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Whereas, can it be denied, that no consistent scheme of Inspiration has ever been gathered from the teaching of those ancient Fathers? They who believe that such a scheme is contained in their writings, explicitly or implicitly, will do well to unfold it. Merely to talk about such a thing in a style of indefinite grandeur is but to conjure up a mist, by the spell of solemn sounding words, to mock the eyes of men with a cloud castle for a season—a very little season it is during which any such piece of mist-magnificence can remain undispersed in times like the present, except for those who had rather gaze on painted vapors than on realities of a hue to which their eyes are unaccustomed.
I have not been able to obtain any exact account of all Father's courses of lectures, given after his visit to Germany, but find, from letters and other sources of information, that he lectured in London, before going to Malta, in 1804; on his return from Malta, in 1807; again in * 1808; in 1811; in 1814, in which year he also lectured at Bristol ; in 1817; and, for the last time, I believe, in 1819. His early lectures at Bristol are mentioned in the biographical sketch.
The poetic or imitative art, an ancient critic has observed, must needs describe persons either better than they are, at the present time, or worse, or as they are exactly. The fact is, however, that in literary fiction individuals can seldom be exhibited exaclly such as they are, the subtle interminglings of good and evil, the finely-balanced qualities that exist in the actual characters of men, even those in whom the colors are deepest and the lines most strongly traced, being too fine and subtle for dramatic effect. Indeed it is scarcely possible to present a man as he truly is except in plain narrative ; his mind cannot be properly manifested save in and through the very events and circumstances which gave utterance to his individual being and which his peculiar character helped to mould and produce. When taken out of these and placed in the alien framework of the novelist or dramatist it becomes another thing; the representation may convey truth of human nature in a broad way, and seem drawn to the life, if the writer have a lively wit, but as a portrait of a particular person it is often the more a falsehood the more natural it appears.
To poetic descriptions these remarks do not apply. They are, for the most part, mere views of a character in its elevated and poetic aspects -tributes of admiration to its beautiful qualities. Such are the fine stanzas, already quoted, in which the poet Coleridge is described by the great Poet, his Friend : and such are sore loss krawn, composed by a
poet of a later generation, who never saw my Father face to face. Of these the last four will serve for a conclusion to this sketch. I give them here for the sake of their poetic truth and the earnest sympathy they manifest with the studious poet
Philosopher contemning wealth and death,
though they are not among the very finest parts of their author's thoughtful and beautiful poetry.
No loftier, purer soul than his hath ever
(From infancy to age)
And mighty voices from afar came to him ;
And speech of choral storms.
His loftiest Thoughts were but like palms uplifted;
His sweetest songs were sighs.
Coleridge, farewell! That great and grave transition
And yet a Babe can bear,
15 Here seems an allusion to an anti-utilitarian maxim of Bacon's, which is very expressive of my Father's turn of mind :-Et tamen quemadmodum luci magnam habemus gratiam, quod per eam vias inire, artes exercere, legere, nos invicem dignoscere possimus, et nihilominus ipsa visio lucis res præstantior est et pulchrior, quam multiplex ejus usus; ita certe ipsa contemplatio rerum, prout sunt, sine superstitione aut impostura, errore aut confusione, in se ipsa magis digna est, quam universus inventorum fructus. Novum Organum, Part of Aph. cxxix.
Soft be the sound ordained thy sleep to break-
16 From a volume containing The Search after Proserpine. Recollections of Greece and other Poems by Aubrey de Vere, author of The Fall of Rora.
ON THE POE ICAL PICTURESQUE.
Mr. Hallam and Mr. Leigh Hunt have both expressed dissent from my Father's remark in the Remains, i., pp. 93–4, that Spenser's descriptions
are not in the true sense of the word picturesque ; but are composed of a wondrous series of images, as in our dreams.” Whether or not " the true sense of the word picturesque” is what my Father meant, I do not pretend to determine, but I think that what he meant is true of Spenser, and indicates a characteristic difference between his painting and that of Dante, Pindar, and more or less of many other poets. Lessing gives the widest definition of the poetical picturesque ; he says that a poet writes picturesquely, not when his words furnish matter for a material painting; many writers do this whose writing is not picturesque ;—but when they have the same effect as a material painting in bringing a sensuous object vividly before the mind. Paradise Lost, as Martin's illustrations have proved, is not very picturable. Who can paint such universalities as he deals with in his world-poem? Who could show on canvas how
as earth, so he the world
Yet no one will deny the truth of Milton's language, and that every sight, sound, and other sensation which he speaks of is faithfully imaged
by his words ? My Father, on the other hand, seems to have been speaking of the picturesque in the most restricted sense. He calls a poetic description properly such, when it presents a composite object of sight, containing neither more nor less than we might see at once with our eyes, the poet making this picture the emblem of a sentiment, instead of explaining the sentiment directly; or when he tells a story by means of it. This sort of picture-drawing belongs to rapid, vehement writers; it speeds on the representation; it has an oriental heat and intensity about it. There is a vivid one in Solomon's Song, if I may venture to speak of that part of the Canon in reference to poetry. It is in chap. v., verses 2-4. I do not say that this could be put on canvas; the capability of being actually painted is not the criterion of the poetical picturesque ;-many of Pindar's finest pictures could not be materially painted : it is enough that our eye in thought can embrace the whole at once; the Beloved with his hand upon the lock, and his hair wet with the dews night; the Spouse within upon her couch, her doffed raiment lying beside it. Instances of the same kind in Pindar are Jove's Eagle asleep on the sceptre, rufling up his feathers in transport, while the dancers are moving tc the sound of the Lyre ; Wars lying in tranced slumber, and the other gods listening all around; Neptune appearing to Pelops by the sea-side in the darkness; Pallas appearing to Bellerophon at night, all gleaming in armor, darkly blue,—he leaping to his feet and seizing the golden bridle which she had laid beside him: Iamus calling to his Sire and Grandsire by night from the midst of the Alpheus. These three last would not make good material pictures, because of the darkness ; even Rembrandt would not have managed them well had he tried to present the poet's vision faithfully; but how vivid they are to the mind's eye ! Instances in Dante are numerous, but I will select two. Caron dimonio, con occhi di bragia, Charon, “ demoniac form," with wheels of flame around his eyes, collecting the shades into his boat upon the livid lake, and striking with his oar whoever lingers : another unpicturable picture. This is in the third Canto; in the ninth we have the three Furies rising up at the fiery top of a tower in the city of Dis, blood-stained, girt about the waist with hydras of the deepest green, having small serpents for loose ringlets, and the large-horned cerastes wound about their temples by way of braid ; Megæra on the left, Alecto weeping on the right, Tisiphone in the midst. This is picturable : Flaxman has designed it finely : his Megæra expresses deadly hate; Alecto the torture of intolerable grief (Dante describes her as
1“ Adam bending over the sleeping Eve in the Paradise Lost (Book v., ver. 18), and Dalilah approaching Samson, in the Agonistes (i., 710), are the only two proper pictures I remember in Milton ”_Table Talk, p. 182.