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And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
On earth join, all ye creatures, to extol

Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,

If better thou belong not to the dawn,

Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires, that move
In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix

And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky, or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the World's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.

His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.

Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls; ye birds,
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,

Bear on your wings, and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,

To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.”

Scarcely less worthy of the theme are the similar aspirations of a faithful worshipper and priest of Nature, who disdained not to follow closely in the

same noble though beaten track, and to draw from the same familiar but exhaustless fountain.

"Nature attend! join every living soul,
Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join; and, ardent, raise
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes.

Oh, talk of Him in solitary glooms!

Where o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine

Fills the brown shade with a religious awe.

And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,

Who shake th' astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
Th' impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.
His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;
And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound;
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
Along the vale; and thou, majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,

Sound his stupendous praise, whose greater voice
Or bids your roar, or bids your roarings fall.
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers,
In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts,
Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints.
Ye forests bend, ye harvests wave, to Him;
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven, as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! best image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,

From world to world, the vital ocean round,
On Nature write with every beam his praise.
The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world;
While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn."

Nor is it only in acts of general worship and praise that our inanimate fellow-creatures seem to unite and sympathize with us. The special interpositions of Divine mercy for the benefit of mankind, are considered by our excited fancies to fix the admiring attention of the universe: nor, as we fondly deem, were the awe and wonder due to the most stupendous of such events confined alone to angels and the heavenly host of intelligent spectators.

"But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the
charmed wave.

"The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influ-


And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them


But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid

them go.

"And, though the shady gloom Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame

The new enlighten'd world no more should need:

He saw a greater Sun appear

It is not alone in seasons of exultation that Nature thus affords her sympathy. Events, too, of Divine judgment, or of deep guilt and wide-spread disaster, seem to excite her dread or claim her condolence. The oracles of sacred truth have recorded the agitations and apparent agonies of the material world, at periods of signal solemnity or surpassing horror; and the imagination of the poet is tempted to feign things similar, where their moral suitableness is his only warrant. Το the mind of Milton, contemplating, in its fulness of sin and misery, that first and dreadful disobedience which "Brought death into the world and all our woe,"

the poetical belief was unavoidable, that the elements of nature lamented over the fall of those who had been set to rule their fellow-creatures in the image of their Creator. At the transgression of Eve,

"Earth felt the wound, and Nature, from her seat,

Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe

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At the final ruin of both our parents"Earth trembled from her entrails, as again

In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan;

Sky lower'd; and, muttering thunder, some sad drops

Wept at completing of the mortal sin."

The Pagan fabulists called in the aid of such bold images on similar occasions of tragic horror, though of less universal interest. The sun recoiled

Than his bright throne or burning axle- in his course, that he might not look

tree could bear."

on the hideous banquet prepared for

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Earth, air, and seas, with prodigies were sign'd,

And birds obscene, and howling dogs divined."

Here, indeed, as in other instances, poetry addresses, as fictions, to the imagination, the same conceptions which superstition would force upon the reason as facts. In both operations the same natural principle is busy; nor can we suppose such a principle to have been engrafted on our frame without a design that it should bear noble fruit. In superstition it is perverted and abused; în poetry it is directed to its proper use, and confined within its just limits. Nor is there, perhaps, in the constitution of man a more singular provision than that by which imagination is thus allowed to wield, innocently and beneficially, the full moral power of so many illusions, which, if adopted by the understanding as literal truths, would enslave the reason and debase the soul.

The supposed sympathy of general creation with the affairs of man, as manifested in prodigies and extraordinary appearances, is obviously a figure which ought to be sparingly employed in poetry, particularly by a Christian poet writing to a Christian and enlightened age. If such machinery, which we are taught to appropriate to the most awful and momentous events, be introduced on every petty and pitiful occasion of human distress, it becomes ludicrous from its absurdity or shocking by its profaneness. And it is surely a settled rule in poetical taste, that no strong image shall be presented to us, for the sake of mere ornament or surprise, where it cannot command the assent of the imagination and the sympathy of the heart.

Much room, however, is still left for a natural and less exalted use of those sympathetic affections that may be supposed to subsist between ourselves and material objects, in their ordinary or less marvellous manifestations. We are readily inspired with a love for them, and would willingly believe that they feel a love for us; and this, when once imagined, is easily read in their commonest aspects and operations.

Our love for external objects may be excited by those qualities that address the feelings of sublimity or beauty. Mountains, rocks, and rivers, the ocean and the orbs of heaven, fields, forests, trees, and flowers, when beheld with any intensity of admiration, and more especially when viewed in an individual rather than in a collective character, will involuntarily borrow an air of life and an aptitude for affection from the same ideas that invest them with grandeur and loveliness. We shall have abundant opportunity of illustrating this rule, in the course of our further observations on the subject; but may here, in connexion with it, insert two passages, which, although too well known to have the charm of novelty, will please the more the oftener they are studied, and which seem here to be peculiarly appropriate, as giving an adequate expression to the powerful affections and ideal visions to which we have referred. If to any reader there appears a vagueness and obscurity in some part of these noble verses, let him ask himself if, without much of mystery and darkness, it is

possible to think or to speak of those bonds of moral connexion that unite man with material nature, and which seem designed, by the imaginations thus arising even from the perceptions

of sense, to prepare him for other scenes in which faith shall be lost in sight, conjecture in intuition, and matter in spirit.

"And O 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.'
"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,

Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that 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 man :
A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods,

And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being."

The feelings excited by the grander and more awful forms of natural power-the hurricane, the thunderstorm, the earthquake, must from their intensity be favourable to personifica tion; yet we shall have occasion to notice an important distinction observable in such cases. We recognise a simple and natural impersonation in that beautiful passage of the Evangelist, where Jesus" arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; επιτιμησε τοις ανεμοις και τη θαλασση censured them, took them to task as erring and presumptuous,-"and there was a great calm. But the men mar

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velled, saying, What manner of man
is this, that even the winds and the
sea obey him: "—
AUTR. Mil-

ton has used a similar image in the
delineation of a more dreadful storm,
in like manner appeased the strife of
elemental confusion reconciled by the
creative voice :—

"Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,'

Said then the Omnific Word, 'your discord

Nor stay'd; but on the wings of cherubim
Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into chaos and the world unborn;
For chaos heard his voice."

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"The sky is changed!--and such a change! Oh, night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wond'rous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,

From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!

"And this is in the night :-Most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and fair delight,—
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 'tis black,—and now, the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth."

There is great talent and power in this spirited and striking description; though, in passing, we suppose we may say, that critics are now pretty well agreed as to the incongruity of the concluding image. It is too fanciful for a picture of which sublimity should be the predominating tone; and it is not very certain that there is any intelligible sense in it. The birth of a young earthquake naturally leads us to wonder what an old earthquake can be; and whether the young of earthquakes need to be nursed and fed till they are able to do mischief, or whether the slighter shocks are to be considered as infant earthquakes, giving a kick and a squall at the breast, (do they belong to the mammalia?) while those of a more formidable magnitude are to be held as big and burly adults. These questions are not easily resolved; and, however answered, are not favourable to the poet's purpose. But it is not in reference to this part of the description that we have quoted the stanzas. We wish to consider whether the personifications here introduced, and none can be more vivid, are truly conducive to a high effect of sublimity, where the mental enthusiasm that produces them stops short

at these material ministers of heaven, and is not led upwards to think of a living power far higher than those which are the creatures of its own fancy. A Godless description of a midnight thunder-storm among the Alps, seems to us to be at variance, we do not say with piety, but with poetical truth and with human feeling. In such a scene, and on such a night, the soul cannot rest satisfied with the mere belief of the fancy that the leaping thunder is alive, and that the mountains are shouting in fellow-feeling to each other. We know with an awful conviction, that, if the representation is true at all, there is something at work that is less visionary than these airy dreams; and if not taught that we are in the dread presence of Divinity, we either turn from the picture in disappointment, or unavoidably view it as exhibiting the revelry of demons, rather horrible and hideous than solemn or sublime. Compare the lively impersonations of Byron with the description of the Pagan poet, in which all personification is swallowed up in one great image of the supreme deity of his mythology, and say which of them is the more true to nature and to poetry.

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