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them an air of original thought and independent feeling, which exempts him completely from the charge of imitation.
"The Pilgrims of the Sun" is a poem in four cantos; or it may be considered as forming four successive poems. The subject by which they are exquisitely linked together into unity of plan, is simply a tradition respecting a meek and beauteous maiden, who, on the third night of the waning moon,' was borne away during a state of trance from this lower world, and traversed, in company with a celestial guide, the regions of the Solar System. On her spirit's return to earth, and re-entrance into its bodily mansion, she discovers herself to be alone, within a newly opened grave, and the garments of the dead en veloping her form. The attempt of an old monk, whom her recovery puts to flight, to enrich himself with the jewels buried with her, and who, to complete his purpose, cuts the rings off from her finger, awakens her from her trance; and the sequel of the narrative restores the maiden to her disconsolate lady mother, and to the reality of her angel companion in the form of a minstrel lover. Little stress is to be laid on the choice of a subject, and the tale is probably familiar to many of our readers; and the idea, at all events, is such as any one might have adopted and treated according to his fancy. But we are disposed to believe, that, in the hands of no contemporary poet, would it have been susceptible of the alternate sportiveness of invention, daring elevation, richness of sentiment, and tender playfulness, by which our Author has contrived to sustain and perpetually to vary the interest of the story. The effect is increased by his reserving for the last canto a sort of denouement, which serves to throw an air of probability over the wildly romantic fiction that has detained us in a state of wonder.
The first part of the poem is in the form of a legendary ballad, than which nothing could be better adapted to the poet's purpose. The character of the heroine partakes of the genuine style of old romance, and prepares us for her mysterious ad
'On form so fair, on face so mild,
The rising sun did never gleam;
The dawn of truth did never beam.
She learned to read, when she was young,
And she thought by night, and she read by day,
And the more she thought, and the more she read
She feared the half, that the bedesmen said,
Was neither true nor plain to man.
Yet she was meek, and bowed to heaven
Or the sun began his draught of dew.
And aye, she thought, and aye, she read,
Till mystic wildness marked her air;
For the doubts that on her bosom preyed
Were more than maiden's mind could bear.' p. 2.
At length the yearning anxiety which grew upon her, to lift the veil of the invisible world, is to be satisfied. One eve, when she had prayed and wept till daylight faded on the wold,' there came to her a beautiful youth, with the mien of an angel, who took her gently by the hand, and bade her rise and cast off her earthly weeds, and go with him to that far distant land from which he came to take her where she longed to be.'
She only felt a shivering throb,
More lightsome, pure, and fair than he.'
No sooner had she arrayed herself in the robe of unearthly make, with which he presented her, than
Upward her being seemed to bound;
Like one that wades in waters deep,
Tho' rapt and transient was the pause,
Hung to the earth by viewless pile.'
The exquisite beauty and appropriatenesss of this simile, will not fail to strike the minute observer of nature. We must give the stanzas which describe the departure of the twain on their ethereal voyage.
He spread his right hand to the heaven,
She did not linger, she did not look,
Stretched on the green-wood's lap alone,' p. 8.
Our limits oblige us to put a restraint upon our inclination, or we should, with pleasure, extract nearly the whole of the description in the subsequent stanzas of the appearances that un
and the poor,
folded themselves to the virgin as she advanced. To us it appears to be not less distinguished by imagery, and felicity of conception, than by a high strain of poetical diction. We must content ourselves with selecting the following stanzas, on account of the natural and touching thought which they contain.
• The first green world that they passed bye
Had 'habitants of mortal mould ;
And they saw the young, and they saw the old.
They seemed of some superior frame;
And all their radiant robes the same.
and trees, And she saw the blossoms thereupon; But she saw no grave in all the land,
Nor church, nor yet a church-yard stone.
To every searching mortal eye;
That on his breast it seems to lie.
The warmth was gentle, mild, and bland,
' The apostrophe to the harp of Judah, by which the poet prepares his readers for the change of style in the following part, is very artfully managed, and the allusion to the shepherd hand, in which it was wont to delight, introduced in the invocation of our shepherd bard, is extremely beautiful.
• I will bear my hill-harp hence,
And hang it on its ancient tree;
The scenes that ope'd to Mary Lee.', The second part of this highly imaginative poem is founded on the fiction, that the sun is the seat of the local majesty of Deity, and the residence of the celestial Hierarchy. This fiction is imbodied in all the splendours of poetry. The Author has evidently taken Milton for his model, and it is as much as we dare say, that in some passages it would be difficult to determine the degree of his distance from the model which he has chosen. The authoritative majesty which invests the Christian Mæonides, and which procures, even for the defects of his great poem, a sort of respectful deference, constitutes an incommuni
cable peculiarity which our younger bard cannot lay claim to; but in place of this, there is a spirit of tender romance, in combination with a loftiness of thought, which must, we think, procure for the whole poem a powerful and permanent impression.
Upon a mount they stood of wreathy light
Of vision borne, their piercing sight passed on
Who in that orb resides, and round whose throne
The delighted maiden inquires which of all these worlds is that she lately left, in order that she may note how far more extensive and fair it is than the rest. Little she confesses, she knows of it, more than that it is a right fair globe diversified and huge,' and 'that afar,
In one sweet corner of it lies a spot
At length she supposes she descries it, and recognizes the Caledonian mountains. The smile of compassionate reproof with which she is answered by her conductor, prepares her for the information of the subordinate rank which the earth holds in this goodly universe.
'Down sunk the virgin's eye,-her heart seemed wrapped
"I see all these fair worlds inhabited
And sinned like us? And has a living God
We might forbear any remark on the happy introduction of this interesting query, so naturally occurring to a devoutly benevolent and simple mind; but we must express our commendation of the good sense which Mr. Hogg has displayed in disposing of the maiden's inquiry. One is always delighted to meet with any like moral vegetation in the wilds of fancy, especially to trace any signs of the implantation of Christian sentiments: but after the gloomy scepticism through which we have lately been constrained to follow the course of one highly gifted genius, and the absolute barrenness of moral sentiment which deforms the descriptive romances of a popular northern poet, it is a peculiar relief to open upon passages similar to that we are transcribing, when they appear to be introduced, not for the sake of any parade of theological learning or casuistical inference, but from the natural association of ideas in a simple and devout mind. Such, at least, is the impression which we have received from this and other passages in the same part of Mr. Hogg's poem. But we forget that we have not given to our readers Cela's reply, which ought not to have been separated from the question that occasioned it.
"Hold, hold,—no more! Thou talk'st thou know'st not what,"
Said her conductor with a fervent mien,
"More thou shalt know hereafter.
With men as men. Those things by him decreed,
Or compassed by permission, ever tend
To draw his creatures, whom he loves, to goodness;
For He is all benevolence, and knows
That in the paths of virtue and of love
Alone, can final happiness be found.
In justice to our Author, we will venture one more extract from this part of the poem; and we think none of our readers will think its length requires apology. The whole conception of the origin and nature of the comet is highly magnificent, and finely sustained.
At length upon the brink of heaven they stood;