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ECONOMY's a very useful broom,
Yet should not ceaseless hunt about the room
That squeezes e'en the little guts of mice,
That peep with fearful eyes, and ask a crumb.
Proper economy's a comely thing;
Yet push'd too far, it dulls each finer feeling-
To over-reaching, perjury, and stealing.
E'en when the heart should only think of grief,
And swallows up th' affections all so mild,—
Poor Mistress Levi had a luckless son,
In short, he broke his pretty Hebrew neck;
The mother was distracted, raving, wild,-
Soon as the show'r of tears was somewhat past, And moderately calm th' hysteric blast,
She cast about her eyes in thought profound; And being with a saving knowledge bless'd, She thus the playhouse manager address'd:
"Sher, I'm de moder of de poor Chew lad,
ROBERT POLLOK was born in 1799, at Eaglesham, in Renfrewshire, -where his parents were occupied in agricultural pursuits. He gave early promise of the ability for which he was afterwards distinguished, and his friends determined to educate him for the church. He was accordingly entered at the University of Glasgow, where he applied himself with ardour to the study of theology; but had scarcely commenced the exercise of his professional duties, when his health became so seriously impaired, that a visit to the south of Europe was recommended as the only means of preserving his life. In August, 1827, he quitted Scotland, and proceeded to Southampton, with a view of embarking for Italy. His malady, however, continued to increase, and in the September of that year he died, at Shirley common. His early death is to be lamented; for probably a wider intercourse with mankind would not only have matured his natural talents, but would have produced a healthier state of mind as well as body. "Retired in voluntary loneliness," he saw only that which is cheerless in Nature, and depressing in Religion
"To pleasure deaf,
And joys of common men, working his way
With mighty energy, not uninspired,
Through all the mines of thought; reckless of pain,
And weariness, and wasted health."
Soon after the death of the writer, his poem, "the Course of Time," attracted very general attention. He had previously published two stories in prose, “ Ralph Gemmel,” a tale for youth, and "the Persecuted Family," a narrative of the sufferings of the Presbyterians, during the reign of Charles the Second. He was, however, beyond the influence of criticism, when his book became largely the subject of it. It has been highly lauded,-we think too highly; and find it difficult to account for the popularity it has obtained. The poem is in blank verse; and is nearly as long as the "Paradise Lost." Its aspect is, therefore, uninviting; yet that it has been extensively read cannot be doubted,-several editions having from time to time appeared. If we may not describe the author as of a sickly mind, we perceive abundant proof that he was of a diseased constitution. He arrays religion in dark robes,
and considers it unnecessary to portray her features as both gentle and beautiful. "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." The Poet, however, exerts himself to show how rugged he can render the one, and how gloomy he can make the other. His volume, from beginning to end, is an awful picture of wrath and vengeance; it contains little to cheer, and nothing to gladden; and would tempt the reader to imagine that man was created only to be tormented.
Such is unhappily too much the mode with Poets who occupy themselves with the treatment of sacred subjects. Instead of striving to direct and control, they labour either to subdue or crush the natural sensations and desires of man. They, therefore, clip the wings of their own fancy: and, if they soar, it is with the painful flutter of a wounded bird. Religious poetry is, for the most part, prejudicial to the cause it professes to advocate. It may influence the head; but it rarely touches the heart. Men are drawn from low thoughts and vicious habits, far less by fear than persuasion. If Religion be in “ gorgon terrors clad," and "circled with a vengeful band," the effect produced must be unnatural and transitory. The Poets, therefore, who so introduce, never recommend it. Such a course is to be deprecated the more, because the very opposite is so accessible. The best auxiliaries to piety are abundant throughout Nature; the themes that most readily present themselves to the Poet are those which, by the surest and safest way, lead the heart to virtue,—and they are all graceful, and beautiful, and cheerful. There are, undoubtedly, many glorious exceptions to the rule we have ventured to lay down: but we believe they are not to be found among writers who have exclusively devoted themselves to the treatment of Religion, in verse. Religion, therefore, is deprived of one of its most powerful and effective advocates. It is made most influential, indeed, by those who are indirectly its supporters-who describe natural objects, and excite love as well as veneration, by leading the mind through Nature up to Nature's God;-" the meanest flower that blows" has been made to teach a lesson; and he best instructs the reason, and directs the heart, who finds
"Good in every thing."
MATERNAL LOVE. FROM THE COURSE OF TIME.
HAIL, holy love! thou word that sums all bliss,
Eternal, ever-growing, happy love!
Enduring all, hoping, forgiving all;
Instead of law, fulfilling every law:
Entirely blest, because thou seek'st no more, Hopest not, nor fear'st; but on the present livest, And hold'st perfection smiling in thy arms.
AND now, descending from the bowers of Heaven, Soft airs o'er all the earth, spreading, were heard, And hallelujahs sweet, the harmony
Of righteous souls that came to re-possess
Of cursing, and the yells of damned despair,
Had summoned from the burning glooms of hell,