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Secularism teaches man to forget that he is , misery, wide-spreading in its tendency, and a religious being by constitution, and so far beyond all human estimate as to its end. from cultivating this sublime capacity, in True happiness may be defined as the grand the which his destiny is involved, prostitutes result of man's restoration to that state from it to forgetfulness of that immortality which which sin removes him; in which state he is written on all his experience. Secularism lives, thinks, and acts in harmony with the teaches that it is man's highest wisdom, and beautiful laws of his being, physical, moral, consequent happiness, to consecrate upon and spiritual, and in which he becomes reearth and time his first and last thoughts, conciled in heart and practice to the moral and all his capacities and sublime energies. and eternal principles of the divine governNow, we maintain that reason, anguided by ment, so clearly set forth in the christian divine teachings, altogether opposes this, and creed of the New Testament. Nothing less that all human experience proves that earth than this, we maintain, can restore happiness, with its glory, and time with its delusive which the soul can lastingly approve, to man charms, can give no true happiness to the and society. Man, to be truly happy, must be destitute spirit of man, i. e., “ without God not only familiar with the grand laws of his and hope" in this life. “ Vanity of vani- twofold and intricate nature, but in harmony ties,” cries the experience-taught heart of with them; he must not only apprehend virtue, humanity, is written upon the serenest pro- God, and truth, but be inseparably wedded spects of earth or most delusive shows of to them; in fine, his happiness consists in time! The elements of happiness date from knowing, loving, serving, and enjoying God. eternity, are indissolubly allied to it; and Beyond this the soul cannot pass; within only in the possession of that religious life, this is a vast latitude of bliss which immorwhich casts the shadow of eternity and its tality shall pronounce exhaustless, because sublime realities over this life-this dawning embracing the infinite perfection. Less than of infinite duration, can man be happy. If, this is unworthy of the soul; and to seek it indeed, it were a dubious point whether man is delusive and vain. is in reality an immortal being, and the There is no element in the mortal that grave the goal of life—then might Secular- can give nourishment to the immortal; there ism with apparent plausibility thus dictate is no elixir or nepenthe in the evanescent, to men concerning their present life and however beautiful or enchanting, which can conduct. But even then it would be the bless man with true joy! highest wisdom to cultivate the religious Reader! does Secularism, either in theoretic character during all the days of our pilgrim- pretension, much less than in its social workage on earth, since nothing less can satisfy ings and results, come up to this high the soul or cheer the throbbing heart. This standard of character, as the spring of alone can disarm death of his terror, and human happiness ? Is this the fountainmake our dying blissful under the full con- head of “ everlasting waters” to which Secusciousness that, while
| larism, as a guide on the highway of life, is “The sun is but a spark of fire,
ever directing thirsting, agonizing, wailing A transient meteor in the sky,
humanity; from which men universally may The soul, immortal as its Sire,
drink and be happy? Oh, no! This is the Can never die."
standard which Secularism rejects; and this True happiness, either individual or social, is the fountain whose streams alone can bless has its basis on great principles, the open or man :-Secularism seeks to turn men from secret violation of which must result in this !
FIRST UNDERSTAND-THEN WORK MANFULLY.-It is the sense of ineffectual effort, the striving to reconcile ourselves with an ill-understood task stretching before us day after day, that wears out the heart-life of man. If we once could discern what was required of us exactly to do, it is not the greatness of the task that would frighten us (for we are capable of immense drudgery of labour); but it is left to us to discover our own work, and set our hands to it as best we can, and this makes the weariness of life. We spend half our strength in beating the air.—Miss Jewsbury.
GERALD MASSE Y.*
ONE of the most cheering signs of our idler, but to give espression to experiences time is the number of poets springing up wrought out in the depths of society, and to from the labouring class, and giving expres- awaken noble aspirations amid toil and pain; sion to what is bravest and truest, as well as and they should be welcomed with sympathy what is saddest, in the English heart. They to the martyr-task before them. For ourare the real expositors of the New England. selves, we desiderate a high standard of They afford evidence that while our national poetical literature. We rejoice that while history strikes root in far off centuries, and in other departments works, in no sense dissome of the boughs creak mournfully and tinguished, are sold and read, many a smooth threateningly in the fresh breezes, others are versifier meets with a rough reception, and growing, green with life, and redolent of his volume is pitched away into the ocean of beauty. All honour to the New England, oblivion, though it may contain here and there rising up in the midst of venerable Old Eng- a thought wrung from the parsimonious imland. He is worthy of all that was heroic mortals. The shrine of poetry is thus kept in the olden time—the tombs where the free from a multitude of commonplace pergood and valiant sleep well and the swords sons, who would render it prosaic and uninwhich won freedom for us, which flash in the teresting. It would be high treason against sunshine of fame for ever He starts on his poetic genius that any should be beckoned way, strong and lusty, fall of ardour and to fame who have not its rare consecration. hope. Our expectations are not likely to be They must not be enrolled among the venedisappointed, resting on the manly qualities rable names who make the poetry of our which belong to our national character, and country so varied, and yet so unique;-soaring have been displayed in our past history. aloft Miltonic, on the airiest heights of the The New England, sung by Hood, Mackay, poetical-or Shaksperian, immortalizing, the and Massey, and led by Carlyle and Man-many-coloured splendour and gloom of our rice, is something genuine; destined, we humanity-blazing forth, as in Byron, the trust, for a nobler influence on the cause of scorching volcanic fire which lies deep in freedom than has distinguished, for a long every heart-or uttering, as in Wordsworth, tiine, our diplomatic history ;—for a summer a gospel with plenary inspiration of the of centuries, in which a true household love woods and hills; at the same time marked will be fostered as of old; labour will ply his out by the broadest lines from the poetry of task with kingly dignity and orient hope; any other country; budding and blooming religion, broad and manly, yet full of meek- from the English intellect and affections, ness and soft dewy pity, will be enshrined and impervious to the fervid spirits of southagain in the people's heart, and the priest be ern climes. We are glad, however, that the their leader once more.
office of criticism is not now regarded as the We have now to speak of England's repression or discouragement of genius;—to youngest poetic child, Gerald Massey. He collar and shake the aspirant, till his youthsays, “Who would not pity the poor versifier ful life succumbs to the fiery ordeal. While at the outset of his career? Who would faults are pointed out, it is that they may be not also rejoice with him in the end, when I amended; and if he does show genius, he is the world crowns him a Poet, with pæans of cheered on to yet nobler efforts, his glancing acclaim?” We ask, who should not do so? gems early blazoned, by loving hands, in a Our rising poets, to whom we have referred, setting of fame's richest gold, worn near the are workmen in the New England. They English heart, and not allowed to pale away write not to amuse, and make their country in shades of deep neglect. We thus expect
the gratitude of our rising poets;—that the * “The Ballad of Babe Christabel, with other Lyrical Poems," by Gerald Massey. Fourth Edi- day will broaden, worthy of so dewy and so few, whom we term critics. We cannot but times lying ill, unable to assist each other. criticise. Each of us is called to the office He is in a terrible school, probably as bad of the critic--and it is one of high responsi- as the one of Yorkshire; the lessons are of bility and honour—to bestow, as we will, the the hardest kind, and the teacher is abject, wreaths of fame. The English people have hopeless misery; a school around which there often sought out from obscurity, and crowned is no playground, with its laughter and with immortality, men whom those who pro- games. Oh, England! hast thou no better fessed to criticise for them had consigned to school, no happier system of education, for neglect, and even followed with ridicule and thy poorer children? Even there, Gerald is laughter, the last sounds of which have developing. A few books awaken within pointed the way to the true poet's retirement. him the desire to know more. When fifteen It is to the broad and genuine criticism of years of age, he arrives in London as a mesthe English people to which its poets appeal. sage-boy; and the world of books opens That criticism will not keenly separate a more widely upon him, as well as the world man's life from bis genius; but where there of men. “I used" he remarks, “ to read at is genius displayed in heroic and poetic ac- all possible times, and at all possible places; tion, as well as burning and everlasting up in bed till two or three in the morning, words, it will be regarded as doubly glorious nothing daunted by once setting the bed on and intense, lived out well, effulging from a fire. Greatly indebted was I, also, to the starless night. Such is the kindly spirit of bookstalls, where I have read a great deal, criticism with which we regard Gerald Mas- often folding a leaf in a book to continue the sey's poems. They do not need a poetical subject; but sometimes the book was gone, life to throw a brilliancy upon them, in order and then great was my grief. When out of that they may flash out again, with a bor- a situation, I have often gone without a meal rowed radiance; but, read in the light of his to purchase a book.” The muse of our poet bitter and sad experience, they have a new is awakened by youthful love. As an errand and profounder meaning, and a more touch- boy, he feels many of the hardships of life, ing pathos, than if his history were unknown and broods over the inequalities of society.
fair a dawn. Criticism is not confined to a
We sympathize with a brother's Various republican books give intensity to burning verse-a mild yet radiant light his discontent, and certain principles with rising up amidst rocky paths and hopeless which to arm himself; and the French Regloom-words glowing from affliction's fur- volution of 1848, flashing on the world, nace, and bedewed, as written, with tears of rebuking with its scorching flames the smooth
mercenaries of the times, exhibiting those Gerald Massey's father was a canal boat- views in action-glorious, though brief-was man, with only ten shillings per week when a powerful element in his political culture. employed, which was not always the case. He had published a volume of poems in his He had a family, whose poor earnings helped native town; and in 1849 became the editor to eke out the household subsistence. He of a periodical, called the “ Spirit of Freeand Gerald's mother were entirely unedu- dom," on account of which he lost five situacated; but the latter, in particular, possessed tions in the course of a year. His views many amiable and energetic qualities. They have since been becoming clearer and nobler; lived in a hut, near Tring, in Hertfordshire, and the truest spirits of the time may now at a weekly rent of one shilling; and there recognize in him a high and honourable misGerald was born. For a short time he was sion. Such is Gerald Massey's past history. at “ a penny a week school," where he learnt He is now but twenty-six years of age, yet to read. When eight years of age became there has been crowded into those few years a factory boy; going to the mill in the morn- experiences soaked in tears, and brooded ing at five, and returning at half-past six over by his deep and earnest nature. Like o'clock in the evening.
The mill was burnt Burns, he has had to fashion laboriously the down, and the poor child was put to straw- tools with which to perform such work as he plaiting. In consequence of want of exer- has to do. Carlyle says, that true poetry cise, he pined away with ague for three springs not from any special faculty, but years. During that period several members from minds powerfully yet finely organized; of the family, including Gerald, were some- and that our Miltons and our Shaksperes had
love and pity.
in them capacities for governing kingdoms
Ah! some spirit sure was straying
Out of heaven that day, and fighting battles. This theory appears
When I met you, sweet, a-Maying forcible in such instances as Burns and
In that inerry, merry May. Massey. We think none can read the cor- “Little heart! it slyly open'd respondence of Burns, abounding with moral Its red leaves' love-lore,
Like a rose that must be ripen'd reflections of an unusual kind, and containing
To the dainty, dainty core. the germs of theological disputes, without But its beauties daily brighten, being impressed with his intellectual strength,
And it blooms so dear
Tho' a many winters whiten, his stalwart nature. Massey has risen by
I go Maying all the year. the force of his character, which is only an- And my proud heart will be praying other expression for the energy of his mind. Blessings on the day, He has reproduced, in fragrant and melodious
When I let you, sweet, a-Maying
In that merry, merry May.' verse, thoughts of justice, truth, and progress, extending over England, and embracing the Massey commences his poems grandly, and world— ideas which are a constant presence there is no falling away as we go on, but the and a power, only to the highest minds. song is as thrilling in its full swell, and when These views are confirmed by the modest it reaches its close, as when it breaks gloyet manly preface to the third edition of his riously and rapturously the still profound. poems. He remarks, in one part, “When The following are introductory verses of two Christ says, “ Blessed are they who suffer,' he of his poems :did not speak of those who suffer from want “Heaven hath its crown of stars; the earth and hunger.” “ Such suffering brutalizes. Her glory-robe of flowers
The sea its gems-the grand old woods True; natures ripen and strengthen in suf
Their songs and greening showers; fering, but it is that suffering which chastens The birds have homes, where leaves and blooms and ennobles, that which clears the spiritual In beauty wreathe above; sight—not the anxiety lest work should fail,
High yearning hearts, their rainbow-dream
And we, sweet! we have love." and the want of daily bread. The beauty of suffering is not to be read in the face of “Now, glory to our England,
As she rises, calm and grand, hunger.” Here is one who glances at the With the ancient spirit in her eyes, true life of things, and who has strength The good sword in her hand!
Our royal right on battle ground enough to resist every kind of cant whatever.
Was aye to bear the brunt; Some of Massey's political lyrics are im- Ho! brave heart! for one passionate bound, perfect; but this may be excused, considering
And take thy place in front! the early age at which they were written.
Now, g.ory to our England,
As she rises calm and grand, All of them are distinguished by strength, With the ancient spirit in her eyes, enthusiasm, and impressiveness. His volume
The good sword in her hand! as a whole contains varied manifestations of
It is rare to find fine images in lyrical poetry, practical power. His verses generally ex- but Massey's poems have many such, approhibit the finish and nicety of language which priately placed, and harmonizing with the may be called poetic art,—the usual result design of his effusions, without the crowding of long experience and severe culture alone. and jostling of all kinds of images, natural The conception of his poems is excellent, and hideous, which appear on the pages
of and, what is a characteristic of the best the life drama. We cannot multiply inlyrical poetry, they have no appearance of stances, nor is that necessary, as we trust being strained from a shallow stream, but gush our readers, many of whom are young men out a fountain— living, sparkling, and free, as struggling for their own elevation, will symif issuing from exhaustless depths of thought. pathize with our poet sufficiently to read his Nothing can be finer than the following:- volume. “Ah! 'tis like a tale of olden
“ In white arms of love she wound me,
And I lookt up in her smile:
In warm arms of love she bound me,
As the sea takes some blest isle."
“ Nearest to my heart I wear her;
As a bark the waves above,
O so proudly do I bear her
On the bosom of my love!"
“The Father, down in toil's mirk mine,
looks to the elevation of his class by indusTurns to his wealthy world above, Ite radiance, and its home of love;
try, temperance, and education, rather than And lights his life like sun-struck wine." by violent political change; but we trust he “Midnight was tranc'd solemnly
will never be ashamed of effusions which are Thinking of dawn; her star-thoughts burn'd; sincere utterances of what stood for him as
The trees like burden'd prophets yearn'd, truth, and which will be an essential verity, Rapt in a wind of prophecy."
luminous to the world, long after the poor, “ All warm And bright, with blessed light of love, that win- feverish struggles with which it has been dow
connected are forgotten, or remembered, not of our dim life, which ever opes on God!” for themselves, but for the surged up, amidst “Rich foam-wreaths on the waves of lavish life
their foamy strife, here and there, a flashing That flash't o'er precious pearls and golden gem of genius, worthy to irradiate, as with sands;
a Nimbus-glory, a crown of the immortals. But there was that beneath surpassing show, The starry soul, that shines when all is dark.” It is well, too, that his brave battle-words
should ring in our ears, nerving us in our “The angel-plumes once moulted, grew no more; The God dwarft in him, and’his heart was fights, and leading us to victory. The tenhoary
dency of his verse we think pure and ennoBefore Time's silver mark had blanch't his bling. His object is to write some songs
that may become dear to the hearts of the Not merely does Massey excel in fresh and people, cheering them in their sorrows, manly strains, the outbursts of a courageous voicing their aspirations, lighting them on heart, and in the gallant and tender utter- the way up which they are groping, and ances by which the fair are wooed and won, saluting their triumphs with hymns of vicbut he has within him trains of reflection tory." His love strains parify our minds, radiant with the mystic golden light of the and elevate our views of woman.
They ima spiritual world. The ballad of “ Babe Chris- press us with the value of domestic ties, tabel,” the story of a child taken away from strengthened by affection, and hallowed by the tender love of earth to the bosom of the religion, among the educational influences of Divine, and for the glorious growth of hea- our country; and they intensify our desire and ven—the most touching and tender, as well prayer that the homes of the labouring classes as highly finished poem in the volume,--has of England may stand out modest and fair about it the haze in which the mysterious from the gloom of care-worn toil and the and spiritual looms grandly before us, which dust of poverty. We commend this great we can only half behold, yet be enriched subject to Mr. Massey as the guiding star of with a blessing in our life, of wonder and his inspiration. It is one of the lessons adoration. We have only to add that our taught by Mr. Kingsley's chaste and elabopoet is successful both in blank verse and rate “ Saint's Tragedy," and his novel of rhyme.
Hypathia," and there are others labouring As before remarked, political agitation in the same cause. Here is a mine from has stirred up Massey; and we think he which may be brought to light an exhaustrequires no apology for the introduction of less wealth of ore lustrous and perennial. bis political lýrics. We understand he now
DECIMAL COINAGE:-THE NECESSITY FOR ITS ADOPTION-ITS ADVAN
TAGES OVER THE PRESENT SYSTEM-AND THE VARIOUS PLANS FOR CARRYING IT OUT WHICH HAVE BEEN PROPOSED.
(Concluded from page 71.) We have given the previous illustrations of have quoted Mr. Adams' report, first on the incongruities of the present mode of pro-account of its impartiality, and, secondly, cedure that our readers may see we are that the example of the Americans may not not advocating a change without the exist- be lost sight of, but that, before proceeding ence of a “ stern necessity” for change. Wel to make a change, we may look around at