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- and as seen in the light of prophecy. packet of little books for children and

It is beautifully illustrated, and emi- some illuminated cards. nently suited as a gift or library book The Course of Time, a poem in ten for the young

books, by Robert Pollock, A.M., with True Fales about India, its Native Prefatory Note, by Jean L. Watson,

Princes and British Rulers. By Glasgow and London, Cameron & S. 7. Bellard. London, Religious Ferguson; Glasgow, Dunn E Tract Society.

Wright, West Nile Street.

Also All the more striking events and from the same firm, Tales of the scenes in the history of India since Covenanters, by Pollock; and The it came under British rule are here Cottagers of Glenburnie; each of described and illustrated with pic- them having introductions written by tures. Much curious information the distinguished authoress of Byregarding the country and its num- gone Days in our Village. We erous tribes and princes is given, welcome the reprint of such works and many valuable lessons are drawn as these Scottish Classics, which we from the stirring scenes and incidents should like to be read by every sucnarrated. Considering our relation ceeding generation of Scotchmen. to India, and considering also the The publishers of such works in a culpable ignorance of that country, cheap popular form are benefactors of which so many have to plead to their fellow countrymen, and deguilty, we cannot but believe that serve to succeed. We believe that this volume has a useful mission to fresh issues will be speedily called discharge.

for as they are marvels of cheapness. Also from the same society Going The Cotlagers of Glenburnie is an to Sea, which is a capital story of a interesting story, which conveys lessailor boy's life, that other boys will sons, that many housewives in our read with great delight and with large towns, as well as in rural dismuch profit. Also, Always too Late, tricts need. Pollock's Tales and his which by an interesting tale gives a grand poem ought to be as household wholesome warning against the weak- words in Scotland. The “ Prefatory ness and vice of procrastination. Notes," as the introductions to these

The Problems of Life, &c. The volumes are modestly called, add Three Questions : What am I? much value to the books themselves, by Whence came I? Whither do I go? giving information about their authors. is an attempt, somewhat dry and The Life of Pollock, by Jean L. dull in substance and style, to prove Watson, appended to the Tales, is that Christianity gives the best and an excellent summary, conveyed in the only satisfactory answers to these a felicitous style, of the facts and questions.

events of this poet's life. We have Remarks on Recent Awakenings and been requested to

announce that Higher Holiness. By A. Moody there will shortly be issued from the Stuart, D.D.

same firm The Life and Times of Conveys in a very temperate and Peden & Renwick, by Miss Jean L. charitable spirit certain warnings and Watson, with a preface by Dr Ker. hints, which are needed at the pre- The Expositor, Edited by Rev. sent time. In full sympathy with Samuel Cox. London, Hodder what is called revival work, he yet & Stoughton. sees certain dangers attending it; The June number of the Expositor which he wishes the Church to be is worthy of the high reputation it on its guard against.

has gained. We question, however, We have received also from the the wisdom of having so many conReligious Tract Society; Love tinued articles in such a periodical. Sweetens Truth; David Saunders, We are glad to learn that its circu. the Shepherd of Salisbury Plain; lation is remunerative and is gradand Ursula's Promise: all containing wally increasing. sound wholesome truth in the inter- Received: Prospective Pardon, and esting attractive form of narrative. the The Intercessory Prayer of We have also to acknowledge a Lord.

our

THE SCOTTISH

CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.

AUGUST 1876.

THE POETRY OF WORDSWORTH. WORDSWORTH has never been, and probably never will be for generations yet to come, a popular poet. His fame has steadily risen since he first appeared, but it cannot be said that his readers have increased in number. At the present day they are probably fewer than formerly, from the prevailing taste for the ephemeral literature of newspapers and periodicals. If the public were to be his judge, I am afraid he would be quietly consigned to oblivion. Happily, however, he has always held a place of admiration and even reverence, in minds of the highest order, distinguished alike for their learning and critical acumen. It is well known that he is a constant source of inspiration to some of the most noted men of our time. But it is not only a high degree of mental culture that is requisite to appreciate the poetry of Wordsworth. He makes demands also on a man's character, and absolutely refuses to unlock his treasures where the heart is not, in some measure, elevated above the base and the impure. Not that we are to suppose that every reader of his muse must give evidence of fitness for that office by saintly virtue. It is true that any one may be charmed across the border-land of this fair country, but it may be safely affirmed that he is not likely to remain long in it, without undergoing a silent, and to himself perhaps imperceptible, change of mind and heart. I am here tempted to quote a sonnet of Wordsworth's, as further illustration of what I am saying. It will be observed that he calls us to divest ourselves of the worldly spirit, if we would truly feel, understand, and enjoy, the common life and beauty of nature.

“ The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending we lay waste our powers :
Little we see in Nature that is ours ;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ;

Q

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn ;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathéd horn."

I doubt if any one who does not feel himself in sympathy with the sentiments expressed in these lines, can ever understand or appreciate the writer of them. Alas! it is too often the case that the spirit which the poet thus exposes, is most rampant in those who talk loudly against it. Nevertheless it is a truth that we cannot too often lay to heart that if we would aspire to look from Nature up to Nature's God, we must purge the eye of our soul from all that is gross and earthly; and the same holds good if we would enter into the thoughts and feelings of the highest minds. “The eye sees what it brings the power of seeing," and the

page of the poet, as well as the page of Nature, are alike closed to him who cannot read them. One other remark in this place, the sonnet I have just quoted, may be taken as addressed more particularly to men in business, the great commercial class in the country. The world, it is commonly supposed, is too much with them, since both in getting and spending, they may be found late and soon in their shops and offices. It does not follow, however, that because a man is much engaged in the business of the world, he is necessarily of a worldly spirit. I venture to think that there is relatively not more, but rather less worldliness amongst merchants and tradesmen, than amongst other classes in the community. There is no better antidote to the spirit in question, than great activity in business, and I doubt very much whether Wordsworth has any more warm or sincere admirers than may be found in the commercial class, amongst men who are fain to leave the dusty highway of their daily toil, to breathe at intervals, as their time permits, “an ampler ether, a diviner air.”

Among poets, Wordsworth, it may be said, stands very much alone. There is hardly any one with whom he may be justly compared, and it is a striking testimony to the originality of his genius, that his influence was felt by the most famous of his contemporaries. Byron and Shelley have both acknowledged their indebtedness and there is good reason to think that he who now wears the laureate wreath, owns the gentle but imperial sway of his predecessor. One of the most marked features of Wordsworth's poems is, that they exhibit man in his essentially human character or relation as a child, parent, husband—the qualities which are common to all men as opposed to those which distinguish one man from another. He is thus the poet of humanity in a high and peculiar sense. The great poet whose title to wear the crown of English Literature, is undisputed, has exhibited man in all the diversity of experience and character which is to be found only in the complex social life of the city. Wordsworth, on the other hand, lived in the country, amidst a simple rural population which afforded but few types of human growth and development. Shakspeare has crowded his canvass with an infinite variety of figures whose motley garb and surroundings are not more distinctly marked than their predominant mental and moral characteristics. Wordsworth's genius led him to pourtray not men but man, not women but woman, not children but childhood—rather the ideal types of great classes of the human family, than specimens of all the varieties which may be found in each. The one poet represented human life in a concrete, the other in an abstract form. Wordsworth is not so much concerned with what is distinctive of the individual, as with what is common to the race.

Hence there is little dramatic interest in the poems we are considering. A king is interesting to our poet for no other reason than that he is a man, and for the same reason a wayside beggar is no less interesting. He knows that both belong to the same great family, whatever be the difference in their outward circumstances, and that they hope and fear, love and hate, very much alike, though the objects of these various affections be different. Away in the solitude of his native hills, the conventional distinctions of society had no place, the thought of men in their true character, and not so much of what makes them many, as of what makes them one. He was a prophet in the best sense of the term, consecrated to a noble life task; but, unlike many of the great prophets of old, he never indulged in fierce denunciations of his fellowmortals. He saw and felt too much of the weakness and frailty of human nature to make his heart the abode of indignation and wrath, rather than of pity, compassion, sympathy, and love. There are some people in this world who are shocked and grieved at humanity doing so ill in the circumstances. There are others who are astonished and overjoyed at humanity doing so well. Wordsworth belonged to the latter class.

It may be said that he made Nature his study more than human nature, but it must not be forgotten that all Nature was interesting to him because it spoke to him of man. The landscape attracted him because of its human associations, and the beauty he witnessed in air, earth, and sky, had all its counterpart in man's soul. Sir Walter Scott has thrown a glory around the castles and keeps of our native land, and Burns has consecrated its rural scenes, and both have done this by the intensely human interest of their works. And so Wordsworth from a higher standpoint than either perhaps, has invested Nature with a sanctity which she never possessed before in the eyes of men.

One of the best known of Wordsworth's minor poems is entitled “ Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, July 13th, 1798.” In that poem he pictures a scene on the banks of the Wye, which had made an impression on him some years previously, and which he now again beholds in the company of her who was the inseparable friend and companion of his boyish years and earlier manhood, his sister. He considers the influence of the scene on his mind and character during his long absence. He feels that the beautiful forms of Nature which he beholds, have been present with him amid all the noise and bustle of the life of the city where, during this period, he had attended college. 'Tis certain he had often consciously recalled the landscape in his hours of toil and weariness, and experienced its soothing, tranquillising effect on his mind; but he thinks too that it has had an unconscious influence on his feelings, just as a man's sweet temper may be the result of many unremembered acts of kindness and love. Then, also, it has enabled him to mount at times into that serenity of soul in which all the perturbations of our mortal, merely physical life have no place, and the mysteries which oppress and becloud the intellect rise like the morning mist to vanish in the clear noontide of spiritual harmony and joy. And now once more revisiting the scene he thinks it may have life and food for him in years to come. He contrasts his love of Nature when a young man with what it now is in maturer years. In youth that love was passionate and sensual, but not deep; it was too wild and rapturous for thought; mountains and woods, in all their varied colours and forms, were then to him as an appetite which was satisfied like the pleasures of sense without any charm supplied by thought or any interest unborrowed from the eye. He does not grieve however for the past.

He thinks that for the loss he has sustained in his youthful raptures, there has followed an abundant recompence.

" For I have learned
To look on Nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth ; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh, nor grating, though, of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts ; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man :
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things, therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth ; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In Nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.”

J. H.

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