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seem to the outward eye-mere ma- like a shallow brook, will keep pratchines moving about in customary oc. tling and bubbling on between the cupations — productive labourers of still deep pools of our discourse, which food and wearing apparel-slaves from nature feeds with frequent waterfalls ; morn to night at task-work set them -so charmed have we been with the by the Wealth of Nations. They are sound of our own voice, that, scarcely the Children of God. The soul never conscious the while of more than a sleeps - not even when its wearied gentle ascent along the sloping sward body is heard snoring by people living of a rural Sabbath day's journey, we in the next street. All the souls now perceive now that we must have in this world are for ever awake; and achieved a Highland league — five this life, believe us, though in moral miles—of rough up-hill work, and are sadness it has often been rightly called standing tiptoe on the mountain-top. so, is no dream. In a dream we have True that his altitude is not very no will of our own, no power over great-somewhere, we should supourselves; ourselves are not felt to be pose, between two and three thousand ourselves; our familiar friends seem far higher than the Pentlandsstrangers from some far off country; somewhat higher than the Ochils—a the dead are alive, yet we wonder not; middle-sized Grampian. Great paintthe laws of the physical world are ers and poets know that power lies suspended, or changed, or confused not in mere measureable bulk. At. by our phantasy; Intellect, Imagi- las, it is true, is a giant, and he has nation, the Moral Sense, Affection, need to be so, supporting the globe. Passion, are not possessed by us in So is Andes; but his strength has the same way we possess them out of never been put to proof, as he carries that mystery: were Life a Dream, but clouds. The Cordilleras- but or like a Dream, it would never lead we must not be personal—so suffice to Heaven.
it to say, that soul, not size, equally Again, then, we say to you, look in mountains and in men, is and into life and watch the growth of the inspires the true sublime. Mont soul. In a world where the ear can- Blanc might be as big again; but not listen without hearing the clank of what then, if without his glaciers ? chains, the soul may yet be free as if it These mountains are neither imalready inhabited the skies. For its mense nor enormous_nor are there Maker gave it LIBERTY OF CHOICE OF any such in the British Isles. Look for Good OR OF Evil—and if it has chosen a few of the highest on Riddell's ingethe good it is a King. All its facul. nious Scale-in Scotland, Ben-nevis, ties are then fed on their appropriate Helvellyn in England, in Ireland the food provided for them in nature. Reeks ; and, in print, they are mere The soul then knows where the neces- molehills to Chimborazo. But in na saries and the luxuries of its life grow, ture they are the bills of the Eagle. and how they may be gathered—in And think ye not that an Eagle is as a still sunny region inaccessible to familiar with the sky as a Condor ? blight—" no mildewed ear blasting That Vulture—for Vulture he is—flies his wholesome brother."
league-high -- the Golden Eagle is "And thou shalt summer high in bliss upon
satisfied to poise himself but a mile
above the loch, which, judged by the the Hills of God."
rapidity of its long river's flow, may Go read the EXCURSION then-vene- be a thousand feet or more above the rate the PEDLAR-pity the Solitary level of the sea. From that height -respect the Priest, and love the methinks the Bird-Royal, with the PoET.
golden eye, can see the rising and the So charmed have we been with the setting sun, and his march on the sound of our own voice-of all sounds meridian, without a telescope. If ever on earth the sweetest surely to our he fly by night and we think we have ears—and, therefore, we so dearly seen a shadow passing the stars that love the monologue, and from the was on the wing of life-he must be dialogue turn averse, impatient of a rare astronomer. him ycleped the interlocutor, who,
High from the summit of a craggy cliff
Resign the setting sun to Indian worlds,
He wings his course, and preys in distant isles." Would to Heaven we had written these lines and the following! Which are the nobler, Thomson's or Campbell's ?
“ Not such
“ He-reckless who was victor, and above
We, too, are an Eagle, and therefore altitude suits the sunny season, and proud of you our Scottish mountains, the peaceful sky. But when the as you are of Us. Stretch yourself up thunder at mid-day would hide your to your full height as we now do to heads in a night of cloud, you thrust ours—and let “ Andes, giant of the them through the blackness, and show Western Star," but dare to look at us them to the glens, crowned with fire. and we will tear the “ meteor standard Then are they a sea of mountains ! to the winds unfurled," from his cloudy No_they are mountains in a sea. hands. There you stand—and were And wbat a sea ! Waves of water, you to rear your summits much higher when at the prodigious, are never into heaven you would alarm the hidden higher than the foretop of a man-ofstars.
Waves of vapour-they alone Yet we have seen you higher—but it are ever seen flying mountains highwas in storm. In calm like this, you do but they dash, they howl not—and in well to look beautiful-your solemn their silent ascension, all held together by the same spirit, but perpe- . powers of delight and joy, longing to tually changing its beautiful array, commune with the Region thou feltst where order seems ever and anon to to be in very truth Heaven-nor could come in among disorder, there is a the spirit, entranced in admiration, grandeur that settles down in the soul conceive at that moment any Heaven of youthful poet roaming in delirium beyond—while the senses themselves among the mountain glooms, and seemed to have had given them a “ pacifies the fever of his heart," revelation that, as it was created,
Call not now these vapours waves ; could be felt but by your own imfor motion, movement there is none mortal soul ? among the ledges, and ridges, and Let us not be afraid we are in no roads, and avenues, and galleries, and danger of getting metaphysical—that groves, and houses, and churches, and disease is either sudden or lingering castles, and fairy palaces—all framed death to the sense of the mighty in of mist. Far up among and above nature. It elevates the soul to be in that wondrous region through which the body near the sky-at once on earth you hear voices of waterfalls deepen- and in Heaven. In the body? Yes ing the silence, behold hundreds of we feel at once fettered and free. In mountain-tops - blue, purple, violet Time we wear our fetters, and heavy —for the sun is shining straight on though they be, and painfully rivetted some and aslant on others and on on, seldom do we welcome Death those not at all ; nor can the shepherd coming to strike them off, but groan at your side, though he has lived there at sight of the executioner. In eterall his life, till after long pondering, nity we believe that all is spiritualtell you the names of those most fami. and in that belief, which doubt someliar to him; for they seem to have all times shakes but to prove its foundainterchanged sites and altitudes, and tion lies rooted far down below all “ Black Ben-hun, the Eagle-Breeder” earthquakes, endurable is the sound of himself looks so serenely in his rain- dust to dust. Poets speak of the spirit, bow, that you might almost mistake while yet in the flesh, blending, ming, him for Ben Louey, or the Hill of ling, being absorbed in the great forms Hinds.
of the outward universe, and they Have you not seen sunsets in which speak as if such absorption were cethe mountains were embedded in lestial and divine. But is not this a mamasses of clouds all burning and blaz- terial creed? Let it be described, as it ing-yes, blazing—with unimaginable is by Wordsworth, as one of the many mixtures of all the colours that ever moods of Imagination in which there were born-intensifying into a glory is no blame; not, as it is by Byron, that absolutely became insupportable as the utmost height to which she can to the soul as insufferable to the eyes aspire. Let Imagination beware how - and that left the eyes for hours after she seeks to glorify the objects of the you had retreated from the superna- senses, and having glorified them, to tural scene, even when shut, all filled elevate them into a kindred being with with floating films of cross-lights, cut- our own, exalting them that we may ting the sky-imagery into gorgeous claim with them that kindred being, as fragments,—and were not the moun- if we belonged to them and not they tains of such sunsets, whether they to us, forgetting that they are made were of land or of cloud, sufficiently to perish, we to live for ever! vast for your utmost capacities and
" Is it not better, then, to be alone,
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
“ I live not in myself, but I become
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
“ And thus I am absorb'd, and this is life;
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing,
“ And when, at length, the mind shall be all free
The bodiless thought ? the Spirit of each spot?
“ Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of those whose eyes are only turn'd below,
Has not the tongue of fame pro- away as these awake !!!" Poor exclaimed these, and others such as pletives, not permissible even in the these, to be glorious verses flowing wet-nurse school of prose. Then how from the fount of inspiration? Yet childish for his lordship, in the very satisfied have they not our soul here stanza in which, with affected passion, breathing undisturbedly on the moun. which is always inconsistent, he extain-top. The first stanza, methinks, claims, is of little worth. What says it?
“ Is it not better, then, to be alone, That 'tis better to “ love earth only
And love Earth only for its earthly sake ?" for its earthly sake," " than join the crushing crowd, doom'd to inflict or
How childish in his lordship to illusbear." Is that a revelation from a
trate the sincerity and depth of that great poet's heart? A stale truism love, by such maudlin drivel about unadorned with one grace of speech. another love, which he was desirous to “ Is it not better, then, to be alone".
show he despised, or regarded with dis“ Is it not better thus our lives to wear.'
The second stanza is a mere hubbub “ Repetitions wearisome of sense" of words. are these_" most tolerable and not to be endured." The image of the
“ I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me lake as a nursing mother, and of the Rhone as a froward infant, is irrecon
High mountains are a feeling"cilable with nature, dead or alive-and Bah! If you become a portion of that is neither more nor less than absolute around you, you become a portion of nonsense. Then how feeble through the high mountains—and thus incorpoout the expression! “A mother who rated with them, how can they be to doth make a fair but froward infant you a feeling? “ But the hum of hu. her own care!!" " Kissing its cries man cities torture" is here imperti.
nent-except to prove that as that the matter we do not see why the hum is outward to you, so are those spirit's perception and emotion," when high mountains, and therefore the elements to elements conform,” should “ feeling" as much caused by them as be " less dazzling but more warm" than the “ torture" by the human cities. during its mortal life. But you would make simpletons be
“ The bodiless thought, the spirit of each lieve that you were “portion of that
spot," around you"-of the very cause of the eflect-that you are at once a is a poor line-very ; and the Alexcause and an effect-in good truth, andrine “goes not forth conqnering prating, like Polonius, "how this ef- and to conquer.” fect defective comes by cause.' You In the fourth stanza he returns to say, “I can see nothing to loathe in the pet fancy that he and his soul are nature !” and that the very moment a part of the mountains, waves, and you have been telling us that, through skies, and they of him and his soul. intensity of love, you have " become
“ Elements to elements conform.” portion of that around you." Imagine à lover in his mistress's arms in a pa
If so, what more would he have ? roxysm of passion, gaspingly reaching “ Is not the love of these derp in my at last this climax of bliss-expressive heart speech, I can see nothing to loathe With a pure passion?" in thee!" “ Save to be a link reluctant in a fleshly chain" loses more
is surely an unnecessary question
ill-worded-after all the preceding and more of the little meaning it seems to have at first the longer you look at
talk about blending, and mingling, it. “ Class'd among creatures, when
and absorption, and so forth.
" If the soul can fiee," is worse than non
compared with these” is dull, lieavy, sense-it is folly; for are not they to
and formal; os rather than forego whom it is here said to flee"
such feelings” even more so ; and to tures"—the sky, the peak, the sea,
forego such feelings “ for the hard and the stars? Mingle, and not in and worldly phlegm” of people vuin," concludes the big-mouthed “ Gazing upon the ground with thoughts bluster with an infant's cry.
which dare not glow," In the next stanza the poet begins with repeating himself
would, indeed, argue shameful timi
dity in the heart of a man-mountain. “And thus I am absorbed, and this is The truth is, and we will speak it, life."
that Byron, with all his abuse of The immediate effect of this absorp. Wordsworth, knew that he was a tion is the vivid remembrance of all great poet, and felt that in all the bis past human life! Had he been poetry in which he speaks of nature absorbed, there would have been ever
“ He was attired lasting oblivion of that troubled dream.
With sudden brightness, like a man inBut to be absorbed is one thing, and to
spired;" say you are is another; and worse still, he speaks in poor repetition of “ re
that he touched the forms of inani. mounting at last with a fresh pinion,” mate nature with Promethean fire, “ and a delighted wing,” an image by not stolen from, but bestowed by no means new, and destructive of the Heaven, and that 'twas among the thought of absorption.
rights, privileges, and duties of his In the third stanza there is nothing vocation about either absorption or wings, but
" To create a soul after some ugly raving, we are pre- Under the ribs of death." sen:ed with that very intelligible line,
Some people have said that Words“ When elements to elements conform," worth is or was a Pantheist, and lines in which conformation the poet asks,
from his “ River Wye" have been
quoted, supposed by them to shadow .“ Shall not forth this creed. Such people should Feel all I see less dazzling but not read poetry at all, but occupy warm ?"
themselves in overlooking their acWe shall not presume to say how counts. Byron--we speak of him as that may be-but on the first blush of a poet-was a Theist, or a Pantheist,
VOL. XLIY, NO, CCI.XXT,