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and soothes us with a strain of such mingled solemnity and tenderness, as "might make angels weep:"
"What though the radiance which was once so bright, Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Which having been, must ever be,
In the faith that looks through death,
And oh ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
The genius of the poet, which thus dignifies and consecrates the abstractions of our nature, is scarcely less felicitous in its pictures of society at large, and in its philosophical delineations of the characters and fortunes of individual man. Seen through the holy medium of his imagination, all things appear "bright and solemn and serene"-the asperities of our earthly condition are softened away -and the most gentle and evanescent of its hues gleam and tremble over it. He delights to trace out those ties of sympathy by which the meanest of beings are connected with the general heart. He touches the delicate strings by which the great family of man are bound together, and thence draws forth sounds of choicest music. He makes us partake of those joys which are "spread through the earth to be caught in stray gifts by whoever will find" them-discloses the hidden wealth of the soul-finds beauty everywhere, and "good in every thing." He draws character with the softest pencil, and shades it with the pensive tints of gentlest thought. The pastoral of The Brothers-the story of Michaeland the histories in the Excursion which the priest gives while standing among the rustic graves of the church-yard, among the mountains, are full of exquisite portraits, touched and softened by a divine imagination which human love inspires. He rejoices also to exhibit that holy process by which the influences of creation are shed abroad in the heart, to excite, to mould, or to soften. We select the following stanzas from many passages of this kind of equal beauty, because in the fantasy of nature's making "a lady of her own," the object of the poet is necessarily developed with more singleness than where reference is incidentally made to the effect of scenery on the mind:
"Three years she grew in sun and shower,
Myself will to the darling be
Both law and impulse and with me
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
To kindle or restrain.
She shall be sportive as the fawn,
The floating clouds their state shall lend
Even in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean on air
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
But we must break off to give a passage in a bolder and most passionate strain, which represents the effect of the tropical grandeur and voluptuousness of nature on a wild and fiery spirit-at once awakening and half-redeeming its irregular desires. It is from the poem of "Ruth,"- -a piece where the most profound of human affections is disclosed amidst the richest imagery, and incidents of wild romance are told with a Grecian purity of expression. The impulses of a beautiful and daring youth are thus represented as inspired by Indian scenery:
"The wind, the tempest roaring high,
Might well be dangerous food,
Whatever in those climes he found
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse, seem'd allied
Nor less to feed voluptuous thought,
Yet in his worst pursuits, I ween
We can do little more than enumerate those pieces of narrative and character, which we esteem the best in their kind of our author's works. The old Cumberland Beggar is one
of those which linger most tenderly on our | sagest antiquarian might muse over in vain, memories. The poet here takes almost the and his name engraven in a wreath or posy lowliest of his species-an aged mendicant, around three bells with which he had endowed one of the last of that class who made regular the spire. "So," exclaims the poet, in strains circuits amidst the cottages of the north-and as touching and majestic as ever were breathed after a vivid picture of his frame bent with over the transitory grandeur of earthyears, of his slow motion and decayed senses, "So fails, so languishes, grows dim and dies, he asserts them not divorced from goodAll that this world is proud of. From their spheres traces out the links which bind him to his The stars of human glory are cast down; fellows-and shows the benefit which even Perish the roses, and the flowers of kings, he can diffuse in his rounds, while he serves Princes and emperors, and the crowns and palms as a record to bind together past deeds and Of all the mighty, withered, and consumed." offices of charity-compels to acts of love by In the Excursion, too, is the exquisite tale "the mild necessity of use" those whose of poor Ellen-a seduced and forsaken girlhearts would otherwise harden-gives to the from which we will give one affecting inciyoung "the first mild touch of sympathy and dent, scarcely to be matched, for truth and thought, in which they find their kindred with beauty, through the many sentimental poems a world where want and sorrow are"-and and tales which have been founded on a simienables even the poor to taste the joy of bestowing. This last blessing is thus set forth and illustrated by a precious example of selfdenying goodness and cheerful hope, which is at once more tear-moving and more sublime than the finest things in Cowper:
"Man is dear to man; the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have been,
Of this old mendicant, and, from her door
Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in Heaven."
Then, in the Excursion, there is the story of the Ruined Cottage, with its admirable gradations, more painful than the pathetic narratives of its author usually are, yet not without redeeming traits of sweetness, and a reconciling spirit which takes away its sting. There, too, is the intense history of the Solitary's sorrows -there the story of the Hanoverian and the Jacobite, who learned to snatch a sympathy from their bitter disputings, grew old in controversy and in friendship, and were buried side by side-there the picture of Oswald, the gifted and generous and graceful hero of the mountain solitude, who was cut off in the blossom of his youth-there the record of that pleasurable sage, whose house Death, after forty years of forbearance, visited with thronging summonses, and took off his family one after the other, "with intervals of peace," till he too, with cheerful thoughts about him, was "overcome by unexpected sleep in one blest moment," and as he lay on the "warm lap of his mother earth," "gathered to his fathers." There are those fine vestiges, and yet finer traditions and conjectures, of the good knight Sir Alfred Irthing, the "mild-hearted champion" who had retired in Elizabeth's days to a retreat among the hills, and had drawn around him a kindred and a family. Of him nothing remained but a gentle fame in the hearts of the villagers, an uncouth monumental stone grafted on the church-walls, which the
"-Beside the cottage in which Ellen dwelt
Stands a tall ash tree; to whose topmost twig
Of his fond partner, silent in the nest.
Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge;
Their spring-time with one love, and that have need
To grant, or be received, while that poor bird,
"Such was the tender passage, not by me
With these tear-moving expressions of illfated love, we may contrast the following rich picture of the affection in its early bloom, from the tale of Vandracour and Julia, which will show how delightedly the poet might have lingered in the luxuries of amatory song, had he not chosen rather to brood over the whole world of sentiment and passion:
"Arabian fiction never filled the world
With half the wonders that were wrought for him.
with emotions equally remote from pedantry and from intolerance-regarding not only the grace and the loveliness of their forms, but their symbolical meaning-tracing them to their elements in the human soul, and bringing before us the eldest wisdom which was imbodied in their shapes, and speedily forgotten by their worshippers. Thus, among "the palpable array of sense," does he discover hints of immortal life-thus does he transport us back more than twenty centuries-and enable us to enter into the most mysterious and farreaching hopes of a Grecian votary:
-A Spirit hung,
Perhaps the highest instance of Words- | pher as well as of a poet. He reviews them worth's imaginative faculty, exerted in a tale of human fortunes, is to be found in "The White Doe of Rylstone." He has here succeeded in two distinct efforts, the results of which are yet in entire harmony. He has shown the gentle spirit of a high-born maiden gathering strength and purity from sorrow, and finally, after the destruction of her family, and amidst the ruin of her paternal domains, consecrated by suffering. He has also here, by the introduction of that lovely wonder, the favourite doe of his heroine, at once linked the period of his narrative to that of its events, and softened down the saddest catastrophe and the most exquisite of mortal agonies. A gallant chieftain, one of the goodliest pillars of the olden time, falls, with eight of his sons, in a hopeless contest for the religion to which they were devoted-the ninth, who followed them unarmed, is slain while he strives to bear away, for their sake, the banner which he had abjured-the sole survivor, a helpless woman, is left to wander desolate about the silent halls and tangled glades, once witnesses of her joyous infancy-and yet all this variety of grief is rendered mild and soothing by the influences of the imagination of the poet. The doe, which first with its quiet sympathy excited relieving tears in its forsaken mistress, which followed her, a gentle companion, through all her mortal wanderings, and which years after made Sabbath visits to her grave, is, like the spirit of nature, personified to heal, to bless, and to elevate. All who have read the poem aright, will feel prepared for that apotheosis which the poet has reserved for this radiant being, and will recognise the imaginative truth of that bold figure, by which the decaying towers of Bolton are made to smile upon its form, and to attest its unearthly relations:
"There doth the gentle creature lie
With these adversities unmoved;
A gracious smile, that seems to say,
But daughter of the eternal Prime!'"
Although Wordsworth chiefly delights in these humanities of poetry, he has shown that he possesses feelings to appreciate and power to grasp the noblest of classic fictions. No one can read his Dion, his Loadamia, and the most majestic of his sonnets, without perceiving that he has power to endow the stateliest shapes of old mythology with new life, and to diffuse about them a new glory. Hear him, for example, breaking forth, with holy disdain of the worldly spirit of the time, into this sublime apostrophy:
"Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn:
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn!"
But he has chosen rather to survey the majesties of Greece, with the eye of a philoso
Beautiful region! o'er thy Towns and Farms,
We must now bring this long article to a close-and yet how small a portion of our author's beauties have we even hinted! We have passed over the clear majesty of the poem of "Hart Leap Well"-the lyrical grandeur of the Feast of Brougham Castle-the masculine energy and delicate grace of the Sonnets which, with the exception perhaps of one or two of Warton and of Milton, far exceed all others in our language-"The Wagoner," that fine and hearty concession of a waterdrinker to the joys of wine and the light-hearted folly which it inspires-and numbers of smaller poems and ballads, which to the superficial observer may seem only like woodland springs, but in which he who ponders intently will discern the breakings forth of an undercurrent of thought and feeling which is silently flowing beneath him. We trust, however, we have written or rather quoted enough to induce such of our readers as hitherto have despised the poet on the faith of base or ignorant criticism to read him for themselves, especially as by the recent appearance of the Excursion in octavo, and the arrangement of the minor poems in four small volumes, the whole of his poetical works are placed within their reach. If he has little popularity with the multitude, he is rewarded by the intense veneration and love of the finest spirits of the age. Not only
Coleridge, Lloyd, Southey, Wilson, and Lamb | -with whom his name has been usually connected-but almost all the living poets have paid eloquent homage to his genius. He is loved by Montgomery, Cornwall, and Rogersrevered by the author of Waverley-ridiculed and pillaged by Lord Byron! Jeffrey, if he begins an article on his greatest work with the pithy sentence "this will never do," glows even while he criticises, and before he closes, though he came like Balaam to curse, like him "blesses altogether." Innumerable essays, sermons, speeches, poems-even of those who profess to despise him-are tinged by his fancy and adorned by his expressions. And there are no small number of young hearts, which have not only been enriched but renovated by his poetry-which he has expanded, purified, and exalted-and to which he has given the means of high communion with the good and the pure throughout the universe. These, equal at least in number to the original lovers of Shakspeare or of Milton, will transmit his fame to kindred spirits, and whether it shall receive or be denied the honour of fashion, it will ever be cherished by the purest of earthly minds, and connected with the most majestic of nature's scenery.
Too many of our living poets have seemed to take pride in building their fame on the sands. They have chosen for their subjects the disease of the heart-the sad anomalies of humanity-the turbulent and guilty passions which are but for a season. Their renown, therefore, must necessarily decline as the species advances. Instead of tracing out the lineaments of the image of God indelibly impressed on the soul, they have painted the deformities which may obscure them for
awhile, but can never utterly destroy them. Vice, which is the accident of our nature, has been their theme instead of those affections which are its groundwork and essence. "Yet a little space, and that which men call evil is no more!" Yet a little space, and those wild emotions-those horrid deeds-those strange aberrations of the soul-on which some gifted bards have delighted to dwell, will fade away like the phantoms of a feverish dream. Then will poetry, like that of Wordsworth, which even now is the harbinger of a serener day, be felt and loved and held in undying honour. The genius of a poet who has chosen this high and pure career, too, will proceed in every stage of being, seeing that "it is a thing immortal as himself," and that it was ever inspired by affections which cannot die. poet even in brighter worlds will feel, with inconceivable delight, the connection between his earthly and celestial being-live along the golden lines of sentiment and thought back to the most delicious moments of his contemplations here-and rejoice in the recognition of those joys of which he had tastes and intimations on earth. Then shall he see the inmost soul of his poetry disclosed-grasp as assured realities the gorgeous visions of his infancy-feel "the burden of the mystery of all this unimaginable world," which were lightened to him here, dissolved away-see the prophetic workings of his imagination realized-exult while "pain and anguish and the wormy grave," which here were to him "shapes of a dream," are utterly banished from the view-and listen to the full chorus of that universal harmony whose first notes he here delighted to awaken!
REVIEW OF "NORTH'S LIFE OF LORD GUILFORD."
THIS old piece of legal biography, which has | been lately republished, is one of the most delightful books in the world. Its charm does not consist in any marvellous incidents of Lord Guilford's life, or any peculiar interest attaching to his character, but in the unequalled naiveté of the writer-in the singular felicity with which he has thrown himself into his subject and his vivid delineations of all the great lawyers of his time. He was a younger brother of the Lord Keeper, to whose affection he was largely indebted, and from whom he appears to have been scarcely ever divided. His work, in nice minuteness of detail, and living picture of motive, almost, equals the auto-biographies of Benevento Cellini, Rousseau, and Cibber. He seems to be almost as intensely conscious of all his brother's actions, and the movements of his mind, as they were of their own. All his
ideas of human greatness and excellence appear taken from the man whom he celebrates. There never was a more liberal or gentle prostration of the spirit. He was evidently the most humane, the most kindly, and the most single-hearted, of flatterers. There is a beauty in his very cringing, beyond the independence of many. It is the most gentleman-like submission, the most graceful resignation of self of which we have ever read. Hence, there is nothing of the vanity of authorship-no attempt to display his own powers-throughout the work. He never comes forward in the first person, except as a witness. Indeed, he usually speaks of himself as of another, as though he had half lost his personal consciousness in the contempla tion of his idol's virtues. The following passage, towards the conclusion, where he recounts the favours of Lord Guilford to a
younger brother, and at last, in the fulness of his heart, discloses, by a little quotation, that he is speaking of himself—this breaking from his usual modest narration into the only personal feeling he seems to have cherished-is beautifully characteristic of the spirit which he brought to his work.
"But I ought to come nearer home, and take an account of his benevolences to his paternal relations. His youngest brother (the honourable Roger North) was designed, by his father, for the civil law, as they call that professed at Doctors' Commons, upon a specious fancy to have a son of each faculty or employ used in England. But his lordship dissuaded him, and advised rather to have him put to the common law; for the other profession provided but for a few, and those not wonderful well; whereas, the common law was more certain, and, in that way, he himself might bring him forwards, and assist him. And so it was determined. His lordship procured for him a petit chamber, which cost his father £60, and there he was settled with a very scanty allowance; to which his lordship made a timely addition of his own money more than all this, he took him almost constantly out with him to company and entertainments, and always paid his scot; and, when he was attorney general, let him into partnership in one of the offices under him; and when his lordship was treasurer, and his brother called to the bar, a perquisite chamber, worth £150, fell; and that he gave to his brother for a practising chamber, and took in lieu only that which he had used for his studies. When his lordship was chief justice, he gave him the countenance of practising under him, at nisi prius; and all the while his lordship was a house-keeper, his brother and servant were of his family at all meals. When the Temple was burnt, he fitted up a little room and study in his chambers in Serjeant's Inn, for his brother to manage his small affairs of law in, and lodged him in his house till the Temple was built, and he might securely lodge there. And his lordship was pleased with a back door in his own study, by which he could go in and out to his brother, to discourse of incidents; which way of life delighted his lordship exceedingly. And, what was more extraordinary, he went with his lordship in his coach constantly, to, and from, the courts of nisi prius, at Guildhall and Westminster. And, after his lordship had the great seal, his brother's practice (being then made of the king's counsel, and coming within the bar) increased exceedingly, and, in about three years' time he acquired the better part he afterwards was possessed of. At that time, his lordship took his brother into his family, and a coach and servants assigned him out of his equipages; and all at rack and manger, requiring only £200 a year; which was a trifle, as the world went then. And it may truly be said, that this brother was a shadow to him, as if they had grown together. And, to show his lordship's tenderness, I add this instance of fact. Once he seemed more than ordinarily disposed to pensiveness, even to a degree of melancholy. His lordship never left pumping, till he found out the cause of it; and that was a reflection
what should become of him, if he should lose this good brother, and be left alone to himself: the thought of which he could scarce bear; for he had no opinion of his own strength, to work his way through the world with tolerable success. Upon this his lordship, to set his brother's mind at ease, sold him an annuity of £200 a year, at an easy rate, upon condition to re-purchase it, at the same rate, when he was worth £5000. And this was all done accordingly.
"O et præsidium et dulce decus meum."
We will now conduct our readers through Lord Guilford's life-introducing as many of the nice peculiarities of his historian as our limits will allow-and will then give them one or two of the portraits with which the work is enriched-and add a word on the changes which have taken place in the legal profession, since the time when the originals “held the noisy tenour of their way" through its gradations.
The Hon. Francis North, afterwards Baron Guilford, was the third son of Dudley, Lord North, Baron of Kirtling, who deserved the filial duty of his children, by the veneration which he manifested towards his own father, beyond even the strictness of those times; for, though he was an old man before his father died, he never sat or was covered in his presence unbidden. He sent his son, at an early age, to school, but was not very fortunate in his selection, for the master was a rigid Presbyterian, and his wife a furious Independent, who used "to instruct her babes in the gift of praying by the spirit, making them kneel by a bedside and pray;" but as "this petit spark was too small for that posture, he was set upon the bed to kneel with his face to the pillow." This absurd treatment seems to have given the child an early disgust for those who were esteemed the fanatics, which never left him. He finished his scholastic education under a "cavalier master," with credit. After he left school, he became a fellow-commoner of St. John's College, Cambridge, where he improved greatly in solid learning, and acquired a knowledge of music, which he afterwards used as a frequent solace amidst the toils of his profession.
He next became a member of the Middle Temple, and occupied "a moiety of a petit chamber, which his father bought for him." Here he "used constantly commons in the hall at noons and nights," studied closely, and derived much benefit from the practice of putting cases, which was followed in the old temple cloisters by the students, and for the convenience of which they were rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in their present form. He, also, diligently common-placed the substance of his reading, having acquired a very small but legible hand-"for,” as his biographer observes," where contracting is the main business, it is not well to write, as the fashion then was, uncial or semi-uncial letters to look like pig's ribs." In his studies, he was wont by turns to read the reports and institutes; "as, after a fulness of the reports in a morning, about noon, to take a repast in Stamford,