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dinary character under ordinary circumstances ;-a sort of subject on which Wordsworth is fond of expending all the force of his genius, but which he could not have ventured to treat with more perfect simplicity, nor have rendered more affecting, without the slightest aid from poetical embellishment. We do not suspect our Author of having the design to support any metaphysical theory on points of taste: but it is singular, how carefully she avoids the decorative phraseology and all the artifices of poetry, as though a Doric severity of style was alone befitting the subject. If this be the mere undesigned result of native taste, it evinces a passion for simplicity and a delicacy of tact, not very common in young poets; and we may be assured that some ambitious effort to be fine, some occasional glitter of expression, would let out the secret, were this simplicity of style accidental, or connected with poverty of imagination.
Egotism' is in a different strain, and perhaps not equal to We do not think the illustrathe preceding Essay as a whole. tions are uniformly the most forcible or appropriate that could be selected. There is however much smartness and inoffensive humour in the descriptions; and we have now and then an exquisite couplet, as for instance,
"Woe to themselves, and woe to small and great
When two good egotists are tête à tête !'
The concluding part reminded us continually of Cowper. 'Poetry and Reality' is written with more sustained vigour than any Essay in the volume: the satire is very keen without being broad, and the moral is excellent. It is this, that
'A poet's soul may miss the road to Heaven!'
The contemplative devotion of the mere man of taste, the religion of philosophic sentiment, is exquisitely ridiculed. 'O, he approves the Bible, thinks it true; (No matter if he ever read it through) Admits the evidence that some reject, For the Messiah professes great respect, And owns the sacred poets often climb Up to the standard of the true sublime. Is this then all? is this the utmost reach,
Of what man learns when God descends to teach?
Where rests his faith, his practice, and his hope?' p. 81.
Where souls of friends and lovers, two and two,
Our Author has not spared to lash sectarian prejudice. Our church-going friends must not therefore be angry at her exposing, in turn, the delusions of the enthusiast in reference to all that is captivating to the senses in the pomp of ecclesiastical architecture, and the scenic decorations of Christian temples. They must recollect that Popery is,' according to an Episcopalian author, the religion of cathedrals.'
The village church, in rev'rend trees array'd,
The soothing influence of a summer's eve,-
Indeed, the Gospel would have been his scoff,
The silken cassock, and the sable gown-
Is not constructed, and was ne'er design'd,
-Te Deum, or Non nobis Domine.' pp. 85—7.
It was rather daring to bring forward so unreservedly an Itinerant preacher as a contrast to the Enthusiast: but we give our Author credit for having painted from the life, and as her appeal is to facts, she ought to be safe even from the sneer of the man of taste. Perhaps the parallel which is drawn between the poor, contemned, and hectic methodist preacher, and the titled, beneficed overseer of the Church, will appear invidious; yet the strange thing'
is after all too true.'
One circumstance our Author does not neglect to introduce with feeling and emphasis,-that whosoever is guilty of preaching the Gospel in heathen districts, where now,
'the once savage miner kneels and prays,'—
even the poor itinerant, is safe from absolute persecution; he is no longer exposed at least to such persecution
6 as his fore-fathers saw,
Thanks to the shelt'ring arm of civil law.'
The effects of his labours are then described, and the poem closes with the following indignant challenge.
"Now let the light of nature-boasting man,
Watch the light clouds o'er distant hills that pass,
'The World in the House,' and 'The World in the Heart,' are the rather quaint titles of the last two Essays in the volume. They relate to that great stumbling-block,' the inconsistency of the temper and spirit often manifested by pro
fessed Christians, with that renunciation of the world and that separate character, which are described in the New Testament as the distinguishing marks of th disciples of Christ.
'Love not the world'-most merciful decree
The subject affords scope for all the severity of satire, and if at any time this mode of assault may be effectively employed in the service of truth, it seems most appropriate when directed against inconsistency. Incongruity is always ridiculous. Our Author will not, however, be easily forgiven for the freedom of her strictures on the shewy taste, the ostentatious charities, and the secular spirit of the religious world; yet it should tend in no small degree to conciliate, that having such power of satiric humour at command, and under such temptation to exercise it with diverting effect, the passages are few in which she has deviated into the tone of irony or sarcasm; and in those few the sarcast is undeniably just. As the passages to which we allude, will again and again be quoted, personally applied, perhaps, and mis-applied and blamed as uncandid by those who feel their truth, we shall prefer king our extracts from other parts of the Poems. The concluding lines in the first of these two Essays, deserve transcription for the excellent spirit they breathe, no less than for the axiomatic wisdom of the sentiments.
'Oh for a soul magnanimous, to know,
---To love mankind, and pour contempt on thee.'
In the World in the Heart,' the various forms in which earthly-mindedness discovers itself, are admirably described, although we have some exceptions to make in point of illustration, as well as of expression. We may as well s ate in this place, that our Author is not unfrequently misled, either by a dread of over-refined expression, or by a wish to give the utmost force to her sentiments, into colloquialisms, and illustrations of a domestic plainness, which will not in all cases be intelligible, and in most instances, they let down the subject. We refer to the worldly minded cook,' to the s le of
Tom Tickler's ground,' to such phrases assay her say,' and persevering clack,' and at the risk of being thought fastidious, we must add the word skal, which occurs by the necessity of rhyme, in the following couplet.
The few ideas that travel, slow and dull
These offences against taste are rare, but they are not the less objectionable. We regret also exceedingly, that the versification in some instances betrays marks of carelessness or fatigue. Imperfect rhymes, false quantity, or accent, such lines as
'Who seeking that, cares little for all this,'—
faults of this nature are the less to be excused, where the composition itself is of so high a character, and when the sentiments deserve that the utmost elaboration should be bestowed on expressing them.
To how high a style of poetry Miss Taylor is capable of attaining, will be evidenced in the two extracts we have reserved as concluding specimens of the volume. The first is taken from The World in the Heart.' After depicting in strongly marked lines, the melancholy portrait of the nominal Christian, in the decline of life, merged in the spirit of the world, the Author presses home the importance of ascertaining on what evidence we rest our hopes of Heaven, when, as an object of desire, it appears so dim and distant,
Not as it is indeed-true, awful, near.
And yet, amid the hurry, toil, and strife,
Those lucid moments suddenly present
A glance of truth, as though the Heav'ns were rent.
The image of Death in these lines, is as sublime a conception as we recollect to have met with for a long time. It is awfully picturesque, and the expression is not less felicitous.
Our last extract we shall select from one of the smaller poems in the volume. These might, we think, have been placed, with more propriety, together at the end, as some of them