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of the old newspaper obituary, which rep- the waters of the bay, all wore the same unsullied | in spite, as it were, of our prepossessions. resents himn to have been extravagant in vestment, while each tree was tufted with the win: With all the faults which we bave pointed the early part of his life. Next to these, dry foliage, which wreathed the smallest spray, and out, we consider the work as one of much the characters of Ashly and Calvert, are, beneath the feathery burthen.
merit, and have perused it, as we think perhaps, the best executed ; and we really
But, even while gazing, the glittering pageant many of our readers will do, with inthought the first too respectable to be coup- faded from the eye ; the warm beams of the rising terest. It will rival neither the works of led up with Miss Spindle; but let that pass, sun spread, like a blush, over the stainless surface; the Great Unknown, nor those of our inas it was necessary to dispose of him, and and yielding to their influence, the delicate frost- genious countryman, the author of “The no better way occurs to us at present. We work wae lite dr from tree, shrub, and vine, and de: Pilot;" but it is superior to many in the would observe in general, that the dramatis ture threw off the fantastic dress she had assumed, same walk, that have enjoyed a good depersonæ are too nunerous, and that the au- Atherton was powerfully struck by the grandeur of gree of the favor of the public. thor has weakened his power by dividing it. her form, and the endless variety of lineament We shall conclude by recommending to A little more regard to the unities of space which characterizes her, in a land where the mag. the author in his next book, for we take it and time, would have rendered his task nificent and the beautiful are blended, with such for granted, that this is, according to the easier, and the effect would have been exquisite and unrivalled skill. The vessel was
passing through the narrow channel, which forms fashion of the day, but the first of a series, more pleasing. Akin to this objection is the entrance of the harbour, and then expands into to trust more to his powers of invention and another, which occurs to us, on the subject a deep and capacious basin ; on the left, the Blue description, and less to the records of the of the use of his materials, of which he has Hills were still visible, forming a part of the lofty time; and following the precept and examnot been sufficiently economical, -employ- range, which rises gradually from the shores of the ple of his great prototype, to draw from ing in the composition of two volumes, as broken at intervals into deep ravincs and extensive history and tradition nothing but
the hard much as, with good management, would vallies, then almost in the untutored wildness of and dry outlines of his subject, which are have made a dozen. He has committed, in nature ;—where many a silver stream rolled its fer- to be filled up and embellished with a warm this particular, the same error which Swift tilizing waves, unmarked by any eye save that of and bright colouring from that nature, charged upon Steele, when he borrowed an the Indian hunter, and unimproved, but by the in- which is the same now that it was two hunidea :roun the Dean, which he was reserving dlustrimus bhaner
, who erected his ingenious habita- dred years ago. for a volume, and used it up, if the phrase
Major Atherton gazed with unwearied pleasure may be permitted, in a single Spectator. on the boundless prospect; lovely and majestic in
There are some criticisins, of minor im- its outlines, though the freshness and bloom of sum- Seventeen Discourses on Several Texts of portance, which occurred to us during the mer were wanting to complete its attractions, and Scripture; addressed to Christian Assemperasal of these volumes. Thus, Sauguish ful plains. Near him were the commanding heights
clothe with verdure the undulating forests and fruit- blies, in Villages near Cambridge ; to is here given as the name of an island, which of Dorchester, then unknown to fame : more dis
which are added Six Morning Exercises. we have been accustomed to call Saguish ; tant, the wood-crowned eminence of Noonantum,
By Robert Robinson. First American and we have also supposed that Governor where, soon after, commenced the missionary la. Edition. With a Life of the Author. Winslow resided at his farm of Careswell, bours of the American Apostle, the devoted Elliot, Boston. 1824. 12mo. pp. 434. prior to the date of this work, which rep. the forest, and instructed them in the duties of reli- MR ROBINSON was born in Norfolk County, resents him as residing in Plymouth. An- gion, and the arts of civilization: nearer, again, in England, in 1735. His father was a achronisms are lawful to poets and novelists, | arose the memorable summit of Bunker Hill
, where Scotchman, and an exciseman; and nothing but we noticed this because the author the first laurels were plucked to garland the brow of more is said of him, than that “his humble seems careful to avoid them. We are not liberty; while far in the northern horizon, like sphere in life received no dignity from his certain, however, of our own judgment, in floating clouds, were visible the stupendous mouneither of these particulars, and possibly he of New Hampshire. Traces of cultivation were virtues.” Robert was the youngest of three
tains, which pervade the then unexplored regions understanding, and no brightness from his may be correct in both. Again, there is apparent within this extensive range ; and that children; bis father died when he was six some obscurity in the account of the mo- spirit of enterprise, which marked the early settlers years old, and left his family destitute. But tions of the various parties, on the occasion of New England, and has never deserted their de- the young pupil had made so favourable an when Miriam is saved from drowning by scendants, was already observable in the rapid in impression upon his teacher, the Rev. JoAtherton. We do not understand how the provements which their industry had accomplished. latter reached the Gurnet in so short a time, ed the trees of the wilderness ; and in their stead, man respect the motives which induced Mrs
in many places, the axe of the adventurer had fell- seph Brett, and so highly did this gentlenor where Mr Woodman's house was situ- appeared at intervals, the clustering tenements, the Robinson almost to exhaust her resources in ated. The description does not seem to us inud-walled church, and wooden palisade, denoting efforts to maintain her son at school, that he to agree with our recollections of the vari- the foundation of a town, or village, most of which offered to instruct him without
compensaous localities; but it is long since we be. have since risen into wealth and importance.
tion. This kind offer was, of course, acheld them, and we have no map at hand of The style of the work is generally easy cepted, and Robert remained at school until a size sufficient to satisfy us concerning and pleasing. We noticed but two offences he was fourteen; and, in the mean time, he these particulars.
against good English; one was on page 106 had learned the French and Latin lanMuch of the conversation is spirited and of the first volume, where Atherton asks guages, and made great proficiency in most agreeable; some of it, again, is much too where Capt. Standish was located, &c.; the of the studies commonly pursued at such inlong, and wanting in point. The descrip- other on page 11 of the second, where a po- stitutions. But his mother at length found, tions of scenery are often so well executed sition is mentioned, as one that is now that unconquerable difficulties must prevent and graphic, that we only regret that they “ improved as an important paval depot.” his success as a scholar, and she at once do not occur more frequently. We extract In concluding our remarks upon this pub- abandoned every hope of the kind, and the following as a good specimen.
lication, it occurs to us that its author, and sought only to shield her child from want, As soon as Atherton awoke in the morning, he our readers generally, may think that we by preparing him to earn a living in some hastened on deck, to note the progress they had have hardly redeemed the pledge which we useful calling; and he was soon apprenticed made; and with delighted surprise, found the ves, gave at the commencement of them, to re- to a London barber. For some time he lasel just entering the harbour of Boston. So novel view it in the spirit of favor-having em- boured in his vocation diligently; but his that he could scarcely persuade himself that he was ployed much more time .in marking its de- love of reading returned, and he improved not suddenly transported to the regions of fairy- fects than its beauties. But, though we every opportunity of indulging this ruling land.
admit that we may not bave been able to passion, which he could find or make. His A slight fall of snow, which descended during the resist the temptation to find fault, so en character had always indicated a regard for night, had invested the earth with its fleecy cover tirely as we hoped; yet, as we fairly stated religion, and at this time he exhibited ing
, and robed every object with a drapery of daza the expectations which were likely to influ- something of religious enthusiasm. He gradof the cloudless sky, and the deep green of the ence us, what we have said in its praise ually attached himself to the Methodists, ocean waves. The numerous islands, which gem ought to be the more valuable, as it is given I and was in habits of intimacy with White. field. He familiarly corresponded with that that which he sought to do, in the way, and showing you, that Christianity is not a secret but a remarkable man, and his self-love was grat- by the means, which seemed to him most revealed religion--that you are all of you able to ified, and, doubtless, his ambition infamed, eficient. Many of his works,—for he pub- world why you should apply yourselves to the thoby Whitefield's reading to his congregation, lished many beside the volume now under rough knowledge of it. ** in Robinson's presence, two letters which notice,-indicate, if we may trust his bi. When I affirm, the christian religion hath no he had received from him. At nineteen he ographer, extensive learning, and procured mysteries now, I do not mean to say that the truths began to preach among the Methodists, and for him many compliments from the digni- and the duties of Christianity are not connected with with great success. After about two years taries of the established church. Great ef- other truths and other exercises, which surpass all he left the Methodists, and in a year or two forts were made to bring him within the edge of the incomprehensible parts, and the belief
our comprehension ; but I affirm, that the knowlfrom this secession joined the Baptists. In pale from which he had wandered, but he of what people please to conjecture about them, 1759 he took charge of a small congrega- resisted them all, and, as we have said, though they may be parts of our amusement, and tion in Cambridge, which gradually increas- never changed the sphere of his labours. It perhaps improvement, are yet no parts of that relied, until the contributions of his people seems, that to each of the dissenting con-gion which God requires of us under pain of his yielded him an abundant support; and with gregations in Cambridge many families in displeasure. Suppose I were to affirm, there is no them he passed the remainder of his life. the adjacent villages are joined, and ser- and using hay; all this would be very true; and In 1790 he died suddenly.
mons are preached to them near their own should any one deny this, and question me about It is not stated why he left the Method - domiciles, once a month. From sermons the manner in which one little seed produces eloists; but if the sermons contained in this thus preached, those which form this vol ver, another trefoil
, a third rye-grass, and concern. volume are fair samples of those which he ume were selected. His audiences appear, spirit to horses, and milk 10 cows, and fat to oxen
ing the manner how all these convey strength and was accustomed to preach, it is not difficult from his addresses to them, to have been in the winter; I would reply, All this is philosoto assign a reason for this conduct. They composed principally of persons of very phy; nothing of this is necessary to mowing, and contain no indication of that excessive en- humble rank; and his discourses are faith- making, and using hay. I sanctify this thought by thusiasm, which we are accustomed to be fully adapted to them; of course, they are applying it to religion. Every good work produces lieve that sect look for, and applaud, in in some respects not suited to the literary work, and to hope for the reward from the known those who are peculiarly eminent among taste of higher classes. Perhaps too, the character of the great Master we serve, is religion, them. There is an exceeding simplicity habits and connexions of his early life, and all before and after is only connected with and heartiness about them; no reader can tended to disqualify him for studied and it. *** doubt that the preacher was in earnest, and accurate elegance of style. These dis
Take heart, then, my good brethren; you may preached for his hearers' sake, and not for courses were all composed hastily, and this God to man, just as you enjoy the light of the day,
understand, practise, and enjoy all this rich gift of his own. Nor is there less certainty as to may serve as a reason, if not an apology, and refreshment by rest at night. Let no one say. his object, or the means by which he would for occasional looseness of reasoning, as I was born in poverty, I have had no learning, I attain it. He wishes to make them whom well as inaptitude of ornament or illustra- have no friends, my days are spent in labour, and I he addresses, religious; and to this end he tion, and bad taste in expression. But we have no prospect except that of drawing my last urges upon them the plain and indubitable will give our readers an opportunity of breath where I drew my first. All this may be truths of religion. He says little about judging for themselves, by extracting from and practising, and enjoying the Christian Religion, doctrines, and very little about disputed doc- the first sermon, -upon the text, “ When ye the founder of wbich had not, what the birds of the trines; but he earnestly enforces the great read, ye may understand my knowledge in air bave, where to lay his head." truth, that the essence and the evidence of the mystery of Christ,”-passages which When I say all may understand it, I mean, if religion, is the love and the practice of will be a sufficient sample of the volume.
their own depravity does not prevent it. Plainly, you goodness. Upon this point, the following BRETAREN,
cannot know it if you do not attend to it; nor can
you know it though you do attend, if you do not atextract from the Preface may show his Suppose the apostle Paul, when he first stood tend to Christianity itself, and not to something else opinion.
up in the synagogue at Ephesus to teach Christian- put instead of it. "Let me explain myself. The author of these discourses is of opinion that ity to the Jews, or in the school of Tyrannus to a One says, I cannot understand the nature and the Christian religion ought to be distinguished mixed assembly, had begun his discourse by say force of religion ; and pray, is there any thing wonfrom the philosophy of it. On this ground he stud- ing, · Men of Ephesus, I am going to teach a reli- derful in your ignorance? Consider, you never ies to establish facts; and he hath no idea of guilt gion which none of you can understand;' I say, read the Scriptures ; you never ask any body to in regard to different reasonings on the nature of suppose this ; put yourselves in the place of the read them to you; you hate and persecute good those facts, or the persons concerned in them. He Ephesians, and you must allow, that he would have men; you seldom enter a place of worship; you hath his own opinions of the nature of God, and insulted his hearers, disgraced himself, and misrep- keep wicked company like yourself; you are often Christ, and man, and the decrees, and so on but resented the religion of Jesus Christ.
seen in the practice of enormous crimes. Are you he doth not think that the opinion of Athanasius, or
He wonld have insulted the assembly; and they the man to complain, 'I cannot understand reliArius, or Sabellius, or Socinus, or Augustine, or would have thoughtThis man either doth under- gion?" It would be a mystery indeed, if a man who Pelagius, or Whitby, or Gill; on the subjects in dis stand the subject of which he is going to speak, or never turned his attention to a subject, should know pute between them, ought to be considered of such he doth not. If he doth pot understand it himself, any thing certain about it. We have no such mysimportance as to divide Christians, by being made he bath gathered us together only to hear him con- tery in all the christian
religion. Christians do not standards to judge of the truth of any man's Chris- fess his ignorance; and what have we to do with live like you. * * tianity. He thinks virtue, and not faith, the bond that? If he be ignorant, let him sit silent, as we do, It is not only to you that I affirm this connexion of union, though he supposes the subject ought to be and give place to such as do know what they talk between attention and knowledge ; for if this barn properly explained. His design, therefore, in these of. It he does understand it himself, why should he were filled with statesmen and scholars, generals discourses,
was to possess people of a full convic affirm we cannot? Are we assembled io hear him and kings, I should be allowed to say to one, Sir. tion of the truth of a few facts, the belief of which boast? Does he take us for idiots, who have no you understand intrigue; to another, Sir, you unhe thought would produce virtue, and along with reason, or for libertines, who make no use of what derstand war, to besiege a town, and rout an army: that, personal and social happiness. His ideas of they have ?
to a third, Sir, you understand law, and every this subject do not meet the views of some of his
He would have disgraced himself ; for what can branch of the office of a conservator of the peace; brethren: but while he wishes they may enjoy render a man more ridiculous than his pretending to another, Sir, you understand languages and arts their own sentiments, he hopes they will not deny to instruct others in what he doth not understand and sciences; and you all understand all these, behim their friendship, because he hath it not in his himself? Paul would have appeared in the pulpit cause you have studied them; but here are two power to think as they do. It is on supposition of just as one of you, taskers, would appear in the things which you have not studied, and which, the harmlessness of philosophy, or rather of the chair of a professor of Hebrew at a university. therefore, you do not know; the one, how to plough, benefit of getting into a sound philosophy, which is What character more disgraceful can a man as- and sow, and reap, and thresh an acre of wheat; nothing but right reason, that he inculcates with all sume, than that of the leader of a credulous party, and the other, how to live
holily in this world, so as his might a spirit of universal liberty; for be never whose religion doth not lie in understanding and to live happily in the world to come. Are you not saw aay danger in a difference of opinion. till some practising what is taught, but in believing that the convinced, my good brethren, that the same circum. unruly passion by disturbing the disputants, and teacher understands it! A provision indeed for the stance, which prevents those gentlomen from knowsouring their tempers, brought the subject into dis- glorious consequence of a blind guide ; but not for ing how to perform the work which you perform
the freedom, and piety, and happiness of the every day with pleasure, prevents you from knowing grace. It is evident that the author was sincerely people!
the practice and the pleasure of true Christianity?
I said, he would bave misrepresented the chris. In both cases the subject bath not been attenden io. devoted to his work, and determined to do tian religion; and I am going to prove this, by I go further, and venture to affirm, if religion
could be understood without attention, it would be these addresses were the “ Morning Exer-jaccorded so well with the public taste, that a misfortune ; a misfortune depriving us of many cises” at the close of this volume. From they who thought his poems admirable, advantages, and leading us to commit many crimes. The case with which we acquired knowledge would one of them, upon “ Caution,” we extract were afraid to express their opinion, and sink the value of it, and darkness would have the following passage, which may show that almost afraid to hold it. But he continued communion with light.'
our author's style of exhortation was at to write, and to publish; he profited so far As attention is absolutely necessary, so it is least as forcible, and as much to the point, by the remarks of the critics, as to avoid equally necessary that attention should be fixed as it was homely.
some errors and faults; but the characterisupon the christian religion itself, and nothing else. We kear often of the mysteries of religion let us
Let us take care of our children. The text says,
tics which were peculiarly his, and had pot forget that there are mysteries of iniquity. The wilderness yieldeth food for them, and for been stigmatized as most at variance with Ignorance, covetousness, tyranny, especially ty
their children.' They live an idle, wandering life, the spirit and forms of poetry, were continuranny over conscience, all wrap themselves in mys. and they train up their children to be vagrants like ally developed more fully, and more boldly, with the christian religion, and attend to them, in- is the man that hath bis quiver, that is
, his house, work, which is almost his last, is also the most stead of distinguishing and attending to pure Chris full of them.' Under the direction of a prudent tianity, we may attend and study, but we shall parent, they are as arrows in the hand of a mighty original poem which he has published, and is never know; we shall be ever learning, and never man,' and will dy here and there to execute his
or- most distinctly opposed to those rules by be able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The ders. These children have every thing to learn, and which his former poetry was judged and condoctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffer. they will learn every thing of those who are the demned. But the scene has changed; the ing, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, and nearest to them. To them example is better than critics are silent, or they praise him; the deliverances of the apostle Paul, were fully known, all the books in the world, and indeed it is the only reading public demands large and numerous but who ever knew the doctrine of transubstantia: a neglect of them by groaning about Old Adam, nor editions of his works, and thus gives the most tion, or that of the infallibility of a frail, sinful man? by chanting over what nobody denies, that God unequivocal proof that he is in favour with Who of us, uninspired men, knows the feelings of a only can make a Christian, which is equal to say them; and ii is decidedly the fashion to person under the immediate influence of the Holy ing, God only can make a tucumber. God made praise the poet, whom but to admire, was, the stronger the attention, the greater the mortifica he hath made fruit ever since by means, and the a few years since, a peril which it required tion of not being able to succeed. If one place re
most industrious will always have the best garden. some courage to encounter. A change like ligion in impulses, another in new revelations, a Let us use our children early to do with little sleep. this is an important fact in the history of third in a state of perfection, a fourth in discoveries To put them to bed very early, to give them sleep: literature; it has passed, or is passing beand enjoyments inconsistent with our present state, ing doses, and such other customs, are generally fore us ; all its accompanying circumstances
are within our knowledge, and we hope our may well be filled with doubts and fears, and spend never, under pretence of fondness, give them strong readers will bear with us while we specuof religion. If, on the contrary, we attend only to poor child. Let us not lacquer their appetites, and late a little upon the reason of it. what is revealed, to believe only what is reported learn them to be dainty, or voracious. It is a great That the “Edinburgh Review” had some with sufficient evidence, to practise only what is misfortune to the poor to have remarkably great ap- influence in retarding the growth of Mr commanded by the undoubted voice of God; if we petites.. Such habits poison and kill. Let us ac. Wordsworth's fame cannot be doubted; but seek only such pleasures and distinctions as we are taught in scripture to expect; in a word, if we in their maupers, and to reverence for their God. we think this influence is greatly overrated. would acquaint ourselves
only with God, and be at Let us never think of the savage custom of beating We do not estimate very highly the genepeace one with another, thereby good should come them, nor ever spoil them by the contrary folly of ral influence of critics ; for, it seems to us,
cockering and fondling. Above all, let us teach that there are obvious reasons why they On page 48 is an anecdote respecting our terpre: Scripture for themselves. Let us take care
them to think and reason about religion, and to in- should seldom, or never, be able to produce fathers, which may interest those of our to inform them that religion is justice, and nothing a positive and important effect upon public readers to whom it is new, as it was to us. else. What is the religion of a poor woman's little opinion. They are rather the signs of the It is a benefit to understand the spirit, and see
girl, but to spin a groat a day; for it is just and times—the exponents of the literary charChristians the worth of their Bibles, and so wrap is the religion of a poor under boy on a farm in a not put forth his whole stock of intellectual the beauty of the Holy Scriptures? Aflictions teach to bardhat she should contribute what Jitle she can acter of the age. Public
favour is the very toward the maintenance of the family? And what breath of their nostrils. The reviewer does up their hearts in the oracles of God. The Bible cold winter day, but to rise early, to milk the cows treasure in one work, which a long labour us to feel the want of it, and then how many com; stantly and kindly, and so on ; for it is just and has wrought out, and then await in subfortable passages do we find, which lay neglected right, that he should do so for the benefit of his missive silence the decree to which the history of some, who fled from persecution
in this master
, who supplies all he wants. Justice makes hopes of many years have looked. He pubcountry to that then wild desert, America. Among a good man in every work and business of life. the public taste, he endeavours to do better
a good shepherd, a good herdman, a good tasker, lishes the Number, and if it does not suit straits for bread, that the very crusts of their former folks early in life by everything we do, and this the next time; he generally bow3 to the tables in England would have been a dainty to will settle them in services, and preserve them necessity of providing for his readers just them. Necessity drove the women and children to from idleness, which leads to vagrancy, as that does what is called for, and keeps this necessity the seaside to look for a ship expected to bring to pilfering and public punishment. them provision ; but no ship for many weeks ap
in view as the guide of his labours, and looks peared; however, they saw in the sand vast quan
to the sale of his journal as the criterion of tities of shell-fish, since called clams, a sort of mus
his success. It may be thought that a popcles. Hunger impelled them to taste, and at length The Poetical Works of William Words- ular critic need not be thus submissive; they fed alniost wholly on them, and to their own worth. Boston. 1824. 4 vols. 12mo. astonishment were as cheerful, fat, and lusty, as
that it is his business to speak of literary they had been in England with their fill of the best The history of Mr Wordsworth's poems, or productions as they appear, and before a deprovisions. A worthy man, one day after they had rather of his reputation as a poet, is inter- cided opinion is formed of them; and that all dined on clams without bread, returned God esting and instructive. Many years since, he may enforce his own opinion so ably as thanks for causing them to suck of the abundar.ce he came before the public as an author. to impose it upon the public, and thus influof the seas, and of treasures bid in the sand; a His reception was not very flattering ; not ence public taste. But there are considerwhich Moses blessed tne tribe of Zebulun before his such, one would think, as could stimulate ations which lie behind these ; the very death, a passage till then unobserved by the com- bim to perseverance by opening before him sopposition that the critic is extensively pany, but which ever after endeared the writings of a prospect of eminent success. The para- popular, proves, as we think, that he has Moses to them.
mount critics of that day spoke of his poetry gratified the existing taste of the day ;Mr Robinson sometimes passed the night with utter scorn ; his most elaborate and that he has pleased his readers by showing in the villages in which he preached, and most successful efforts were assailed with them that they have heretofore thought would then spend a short time, early in the severe satire; the cry of contempt and de- aright of literary matters, and giving them morning, in addressing bis audience before rision was so loud, and was echoed so faith excellent reasons for opinions which they they went to their daily labours. Among fully by all the underlings of literature, and bold ; by praising eloquently whatever their
habits of literary enjoyment make agreea- he wished only to know, and say, if Byron, and supernatural deeds and horrors, all ble, and pointing the omnipotent argument or Wordsworth were likely to be eminent equally true to nature; and Eastern ficof ridicule against that which wonld seem in the art of making what the taste and tions filled with creatures that never lived to them a folly. There may be exceptions fashion of the day called fine poetry. He before but in Eastern minds; and stories to this rule, but we cannot think there are mistook the character of Byron's mind, be- of pirates, infidels, rebels, and murderers, many. A man must have great abilities, cause Byron was able to falsify his predic- all infinitely touching and interesting. Men, and must be an advocate for truth in dis- tions, and discredit his criticisms, by becom- for whom it is utterly impossible to feel any tinct opposition to error, or he will scarcely ing popular in defiance of him; but he did thing like contempt,-men like Scott, Southinfluence, very greatly, public opinion; nor not mistake the intellectual character of ey, and Byron, wrote thus. None can be more can he then by means of a literary journal, Wordsworth, as far as he passed upon it; ready than we are, to acknowledge the unless there are already enough who think for the whole meaning of bis condemnation greatness of these poets' powers,-provwith him, to yield him that support, without was, that he deemed Wordsworth incapable ed, if by nothing else, by the many passawhich his instrument of warfare must fall of assimilating himself to the established ges of pure and exalted poetry which may from his hands. Now, we do not think that fashion, and gratifying the prevailing taste. be found in all their works. We will admit Jeffrey and his host, with all their wit, and And this was true.
all that any admirer of either of them could learning, and ingenuity, were men of ori- Mr Wordsworth's slow advance in public reasonably ask, and then we may demand ginal and commanding intellects ; and that estimation, must be accounted for, we think, if any one, not a child in years or intellect, they had the wrong side of this question, almost entirely by the character of his po- ever believed that the Border Knights of all who read Wordsworth,—and they are etry. We do not mean that his faults con- Scott, or the Giaours and Conrads of Byron, now many,-will admit.
cealed his merits, but that the kind, and or the Glendoveers and Afreets of Southey, We do not believe that it is an easy thing even the measure of his excellence, were ever had a prototype, or could have had one to control the opinions of a large class of such as to prevent his being justly appreci- in the nature of things. They are impossimen, nor that it is often done by a few indi. ated by the public to whom he first present- ble beings, made up of irreconcileable parts, viduals. We shall not, however, wander so ed his poems. Mr Coleridge has somewhere bound, not blended, together; and their far from our subject, as to follow where a said, that an original writer, just so far as thoughts, and emotions, and purposes, are discussion of this point would lead us; but he is original, must create the taste by all alien to the nature of man. Still, these it may receive some illustration from con- which he is enjoyed. This is something writers were men of fine intellects, and ofsidering the different results which attended more than a smart saying ; it is a valuable ten wrote pages which deserve not this reMr Jeffrey's assaults upon Byron and upon truth; and Mr Wordsworth, in one of his proach; but such pages are exceptions. It Wordsworth. When Lord Byron, “a mi prefaces, has applied it justly to the explan- may be said, that all great Epic writers, nor," started upon his career, the Edination of that very unfavourable reception and especially Milton, have heroes far reburgh Review saluted him with a strain of which his earliest productions met with. moved from actual humanity ; but, not to insolent ridicule. The critic appeared to Whatever may be thought of his stand- answer this objection more particularly, think that he treated the patrician young- ing among modern poets, in respect of gen- we may suggest, that these characters differ ster with too much respect by taking any eral power, it will be conceded by any one from the poetic creations of modern days, notice of his nonsense ; and if the hopes and at all conversant with his works, that he is in that they are consistent ;-consistent in efforts of an author could be extinguished better entitled than any of his compeers to themselves, and consistent with what is and repressed by any measure of contempt, the name of an original poet. Our readers known of real existence. The good, in such must have been the fate of Lord By- would not follow us through a long and ex- those great poems are good, and the evil
But it was not to be so; the Review act investigation of his poetical character; are evil. Tasso's heroes, for example, may was then in its zenith, ruling mercilessly, it would be a severe task to any one,-and be beyond actual humanity, but they are not and, to all appearance, despotically; but a task to which we think ourselves uncall- utterly opposed to it; and Milton's anstill ruling in the republic of letters--as all ed, and are certain that we are unequal. gels have the purity and splendour of must rule in all republics-by following, But a few remarks upon the more obvious heaven about them, aud his devils are worthat they may lead. In a very short time characteristics of his poems, will show, we thy of their name and doom, and Adam Byron had the best of the battle; the pub- hope, that they are altogether unlike that and Eve are human beings in Paradise, lic sided with him, and he was established kind of writing which various and long ope- with human frailties that will exile them to as a successful poet. But was he thus vic- rating causes had made reading men look earth. torious where Wordsworth was defeated, upon as the highest kind of poetry; and The most popular poets of these days won because he was the stronger? No; we that they are utterly opposed to those prin- their fame by pampering a morbid craving should be borne out by some of the best ciples whose sovereignty—then undisputed after vicious stimulants; but Wordsworth critics of these days, in asserting that|-bad not only disarrayed and disfigured did not believe that the intellectual habits Wordsworth, in power and originality of the apparel and the form of Poetry, but of the reading public were so fixedly degenius, is altogether Byron's superior ; but tainted her very spirit.
praved, that all relish for the genuine and it is enough for our purpose to say,-wbat The great characteristic of Wordsworth, healthy fruits of poetry was totally extinnone will deny,—that Byron was not nearly is resolute and confident adherence to guished. To the last he has adhered steadso far superior to Wordsworth in intellect- truth ;-to truth in sentiment and in lan- fastly to the principle which governed him nal excellence, as he was in his early suc- guage. The effect of the French school of at first
. In all his poems there cannot be cess as a poet. The cause, then, of this dif- poetry upon the writer's of Queen Anne's found one-Do, not one character which, ference in their fortunes, must be sought age, is often spoken of; but the causes we may well say, has not existed; no elsewhere; and it will be found, we think, which produced these morbid literatures,
—thoughts which are not of a sane and balin the difference of their poetical charac- if we may make a plural of this word,-con- anced mind, accustomed to examine all teristics. With regard to Byron, the Edin- tinued to operate, perhaps through them, things for lessons of truth ;-no emotions burgh reviewers maile a mistake; with re- long after the wits of Louis and Anne were which are not proper to a pure heart unused gard to Wordsworth they did not err. In silent. Their consequences are visible to indulge its waywardness by mingling neither the one case nor the other, did Mr now. A love of factitious, glittering, inane good and ill, and giving to each the semJeffrey feel that it was his business to go verse descended, not, perhaps, to our own blance of the other. He speaks of things back to the true, and absolute, and perma- day; but while it was passing'away, the in- as they are, or as they seem to be, to a nent principles of poetry, to apply its pri- tellectual taste which it had vitiated, was healthy and pure imagination; he seeks to mal laws, and judge by them if the author gratified by another kind of poetry not less give his poems no charm which would dewhom he reviewed was a poet. It was Mr false. There were tales of old times, paint. mand the sacrifice of truth. The boldness Jeffrey's first, and, perhaps
, his only aim, to ing the accomplished courtesy of errant sav- of his attempt was proved by his early ill amuse bis readers, and get popularity; and ) ages, spiced with chivalrous achievement, | fortune, and the power and beauty oí his
intellect may be measured by his influence , nected with eternity, that it might be weli, that which arises from his great command and ultimate success.
spent; and imagination was given him to of words, his knowledge of the rules of meWe should be exceedingly unwilling to bear away his thoughts from scenes where re, and his exquisite sense of harmony. give Mr Wordsworth more praise than is the shadows of sin and death are resting, We know no English poet who has written due to him, not only because we would al- to a world where there is no darkness. The inore melodious verses, and no one who so ways deal justly with the authors who come external universe is made that the needs o seldom offends the ear with harsh or ununder our notice, but from the certainty our probation may be supplied ;-this is its musical expressions. His desire to avoid that excessive, unreasonable approbation first and humblest use; for there is scarcely the poetical phraseology which he dreaded, would tend to defeat our object, which is so an atom fixed or floating in it, which ima- has helped to disfigure his minor poems to acquaint our readers with his true merits, gination may not enable reason to make with some puerilities; but from faults of this as to extend the circulation of works so illustrate the revelations of God, and teach kind "The Excursion” is almost wholly free. excellent and so useful. But we cannot of things to come. Foolishly does proud Mr Wordsworth insists too much upon his with any justice withhold the acknowledg. and vain reason-we use the word as mean- system; he is vain of it, and in his valuament, that he is the first among modern ing little more than the argumentative fac- ble Prefaces, makes rather too much of it. poets, who has distinctly discovered the ulty-claim to fortify the hopes of man, and We do not mean that he rates the value of true nature and uses of poetry. He has teach all his duties, with unassisted efforts. his principles of poetry too highly, but that revealed these secrets; and laid upon all She mistakes her end; she leaves her he appears somewhat too determined that men whose hearts and minds are capable of proper home; and however she may essay every one of his lesser poems shall be conimprovement, a heavy debt of gratitude. to soar, her unsupported wing must fail sidered as belonging to one general whole,
Poetry has been long enough regarded as long before she passes the Empyrean. We which systematically includes all his proan elegant but useless art; her creations do not say that the imagination must be ductions. He has enough to be proud have been long enough held to be luxurious ever supported at this height; that were of without this. His distinction between dreams, which he whom the duties of life impossible; but her highest use is to con- fancy and imagination, which, as far as we envelope, must awake from when he goes nect the things proper to our finite exist- know, is original with him, would, of itselt, forth to his labours; it is quite time that ence with things infinite, and the most hon- have assigned him a high rank among the her powers should be thought equal to a ourable employment of poetry is to record leading minds of the age. We ought to worthier use than to amuse an indolent, or and impart the lessons which iinagination have spoken of this distinction before, for relax an overtoiled intellect. Why is it thus may teach. And so long as religion we have all along used the word imaginathat we oppose poetry to prose, and make holds out from heaven her promises to men tion in the sense in which he uses it, we that harmony of words which is an incident walking amid the clouds and cares of earth, may better say, in the sense to which he has -an ornament to poetry, its essence? It is so long will the best uses of poetry be high exalted it. But we cannot, without far exwell said by our author, and others who and holy.
ceeding our limits, give our readers a full have followed him, that poetry should be For the illustration of all that we have explanation of this theory;* and the uses we opposed rather to science-to the knowl- said, we refer to the poems of Mr Words- have assigned to the imagination will sufedge and examination of facts. Science worth; and these works we may also cite, ficiently illustrate the opinion we hold as to arranges with the aid of demonstrative rea- as proofs that the imagination is worthy the the nature and power of 'that important son, what things the senses discover, and high office she assumes in them. There faculty. makes herself acquainted with the various are truths directly taught by God to man; If we have in any measure succeeded in existences in the visible universe, and and while they are remembered, -and showing how much Wordsworth's poetry learns how they are connected together; Wordsworth never forgets them,—this dis- opposed itself to the poetical spirit of the and here her work ends, and must end. It tinctive faculty of man will find, in all the day in which he began to write, we have is then that Poetry calls upon the imagina- realities of existence, and all the relations sufficiently accounted for his unfavourable tion, to tell whence that sun gets his floods between them, stronger confirmation, and reception. The ablest writers of England of light to bathe the world in beauty, and brighter illustration of revealed wisdom. are now acknowledging their obligations to whence that warmth comes to awaken the Then the delightful joyousness of innocent his works, and public opinion decidedly yields universal life around us, and what hand childhood, the natural pleasures of all crea- to him the place he deserves. There is in his sowed the burning stars in the abyss, and tures, and the living beauty of inanimate Supplement to the Preface, referred to in rolled around them countless earths ;-and nature, will yield instruction touching the the note to a preceding passage, a fine parait is for her that the tempest lets loose the duties and the destinies of men. In his graph expressive of his consciousness of wind and heaves up the ocean, with instruc- smaller poems, the principles which char- the influence and merit and destiny of his tive sublimity; and the sunlight touches acterize Mr Wordsworth's poetry are ap- poetry,—which we cannot help quoting for the green hills and gilds the evening clouds plied to a great variety of subjects, and ex- our readers. He has been illustrating his with beauty that has a voice; the busy in-hibited in various forms. In his “ Excur- position that an original poet cannot be at sects, and breathing flowerets, the singing sion,”—which he states to be but a part of once appreciated; and thus goes on ;brooks, and the sweet music of the Summer of a larger work,-his topics, and his mode wind upon its living harps, all, all speak to of treating them, are of a more solemn cast. relation of what has been said to these Volumes ?
It may still be asked, where lies the particular her, with utterance most distinct, lessons We bave said nothing of Wordsworth's The question will be easily answered by the dismost momentous. Poetry is not fiction-nor diction, and to those, acquainted with his cerning Reader who is old enough to remember the foreign from the realities of life-nor bar- works, this may seem the more extraordinary, taste that prevailed when some of these Poems ren of strong motives and high hopes. Most as he evidently believes that his improve observed to what degree the Poetry of this Island true it is, that she is but the record of the ments in the language of poetry constitute has since that period been coloured by them; and imagination ; but it is no less true, that the a great part of his claim to originality. In who is further aware of the unremitting hostility imagination helps strongly to produce, and this we think he is mistaken. That notion with which, upon some principle or other, they to support, all those truths which dignify of a “poetical diction,” which he so forci. have each and all been opposed. A sketch of my our sensual existence. Man was made to bly reprobates, was passing away when he own notion of the constitution of Fame, has been begin his being upon earth, and to bend for began to write ; he helped it to pass, but given; and as far as concerns myself, I have a while to its labours, and bear its sorrows, in this others worked with him. Perhaps * We refer those readers who may wish to pur. and help his brethren to toil and to endure; he first distinctly perceived, that" in pro- sue this inquiry, to the Preface to the edition of and, therefore, bis sensnal nature, and fac- portion as ideas and feelings are valuable, Wordsworth's Poems published in 1815, in 2 vols. ulties to take congnizance of existing whether the composition be in prose or in 8vo., (inserted in the ist vol. of the American Edithings, and to reason about them, were verse, they require and exact one and the tion of his
Poetical Works, as a Supplement to the given to him. But even while on earth he same language.” We cannot think that his ria." in this last work Mr Wordsworth's views was to look beyond it; time was to be con- I language has any great peculiarity beyond l are very beautifu:ly illustrated.