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Spencer, Wordsworth, Shelley; Keats, Whittier, Keble, Burbidge, Eliza Cook, Milman, Swain, Mrs. Norton, Hervey, Tuckerman, Bowles, Praed, Linen, Motherwell, Mrs. Browning, Barbauld,
Lover, Peabody, Sterling, Jones, Wilson,
Mackay, Vedder, Cooke, Willis,
PLEASANT were many
scenes, but most to me The solitude of vast extent, untouched By hand of art, where Nature sowed herself, And reaped her crops ; whose garments were the clouds ; Whose minstrels, brooks; whose lamps, the moon and stars ; Whose organ-choir, the voice of many waters;
Whose banquets, morning dews ; whose heroes, storms;
This bold and beautiful conception of Nature, and her influences upon a heart and intellect attuned to her ministries, is from PolLOK's Course of Time. The author, like Kirke White, became an early victim of his devotion to the Muse ; for the same year that he gave bis epic to the world, he had himself to bid adieu to it.
Morris's song, Woodman, spare that Tree! has not only taken its place among our household lyrics, but is not unknown abroad. It owes its existence to the following incident :—The author, some years since, was riding out with a friend in the suburbs of New
York city, and when near Bloomingdale, they observed a cottager in the act of sharpening his axe under the shadow of a noble ancestral tree. His friend, who was once the proprietor of the estate on which the tree stood, suspecting that the woodman intended to cut it down, remonstrated against the act, and accompanying the protest with a ten-dollar note, succeeded in preserving from destruction this legendary memorial of his earlier and better days. Now for the song :
Woodman, spare that tree !-touch not a single bough!
When but an idle boy, I sought its grateful shade ;
This lyric is also by the same author :
To me the world's an open book, of sweet and pleasant poetry ;
grass, And in the cool, fresh evening breeze, that crisps the wavelets as they pass.
The Aowers below, the stars above, in all their bloom and brightness
given, Are, like the attributes of love, the poetry of earth and heaven. Thus Nature's volume, read aright, attunes the soul to minstrelsy, Tinging life's clouds with rosy light, and all the world with poetry.
Rogers seems to have imbibed much of the spirit of Goldsmith in his poetry, as Campbell did that of Rogers. There is not only an analogy between The Pleasures of Hope and The Pleasures of Memory, beyond the mere titles ; it is also observable in the style and structure of the poems. Rogers was engaged for nine years upon his first poem, and nearly the same space of time upon his Human Life, while his Italy was not completed in less than sixteen years. He was a princely patron of poor poets and artists, and had “ learned the luxury of doing good,”—but he was possessed of ample means for the gratification of his noble purpose, as well as his artistic taste. His house in St. James's Place—a costly museum of art—was, for many years, the resort of the most eminent men of letters from all parts of the world. He expended upwards of twenty thousand pounds upon the illustrated edition of his works, the beautiful engravings of which have scarcely to this day been surpassed.
The life of this remarkable man was extended beyond the average term of human existence. When more than ninety, and a prisoner in his chair, he still delighted to watch the changing colours of the evening sky—to repeat passages of his favourite poets-or to dwell on the merits of the great painters whose works adorned his walls.
There is such quiet, pensive music in his Pleasures of Memory, that it would be difficult to select a passage that would fail to please : here is one :
Ethereal power ! whose smile of noon, of night,