« PreviousContinue »
The fragments of the earth again to chaos.
I have now put my readers in possession of ample opportunities for judging of the merits of Mr. Hillhouse's work. My quotations from it, indeed, have been the more numerous under the supposition that probably not many copies have reached this country; but it must be also added, that the beauty of the passages which I have brought forward has had a more than common influence in rendering my citations thus frequent.
That “ The judgment” of Mr. Hillhouse, is a poem, which, independent of the youth of its author, or any other circumstances of an extrinsic nature, reflects honour on himself and on his country; will not, I think, from the specimens before us, be denied. It is, in fact, not only a production exhibiting considerable strength of imagination, but it is likewise elaborated, as to its execution, with singular taste and felicity. The versification, for instance, which in blank verse, if more than mediocrity be attained in its construction, is always a task of difficult achievement, appears formed, in the Vision of Mr.Hillhouse, with but few exceptions, on the most correct principles of harmony and rhythmical variety; the pauses being, in general, so placed, as both to satisfy the ear, and correspond with the tone of the subject.
In another very important point of view, does the poem of Mr. Hillhouse appear with decided advantage; for it possesses, from the plan which he has adopted, a command over the heart and feelings, which is not to be found in the attempts of those who have preceded him on the same subject. In short, such is the approach to excellence, both in the conception and execution of this little poem, that I confess myself more than commonly gratified in the opportunity of doing what lies in my power towards making it further known on this side the Atlantic; especially, as the praise to which it is so justly entitled may, in all probability, lead its author to other and more extended efforts.
Oh, what may man within him hide,
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour !
The result had been, indeed, as Edward and Adeline conjectured; for though the night was fine and clear, and the moon was beginning to cast her soft illumination over the scene, yet, as the hour was much beyond that which had usually terminated the excursions of Edward, and as both Mr. Walsingham and Lluellyn had naturally concluded that his return would be earlier on account of his young companion, they began to suffer uneasiness from the delay. Lluellyn, especially, manifested a more than common anxiety; and when Mr. Walsingham, in order to allay his apprehensions, proposed going forth to meet them ; observing, at the
same time, that tempted probably by the beauty of the evening, they should find them returning from their meditated visit to Helmsley; he, forgetful of his infirmity, declared his intention of accompanying him. “ If any misfortune should happen to my child, Mr. Walsingham,” he exclaimed, “ then, indeed, would the grey hairs of Lluellyn descend in sorrow to the grave.”
It was, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction, that, after walking for about half an hour, Mr. Walsingham, having recognized, though at a considerable distance, the approach of the wanderers, announced the pleasing intelligence to his aged friend. He had himself, indeed, though confident in the care and protection, and integrity of Edward, felt a more than usual degree of anxiety; for he was acquainted with the disguise which the daughter of Lluellyn had assumed; a circumstance, which her father very prudently and delicately had made known to him, when, on the morning after their arrival, they had received an invitation to remain at the cottage of the Rye; and he was desirous, on