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parts of whose body and soul he had been so charitably disposing of; or even perhaps risking his life for him. What language Shakespeare considered characteristic of malignant disposition, we see in the speech of the goodnatured Gratiano, who spoke "an infinite deal of nothing more than any man in all Venice;"

-"Too wild, too rude and bold of voice !" the skipping spirit, whose thoughts and words reciprocally ran away with each other;

“O be thou damned, inexorable dog!

And for thy life let justice be accused !" and the wild fancies that follow, contrasted with Shylock's tranquil “ I stand here for Law."

Or, to take a case more analogous to the present subject, should we hold it either fair or charitable to believe it to have been Dante's serious wish, that all the persons mentioned by him, (many recently departed, aud some even alive at the time), should actually suffer the fantastic and horrible punishments, to which he has sentenced them in his Hell and Purgatory? Or what shall we say of the passages in which Bishop Jeremy Taylor anticipates the state of those who, vicious themselves, have been the cause of vice and misery to their fellow creatures ? Could we endure for a moment to think that a spirit, like Bishop Taylor's, burning with Christian love; that a man constitutionally overflowing with pleasurable kindliness; who scarcely even in a casual illustration introduces the image of woman, child or bird, but he embalms the thought with so rich a tenderness, as makes the very words seem beauties and fragments of poetry from Euripides or Simonides ;can we endure to think, that a man so natured and so disciplined, did, at the time of composing this horrible picture, attach a sober feeling of reality to the phrases ? or that he would have described in the same tone of justification, in the same luxuriant flow of phrases, the tortures about to be inflicted on a living individual by a verdict of the StarChamber? or the still more atrocious sentences executed on the Scotch anti-prelatists and schismatics, at the command, and in some instances under the very eye, of the Duke of Lauderdale, and of that wretched bigot who afterwards dishonored and forfeited the throne of Great Britain ?

Or do we not rather feel and understand, that these violent words were mere bubbles, flashes, and electrical ap paritions, from the magic cauldron of a fervid and ebullient fancy, constantly fuelled by an unexampled opulence of language ?

Were I now to have read by myself for the first time the poem in question, my conclusion, I fully believe, would be that the writer must have been some man of warm feelings and active fancy; that he had painted to himself the circumstances that accompany war in so many vivid and yet fantastic forms, as proved that neither the images nor the feelings were the result of observation, or in any way derived from realities. I should judge that they were the product of his own seething imagination, and therefore impregnated with that pleasurable exultation which is experienced in all energetic exertion of intellectual power ; that in the same mood he had generalized the causes of the war, and then personified the abstract and christened it by the name which he had been accustomed to hear most often associated with its management and measures. I should guess that the minister was in the author's mind at the moment of composition, as completely drains, ávarpóTapkos, as Anacreon's grasshopper, and that he had as little uotion of a real person of flesh and blood,

“ Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,” as Milton had in the griin and terrible phantoms, (half person, half allegory) which he has placed in the gates of Hell. I concluded by observing that the poem was not calculated to excite passion in any mind, or to make any impression except on poetic readers; and that from the culpable levity, betrayed at the close of the eclogue by the grotesque union of epigrammatic wit with allegoric personification, in the allusion to the most fearful of thoughts, I should conjecture that the “ rantin' Bardie," instead of really believing, much less wishing, the fate spoken of in the last line, in application to any human individnal, would shrink from passing the verdict even on the Devil himself, and exclaim with poor Burns,

But, fare ye weel, auld Nickie-ben!
O wad ye take a thought an' men'!
Ye aiblins might-1 dinna ken-

Still hae a stake
I'm wae to think upo' yon den,

Ev'n for your sake! I need not say that these thoughts, which are here dilated, were in such a company only rapidly suggested, Our kind host smiled, and with a courteous compliment observed, that the defence was too good for the cause. My voice faltered a little, for I was somewhat agitated; though not so much on my own account as for the uneasiness that so kind and friendly a man would feel from the thought that he had been the occasion of distressing me. At length I brought out these words: “I must now confess, sir, that I am the author of that poem. It was written some years ago. I do not attempt to justify my past self, young as I then was; but as little as I would now write a similar poem, so far was I even then from imagining, that the lines would be taken as more or less than a sport of fancy. At all events, if I know my own heart, there was never a moment in my existence in which I should have been more ready, had Mr. Pitt's person been in hazard, to interpose my own body, and defended his life at the risk of my own.

I have prefaced the poem with this anecdote, because to have printed it without any remark might well have been understood as implying an unconditional approbation on my part, and this after many years' consideration. But if it be asked why I re-published it at all, I answer, that the poem had been attributed at different times to different other persons ; and what I had dared beget, I thought it neither manly nor honorable not to dare father. From the same motives I should have published perfect copies of two poems, the one entitled The Devil's Thoughts,* and the other, The Two round Spaces on the Tomb-Stone, but that the first three stanzas of the former, which were worth all the rest of the poem, and the best stanza of the remainder, were written by a friend of deserved celebrity; and because there are passages in both, which might have given offence to the religious feelings of certain readers. I myself indeed see no reason why vulgar superstitions and absurd conceptions that deform the pure faith of a Christian, should possess a greater immunity from ridicule than sto

* See p. 36.

ries of witches, or the fables of Greece and Rome. But there are those who deem it profaneness and irreverence to call an ape an ape, if it but wear a monk's cowl on its head; and I would rather reason with this weakness than offend it.

The passage from Jeremy Taylor to which I referred, is found in his second Sermon on Christ's Advent to Judgment; which is likewise the second in his year's course of sermons. Among many remarkable passages of the same character in those discourses, I have selected this as the most so: “ But when this Liou of the tribe of Judah shall appear, then Justice shall strike, and Mercy shall not hold her hands ; she shall strike sore strokes, and Pity shall not break the blow. As there are treasures of good things, so hath God a treasure of wrath and fury, and scourges and scorpions; and then shall be produced the shame of lust and the malice of envy, and the groans of the oppressed, and the persecutions of the saints, and the cares of covetousness and the troubles of ambition, and the insolence of traitors, and the violence of rebels, and the rage of anger, and the uneasiness of impatience, and the restlessness of unlawful desires; and by this time the monsters and diseases will be numerous and intolerable, when God's heavy hand shall press the sanies and the iutolerableness, the obliquity and the unreasonableness, the amazement and the disorder, the smart and the sorrow, the guilt and the punishment, out from all our sins, and pour them into one chalice, and mingle them with an infinite wrath, and make the wicked drink off all the vengeance, and force it down their unwilling throats with the violence of devils and accursed spirits."

That this Tartarean drench displays the imagination rather than the discretion of the compounder; that, in short, this passage and others of the same kind are in a bad taste, few will deny at the present day. It would, doubtless, have more behoved the good bishop not to be wise beyond what is written on a subject in which Eternity is opposed to time, and a death threatened, not the Negative, but the positive Opposite of Life; a subject, therefore, which must of necessity be indescribable to the human understanding in our present state. But I can neither find nor believe, that it ever occurred to any reader to ground ou

such passages a charge against Bishop Taylor's humanity or goodness of heart. I was not a little surprised therefore to find, in the Pursuits of Literature and other works, so horrible a sentence passed on Milton's moral character, for a passage in his prose writings, as nearly parallel to this of Taylor's, as two passages can well be conceived to be. All his merits, as a poet, forsooth-all the glory of having written the Paradise Lost, are light in the scale, nay, kick the beam, compared with the atrocious malignity of heart. expressed in the offensive paragraph. I remembered, in general, that Milton had concluded one of his works on Reformation, written in the fervor of his youthful imagination, in a high poetic strain, that wanted metre only to become a lyrical poem. I remembered that in the former part he had formed to himself a perfect ideal of human virtue, a character of heroic, disinterested zeal and devotion for Truth, Religion, and public Liberty, in act and in suffering, in the day of triumph and in the hour of martyrdom. Such spirits, as more excelleut than others, he describes as having a more excellent reward, and as distinguished by a more transcendent glory; and this reward and this glory he displays and particularizes with an energy and brilliance that announced the Paradise Lost as plainly, as ever the bright purple clouds in the east announced the coming of the Sun. Milton then passes to the gloomy contrast, to such men as from motives of selfish ambition and the lust of personal aggrandizement, should, against their own light, persecute truth an:l the trne religion, and wilfully abuse the powers and gifts entrusted to them, to bring vice, blindness, unisery, and slavery, on their native country, on the very country that had trusted, enriched, and honored them. Such beings, after that speedy and appropriate removal from their sphere of mischief which all good and humane men must of course desire, will, he takes for granted by parity of reason, meet with a punishment, an ignominy, and a retaliation, as much severer than other wicked men, as their guilt and its consequences were

His description of this imaginary punishment presents more distinct pictures to the fancy than the extract from Jeremy Taylor; but the thoughts in the latter are incomparably more exaggerated and horrific. All this I knew, but I neither remembered, nor by reference and

more enormous.

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