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Marinere,' and Genevieve,' of all love-verses most musical, most melancholy,' are ample evidence of splendid imagination, and perfect mastery of language. For these we may well forgive his endless egotism, his mystified Platonism, and incomprehensible metaphysics. Could he have refrained from prying by the aid of opinion into the arcana of the human soul, and the mysteries of our complicated life, he, in his true vocation of poet, might have struck a harp
• The sweetest of a thousand shells.'
But German speculations bewildered his noble genius, and looking through a smoked glass at the sun of some alchemic, universal science, dimmed his clear and beautiful vision. Coleridge and Wordsworth are always inseparably associated in my mind, both from their early intimacy, and because they both have filled their writings with intimations that they had discovered, in fact, systematized a philosophy, whose principles, in their particular application, would regenerate, not poetry alone, but also the whole science of human society and of human life. With vain anxiety I have searched through their writings, in the at. tempt to discover and rëunite this system, if any such there were. In the Table Talk and The Friend, I find many obscure oracles, which may rank with the unfulfilled and uninterpreted prophecies of Ezekiel. Also in the Excursion, and other philosophical poems of Wordsworth, I find many high thoughts and wise counsels, which, however, in so far as they are true, correspond, in all save their modeof enunciation, with the teachings of the Bible, and with the sentiments of the wise and good of all ages. But I cannot find, and I think the initiated cannot find in the writings of either of them, a full and new system of poetical or social doctrine. And I say further, that he who believes this world has slumbered until now in ignorance of philosophy, whether poetical, social, moral or religious, and who supposes or pretends that he has discovered a new and true philosophy, is, either intentionally or unintentionally, a quack. A man may present the great truths of life and of art in a clearer or more attractive manner than any of his predecessors; but a new system has not been, and cannot be invented. If Wordsworth had discovered one, why did he not neglect his minor poems and complete the Excursion, the vehicle selected by himself for this new and wondrous revelation ?
I have been so deeply impressed, at time, with the beautiful imaginings and heartfelt enthusiasm displayed in many passages of their writings, that in saying aught to disparage the merits of Coleridge and Wordsworth, I almost feel as if I were a cold and sceptical blasphemer. But my own reason rebukes my feelings, and tells me that the numerous lines of light traceable in their poetry and poeticized philosophy, are too straggling and indefinite to discover much beside themselves. They are such as sun-beams might be, when separated from the sun. They cross and intermingle with each other, shedding the beauty of light and warmth on many a secret recess and gloomy corner of our microcosm ; but they reveal only corners; they show us only one thing at a time; they give us no connected view; and we can form therefrom no fuli
system, whether of thought or of action. If they were, as their ad. mirers assert, the great apostles of a new and more humanized poetic gospel, as warm as love and wide as the world, why did they not give it a clear and tangible shape ; why not digest it in a creed of compre. hensive and comprehensible meaning, needing no commentary but the commentary of the heart ? But in their pregnant hints' and oracular pointings at lonely truths, long buried in night, but of universal application and renovating power, the intellect is so often bewildered in the search for a mystic je ne sais quoi,' that the heart has frequently no time to be affected. The springing feelings struggle with the puzzled judgment, and the affections are afraid to sympathize at all, lest they should sympathize with the sublime of nonsense. They had the power of mind and the compass of language, to weave a perfect and intelligible system, if they had any, and where they hardly made themselves comprehended by others, I infer that they scarce understood themselves. If they had not the ability to unite the scattered pillars and architraves in a finished temple, how could they expect their readers to possess and exercise that disposing and synthetic skill ? These disjointed fragments can scarce excite any other emotion than one mingled of admiration, bewilderment, and regret. And, furthermore, how could a new system, even if a true one, ever become either popular or useful, if the mastery of it requires such long and intense application, and if, to bor. row Wordsworth's own beautiful words in his lines on a poet :
* And you must know it, ere to you
To conclude for the present. At the risk of being thought a soul born in the dark ages, and transmitted, modo Pythagorico, into a body of the nineteenth century, I must say that, so far as the Lake School started a new system of poetico-social philosophy, or philosophico-social poetry, I believe its depth consisted in the profundity of unfathomable
That men of their beauty and capacity of mind could meditate for years on exalted subjects, without leaving in their writings numerous traces of originality and power, would be impossible. And we do find many new things said in a new manner; many passages which speak directly and earnestly to every mind and every heart. But, whatever they or their exclusive worshippers may have thought, those passages were the offspring of that same high philosophy, which has prompted the great writers of every age. They were constructed by the old and eternal principles of art: they appeal to the old and unchangeable feelings of our nature ; and they have been and will be admired like all other writings which unite thought with passion, enoble harmony by reason, and impregnate eloquence with truth. More
TO A VERY SHORT LADY.
You're exceedingly short; that no one denies;
But provident Nature is not in the wrong;
Τ Η Ε
D ο ο Μ ο F Μ Α Ι Α G Α.
'T was the Christian monarch's triumph day,
* An instrument of martial music among the Moors.
Nor shriek, nor moan, nor whisper loud Was heard amid that gathered crowd; A hollow moan was on the breeze, Such as is borne from waking seas; And a restless swaying to and fro Told of the inward strife of wo; Such as we mark on the ocean's crest When storms are cradled on its breast, Ere they mount on pinion swist and free, And gather strength o'er the waste to flee. Now must the herald's voice proclaim, The conqueror's will, the captive's shame. Have ye ever seen, when storms rage high, And pealing thunders wake the sky, As fire from the lightning's wing is shed O'er the fitful tempest's path of dread, A quivering line, intensely bright, Speed to the oak on the mountain height, Whose lofty head and stalwart form Has braved for years the raging storm, Rending each giant limb from limb, Leave a lifeless mass in the forest dim? So went those words to each heart that day, Quenching the founts in its depths that play ; Rending the chords of the spirit-lyre With tempest-breath and hand of fire ; They left no hope to prompt a prayer, No leaf to fan the desert air. Oh! worse than death to spirits brave, That doom to live a branded slave; To mark the wild bird's glancing eye And soaring wing sweep o'er the sky; The glad streams hastening o'er the main; And feel beneath a galling chain, The aspirations strong and high That haunt the soul condemned to die. With palsied, lingering step and slow, Bowed down beneath their weight of wo, They turned once more to seek the hearth And homes that smiled upon their birth. Beneath a lofty pillar's shade A single horseman stood, With dark and moody brow, and gazed On that vast multitude. Not he to Christian valor bent, But all tou late his armament Through strife and blood had fought its way, To save his native halls that day: Awhile he gazed o'er lake and sky, On spire and dome and turret high, Till marking where the red cross shone, With flashing eye and fearless tone, Swore by the death-groan of his sire, By Mecca's tomb and altar-fire, By the pale crescent trampled low Beneath the charges of the foe, To sheathe his cimeter's bright crest Within each hated Christian's breast; To scourge them from his natal air, Or pour his last red life-drop there.
'Twas eve; from yonder vaulted arch
Night looked with placid eye;
O'er the broad plains on high:
Watched o'er the fields below,
And strife of human wo.
There, 'neath the ramparts of his land
Was on that mountain air;
They trod the forest there.
To meet the startled foe :
Autumnal leaves fall low.
The dauntless leaders met;
In Death's embrace was set.
And left to that fair land
Of that devoted band.
JUNE 6. – My friend M called this morning, and spent full three hours with me in the study. He evidently grows worse and worse. I never saw him so low-spirited and nervous before. He has talked about nothing else than his own maladies and miseries. I cannot recollect that he has smiled, I am certain he has not laughed, during the whole interview. And yet he has been more than usually eloquent, descanting on his own infirmities in a manner worthy of a better theme. He has argued like an advocate to prove to me that he is the most wretched and worthless of men. He has seemed to find pleasure, and to lose his doleful consciousnesss, only in the earnestness with which he has defamed himself and portrayed his wretchedness both of body and soul. It was manifest enough that the cause of his troubles was imaginary, by the very ingenuity which he displayed in making out his deplorable case. He forgot that the reality and depth of misery are never measured by the multitude of words; that the sorest distresses are revealed by the simplest speech, if they are revealed at all.
But while I could have smiled at his tale of unsubstantial horrors, I could have wept to think that so noble a soul should be the slave of such contemptible humors, and led captive by such tormenting shadows. For M has a noble soul. I have known him vigorous in action;