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of Dorset, republished the poem with a short but intelligent preface, in which he advocated, with becoming enthusiasm, the poetical claims of Davies. After alluding to the degraded condition of poetry, he continues, "This very consideration should advance the esteem of the following poem, wherein are represented the various movements of the mind; at which we are as much transported as with the most excellent scenes of passion in Shakspeare or Fletcher: for in this, as in a mirrour, (that will not flatter,) we see how the soul arbitrates in the understanding upon the various reports of sense, and all the changes of imagination; how compliant the will is to her dictates, and obeys her as a queen does her king, at the same time acknowledging a subjection, and yet retaining a majesty. How the passions move at her command, like a welldisciplined army; from which regular composure of the faculties, all operating in their proper time and place, there arises a complacency upon the whole soul, that infinitely transcends all other pleasures—what deep philosophy is this! to discover the process of God's art in fashioning the soul of man after his own image; by remarking how one part moves another, and how those motions are varied by several positions of each part, from the first springs and plummets, to the very hand that points out the visible and last effects. What eloquence and force of wit to convey these profound speculations in the easiest language, expressed in words so vulgarly received, that they are understood by the meanest capacities! For the poet takes care in every line to satisfy the understandings of mankind: he follows step by step the workings of the mind from the first strokes of sense, then of fancy, afterwards of judgment, into the principle, both of natural and supernatural motives; hereby the soul is made intelligible, which comprehends all things besides: the boundless tracks of sea and land; and the vaster spaces of Heaven; that vital principle of action, which has always been busied in inquiries abroad, is now made known to itself; in so much that we may find out what we ourselves are, from whence we came, and whither we must go; we may perceive what noble guests those are, which we lodge in our bosoms, and which are nearer to us than all other things, and yet nothing further from our acquaintance.
"But here all the labryinths and windings of the human frame are laid open: it is seen by what pullies and wheels the work is carried on, as plainly as if a window were opened into our breast; for it is the work of God alone to create a mind. The next to this is to show how its, operations are performed."
This estimate of the genius of Davies is just and discriminative. For clearness of thought, ingenuity of reasoning, accuracy of deduction, and propriety of illustration, his work may be numbered among the literary marvels of that age. While Shakspeare was peopling the stage with picturesque pageantry; and Spenser, in the zenith of his reputation, was irradiating the intellectual atmosphere with the sunshine of his beautiful imagination, Davies struck into a path in which he had no foreunner, and cannot be said to have had any successor. Having, in the Orchestra, displayed a playful melody of diction, and shown his acquaintance with all the graces of style, he produced a poem which, to the highest dignity of conception, united the stateliest harmony of expression. Waller, was the observation of Johnson, might have studied with advantage the poem of Davies, which, though merely philosophical, seldom leaves the ear ungratified. With a fancy nourished by extensive observation of books and men, he employs it only to light up the chain of his reasoning, and to render more completely manifest the mechanism of the argument. "His thoughts," says Tate, "are moulded into easy and significant words; his rhymes never mislead the sense, but are led and governed by it." These admirable qualities may be exemplified even in the brief extracts permitted by trie necessary limits of these observations. He shows the inability of the human faculties to comprehend the scheme of God's government, in this manner:—
0 could we see how cause from cause doth spring!
How mutually they linked and folded are!
The harmony doth rather make than mar!
And view at once, how death by sin is brought;
And how from death, a better life doth rise!
"We this decree would praise as right and wise.
But we that measure times by first and last,
When God on all at once his view doth cast
All in himself as in a glass he sees,
For from him, by him, through him, all things be;
But seeing the whole, each siDgle part doth see.
His similes are admirably selected, and are not only recommended by analogy, but novelty:—
The Necessity Of Divine Assistance To The Soul. .
But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
So the best soul with her reflecting thought,
The Union Of The Soul With The Body.
But as the fair and cheerful morning light
And in an instant doth herself unite,
To the transparent air, in all and ev'ry part:
So doth the piercing soul the body fill,
Being all in all, and all in part diffused;
Nor forced, encountered, troubled, or confused.
The Sense Of Peeling Illustrated.
In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
She feels it instantly on evYy side*.
Here sense's apprehension end doth take;
As when a stone is into water cast,
Till the last circle touch the bank at last.
Innate Ideas In The Soul.
And though these sparks were almost quenched with sin,
Have them increased with heavenly light within,
The Immortality or The Soul Shown From The UnSatisfying NATURE OF ALL EARTHLY ENJOYMENTS.
At first her mother-earth she holdeth dear,
And doth embrace the world, and worldly things;
She flies close by the ground, and hovers here,
Yet under heaven she cannot light on ought
She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth,
Whoever ceased to wish, when he had health?
Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet flowers, with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all;
But, pleased with none, doth rise and soar away.
Although the Immortality of the Soul is properly a philosophical poem, it is essentially a religious poem also.
* Condensed by Pope into a famous couplet:
The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine,
r eels at each thread, and lives along the line.—Essay on Man.
It has nothing of Lucretius, but the majesty. The dependence of man upon a merciful and omnipotent Creator, and the purification of the heart by the influence of the Divine Spirit, are constantly and eloquently enforced:—
This lamp through all the regions of my brain,
As now methinks I do distinguish plain
And he winds up the whole argument with an appeal to the heart, full of calm wisdom and earnest devotion :—
O ignorant poor man! what dost thou bear,
What jewels, and what riches hast thou there?
Look in thy soul, and thou shalt beauties find,
Honour and pleasure both are in thy mind,
Think of her worth, and think that God did mean,
Blot not her beauties with thy thoughts unclean,
Kill not her quick'ning power with surfeitings;
Mar not her sense with sensuality:
Make not her free-will slave to vanity.
And if thou, like a child, didst fear before,
Being in the dark, where thou didst nothing see;
Now I have brought thee torchlight, fear no more;
And thou, my soul, which turn'st with curious eye,
Know, that thou canst know nothing perfectly,
Cast down thyself, and only strive to raise
Use all thy powers, that blessed power to praise,