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hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, expressed teacher of Lamb, Southey, Wilson, Lloyd, in strong melodious Saxon phrase, fresh and and Coleridge; he has been affectionately wholesome as the fields in early summer, regarded by Cornwall, Rogers, and Montuttered from the depths of stoutly-beating, gomery ; Byron, with thievish skill
, kept off earnest, valiant hearts !
Degeneracy must attention by ridicule while he plundered ; follow such an age.
Pope was imitated by Scott loved him even to reverence; and a those who could not see beyond his artificial multitude of inferior poets have imbibed style. Pope's genius enabled him to write their inspiration from fountains which he vigorously in spite of an enervating manner. opened. "Whatever defects there may be in Those that meditated on the smoothness of the poetry of our times, its freshness and his lines, the harmony of his couplets, the vigor contrast greatly with the staleness and balancing position of cæsural pauses, were enervation of the old rhymes. The ear, sick a spectacle to laughing gods and weeping of the jingle and tinkling of the last cenmen. Heroic England for once became tury, turns with delight to the more than sentimental, sipped delicate love potions earthly harmony of Coleridge, the Mozartfrom beautiful cups bearing unmentionable music of Tennyson, and the organ-melody ornamental figures, played the courtier at of Wordsworth. Poetry is once more true, St. Cupid's, waxed sickly and pale, and because it is born from the union of the soul daubed a face once glowing with the hue of with nature. health thicker and thicker with French Wordsworth has been called the greatest rouge. If there were some morsels of of metaphysical poets, hence it is necessary genuine poetry during this period, they were to ascertain his connection with changes in oases in Sahara, or gentle memories of early philosophy. We must begin back of the affection that wring a tear of sincerity from spiritual philosophy, in order to determine the withered soul of a roué. The greatest any thing in regard to its real influence, amount of that stuff called poetry was but Only of general laws and most important the shadow of a shadow.
results can we speak here. Change at Jength came, for the spirit of Modern philosophy, although the daughhumanity, with Rhadamanthine severity, ter of scholasticism, is nevertheless its anseizes upon an age of imitation. The hero tagonist. It was not the authority of reaof St. Crispin inust fulfil bis mission by son to which the philosophy of the middle crimping apish poets. The good-natured ages submitted. Reason is the ruling aupublic, lashed to indignation, looked on ap- thority in all modern philosophy. The provingly. Readers were tired of scalding great Reformation, says Guizot, was literary soup, and demanded a new course. insurrection of the human mind against They could relish better a paté-de-foie-gras authority." Descartes has given his name literary dish, fresh from France, or the bot- to the philosophy that was established on tled moonshine of transcendental Germany. the ruins of scholasticism. Cartescanism reThe popular heart demanded some degree of cognizes the psychological method, by which sincerity, and approved it even in sentiment- the mind attempts to render an account to ality. It was apparent, both from what was itself of what passes within itself
, by which rejected and what received, that earnestness we take cognizance through consciousness was demanded. The reading public began of the scenes mirrored from the soul. It is to listen right reverently to the heart-tones not necessary for our present purpose to of beer-gauging and beer-drinking Burns : show how Cartescanism was developed unalas for the age that had no other work for til it embraced the first thinkers of Europe. such a Nature's son to do! Memory of that It enlisted the services of the meditative aye in English literature, inore illustrious than Malebranch, of the mathematical Leibnitz, the age of Augustus, Leo, or Pericles, was of the solitary and rigorous Spinoza, and revived. A Cleopatra-muse was paid up to found its professor in the learned and peparting; nature and humanity were studied dantic Wolf
, who clothed it in a severe and anew, In the reaction against the artificial orderly dress. As the result of awakened school, Wordsworth has perhaps done more attention in speculation, appeared the “Critthan any other one poet. He has done it, ical History of Philosophy," by Brucker. not by antagonism, but by exploring a new Locke was an offspring of the Cortesian tract of nature and life. He has been the l philosophy. He followed the method of
Descartes, and sought to analyze conscious- | linked lightnings of hate flash through the
His error was that he took part for murky atmosphere. The muttered thunthe whole. He found certain elements of ders of antagonism fall heavily on the ear, mind, built up his system on those, and re- and the earth trembles beneath the heavy jected the rest. He saw nothing beyond tread of approaching revolution. Mortals perception and reflection. In England his with quaking hearts attempt to hide themphilosophy was not carried to its last practi- selves in vain. Floods of fire are poured cal results. It was demonstrated by Con- from the bursting bosom of the clouds; dillac in France, that reflection, according to Phlegethon-rivers with awful gleaming roar the system of Locke, was nothing but a around; and over that sea of passion, instead moditied sensation. In his “ Traité des Sen- of darkness, there is now lurid light. Beausations,” he regarded sensation as the only tiful gospel of Pleasure! Its leaven is poinstrument of consciousness. Reason, atten- tent; its unholy spirit illumines the world. tion, comparison, all come from sensation. The voices of its disciples are heard from The soul is nothing but intelligence; all the charnel-house of drunkenness and lust, intelligence is the result of sensation; hence crying with hollow, sepulchral accents, “ Eat the soul itself is sensation. The metaphy- and drink, for to-morrow ye die.” Beautisician must be followed by the moralist. ful gospel of Pleasure! Its baptism is that Helvetius came to prove that morality con- of blood, its worship is that of self, the most sists in shunning disagreeable sensations, saintly distributors of its holy charities were and seeking pleasing ones. Duty shall Danton and Robespierre, Mirabeau and St. henceforth be agreeable and easy. A new Just. Its Pentecostal days were those of code, in which pleasure is the foundation July. principle, and self-interest the highest law, England and Germany were saved from was the production of St. Lambert. A sys: the last results of such a philosophy by tem so neat and beautiful must be carried almost opposite causes. The English mind to its practical application in every institu- is too sober to act upon an untried theory. tion. Physiology was regarded as only a common sense prevails, and preserves from combination of functions, as the soul was those eccentricities of action to which the regarded as only a collection of sensations. French with their ardent feelings are subWhat is government but a collection of in-ject. The English were sufficiently prone to dividuals, the law of whose being is pleasure? | sensualism, but they were not ready for the What supreme law could there be then but sake of an idea to try an experiment which the desire of the multitude? It is melan- would put at hazard their boasted civil and choly to think that a devout English soul political institutions. Immobility has been should be the author, indirect indeed, of the characteristic of England, while mobility such a spreading, all-embracing system of has been that of France. On the other sensualism. The malady spread until all hand Germany is not the soil for a rank France was infected. Every French heart growth of sensualism. The German mind leaps in the belief that pleasure evermore was somewhat infected, but only for a short shall be the true philosophy of life. Alas, time. The German spirit by no means infacilis descensus Averni! It is sorrowful clines to materialism. The erudite German to trace the effects of the new gospel of sen. could find even in Aristotle, and most espesualism among an intelligent, joyous-hearted cially in Plato, something more than a senpeople. The acts of its apostles are counted sual philosophy. The gospel of Pleasure, by tons of written and printed sheets. Vol- however, was not without its influence in taire scoffings, Diderot love-letters, and Germany. There was a general feeling, not works which lips that would remain unsoiled only that happiness is our being's end and may not name, were the results of such a aim, but also that we are entitled to happicomprehensive system. From Paris there ness. Pleasure is a Proteus that is never flowed a stream of fiction, compared with caught by direct seeking. He that would which the Styx itself were drinkable. The save his own soul shall lose it. Happiness A-Theos, brooding over a sea of human pas- did not come for the bidding; a belief in sion, said, “ Let there be darkness, and there the right to it was nevertheless entertained. was darkness.” Anon the sea is disturbed When mortals receive not what they conby the breath of coming storm. Zig-zag, Iceive to be their due, they indulge in self
pity, flatter themselves to tears, and give the preaching to his Yankee friends this sublime
“What shapest thou here at the world ? 'Tis intervals smile defiance at the gods. He
shapen long ago;
Thy lot is appointed, go follow its hest;
Although Coleridge studied German phiwas but little more than a mere protesta- losophy more thoroughly than Wordsworth, tion of common sense against the extrava- the latter nevertheless must be regarded as gances of empiricism. Reid was by no the leader in the new school of poetry. In
, regarded as one of the founders of rational proof of this position, we need to quote only regarded as one of the founders of rational a single passage, composed as early as 1798, psychology, but he was rather the denier of the on the banks of the Wye, while he was visitold system than the constructer of the new. ing the ruins of Tintern Abbey :Germany was the place for the development of the spiritual philosophy. Kant with (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
“Nature then great vigor described, classified, and enu- And their glad animal movements, all gone by) merated the laws of reason. He regarded To me was all in all. I cannot paint the laws by which we gain a knowledge of what then I was. The sounding cataract external things, of Deity, and of what Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock, passes within our own minds, as properties Their colors and their forms, were then to me
The mountain, and ihe deep and gloomy wood, of the thinking subject. He considered An appetite: a feeling and a love, thought the only real world. Upon all ex- That had no need of a remoter charm ternal things he would impose the subjective By thought supplied, or any inter, st laws of thought. Fichte went farther than And all its aching joys are now no more,
Ưnborrowed from the eye. That time is past, Kant, not only regarding all outward things And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this as subjected to the laws of reason, but also Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur; other gifts as inductions of the thinking principle. Have followed, for such loss I would believe Kant taught that a conception of God is an
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour irresistible thought of the soul. Fichte re
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes garded Deity as thought itself, conceived in The still, sad music of humanity, an absolute sense-as the me. In fairness, Nor barsh, nor grating, though of ample power however, it should be stated that Fichte dis- To chasten and subdue. And I have feli tinguishes two mes: the one, that of which A presence which disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime we are conscious; the other, the absolute, of something far more deeply interfused, or Deity. When one speaks of God as an Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, absolute me, he has arrived at the highest And the round ocean, and the living air, beaven of transcendentalism. Fichte has And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; found an honest, sharp-sighted representa- All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
A molion, ond a spirit, that impels tive on this side of the ocean, who is now! And rolls through all things.”
Wordsworth in this respect, receiving a and combining in a harmonious union the bias from the philosophic spirit of the age, expression of all its multiplied and multihas not only influenced poets, both great form features.” This position we cannot and small, but also writers of every kind. 'deny, unless we adopt the totally subjective The spiritual philosophy is no longer con- philosophy of Fichte. The following lanfined to rarely read poems; it ensouls much guage of our poet then, surveyed from this of current tiction, and has touched the heart point of view, has a divine meaning, as well of many an eloquent divine. The realities as sublimity and beauty :of things are no longer considered as resid
“ But for the growing youth ing in their visible, tangible forms, but in the What soul was his, when, from the naked top underlying spirit.
Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun This question of transcendentalism is a Rise up, and bathe the world in light? He lookedvery difficult one to discuss. We may have Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth a sense sublime of something far more in gladness and deep joy. The clouds were
And ocean's liquid mass, beneath him lay deeply interfused,” it may be that every thing touched, has its celestial side, yet the imagination and in their silent faces did he read colors the external world. It is perhaps Vuutterable love. Sound needed none, impossible to determine to what degree the spectacle : sensation, soul, and form feeling is awakened by the spirit of nature, All melted into h m; they swallowed up and to what extent nature is clothed upon His animal being; iu them did be live, by feeling. The attentive reader of Hegel And by them did he live; they were his life. will not be likely to regard the subject as a
In such access of inind, in such high bour light one. It is hard to decide whether we thought was not; in enjoyment it expired.
Of visitation from the living God, sympathize with an object in nature or not No thanks he breathed, be proffered w request; until it is invested with some attribute of our Rapt into still communion that transcends own being. Nature, as the oldest book of The imperfect offices of prayer and praise, revelation, in which are written laws of Deity, His mind was a thanksgiving to the power
That made him; it was blessedness and love." las signiticance, but only for thinking souls. The precise relation between the “ On the other liand, the poet gives as well
" and the “microcosm” we know not as receives. Vivid perception and deep how to determine. “Let him," says Herder, feeling are necessarily transcendental.
to whoin nature exhibits no plan, no unity « The poets, in their elegies and songs, of purpose, hold his peace, vor venture to Lamenting the departed, call the groves, give her expression in the language of poe- They call upon the bills and streams to mourn, try. Let him speak, for whom she has and senseless rocks: nor idly; for they speak, removed the veil, and displayed the true In these their invocations, with a voice expression of her features. He will discover of human passion. Sympathies there are in all her works connection, order, benevo- More tranquil
, yet perhaps of kindred birth, lence, and purpose. His own poetical crea- That steal upon the meditative mind, tion too, like that creation which inspires his And grow with thought.” imagination, will be a true xoguos, a regu- So when we look on nature, we feel that lar work, with plan, outlines, meaning, and ultimate design, and commend itself to the
“Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man
Than the mute Agents stirring there." understanding as a whole, as it does to the heart by its individual thoughts and inter- In Wordsworth, passion was not so strong pretations of nature, and to the sense by as sentiment. He was just the opposite of the animation of its objects. In nature, all
Byron in this respect. lu Byron, nature is things are connected, and for the view of often colored with really lurid hues of passion. man are connected by their relation to what There were times in which is hunan. The periods of time, as days and
“ His mind became, years, have their relation to the age of man.
In its own eddy, boiling and v'erwrought, Countries and climates have a principle of
A whirling gulf of fantasy and flame." unity in the one race of man; ages and worlds in the one eternal cause, one God, one Crea- For Wordsworth, nature never put on a tor. He is the eye of the universe, giving look of hate, nor spoke in tones of anger. erpression to its otherwise boundless void, We see in the following exquisite passage,
says, we kuow
from “Vandracour and Julia," how the appears the humanity of Wordsworth. He passion of love is made to color external hears objects; yet it is not an unbridled passion ;
“Humanity, in groves and fields, it is one controlled by moral sentiment :
Pipe solitary anguich;' * Arabian fiction never filled the world
and even in the “silent city of the dead," With half the wonders that were wrought for him.
“That all beneath us by the wings are covered The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine;
Of motherly Humanity, outspread Her chamber window diil surpass in glory
And gathering all within their teuder shaue.” The portail of the dawn; all paradise Could, by the simple opening of a door,
The study of nature is above all things Let itself in upon bim; pathways, walka,
calculated to awaken this feeling. “Poetry, Swarmed with enchantment, till bis spirit sank, which concerns itself with the deeds of men, Surcharged, within bim, overblest to move
says Herder, who can liere speak with auBeneath a sun that walks a weary world To its duill round of ordinary cares;
thority, “ often in a high deyrce debasing A man too happy mortality.”
and criminal, that labors, with lively and
attecting apprehensions, in the impure Another passage, from the poem
recesses of the heart, and often for no very “ Ruth,” will show that “noble sentiment” | worthy purpose, may corrupt as well the was active while imagination was investing author as the reader. The poetry of divine nature with a gorgeous robe of volul tuous- things can never do this. It enlarges tho ness. The poem is in a strain at once pas-heart, while it expands the view, renders sionate and daring, but the incidents of a this serene and contemplative, that energetic, romantic story are related without a single free and joyous. It awakens a love, an inimpurity of expression. The oriental scenery terest, and a sympathy for all that lives. It awakens in a bold youth a wild desire, but accustoms the understanding to reinark on the poet's moral nature demands that there all occasions the laws of nature, and guides should " intervene pure hopes of high intent." our reason to the right path.” What IlerThe following stanzas, besides illustrating the der thus says as a critic, Wordsworth says point in discussion, are of themselves a gem as a poet in the following passage :of beauty :
." For the man, “The wind, the tempest roaring high,
Who in this spirit communes with the Forms The tumult of a tropic sky,
of Nature, who with understanding heart Might well be dangerous food
Duth know and love such Objects as excite For hun, a youth to whom was given
No morbid passione, no disquietude, So much of earth, so much of heaven,
No vengeance, and no hatred, needs must feel And such impetuous blood.
The joy of that pure principle of Love
So deeply, that, unsatisfied will aught “ Whatever in those climes he found
Less pure and cxquisite, he cannot choose
But seek fur objects of a hiuured love
Iu Fellow-natures and a kindreil joy.
Accordingly lie by degrees per entes
His feelings of aversier softened down;
A holy tenderness pervade his frame.
His sanity of reasuri not impaired, “Nor less to feed voluptuous thought,
Say rather, all his thoughts now flowing clear, The beauteous forms of nature wrought
From a clear Fountain flowing, he looks round Fair trees and lovely flowers;
And seeks for good, and finds the good he seeks; The breezes their own languor lent;
Uutil abhorrence and contenipt are things The stars had feelings which they sent
He only knows by name; and, if he hear,
From other mouths, the language which they speak In those gorgeous bowers.
He is compassionate; and has no thought,
No feeling, which can overcomie lis love."
We may safely say that no poct, of any
" That sccrct spirit of humanity Most especially in this region of poetry Which, mid the calm ublivious tendencies