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call it a fit Appendix to the • Paradise inspiration never slacken or grow faLost. It is the Consolation to that tigued. Even the humours and conComplaint. Imagine the ages to have ceits are of a piece with the solemnity rolled by since our first parents gave of the poem-like the grotesque masks earth to their offspring, who sealed carved on the walls of a cathedral, the gift with blood, and bequeathed it which defy the strict laws of taste, to us with toil :- imagine, after all that and almost inexplicably harmonise experience can teach-after the hoard with the whole. The sorrow, too, of ed wisdom and the increasing pomp the poet is not egotistical, or weak in of countless generations--an old man, its repining. It is the great one sorone of that exiled and fallen race, row common to all human nature_the standing among the tombs of his an- deep and wise regret that springs from cestors, telling us their whole history, an intimate knowledge of our being in his appeals to the living heart, and and the scene in which it has been holding out to us, with trembling cast. That same knowledge, operathands, the only comfort which earth ing on various minds, produces various has yet discovered for its cares and results. In Voltaire it sparkled into sores — the anticipation of Heaven! wit ; in Goethe, it deepened into a To me, that picture completes all that - humour that belongs to the sublime ; Milton began. It sums up the human in Young it generated the same high history, whose first chapter he had and profound melancholy as that chronicled; it preacheth the great which excited the inspirations of the issues of the Fall; it shows that the Son of Sirach, and the soundest porburning light then breathed into the tion of the philosophy of Plato." . soul, lives there still ; it consummates Here is a passage that itself justithe mysterious record of our mortal fies even such an eulogy-for where sadness and our everlasting hope. is its superior-we had almost said its But if the conception of the • Night equal-either in poetry or philosophy Thoughts' be great, it is also uniform throughout the whole range of the and sustained. The vast wings of the creation of English genius ?
“ How poor, how rich, how abject, how auzust,
"'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof,
Of subtler essence than the trodden clod;
The last paragraph is admirable- stirred up from its unfathomed depths but the first is wondrous—and would by the voice of the dead disclosing have entranced Hamlet. " I have of deeds that changed the face of the late (but, wherefore, I know not) lost firmament, and into worse than all my mirth, foregone all custom of " beasts that want discourse of reaexercises : and, indeed, it goes so hea. son," turned the creatures God had vily with my disposition, that this formed after his own likeness, “ maggoodly frame, the earth, seems to me nanimous to correspond with Heaa sterile promontory ; this most ex- ven." cellent canopy, the air, look you, but not Shakspeare-not Young, this brave, o'erhanging firmament, ever drew such a picture of Man as this majestical roof fretted with gold the one now emerging from the still en fire, why, it appears no other deep waters of our memory--by whom thing to me than a foul and pesti. painted ? One of the Masters in lent congregation of vapours. What Israel. a piece of work is man! How noble “ And first, that he hath withdrawn in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! himself, and left this his temple desoin form and moving, how express and late, we have many sad and plain admirable! in action, how like an proofs before us. The stately ruines angel! in apprehension how like a are visible to every eye, that bear in god! the beauty of the world! the their front (yet extant) this doleful paragon of animals! And yet, to me, inscription : * Here God once dwelt." what is this quintessence of dust?" Enough appears of the admirable The ghost of one, o in form and mo frame and structure of the soul of ving, how express and admirable," man, to show the divine presence did was gliding through his imagination sometime reside in it, more than
and he knew that what was once enough of vicious deformity, to pro“ its smooth body,"
claim he is now retired and gone. " A most instant tetter barked about
The lamps are extinct, the altar Most lazar-like with vile and loathsome
overturn'd. The light and love are crust;”
now vanisht, which did the one shine his mother, whom that ghost, when in
with so heavenly brightness, the other the body
burn with so pious fervour. The gol. “ Would not beteem the wind of heaven
den candlestick is displac't, and thrown
away as an useless thing, to make Visit her face too roughly "
room for the throne of the Prince of now forgetful of " the buried Majesty Darkness. The sacred incense, which of Denmark," and soaking " in the sent rowling up in clouds its rich perrank sweat of an incestuous bed ; " fumes, are exchang'd for a poisonous “ the serpent that did sting his fa- hellish vapour, and here is, instead of ther's life now wearing his crown;" a sweet savour, a stench. The comely " confusion worse confounded” order of this house is turn d all into among all the holiest thoughts and confusion. The beauties of holiness things that had made to him the reli- into noisom impurities. The house of gion of his being_beneath all that prayer, to a den of thieves, and that horrible and hideous oppression-and of the worst and most horrid kind, for in the revealed knowledge of possibi- every lust is a thief, and every theft, lities of wickedness in nature, other. sacrilege; continual rapine and rob. wise “ beyond the reaches of his bery is committed upon holy things. soul," he thought of heaven and earth, The noble powers which were deand man-and spoke of them still as sign'd and dedicated to divine conglorious and godlike-while there templation and delight, are alienated was quaking in his soul an ineffable to the service of the most despi. trouble never more to be appeased, cable idols, and employ'd unto vilest intuitions and embraces; to behold they cannot be wrought in, so as to and admire lying vanities; to indulge take hold of the soul, but hover as and cherish lust and wickedness. faint, ineffectual notions, that signify What, have not the enemies done nothing. Its very fundamental powers wickedly in the sanctuary! How have are shaken and disjointed, and their they broken down the carved work order, towards one another, confoundthereof, and that too with axes and ed and broken. So that what is judg'd hammers; the noise whereof was not considerable is not consider'd. What to be heard in building, much less in is recommended as eligible and lovely, the demolishing this sacred frame. is not loved and chosen. Yea, the Look upon the fragments of that cu- truth which is after godliness, is not rious sculpture which once adorn'd so much disbeliev'd, as hated, held in the palace of that great king: The unrighteousness, and shines as too reliques of common notions; the lively feeble a light in that malignant darkprints of some undefaced truth; the ness which comprehends it not. You fair idæas of things; the yet legible come amidst all this confusion, as into precepts that relate to practice. Be- the ruin'd palace of some great prince, hold! with what accuracy the broken in which you see here the fragments of pieces shew these to have been engra- a noble pillar, there the shatter'd pieces ven by the finger of God, and how they of some curious imagery, and all lying now lie torn, and scatter'd, one in this neglected and useless among heaps of dark corner, another in that, buried in dirt. He that invites you to take a heaps of dirt and rubbish. There is view of the soul of man, gives you but not now a system, an entire table of such another prospect, and doth but coherent truths to be found, or a say to you, behold the desolation, all frame of holiness, but some shiv- things rude and wast. So that should er'd parcels. And if any, with there be any pretence to the divine great toil and labour, apply them- presence, it might be said, If God be selves to draw out here one piece, here, why is it thus ? The faded glory, and there another, and set them to the darkuess, the disorder, the impů. gether, they serve rather to show rity, the decay'd state in all respects how exquisite the Divine workman- of this temple, too plainly show the ship was in the original composition Great Inhabitant is gone." than for present use, to the excel. From “ The Living Temple" of lent purposes for which the whole John How ! was first design'd. Some pieces agree, Sometimes we have fears about and own one another; but how soon our memory – that it is decaying ; are our enquiries and endeavours non- fur, lately many ordinary yet inte. plust and superseded! How many resting occurrences and events, attempts have been made since that which we regarded at the time with fearful fall and ruin of this fabrick, to pain or pleasure, have been slipping compose again the truths of so many away almost into oblivion, and have several kinds into their distinct orders, often alarmed us of a sudden by their and make up frames of science, or use- return, not to any act of recollection, ful knowledge; and, after so many but of themselves, sometimes wretchages, nothing is finisht in any one edly out of place and season, the kind. Sometimes truths are mis- mournful obtruding upon the merry, plac'd, and what belongs to one kind and, worse, the merry upon the mournis transferred to another, where it will ful- confusion, by no fault of ours, of not fitly match; sometimes falsehood piteous and of gladsome faces-tears inserted, which shatters or disturbs the where smiles were a duty as well as a whole frame. And what is with much delight, and smiles where nature defruitless pains done by one hand, is manded and religion ballowed a sacridasht in pieces by another; and it is fice of tears. the work of a following age to sweep Yet we forget no beautiful or glo. away the fine-spun cobwebs of a for- rious passage-in prose or verse-that mer. And those truths which are of had been committed to memory, either greatest use, though not most out of by the heart or by the soul-and, like sight, are least regarded. Their ten- another star stealing through the sky dency and design are overlookt; or to join its constellation-lo! another they are so loosen'd and torn off, that Light of Song.
“ On man, on nature, and on human life,
“ So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the bard,
For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink · Deep-and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.
Of the whole species) to the external world
And are we—the defenders of the say, that the admiration of their spe. faith—never to see more of the “ Re. cies has been divided to the two classes cluse". but the “ Excursion"- the of minds which have been thus distingreat Philosophical Poem, of the de. guished from one another. sign and scope of which these match Now, it seems reasonable to suppose less lines have been said by Words that, if, in the character of an indiviworth to be “ a kind of Prospectus?” dual, or in the character of a nation, What right has the next age to these two spirits could be united in exclude us from such a possession ? equal measure, and, at the same time, What right has the poet? We men in great strength, that character would alive love and reverence him_what appear to us the very excellence of more would he desire ? To us, his our nature ; but if either should be in worshippers, that revelation is due great excess, it is to be apprehended if withheld till we are dead, wrong that in such a mind, and much more will have been done us all; and per. in such a nation, great defects, and haps the next age, blind as the past- of immediate consequence, would maand far blinder than the present-for nifest themselves. It appears to be the the wisdom of nations, though pro opinion of Wordsworth that in our gressive, often pauses and sometimes own country, in this age, at least, the recedes_may punish the poet by its spirit of action is carried to pernicious ingratitude, denying—when he him. excess. The nature of the injurious self like us is dust—that homage to consequences of each several excess his genius which we have ever paid, may be best understood by considering in the spirit of knowledge and of truth. a little more fully what is the essential
Well, let us change our tone- nature of the spirit itself. and dissert to the Neophytes. The T he spirit of thought or speculation spirit of this nation is characterised turns the mind inward upon itself; as “ a practical spirit ;" and the tem- its essence is retirement from the exper which Wordsworth has desired ternal world, from all outward life, to contribute his aid to counteract, into the recess of its own thoughts, is this practical spirit in excess. For into the depth of its own being. The it is to be considered that human life danger of such a spirit is the separais divided to the two powers of spe. tion of the mind from those affections culation and action, and that to both by which we are united to men. It is these several destinations of man are to be expected that the mind, forsakappropriated great affections of mind ing the life of the world to retire to and high faculties of execution ;-with a life within itself, may become selfsuch allotment, that, while minds of loving, and lose alike the use and the great power have appeared among estimation of those principles of its us as given up some to one destinanature by which it is drawn and contion, and some to the other, it is diffi- strained to make sacrifice of itself upcult for us to pronounce to which of on requisition of the welfare of others. them the chief admiration of men has It is also to be expected that in thus been given ; and we should rather relinquishing the natural happiness of