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THE writings of Professor Wilson are characterized by a rich and genial flow of sentiment and language. His poetical criticisms are almost always justified by the soundest principles. And his descriptions of natural scenery and woodland pleasures, breathe the refreshment of fields and streams.
The present collection is offered to the public with the hope of diffusing still more widely the enjoyment with which the readers of Blackwood have long been familiar. It is intended to be followed by the republication, in a similar form, from the same magazine, of the elaborate critiques, by the same hand, upon those great poets, ancient and modern, of whom little is generally known beyond their names.
(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1828.)
How beautiful are all the subdivisions of time diversifying the dream of human life, as it glides away between earth and heaven! And why should moralists mourn over that mutability that gives the chief charm to all that passes so transitorily before our eyes, leaving image upon image fairer and dearer far than even the realities, still visible, and it may be for ever, in the waters of memory sleeping within the heart? Memory never awakes but along with imagination, and therefore it is
"That she can give us back the dead,
The years, the months, the weeks, the days, the nights, the hours, the minutes, the moments, each is in itself a different living, and peopled, and haunted world. One life is a thousand lives, and each individual, as he fully renews the past, reappears in a thousand characters, yet all of them bearing a mysterious identity not to be misunderstood, and all of them, while every passion has been shifting and dying away, and reascending into power, still under the dominion of the same unchanging conscience, that feels and knows that it is from God.
Oh! who can complain of the shortness of human life, that can retravel all the windings and wanderings, and mazes that his feet have trodden since the farthest back 2