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An ample circle with capacious zone
Her central disc encloses. Spiritless
At his round table sits the farmer lord;
A drowsy yawn his pipe-inhaling jaws
Relaxes often. At his foot the cur
Sleeps on the hearth outstretch'd, and yelping dreams,
Or lifts bis head, astonish'd at the dance
Of frisking puss, who on the sanded floor
Gambols excessive. Such ere close of day
Were the wild antics of the frantic herd,
(Alike prophetic of the morrow storm,)
Who leap'd and rac'd, and bellow'd in the mead,
And clash'd their horny foreheads, staring fierce.
Dim in the socket, burns the sulky wick,
Nor heeds the trimming hand, which oft divides
The kindled fibres of its nape in vain,
And to the oil redundant, that would drown
Its feeble flame, relieving sluice affords.” This is followed by an animated picture of the storm, and a whimsical recital of the damage which ensued from a sudden inundation, to the humble dwelling of
-“Response-pronouncing sage, The village-clerk parochial, nothing rich.” (p. 115. &c.) A pleasing passage on the sun and moon occurs in p. 118 -122. The following is from canto iv.
- From your uplifted summit, when the sun
Of March, high-mounted, wears a moody smile,
Indulgent only to these winnow'd brows,
What time the partial storm in sullen pomp
Sails o'er the prostrate weald, let me look down
And every town and steeple, dim-discern'd,
Curtain in gloom terrific. At such time,
What if the lightning bolt, long laid aside,
Amid the grim procession chance to gleam,
And thunder, surly to be rous’d so soon,
Mutter reluctant from his stormy couch ?
It shall but solemn render the slow march
Of the dark tempest, through its gloomy brows
Frowning meridian night, and wake no dread,
No wish of flight, nor sense of peril here.
No! I shall eye it safely as it steals
In gloomy state away, and leaves behind -
The freshen'd landscape leisurely dismiss'd.
Lo! in the glowing east the cloud sublime
Lifting its arduous and illumin'd head
High above the bighest earth, a pile superb
Of vapour, wrapping in its smoky skirts
Heav'n's everduring threshold, and the beam .
Of day's clear orb resplendent from its falds
Reflecting glorious. With the falling sun
Slow sinks the pomp away, and while his orb
In flaky redness sets, and fills the west
With fiery fragments of disparted cloud,
The last-apparent summit of the storm
The ruddy hue imbibes, and sanguine glows;
Till, day withdrawn and the vex'd ether hush'd
The tempest all subsides and dies away,
And the pure heav'n displays an ardent moon
Swimming self-balanc'd through the blue profound.”
We quote part of the succeeding paragraph.
“ On this commanding summit let me stand,
To see the vernal equinoctial orb
Fresh from his chambers in the deep ascend.
Arise, bright leader of the beauteous year,
Sweep thy long fingers o'er the shadowy vale,
And smite the bill-tops. Nature at thy soft
Reviving touch with concord exquisite
Shall to her center vibrate. Total earth
Shall ring sweet unison from hill and dale.
My bosom, like the fabled lyre of old
Memnonian, or the harp that woos the breeze,
Shall sing with ecstasy, and pour around
Spontaneous sweet effusion, mellow verse,
Ode best expressive of the grateful soul;
Here let me stand, and o'er the level weald,
That, like a spacious chart, outstretch'd beneath
Lies chequer’d, cast an aching eye, to mark
Each well-known object in the misty skirt
Of the long-drawn perspective.”
" What time the sun has from the west withdrawn
The various hues that grac'd his cloudy fall
When the recumbent ruminating fold
Greets with peculiar odour the fond sense
Of the lone wand'rer--when the recent leaf
Of clover 'gins to sleep, and, white with dew,
Closes its tender triple-finger'd palm
Till morning dawn afresh-when the moon wears
Nor bood nor veil, nor looks with cold regard
Through the fine lawn of intervening cloud,
But lifts a fair round visage o'er the vale,
And smiles affection which no bard can sing,
No painter with poetic pencil paint-
When the dark cloud that couches in the west
Seems to imbibe the last pale beam of eve,
Absorbing in its dun and gloomy folds
The feeble residue of dying day-
Is it not pleasure, with unbended mind
To muse within or meditate abroad,
While either hand in the warm hosom sleeps,
And either foot falls feebly on the floor,
Or shaven sward, or stone that paves the path
Of village footway winding to the church?
'Twere passing pleasure, if to man alone
That hour were grateful : but with like desire
The dusky holiday of thick’ning night
Enjoys the chuckling partridge, the still mouse,
The rabbit foraging, the feeding hare,
The nightingale that warbles from the thorn,
And twilight-loving solitary owl,
That skims the meadows, hovers, drops her prey,
Seizes, and screeching to her tower returns.
Her woolly little ones there hiss on high,
And there who will may seek them, but who dares
Must 'bide the keen magnanimous rebuff
Of irritated love, and quick descend,
By the maternal talon not in vain
Insulted, baffled, scar'd, and put to fight.”
The last passage may be considered as a fair specimen of the general strain of the poem. Indeed the whole work consists of a succession of such passages-an uniform series of agreeable descriptions; and this peculiarity, while it unfits the poem from being read continuously, renders it an appropriate lounge for any eight or ten minutes which we may have to spare occasionally. We know no composition which contains a greater number of elegant detached morceaux, passages pleasing in themselves, and which may be separated from the main work without injury. We shall conclude our extracts with the lines immediately following those last quoted.
“ 'Tis pleasant in this peaceful serious hour
To tread the silent sward that wraps the dead,
Once our companions in the cheerful walks
Of acceptable life, the same ere long
In the dark chambers of profound repose.
All have their kindred here, and I have mine.
Yes, my sweet Isabel, and I have mine.
To die—what is it but to sleep and sleep,
Nor feel the weariness of dark delay
Through the long night of time, and nothing know
Of intervening centuries elaps'd,
When thy sweet morn, Eternity, begins ?.
Or else—what is it but a welcome change
From worse to better, from a world of pain
To one where flesh at least can nothing feel,
And pain and pleasure have no equal sway?
What is it but to meet ten thousand friends,
Whose earthly race was finish'd ere our own,
And be well welcome, where the tim’rous foot
Fear'd to intrude, and whence no foot returns ?
To me what were it but the happier lot
To find my long-lost Isabel, and shed
(If tears of joy are shed where tears of grief
Fall never, and immortal angels weep
At bliss excessive) joy's profusest show'r :
To tell her what was felt, and what was sung,
When cruel death unsparing from my sight
Pluck'd her away, and wafted her pure spirit
Whither no soul could tell ? But hush! my heart,
Lest sorrow burst her cicatrice anew,
And painful thought, which saddens my slow step,
Disperse the pleasures of this tranquil hour.”
ART. VI. Essai sur les Préjugés, ou de l'Influence des Opi
nions sur les mæurs et sur le bonheur des Hommes. Ouvrage contenant l’Apologie de la Philosophie, par M. D. M. Lon
M. Chesneau du Marsais, the author of this essay, was born at Marseilles, in 1676. He first entered into the congregation of the Oratory, which, however, he very soon quitted, and applied himself to the study of the law. This profession he also abandoned, and became tutor successively in
several families, and amongst others in the family of the pseudo-financier Law. He wrote many works, which gained him great reputation, but did not better his condition. He was of a mild and tranquil disposition, and his mind was seldom agitated even by the saddest accidents in his checquered existence. The subject of this article first appeared in a publication entitled Nouvelles Libertés de Penser. It is on a subject which comes home to the business and bosoms of men. For is there a human being who is not in some measure under the dominion of prejudice—who is not carried along by the violence of party, the hostility of sectism, or the force of habit; who has not, in short, arrived at conclusions without the process of reasoning, or adopted opinions without examining their reasonableness and truth? If there be, he has removed one of the greatest barriers to human happiness and human improvement, but it is to be feared, the existence of such a being is rare. The influence of prejudice is no doubt exerted with very different degrees of force, according to the natural impotency or power of the mind on which it operates. Some minds it rules with a despotic and unmitigated sway, whilst others display it only in its chastened and subdued, and sometimes amiable effects. But since all do feel its influence, it becomes an inquiry of the greatest interest and importance how far it contributes to the happiness or misery of the human species-whether there be some prejudices, (as it has been contended) some dear delusions, which the heart may still cling to and cherish, which it would not only be dangerous to remove, but which it is for the positive interest and happiness of man to retain or whether our intellectual eye is sufficiently strong to behold the resplendent face of truth unveiled. The inquiry, indeed, is of such magnitudeof such extensive and paramount importance to man in all his relations, private, political, and religious, that we approach it with a feeling of embarrassment, lest on the one hand, we should desert the sacred cause of truth and philosophy; or on the other, be endeavouring to unsettle what ought not to be unsettled. Nature, which has implanted in animals certain mechanical dispositions, or instincts, to supply their wants, has endowed man with the pre-eminent gift of reason to guide his motions—to govern his dispositions, and advance himself and others in the scale of intellect and of happiness. It must be confessed, however, that instead of exerting their own reasoning faculties, and adopting opinions and modes of action from their own conviction of their fitness and truth, men generally adopt opinions from custom, habit, or education; but when once they are environed with those shackles, they too often feel the constraint occasioned by them, for life. But we are told that reason is weak and fallible, VOL. I. PART 1.