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Wistfully moaning through the column'd shrines,
Or through Arabian plains,
Spirit! fare thee well!
1. Dies with a quick decay. Twilight, in tropical countries, is of very short dura. tion; the transition from day to darkness being much more rapid than in our northern latitudes.
2. Cambdeo lurks, &c.-The Indian God of Love. By a beautiful allegorical fable, his bowstring is said to be framed of living bees.
Vide Southey's Curse of Kehama.Vishnoo, the preserver, in the Hindoo Pantheon.Meru Mount, the Olympus of Oris ental Mythology, on which the Gods meet in conclave.. Vide Maurice's Indiah Antiquities, Sir William Jones, &c.
3. Mæris lake. Moore's description of Mæris, in Paradise and the Peri, must be fresh in the recollection of every lover of poetry.
4. Balbec.--Vide Pococke's Travels. The description of the desolation of Palmyra, in the Botanic Garden, is certainly one of the most picturesque sketches of Darwin's pencil.
5. The sands uptossing high. Vide Park's Travels, Bruce, Volney and Niebuhr.
6. The undulating arch, of wild cane framed.-Campbell, in his exquisite “ Gertrude of Wyoming,” celebrates,
“ The wild cane arch, high flung o'er gulphs profound,
J'avais appris la vie dans les poetes, elle n'est pas ainsi ; il y a quelque chose d'aride dans la realitè, que l'on s'efforce en vain de changer.
MADAME DE STAEL. We believe that Hazlitt is the first who wise ; if for a moment we will only has told us in definite terms, that as consider, what it is the object of a poet the boundaries of science are enlarged, to accomplish. He does not set himself, the empire of imagination is diminish- like the mathematician, to the exposied. The position is quite true, and tion of abstract truths ; nor, like the confirmed by every-day observation. historian, does his merit depend upon Indeed it could not possibly be othera his unbiassed fidelity of statement. The
office of the poet is entirely different; ceptions of poetry may, after all, be his study is to adorn and embellish, to far from being excellent, from defirepresent objects, not only in their ciency in the mechanical part, and from most striking lights, and their most the absence of those finer shades of lanfascinating colours, but to add to them guage, which can only be acquired by new properties, and represent them in long study of the best models, and af. all the splendour of redundant beauty; ter long practical experience in compoor, when he condescends to strict deli- sition. neation, it is only in the most beauti The trains of thought and associaful objects, which defy his skill to re tions of ideas, which it is the business present them with borrowed grace, for of the professional man and the poet to who would try
follow out, are diametrically opposite. To gild refined gold, to paint the rose, The one exercises his judgment, and Or add fresh perfume to the violet ? plods on with calm and patient research
From this it is plain and evident, in the path of utility; the other gives that he is the greater poet who can the reins into the hands of imaginaconjure up the most splendid of these tion; usefulness is an object of seexaggerations, and possesses the great condary consideration, and the only er fluency and command in the ma standard of excellence which he acnagement of these illusions; who can knowledges, is that of comparative add a double poignancy, and a deeper sublimity or beauty. gulph for the whirlpools of passion, Professional avocations have a dead. and represent external objects in the ening influence on the finer sensibilimost fascinating or sublime point of ties of the mind; they destroy and view. Whatever may be advanced or annihilate our loftier aspirations, and urged to the contrary, we decidedly reduce all that we perceive and feel to think that it must be allowed, that ro the dull standard of reality. Many of mances, legends, and tales of heroism the great poets lived in the infancy of or superstition, everything, in short, science, and the great ones who have that relates to the marvellous, the tra- lived as it was approaching maturity, gic, or the supernatural, makes its have endeavoured as much as possible deepest impression on the mind of to blind their eyes to its progress; and youth ; from our susceptibility at that to represent things as they seem, and period, in some measure, perhaps, from not as they can be demonstrated to be. our then not exactly discriminating the A few have thought otherwise, and impossibility of the events narrated, they have failed ;-for scientific poets and imagining that there may be more we have no relish; they mistake the Elysian scenes in nature and life than very nature of their art. have then fallen within the scope of Poetry is only one of the many meour actual observation. Consequently thods of deceiving; and the greater there are more of the elements of poetry will be our poetical delight, the more afloat in the mind during boyhood and entirely we allow ourselves to enter early youth, than during any other pe- into the spirit of the illusion, and be riod of human existence. A great deal carried away by the deception. It is of the finest poetry that the world can cold and absurd to say of fine poetry, boast of, is merely the embalmed feel that it is physically or metaphysically ings and recollections of what had pass- untrue ; it is quite enough if we can ed through and enchanted the mind of imagine things or sentiments to be so; the writer in former days; and many or if we can feel them to be beautiful poets, and poetical writers of prose, as in their represented state. The natuCowley, Cowper, Wordsworth, and ral lover of poetry." is pleasedl, he Rousseau, have felt a delight in soli- knows not why, and cares not where tude, from their feelings not being fore.” “The peasant," says Mackenzie, there so much exposed to those jarring “ who enjoys the beauty of the tulip, discrepancies of society which tend to is equally delighted with the philosolower our ideas of human nature. pher, though he knows not the powers
It may be very pertinently asked of the rays from which its colours are then, why are not young men the best derived ; and the boy who strikes a roets? This we readily own is not the ball with his racket, is as certain whecase, but the question is irrelevant, for ther it will be driven by the blow as the obvious reason, that writings deep- if he were perfectly conversant in the ly embued with the feelings and pere dispute about matter and motion, The
music, the painting, the poetry of the set in heaven”_" the bow that spans passions, is the property of every one the storm”—but merely the physical who has a heart to be moved ; and effect of the sun's rays, falling in a though there may be particular modes certain direction on the dewy atmoof excellence, which national or tem- sphere; and the hurricane, the night porary fashions create, yet that stand- gale, and “ the wind that bloweth ard will ever remain which alone is where it listeth, and no man knows common to all.”. A poetical reader can whence it comes and whether it goeth" suppose, for example, that the stars are „and “the breath of heaven, the what Byron has emphatically denomi- blessed air”-are, after all, no more nated them, “ the poetry of heaven,” than the motion of a combination of and that out of them we may read gases, which at any time the chemist the destinies of men, and that we may will be proud to analyse for your inclaim a kindred with them ;* but the spection. “ There,” he says, “ is the physical philosopher will find it im- Oxygen, or vital air; the Hydrogen, or possible to conceive them other than inflammable air; the Nitrogen, which material and far distant worlds, re- does not support life, and a small volving in systems, and kept together quantity of Carbonic Acid.” He smiles by the law of gravitation. Virgil tells in contempt at the sublime question us that a star descended over Mount of Job Ida to point out to Æneas the path which the Gods intended him to fol- Kast thou clothed his neck with thunder ?"
“ Hast thou given the horse strength ? low : “Subitoque fragore
" The ancients,” adds he, Intonuit lævom, et de cælo lapsa per um
to have had very absurd ideas of cebras
lestial phenomena. Stella facem ducens multa cum luce cucurrit.
“ He says among the trumpets, ha, ha!" Illam, summa super labentem culmina “ It is curious,” rejoins the natutecti
ralist, “ that the horse has lost the Cernimus Idæa claram se condere silva +
faculty of speech in our days.” Signantemque vias.”
I came to the place of my birth, The astronomer will tell us, that the and said, “The friends of my youth idea of the poet is absurd, and that the where are they?' and Echo answered, laws of nature would not be suspended where are they?'”for even a greater event than the foun " What after all is an Echo, but dation of such an empire as Rome. the reverberation of sound.” Yet Horace. tells us that the Tiber Enough of this-iet us return to overflowed its banks, and overthrew the main subject of our essay. Prothe temple of Vesta on account of the fessional avocations, we repeat, are envices of the people ;; and Shakespeare tirely at variance with the phantasms ushers us to the catastrophe of Cæsar's of imagination. It is theoretically a death, by the appearance of signs in fine thing, for instance, to make the heaven, and the sheeted dead walking practice of law a profession, to devote upon the streets. The astronomer our lives to the distribution of justice, also shows the moon to be a planetary to settle the differences of our neighbody, lighted up by the reflected glo- bours, to come forward as the advocate ry of the sun, governing the tides, of the oppressed, to plead the cause of and performing its stated revolutions; the innocent, and to be the champion and that it is not a sentient being of those who have no earthly help. hiding itself in “its interlunar cave' Nor is it a less fine thing to alleviate a beautiful female capable of the pas- the corporeal sufferings of our fellow sion of love the Goddess of the silver creatures, to smooth the pillow of sickbow-the Proserpine, who spends one ness, to disseminate the blessing of half of the year in the infernal regions. health, and to cause the languid and To your mere man of science the rain- filmy eye of the dying man to look a bow is not “the arch of God's promise, blessing on our kind, though unavail.
* Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto third, stanza 88th.
# Horat. Od. 2do. Lib. l.
ing endeavours. Turn the picture; of knowledge, could look upon a female and what do we behold in the actual face with the rapture, which the mind and breathing world? The lawyer sell- that conceived 'Shakespeare's Juliet ing his eloquence to the support of any must have done; or with that sense of cause, and prostituting his talents for angelic delicacy, which must have pethe sake of gain; while the physician netrated the mind of Spenser, ere he measures out his kindnesses and at- conceived the glorious idea of tentions in the direct ratio of his
expec “ Heavenly Una, with her milk-white tations of being repaid.
lamb?" It is not to be supposed that a di
Nor is it to be supposed that the vine, one who has made the oracles of truth his chief study, and the promule days of the romance and chivalry, of
lawyer, one whose youthful days, the his life, could even for a moment throw the imagination, are spent in poring
over volumes, which can only operate over his lines the flush of the ancient
in rendering « darkness visible,” and superstitions, at once so imaginative and poetical; and describe Jupiter in
in wrapping up that in mystery and the conclave of Deities on the top of clouds, which nature intended to form
as clear as Olympus, instead of the everlasting
daylight truth's salubri
ous skies,” should unlearn what he and omnipresent“IAM,” whose sha
has learned, and deeming dow Moses saw in the burning bush;
56 where ignorance is bliss and, instead of the sun and moon,
'Tis folly to be wise,” which he has created, delineate Apollo at length accord to the omnipotence of with the golden bow, “ the lord of Virtue, and agree with Milton in his poesy and light," and, Diana with her Comus, that the lion of the desert wood-nymphs.
itself would turn away abashed from It is not to be supposed that he will the face of innocent beauty. Lord coincide in the opinions of a Dante, or Mansfield, ere he devoted his attention a Homer, or promulgate their sublime, to “ law's dry musty arts,” shewed so but often vague and absurd illustra
great an aptitude for polite letters, that tions of religion and morality; in ma- Pope himself bewails king the princely game of war the “ How sweet an Ovid was in Murray theme of his muse, and accounting lost." the savage valour of the combatants as And Judge Blackstone, ere he thought the acme of perfection ; or distort the of composing his Commentaries on the doctrine of future rewards and punish- Laws, wrote verses, t which at least ments into a scheme of his own for- augured well of what he might have mation. His poetry must of necessity accomplished in that way. Akenside be regulated by the principles he pro- brought out his Pleasures of Imaginafesses, and by the views which it is his tion, when a very young man ; took duty to inculcate.
to the study of medicine, was made Can it for a moment be supposed physician to the Queen, and then pubthat a physician, one whose business lished lyrics, which nobody cares about it is to be acquainted with the weake reading. nesses and miserable diseases to which As Wordsworth most truly and poour bodies are subject; that one whose etically observes, daily occupation is the inspection of " The world is too much with us, early loathsome sores, and putrifying ulcers, and late." could, in despite of his own observa- Counting-houses and ledgers have tation, preserve in the penetralia of his ken the place of generosity, romance, mind, a noble and unblemished image and chivalry; and though they have of human beauty; or that the anato- made us richer, have undoubtedly addmist, who has glutted over the deba ed little to our intellectual character sing and repellent horrors of a dissect- as a nation. Life has become a scene ing table, where the severed limbs of of every-day experience, of sickness, his fellow creatures, " the secrets of dulness, and formality ; etiquette has the grave,” are displayed in hideous succeeded to simplicity, and ardour of deformity, to satisfy the hyæna lust spirit has left its place to politeness.
Masque of Comus. Colloquy in the wood between the brothers, + Southey's Specimens of English Poets.