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PROFESSOR WILSON, long the distinguished occupant of the chair of moral philosopy in the university of Edinburgh, earned his first laurels by his poetry. He was born on the 18th of May, 1785, in the town of Paisley, where his father had carried on business, and attained to opulence as a manufacturer. At the age of thirteen, the poet ras entered of Glasgow University, whence in 1804, he was transferred to Magdalen College, Oxford. Here he carried off the Newdigate prize from a vast number of competitors for the best English poem of fifty lines. Mr. Wilson was distinguished in these youthful years by his fine athletic frame, and a face at once handsome and expressive of genius. A noted capacity for knowledge and remarkable literary powers were at the same time united to a predilection for gymnastic exercises and rural sports. After four years' residence at Oxford, the poet purchased a small but beautiful estate, named Elleray, on the banks of the lake Windermere, where he went to reside. He married-built a house-kept a yacht-enjoyed him. self among the magnificent scenery of the lakes-wrote poetry—and cultivated the society of Wordsworth. These must have been happy days. With youth, robust health, fortune, and an exhaustless imagination, Wilson must, in such a spot, have been blest even up to the dreams of a poet. Some reverses, however, came, and, after entering himself of the Scottish bar he sought and obtained his moral philosophy chair. He connected himself also with ‘Black wood's Magazine,' and in this miscellany poured forth the riches of his fancy, learning, and taste—displaying also the peculiarities of his sanguine and impetuous temperament. The most valuable of these contributions were collected and published (1842) in three volumes, under the title of 'The Recreations of Christopher North.'
The criticisms on poetry from the pen of Wilson are often highly eloquent, and conceived in a truly kindred spirit. A series of papers on Spenser and Homer are equally remarkable for their discrimination and imaginative luxuriance. In reference to these 'golden spoils' of criticism, Mr. Hallam characterised the professor as a living writer of the most ardent and enthusiastic genius, whose eloquence is as the rush mighty waters.' The poetical works of Wilson consist of the 'Isle of Palms' (1812), the 'City of the Plague' (1816), and several smaller pieces. The broad humour and satire of some of his prose papers form a contrast to the delicacy and
tenderness of his acknowledged writings—particularly his poetry. He has an outer and an inner man -one shrewd, bitter, observant, and full of untamed energy; the other calm, graceful, and meditative—'all conscience and tender heart.' He deals generally in extremes, and the prevailing defect of his poetry is its uniform sweetness and feminine softness of character.
Almost the only passions,' says Jeffrey, 'with which his poetry is conversant, are the gentler sympathies of our nature-tender com
passion, confiding affection, and guiltless sorrow. From all these there results, along with most touching and tranquillising sweetness, a certain monotony and languor, which, to those who read poetry for amusement merely, will be apt to appear like dullness, and must be felt as a defect by all who have been used to the variety, rapidity, and energy of the popular poetry of the day.' Some of the scenes in the City of the Plague' are, however, exquisitely drawn, and his descriptions of lake and mountain scenery, though idealised by his imagination, are not unworthy of Wordsworth.
The prose descriptions of Wilson have obscured his poetical, because in the former he gives the reins to his fancy, and, while preserving the general outline and distinctive features of the landscape, adds a number of subsidiary charms and attractions. In 1851, Nr. Wilson was granted a pension of £300 per annum ; his health had then failed, and he died in Edinburgh on the 3d of April 1854. A complete collection of his works was published by his son-in-law, Pro fessor Ferrier, of St. Andrews, in twelve volumes (1855-58). A Home Among the Mountains. -- From "City of the Plague.'
MAGDALENE and ISABEL.
What'er my doom
ISABEL. Methinks I see us in a cheerful group
MAGD. Sweet mossy cell!
In her own rose-bush near the quiet door?
Isa. One blessed week would soon restore its beauty,
MAGD. I hear the murmuring of a thousand bees
Isa. Even now I see a stream of sunshine bathing
MAGD. 'Twould seem inhuman to be happy there,
From Lines, . To a Sleeping Child.'
Vain wish! the rainbow's radiant form Whose happy home is on our earth? May view, but cannot brave the storm : Does human blood with life imbue Years can bedim the gorgeous dyes Those wandering veins of heavenly blue That paint the bird of Paradise. That stray along thy forehead fair, And years, so fate hath ordered, roll Lost 'mid a gleam of golden hair? Clouds o'er the summer of the soul... Oh, can that light and airy breath
Fair was that face as break of dawn, Steal from a being doomed to death; When o'er its beauty sleep was drawn Those features to the grave be sent Like a thin veil that half-concealed In sleep thus mutely eloquent?
The light of soul, and half-revealed. Or art thou, what thy form would seem, While thy hushed heart with visions The phantom of a blessed dream?
wrought, Oh that my spirit's eye could see
Each trembling eyelash moved with Whence burst those gleams of ecstasy!
thought, That light of dreaming soul appears And things we dream, but ne'er can To play from thoughts above thy years. speak, Thou smil'st as if thy soul were soaring Like clouds came floating o'er thy cheek, To heaven, and heaven's God adoring! Such summer-clouds as travel light, And who can tell what visions high When the soul's heaven lies calm and May bless an infant's sleeping eye!
bright; What brighter throne can brightness find Till thou awok'st—then to thine eye To reign on than an infant's mind, Thy whole heart leapt in ecstacy! Ere sin destroy or error dim
And lovely is that heart of thine, The glory of the seraphim ?
Or sure these eyes could never shine Oh, vision fair, that I could be
With such a wild, yet bashful glee,
Gay, half-o'ercome timidity!
Or borne like a whirlwind down on the vale ?
Up! up to yon cliff! like a king to his throne !
Fit couch of repose for a pilgrim like thee:
Yes ! fierce looks thy nature e'en hushed in repose
Lines written in a lonely Burial-ground in the Highlands. How mournfully this burial-ground At once from thy wild shriek I know Sleeps 'mid old Ocean's solemn sound, What means this place so steeped in woe! Who rolls his bright and sunny waves Here, they who perished on the deep All round these deaf and silent graves ! Enjoy at last unrocking sleep;, The cold wan light that glimmers here, For Ocean, from his wrathfül breast, The sickly wild-flowers may not cheer; Flung them into this haven of rest, If here, with solitary hum,
Where shroudless, coffinless, they lieThe wandering mountain-bee doth come, 'Tis the shipwrecked seamen's cemetery. 'Mid the pale blossoms short his stay, To brighter leaves he booms away. Here seamen old, with grizzled locks,
Shipwrecked before on desert rocks, The sea-bird, with a wailing sound, And by some wandering vessel taken Alighteth softly on a mound,
From sorrows that seem God-forsaken, And, like an image, sitting there
Home-bound, here have met the blast For hours amid the doleful air,
That wrecked them on death's shore at Seemeth to tell of some dim union,
last! Some wild and mystical communion, Old friendless men, who had no tears Connecting with his parent sea
To shed, nor any place for fears, This lonesome stoneless cemetery. In hearts by misery fortified,
And, without terror, sternly died. This may not be the burial-place
Here many a creature moving bright Of some extinguished kingly race, And glorious in full manhood's might, Whose name on earth no longer known, Who dared with an untroubled eye Hath mouldered with the mouldering The tempest brooding in the sky, stone,
And loved to hear that music rave, That nearest grave, yet brown with mold, And danced above the mountain-wave, Seems but one summer-twilight old; Hath quaked on this terrific strand, Both late and frequent hath the bier All flung like sea-weeds to the land; Been on its mournful visit here;
A whole crew lying side by side, And yon green spot of sunny rest
Death-dashed at once in all their pride. Is waiting for its destived guest.
And here the bright-haired, fair-faced
boy, I see no little kirk-no bell
Who took with him all earthly joy, On Sabbath tinkleth through this dell ; From one who weeps both night and day How beautiful those graves and fair, For her sweet son borne far away, : That, lying round the house of prayer, Escaped at last the cruel deep, Sleep in the shadow of its grace!
In all his beauty lies asleep; But death hath chosen this rueful place While she would yield all hopes of grace For his own undivided reign!
For one kiss of his pale cold face! And nothing tells that e'er again
Oh, I could wail in lonely fear, The sleepers will forsake their bed- For many a woful ghost sits here, Now, and for everlasting dead,
All weeping with their fixed eyes ! For Hope with Memory seems fler! And what a dismal sound of sighs
Is mingling with the gentle roar
While ocean seems to sport and play
MRS. HEMANS. MRS. HEMANS (Felicia Dorothea Browne) was born at Liverpool on the 25th September 1793. . Her father was a merchant; but, experiencing some reverses, he removed with his family to Wales, and there the young poetess imbibed that love of nature which is displayed in all her works. In her fifteenth year she ventured on publication. Her first volume was far from successful; but she persevered, and in 1812 published another, entitled “The Domestic