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Are my torn meditations ragged clothing,
Which, wound and woven, shape a suit for nothing:
One while I think, and then I am in pain

To think how to unthink that thought again."

Immediately after these burlesque passages I cannot proceed to the extracts promised, without changing the ludicrous tone of feeling by the interposition of the three following stanzas of Herbert's.


Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky,
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night;
For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave,

And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box, where sweets compacted lie:
My music shows, ye have your closes,
And all must die.



Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us; then schoolmasters

Deliver us to laws; they send us bound
To rules of reason, holy messengers,
Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,
Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in,

Bibles laid open, millions of surprises.

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[The Synagogue, a collection of poems generally appended to the Temple, has been retained in Mr. Pickering's edition of 1835. They were first printed," as the Preface mentions, A. D. 1640, and have been, with much probability, attributed to the Rev. Christopher Harvie, M. A. The poein quoted is at p. 274 of the edit. S. C.]

Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness,
The sound of Glory ringing in our ears:
Without, our shame; within, our consciences;
Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears.
Yet all these fences and their whole array
One cunning bosom-sin blows quite away.


Dear friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad :
And in my faintings, I presume, your love
Will more comply than help. A Lord I had,
And have, of whom some grounds, which may improve,
I hold for two lives, and both lives in me.

To him I brought a dish of fruit one day,
And in the middle placed my heart. But he
(I sigh to say)

Look'd on a servant, who did know his eye,
Better than you know me, or (which is one)
Than I myself. The servant instantly,
Quitting the fruit, seiz'd on my heart alone,
And threw it in a font, wherein did fall

A stream of blood, which issued from the side
Of a great rock: I well remember all,

And have good cause; there it was dipt and dyed,
And wash'd, and wrung: the very wringing yet
"Your heart was foul, I fear."

Enforceth tears.

Indeed 'tis true. I did and do commit

Many a fault, more than my lease will bear;

Yet still ask'd pardon, and was not denied.
But you shall hear. After my heart was well,
And clean and fair, as I one eventide

(I sigh to tell)
Walk'd by myself abroad, I saw a large
And spacious furnace flaming, and thereon
A boiling caldron, round about whose verge
Was in great letters set AFFLICTION.
The greatness show'd the owner. So I went
To fetch a sacrifice out of my fold,
Thinking with that, which I did thus present
To warm his love, which, I did fear, grew cold.
But as my heart did tender it, the man
Who was to take it from me, slipt his hand,
And threw my heart into the scalding pan;
My heart that brought it (do you understand?)

The offerer's heart. "Your heart was hard, I fear."
Indeed 'tis true. I found a callous matter

Began to spread and to expatiate there:
But with a richer drug than scalding water
I bath'd it often, ev'n with holy blood,
Which at a board, while many drank bare wine,
A friend did steal into my cup for good,
Ev'n taken inwardly, and most divine
To supple hardnesses. But at the length
Out of the caldron getting, soon I fled
Unto my house, where to repair the strength
Which I had lost, I hasted to my bed:

But when I thought to sleep out all these faults,
(I sigh to speak)

I found that some had stuff'd the bed with thoughts.
I would say thorns. Dear, could my heart not break,
When with my pleasures ev'n my rest was gone?
Full well I understood who had been there:
For I had given the key to none but one:

It must be he. "Your heart was dull, I fear."
Indeed a slack and sleepy state of mind

Did oft possess me; so that when I pray'd,
Though my lips went, my heart did stay behind.
But all my scores were by another paid,

Who took my guilt upon him.

For aught I hear, your Master

"Truly, Friend, shows to you

More favor than you wot of. Mark the end.
The font did only what was old renew:
The caldron suppled what was grown too hard:
The thorns did quicken what was grown too dull:
All did but strive to mend what you had marr'd.
Wherefore be cheer'd, and praise him to the full
Each day, each hour, each moment of the week,
Who fain would have you be new, tender, quick."7

[The three poems are at pp. 87, 40, and 133 respectively. S. C]


The former subject continued-The neutral style, or that common tc Prose and Poetry, exemplified by specimens from Chaucer, Herbert,

and others.

I HAVE no fear in declaring my conviction, that the excellence defined and exemplified in the preceding chapter is not the characteristic excellence of Mr. Wordsworth's style; because I can add with equal sincerity, that it is precluded by higher Dowers. The praise of uniform adherence to genuine, logical English is undoubtedly his; nay, laying the main emphasis on e word uniform, I will dare add that, of all contemporary poets, is his alone. For, in a less absolute sense of the word, I should e tainly include Mr. Bowles, Lord Byron, and, as to all his ater writings, Mr. Southey, the exceptions in their works being so few and unimportant. But of the specific excellence described in the quotation from Garve, I appear to find more, and more undoubted specimens in the works of others; for instance, among the minor poems of Mr. Thomas Moore, and of our illustrious Laureate. To me it will always remain a singular and noticeable fact; that a theory, which would establish this lingua communis, not only as the best, but as the only commendable style, should have proceeded from a poet, whose diction, next to that of Shakspeare and Milton, appears to me of all others the most individualized and characteristic. And let it be remembered too, that I am now interpreting the controverted passages of Mr. Wordsworth's critical preface by the purpose and object, which he may be supposed to have intended, rather than by the sense which the words themselves must convey, if they are taken without this allowance.

A person of any taste, who had but studied three or four of Shakspeare's principal plays, would without the name affixed

scarcely fail to recognise as Shakspeare's a quotation from any other play, though but of a few lines. A similar peculiarity, though in a less degree, attends Mr. Wordsworth's style, when. ever he speaks in his own person; or whenever, though under a feigned name, it is clear that he himself is still speaking, as in the different dramatis persona of THE RECLUSE. Even in the other poems, in which he purposes to be most dramatic, there are few in which it does not occasionally burst forth. The reader might often address the poet in his own words with reference to the persons introduced :

"It seems, as I retrace the ballad line by line

That but half of it is theirs, and the better half is thine."

Who, having been previously acquainted with any considerable portion of Mr. Wordsworth's publications, and having studiec them with a full feeling of the author's genius, would not a once claim as Wordsworthian the little poem on the rainbow?

"The Child is father of the man," &c.

Or in the LUCY GRAY?

"No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;

She dwelt on a wide moor;

The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door."3


1 [Altered from The Pet Lamb, P. W., p. 30. S. C.]

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The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety." S. C.]
4 [Ib., i., p. 31. S. C.]

3 [Ib, i., p. 16. S. C.]

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