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They sip and find their honey-dreams are vain,
Are lost-nor see to-morrow's April flower.' We give our readers credit for being sharp-siglited enough to detect, without the aid of italics-by which we are apt to feel ourselves almost as much insulted as by the offer of a pair of spectacles—the minute touches and felicities of expression which give so much picturesque beauty to these sketches. The opening lines of May' would forin a good subject for Wilkie, were it not that painting cannot be so picturesque as language, which can express, as Dugald Stewart remarks, picturesque sounds as well as sights, and picturesque sentiments also. The 'swarthy bee teazing the weeds that wear a • Aower,'—the school-boy 'viewing with jealous, eyes the
clock,'—the driving boy cracking his whip in starts of joy,' - these are images full of life and beauty, which cannot be expressed on the canvas. Having thus long dwelt upon the Spring, we must take one specimen from Summer.
Upon whose deeply buried walls
effort proves in vain,
Till armies from the hole appear,
On pillowed clouds of many hues :
The quiet of a Summer's eve.'
the scene, we seem to become boys again, and long to have a pelt at that same squirrel.' And though our heart has never danced with daffodils,' as Mr. Wordsworth bas it, many a time have we watched the insect sports which Clare has so happily described. But, perhaps, we should have done better to select extracts more intelligible to the uninitiated in these minute mysteries of nature. The volume appears without any table of contents, and we must therefore supply one. The Shepherd's Calendar is followed by three beautiful narrative poems, entitled, The Sorrows of Love, The Progress of Love, and The Memory of Love; and a Pastoral, or what some would have called an eclogue, entitled, The Rivals. The remainder consists of miscellaneous poems. Among these, it is with sincere satisfaction that we perceive an occasional thoughtful reference to such topics as death and eternity; the total avoidance of which in most of the poems, excites the fear, that the Poet has not yet learned to look upon the beauties of Nature as faint types at best of a far more exceeding and eternal glory,-has not yet drunk into that spirit which should enable him, amid the scenes of his rural wanderings, to
• lift to Heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say, My Father made them all.. We do not now speak as critics, for it were not fair to find fault with his poems for what they do not contain; nor would we wish the Poet to affect sentiments he does not feel, and to hitch in an awkward sentence or two of a religious complexion. There are tongues in trees and sermons in stones' and in this species of divinity, Clare's poetry is not deficient. It is for his own sake, as much as for that of his readers, that we could wish him oftener to
reach the Bible down from off the shelf,
To read the text, and look the psalms among till, haply, he might imbibe from the sacred page a higher inspiration, and perceive, not only how “ the heavens declare the glory of God,” but that "the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, and his testimonies sure, making wise the simple.” Then, should be live, as we hope he will, to produce a fourth volume, we should expect to find him reaching a higher strain.
The present volume, as compared with Clare's first efforts, exhibits very unequivocal signs of intellectual growth, an improved taste, and an enriched mind. This progressive improvement is one of the surest indications of a mind endowed with the vigorous stamina of genius. When he first appeared before the public, it was as a Northamptonshire peasant, in fact a day labourer ; and the public were led to wonder how an individual so circumstanced should have been capable of writing genuine poetry,-how such a flower should have sprung up under the very harrow of poverty. It is seven years since that volume appeared, and we reflect with satisfaction, that, from our Journal, Clare met with (we believe) the earliest notice and the most cordial praise. We could not, however, refrain from expressing our doubt as to the possible effect of further cultivation upon the native originality of his mind. We hardly ventured to hope that he would so far excel his early efforts as he has since done. In the preface to the present volume, he expresses a just and manly confidence of success. • I hope,' he says, my low station in life will not be set off
as a foil against iny verses ; and I am sure I do not wish to • bring it forward as an excuse for any imperfections that may • be found in them. We like this spirit. " There is a sort of praise which, in its tone, differs little from contempt, and with which no poet would be satisfied. His compositions may now challenge admiration on the ground of their intrinsic merit and interest. Although we have already extracted somewhat largely, it would hardly be doing justice to the volume, to withhold a specimen of his success in narrative poetry; but we can make room for only a short specimen, with which we shall conclude this article.
I sat beside her bed :