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old and well remembered in our experience, | in several numbers of the Indicator—he has rethough scarcely ever before thus nicely re-vived some of those lost parts of our old exvived in poetry.
The works of Crabbe are full of good sense, condensed thought, and lively picture; yet the greater part of them is almost the converse of poetry. The mirror which he holds up to nature, is not that of imagination, which softens down the asperities of actual existences, brings out the stately and the beautiful, while it leaves the trivial and the low in shadow, and sets all things which it reflects in harmony before us: on the contrary, it exhibits the details of the coarsest and most unpleasing realities, with microscopic accuracy and minuteness. Some of his subjects are, in themselves, worthless others are absolutely revoltingyet it is impossible to avoid admiring the strange nicety of touch with which he has felt their discordances, and the ingenuity with which he has painted them. His likenesses absolutely startle us.-There are cases in which this intense consciousness of little circumstances is prompted by deep passion; and, whenever Mr. Crabbe seizes one of these, his extreme minuteness rivets and enchants us. The effect of this vivid picturing in one of his tales, where a husband relates to his wife the story of her own intrigue before marriage, as a tale of another, is thrilling and grand. In some of his poems, as his Sir Eustace Grey and the Gipsy-woman's Confession, he has shown that he can wield the mightiest passions with ease, when he chooses to rise from the contemplation of the individual to that of the universal; from the delineation of men and things, to that of man and the universe.
perience, which we had else wholly forgotten; and has given a fresh sacredness to our daily walks and ordinary habits. We do not see any occasion in this for terms of reproach or ridicule. The scenery around London is not the finest in the world; but it is all which an immense multitude can see of nature, and surely it is no less worthy an aim to hallow a spot which thousands may visit, than to expatiate on the charms of some dainty solitude, which can be enjoyed only by an occasional traveller.
There are other living poets, some of them of great excellence, on whose merits we should be happy to dwell, but that time and space would fail us. We might expatiate on the heaven-breathing pensiveness of Montgomery on the elegant reminiscences of Rogers-on the gentle eccentricity of Wilson-on the luxurious melancholy of Bowles-or on the soft beauties of the Ettrick Shepherd. The works of Lloyd are rich in materials of reflection-most intense, yet most gentle-most melancholy, yet most full of kindness-most original in philosophic thought, yet most calm and benignant towards the errors of the world. Reynolds has given delightful indications of a free, and happy, and bounteous spirit, fit to sing of merry out-laws and green-wood revelries, which we trust he will suffer to refresh us with its blithe carollings. Keats, whose Endymion was so cruelly treated by the critics, has just put forth a volume of poems which must effectually silence his deriders. The rich romance of his Lamia-the holy beauty of his St. Agnes' Eve-the pure and simple diction and intense feeling of his Isabella-and the rough sublimity of his Hyperion-cannot be laughed down, though all the periodical critics in England and Scotland were to assail them with their sneers. Shelley, too, notwithstanding the odious subject of his last tragedy, evinced in that strange work a real human power, of which there is little trace among the old allegories and metaphysical splendours of his earlier productions. No one can fail to perceive, that there are mighty elements in his genius, although there is a melancholy want of a presiding power-a central harmony-in his soul. Indeed, rich as the present age is in poetry, it is even richer in promise. There are many minds-among which we may, particularly, mention that of Maturin-which are yet disturbed even by the number of their own incomplete perceptions. These, however, will doubtless fulfil their glorious destiny, as their imaginations settle into that calm lucidness, which in the instance of Keats has so rapidly succeeded to turbid and impetuous confusion.
We dissent from many of Leigh Hunt's principles of morality and of taste; but we cannot suffer any difference of opinion to prevent the avowal of our deep sense of his poetical genius. He is a poet of various and sparkly fancy, of real affectionate heartiness, and of pathos as deep and pure as that of any living writer. He unites an English homeliness, with the richest Italian luxury. The story of Rimini is one of the most touching, which we have ever received into our "heart of hearts." The crispness of the descriptive passages, the fine spirit of gallantry in the chivalrous delineations, the exquisite gradations of the fatal affection and the mild heart-breaking remorse of the heroine, form, altogether, a body of sweetlybitter recollections, for which none but the most heartless of critics would be unthankful. The fidelity and spirit of his little translations are surprising. Nor must we forget his prose works; the wonderful power, with which he has for many years sent forth weekly essays, of great originality, both of substance and expression; and which seem now as fresh and unexhausted as ever. We have nothing here The dramatic literature of the present age to do with his religion or his politics;—but, it does not hold a rank proportioned to its poetical is impossible to help admiring the healthful genius. But our tragedy, at least, is superior impulses, which he has so long been breathing to any which has been produced since the rich "into the torpid breast of daily life;" or the period of Elizabeth and of James. Though plain and manly energy, with which he has the dramatic works of Shiel, Maturin, Cole shaken the selfism of the age, and sent the ridge, and Milman, are not so grand, and har claims of the wretched in full and resistless monious, and impressive, as the talent of their force to the bosoms of the proud, or the thought- authors would lead us to desire, they are far less. In some of his productions-especially superior to the tragedies of Hill, Southern,
Murphy, Johnson, Philipps, Thomson, Young, Addison, or Rowe. Otway's Venice Preserved alone and that only in the structure of its plot is superior to the Remorse, to Bertram, Fazio, or Evadne. And then-more pure, more dramatic, more gentle, than all these, is the tragedy of Virginius-a piece of simple yet beautiful humanity-in which the most exquisite succession of classic groups is animated with young life and connected by the finest links of interest-and the sweetest of Roman stories lives before us at once, new and familiar to our bosoms.
soft and romantic charm of the novels of the Porters-the brilliant ease and admirable good sense of Edgeworth-the intense humanity of Inchbald-the profound insight into the fearful depths of the soul with which the author of Glenarvon is gifted-the heart-rending pathos of Opie-and the gentle wisdom, the holy sympathy with the holiest childhood, and the sweet imaginings, of the author of Mrs. Leicester's School-soften and brighten the literary aspect of the age. These indications of female talent are not only delightful in themselves, but inestimable as proofs of the rich intellectual treasures which are diffused throughout the sex, to whom the next genera tion will owe their first and their most sacred impressions.
We shall not be suspected of any undue partiality towards modern criticism. But its talent shows, perhaps, more decidedly than any thing else, the great start which the human mind has taken of late years. Throughout But, after all, the best intellectual sign of the all the periodical works extant, from the Edin- present times is the general education of the burgh Review down to the lowest of the maga- poor. This ensures duration to the principles zines, striking indications may be perceived of good, by whatever political changes the of "that something far more deeply interfused," frame of society may be shaken. The sense which is now working in the literature of of human rights and of human duties is not England. We not rarely see criticisms on now confined to a few, and, therefore, liable to theatrical performances of the preceding even- be lost, but is stamped in living characters on ing in the daily newspapers, which would put millions of hearts. And the foundations of to shame the elaborate observations of Dr. human improvement thus secured, it has a Johnson on Shakspeare. Mr. Hazlitt-incom- tendency to advance in a true geometrical proparably the most original of the regular cri- gression. Meanwhile, the effects of the spirit tics-has almost raised criticism into an inde- of improvement which have long been silently pendent art, and, while analyzing the merits preparing in different portions of the globe, of others, has disclosed stores of sentiment, are becoming brilliantly manifest. The vast thought, and fancy, which are his own peculiar continent of South America, whether it conproperty. His relish for the excellencies of tinue nominally dependent on European states, those whom he eulogizes is so keen, that, in or retain its own newly-asserted freedom, will his delineations, the pleasures of intellect be- teem with new intellect, enterprise, and energy. come almost as vivid and substantial as those Old Spain, long sunk into the most abject deof sense. He introduces us into the very pre- gradation, has suddenly awakened, as if resence of the great of old time, and enables us freshed from slumber, and her old genius must almost to imagine that we hear them utter the revive with her old dignities. A bloodless living words of beauty and wisdom. He makes revolution has just given liberty to Naples, us companions of their happiest hours, and and thus has opened the way for the restorashare not only in the pleasures which they tion of Italy. That beautiful region again will diffused, but in those which they tasted. He soon inspire her bards with richer strains than discloses to us the hidden soul of beauty, not of yore, and diffuse throughout the world a like an anatomist but like a lover. His criti- purer luxury. Amidst these quickenings of cisms, instead of breaking the sweetest en humanity, individual poets, indeed, must lose chantments of life, prolongs them, and teaches that personal importance which in darker peus to love poetic excellence more intensely, as riods would be their portion. All selfism-all well as more wisely. predominant desire for the building up of individual fame-must give way to the earnest and simple wish to share in, and promote, the general progress of the species. He is unworthy of the name of a great poet, who is not contented that the loveliest of his imaginations should be lost in the general light, or viewed only as the soft and delicate streaks which shall usher in that glorious dawn, which is, we believe, about to rise on the world, and to set no more'
The present age is, also, honourably distinguished by the variety and the excellence of productions from the pen of women. In poetry there is the deep passion, richly tinged with fancy, of Baillie-the delicate romance of Mitford-the gentle beauty and feminine chivalry of Beetham-and the classic elegance of Hemans. There is a greater abundance of female talent among the novelists. The exquisite sarasm of humour of Madame D'Arblay-the
ON PULPIT ORATORY.
WITH REMARKS ON THE REV. ROBERT HALL.
of poor conceits, miserable compliments, and
THE decline of eloquence in the Senate and at the Bar is no matter of surprise. In the freshness of its youth, it was the only medium by which the knowledge and energy of a single But the causes which have opposed the exheart 'could be communicated to thousands. cellence of pulpit oratory in modern times It supplied the place, not only of the press, but are not so obvious. Its subjects have never of that general communication between the varied, from the day when the Holy Spirit different classes of the state, which the inter- visibly descended on the first advocates of the courses of modern society supply. Then the gospel, in tongues of fire. They are in no passions of men, unchilled by the frigid cus- danger of being exhausted by frequency, or toms of later days, left them open to be in- changed with the vicissitudes of mortal forflamed or enraptured by the bursts of enthu- tune. They have immediate relation to that siasm, which would now be met only with eternity, the idea of which is the living soul of scorn. In our courts of law occasions rarely all poetry and art. It is the province of the arise for animated addresses to the heart; and preachers of Christianity to develope the coneven when these occur, the barrister is fettered nection between this world and the next-to by technical rules, and yet more by the techni- watch over the beginnings of a course which cal habits and feelings, of those by whom he will endure for ever-and to trace the broad is encircled. A comparatively small degree shadows cast from imperishable realities on the of fancy, and a glow of social feeling, directed shifting scenery of earth. This sublunary by a tact which will enable a man to proceed sphere does not seem to them as trifling or with a constant appearance of directing his mean, in proportion as they extend their views course within legal confines, are now the best onward; but assumes a new grandeur and qualifications of a forensic orator. They were sanctity, as the vestibule of a statelier and an exhibited by Lord Erskine in the highest per- eternal region. The mysteries of our beingfection, and attended with the most splendid life and death-both in their strange essences, success. Had he been greater than he was, and in their sublimer relations, are topics of he had been nothing. He ever seemed to their ministry. There is nothing affecting in cherish an affection for the technicalities of the human condition, nothing majestic in the his art, which won the confidence of his duller affections, nothing touching in the instability associates. He appeared to lean on these as of human dignities, the fragility of lovelihis stays and resting-places, even when he ness,—or the heroism of self-sacrifice—which ventured to look into the depth of human na- is not a theme suited to their high purposes. ture, or to catch a momentary glimpse of the It is theirs to dwell on the eldest history of the regions of fantasy. When these were taken world-on the beautiful simplicities of the pafrom him, his powers fascinated no longer. triarchal age-on the stern and awfui religion, He was exactly adapted to the sphere of a and marvellous story of the Hebrews-on the court of law-above his fellows, but not be- glorious visions of the prophets, and their fulfilyond their gage-and giving to the forms ment-on the character, miracles, and death which he could not forsake, an air of venera- of the Saviour-on all the wonders, and all the bieness and grandeur. Any thing more full beauty of the Scriptures. It is theirs to trace of beauty and wisdom than his speeches, the spirit of the boundless and the eternal, would be heard only with cold and bitter scorn faintly breathing in every part of the mystic ́ in an English court of justice. In the houses circle of superstition, unquenched even amidst of parliament, mightier questions are debated; the most barbarous rites of savage tribes, and but no speaker hopes to influence the decision. all the cold and beautiful shapes of Grecian Indeed the members of opposition scarcely pre-mould. The inward soul of every religious tend to struggle against the "dead eloquence of system-the philosophical spirit of all history--votes,” but speak with a view to an influence on the deep secrets of the human heart, when the public mind, which is a remote and chilling grandest or most wayward-are theirs to aim. Were it otherwise, the academic educa- search and to develope. Even those speculation of the members-the prevalent disposition tions which do not immediately affect man's to ridicule, rather than to admire-and the conduct and his hopes are theirs, with all their sensitiveness which resents a burst of enthu- high casuistry; for in these, at least, they dissiasm as an offence against the decorum of cern the beatings of the soul against the bar polished society-would effectually repress any of its earthly tabernacle, which prove the imattempt to display an eloquence in which in- mortality of its essence, and its destiny to tense passion should impel the imagination, move in freedom through the vast ethereal cirand noble sentiment should be steeped in cle to which it thus vainly aspires. In all the fancy. The orations delivered on charitable intensities of feeling, and all the regalities of occasions, consisting, with few exceptions, imagination, they may find fitting materials for
their passionate expostulations with their felJow men to turn their hearts to those objects which will endure for ever.
It appears, therefore, at first observation, strange, that in this country, where an irreligious spirit has never become general, the oratory of the pulpit has made so little progress. The ministers of the Established Church have not, on the whole, fulfilled the promise given in the days of its early zeal. The noble enthusiasm of Hooker-the pregnant wit of South-the genial and tolerant warmth of Tillotson-the vast power of reasoning and observation of Barrow-have rarely been copied, even feebly, by their successors. Jeremy Taylor stands altogether alone among churchmen. Who has ever manifested any portion of that exquisite intermixture of a yearning love with a heavenly fancy, which enabled him to embody and render palpable the holy charities of his religion in the loveliest and most delicate images! Who has ever so encrusted his subjects with candied words; or has seemed, like him, to take away the sting of death with "rich conceit;" or has, like him, half persuaded his hearers to believe that they heard the voice of pitying angels? Few, indeed, of the ministers of the church have been endued with the divine imagination which might combine, enlarge, and vivify the objects of sense, so as, by stately pictures, to present us with symbols of that uncreated beauty and grandeur in which hereafter we shall expatiate. The most celebrated of them have been little more than students of vast learning and research, unless, with Warburton and Horseley, they have aspired at once boldly to speculate, and impeiously to dogmatize.
Liturgy sunk deep into the heart, and prevented the devout worshipper from feeling the want of strength or variety in the discourses of the preacher. The church-yard, with its gentle risings, and pensive memorials of affection, was a silent teacher, both of vigilance and love. And the village spire, whose "silent finger points to heaven," has supplied the place of loftiest imaginings of celestial glory. Obstacles of a far different kind long prevented the advancement of pulpit eloquence among the Protestant Dissenters. The ministers first ejected for non-conformity were men of rigid honesty and virtue, but their intellectual sphere was little extended beyond that of their fellows. There cannot be a greater mistake than to suppose that they sacrificed their worldly interest from any regard to the principles of free inquiry, which have since almost become axioms. They believed that their compliance with the requisitions of the monarch would be offensive to God, and that in refusing to yield it they were doing his will; but they were prepared in their turn to assume the right of interpreting the Bible for others, and of condemning them for a more extended application of their example. Harassed, ridiculed, and afflicted, they naturally contracted an air of rigidity, and refused, in their turn, with horror, an extensive sympathy with the world. The controversies in which the learned men among the Dissenters were long occupied, having respect, not to grand and universal principles, but to petty questions of ceremony and minor points of faith, tended yet farther to confine and depress their genius. Their families were not the less scenes of love, because they preserved parental authority in its state; but the austerity of their manner tended to repress the imaginative faculties of the young. If they indulged themselves in any relaxation of manner, it was not with flowing eloquence, but with the quaint conceit and grave jest that they garnished their conversa tion or their discourses. Their religion wore a dark and uncouth garb; but to this we are indebted, in no small degree, for its preservation through times of demoralizing luxury.
It cannot be doubted, that the species of patronage, by which the honours and emoluments of the establishment are distributed, has tended to prevent the development of genius within its pale. But, perhaps, we may find a more adequate cause for the low state of its preaching in the very beauty and impressiveness of its rites and appointed services. The tendency of religious ceremonies, of the recurrence of old festivals, and of a solemn and dignified form of worship, is, doubtless, to keep alive A great change has taken place, of late tender associations in the heart, and to pre- years, in the literature and eloquence of Proserve the flame of devotion steady and pure, testant Dissenters. As they ceased to be obbut not to incite men to look abroad into their jects of persecution or of scorn, they insensibly nature, or to prompt any lofty excursions of lost the austerity and exclusiveness of their religious fancy. There have, doubtless, been character. They descended from their dusty eloquent preachers in the church of Rome, retirements to share in the pursuits and innobecause in her communion the ceremonies cent enjoyments of "this bright and breathing themselves are august and fearful, and because world." Their honest bigotries gave way at ber proselyting zeal inspired her sons with the warm touch of social intercourse with peculiar energy. But episcopacy in England those from whom they dissented. Meanwhile, is by far the most tolerant of systems ever the exertions of Whitefield,-his glowing, pasassociated with worldly power. Its ministers, sionate, and awful eloquence;-his daring and until the claim of some of them, to the exclu- quenchless enthusiasm, and the deep and exsive title of evangelical, created dissensions, tensive impression which he made throughout breathed almost uniformly a spirit of mildness the kingdom, necessarily aroused those who and peace. Within its sacred boundaries, all received his essential doctrines, into new zeal was order, repose, and charity. Its rights and The impulse thus given was happily refined observances were the helps and leaning-places by a taste for classical learning, and for the of the soul, on which it delighted to rest amidst the vicissitudes of the world, and in its approach to its final change. The fulness, the majesty, and the dignified benignities of the
arts and embellishments of life, which was then gradually insinuating itself into their churches. Some of the new converts who forsook the establishment, not from repug
nance to its constitution, but to its preachers, distinguished of these, we propose to direct maintained, in the first eagerness of their faith, the attention of our readers.
the predominance of one of his powers, but in the exquisite proportion and harmony of all. The richness, variety, and extent of his know ledge, are not so remarkable as his absolute mastery over it. He moves about in the loftest sphere of contemplation, as though he were "native and endued to its element." He uses the finest classical allusions, the noblest images, and the most exquisite words, as though they were those which came first to his mind, and which formed his natural dialect. There is not the least appearance of straining after greatness in his most magnificent excursions, but he rises to the loftiest heights with a childlike ease. His style is one of the clearest and simplest-the least encumbered with its own beauty-of any which ever has been written. It is bright and lucid as a mirror, and its most highly-wrought and sparkling embellishments are like ornaments of crystal, which, even in their brilliant inequalities of surface, give back to the eye little pieces of true imagery set before them.
the barbarous notion that human knowledge MR. HALL, though perhaps the most distin was useless, and even dangerous, to the Chris-guished ornament of the Calvinistic* Dissenttian minister. The absurdity of this position, ers, does not afford the best opportunity for however strikingly exemplified in the advan-criticism. His excellence does not consist in tages gained by the enemies of those who acted on it, served only to increase the desire of the more enlightened and liberal among the non-conformists, to emulate the church in the intellectual qualification of their preachers. They speedily enlarged the means of education among them for the sacred office, and encouraged those habits of study, which promote a refinement and delicacy of feeling in the minds which they enlighten. Meanwhile, their active participation in the noblest schemes of benevolence, tended yet farther to expand their moral horizon. Youths were found among them prepared to sacrifice all the enjoyments of civilized life, and at the peril of their lives to traverse the remotest and the wildest regions, that they might diffuse that religion which is everywhere the parent of arts, charities, and peace. It is not the least benefit of their Missionary exertions, that they have given a romantic tinge to the feelings of men "in populous city pent," and engrossed with the petty and distracting cares of commerce. These form the true Evangelical chivalry, supplying to their promoters no small measure of that mental refinement and elevation, which the far less noble endeavours to recover the Holy Sepulchre shed on Europe in the middle ages. It is not easy to estimate the advantages which spring from the extension of the imagination into the grandest regions of the earth, and from the excitement of sympathies for the condition of the most distant and degraded of the species. The merchant, whose thoughts would else rarely travel beyond his desk and his fire-side, is thus busied with high musings on the progress of the Gospel in the deserts of Africa-skims with the lonely bark over tropical seas and sends his wishes and his prayers over deserts which human footstep has rarely trodden. Missionary zeal, thus diffused among the people, has necessarily operated yet more strongly on the minds of the ministers, who have leisure to indulge in these delicious dreamings which such a cause may sanction. These excellent men are now, for the most part, not only the instructors, but the ornaments of the circles in which they move. The time which they are able to give to literature is well employed for the benefit of their flocks. In the country, more especially, their gentle manners, their extended information, and their pure and blameless lives, do incalculable good to the hearts of their ruder hearers, independent of their public services. Not only in the more solemn of their duties,-in admonishing the guilty, comforting the afflicted, and cheering the dying-do they bless those around them; but by their demeanour, usually dignified, yet cheerful, and their conversation decorous, yet lively; they raise incalculably the tone of social intercourse, and heighten the innocent enjoyment of their friends. Some of them are, at the present day, exhibiting no ordinary gifts and energies;-and to the most
The works of this great preacher are, in the highest sense of the term, imaginative, as distinguished not only from the didactic, but from the fanciful. He possesses "the vision and the faculty divine," in as high a degree as any of our writers in prose. His noblest passages do but make truth visible in the form of beauty, and "clothe upon" abstract ideas, till they be come palpable in exquisite shapes. The dullest writer would not convey the same meaning in so few words, as he has done in the most sublime of his illustrations. Imagination, when like his of the purest water, is so far from being improperly employed on divine subjects, that it only finds its real objects in the true and the eternal. This power it is which disdains the scattered elements of beauty, as they appear distinctly in an imperfect world, and strives by accumulation, and by rejecting the alloy cast on all things, to imbody to the mind that ideal beauty which shall be realized hereafter. This, by shedding a consecrating light on all it touches, and "bringing them into one," anticipates the future harmony of creation. This already sees the "soul of goodness in things evil," which shall one day change the evil into its likeness. This already begins the triumph over the separating powers of death and time, and renders their victory doubtful, by making us feel the immortality of the affec tions. Such is the faculty which is employed by Mr. Hall to its noblest uses. There is no rhetorical flourish-no mere pump of words-in his most eloquent discourses. With vast excursive power, indeed, he can range through all the glories of the Pagan world, and seizing those traits of beauty which they derived from
We use this epithet merely as that which will most distinctively characterize the extensive class to which it is applied-well aware that there are shades of differ ence among them--and that many of them would decling to call themselves after any name but that of Christ.