Page images
[blocks in formation]

CALL them, rather, our Bosom the mental heaven-within our inward Friends_for we have them one and all ear a continuous succession of hymns, by heart ; and, as we shut our eyes in and odes, and elegies--the birth of solitude, be it in parlour twilight or genius, inspired by that immortal Pasmountain gloom-at a word, at a wish, sion--and eternized by song. it is gradually overflowing with spirit- “ Her faithful Knight fair Una brings ual music, divinely intermingled with

To House of Holiness; its own mysterious echoes!

Where he is taught Repentance, and The word even now happened to be

The way to heavenly bliss.” -Hope. It slid into our soul like an angel's whisper, and furthwith,

Silent as our shadow, with them wo

walk in reverence through those peace" In long procession calm and beautiful,” ful courts--and look upon the faces of were deploying before our inward eye the loveliest Two of all the Spirits that multitudes of harmonious images along dwell on this side of Heaven.

“ Thus as they 'gan of sondrie thinges devise,
Loe! two most goodly virgins came in place,
Ylinked arme in arme, in lovely wise ;
With countenance demure, and modest grace,
They number'd even steps, and equall pace :
Of which the eldest, that Fidelia hight,
Like sunny beams threw from her christall face,
That could have dazed the rash beholder's sight,
And round about her head did shine like Heaven', light.

" She was arraied all in lilly white,

And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
With wine and water fill’d up to the height,
In which a serpent did himselfe enfold,
That horrour made to all that did behold;
But she no whitt did chaunge her constant mood :
And in her other hand she fast did hold
A book, that was both sign'd and seal'd with blood ;
Wherein darke things were writt, hard to be understood.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Or anguish in her hart, is hard to tell ;
Upon her arme a silver anchor lay,
Whereon she leaned ever, as befell ;

And ever up to Heaven, as she did pray,

Her stedfast eyes were bent, ne swarved other way.” It seems as if they and Una had been And then,“ at Una's meek request," friends even from her very childhood they turn themselves to the Knightthat she had often visited before that

“ Who fair them quites as him beseemed “ Ancient house not far away, best, Renowned through the world for sacred

And goodly 'gan discourse of many a noble lore, And pure unspotted life;" for, soon as they recognise one an. Fidelia and Speranza heard him other,

speak-but of “nobler gests” than of “ Many kind speeches they between them mortal prowess, he was about to hear spend;

in the house of Holiness. And greatly joy, each other for to see !"


“ Now when their wearie limbes with kindly rest,

And bodies were refresht with dew repast,
Fayre Una 'gan Fidelia fayre request,
To bave her knight into the schoolhouse plaste,
That of her heavenly learning he might taste,
And heare the wisedom of her wordes divine.
She graunted; and that knight so much agraste,

That she him taught celestiall discipline,
And open'd his dull eyes, that light mote in them shine.

" And that, her sacred booke, with blood ywritt,

That none could reade except she did them teach,
She unto him disclosed every whitt;
And heavenly documents thereout did preach,
That weaker witt of man could never reach ;
Of God, of grace, of justice, of free-will,
That wonder was to hear her goodly speach;

For she was hable with her wordes to kill
And rayse againe to life the hart that she did thrill.

“ And, when she list poure out her larger spright,

She would commaund the hasty sunne to stay,
Or backward turne his course from Heven's hight:
Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay ;
Dry-shod to passe she parts the foods in tway;
And eke huge mountains from their native seat,
She would commaund themselves to bear away,

And throw in raging sea with roaring threat :
Almightie God her gave such powre and puissaunce great,

"" The faithfull knight now grew in little space,

By hearing her, and by her sister's lore,
To such perfection of all heavenly grace,
That wretched world he 'gan for to abhore,
And mortall life 'gan loath as thing forlore ;
Greeved with remembrance of his wicked wayes,
And prickt with anguish of his sinnes so sore,

That he desired to ende his wretched dayes :
So much the dart of sinfull guilt the soule dismayes !

". But wise Speranza gave him comfort sweet,

And taught him how to take assured hold
Upon her silver anchor, as was meet ;
Els had his sinnes so great and manifold
Made him forget all that Fidelia told."

[ocr errors]

he says,

[ocr errors]

That is, in good truth, Sacred Poetry " AND THUS HOPE IS BORN !" Shall -call it Scripture—for it is Bible- the Poet be inspired to speak of her born.

power as gloriously as of her birth? And now we hear the strain of an- Judge. other great Christian Poet-humbler perhaps at first-yet winning its way Hope sets the stamp of vanily on all into the depths of the heart, “ with That men have deem'd substantial since amplest power to soften and subdue"

the Fall, and finally uplifting us heavenward to

Yet has the wond'rous virtue to educe an assured home. How simple-how From emptiness itself a real use ; strong-how beautiful those few lines

And while she takes, as at a father's

hand, of Cowper on Life!

What health and sober appetite demand, Transient indeed, as is the fleeting hour, From fading good derives, with chemic And yet the seed of an immortal flower ;

art, Design'd, in honour of His endless love, That lasting happiness, a thankful heart. To fill with fragrance the abodes above. Hope, with uplifted foot set free from No trifle, howsoever short it seem,

earth, And, howsoever shadowy, no dream ; Pants for the place of her ethereal birth, Its value, what no thought can ascertain, On steady wings sails through th' im. Nor all an angel's eloquence explain."

mense abyss,

Plucks amaranthine flowers from bowers And for its woes what remedy? One, of bliss ;

And crowns the soul, while yet a mourner “ Not hid in deep profound,


With wreaths like those triumphant spirits Yet seldom sought wbere only to be found;

wear. While passion turns aside from its due scope The enquirer's aim—that remedy is Hore.”

Lines and half lines of profound He tells us-in words that lie some- significance-and some of them in what confused but intelligible in our their beauty most pathetic-rise up memory—that the Creator conde

and pass away, leaving a blessing scends to write in inextinguishable behind them, and often to re-appear! characters

Thus-Hope! let the wretch who has “ His names of wisdom, goodness, power,

once been conscious of thy joy, deand love,

clare that all which this earth conOn all that blooms below, or shines above."

tains In them may be read all his gracious “ Were light, when weigh'd against one attributes; and now again the Natural

smile of thine." Theology of the bard distinctly rearranges itself in our mind, and we

Or, when the Poet speaks of the rejoice to recite to ourselves and, Christian brother or sister, to thee the elevating words

Invades, possesses, and o'erwhelms the

soul “ If led from earthly things to things divine,

Of him whom Hope has with a touch made His creature thwart pot the august design ;

whole!Then praise is heard instead of reasoning pride,

Who of all our poets had the most And captious' cavil and complaint subside. Nature, employ'd in her allotted place,

delighted sense of the imaged beauti. Is bandmaid to the purposes of grace;

ful ?-Spenser-and then Collins. As By good vouchsafed, makes known superior

Fear, Anger, and Despair, while Mad. good,

ness rules the hour, in succession And bliss not seen, by blessings understood :

sweep the springs of music's shell That bliss, reveal'd in Scripture, with a

- we see and hear each Passion. But glow

who succeeds Despair, obliterating Bright as the covenant-ensuring bow,

in a moment the memory of his very Fires all his feelings with a noble scorn

being from the earth ? Of sensual evil, AND THUS HOPE IS BORN !"

" Thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair, These surely are noble lines and

What was thy delighted measure ? the world-wearied heart rests beneath Still it whisper'd promised pleasure, their shadow, as of a rock.

joy that


And bade the lovely scenes at distance, yet visionary both with dreams hail!

like realities, and realities like dreams! Still would her touch the strain prolong ; You have by heart the glorious open. And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, ing of the Poem.

Gaze on it, along She callid on echo still, through all her with these two pictures and know song:

with what wondrous facility genius can And where her sweetest theme she chose,

brighten and shadow forth the lights A soft reponsive voice was heard at ev'ry and glooms of life by those of nature close;

-a union in wbich the Beautiful is And Hope enchanted, smiled, and waved

felt to be the Sublime. her golden hair !".

Fear not that we are about to in.

dite a critique on Campbell. You Statuary-Painting-and Poetry !

know that we never in all our days Scotland ! thou, too, hast thy Bard

indited a critique on any great Poet.

No philosophical critic, thank Hea. of Hope-and in imagination's hallow

ven! are we; though we have read the ed ground we hear his song ascend.

Stagyrite. But from the golden urn iug heavenwards like the sound of a

of the Inspired we devoutly seek to silver trumpet. Do not these lines

draw light; and have no higher aim equalize Campbell with Collins ?

than to let it fall at times on the pages

of Maga, in illustration of the Fair, " Auspicious Hope! in thy sweet garden

the Good, and the True. grow, Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every

Therefore, bear with us for a time,

while we animadvert, in a kindly spirit, Won by their sweets, in Nature's languid on a critique on the Collected Works hour

of Campbell,indited by a philosophical The way worn pilgrim seeks thy summer

critic in the highest of our Periodicals bower.

-the Quarterly Review. There, as the wild-bee murmurs on the “ Mr Campbell,” he says, “ has wing,

here comprised, within the modest What piaceful dreams thy handmaid spirits compass of a single volume, the whole bring!

of his poetical works. When the What viewless forms the Æolian organ writings of a well-known author are play,

thus collected and republished, the And sweep the furrow'd lines of anxious

question naturally arises, not how thought away !"

they will be received by a contempo

raneous public—for this has already They who say that they do not un- been decided--but what respect they derstand these exquisite verses- -and

are likely to obtain at the hand of there are such persons yet alive, posterity–what place will be allotted must not dare to say that they under

to them in the abiding literature of the . stand one single line of Collins.

country? In an honest attempt to Again :

determine this question, the critic can“ With thee, sweet Hope ! resides the highest standard of excellence.

not do otherwise than judge by the

Callheavenly light, That pours remotest rapture on the sight;

ing to mind whatever is of old and Thine is the charm of life's bewilder'd

acknowledged repute in the kind of

literature in which the new aspirant way, That calls each slumbering passion into

for fame has laboured, he must submit play.

bis writer, not to a comparison with Waked by thy touch, I see the sister

living rivals, but to a competition with band,

the picked champions—the laurelled On tip-toe watching, start at thy come

victors of all preceding ages. He mand ;

must applaud as if within hearing of a And fly where'er thy mandate bids them jealous antiquity. He must be per. steer,

mitted to escape from the glare which To pleasure's path, or glory's bright ca. falls on present reputation. In criti. reer.

cism, as in higher matters, it is only

by receding into the shadows of the How different the imagery in these past, that the eye becomes suscepti. two pictures - yet how congenial ! ble to the faint outlines which futu. The one all ast.r, the other all asleep

rity extends."

[ocr errors]

On this formidable announcement living poet, whose name may, neverof the critic's intentions, we wish to theless, be destined to pass away with offer a few remarks.

the generation that praised and deIn the first place, there seems to be lighted in him," to have said or shown implied in the words “ comprised, how many of them have operated-and within the modest compass of a single to what degree-more especially in volume, the whole of his poetical favour of Campbell's fame. For it works," an insinuation that Mr Camp- kindled at once into a blaze--and has bell's muse has not been very prolific. continued to burn with a strong and “ Within the modest compass of a steady light for forty years not only single volume," however, are com- uneclipsed, but unobscured, allihrough prised nearly three hundred well-filled one of the most glorious eras of Eng. pages of poetry-containing, we should lish poetry. suppose, more than double the number Fourthly, the critic, to prevent misof lines written by Gray, Collins, and conception on the one hand, and, on Thomas Warton. At the side of the the other, to make his estimate more multitudinous works of most of the philosophical, ought to have entered other true poets of this age, Campbell's far more fully than he has done into shrink into small size indeed ; but an examination of the nature of the they afford specimens, neither few nor power which Campbell's poetry conshort, of many kinds of poetical com- fessedly possesses over a contempoposition. It may be true that his taste raneous public"-that it might have is too fastidious—but it is not true been seen whether it was likely to that his genius is confined, any more endure, or to pass away with the causes than it is true that the authors of or circumstances of the times that The Elegy, and the Ode to the may have contributed to its transient Passions, had not souls formed in the triumph. pomp and prodigality of heaven," But, fifthly, we respectfully submit though all their immortal composi- to the critic's consideration, whether tions are comprised " within the mo- or no it be perfectly fair to select dest compass” of a hundred pages. Campbell from the host of living poets Compared with the best. English -or but lately dead—and subject the poets of his own class—and a noble claims of his genius to “ respect at class it is-Campbell is a voluminous the hands of posterity," to a test which writer.

has not been applied in the same JourSecondly, it seems to us that there nal to the reputation of any of his is something insidious in giving the illustrious brethren. Why fix on him go-by, so lightly, to the reception of to undergo a trial to which neither Campbell's poetry " by a contempo- Crabbe, nor Rogers, nor Southey, raneous public.” A little further on, nor Wordsworth, nor Coleridge, nor the critic enters into a very ingenious Scott, nor Moore, nor any other “preand finely written explanation of the vailing poet," has yet therein been “ many causes which assist in giving brought? Nay, of almost all of them, celebrity to a living poet, whose name the works have been written of-and may, nevertheless, be destined to pass well written of-in a style of criticism away with the generation that praised as different as may be from that on and delighted in him ; " and though which we are now letting drop a few such causes cannot be intended to apply remarks, currente calamo ; yet they in their full force to Mr Campbell have all “received respect from a for the critic does not deny him the contemporaneous public.' gift of genius--and genius is deathless causes-independently of, and over - yet either they are intended to apply and above their own intrinsic merits to him so far, or they are impertinently must have operated in their favour introduced, with much formality, into too, and helped to elevate them to a an elaborate disquisition on his genius, place in the esteem of this generation in which “ an honest attempt is made far higher than they may occupy in to determine what place will be allot- that f the next, or ever again in the ted to them in the abiding literature of hearts of men born ages after they the country.

have been laid in the dust. Compare Thirdly, we think that the critic the spirit of the many critiques on ought, after his array of “causes Coleridge, so prodigal of praise and which assist in giving celebrity to a

lavish of eulogy-and we blame them

The same

« PreviousContinue »