parties, to the causers. I was then linked and riveted to the gross error of inferences and conclusions which under a false system of education, and the miserable moral economy of our contradictory and corrupting conventions of society, are inevitable. Whatever indignation or abhorrence I now feel from a revivification of that painful and disgusting scene which I witnessed in Cadiz harbour, is directed to the political and moral governors of those men who committed the atrocities: their wisdom was to keep the mass in ignorance and superstition, in the foolish fancy that ignorance and superstition, no matter to what horrors they may else lead, are more easily ruled. They are so; but it must be only where fraud and villany, oppression and knavery, are the ministers of a government, of religion, or of education.

The time and place, however, were pregnant with novelty's excitements; and while I shook in disgust, I was feverish with anticipation and curiosity, mingled as they were with expected pain, and, perhaps, more cruelty. I had to wait only till the morrow morning. Monday, when the combat was renewed between the French fleet and the Spanish batteries; and there we lay, looking on. After battering and blazing away for three or four hours, they were silent; but the antagonist ensigns still shook in fury at each other. There is but one justification for the French admiral's holding out with such obstinacy, such, otherwise, useless and remorseless waste of life; he may have resolved that it was less horrible to himself and all his fleet to be blown to atoms, than to trust to the mercy of the exasperated Spaniards. He was, perhaps, not unconscious that the exasperation had been caused by treachery, from suspicion of which he was not entirely exempt. However, next morning, Tuesday, at eight o'clock, when, in accordance with English naval customs with harboured ships, the Ahoisted her ensign, the French fleet, consisting of five ships of the line and three frigates, hauled down theirs, in surrender,-it was said, in compliment to the British flag; certainly the peculiar circumstances of the act gave it that colouring. Whether it were so or not, John Bull said it was meant for him, and all his family in our neighbourhood believed.

Next day our signal was made by the admiral, and we put to sea with despatches for the fleet at Lisbon. Of this place I remember only masses of the magnificently picturesque : that Belem castle (or is it St. Julian's?) sat laughing and scowling on a hill at the base of a mountain; that our fleet lay at a respectful distance from the fortresses, and that there were glimpses and suburban indications of a gorgeous city: nearer we did not approach, and I have never looked within five hundred miles of the place since. We anchored at sunset; and were under way by daybreak the following morning to rejoin the fleet off Cadiz, which we found augmented in number and importance by the junction of a division of the Mediterranean fleet, under old · Salt Junk and Sixpenny,'* (my Lord Collingwood,) who ordered us to Palermo! Huzza ! the long wished for Mediterranean cruise was our destiny !

P. V.


Come forth—'tis the voice of the summer air,

With its low soft whisper, that calls to thee;
Come forth—there are joys which it bids thee share,

Midst a world of beauty and melody.

'Tis true, I can gather thee fresh sweet flowers

To strew o'er thy couch all the live-long day;
And they'll tell thee about the sunny hours,

And breathe into thine their sweet spirit away.

But they cannot bring thee the breeze that plays

O'er the silken grass where they lately grew :
They cannot bring thee the golden rays,

Nor the glancing light of the liquid dew.

They cannot show thee the deep blue skies

of the noontide hour,--nor the glorious sun! Nor the mingling of golden and purple dyes

In the glowing west, when the day is done.

And, oh! there are sounds which they cannot bring,

Which float in the still and balmy air, —
The song of birds and the insect's wing,

And the voiceless music that murmurs there.

Come forth—and a thousand springs of bliss

Will gush to thy heart till its tide o’erflow;
And the whispering winds will softly kiss

Thy cheek, and restore its healthful glow.

C. P.

* Sall Junk and Sirpenny,-a soubriquet which his penurious hospitality won. With salt junk, and a wine which he was proud of saying 'cost him but sixpence per gallon,' he regaled his dinner guests. Of course, this was occasioned by his ardour for the service which kept him so long at sea, away from ports where supplies could be obtained.' There were, however, many worse inen in the service than old Collingwood.

No. 102.



Impetuous stream! that, with resistless force
Wearing from mountain rocks thy rugged bed,
By day, by night, with me dost urge thy course,
Where thou by nature, I by love am led.
Flow on! uncurbed thy current's headlong motion
By sleep or weariness, but e'er thou pay
Thy tributary waters to the ocean,
In deep attention fixed, a moment stay
There where the herb a fresher green displays,
Where the young zephyr breathes a balmier sigh ;
For there our living sun, with lucid rays,
Beams rich refulgence on the enchanted eye,
And brightens with her smile thy western strand.
Perchance (too daring hope !) she mourns my stay:
Bathe her soft foot, and kiss her snowy hand;
A lover's message let that kiss convey :
Tell her my willing spirit hovers near;
'Tis but the fainting flesh that lingers here.



No poet has ever lived and written down, and that in the most quiet way, a greater host of difficulties than Wordsworth. The common consent which once denied him a place amongst the bards of his age and country, now seems to concede to him the highest rank. He has overcome a world of prejudices, and also some just objections. A new theory of poetry; a practice which made more startling whatever was most startling in that theory; an offensive defiance of all the common-place, adventitious aids of what is called poetical interest ; the political hostility of the two great parties of the state in succession; the heavier charge, with all parties, of apostasy; the repeated, and what appeared the demolishing, attacks of the acutest and most influential criticism of the day ; ridicule from all quarters through many years: these are the rocks and brambles over which he has pursued his path up the lofty eminence on whose heights he now peacefully reclines. This is the course of greatness. We do it reverence; and not the less fervently for perceiving that there is some lack of discrimination in the homage which all now render, as there was in the laugh which all aforetime echoed. Genuine poetical criticism is the next rarest, and perhaps next best thing in the world to genuine poetry.

Wordsworth has been termed both the most philosophical of * Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems,' by W. Wordsworth. Longman, 1835.

*** 6

poets, and the most poetical of philosophers. And in our apprehension he is both. But our critical compeers, notwithstanding their universal humour of laudation, must excuse us in adding that, in his particular case, each of these characters detracts from the other, instead of constituting, as it commonly would, a great and glorious addition. We must bear the imputation, if proved upon us, of imperfect apprehension ; but to us it does seem that Wordsworth is frequently philosophical at the expense of his poetry, and poetical at the expense of his philosophy. His powers play at cross-purposes. He thrusts with his shield, and wards with his sword. The division of labour is not rightly kept up between the picture gallery of his imagination, and the logical workshop of his understanding. The process that belongs to the one is often conducted in the other, and his admirers require of us that we shall not repine at the want of beauty or adornment because the poem is a philosophy, and yet that we shall not question the truth of facts, positions, or influences, because the philosophy is a poem. The two classes of qualities, the poetical and the philosophical, approach too near to a perfect equality in Wordsworth. Their happiest combination requires the decided predominance of one or the other. The greatest philosopher must be a poet, as Bacon was. The greatest poet must be a philosopher, as Shakspeare and Milton were. But in each, the species of power, which the individual was formed to exercise, is distinct and continuous. That power is the greater in the logic of the philosopher, because it is ever reason, and not feeling or fancy, that forms the connecting chain of association, although its massy links may often be wreathed with their fairest flowers; and the greater in the lay of the poet, because it is by fancy and feeling that its strains are chanted and prolonged, although, from time to time, wisdom may throw up into the air his handfulls of seeds of truth, to be borne hither and thither, and germinate as fruitfully as if deposited by the most careful sower that ever, following the plodding ploughman, went forth into the fields to sow.

In both cases we submit our minds to an undivided though not an unaided influence. The intellectual region through which we are invited to ramble has a lord paramount, whose reign we everywhere recognise, notwithstanding that, in a different sphere, he himself may be only the minister of another's grandeur. The constituted authorities of Wordsworth's mind, like the two kings of Brentford, may go on very lovingly together, but still they do modify and mollify one another. He is always thinking, so thinking as to keep his feeling in check, and impair the poetical character of his compositions; and what makes it more aggravating is, that very often he does not, to our apprehension at least, think soundly. So that the poetry we expected to enjoy is sacrificed to a metaphysical or political principle, which again balks us by the insufficiency of its evidences or the mischievousness of its tendencies.

For instances of what we mean, we would only refer in this volume to “The Warning,' p. 255, · St. Bees,' p. 271, and the sonnets, at pp. 188, 189, 228, 264, &c.

In politics and religion, Wordsworth is the poet of the past, blending sophistical apologies for its outward forms with those aspirations for futurity which are native to him because he is a poet and a philosopher; which he cannot repress if he would; which it is his delight to indulge when he forgets the present condition of church and state; but which are often sorely trammelled in their flight by his veneration for the things which are vanishing away.

We will proceed no further in this business. It is an ungrateful notice that we are writing of one of the most beautiful volumes of poetry that has been published for many a year, or will be for many a year to come. We only thought to have exchanged a word of gratulation with our readers on its appearance, knowing the impossibility of sitting down just now to write out our whole notion of Wordsworth. The superficial and unmeaning praise, from pens that a few years ago would have censured as mechanically, have provoked these few remarks; the volume itself need not else have called for them. There is scarcely a trace in it of what used to be regarded as characteristics of Wordsworth. Nobody could ever imagine from it, why he was ever laughed at. But every one gifted with any portion of the faculty of appreciation, may note in its contents those attributes of the great reflective poet which have established for him not only a school of disciples whose admiration approaches to fanaticism, but a silent, mighty, pervading, and enduring influence over the mind and heart.

The first poem, although by no means the most important, which gives its name to the volume, is a beautiful completion and building up into an entire unity of the author's two former poems on that stream whose very name is poetry. It is the memorial of a day passed with Sir W. Scott in 1831, immediately before his departure from Abbotsford to Naples. While, as in all Wordsworth's compositions, the power of the scenery is over every verse, the effect is much enhanced by the view afforded us of the mode in which one great poet thought and felt of another. It is with strong interest that we gaze upon the reflection, in Wordsworth's profound soul, of the image of the Great Minstrel of the Border.'

The sonnets and other poems connected with Scotch scenery we must fairly confess disappointed us. With much beauty and truth, they want peculiarity and appropriateness. The poet seems to have travelled as one breathing thoughtful breath,'rather than as one who was receiving inspiration. The Power of Sound' is a gorgeous metaphysical ode, a lyric to be studied. But the charm of the volume is in the ballad and narrative poetry: • The Egyptian Maid,' "The Armenian Lady's Love,' • The Russian Fugitive,' &c. The first two of these are equal to anything of the kind which the author has ever written, and, therefore, by implication, any one else,

« VorigeDoorgaan »