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TO TIIE EDITOR OF THE DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE.
My Dear Sir, I accede to your request, and instead of the fragmentary “Sylvæ," venture these more continuous revelations on the public. As a mere work of literature I know not what rank they ought to claim. That “there are a hundred faults in this thing," is I fear but too flattering a calculation ; that “ a hundred things might be written to prove them beauties,” includes task which, I believe, would surpass the ingenuity of the most accomplished critical advocate. But I conceive that you accept it— I confess that I offer it-on very different grounds from any purcly poetical merit. The tale of the youthful Julian contains much which if not itself profoundly thought, may well be the cause of profound thought in others: and as such, solely as such, I present to you the product of some not unpleasing hours in two of the earliest summers of its author's years.
How far the substance of these incidents and reflections owed existence to direct observation and personal experience, it is, I presume, unnecessary that the public should be informed. The public are only concerned to determine whether the reflections are solid, and whether they arise with the propriety of natural connexion from the facts related.
The charge of abstracted egotism is often preferred against verse of this kind. I confess that I consider it too obvious a misconception to require notice. Julian is an individual : Julian, the boyish visionary, is one of a thousand, of ten thousand. But there is a charge which in an age, covetous of novel excitement and inventive singularity, becomes a serious one. It may be said that the world is weary of such depictions ; that we have had them in every form, from the meditative Ennuyé of Lord Byron's muse to the inspired packman on whom his great rival has conferred immortality. Those who are offended with the similarity I can only (with the Athenian dramatist) warn to wait for the developement. My purpose (if I can interpret myself) will be found to differ not only from the misanthropical doctrines of Byron, but from the scarcely less dangerous and delusive philosophy which has been inculcated by a far more exalted and benevolent teacher. The greatest of living poets would instruct us to heal the maladies of life by a species of remedy which is inapplicable to minds but those which do not require it. I believe that there is one remedy alone. To reprove the growth of this illusion (so natural to all noble spirits), the illusion itself must be represented : but it is only represented that it may be ultimately exposed. On such a subject it would be useless to enlarge: a poem which requires explanation is seldom worth explaining. Of course, if I had not conceived that I was here about to renew a strain whose variations had not been wholly exhausted by those who have already essayed to set the thoughts of men to music, I should never have burthened your pages. But it is my firm belief that the cause of Christianity which has given such a depth and height to the visions of poetical philosophy, is of late almost lost in the superior captivations of these diversified and arbitrary creations; and when I have written of the faculty divine, that
even that Power, the loftiest Earth can name,
Is but a ministry to Faith and Hope, I have expressed—what those who are conversant with the sublime but capricious conceptions of the most influential of our present poetical guides, will acknowledge is not entirely superfluous : what those who have not undergone this previous discipline, and matured it by some reflection too, can scarcely expect to understand or estimate. I shall no longer protract this hasty commentary, as I fear that its desultory hints are likely to owe their chief elucidation to the text they were meant to elucidate. June 10th.
W. A. B.
THE BOYHOOD OF A DREAMER.
A NARRATIVE COLLECTED FROM POSTIUMOITS MANUSCRIPT9.
THE COMPILER'S INTRODUCTION.
From the dark North, its forests hoar, and lakes
The brain serenely busy found
But a time came when better teaching gave
For I had loved the silent ways of life,
As he who sleeps upon a sinking deck, ." A nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar to.”---Areopagitica.
Or smooths his pillow while the groaning soil
Oh, could I paint the picture of the heart
Wanderers, and won to union through the power
I came to cherish a decaying life ;
would seek for me, his accents speak,
Hopes incomplete, and undeveloped joy.
Oh! when shall I, knowing as I am known,
(Faint transcript of substantial loveliness !)
Envy, nor know that like the poisonous wreath
Who masters it, but ruin to its slave-
• The "corona feralis.” In the long and learned treatise of Paschalius, the reader may find an account of this invention, which plays a distinguished part in the Martyrologies.
" But Poesie hath peace for him who reigns
Serenely dominant the Law august “ Of Reason rules it, as that Spirit ruled “ The blind Iinmense, heaving with life to come. “ Yet even that Power, the loftiest Earth can name, " Is but a ministry to Faith and Hope,“ And poor is he who sees on heaven's high throne “ A God of power, nor knows the God of love !" Again he paused, and with a brighter air As one who casts aside a weight of thoughts :-“ To me it needs not now to say what He “ Who giveth all, had given ; the spell is broke,“ And of the tranced rapture, now there lives “ A something only which makes Truth more bright, “ And Joy more joyous, and inspirits Hope “ To rise like that bold bird of Southern climes,* “ That, calmly soaring, slumbers on the wing, “ Rock'd by the winds amid the clouds of heaven!"
Such (the long summer season of the south) Such was the utterance of a heart that wore Around it beams from the invisible Sun, The youthful Dreamer who had ceased to dream. Such was my Juliau's converse. Would ye know The story of the flower that faded thus, Blighted when others but begin to bloom ? That shall ye hear, who musing o'er his tale, Bring to the page more than the page can give. Enough is said. His latest days drew near, And heaven was with him ; dare I say, with one Whose sleepless eyes watched weeping by his couch, Won by his teaching from a deeper sleep. Worn victim of supprest and silent pain He caine, as hath been said, to make his grave Beneath the vigil of Ausonian stars ; As though he sought the nearest flight to heaven From earth's least earthly clime. His wearied soul Fled bird-like, (hovering on a broken wing,) To depth of ancient groves, those haunted shades That fringe the waves of soft Parthenope, Baiæ, and green Pausilypus. Around He saw the ruined emblems of the past The future needed none within his breast, For Faith lived there, triumphant over Time. With few he spoke-yet all revered who saw The seal of sadness on so young a brow ; Aud oft the peasants paused, amid their toil, To greet the silent stranger as he came, With mute obeisance. Most of all it woke
* The Albatross is said to repose in the clouds.