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And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow!

Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?

“Glide gently thus, for ever glide,

O Thames: that other bards may see

As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me.

O glide, fair stream! for ever so,
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,

Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.

“Wain thought!—Yet be as now thou art,
That in thy waters may be seen
The image of a poet's heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene;"

The following delicious sonnet, inspired by the same scene, is one of the latest effusions of its author. We do not here quote it on account of its allusion to one of the most delightful of poets—nor of the fine unbroken ligament by which the harmony listened to by the later bard is connected with that which the earlier drank in, by the lineage of the songsters who keep tip the old ravishment—but of that imaginative power, by which a sacredness is imparted to the place and to the birds, as though they performed unresting worship in the most glorious of cathedrals.

“Fame tells of groves from England far away"—
Groves that inspire the nightingale to trill
And modulate, with subtle reach of skill
Elsewhere unmatch'd, her ever-varying lay;
Such bold report I venture to gainsay:
For I have heard the choir of Richmond-hill
Chanting with indefatigable bill;
While I bethought me of a distant day;
When haply under shade of that same wood,
And scarcely conscious of the dashing oars
Plied steadily between those willowy shores,
The sweet-soul’d Poet of the Seasons stood–
Listening, and listening long, in rapturous mood,
Ye heavenly birds! to your progenitors.”

The following “Thought of a Briton on the subjugation of Switzerland,” has an elemental grandeur imbued with the intensest sentiment, which places it among the highest efforts of the imaginative faculty.

“Two voices are there; one is one of the sea,
One of the mountains; each a mighty voice :
In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,
They were thy chosen music, Liberty:
There came a tyrant, and with holy glee
Thou fought'st against him; but hast vainly striven,
Thou from thine Alpine holds at length are driven,
Where not a torrent murmurs heard by thee.
Of one deep bliss thine ear hath been bereft;
Then cleave, O cleave, to that which still is left:
For, high-soul’d maid, what sorrow would it be,
That mountain-floods should thunder as before,
And ocean bellow from his rocky shore,
And neither awful voice be heard by thee!”

We have thus feebly attempted to give some glimpse into the essence of Wordsworth's powers—of his skill in delineating the forms of creation—of his insight into the spirit of man—and of his imaginative faculty. How he has applied these gifts to philosophical poetry, and what are the results of his contemplation, by their aid, on the external universe—

*Wallachia is the country alluded to.

human life—individual character—the vicissitudes of individual fortune—society at large —and the prospects of the species—we shall next proceed more particularly to examine. The spirit of contemplation influences and directs all Wordsworth's poetical faculties. He does not create a variety of individual forms to vivify them with the Promethean fire of dramatic genius, and exhibit the living struggle of their passions and their affections in opposition to each other, or to destiny. “The moving accident is not his trade.” He looks on humanity as from a more exalted sphere, though he feels his kindred with it while he gazes and yearns over it with deepest sympathy. No poet of ancient or modern times has dared so entirely to repose on the mere strength of his own powers. Others, indeed, have given hints of the divinest truths, even amidst their wildest and most passionate effusions. The tragedies of Sophocles, for example, abound in moralities expressed with a grace and precision which often ally the sentiment to an image and almost define it to the senses. In Shakspeare the wisdom is as much deeper as the passion is intenser; the minds of the characters, under the strongest excitements of love, hope, or agony, grow bright as well as warm, and in their fervid career shed abroad sparkles of fire, which light up, for an instant, the in most sanctuaries of our nature. But few have ventured to send into the world essentially meditative poems, which none but the thoughtful can truly enjoy. Lucertius is the only writer of antiquity who has left a great work of this description; and he has unhappily lavished the boundless riches of genius on doctrines which are in direct opposition to the spirit of poetry. An apostle of a more genial faith, Wordsworth, stands pre-eminently— almost alone—a divine philosopher among the poets. It has been his singular lot, in this late age of the world, to draw little from those sources of interest which incident and situation supply—and to rest his claim to the gratitude and admiration of the people on his majestical contemplations of man and the universe. The philosophical poetry of Wordsworth is not more distinct from the dramatic, or the epic, than from the merely didactic and moral. He has thrown into it as much of profound affection, as much of ravishing loveliness, as much of delicate fantasy, as adorn the most romantic tales, or the most passionate tragedies. If he sees all things “far as angel's ken,” he regards them with human love. His imagination is never obscured amidst his reasonings, but is ever active to imbody the beautiful and the pure, and to present to us the most august moralities in “clear dream and solemn vision." Instead of reaching sublime conclusions by a painful and elaborate process, he discloses them by a single touch, he fixes them on our hearts for ever. So intense are his perceptions of moral beauty, that he feels the spirit of good however deeply hidden, and opens to our view the secret springs of love and of joy, where all has appeared barren to the ungifted observer. He can trace, prolong, and renew within us, those

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mysterious risings of delight in the soul which “may make a chrysome child to smile,” and which, when half-experienced at long intervals in riper age, are to us the assurances of a better life. He follows with the nice touch of unerring sympathy all the most subtle workings of the spirit of good, as it makes its little sanctuaries in hearts unconscious of its presence, and blends its influences unheeded with ordinary thoughts, hopes, and sorrows. The old prerogatives of humanity, which long usage has made appear common, put on their own air of grandeur while he teaches us to revere them. When we first read his poetry, we look on all the mysteries of our being with a new reverence, and feel like children who, having been brought up in some deserted palace, learn for the first time the regality of their home—understand a venerableness in the faded escutcheons with which they were accustomed to play—and feel the figures on the stained windows, or on the decaying tapestry, which were only grotesque before speaking to their hearts in ancestral voices. The consecration which Wordsworth has shed over the external world is in a great measure peculiar to his genius. In the Hebrew poetry there was no trace of particular description—but general images, such as of tall cedars, of green pastures, or of still waters, were alone permitted to aid the affections of the devout worshipper. The feeling of the vast and indistinct prevailed; for all in religion was symbolical and mysterious, and pointed to “temples not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” In the exquisite masterpieces of Grecian inspiration, free nature's grace was almost excluded by the opposite tendency to admire only the definite and the palpable. Hence, the pictures of nymphs, satyrs, and deities, were perpetually substituted for views of the magnificence of earth and heaven. In the romantic poetry of modern times, the open face of nature has again been permitted to smile on us, and its freshness to glide into our souls. Nor has there been wanting “craft of delicate spirits” to shed lovelier tinges of the imagination on all its scenes—to scatter among them classical images like Ionic temples among the fair glades and deep woods of some rich domain—to call dainty groups of fairies to hold their revellings upon the velvet turf–or afford glimpses of angel wings floating at eventide in the golden perspective. But the imagination of Wordsworth has given to the external universe a charm which has never else, extensively at least, been shed over it. He has not personified the glorious objects of Creation—nor peopled them with beautiful and majestic shapes—but, without depriving them of their own reality, has imparted to them a life which makes them objects of af. section and reverence. He enables us at once to enjoy the contemplation of their colours and forms, and to love them as human friends. He consecrates earth by the mere influences of sentiment and thought, and renders its scenes as enchanted as though he had filled them with Oriental wonders. Touched by him, the hills, the rocks, the hedge-rows, and the hum*lest flowers shine in a magic lustre, “which

never was by sea or land,” and which yet is strangely familiar to our hearts. These are not hallowed by him with “angel visits,” nor by the presence of fair and immortal shapes, but by the remembrances of early joy, by lingering gleams of a brightness which has passed away, and dawnings of a glory to be revealed in the fulness of time. The lowliest of nature's graces have power to move and to delight him. “The clouds are touched, and in their silent faces does he read unutterable love.” He listens to the voice of the cuckoo in early spring, till he “begets again the golden time of his childhood,” and till the world, which is “fit home” for that mysterious bird, appears “an airy unsubstantial place.” At the root of some old thorn, or beneath the branches of some time-honoured tree, he opens the sources of delicious musing, and suggests the first hints which lead through a range of human thoughts to the glories of our final destiny. When we traverse with him the “bare earth and mountains bare,” we feel that “the place whereon we are standing is holy ground;” the melancholy brook can touch our souls as truly as a tragic catastrophe; the splendours of the western sky give intimation of “a joy past joy;” and the meanest flowers, and scanty blades of grass, awaken within us hopes too rapturous for smiles, and “thoughts which do often lie too deep for tears.”

To give all the instances of this sublime operation of the imaginative faculty in Wordsworth, would be to quote the far larger portion of his works. A few lines, however, from the poem composed on the Banks of the Wye, will give our readers a deep glimpse into the in most heart of his poetry, and of his poetical system, on the communion of the soul of man with the spirit of the universe. In this rapturous effusion—in which, with a wise prodigality, he hints and intimates the profoundest of those feelings which vivify all he has created—he gives the following view of the progress of his sympathy with the external world:—

*Nature then (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days And their glad animal movements, all gone by) To me was all in all—I cannot paint What then I was. The sounding cataract Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock, The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, Their colours and their forms, were then to me An appetite: a feeling and a love, That had no need of a remoter charm By thought supplied, or any interest Unborrow'd from the eye. That time is past, And all its aching joys are now no more, And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this Faint I, normourn, nor murmur; other gifts Have follow'd, for such loss I would believe Abundant recompense. For I have learn’d To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes The still sad music of humanity, Not harsh, nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A spirit which disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of mind:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.”

There are none of the workings of our poet's imaginative faculty more wonderful in themselves, or more productive of high thoughts and intense sympathies, than those which have for their objects the grand abstractions of humanity—Life and Death, Childhood and Old Age. Every period of our being is to him not only filled with its own peculiar endearments and joys, but dignified by its own sanctities. The common forms of life assume a new venerableness when he touches them— for he makes us feel them in their connection with our immortality—even as the uncouth vessels of the Jewish law appeared sublime to those who felt that they were dedicated to the immediate service of Heaven. He ever leaves us conscious that the existence on whose beginning he expatiates, will endure for ever. He traces out those of its fibres which are eternal in their essence. He discovers in every part of our earthly course manifold intimations that these our human hearts will never die. Childhood is, to him, not only the season of novelty, of innocence, of joyous spirits, and of mounting hope—but of a dreamlike glory which assures to us that this world is not our final home. Age to him, is not a descent into a dark valley, but a “final eminence,” where the wise may sit “in awful sovereignty” as on a high peak among the mountains in placid summer, and commune with Heaven, undisturbed by the lesser noises of the tumultuous world. One season of life is bound to another by “the natural piety” which the unchanging forms of nature preserve, and death comes at last over the deep and tranquil stream as it is about to emerge into a lovelier sunshine, as “a shadow thrown softly and lightly from a passing cloud.” The Ode in which Wordsworth particularly developes the intimations of immortality to be found in the recollections of early childhood, is, to our feelings, the noblest piece of lyric poetry in the world. It was the first poem of its author which we read, and never shall we forget the sensations which it excited within us. We had heard the cold sneers attached to his name—we had glanced over criticisms, “lighter than vanity,” which represented him as an object for scorn “to point its slow unmoving finger at"—and here—in the works of this derided poet—we found a new vein of imaginative sentiment opened to us—sacred recollections brought back on our hearts with all the freshness of novelty, and all the venerableness of far-off time—the most mysterious of old sensations traced to a celestial origin— and the shadows cast over the opening of life from the realities of eternity renewed before us with a sense of their supernal causes: What a gift did we then inherit! To have the best and most imperishable of intellectual treasures—the mighty world of reminiscences of the days of infancy—set before us in a new and holier light; to find objects of deepest veneration where we had only been accustomed to love; to feel in all the touching mysteries

of our past being the symbols and assurances of our immortal destiny! The poet has here spanned our mortal life as with a glorious rainbow, terminating on one side in infancy, and on the other in the realms of blessedness beyond the grave, and shedding even upon the middle of that course tints of unearthly colouring. The following is the view he has given of the fading glory of childhood—drawn in part from Oriental fiction, but imbodying the profoundest of elemental truths:–

“Our birth is but a sleep, and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath elsewhere known its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God that is our home;
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth that daily farther from the east
Must travel still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day!”

But the following is the noblest passage of the whole; and such an outpouring of thought and feeling—such a piece of inspired philosophy—we do not believe exists elsewhere in human language:–

“O joy! that in our embers Is something that doth live, That nature yet remembers What was fugitive: The thought of our past years in me doth breed Perpetual benedictions: not indeed For that which is most worthy to be blest; Delight and liberty, the simple creed Of Childhood, whether fluttering or at rest, With new-born hope for ever in his breast :Not for these I raise The song of thanks and praise; But for those obstinate questionings Of sense and outward things, Fallings from us, vanishings; Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realiz'd, High instincts, before which our mortal Nature Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised; But for those first affections, Those shadowy recollections, Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain light of all our day, Are yet a master light of all our seeing; Uphold us, cherish us, and make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, To perish never; Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, Nor Man nor Boy, Nor all that is at enmity with joy, Can utterly abolish or destroy Hence, in a season of calm weather, Though inland far we be, Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea Which brought us hither, Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.”

After this rapturous flight, the author thus leaves to repose on the quiet lap of humanity.

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and soothes us with a strain of such mingled solemnity and tenderness, as “might make angels weep:”

“What though the radiance which was once so bright,
Renow for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been, must ever be,
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death,

In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And oh ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Think not of any severing of our loves:
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they ;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”

The genius of the poet, which thus dignifies and consecrates the abstractions of our nature, is scarcely less felicitous in its pictures of society at large, and in its philosophical delineations of the characters and fortunes of individual man. Seen through the holy medium of his imagination, all things appear “bright and solemn and serene”—the asperities of our earthly condition are softened away —and the most gentle and evanescent of its hues gleam and tremble over it. He delights to trace out those ties of sympathy by which the meanest of beings are connected with the general heart. He touches the delicate strings by which the great family of man are bound together, and thence draws forth sounds of choicest music. He makes us partake of those joys which are “spread through the earth to be caught in stray gifts by whoever will find” them—discloses the hidden wealth of the soul—finds beauty everywhere, and “good in every thing.” He draws character with the softest pencil, and shades it with the pensive tints of gentlest thought. The pastoral of The Brothers—the story of Michael– and the histories in the Excursion which the priest gives while standing among the rustic graves of the church-yard, among the mountains, are full of exquisite portraits, touched and softened by a divine imagination which human love inspires. He rejoices also to exhibit that holy process by which the influences of creation are shed abroad in the heart, to excite, to mould, or to soften. We select the following stanzas from many passages of this kind of equal beauty, because in the fantasy of nature's making “a lady of her own,” the object of the poet is necessarily developed with more singleness than where reference is incidentally made to the effect of scenery on the mind:—

“Three years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, a lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
This child I to myself will take,
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own:

Myself will to the darling be
Both law and impulse: and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power,
To kindle or restrain.

She shall be sportive as the fawn,
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And her’s shall be the breathing balm,
And her's the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.

The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form
By silent sympathy.

The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean on air
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty, born of murmuring sound,
Shall pass into her face?”

But we must break off to give a passage in a bolder and most passionate strain, which represents the effect of the tropical grandeur and voluptuousness of nature on a wild and fiery spirit—at once awakening and half-redeeming its irregular desires. It is from the poem of “Ruth,”—a piece where the most profound of human affections is disclosed amidst the richest imagery, and incidents of wild romance are told with a Grecian purity of expression. The impulses of a beautiful and daring youth are thus represented as inspired by Indian scenery:

“The wind, the tempest roaring high,
The tumult of a tropic sky,
Might well be dangerous food,
For him, a youth to whom was given
So much of earth, so much of heaven,
And such impetuous blood.

Whatever in those climes he found
Irregular in sight or sound,
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse, seem’d allied
To his own powers, and justified
The workings of his heart.

Nor less to feed voluptuous thought,
The beauteous forms of Nature wrought
Fair trees and lovely flowers;
The breezes their own languor lent;
The stars had feelings which they sent
Into those gorgeous bowers.

Yet in his worst pursuits, Iween
That sometimes there did intervene
Pure hopes of high intent;
For passions link'd to forms as fair
And stately, needs must have their share
Of noble sentiment.”

We can do little more than enumerate those pieces of narrative and character, which we esteem the best in their kind of our author's works. The old Cumberland Beggar is one of those which linger most tenderly on our memories. The poet here takes almost the lowliest of his species—an aged mendicant, one of the last of that class who made regular circuits amidst the cottages of the north—and after a vivid picture of his frame bent with years, of his slow motion and decayed senses, he asserts them not divorced from good— traces out the links which bind him to his fellows—and shows the benefit which even he can diffuse in his rounds, while he serves as a record to bind together past deeds and offices of charity—compels to acts of love by “the mild necessity of use” those whose hearts would otherwise harden—gives to the young “the first mild touch of sympathy and thought, in which they find their kindred with a world where want and sorrow are"—and enables even the poor to taste the joy of bestowing. This last blessing is thus set forth and illustrated by a precious example of selfdenying goodness and cheerful hope, which is at once more tear-moving and more sublime than the finest things in Cowper:—

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“Man is dear to man; the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life When they can know and feel that they have been, Themselves, the fathers and the dealers out Of some small blessings; have been kind to such As needed kindness, for this single cause, That we have all of us one human heart. —Such pleasure is to one kind being known, My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week Duly as Friday comes, though prest herself With her own wants, she from her chest of meal Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip Of this old mendicant, and, from her door Returning with invigorated heart, Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in Heaven.”

Then, in the Excursion, there is the story of the Ruined Cottage, with its admirable gradations, more painful than the pathetic narratives of its author usually are, yet not without redeeming traits of sweetness, and a reconciling spirit which takes away its sting. There, too, is the intense history of the Solitary's sorrows —there the story of the Hanoverian and the Jacobite, who learned to snatch a sympathy from their bitter disputings, grew old in controversy and in friendship, and were buried side by side—there the picture of Oswald, the gifted and generous and graceful hero of the mountain solitude, who was cut off in the blossom of his youth—there the record of that pleasurable sage, whose house Death, after forty years of forbearance, visited with thronging summonses, and took off his family one after the other, “with intervals of peace,” till he too, with cheerful thoughts about him, was “overcome by unexpected sleep in one blest moment,” and as he lay on the “warm lap of his mother earth,” “gathered to his fathers.” There are those fine vestiges, and yet finer traditions and conjectures, of the good knight Sir Alfred Irthing, the “mild-hearted champion" who had retired in Elizabeth's days to a retreat among the hills, and had drawn around him a kindred and a family. Of him nothing remained but a gentle fame in the hearts of the villagers, an uncouth monumental stone grafted on the church-walls, which the

sagest antiquarian might muse over in vain, and his name engraven in a wreath or posy around three bells with which he had endowed the spire. “So,” exclaims the poet, in strains as touching and majestic as ever were breathed over the transitory grandeur of earth—

“So fails, so languishes, grows dim and dies,
All that this world is proud of. From their spheres
The stars of human glory are cast down;
Perish the roses, and the flowers of kings,
Princes and emperors, and the crowns and palms
Of all the mighty, withered, and consumed.”

In the Excursion, too, is the exquisite tale of poor Ellen—a seduced and forsaken girl— from which we will give one affecting incident, scarcely to be matched, for truth and beauty, through the many sentimental poems and tales which have been founded on a similar wo:

“—Beside the cottage in which Ellen dwelt
Stands a tall ash tree; to whose topmost twig
A thrush resorts, and annually chants,
At morn and evening from that naked perch,
While all the undergrove is thick with leaves,
A time-beguiling ditty, for delight
“Of his fond partner, silent in the nest.
—‘Ay why," said Ellen, sighing to herself,
“Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge;
And nature that is kind in Woman's breast,
And reason that in Man is wise and good,
And fear of Him who is a righteous Judge,
Why do not these prevail for human life,
To keep two hearts together, that began
Their spring-time with one love, and that have need
Of mutual pity and forgiveness, sweet
To grant, or be received, while that poor bird,
–0 come and hear him: Thou who hast to me
Been faithless, hear him, though a lowly creature,
One of God's simple children that yet know not
The universal Parent, how he sings
As if he wished the firmament of Heaven
Should listen, and give back to him the voice
Of his triumphant constancy and love;
The proclamation that he makes, how far
His darkness doth transcend our fickle light !”

“Such was the tender passage, not by me Repeated without loss of simple phrase, Which I perused, even as the words had been Committed by forsaken Ellen's hand To the blank margin of a Valentine, Bedropped with tears.”

With these tear-moving expressions of illfated love, we may contrast the following rich picture of the affection in its early bloom, from the tale of Wandracour and Julia, which will show how delightedly the poet might have lingered in the luxuries of amatory song, had he not chosen rather to brood over the whole world of sentiment and passion:—

*Arabian fiction never filled the world
With half the wonders that were wrought for him.
Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring;
Life turned the meanest of her implements
Before his eyes to price above all gold;
The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine;
Her chamber window did surpass in glory
The portal of the dawn; all paradise
Could, by the simple opening of a door,
Let itself in upon him; pathways, walks,
Swarmed with enchantment, till his spirit sank,
Surcharged, within him, overblest to move
Beneath a sun that walks a weary world
To its dull round of ordinary cares;
A man too happy for mortality.”

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