Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

swered) 6 but how is the Public interested in your sorrows or your description ?" We are for ever attributing personal unities to imaginary aggregates. What is the Public, but a term for a number of scattered individuals ? Of whom as many will be interested in these sorrows, as have experienced the same or similar.

“ Holy be the lay Which mourning soothes the mourner on his way." If I could judge of others by myself, I should not hesitate to affirm, that the most interesting passages in all writings are those in which the author developes his own feelings? The sweet voice of Cona* never sounds so sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart who could read the opening of the third book of the Paradise Lost without peculiar emotion. By a law of our nature, he, who labors under a strong feeling, is impelled to seek for sympathy : but a poet's feelings are all strong. Quicquid amet valde amat. Akenside therefore speaks with philosophical accuracy when he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same effects :

“ Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue
Would teach to others' bosoms, what so charms
Their own."

PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION.

There is one species of egotism which is truly disgusting ; not that which leads us to communicate our feelings to others, but that which would reduce the feelings of others to an identity with our own. The atheist, who exclaims, “pshaw !" when he glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an egotist : an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Love-verses, is an egotist; and the sleek favorites of fortune are egotists, when they condemn all “ melancholy, discontented"

* Ossian.

verses.

Surely it would be candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may not be others to whom it is well calculated to give an innocent pleasure.

I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I hope, remember, that these poems on various subjects, which he reads at one time and under the influence of one set of feelings, were written at different times and prompted by very different feelings; and therefore, that the supposed inferiority of one poem to another may sometimes be owing to the temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it.

My poems have been rightly charged with a profusion of double epithets, and a general turgidness. I have pruned the double epithets with no sparing hand; and used my best efforts to tame the swell and glitter both of thought and diction.* This latter fault, however, had insinuated itself into my Religious Musings with such intricacy of union that sometimes I have omitted to disentangle the weed from the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier accusation has been brought against me, that of obscurity ; but not, I think, with equal justice. An author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim and imperfect, and his language incorrect,

* Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to express some degree of surprise, that after having run the critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults which 1 had, viz. a too ornate and elaborately poetic diction, and nothing having come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during the long interval, 1 should for at least seventeen years, quarter after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank of the proscribed, and made to abide the brunt of abuse and ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic language, and an affected simplicity both of matter and manner-faults which assuredly did not enter into the character of my compositions.

Literury Life, i. 51. Published 1817.

or inappropriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that impersonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode on the poetical character, claims not to be popular; but should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency is in the reader. But this is a charge which every poet, whose imagination is warm and rapid, must expect from his contemporaries. Milton did not escape it; and it was adduced with virulence against Gray and Collins. We now hear no more of it: not that their poems are better understood at present, than they were at their first publication ; but their fame is established ; and a critic would accuse himself of frigidity or inattention, who should profess not to understand them. But a living writer is yet sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions, or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our pride, to consider him as lost beneath, than as soaring above us. If any man expect from my poems the same easiness of style which he admires in a drinking-song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia, non intellectum adfero.

I expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings; and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own

exceeding great reward :" it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude ; and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and the Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.

s. T. C.

Iuvenile Poems.

I GENEVIEVE. MAID of my Love, sweet Genevieve!

In Beauty's light you glide along: Your

eye

is like the star of eve,
And sweet your Voice, as Seraph's song.
Yet not your heavenly Beauty gives
This heart with passion soft to glow;
Within

your

soul a Voice there lives!
It bids you hear the tale of Woe.
When sinking low the Sufferer wan
Beholds no hand outstretcht to save,
Fair, as the bosom of the Swan
That rises graceful o'er the wave,
I've seen your breast with pity heave,
And therefore love I you, sweet Genevieve!

+ SONNET.

TO THE AUTUMNAL MOON.

MILD Splendor of the various-vested Night!

Mother of wildly-working visions ! hail ! I watch thy gliding, while with watery light Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil ;

And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gathered blackness lost on high ;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er the awakened sky.
Ah, such is Hope! as changeful and as fair !
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the Dragon-winged Despair :
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.

ANTHEM

FOR THE CHILDREN OF CHRIST'S HOSPITAL.

SERAP
ERAPHS ! around th’ Eternal's seat who throng

With tuneful ecstasies of praise :
O! teach our feeble tongues like yours the song

Of fervent gratitude to raise-
Like you, inspired with holy flame

To dwell on that Almighty name
Who bade the child of woe no longer sigh,
And Joy in tears o'erspread the Widow's eye.

Tl’all-gracious Parent hears the wretch's prayer;

The meek tear strongly pleads on high ; Wan Resignation struggling with despair

The Lord beholds with pitying eye;
Sees cheerless want unpitied pine,

Disease on earth its head recline,
And bids compassion seek the realms of woe
To heal the wounded, and to raise the low.

« AnteriorContinuar »