. 6 My work is ended,” closes eternity."

Part I.-CIX. CXI, CXII. the author in a most beautiful strain


“My work is ended--I have gaind the shore, a moment, they would condemn in Whose flowers are fancy, and whose fruits others, and correct in themselves. The

deceit; And I have furld my sail to try no more

whispering, and smiling, and staring, The gentle breath of favour, nor to beat which are sometimes noticed during di

With adverse gales, nor where the wild winds vine service, are, to say the least of On the contending waters: Youth's quiyksyelt them, ill suited to the place; and may,

Is sunk in manhood's calm, and now my feet it is to be feared, be considered as abMust take a weary pilgrimage, and tell, On through the waste of age, to all I loved is the place for worship-for prayer and

solutely sinful. The sanctuary of God Farewell."

L.J. praise--not for amusement or idle cu,

riosity. He that attends should remem

ber the place which he enters, and the For the Christian Journal. On devout attendance at Church.

feelings and conduct that are required

of him as a professed worshipper. The Let all things be done decently, and in order: idle gaze and the unmeaning stare are

1 Cor. xiv. 40.

ill suited to any place and any occaDevotion, even in appearance,oughtsion : how much more so to the house always to characterize our attendance of God, and the hour of worship!'' on public worship. The formularies of Even the serious and devotional part the church possess so much intrinsic of the congregation are sometimes ervalue themselves, and breathe so much roneous in their conduct. It has always of the true spirit of piety, that it seems appeared to me a great mistake among very inconsistent, that those, who use pious people, that, when they have them, should not realize that value, and once become so familiar with the formushould not be influenced by that spirit. laries of the church as to have them If the clergyman who officiates per committed by heart, they may thereforms all the offices of devotion with fore set aside the use of their Prayer pious fervour, it will tend but little to Books, and trust solely to their memory. the edification and improvement of the I doubt not it is through inadvertency: people, unless they themselves unite they do not reflect upon the example with him in the same fervour.

they place before others. There are several things, which have It might reasonably be asked, Why particularly struck me as being ill cal- have we our Prayer Books ? That we culated to advance the spirit of religion, may commit the service to memory ? so intimately connected, as it is, with or, that they may be such a help to us, the very existence and prosperity of the that we may, with the more devotion, church. They may indeed to some join in the responses and the prayers, seem unimportant; but, as they exer- and that we may have in them a concise considerable influence, they will be stant motive to attention ? "Certainly looked upon in a different light by the the latter. Is it not wrong, then, to observing portion of community. neglect this constant use of the Prayer

The inattention to the exercises, and Book? the impropriety of conduct, of some, There is another impropriety which, who attend church morning and even- it is to be presumed, arises from a want ing of a Sunday, are always cause of of reflection rather than from any other regret to the pious and devotional part cause, that ought to be corrected. It of the congregation. The very fact of is that of turning the back upon the alone's being in the house of God, ought tar during the time of singing. The to banish improper thoughts from the chancel in our churches is a sort of mind; and the reflection, that we come substitution for the more holy place of professedly to worship him, ought to the Jewish temple; and it would thererender us attentive to the exercises. fore seem most proper, that our looks

There are many individuals whose should be bent in that direction. The attention is so palpably diverted to habit of thus turning from the altar has other objects than those which ought to always appeared to me more like woroccupy it, that they are guilty of many shipping the choir and the organist improprieties which, did they reflect for than the God we profess to serve. Our

« PreviousContinue »