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175. THE POET.
OW glorious, above all earthly glory, are the faculty and mission of the Poet! His are the flaming thoughts that pierce the vail of heaven-his are the feelings, which on the wings of rapture sweep over the abyss of ages. The star of his being is a splendor of the world.
2. The Poet's state and attributes are half divine. The breezes of gladness are the heralds of his approach; the glimpse of his coming is as the flash of the dawn. The hues of Conquest flush his brow: the anger of triumph is in his eyes. The secret of Creation is with him; the mystery of the Immortal is among his treasures. The doom of unending sovereignty is upon his nature.
3. The meditations of his mind are Angels, and their issuing forth is with the strength of eternity. The talisman' of his speech is the scepter of the free. The decrees of a dominion whose sway is over spirits, and whose continuance is to everlasting, go out from before him; and that ethereäl essence, which is the untamable in man-which is the liberty of the Infinite within the bondage of life--is obedient to them. His phrases are the forms of Power: his syllables are agencies of Joy.
4. With men in his sympathies, that he may be above them in his influence, his nature is the jewel-clasp that binds Humanity to Heaven. It mediates between the earthly and celestial: in the vigor of his production, divinity becomes substantial; in the sublimity of his apprehensions, the material loses itself into spirit. It is his to drag forth the eternal from our mortal form of being-to tear the Infinite into our bounden state of action.
5. What conqueror has troops like his ?-the spirit-forces of Language-those subtle slaves of mind, those impetuous masters of the Passions; whose mysterious substance who can comprehend-whose mighty operation what can com'bat? Evolved, none knowèth how, within the curtained chambers of existence
1 Talisman, (tål ́iz mån), something formed by magical skill, to which wonderful effects were ascribed, such
as preservation from sickness, injury, &c.; that which produces remarkable effects.
-half-physical, half-ideäl, and finer than all the agencies of Time-linked together by spells, which are the spontaneous magic of genius, which he that can use, never understands-the weird hosts of words fly forth, silently, with silver wings, to win resistlessly against the obstacles of Days, and Distance, and Destruction, to fetter nations in the viewless chains of admiration, and be, in the ever-presence of their all-vitality, the immortal portion of their author's being.
6. Say what we will of the real character of the strifes of war, and policy, and wealth, the accents of the singer are the true acts of the race. What prince, in the secret places of his dalliänce, uses such delights as his? Passing through the life of the actual, with its transitory blisses, its deciduous' hopes, its quickly waning fires, his interests dwell only in the deep consciousness of the soul and mind, to which belong undecaying raptures, and the tone of a godlike force. Within that glowing universe of Sentiment and Fancy, which he generates from his own strenuous and teeming spirit, he is visited by immortal forms, whose motions torment the heart with ecstasy-whose vesture is of light-whose society is a fragrance of all the blossoms of Hope.
7. To him the True approaches in the radiant garments of the Beautiful; the Good unvails to him the princely splendors of her native lineaments, and is seen to be Pleasure. His soul lies strewn upon its flowery desires, while, from the fountains of ideäl loveliness, flows softly over him the rich, warm luxury of the Fancy's passion. His Joys are Powers; and it is the blessedness of his condition that Triumph to him is prepared not by toil, but by indulgence. Begotten by the creative might of rapture, and beaming with the strength of the delight of their conception, the shapes of his imagination come forth in splendor, and he fascinates the world with his felicities. H. B. WALLACE.
176. TO THE SPIRIT OF POETRY.
EAVE me not yet! Leave me not cold and lonely,
Thou art the friend-the beautiful-the only,
Thou, that dost vail the frailèst flower with glory,
Of the dim future, in my wistful youth!
Through which naught mean or evil dare intrude, Resume not yet the gift, which I inherit
From heaven and thee, that dearest, holiest good!
With whom, of all, 'twould be despair to part.
With airy beings, faint yet strangely fair;
While it went whispering through the willing leaves; Bidding me listen to the light rain playing
Its pleasant tune about the household eaves; Tuning the low, sweet ripple of the river,
Till its melodious murmur seemed a song!
A sweet, impassioned plaint of love and wrong!
3. Thou, that when others knew not how to love me,
When thou hast sung love's lullaby to me;
Which I have lavished upon thine and thee; By all the lays my simple lute was learning,
To echo from thy voice-stay with me still! Once flown-alas! for thee there's no returning! The charm will die o'er valley, wood, and hill.
Tell me not TIME, whose wing my brow has shaded,
Though hope and joy, its sister flowers, depart.
Blind to the beauty of her stars and flowers;
Lonely and lost in this cold world of ours!
And bless with radiant dreams the darkened day;
Lest I, too, join the aimless, false and vain :
Of those whom I now pity and disdain!
Fly not to heaven, or let me share thy flight!
OSGOOD. FRANCES SARGENT OSGOOD, daughter of Joseph Locke, a Boston merchant, was born in that city about the year 1812. Some of her first poems appeared in a juvenile Miscellany, conducted by Mrs. L. M. Child, rapidly followed by others, which soon gave their signature, "Florence," a wide reputation. About 1834 she was married to S. S. Osgood, a young painter already distinguished in his profession. They soon after went to London, where Mr. Osgood pursued his art of portrait-painting with success; and his wife's poetical compositions to various periodicals met with equal favor. In 1839 a collection of her poems was published in London, entitled "A Wreath of Wild-Flowers from New England.” About the same period she wrote "The Happy Release, or the Triumphs of Love," a play in three acts. She returned with Mr. Osgood to Boston in 1840. They removed to New York soon afterward, where the remainder of her life was principally passed. Her poems, and prose tales and sketches, appeared at brief intervals in the magazines. In 1841 she edited "The Poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry," and in 1847, "The Floral Offering," two illustrated gift-books. Her poems were collected and published in New York in 1846. She possessed an unusual facility in writing verses, with a felicitous style, and was happy in the selection of subjects. Her rare gracefulness and delicacy, and her unaffected and lively manners, won her a large circle of warm friends. She died on the 12th of May, 1850.
177. THE INFLUENCE OF POETRY.
E believe that poëtry, far from injuring society, is one
of the great instruments of its refinement and exaltation. It lifts the mind above ordinary life, gives it a respite from depressing cares, and awakens the consciousness of its affinity with what is pure and noble. In its legitimate and highest efforts, it has the same tendency and aim with Christianity (krist yǎn'i ti),-that is, to spiritualize our nature.
2. True, poëtry has been made the instrument of vice, the pander of bad passions; but when genius thus stoops, it dims its fires, and parts with much of its power; and even when poetry is enslaved to licentiousnèss and misăn'thropy, she can not wholly forget her true vocation. Strains of pure feeling, touches of tenderness, images of innocent happiness, sympathies with what is good in our nature, bursts of scorn or indignation at the hollowness of the world, passages true to our moral nature, often escape in an immoral work, and show us how hard it is for a gifted spirit to divorce itself wholly from what is good.
3. Poëtry has a natural alliance with our best affections. It delights in the beauty and sublimity of outward nature and of the soul. It indeed portrays with terrible energy the excesses of the passions; but they are passions which show a mighty nature, which are full of power, which command awe, and excite a deep though shuddering sympathy. Its great tendency and purpose is to carry the mind beyond and above the beaten, dusty, weary walks of ordinary life; to lift it into a purer element, and to breathe into it more profound and generous emotion.
4. It reveals to us the loveliness of nature, brings back the freshness of youthful feeling, revives the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the enthusiasm which warmed the spring-time of our being, refines youthful love, strengthens our interèst in human nature by vivid delineations of its tenderest and loftiest feelings, spreads our sympathies over all classes of society, knits us by new ties with universal being, and, through the brightness of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future life.