« 上一頁繼續 »
The friend of Alvar, the narrator of his own tale, flies 'to seek a refuge from man's face,' and enters in the night a "mighty minster.' The niorning dawns and the dim light falls on an altar piece, representing our Saviour delivering St Peter from the waves. This ideal picture is described with consummate power, and an image of Christ is presented, which, to our minds, is unrivalled in painting or poetry.
And soft, and sad, that colouring gleam was thrown,
Thy form, thou Son of God !-a wrathful deep,
Thou, as o’er glass, didst walk that stormy sea
So still thy white robes fell !-Do breath of air
Aid for one sinking —Thy lone brightness gleam'd
O thou that art the life! and yet didst bear
But was it not a thing to rise on death,
Where Power sat veil'd, yet shedding softly round
And more than all, the Heaven of that sad smile!
Sank at thy voice, along its billowy way :-
pp. 43–46.. The passages which we have quoted are abundantly sufficient to show the very high character of the poem before us. We will add but one more, a part of the prayer, which the doubting Catholic offers up to Christ. It would be difficult to find a more forcible argument against persecution.
Amidst the stillness rose my spirit's cry
Where then is mercy ?-whither shall we flee,
“ But didst thou not, the deep sea brightly treading,
This crushing out of hope, and love, and youth,
Pp. 46, 47. The poem is divided into two parts, and the preceding extracts have been taken from the first alone. They are given but as specimens of a work of which every page has beauties of its own. There is, at the same time, in this, as in Mrs Hemans' smaller poeins, an unbroken harmony of character, and unity of effect, which add greatly to its impression on the
VOL. III.-NO. V.
mind. It is not a collection of fragments of fine poetry, it is a beautiful whole.
The Forest Sanctuary'fills about half the volume before us. The remainder is composed of shorter pieces, many of which had previously appeared in the New Monthly Magazine. A considerable proportion of them, however, will, we believe, be new to most of our readers; others, and those, perhaps, the most rich in the peculiar characteristics of her poetry, have been spread by our newspapers throughout the country. It is a fact highly creditable to the taste of our community, and, in particular, to the taste of the conductors of our public journals.
The volume of Mrs Hemans' Poems, for which proposals were issued a few months since, will now shortly be published. In typographical beauty and correctness it will in some degree correspond to the contents of the volume, and answer, it is hoped, to the just expectations of the subscribers. The difficulty of accomplishing these objects has been the principal cause of delay in its appearance. Immediately upon its publication, the Forest Sanctuary with the accompanying poems, will be put to the press, and printed uniformly with it. It should be understood that any publications of Mrs Hemans' works by the editor of these two volumes will be for the benefit of the author.
Art. XII.—Observations on the Growth of the Mind. By
Sampson Reed. Boston, Cummings, Hilliard and Co. 1826. pp. 44.
It is impossible to read this pamphlet without perceiving it to be the production of a cultivated and pure mind. There is throughout a high tone of moral and religious feeling, amounting almost to enthusiasın, which we like. Even when we cannot entirely go along with it, or fully understand it, we like it. It is refreshing to a mind, wearied out by intercourse with a world like this, to find that we can dream at least of a better state of things. Phrases and allusions are frequently occurring, which remind us, that these Observations are from a receiver of the New Jerusalem doctrines. They are not, however, so much obscured by the mysticism common to the writers of this school, but that some of them may be easily understood by the uninitiated. We give the opening paragraph as a sufficiently favorable specimen of the author's style.
Nothing is a more common subject of remark than the changed condition of the world. There is a more extensive intercourse of thought, and a more powerful action of mind upon mind than formerly. The good and the wise of all nations are brought nearer together, and begin to exert a power, which, though yet feeble as infancy, is felt throughout the globe. Public opinion, that helm which directs the progress of events by which the world is guided to its ultimate destination, has received a new direction. The mind has attained an upward and onward look, and is shaking off the errours and prejudices of the past. The gothic structure of the feudal ages, the ornament of the desert, has been exposed to the light of heaven ; and continues to be gazed at for its ugliness, as it ceases to be admired for its antiquity. The world is deriving vigour, not from that which is gone by, but from that which is coming ; not from the unhealthy moisture of the evening, but from the nameless inflųences of the morning. The loud call on the past to instruct us, as it falls on the rock of ages, comes back in echo from the future. Both mankind, and the laws and principles by which they are governed, seem about to be redeemed from slavery. The moral and intellectual character of man has undergone, and is undergoing a change ; and as this is effected, it must change the aspect of all things, as when the position-point is altered from which a landscape is viewed. We appear to be approaching an age which will be the silent pause of merely physical force before the powers of the mind; the timid, subdued, awed condition of the brute, gazing on the erect and godlike form of man.'
pp. 3, 4. It is not Mr Reed's intention to speak of the progress, which the mind has already made, but of the means by which this progress may be promoted ; beginning with its powers of acquiring and retaining truth, 10 trace summarily that developement which is required, in order to render it truly useful and happy.' He contends, that truth is not retained without some continued exertion of the same power by which it is acquired; that the memory is cultivated by a proper developement of the affections ; that we must love what we would remember. He then speaks of the relation which memory bears to time and eternity ; but here it is, that plunging into a subject beyond all human power, either of comprehension or conception, he is lost for a time in a darkness that may be felt. Take the following sentence for example, and will any say, it imparts the faintest glimmering of light to the understanding ?
. But when the soul has entered on its eternal state, there is reason to believe that the past and the future will be swallowed up in the present ; that memory and anticipation will be lost in consciousness ; that every thing of the past will be comprehended in the present, without any reference to time, and every thing of the future will exist in the divine effort of progression.' p. 8.
We do not propose to follow this writer in his speculations on time and eternity. When, however, he says of memory, that it 'bas in reality nothing to do with time,' he bewilders bis readers with a seeming paradox, by making memory to signify something very different from what is commonly understood by that term. Let it be, that menory is not, as it used to be considered, a distinct power or faculty of the mind ; let it be, that remembrance is merely a state of the mind; still it is a complex state of the mind; a perception of the past, felt as a perception of the past. Separate from it, therefore, this relation to time, this reference to the past, this notion of antecedence, and it ceases to be memory. It becomes consciousness or simple perception. Mr Reed defines memory as being the effect of learning ;' it seems to us, however, that the effect of learning is not memory, but information, improvement. It seems to us, it would be much more correct to say, that learning is the effect of memory, than that memory is the effect of learning. We believe, the Baron’ speaks of an internal memory, in which all that ever comes into the mind is stored up, so that nothing is, strictly speaking, forgotten. But even this memory, so far as it is memory, certainly implies the relation of antecedence; and of course of time, in the common acceptation of that term. At any rate, we object strongly to the use of conimon words in new acceptations. If men have new ideas to communicate, let them coin new words for the purpose, but not use old words in new acceptations. This practice will only have the effect to mislead, by conveying different ideas from those intended, or else make the merest truisms sound like startling paradoxes.
There is force and beauty in the following train of thought, though it proceeds on a mistaken idea of what constitutes a miracle, and is marred by occasional touches of mysticism. Here, indeed, we ought to remark, that besides the influence of his system, there appears to have been an original defect in this writer's mind, in regard to the clearness and distinctness of his apprehensions; and had it not been for this original defect in