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perceived on every side of us in the objects and operations of what we term nature. It is the poet, however, who is most conscious of these analogies, for he, instead of accepting those noticed by others and embodied in conventional words, is constantly seeking for new ones and using these. To the poet, and the reader of poetry, therefore, all nature appears to be, in a peculiar sense, a representation, a repetition, a projection into the realm of matter, of the immaterial processes of thought within the mind. This, as I interpret it, is what Wordsworth meant when he said:
I have learned
Of thoughtless youth, butbecause finding in nature the representations of human thought
-Lines Composed a few Miles above T'intern Abbey. There is, accordingly, a literal as well as a figurative sense, in which the poet
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
-As You Like It, ii., 1 : Shakespear, Whatever others may say or think,
To him who in the love of Nature holds
- Thanatopsis : Bryant. In a true sense of the term she has a voice; and she has more than this : she has a voice which says something, which imparts definite intelligence. We have found how in every process in one department of nature, the mind of
poetry finds the image of a process in another department of nature. “Flower," says Tennyson,
Flower in the crannied wall,
--Flower in the Crannied Wall. To extend this thought, here is a rose-bush. When it begins to grow, it is small and weak and simple. As it develops, it becomes large and strong and complex. So does every other plant in nature; so does a man; so does a nation ; so does all humanity; so, as far as we can know, does the entire substance that develops for the formation of our globe. One mode of operation, one process, we find everywhere. If this be so, then to the ear skilled to listen to the voice in nature, what is all the universe but a mighty auditorium—in which every tale is re-echoed endlessly beneath, about, and above, through every nook of its grand crypts and aisles and arches? But, again, if all created things bear harmonious reports with reference to the laws controlling them, what inference must follow from this? In view of it, what else can a man do but attribute all these processes, one in mode, to a single source ?-and, more than this, what can he do but accept the import of these processes, the methods indicated in them, the principles exemplified by them, as applicable to all things,-in other words, as revelations of the universal truth? So the poet finds not only thought in nature, but also truth.
Once more, subtly connected with these facts are others. If nature can represent the thought, frame the language of the human mind, why, according to the
same analogy, can it not represent the thought, frame the language of a greater Creative Mind? And if all nature represent the same kind of thought, i. e., analogous thought, or truth that is harmonious, why is not this Creative Mind one mind? We all know how it is with man when he represents in language any thing true with reference to his inner self. Take that experience, in some of the manifestations of which religious people believe that he most resembles the Unseen One. Think how love, which is begotten often in a single glance, and is matured in a single thrill, gives vent to its invisible intensity. How infinite in range and in variety are those material forms of earth and air and fire and water which are used by man as figures through which to represent the emotion within him! What extended though sweet tales, what endless repetitions of comparisons from hills and valleys, streams and oceans, flowers and clouds, are made to revolve about that soul which, through their visible agency, endeavors to picture in poetry spiritual conditions and relations which would remain unrevealed but for the possibility of thus indirectly symbolizing them. Now if this be so with human love, why should not the Great Heart whose calm beating works the pulses of the universe, express divine love through similar processes evolving infinitely and eternally into forms not ideal and poetic, but real and tangible,-in fact, into forms which we term those of nature. This is the question with which, wittingly or unwittingly, poetry and poetic faith always have confronted and always must confront merely natural science and scientific skepticism. Therefore, Bailey wrote the truth, when he said
Poetry is itself a thing of God-
We feel of poesy, do we become
-Festus. This interpretation of the meaning of nature, natural and human, by those who have learned to interpret it, while striving to have it convey their own meanings, lies at the basis of all the practical uses of poetry. Therefore it is that its products bring with them an atmosphere consoling and inspiring, both enlightening and expanding the conceptions and experiences of the reader. Just as each specific application of Christianity,—all its warnings, consolations, and encouragements, which develop purity within and righteousness without, in the individual, in society, or in the state, spring from the one general conception of universal and divine love manifested in the form of Christ, so do all the specific applications of poetry spring from the one general conception of universal and divine truth manifested through the forms of material and human nature. When each of us can say with Wordsworth
I have learned
The still, sad music of humanity,
And I have felt
-Lines Composed a few Miles above Tintern Abbey.
Abou Ben Adhem, 216.
Anticipation, how represented, 92,
Greek poetry, 107; relation of, to Antony and Cleopatra, 292.
tunes of verse, 27, 104-114. Arnold, Matthew, 48, 222, 229.
Arts, all representative, 3, 4; de-
veloped according to principle of
See Assurance, Dictation, Posi 67.
Association, its influence in deter-
sounds, 5-7; in forming new
words from old words, 174, 175 ;
in making words unpoetic and po-
etic, 187–193 ; and language plain,
Assonance, what it represents, 116.
Assurance, how represented, 62-64,
Aurora Leigh, 237.
318; direct, 264; genesis of, 262– Aux Italiens, 86, 244.
Bailey, 2, 345.
Bains Carew, 78.