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him, not only to fortify himself against these assaults, but to withstand the temptation of seeking that popularity which doubtless lay at his immediate command, could he have been seduced into the misapplication of his powers to that end. The manner in which a spirit of religious self-sacrifice-in this life as it werewas inspired by what may be called his worship of his art, may be more or less collected from the sonnet addressed to Mr. Haydon, the painter:

High is our calling, Friend!-Creative art
(Whether the instrument of words she use,
Or pencil pregnant with etherial hues)
Demands the service of a mind and heart,
Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest part,
Heroically fashioned-to infuse

Faith in the whispers of the lonely muse,
While the whole world seems adverse to desert.
And oh! when Nature sinks, as oft she may,
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress,
Still to be strenuous for the bright reward,
And in the soul admit of no decay,

Brook no continuance of weak-mindedness

Great is the glory, for the strife is hard!-vol. ii. p. 170. We have spoken of his worship of his art as inspiring this fortitude; but it is also to be attributed to his worship of Nature; and here again we may quote his own authority :—

"Tis her privilege,

Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy; for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.'-vol. ii. p. 103.

The passages in Mr. Wordsworth's works (few and far between) wherein, as in these, he has alluded to the difficulties which he has had to encounter, will be read in after-times with the same sort of interest which attaches to those portions of the writings of the great poets before him which cast a light upon the story of their lives, and give token of the feelings with which they have read that story to themselves. Perhaps none of these have had cause for so much satisfaction with the tenor of their lives, so far as it was in their own choice and direction, as Mr. Wordsworth

has

has a right to feel for which of them has so steadfastly kept faith with the mistress whom he served? Milton, when he complained -or rather let us say, stated without condescending to the language of complaint-that he had fallen upon evil days and evil tongues, could not speak it with the consciousness that he had himself sought peace and ensued it-that his own tongue had been at all times innocuously employed-or that he had not, for too considerable a portion of his life, repudiated his better mind, and yielded himself to the torva voluptas of political controversy. Shakspeare, in one of those sonnets which have so perplexed his biographers, addresses himself to his friend in a strain which shows how painfully conscious he was that he had lived unworthily of his doubly immortal spirit: :

Oh, for my sake, do you with Fortune chide,-
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,-
That did not better for my life provide,

Than public means which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdued

To that it works in, like the dyer's hand.'

Mr. Wordsworth has no cause, like Shakspeare, to chide with Fortune; neither has he, like Milton, fallen upon evil days, or at least mixed himself, more than was wise and necessary, with the evil of the days upon which he has fallen.

We have hazarded these allusions to the personal history of Mr. Wordsworth, because it is not unimportant to a poet's readers to reflect how far he has lived up to the sentiments which he expresses. We have ventured to think, also, that the poetry of Mr. Wordsworth, permeating, as it does, the mind, modes of thinking, and character of those who admire it, constitutes something in the nature of a personal tie between him and them, and thereby renders some reference to his life and character not unfittingly introduced into a criticism upon his works. Our relations with the poets whom we most admire are, indeed, of a more intimate character than almost others which can exist between strangers; and there is assuredly no poet now living whose connexion with his readers bears a stronger analogy to the best and most durable of our personal friendships. Many attachments taken up in early life, and which are warm and pleasant while they last, drop off and are left behind us in the necessary course of things; but there are others which not only grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength, but are also bound up with us in our decay. Mr. Wordsworth's poetry is endowed with a beauty which does not, like the toys and gauds of meretricious verse, grow dim to the eyes of age; but such as it is to us in our youth it remains, whilst

VOL. LII. NO. CIV.

any

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life

life and intelligence remain,-extending its influence in proportion as we advance in years, and seek to substitute for naturally declining excitabilities, the sense of dignity and power, of solid intellectual aggrandizement and moral purification.

ART. III.-Paroles d'un Croyant, 1833. Paris, 1834.
pp. 237.

WE

E should not have thought this silly and profane rhapsody worthy of even the slightest notice, but that the sensation it has created on the Continent appears to us as one of the signs of the times. We alluded in our last Number to the monstrous alliance of some soi-disant royalists of France with the republican Mouvement. This pamphlet announces an alliance still more monstrous-between a false Christianity and real Jacobinism. The author-the Abbé de la Mennais-is a priest in a bonnet rouge, and his work exhibits a like ludicrous and disgusting masquerade. In a healthy state of society such a performance could have excited nothing but contempt; but in the present disposition of men's minds this attempt to amalgamate revolution with religion, and to preach rebellion and regicide in scriptural phraseology, seems to have occasioned a great commotion in the Roman Catholic world. The work itself has run through fifteen editions, and been, as we are told, translated, by the zeal of the radical propagandists, into all, or almost all, the European languages-though, as yet, we ourselves have only seen it in its original French, It has been answered by at least a dozen pens; it has been denounced in episcopal charges; it has been prohibited in many continental states; the author has been repudiated by his family and abjured by his order; and, finally, his book has been honoured by a formal interdict from the sovereign Pontiff himself. We should, à priori, have supposed that its extreme nonsense and inconsistency would have sufficed to render it wholly innocuous; but so many pious and able people seem to be of a different opinion, that we are forced to believe that, where there is so much alarm, there must be some danger.

We know, indeed, but too well into what extravagances, follies, and crimes religious enthusiasm may distort itself. The dupes of Cromwell and of John of Leyden, the followers of Praise-God Barebones and of Venner, and even in our own day the disciples of Johanna Southcote and Edward Irving, are melancholy evidences of the frailty of the human intellect, which is as liable to get drunk and disordered with mysticism as with

brandy.

brandy.* But we see nothing of this intoxicating quality in the laboured rhetoric and frigid bombast of M. de la Mennais. His object is wholly mundane-to calumniate kings-to disparage authority to level mankind by plundering the rich-and to abolish all order and dissolve all society, by claiming for each individual of the human race an equality, not merely of rights, but of riches, and, moreover, of the actual powers of government. All this might be very captivating in the harangue of a demagogue to a mob, but seems little calculated to excite enthusiasm in a reader. The conveying such impracticable theories in a scriptural phraseology and presenting this political poison in a chalice sacrilegiously stolen from the altar of God, is, we admit, a novelty likely enough to surprise and shock sober-minded men, but by no means, we should have thought, likely to inflame and proselytize the classes for whose sole behoof these obscure and impious visions are promulgated.

The Abbé de la Mennais was for some years a popular preacher in Paris. That flowery declamation which the French are pleased to call eloquence is too much the practice of their pulpit in general; but the Abbé was a peculiarly notorious rhetorician, who made his reputation by tropes and figures, rather than by the more solid and useful merits which might instruct and edify his congregation. In short he was a mere pulpit adventurer. He preached for celebrity and preferment; and from what we had before heard of him, we were not surprised that he should be the man to invent a new fashion in religion, of which the main-spring is personal vanity, and the only interest that which may arise from seeing one who calls himself a minister of the gospel exhibiting the extravagances of a mountebank. This is, we really believe, the chief, if not the sole cause of the success, or we should rather say notoriety, of this publication. Had it been written by a layman, or in ordinary language and style, it would probably have dropped still-born from the press;' but the curiosity of the giddy Parisian world was awakened by hearing that an eminent churchman had turned jacobin, and that the celebrated Mennais had adopted the tenets of the more celebrated Marat. Voltaire and Rousseau had already hit on this kind of expedient; and by putting their attacks on Christianity into the mouths of fictitious priests-(Jean Meslier† and the Curé Savoyard)-they gave them, for the moment, a

6

An impostor has lately appeared in America, of the name of Mathias, who, after deluding some respectable and affluent votaries into sundry donations, loans, and bequests, appears to have ensured or accelerated his enjoyment of these good things by poisoning his dupes; and these dupes were yankees-merchants of New YorkVerily, Mathias must be a clever fellow!

There was a mad priest of the name of Meslier, but few doubt that the celebrated testament which Voltaire cites, Voltaire made. 2 B 2

readier

readier currency and a more piquant effect. But with La Mennais the advantage of being a real person very inadequately compensates the want of either the unctuous eloquence of Rousseau or the sarcastic point of Voltaire; and, accordingly, we venture to predict, that, notwithstanding the fuss-such an ignoble term is well suited to the occasion-that is now made about him, La Mennais and his Paroles d'un Croyant will be wholly forgotten by this day twelvemonth. We, however, think it right, as an incident in moral and literary history, to give our readers a taste of this absurd aud detestable production. It affects, in its form and phrase, to be a kind of serious parody of the prophetic Scriptures, and more particularly the Apocalypse. The insane vanity and disgusting profaneness of the man, who dares to insult by his awkward mimicry the prophets of God and the most spiritual and venerable of the Evangelists, are only to be equalled by the poorness of his conceits-the puerility of his illustrations-the fulsome poverty of his style and the obscure inanity of what he would pass off for meaning.

The work opens with a transcript of some passages of holy writ:

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

'Glory be to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards

men.

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He who has ears let him hear.-He who has eyes let him see, for the time cometh.

The Father begot the Son-the Word-and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt with us. He came into the world, and the world knew him not, &c.'-§ i.

It is with great reluctance that we quote these passages as introductory of such nonsense as is to follow; yet, if we did not do so, the reader could have no adequate idea of the profanation which we think it our duty to expose; but we shall, in our further selections, endeavour, as much as possible, to omit the Believer's' direct use, or, to speak truly, abuse of the Scriptures, and shall endeavour to exhibit his folly rather than his impiety.

His proemium, then, proceeds as follows:

It is now eighteen centuries since the Word shed the divine seed; and the Holy Spirit fructified it. Mankind saw it flourish, and tasted its fruits-the fruits of the tree of life replanted in their humble dwelling.

I say unto you, there was great joy amongst them when they saw this light, and they felt themselves penetrated by a heavenly fire; But now the world is again become dark and cold. Our fathers have seen the sun set. whole human race shuddered (tressaillit); an-I know not what, without a name!

When he went down, the then there was in that night, (je ne sais quoi, qui n'a pas

de

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