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however, was the fact of his being somewhat ugly. We know that Byron's sense of having a distorted foot influenced the whole of his career from Loch-na-gar to Missolonghi, and that even the heroic Charlotte Bronté suffered many an hour's pain under the consciousness of personal shortcomings; but we still find it difficult to realize fully to our imagination the corroding effects of such a feeling as must have held possession of young Stagnelius, seeing that it led him from early boyhood to fly companionship as something inimical to him, and to make the books of a little library suffice for nearly all his enjoyments.

Not without sunshine, however, was this spring-tide of his life. In one of his odes—“Retrospect of Childhood”—he draws the following pretty picture of his earliest years:

To God I raised my pious sight
Amid the calm of starry night,
While from my bosom innocent
Rose incense of a sweet content.
Thus free from care I spent each day ;
'Mong fragrant flowers 'twas mine to play;
Each night I found a heavenly plain,

And dreamt day's golden joys again. But he tells us that this happiness departed : and no doubt some painful incident in early life prompted the following words :

Why, cruel fate, took I away
From childhood's dell and careless play,
Heart, innocence—both full of bliss !-
To join a guilty world like this?
Can I feign love, my bosom torn ?
Smile, flatter, fawn, and hide truth's scorn?
With shame's oblations look above

While idols all to action move?
A foreboding exact enough for a prophecy ends the poem :

On the sea of fate
My little boat shall waver to and fro,

Till comes a mighty wave, when, help too late,
Down through the foam to death my all shall go.

(iii. 233-235.) The poet's father was a priest of good local standing, and was ultimately made Bishop of Calmar, in the south of Sweden. Being anxious that his son should have a sound, scholarly education, the boy was sent at an early age to the University of Lund. Before this time, however, it was found that the youth had acquired an immense amount of miscellaneous learning : he had an extraordinary memory, and not

a

vain had he cherished the privacy of his father's library. Like our own Southey and Scott in early boyhood, the lad had read everything that came in his way; but here, instead of the “ Amadis” and other books of chivalry, he found chiefly theology, mysticism, and philosophy. Here, then,-in a spiritual atmosphere touched with every kind of doubt and delusion, and in a physical atmosphere tainted with the mustiness of old tomes, and loaded with the chill dampness of northern winter-here did our young prison-flower gradually unfold itself, and only too soon manifest, by its etiolated outflowerings, how vital was the melancholy which was now tightening its hold upon a frail constitution.

Were any of Swedenborg's writings in that room? The time considered, this is highly probable; and assuredly if they were they must have attracted and influenced a precocious intellect like that of Stagnelius'. Remembering that Swedenborg's views form the substratum both of the poetry and the philosophy of this writer; seeing, too, how soon the latter had outlived his own conception of nature, namely, that the whole visible universe, considered in itself, is a work no otherwise than as a symbol of the order of that moral world which, through the second creation by the Word, ought to be organized,”* (i. 3)—the pro

1" bability comes near to certainty.

From Lund he went to the University of Upsala,-a place to us inseparably connected with Swedenborg and his writings. Here Stagnelius completed his college course; his melancholy still increasing; his sensitiveness and love of solitude growing more and more intense. May we not safely assume that our great seer's works would be perused here, where still lay the bulky manuscripts of some of his unpublished writings ? And would not the pensive young idealist be often invited to join the organization “Pro Fide et Caritate,” where admirers and receivers of Swedenborg's doctrines were then generally found ? Be this as it may, of one thing we are sure : the problem of life in its relation to being and doing was thenceforwards to press his spirit with continually increasing force for clearer solution. With what fitful agonizings the poet's nature was sometimes stirred, and how the antidote to his perplexities lay clear before him and altogether within his reach, let the following poem of his disclose :

Humbled, oppressed, a point for every dart,

“Jesus ! Jesus !” sighs my weary heart. “ The perfection of nature depends upon the perfection of man," is a suggestive thought of Swedenborg's, in “Hierogl. Key,” page 12.

*

That name I breathe while thickening foes assail,
And “Jesus ! Jesus !" echo hill and dale !
Him, Him alone I seek all nature through ;
'Tis His the love that gilds yon ethery blue.
He decks night's sky with every starry gem,
He makes the anemone's dew-diadem.
When evening's sun dies on night's western bed,
His hopeful solace checks the rising dread,
Faith sees the glories of a morning sky
Where life and bliss once more ascend on high.
On nature's form His presence lives impressed,
His pansies those that shine on beauty’s vest,
His orient light floods in the glow of day,
His blood, His tears, the source whence all is gay.
Alas! Time but reflects this Jesus kind !
'Tis Him Himself my weary heart would find.
Where stays the Lord of earth and sea and star?
My Lord, so near to me, from me so far!
Sleepest Thou, Shepherd mine, and in Thine arms
Shelterest some gentle flower from blight's alarms?
Or with Thy flock by Olivet's sweet dell,
Show'st Thou, O Lamb of God, where peace may

dwell ?
Hark! 'tis His calling voice, now high, now low,
There where 'mong lilies jasper-fountains flow;
Here, where the spikenard rich the meadows crown,
And stalwart oaks their autumn leaves cast down.
High on the crest, low at the mountain's feet,-
Where'er I run I see Him haste to meet.
His loving bosom leans me gently near,
With Eden-breath my name He whispers clear.
“Thy sins are pardon’d thee !” His accents say.
From weeping cheeks His kiss sends tears away.
Now nature's harp resounding far and wide

Inleads the song to Jesus and His Bride.—(iii. 323.) Nothing could express more clearly than these words do, the insufficiency of a personal pantheism,* for an earnest, aspiring soul; and yet how fully alive our young poet was to “the Divine idea which lies at the bottom of appearances,” let the following passage show :

One Word there is, one Sole, Eternal Word ;

Its sphere the heavens sublime, the lowly clod :

* “The Christian is the recipient of a far deeper spirit than Plato knew. There was a veil upon the heart of the heathen world which has been removed."- Quar. terly Review, cxii. 346.

"*

Through thousand dialects its sound is heard;

The Universe declares that word is God.
This name is written on the starry sky,

Earth's flowers reveal it on spring's vesture fair.
The crashing iceberg, thunder's deafening cry,

The west wind's whisper--all that name declare.
It floats on discourse, smooth as glides the swan,

Its holy beams illume the stream of thought.
In Wisdom's temple this shines ever one,

Decks nation's living, nations sunk to nought.
The ruined pile echoes in gentle sounds

That word which comforted man's earliest race.
With gorgeous Babels still proud earth abounds,

But Truth through mythic veil reveals her face.
Wisdom's pure lily grows on Alpine steeps ;

Faith's earnest flower alone can pierce time's loam.
Bright beams the Spirit-Sun o'er evils deeps,

Thus through the desert shines our clear way home.—(iii. 63.) But “the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled in us. Stagnelius joyed and wept in the consciousness of this fact; and never did the rhymeless measure of the old Norse singers bear on its rythmic current so solemn a theme, towards so sweet a conclusion, as the following does Evening has come !

To woe a poppy';
Wearied with journeying

To joy a rose.
From realms afar,

Why none to me
She panting resteth

O star gemmed one ?
In light-blue mantle

No breath of hope
Braided with gold-

For heart aweary?
High on yon peak

No cooling tear
And mutely gazeth

For fevered care ?
On vales below.

Tell me, what sawest thou
A cluster of flowers

Written of my soul,
By angels culled

On golden tablets,
On the banks of Eden's

In heaven near God ?
Winding waters,

Doth my name shine
She, smiling, bears

In the book of life,
In swan-white arms,

And marked, O angel,
And mortals win,

By mercy's hand ?
Each one some dower.

Thou answerest not!
She gives from heaven's

Mute! ever mute
All-loving Sire

Those messengers

That visit souls
To musing thought;

In the prison-life !
To conscience calm

In mirror dark
A lily bright;

With symbolism
* Clowes's translation of John i. 14.

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To visions gaze :

They show heaven's will

I ask in vain
Enigma-like!

All nature through:
Vainly I ask

In vain I seek
Thy word, pale Eve:

Counsel and peace
Thine vainly, Morn,

From boundless space !
Who, young and glad,

But hark! I hear
With torch of dawn

Atonement's mystical
In golden hand

And sovran word:
Bright smiling, ridest

While brightly beaming
In rosy chariot

On spirit-gloom
O'er larks' broad songs !

In breaks the true
Vainly I ask

Immortal light !
Thee, youngest one,

Thorn-decked I bow
Heaven's kindliest child, -

Before the Cross,
Thee lily-wreathed,

Lo! heaven reveals
Lily-girded Spring :

Eternally Good
Vainly thy brother
Autumn, who weaveth

His gentle look
A festive crown

Shows mercy mine !
Of glorious tendrils !

(iii. 146.) We know not when this was written ; but many are the tender poems which one might fancy had been penned soon after it, sc exultant seems the singer, as if he had but just stepped into the bright and gladsome morn after a lonely, starless walk through the valley and shadow of death, and for very joy must needs break forth in tearful song. Take the following, for instance. While true to Nature as a physical manifestation of the recreating influx of new life, it also beautifully bepictures the new world of joy and peace which the soul, approaching its Sabbath-state,* perceives as the reflex of its own intiding serenity :

The gloomy clouds forsake the welkin's space,
A boundless rapture glows o'er nature's face.
Life's recreating breath by hill and vale
Wings softly round, a mild refreshing gale.
For Jesus looks in tend'rest pity down,
Love's beams all gentle things with beauty crown.
And earth awakened from its winter-trance
Sees dead things rise to life, and move and dance.
Yes; nature feels new warmth inspire her breast,
And, lily-crowned, resumes her bridal-vest :
While infant-seraphs glad her matron-arms,
And beauty welcomes in a thousand charms.

*

*

“No other plant but use blossoms from the soil in the heavens, because use is the vegetative soul,” says Swedenborg. —"Ath. Creed," 101.

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