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productions. Some of these, such as the ode To the Celandine, A Portrait, The Green Linnet, &c., possess unusual beauty. It is obvious to compare Wordsworth with Cowper; and, while the former in simplicity and correctness of diction rivals bis great master, as well as in the preference for natural scenery, in his shorter poems; in The Excursion we miss the wonderful descriptive power and idiomatic force of The Task. Meritorious, too, as the simplicity and purity of his diction may be, his poetry, it must be admitted, verges not unfrequently on the commonplace in matter, and on the prosaic in form. The especial merit of The Excursion, we imagine, consists in the simple earnestness of tone which seems to pervade the poem: and, if it is not characterised by any very profound or positive views of the realities and the duties of human life, by drawing the mind away from the ordinary trifles of life to a sober contemplation of animate and inanimate Nature, chiefly in its humbler manifestations, which are too often passed by as undeserving of serious regard by the unthinking crowd, it is, at least, not without incentives to a high moral feeling even though it be of a somewhat negative, and merely contemplative kind.
More fortunate than most of his poetic brethren, if without any very splendid triumphs, Wordsworth passed the greatest part of his career in calm and easy circumstances : a fact which, conjoined to his naturally equable and placid temperament, may explain the prevailing tone of contentment with the surrounding condition of things, and that sort of optimism which seems to characterise his writings. Yet it is remarkable that he, like his intimate friends Coleridge and Southey, began his career with the profession of a creed by no means in consonance with that of the prevailing orthodoxy. If his revolutionary aspirations had been less pronounced than those of the author of Wat Tyler or Joan of Arc, they appear in sufficiently striking contrast to his later expression of opinion.
In that fair clime the lonely herdsman, stretch'd
E’en from the blazing chariot of the sun, A beardless youth, who touch'd a golden lute, And filld the illumined groves with ravishment. The nightly hunter, lifting up his eyes Towards the crescent moon, with grateful heart Call'd on the lovely wanderer, who bestow'd That timely light, to share his joyous sport; And hence a beaming goddess, with her nymphs, Across the lawn and through the darksome grove (Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes By echo multiplied from rock or cave) Swept in the storm of chase, as moon and stars Glance rapidly along the clouded heavens, When winds are blowing strong. The traveller slaked His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thank'd The Naiad. Sunbeams upon distant hills Gliding apace, with shadows in their train, Might, with small help from fancy, be transform’d Into fleet Oreads, sporting visibly. The zephyrs fanning, as they pass'd, their wings, Lack'd not for love fair objects, whom they wood With gentle whisper. Wither'd boughs grotesque, Stripp'd of their leaves and twigs by boary age, From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth In the low vale, or on steep mountain-sideAnd sometimes, intermix'd with stirring horns Of the live deer, or goat's depending beardThese were the lurking satyrs, a wild brood Of gamesome deities—or Pan himself, The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god.
EDUCATION-THE DUTY OF THE STATE.
Ou for the coming of that glorious time
* Written in 1814. The Elementary Educ ion Act—the first Act of the State (i.e. the influential Public as represented in the Legislature) to recognise this obligation-was passed in 1870. It remains to be seen whether the tardiness of the State in recognising such obligation is about to be atoned for, in some measure, by the quality of the instruction to be given in the national schools-whether, in short, the teaching is to continue to consist of bare • facts and figures,' or to be for the future a real education; moral as well as intellectual,
The sinless age, by conscience is enrollid,
This sacred right is fruitlessly announced,
Discourse of the Wanderer, etc.
A HERALD OF SPRING.
PANSIES, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
Eyes of some men travel far
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Modest, yet withal an elf
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
Poets, vain men in their mood !
spy thee near her home: Spring is coming—thou art come!
Comfort have thou of thy merit,