Imágenes de páginas

itself into all the intercourse between the up-| rived from them as teaching, that in so far as per and lower classes of society, and enters the political institutions of a country place any into the most casual and trivial transactions. man in such circumstances as to give avarice, Any little service rendered by an inferior, ambition, or pride, the dominion over his heart, which in another country would be repaid by whatever may be the name given or the virtue a smile and a cordial word, the English gentle- ascribed to those institutions, they cost that man remunerates by the tossing of his misera- man his liberty. ble sixpence-creating the mercenary spirit that he feeds, and checking the growth of the We now come to the series which Mr. independent good-will in which he places no Wordsworth has entitled 'Itinerary,' and trust.

which we have already alluded to as the sunThe truth is, that there is nothing so unin- dry contemplation of his travels.' Scenery, teresting to man, nothing so ungenial and un- cities, manners, local traditions, recorded fruitful, as social equality. Man's nature and events, incidents of the moment, remains of the wants of his imagination call for the con- antiquity, products of modern taste, abodes, trary, and where institutions are ostensibly sites and occupants, viaducts, railways and calculated to remove the sense of inequality, steam-boats, names, clouds, and echoes, they will in reality remove only so much of nothing comes amiss to Mr. Wordsworth on his it as is connected with our better nature, and travels, and sonnets spring up in his path bring into strong and naked operation the in- wherever he goes. And amidst the multitude equalities of a monied scale. This is no doubt of objects which attract his attention, it is one of the tendencies of our institutions at the difficult to say that any one class has more present time--a tendency which will be coun- power over him than another. Natural obteracted and conquered, as we trust-one ten-jects have undoubtedly had the greatest infludency only amongst many ; but one against ence originally, as we may learn from the which those who value the true liberty of celebrated lines written on visiting Tintern their country, the liberty of its individual Abbey, and from many other passages, and minds and hearts, should strenuously contend; amongst these the family of floods' are menand it is not a tendency as regards the lower tioned by the poet as standing first in his reclasses only. Social distinction is an object gard, and many members of that family are to high and low, and is open to every one of celebrated in the Sonnets, from the stately us through money, and money will procure Eden' in his own country, to for every one consideration, service, and what

'--that young stream that smites the throbis equally indispensable to mankind, civility;

bing rocks and in this state of society the liberty of the Or Viamala.' higher classes is not legs in danger than that of the lower. For with the restless activity, But natural objects are so vividly recalled to the ambition, the importance attached to mo


memory when others are presented to his ney, the pecuniary taint which infects all the eyes, the colours of them are so interwoven relations between the upper and lower clas- with the whole tissue of his mind, that hardly ses, the absence of the disinterested courtesies any subject is treated separately from them. and unpaid good offices of life, which inspire And on the other hand, his sense of the beauty confidence between those classes and seem to of external nature is seldom merely passive; place them in a relation of human brotherhood the activities of his intellect are excited by it with each other—with all these elements of rather than merged in it, and his poetry is not our society, there arises naturally its chief often purely descriptive. We will quote the characteristic on the evil side of the account, sonnet we can find which is the most so,--a pride, or a pusillanimous fear of opinion-description of the plain between Namur and pride which,

Liege, in which the effect of nature's tranHowe'er disguised

quillity is heightened by allusion to the freIn its own majesty, is liitleness~'* quent warfare of which that plain has been

the theatre:-and invariably undermines the strength and independence of the heart. The study of Mr.What lovelier home could gentle Fancy choose ? Wordsworth's writings will assist more than

Is this the Stream, whose cities, heights, and

plains, any other literary influence that is now abroad

War's favourite playground, are with crimson to abate the spirit of pride and cherish the

stains spirit of independence ; and in closing our Familiar, as the Morn with pearly dews? remarks upon the Political series of his Son- The Morn, that now, along the silver Meuse, nets, we will sum up the doctrine to be de. Spreading her peaceful ensigns, calls the swains

To tend their silent boats and ringing wains, * Mr. Wordsworth's lines left under a Ycw-tree seat. Or strip the bough whose mellow fruit bestrews

the very

•The ripening corn beneath it. As mine eyes

modes of conveyance' have their Turn from the fortified and threatening hill, authentic comment,' and suggest thoughts, How sweet the prospect of yon watery glade, recollections and feelings. We find him, in With its grey rocks clustering in pensive 1820, in a carriage on the banks of the Rhine,

shadeThat, shaped like old monastic turrets, rise travelling with a speed which cheats him of From the smooth meadow-ground, serene and half his enjoyment, and wishing to be on foot still!'

Sonnets, p. 197. as in the days of his youth :This seems pure description; yet what a Amid this dance of objects sadness steals serious satire is expressed in one word, 'War's O'er the defrauded heart—while sweeping by, favourite playground !' In the following As in a fit of Thespian jollity, sonnet, entitled The Trosachs,' the moral is Beneath her vine-leaf crown the green Earth

reels: blended with the description throughout:

Backward, in rapid evanescence, wheels

The venerable pageantry of Time, | There's not a nook within this solemn Pass,

Each beetling rampart, and each tower sublime, But were an apt confessional for One

And what the Dell unwillingly reveals Taught by hiss ummer spent, his autumn gone, Of lurking cloistral arch, through trees espied That Life is but a tale of morning grass

Near the bright River's edge. Yet why repine? Withered at eve. From scenes of art which

To muse, to creep, to halt at will, to gazechase

Such sweet wayfaring-of life's spring the That thought away, turn, and with watchful

pride, eyes

Her summer's faithful joy--that still is mine, Feed it’mid Nature's old felicities,

And in fit measure cheers autumnal days.' Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more clear than glass

Ibid., p. 200. Untouched, unbreathed upon. Thrice happy

We are happy to know that the 'fit measquest, If from a golden perch of aspen spray

ure' of pedestrian strength which remained to (October's workmanship to rival May)

Mr. Wordsworth in the year 1820 is yet with The pensive warbler of the ruddy breast him in 1841, and that the fainting London That moral sweeten by a heaven-taught lay, tourist may still meet with him, robust and Lulling the year, with all its cares, to rest !! fresh, on the top of Helvellyn or other cloud

Ibid., p. 217.

sequestered heights,' exercising his functions How skilfully does that suggestion in the as one of Nature's Privy Council.' parenthesis, of the sunshiny colouring of the If Mr. Wordsworth was not quite content aspen in October, adumbrate the cheerfulness to be whirled along the banks of the Rhine to be bestowed by natural piety upon the de- in a carriage, it was to be expected that he cline of life! preparing for the principal illus- should betray more impatience in a steamtration of the same idea in the song of the boat :red-breast, which only begins to sing when other birds have ceased. We will annex to Who but must covet a cloud-seat, or skiff this a sonnet, congenial in sentiment and ima- Built for the air, or winged Hippogriff ?

That he might fly, where no one could pursue, gery, written at Bala-sala

, Isle of Man, in the From this dull Monster and her sooty crew. person of a friend of the author. The con

Ibid., p. 260. vent spoken of is Rushen Abbey :

But what some persons would consider the “Broken in fortune, but in mind entire

poetic or romantic view of things never shuts And sound in principle, I seek repose

out from Mr. Wordsworth's mind the conWhere ancient trees this convent-pile enclose In ruin beautiful. When vain desire

templation of the whole truth. For the whole Intrudes on peace,

the eternal Sire

truth received into a poetic mind of the highTo cast a soul-subduing shade on me, est, that is, of the philosophic order, may alA grey-haired, pensive, thankful Refugee; ways take a poetical shape, and cannot but A shade--but with some sparks of heavenly fire be more fruitful than hall-truths. And thus Once to these cells vouchsafed. And when I we have a notice, in a sonnet on steam-boats, The old Tower's brow yellowed as with the viaducts, and railways, that Mr. Wordsworth beams

is not to be misled by any false lights into of sunset ever there, albeit streams

regarding with other feelings than those of of stormy weather-stains that semblance hope and gratulation the victories of mind wrought,

over matter :I thank the silent Monitor, and say “Shine so, my aged brow, at all hours of the Motions and Means, on land and sea at war day!"

Ibid., p. 256. With old poetic feeling, not for this

Shall ye, by Poets even, be judged amiss! When Mr. Wordsworth is upon his travels, Nor shall your presence, howsoe'er it mar


The loveliness of Nature, prove a bar | feelings, to think that the material sciences
To the Mind's gaining that prophetic sense are the highest walks of human contempla-
Of future change, that point of vision, whence tion. Yet in reality neither the sciolist nor
May be discovered what in soul ye are.
In spite of all that beauty may disown

the adept has any reason to complain. For In your barsh features, Nature doth embrace

the former Mr. Wordsworth has not perhaps Her lawful offspring in Man's art; and Tinie,

absolute respect, but certainly a genuine inPleased with your triumphs o'er his brother dulgence,-witness the sketches, in the “ExSpace,

cursion,' of 'the Wandering Herbalist and Accepts from your bold hands the proffer'd crown his fellow-wandererOf hope, and smiles on you with cheer sublime.'

Ibid., p. 277. · He who with pocket-hammer smites the edge

Of luckless rock or prominent stone, disguised Twenty years ago our readers may remem- In weather-stains or crusted o'er by Nature ber that there was a literary controversy of With her first growths-detaching by the stroke some celebrity, in which Lord Byron, Mr. A chip or splinter to resolve his doubts ;' Campbell, and Mr. Bowles were the principal He finds no fault with either of these genperformers, on the subject of the comparative tlemen :merits of nature and art in supplying subjects Intrusted safely each to his pursuit, for poetry. A little of Mr. Wordsworth's Earnest alike, let both from hill to hill philosophy, or a little of Shakspeare's, would Range; if it please them speed from clime to have taught the disputants either not to dis

clime; tinguish at all between these subjects, or to The mind is full--no pain is in their sport.' distinguish more clearly. There are a few words in the “Winter's Tale' which say more

Thus gently does Mr. Wordsworth, even than anything which we can recollect to have when speaking by the mouth of the least genbeen said then:

tle of his poëmatis persona, deal with the

dabblers in science. Shakspeare also was a *Perdita. Sir, the year growing ancient, - good-natured observer ; yet these men of noNor yet on summer's death, nor on the birth menclatures did not escape so easily in his Of trembling winter,-the fairest flowers o'the hands :

season Are our camnations, and streak'd gilliflowers, • These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights, Which some call Nature's bastards: of that kind

That give a name to every fixed star, Our rustic garden 's barren; and I care not Have no more profit of their shining nights To get slips of them.

Than those that walk and wot not what they Polirenes. Wherefore, gentle maiden, Do you neglect them?

So much for the sciolist. And next for the · Perdita. For I have heard it said, There is an art which in their piedness shares complaint of the adept. We do not desire to With greai creating Nature.

maintain that Mr. Wordsworth pays knee* Polirenes. Say there be;

worship even to his idol, or that he reverenYet Nature is made beiter by no mean, ces as the highest knowledge that which, But Nature makes that mean : so, o'er that art, however consummate in its kind, is limited Which, you say, adds to Nature, is an art

to the purely material sciences. All that we That Nature makes.'-(Act. iv., sc. 3.)

contend for is, that, as in the sonnets heretoThis is the philosophical view of the mat- fore quoted, so in his other writings, Mr.

This is the philosophical view of the mat- Wordsworth invariably treats the material ter, and Mr. Wordsworth's taste is as universal as philosophy itself; and his philosophy their place amongst the powers and instru

sciences with the respect which is due to and his poetry are never found in collision mentalities of nature. He would not deny with each other, but always in an easy alli- that they are powers of stupendous imporance.

tance in their results, but neither would he We are aware, however, that it has some admit that they are on that account entitled, times been said that Mr. Wordsworth has

when standing alone, to confer the highest written in disparagement of science. How incapable he is of doing so, our readers have results are brought about. He would not de

rank upon the intellects through which those had some means of judging. The charge has been brought, we believe, by two very differ. ny, certainly, that stupendous moral as well

as material results are the offspring of the ent classes of persons,—by those who mistake certain scientific nomenclatures and purely material sciences; for as matter is alclassifications for sciences themselves, and, on

ways acting upon spirit with prodigious force

throughout the portion of the universe which the other hand, by those who have a genuine comprehension of science, but are led, from the want of other knowledge, faculties, or

• Love's Labour's Lost. VOL. LXIX.


** are.

is known to man, so there can be no doubt mankind without the aid of either science or that the material products of science operate imagination-will not be disparayed if they incalculable changes in the moral condition are placed last. of mankind. But neither would he admit But Mr. Wordsworth, as we collect, would that that which acts upon spirit through mat- be better pleased to contemplate the conjuncter, however important the agency may be in tion, than the subordinated separation of these its consequences, can be regarded as an agen powers, and he anticipates the time when cy of an equally high order with that which science, allying itself with the imaginative acts upon spirit through spirit.

faculty, and through this reaching and inspirThus, in the eighth book of the Excursion, ing the heart, shall be exalted into philosohe rejoices and exults in the mastery exercis. phy: ed by science over the elements, but rejoices

Science then in it hoping that the time will come when shall be a precious visitant; and then, man, strengthened yet not dazzled by his And only then, be worthy of her name.

For then her heart shall kindle; her dull eye, scientific conquests,

Dull and inanimate, no more shall hang
Shall learn, though late, that all true glory rests, Chained to its object in brute slavery;
All praise, all safety, and all happiness, But taught with patient interest to watch
Upon the moral law.'

The processes of things, and serve the cause And he proceeds to show that even the sci- of order and distinctness, not for this ences themselves must have the same support; Its most illustrious province, must be found

Shall it forget that its most noble use, in order to ensure them against decay and In furnishing clear guidance, a support oblivion :

Not treacherous, to the mind's excursive power." · Egyptian Thebes,

Nor does Mr. Wordsworth regard the adTyre, by the margin of the sounding waves, Palmyra, central in the desert, fell;

vances of science with any jealousy, as if it And the arts died by which they had been raised. were possible that they could tend to limit the Call Archimedes from his buried tomb

province of imagination. That province he Upon the plain of vanished Syracuse,

knows to be boundless ;—and though many of And feelingly the sage shall make report the secrets of nature may be discovered, and How insecure, how baseless in itself,

the pride of man may for the moment exult in. Is the philosophy whose sway depends

ordinately, forgetting what mysteries remain On mere material instruments; how weak Those arts and high inventions, if unpropped

which Science can never penetrate and Faith By Virtue! He, with sighs of pensive grief

can but see darkly as in a glass, yet he is asAmid his calm abstractions, would admit sured that man is and always will be an imaThat not the slender privilege is theirs ginative being; and that, whatever he may To save themselves from blank forgetfulness !' search out and lay open, he must still come to

If, therefore, we are to separate what we the unseen and the inscrutable at last, and be cannot wish to see separated—if we must sep. recalled to the awe and humility which befits arate knowledge and intellectual power into his condition :-degrees and orders of precedency--we should concur with Mr. Wordsworth in giv. To reinstate wild Fancy, would we hide

Desire we past illusions to recall ? ing the first place to the kind which lives in Truths whose thick veil Science has drawn the hearts of men and fortifies the imaginative

aside ? faith, which kindles the affections, animates No - let this Age, high as she may, instal the belief in things unseen, and multiplies In her esteem the thirst that wrought man's

fall, • The spiritual presences of absent things.' This kind of knowledge and power, depend. And conquering Reason, if self-glorified,

The universe is infinitely wide; ing immediately upon the imagination, but can nowhere move uncrossed by some new wall not to be cast loose from scientific laws, may, Or gulf of mystery, which thou alone, we think, without wrong to any other, be Imaginative Faith! canst overleap, placed in the first rank of human intelligen- In progress toward the fount of Love,-the

In the Celestial Hierarchy, according of Power, whose ministers the records keep to Dionysius Areopagita, the Angels of Love Of periods fixed, and laws established, less hold the first place, the Angels of Light the Flesh to exalt than prove its nothingness.'second, and Thrones and Dominations the

Sonnets, p. 250. third. Amongst Terrestrials, the intellects which act through the imagination upon the

It was in no other spirit—it was in the proheart of man, may be accounted the first in found humility of his own nature, and with a order, the merely scientific intellects the sec- deep insight into man's nature, that the great ond, and the merely ruling intellects—those which apply themselves to the government of

Excursion, book iv.



founder of modern material philosophy offered net entitled Mary Queen of Scots (landing at up his 'Students' Prayer' :

the mouth of the Derwent, Workington).' * This also we humbly and earnestly beg, that Dear to the Loves, and to the Graces vowed, human things may not prejudice such as are The Queen drew back the wimple that she divine, neither that from the unlocking of the wore; gates of sense, and the kindling of a greater While to the throng that on the Cambrian natural light, anything of incredulity or intellec shore tual night may arise in our minds towards divine Her landing hailed, how touchingly she bowed ! mysteries. But rather that, by our mind tho And like a star (that, from a sombre cloud roughly cleansed and purged from fancy and Of pine-tree foliage poised in air, forth darts, vanities, and yet subject and perfectly given up When a soft summer gale at evening parts to the divine oracles, there may be given up to

The gloom that did its loveliness enshroud) Faith the things which are Faith's.

She smiled: but Time, the old Saturnian Seer,

Sighed on the wing as her foot pressed the Devoutly is it to be wished that, along with the principles of material philosophy which with a step prelusive to a long array have been as the light of day to the natural Of woes and degradations hand in hand; world in the generations succeeding Lord Stilled by the ensanguined block of Fotherin

Weeping captivity, and shuddering fearBacon, there could have been communicated

gay ?'Ibid., p. 247. to all of his disciples, as it has been in degree to some, the greatness of that man's religious In the series of ecclesiastical sonnets we find heart.

Mr. Wordsworth, for the first time, planning a But we are to proceed with the Itinerant. work in which his inspiration and his themes Manners are regarded by him, no less than arts were to be drawn more immediately froin books and sciences, with an inquisitive eye, and pon- than from Nature or his own experience and obdered in a spirit of comprehensive appreciation. servation. The first which we shall quote repHe observes the decay of ancient manners and resents the recovery of the Church after the perthe progress of innovation, reaching even to the secution under Diocletian :Scotch Highlands,—but he observes them with no predisposition to prefer what is old to what • As, when a storm hath ceased, the birds regain is modern on any other than just and reasona- Their cheerfulness and busily re-trim ble grounds: his desire is only to examine into Their nests, or chant a gratulating hymn the different effects of changes, to weigh losses To the blue ether and bespangled plain ; against gains, and to have a right judgment Even so, in many a reconstructed fane,

Have the survivors of this storm renewed in all things.' When indeed, he sees

Their holy rites with vocal gratitude: the umbrella spread

And solemn ceremonials they ordain To weather-fend the Celtic herdsman's head To celebrate their great deliverance ; there arise in his mind some doubts and mis- That persecution, blind with rage extreme,

Most feelingly instructed 'mid their feargivings, and he pauses before he can regard the May not the less, through Heaven's mild counsuperior comforts of the Celtic herdsman with

tenance, unmixed satisfaction. Still it is but a doubt Even in her own despite, both feed and cheer; and an inquiry, not a decision; and he does For all things are less dreadful than they seem.' not fail to intimate that there is another side to the question :

The last line expresses one of those truths "The pibroch's note, discountenanced or mute; which present themselves with peculiar force to The Roman kilt, degraded to a toy

an imaginative mind, owing to its individual Of quaint apparel for a half-spoilt boy; experience. For to such a mind the absent and The target, mouldering like ungathered fruit; the distant appear with a vividness of colouring The smoking steam-boat eager in pursuit, which realities when present will generally be As eagerly pursued; the umbrella spread To weather-fend the Celtic herdsman's head found to fall short of; and when fear is the passion All speak of manners withering to the root,

by which such a mind is seized, it will be apt to lose And some old honours, too, and passions high: sight, in the liveliness of its prospective emotions, Then may we ask, though pleased that thought of the resources with which its imaginative an. sbould range

susceptible nature abounds, and which might Among the conquests of civility,

enable it to deal victoriously with the actual Survives Imagination, to the change Superior? Help to Virtue does it give ?

presence of the thing feared, or even with the If not, O Mortals, better cease to live!

nearer approach of danger. For fear itself is not Ibid., p. 218.

more the characteristic of a highly imaginative

mind than faith ; and the love which casteth The last we shall quote from this itinerary se-out fear will grow in power, and all the antagories shall be an historical recollection—the son-loist emotions will be awakened, as the thing


p. 329.

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