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lect, or so practical as to address the conscience to the neglect of the imagination. If we were to compare the poetry of Dissenters with that of Churchmen, we should say that the former are the best portrayers of human life in the whole extent of its interests, while the latter succeed far better in throwing romantic beauty round their doctrines and ritual. The Roman Catholic faith has the most poetical capability, and the Puseyite comes not far from it; whilst the mongrel theology, which is neither Catholic nor Protestant, which apes ancient splendor, and caricatures modern freedom, has neither Roman grandeur nor Protestant boldness.

But we must hasten to our work and not linger more upon our way. We have before us three interesting volumes from the pen of Mr. Williams, which are attractive from their outward beauty as well as their literary worth. Only one of them has appeared in an American edition. "The Cathedral " has been announced, but its delay leads us to suppose that its embellishments are too expensive to reward an American publisher. The Baptistery is of the last year's press, and so peculiar in its illustrations as hardly to induce any attempts at imitation; and without the illustrations the poetry would be often as unintelligible as marginal notes without the text.


Thoughts in Past Years" give us glimpses of the author's mind during the twelve years previous to the date of their first publication, 1838. They introduce us to a man whom we cannot but love, a thoughtful and somewhat mystic mind, a tender and somewhat sad heart, a quiet but by no means imbecile will. The pieces in the volume are arranged according to their dates and the places where they were composed. We have space but for two short extracts. In a Sonnet headed "Religious Emotions," he thus teaches a lesson that all minds like his are happy in learning:

"Right onward must we bear
Thro' varying feelings; let Faith hold the stern,
And they to haven urge the flagging sail.
As petals from the flower, thus feelings born
Of outward things, as we to death proceed,
Drop from us one by one, and leave the seed,
A power for good or evil, not to fail

When from the soul its earthly shell is torn."

Here is an exquisite passage from the "Mountain Home,” a Illness is no ill

piece written after a severe illness in 1826.

that breathes such sentiments:

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"And Thou wilt not forget my trembling soul
Mid millions Thou wilt dwell alone with me,
Father and Friend, as on the twinkling main
Sleep countless Moons in pictured minature,
Each in unbroken semblance; or the Sun
Spangles the dew-drops on each pearly blade,
Each drop reflects his perfect beam, each blade
Drinks life as if for him alone it glowed."

This whole volume is much more free than the others. It shows less of the Churchman and more of the Christian and man, although many of the pieces bear expressly upon controverted points, and neglected Fasts and slighted Rubrics are the burden of many a lament. But the other volumes seem written expressly for a specific aim, and quite as doctrinal in their purpose as the famous Tracts. The author bears evidently little love for Rome, not enough to please his reviewer in the British Critic; yet he shows the chief peculiarities of the Divinity that leans toward Romanism. Baptism is regeneration, the Eucharist, eternal life, the Catholic Church, the only fountain of salvation, if we are to respond to the doctrines of "The Cathedral" and "The Baptistery." We observe, moreover, that wherever the Sacramental table is introduced into the illustrations, candles are invariably placed upon it; a sure sign of return to the usages of the middle ages.

The "Cathedral" aims to connect a series of ecclesiastical poems with the several parts of a Gothic Church, by selecting subjects more or less appropriate to the parts which they are made to represent "from the Liturgy and the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church; care being taken to adhere as much as possible to the relative proportions of such a structure." The result is one of the most beautiful volumes of the day beautiful in its embellishments and its text. It is thoroughly Gothic even to the smallest vignettes at the ends of chapters. In its plan it resembles Herbert's Temple, as the author allows; but it is much more complete, and gives an appropriate poem to every principal part of a Cathedral. An especial poem by the by is devoted to Herbert, who has a place in one of the Sepulchral Recesses that are consecrated to the Churchman's friends. He is thus spoken of in the fourth stanza:

"Meek Herbert, would that such as I
Could learn thy lesson high,




Those ways that made thy spirit's tone
A midnight orison,

Thy more than manly wisdom free,
And child's simplicity."

Yet notwithstanding this high tribute to his worth, how different his tone from that of the Oxford School. His genial piety and rich humor have small parallel in the ascetic spirit and plaintive tone of the bard of "The Cathedral." Herbert's faith seems so strong and buoyant as if it never had come in contact with doubt, and mirth seems to have a place in his religion, just as grotesque figures looked down from ancient Cathedral walls. Williams is constantly mourning over the decay of faith and the neglect of worship, and no smile plays over his pensive face. We remember not a single trace of humor in his pages, except in an early poem, a Sonnet to a Mole, which he calls,


My little miner, with the velvet coat."

The lines on the approach to the Cathedral give a good idea of the general tone of the other pieces.

"When all the air calm Evening woos,

And earthly mists are wafted by,
And nought unholy breathing nigh,
Yon grove in deeps of its repose
A wondrous portal doth disclose.

And far within a living way,
Lit up by an unfading day,
Thro' the long gloomy vale of woes.
And childlike wisdom holds the key,

And wealth that to the world is poor,
Wide opes to them that ivory door,
Where all in other colors stand,
Touched by a disenchanting wand,

And things that seemed of earth, of Heaven are found to be."

The three doors of the Western Front are made emblems respectively of Repentance, Obedience, and Faith. These lines from the poem on Faith cannot but commend themselves to every lover of the beautiful.

"When these dead walls her heaven-born aid
And secret spirit shall pervade,
Terrestrial things become divine:

"T is on her breath the Collect soars,
And Psalms attain the eternal doors;

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Here when her rapt eye heavenward streams
In calm and holy Litanies,

She bringeth down the pitying skies;
The dove upon the fountain gleams,
In broad mysterious blessing teems.

Thence going forth she to chaste eyes
Clothes nature with her sympathies;
When night's dark curtains fall, she seems,
On mountain tops with silvery feet,

Holding with Heaven communion sweet;
When clouds Heaven's morning surface wield,
She opes beyond her bright-blue shield;
When warring tumults gather near,
She lifts the consecrated spear."


The most interesting portions of "The Cathedral" are those poems on the Sepulchral Recesses which briefly characterize the Churchman's friends, and those on the side windows which represent the Ancient Fathers. From the former we would gladly extract the passages upon Taylor and Butler and from the latter the passages upon Tertullian, Origen, and Augustine. But merely observing, that we thank Mr. Williams for so gently touching upon the heresies of our old friend Origen, we must close the volume with quoting the closing sentiment of the author, as characteristic of his position with regard to this utilitarian age. His whole system of divinity seems so wedded to a stately Minster, as to languish apart from its shrine. An angel kneeling with hands clasped over his face is the vignette at the head, and another angel bearing away a glorified saint is the vignette at the close of the final poem, "The Departure." Sad poet, there is no abiding place for you in this age, and you too must find an angel guide to a more congenial sphere! Rather more morbid sentimentality than true spiritualism dictates words like these. The true Christian of the Gospel school will never languish because away from a grand Cathedral. This is the Farewell.

"Beautiful vision, let me hold thee still,

And gaze on thee, smiling thou seemest to fly,

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And flying still to smile. If 't is Heaven's will
Thou shouldst depart 'mong things that are gone by,
In thy hands bear me with thee to the sky,
Angelic vision! I no more would mourn
The goodliest things that pass from mortal eye,
But hold thee in thy flight, and with thee borne
Mount to the heavenly gate, the threshold of the morn.”

A few words now upon the last of the three volumes, "The Baptistery." It aims to teach the doctrines of practical Christianity in a series of poems attached to some singular engravings, which are taken with a few alterations from an old Latin Work by Boetius a Bolswert. The illustrations begin with a symbolical view of the Baptismal Font.

"How art thou seen in Heaven, O living well,
The Fount of our New Birth, the blessed seal
Of our inheritance ?


The idea of the book is to arrange emblems of the great Christian truths in pictured scenes as on the walls of the place of Baptism.

"Thus on the sides of our Baptismal cell

Are ranged the various scenes of our new birth,
And round our household hearth in vision dwell,
Weighed in the scale of their immortal worth ;
As angels may behold the things of earth."

There is considerable genius, but far more quaintness in the engraved illustrations. The hobgoblins of our nursery superstition are here exhibited in all their glory. Hell-fire, devils with horns, tails, and cloven feet, glare upon us in a large proportion of the plates. The author has no idea of countenancing the conceptions of the arch fiend, that such sad heretics as Milton and Goethe have given. Not Satan the majestic rebel, not Mephistopheles the cold-blooded, gentlemanly tempter, but a gross, and ludicrous imp, with a toad's belly, serpent's tail, goat's hoofs, and with head sometimes of peacock and sometimes of horned beast, represents the devil of this Oxford bard. There is such a gross spirit of evil in the world indeed, but so also there is an evil spirit like Satan and Mephistopheles. Perhaps the Churchman as well as the poet speaks out in this fling at Milton:

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