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of their future course. Or who has ever of terror in motion, and sublimity in repose: witnessed the departure of a gallant vessel but more than all, the ships that go forth upunder favouring skies, bound on a distant on its bosom convey to our fancy the idea of and uncertain voyage, her sails all trim, her being influenced by an instinct of their own; rigging tight, her deck well manned, her so well ordered are all their movements, so cargo secure as human skill and foresight can perfect appears the harmony of their conmake it, while she stoops one moment with struction and design, yet so hidden by the unabated majesty, to rise more proudly the obscurity of the distance is the moving prinnext, bursting through the ruffled waters, ciple within, that by their own faith they and dashing from her sides the feathery seem to trust themselves where the foot of foam ; without thinking of a proud and reck- man dare not tread, and by their own hope less spirit rushing forth on its adventurous they seem to be lured on to some distant career, unconscious of the rocks and shoals, point which the eye of man is unable to disthe rude gales and the raging tempests, that cern. await its onward course. Or who, without In a widely extended sea view there is una thrill of something more than earthly feel- questionably poetry enough to inspire the ing, can gaze over the unruffled surface of happiest lays, but the converse of this picthe sea when the winds are sleeping, and the ture is easily drawn—and fatal to the poet's waves at rest, except on the near voyage of song would be the first view of the interior the blue expanse, where a gentle murmur,
of any one of those gallant and stately ships with regularebb and flow of soothing and mo- about which we have been dreaming. The notonsus sound marks the intervals at which moving principle within, respecting which a line of sleepy waves rise, and fall, and fol- we have had such refined imaginings, is now low each other, without pause or intermis- | imbodied in a company of hardy sailors, sjon, far up along the sparkling shore, and whose rude laughter, and ruder oaths, are then recede into the depths of the smooth and no less discordant to our ear, than offensive shining waters.
to our taste. It is true, that a certain kind The sun is high in the heavens—the air is of order and discipline prevails amongst clear and buoyant-now and then a white them, but the wretched passengers below cloud sails along the field of azure, its misty are lost for a time to all mental sensations, form marked out in momentary darkness on and suffering or sympathizing with them, the sea below, like the passing shadow of an we soon forget the poetry of life. angel's wings; while far, far in the distance, There is poetry in the gush of sparkling and gliding on towards the horizon, are waters that burst forth from the hill-side those wandering messengers of the deep that in some lonely and sequestered spot, and bear tidings from shore to shore, their swell- flow on in circling eddies amongst the rocks ing sails now glancing white in the sun and fern, and tendrils of wild plants ; on, on beams, now darkened by the passing cloud. for ever-unexhausted, and yet perpetually Musing on such a scene, we forget our own losing themselves in the bosom of the silent identity—our own earthly, bodily existence; and majestic river, where the hurry and we live in a world of spirits, and are lost in murmur of their course is lost, like the restexquisite imaginings, in memories and hopes less passions that agitate the breast of man that belong not to the things of clay ; every in the ocean of eternity: and there is poetry thing we behold is personified and gifted in the burst of the cataract that comes over with intelligence; the rugged cliffs pos- the brow of the precipice with a seeming sess a terrible majesty, and seem to threaten consciousness of its own power to bear down, while they frown upon the slumbering shore; and to subdue. the deep and boundless sea, represented at It is related of Richard Wilson, that when all times as acting or suffering by its own he first beheld the celebrated falls of Terni, will or power, is now more than ever endued he exclaimed “Well done, water !" Here, with the thoughts and passions of spiritual indeed, was no poetry-no association. His existence, and seems to speak to us in its mind was too full of that mighty object as own solemn and most intelligible language it first struck upon his senses, to admit at the
moment of any relative idea; his exclama- of varied hue shooting up from leafy beds, tion was one of mere animal surprise, such and pointing faithfully to the shining sky; 1 as his dog might have uttered, had he pos crowns of golden splendour mounted sessed the organs of speech. And yet the upon fragile stems; or purple wreaths that same man, when he seized his pencil, and never touched a human brow; all bursting gave up his imagination to the full force of forth, blooming and then fading, with end- i those impressions which, if we may judge less succession in the midst of untrodden by his works, few have felt more intensely, wilds ;-in rain and sunshine, in silent night, was able to portray nature, not merely seen and glowing day, with an end and purpose as it is in any given section of the earth's in their brief existence inscrutable to the surface, but to group together, and embody mind of man. in one scene, all that is most harmonious in The flowers of the garden, though posthe quickly changing and diversified beauties sessing more richness and gorgeous beauty, of wood and water-hill and valley-sombre are less poetical, because we see too clearly shade and glowing sunshine--deep solitudes, in their arrangement and culture, the art and resplendent heavens.
and labour of man; we are reminded at There is poetry in the hum of bees, when every group of the work of the spade, and the orchards are in bloom, and the sun is perceive at once and without mystery, why shining in unclouded spendour upon the they have been planted in the exact spot waving meadows, and the garden is rich- where they now grow. ly spangled with spring flowers. There There is poetry in the first contemplation is poetry in the hum of the bee, because it of those numerous islands which gem the brings back to us, as in a dream, the memo southern ocean-poetry in the majestic hills ry of bygone days, when our hearts were that rise one above another, their varied alive to the happiness of childhood—the time peaks and precipices clear and bright in when we could lie down upon the green bank unclouded sunshine, and their very summits and enjoy the stillness of summer's noon, clothed with unfading verdure; while burstwhen our hopes were in the blossoms of the ing from amongst their deep recèsses are orchard, our delight in the sun-shine, our un innumerable streams that glide down their tiring rambles in the meadows, and our per- rugged sides, now glancing out like threads petual amusement in the scented flowers. of silver, now hidden in shade and darkness, Since these days, time has rolled over us until they find their way into the broad and with such a diversity of incident, bringing silent lagoon, where the angry surf subsides, so many changes in our modes of living and and the mountains, woods, and streams, are thinking, that we have learned, perhaps at seen again reflected in the glassy mirror of some cost, to analyze our feelings, and to the unruffled water-unruffled, save by the say, rather than feel, that there is poetry in rapid gliding of the light canoe, that darts the hum of bees.
among the coral rocks, and then lies moored But let one of these honey-laden wander- in still water beneath some stately tree, ers find his way into our apartment, and whose leafy boughs form a welcome canopy while he struggles with frantic efforts to ol shade for the luxuriant revellers in that escape through the closcd window, we cease to find pleasure in his busy hum.
Time was when those who had rejoiced There is poetry in the flowers that grow over the first contemplation of this scene in sweet profusion upon wild and unculti were compelled to mourn over the contrast vated spots of earth, exposing their delicate which ignorance and barbarism presented leaves to the tread of the rude inhabitants on a nearer view, but now, blessed be the of the wilderness, and spreading forth their power that can harmonize the heart of man scented charms to the careless mountain with all that is grateful and genial in the wind—in the thousand, thousand little stars external world, the traveller approaching, of beauty looking forth like eyes. with no and beholding this lovely picture, need no eye to look again; or cups that seem formed longer shrink from the horrors which a 10 catch the dew drops; or spiral pyramids closer inspection formerly revealed.
If external nature abounds with poetry, be able to expatiate in the realms of nature how much more forcibly does it pervade with the most perfect fruition of delight. the faculties and sentiments of the human inind. Consider only three-love, hope, and memory. What power even in the visions of the alchemist was ever able to transform like the passion of love ? Invest
INDIVIDUAL ASSOCIATIONS. ing what is real with all that we desire, converting deformity into loveliness, ex The difference of taste not unfrequently changing discord for harmony, giving to the found in persons whose station and habits eye the exquisite faculty of beautifying of life are similar may be attributed both to whatever it beholds, and to the ear a secret individual conformation, and to those incharm that turns every sound to music. stances of early bias received from local cirAnd hope would be hope no longer if it did cumstances which none can remember, and not paint the future in the colours we most which, consequently, no pen can record. admire. Its very existence depends upon | That variety of taste is chiefly owing to the the power it possesses to sweeten to the influence of association, is shown by those latest dregs, the otherwise bitter cup of life. minor preferences or antipathies which cerYet love and hope may be degraded by the tain individuals evince for things possessing salse estimate we sometimes form of what is no quality inherent in themselves to justify worthy of our admiration. Passion too such peculiar choice or rejection, and which often asserts her mastery over both, compell- have no corresponding value in the opinion ing her blind and willing slaves to call evil of mankind in general. good, and good evil ; while memory, if not Without returning to the days of infancy, always faithful to her trust, is at least dis- when the first impressions were made upon posed to hold it charitably, and thus pre our senses, when our eyes were first able to serves in their genuine distinctness, the fair- see, and our ears to hear, it would be imest passages of life, but kindly obscures possible to trace to their origin all our pecuthose which are most revolting in remem liarities of taste and feeling, or to assign the brance. In looking back upon the past, precise reason why we are subject to sensahow little that is sordid, mean, or selfish, tions of pleasure or disgust from causes appears conspicuous now. Pagt hours of which do not influence the rest of mankind simple, every-day enjoyment, are invested in a similar manner-sensations which, from with a charm they knew not at the time. their singularity, and, to others, apparent A veil is thrown over the petty cares of by- absurdity, necessarily fall under the stigma gone years—passion is disarmed of its of caprice. earth-born violence, and sorrow looks so Who can say how far his peculiar ideas lovely in the distance, that we almost per- of beauty and melody may have been desuade ourselves it was better to weep such rived from the countenance of the kind nurse tears as we wept then, than to smile as we who first smiled upon him in his cradle, and smile now.
the sweet voice that first sung him to sleep; But why pursue this theme? It is evi- or of deformity and discord from the harsh dent that ther sounds, objects, nor sub-brow whose frowns he first learned to dread, jects of contemplation are poetical in them and the voice whose threatening tones were selves, but in their associations; and that they followed by punishment and pain. are so just in proportion as these associa If the taste of one individual is gratified tions are intellectual and refined. Nature is by a picture upon which a strong and vivid full of poetry, from the high mountain to the light is thrown, and another prefers that sheltered valley, from the bleak promontory which exhibits the cool tints of a cloudy alto the myrtle grove, from the star-lit hea- mosphere, it is attributed to some peculiarity vens to the slumbering earth ; and the mind in their several organs of sight; but is it not that can most divest itself of ideas and sen- equally possible to be in some measure owsations belonging ex
ly to matter, will / ing to one having been too much confined to
darkness in his infancy, and the other pain- negro slaves; unless that schoolboys have fully exposed to the glare of too much light? generally enjoyed the honour of naming
These may appear but idle speculations, their fathers' dogs, when they were more since we are, and ever must remain in want familiar with Cæsar's Commentaries, than of that master key to the human under- with the character of the illustrious Roman. standing—the knowledge of the state of the Why are we not able for many years after infant mind, its degree of susceptibility, and our emancipation, to perceive and relish the the manner in which it first receives impres- beauties of those selections from the ablest sions through the organs of sense. So far poets, which we were compelled to learn by as we can recollect, however, it is clear to heart, as punishments at school ? It is beall who will take the trouble to examine the cause our first acquaintance with them was subject, that strong partialities and preju- formed under sensations of pain and compuldices are imbibed in very early life, before sion, which time is long in wearing out. we are capable of reasoning, and that these If, by the mere sound of a name, such difsometimes remain with us to the last. ferent sensations are excited in different
There are seldom two persons who agree minds, how much more extensive must be exactly in their admiration of the proper the variety of those called up by words of names of individuals. One approves what more comprehensive signification! Let us the other rejects, and scarcely one instance suppose four individuals—a newly elected in twenty occurs in which their feelings are member of parliament, a tradesman, a pauthe same: nor is it merely the harmony or per, and a poet-each at liberty to pursue discord of the sound which occasions their his own reflections, when the word winter is preference or dislike. Each attaches to the suddenly introduced to his mind. The name in question a distinct character, most statesman immediately thinks of the next probably owing to some association of ideas convocation of the representatives of the between that name and a certain individual people, when he shall stand forth to make known in early life; and though they may his maiden speech ; of the important subhave both known and lived amongst the jects that will, probably, be laid before the same individuals, it is hardly probable that consideration of the house, of the part he two minds should have regarded them pre- shall feel himself called upon to take in the cisely in the same manner. Hence from discussion of these, and how he may be able different associations arises a difference of to act so as to satisfy the claims of his con- !
stituents, and his conscience, without offendIn the present state of society there are ing either. The tradesman thinks of his few persons who have not, in the course of bills, and his bad debts; of the price of their reading, become familiarized with coals, and the winter fashions. The pauper Scripture names earlier than with any other; thinks—and shivers while he thinks-of the and this, one would suppose, should lead to cold blasts of that inclement season, of the their being generally preferred and adopted. various signs and prophecies that fortell a Yet so far from this being the case, they are hard winter, and of how much, or rather many of them regarded with a degree of how little the parish overseers will be likely ridicule and disgust, which can only be ac- to allow to his necessities for clothing, food, counted for by our first becoming acquainted and fire. By a slight, and almost instantawith them before we have been inspired neous transition of thought, one of these with love, gratitude, or reverence for the thinkers has already arrived at the idea of Record in which they are found. Nor is it conscience, another at that of fashion, and a easy to account for the perversion of the third at that of fire. But the poet (provided fine, full-sounding Roman names, in their he be not identified with the pauper) passusual application to our dogs, and other ani- ing over subjects of merely local interest mals; and next to them to those miserable knows no bounds to his associations. His outcasts from human fellowship, which a lively and unshackled fancy first carries him professedly Christian world has deemed northward, to those frozen regions which unworthy of a Christian nomenclature--the man has visited but in thought. Here he
floats through the thin and piercing air, then before his mind's eye the picture of a brilglides upon a sea of ice, or looks down from liant sunset, he insensibly recalls that scenhills of everlasting snow ; until wearied with ery in the midst of which his youthful imagithe voiceless solitude, he seeks the abodes nation was first warmed into poetic life by of man, and follows the fur-clad Laplander the “ golden day's decline.” He sees, bright with his faithful reindeer over trackless and and gorgeous with sunbeams, the distant uncultivated wastes. But the poet, though hill, which his boyish fancy taught him to a wanderer by profession, yet still faithful to believe it would be the height of happiness home and early attachments, returns after to climb ;-the sonbre woods that skirt the every wayward excursion to drink of his na- horizon—the valley, misty and indistinct betive well, and to enjoy the peace of his pa- low-the wandering river, whose glancing ternal hearth. Here, in the clime he loves waters are here and there touched as they best, he beholds a scene of picturesque and gleam out, with the radiance of the resplenfamiliar beauty—a still and cloudless morn- dent west-and while memory paints again ing, when the hoar frost is glittering upon the long deep shadows of the trees that every spray, and the trees, laden with a grew around his father's dwelling, he feels fleecy burden, cast their deep shadows here the calm of that peaceful hour mingling with and there upon the silvery and unsullied bo- | the thousand associations that combine to som of the sheeted earth. He sees the soli- form his most vivid and poetical idea of sunset. tary robin perched upon the leafless thorn, In this manner we not unfrequently single and hears its winter song of melancholy out from the works of art some favorite obsweetness—that plaintive touching strain to ject, upon which we bestow an interest so which every human bosom echoes with a deep, a regard so earnest, that they wear sad response. But quickly comes the roar- the character of admiration which no pering blast, like a torrent rushing down from ceptible quality in the object itself can justify, the hills. The light snow is tossed like foam and which other beholders are unable to unupon the waves of the wind; and the moun- derstand. In a collection of paintings we tain pine, shaking off the frosty spangles look around for those which are most worfrom his boughs, for one moment quails be- thy of general notice, when suddenly our fore the fury of the thundering tempest, and attention is struck with one little unpretendthen stands erect again upon the craggy ing picture, almost concealed in an obscure steep, where his forefathers have stood for corner, and totally unobserved by any one ages. Night gathers in with darkness and beside. It is the representation of a village dismay, and while the moaning of the ven-church-the very church where we first erable oak resounds through the forest like learned to feel, and, in part, to understand the voice of a mighty and unseen spirit, and the solemnity of the Sabbath. Beside its the bellowing of the blast seems mingled venerable walls are the last habitations of with the wilder shrieks of bewildered travel- our kiudred; and beneath that dark and lers, or seamen perishing on the deep, the mournful yew is the ancient pastor's grave. poet beholds in the distance the glimmering Here is the winding path so familiar to our lights of some hospitable mansion, and in an steps, when we trod the earth more lightly instant he is transported to a scene of happi- than we do now-the stile on which the litness, glowing with social comforts, festivity, tle orphan girl used to sit, while her brothers and glee; where the affrighted wanderer were at play-and the low bench beside the finds safety, the weary are welcomed to re- cottage-door, where the ancient dame used pose, and the wretched exchange their tears to pore over her Bible in the bright sunfor joy.
shine. Perhaps the wheels of Time have Impressions made upon our minds by lo- rolled over us with no gentle pressure since cal circumstances, are frequently of so deep we last beheld that scene;—perhaps the darkand durable a nature, as to outlive all the ness of our present lot makes the brightness accidents of chance and change which oc- of the past more bright. Whatever the cure to us in aster life. Should the poet, or cause may be, our gaze is fixed and fascithe painter in his study, endeavour to place nated, and we turn away from the more