網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

imagination is small, weak, and at the same time, highly excitable,-for, in the mind as in the body, inflammatory action proceeds as often from weakness as from fulness,it is a truth which the very elect of the instructed classes have shown themselves unable to discern.

But if the English people be safe from the grosser delusions which are now prevalent in France, they have, nevertheless, much to learn as to the moral and spiritual nature of liberty, and the impossibility of pushing it on by merely political impulses. This they will best learn from those by whom liberty is best loved; and there are no sources from which the love of liberty flows more freely than from the minds of the great Poets of England.

[blocks in formation]

ESSAYS.

THE

POETICAL WORKS OF MR. WORDSWORTH.*

MR. WORDSWORTH's prefatory theories have been for many years sufficiently vexed and controverted; and the time seems to have come when, if we are to pause at all upon this threshold of his works, it should be with a view rather to a statement of the results than to a continuance of the disputation. In point of opinion the result has been, we should say, as to the matter of poetic diction, a very general admission that no real elevation can be given to poetry by the use of phrases which are no otherwise poetical than as not being

* A Critical Essay, reprinted from No. 104 of the 'Quarterly Review,' being that for the Month of December, 1834.

B

2

met with in prose. In point of practice, the result might have been equally decided, if certain results of a different character had not been thrown up at the same time from other sources. Some reforms have been effected however. The poetical vocabulary in use precedently to Mr. Wordsworth's prefaces has been expurgated; Poetry is, in some particulars, more plain-spoken than she was then used to be; and some things are now called by their right names which were then considered to be more favourably presented to the poetical reader under any other denominations than those which belong to them in the language of real life. Thus the bird commonly known by the name of the nightingale is now so called in poetry; whereas before Mr. Wordsworth's time no poet could be content to give it an appellation less poetical than 'Philomel,' or 'tuneful bird of night;' and the luminary which was formerly graced with some such titular distinction as Bright Phoebus,' or 'Apollo's golden fire,' is now to be met with in a volume of poetry under the same

:

« 上一頁繼續 »