Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

:

wandering round his tablet those Green Vales and icy Cliffs, all join my countless forms of moral excellence Hymn. which almost bedim, by the brilliancy “ Thou first and chief, sole Sovran of the of their superior nature, whatever of

Vale! beautiful belongs to mere form or com Ostruggling with the Darkness all the night, lours ; nor do we so often feel, as in And visited all night by troops of stars, the writings of Mr Coleridge, that his Or when they climb the sky, or when they chief object in presenting to us a pic- Companion of the Morning-Star at Dawn, ture of woods, or waters, or lofty Thyself Earth's ROSY STAN, and of the Dawn mountains, was to aid him in commu Co-herald ! wake, O wake, and utter praise ! nicating, with more perfect success, Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in Earth? the vivid emotion which was present Who filled thiy Countenance with rosy light? to his mind; and which, while it adds Who made thee Parent of perpetual prodigiously to the effect of his scenes, streams ?"-p. 165. throws often around them an aërial And so on, in a strain of most exquidimness, that seems to take something site poetry, of which we regret that away from their merely material na- we cannot continue our extract

. ture. This, we apprehend, is one of

A second characteristic of our authe chief excellencies of the author thor's power of deseription, and one before us, and though we might refer which is intimately connected with in proof of it to almost any page of that we have already noticed, is the the present volume, we shall select as delightful freshness which nature aspecimen the opening of the “ Hymn, before sun-rise, in the vale of Cha- and sunshine of his genius fall on it.

seems to assume whenever the light mouny,” in which this peculiarity is It is never nature merely as invested at once exemplified and explained:

with form and colour which he paints, * Hast thou a charm to stay the Morning- but nature breathing all pleasant Star

odours, and glittering with all brilIn his steep course ? So long he seems to liant lights,-nature as she appears

pause On thy bald awful head, O sovran Blanc! the rain of heaven, and when all her

when moistened and sparkling with The Arve and Arveiron at thy base Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful finest contrasts are exhibited beneath Form!

the cloudless radiance of a summer Risest from forth thy silent Sea of Pines, sky. As an instance, we may quote How silently! Around thee and above the following lines from the beginDeep is the air and dark, substantial, black, ning of the poem entitled “ Fears in An ebon mass; methinks thou piercest it, Solitude :" As with a wedge ! But when I look again, It is thine own calm home, thy crystal A small and silent dell! O'er stiller place

" A green and silent spot, amid the hills, shrine, Thy habitation from eternity!

No singing syk-lark ever poised himself. 0 áread and silent Mount ! I gaz'd upon

The hills are heathy, save that swelling thee

slope, Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,

Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering

on, Dids't vanish from my thought ; entranced

All golden with the never-bloomless furze, I worshipped the Invisible alone.

Which now blooms most profusely ; but

the dell, “Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody,

Bathed by the mist, is fresh and delicate So sweet, we know not we are listening to As vernal corn-field, or the unripe flax, it,

When, through its half-transparent stalks, Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my Thought,

The level Sunshine glimmers with green Yea, with my Life and Life's own secret Joy;

light. Till the dilating Soul, enrapt, transfus’d,

Oh ! 'tis a quiet spirit-healing nook ! Into the mighty Vision passing there

Which all, "methinks, would love ; but As in her natural form, swelled vast to

chiefly he, Heaven !

The humble man, who, in his youthful " Awake, my soul ! not only passive praise years, Thou owest ! not alone these swelling tears, Knew just so much of folly, as had made Mute thanks and secret ecstasy! Awake His early manhood more securely wise ! Voice of sweet song ! Awake, my Heart, Here he might lie as fern or withered awake!

heath,

in prayer

at eve,

unseen

p. 64.

rests

me,

While from the singing lark (that sings in which is merely produced by way

of contrast to the dark and barren The minstrelsy that solitude loves best,) character of the desart stream that is And from the Sun, and from the breezy intended to be described :

Air, Sweet influences trembled o'er his frame.” “ And thou too, desart Stream ! no pool of

thine,

summer The conclusion of this poem will Though clear as lake in latest awaken, we are persuaded, many kind- Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe, ly feelings in the bosoms of those who, Her face, her form divine, her downcast like ourselves, have often gained, af look ter a day of solitary wandering among Contemplative ! Ah see! her open palm the hills, the summit of the highest Presses her cheek and brow! her elbow mountain in the group, and have felt the sight of the open landscape ope- On the bare branch of half uprooted tree rate like a sudden restoration to life That leans towards its mirror! He, meanitself, upon the mind wearied and de while,

Who from her countenance turned, or pressed with intense meditation.

looked by stealth, “ But now the gentle dew-fall sends abroad (For fear is true love's cruel nurse,) he now The fruit-like perfume of the golden furze: With stedfast gaze and unoffending eye, The light has left the summit of the hil

Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes Though still a sunny gleam lies beautiful

Delicious to the soul, but fleeting, vain Aslant the ivied beacon. Now farewell,

E'en as that phantom-world on which he Farewell awhile, O soft and silent spot !

gazed. On the green sheep-track, up the heathy She, sportive tyrant! with her left hand hill,

plucks Homeward I wind my way ; and lo, The heads of tall flowers that behind her recalled

grow, From bodings that have well nigh wearied Lychnis, and willow-herb, and foxglove

bells; I find myself upon the brow, and pause

And suddenly, as one that toys with time, Startled! And after lonely sojourning

Scatters them on the pool! Then all the In such a quiet and surrounded nook,

charm This burst of prospect, here the shadowy Is broken-all that phantom world so fair Main,

Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread, Dim tinted, there the mighty majesty And each mis-shape the other. Stay aOf that huge amphitheatre of rich

while, And elmy Fields, seems like society

Poor youth, who scarcely dar'st lift up Conversing with the mind, and giving it

thiné eyes ! A livelier impulse, and a dance of thought !

The stream will soon renew its smoothness, And now beloved Stowey! I behold Thy church-tower, and methinks, the four The visions will return! And lo! he huge elms

stays : Clustering, which mark the mansion of my And soon the fragments dim of lovely friend ;

forms And close behind them, hidden from my Come trembling back, unite, and now

view, Is my own lowly cottage, where my babe The pool becomes a mirror, and behold And my babe's mother, dwell in peace! Each wild flower on the marge inverted With light

there"-p. 131. And quickened footsteps thitherward I tend, Remembering thee, o green and silent dell, And so on, with some more beautiful And grateful, that by nature's quietness

painting; after which the author thus And solitary musings, all my heart proceeds: Is softened, and made worthy to indulge

66 Not to thee, Love, and the thoughts that yearn for O wild and desart Stream! belongs this human kind."-p. 73.

tale : With respect to Mr Coleridge's Gloomy and dark art thou—the crowded powers of description, we have still firs further to remark, that we do not Tower from thy shores and stretch across know any author who possesses a finer

thy bed, talent for relieving his pictures by ju- Making thee doleful as a cavern well." dicious contrast. As an evidence of which, the reader may take the fol The pages of Mr Coleridge are not lowing passage, the admirable picture characterized by those fine touches of

soon

once more

p. 132.

genuine pathos, which, amidst all the pany of one that is disposed to puzzle ravings of his mystical poetry, give him. We may mention, in the last often so inexpressible a charm to place, that there is a good deal of af. the compositions of Mr Wordsworth. fectation occasionally in the style of Yet is there a pathos of another kind our author; he sometimes uses exwhich is very frequent with our au- pressions which are altogether unthor ; a gentle and subdued tone of suitable to the dignity of poetry; and sympathy with human happiness or curious inversions of phrase are every human suffering; an exquisite feeling now and then occurring, which, to of the charities and joys of domestic our ears at least, give neither grace nor life ; and a just appreciation of the vivacity to his works. There is one necessity and value of religious con- form of expression, in particular, ot solations to the agitated and wayward which our author is so fond, as to heart of man-which communicate to have rendered his frequent use of it his poetry not the least delightful of quite ridiculous,-it occurs in such its attractions, and which never fail lines as the following: to make us love, while we respect, the

- Nor such thoughts author. We may assert, indeed, that Dim and unhallowed dost thou not reject. the whole tone of our author's poetry is favourable to virtue and to all the “ Nor dost not thou sometimes recal those charities of life,-and we could quote

hours." several beautiful passages of this na To this enumeration of faults we ture, did not the very copious extracts may add, that there are some pieces we have already given preclude us in this collection which to us appear from this pleasure.

to be quite silly and vapid. The folWe must confess, at the same time, lowing “ Verses," for instance, to that, along with these excellencies,

a Young Lady on her recovery from a there are several great and very ob- Fever : vious defects in the poetry of Mr Coleridge. His manner of describing “Why need I say, Louisa, dear! natural objects is too apt to degene

How glad I am to see you here, rate, as we have already hinted, into A lovely convalescent; that morbid sentimentality which of

Risen from the bed of pain and fear,

And feverish heat incessant. late has become so generalacharacteristic of the poetry of this country-he

The sunny Showers, the dappled Sky, is fond of expressing and illustrating

The little Birds that warble high

Their vernal loves commencing, the notion, that

Will better welcome you than 1, " Outward forms, the loftiest, still receive With their sweet influencing. Their finer influence from the life within."

“ Believe me, while in bed you lay, And that mystical interpretation of

Your danger taught us all to pray: the expressions of Nature, which has

You made us grow devouter! become the favourite occupation of

Each eye looked up, and seemed to say,

How can we do without her ? Mr Wordsworth's muse, and which has infected the taste of Lord Byron

Besides, what vexed us worse, we knew himself, has frequently exerted a se

They have no need of such as you

In the place where you were going : ductive power over the fancy and feel

This World has angels all too few, ings of this still more congenial spirit.

And Heaven is overflowing !"--p. 150. We might mention also among the faults of his poetry, a degree of ob We shall not, however, quote any scurity which sometimes occurs, not thing more of this kind. From what to such a pitch, perhaps, as in any in we have said, the reader will perceive, stance to render his writings absolute- that we entertain a very high idea of ly unintelligible, but sufficiently often Mr Coleridge's poetical merits. He to make the reader uneasy lest he has intimated, however, in his preshould at every step encounter some face, that he intends for the future such mystical passage and to lead to devote himself chiefly to studies him onward, not with the gaiety and of a different nature. We do not, it confidence which the song of the poet is true, give much credit to such a ought always to inspire, but with that promise

because we have something sort of watchful jealousy which is na- of the same idea respecting the writ. tural to a person who is in the com- ing of poems, which Goldsmith bad

respecting slander, that it is like the Lanark, Renfrew, Aberdeen, and Forpropensity of a tyger which has once far, to queries * which had been subtasted of human blood, -not easily mitted to them by the Committee. divested of the appetite it has indulg- This Committee, it is to be observed, ed. Taking the promise of the poet, had sat for nearly three sessions of Parhowever, as seriously given, we should liament examining witnesses as to the be disposed to say, that if he is con state of mad-houses in England and scious of no desire to produce poems Wales, and had brought to light so more free from faults than most of many instances of cruelty, neglect, those in the volume before us, we do and misery, even in the largest, and not think that the reputation of the what had always been considered the artist would be much injured by his best regulated public establishinents in relinquishing the study ; because, what England, that the great degree of inis now attributed to mere negligence terest which the subject has excited in and apathy, would soon come to be every part of the empire is not to be considered as an inherent defect in his wondered at. Lord Binning, a Scotsgenius. We cannot help adding, man, and one who seems endowed with However, that if Mr Coleridge would the noblest feelings of his kind, was at give his mind more exclusively to an early period appointed a member of what appears to us to be his true vo this Committee. He appears to have cation, and would carefully avoid taken an active part in all their lathose extravagancies of sentiment and bours, and we believe it was at his singularities of expression to which suggestion that their inquiry was exwe have slightly alluded, we have no tended to Scotland, and this report doubt that he might yet produce a laid before the House. work which would place him in the Although the Sheriffs do not bring first rank of British poets,—which forward any glaring instances of cruelty would entirely justify the high opinion very generally entertained of the capabilities of his genius,—and be ful Heads of Queries addresscd to Sheriffs ly adequate to all the compliments,

Scotland, by the Committee of the whether sincere or adulatory, he has

House of Commons relative to Mad

houses, 1815. ever received.

1st, The number of institutions in each county. Private. Erected by act of Par

liament, charter, or private subscription, 1. Third Report of the Select Com- noting those built expressly for the pur.

mittee of the House of Commons on pose they are now put to? Mad-Houses. Ordered to be print 2d, If Sheriff had visited those institued 15th June 1816.

tions in terms of the act lately passed ? 2. A Letter to Lord Binning, M. P. 3d, As to their state, whether public or

on the State of Lunatic Asylums, private, including management. Treatand on the Number and Condition ment, medical and moral. Situation and of the Insane Poor in Scotland. By extent of buildings, and number of patients, A. HALLIDAY, M. D. 8vo. London keepers, and servants ? and Edinburgh, 1816.

4th, As to the condition of pauper lunatics, and the provision made for their re

ception, maintenance, and treatment? We have selected these two from a

5th, As to what regulations the Sheriff variety of interesting, and many of may have made respecting lunatics, agreethem very important works, which ably to the power granted him by Mr Colhave lately appeared on the subject of quhoun's act ? lunatics and lunatic asylums, because 6th, As to the power of magistrates in they refer particularly to Scotland, confining lunatics, and inspecting madand afford us an opportunity of offer- houses previous to the act ? ing a few remarks, not only on the

7th, As to the power of the Court of state of insanity, but also on the con

Justiciary to commit criminal lunatics to dition of the insane in general in this existing asylums ? And, lastly, the quekingdom.

ry was, The first is the report of the Select tive to the improvement of the different

What suggestion have you to offer relaCommittee of the House of Commons, kinds of mad-houses in Scotland ? And of which the Right Honourable George what alterations in, or additions to, existing Rose was chairman. It contains the enactments, appear to you to be necessary, answers of the Sheriffs of Edinburgh, or likely to be beneficial?

or neglect toward the insane in this coun- may be laid before the county gentletry, yet they all agree in the great want men at their first meeting, and that he of accommodation for their proper con- may be favoured with their opinions and finement, and in the little attention advice. It does not appear, however, which is paid to their medical or moral that any notice was taken of this lettreatment; and they are unanimous ter by the gentlemen of the counties, in urging the necessity of public asy as we are not aware that any meeting luns being erected in different parts was called for the purpose of taking of the kingdom. In England, an act it into consideration, or that it was at of Parliament has been in existence all brought forward at any of their for some years, by which the counties ordinary county meetings. On the are authorized to build asylumns for third day after the meeting of last the insane ; and we know that many session of Parliament, Mr Rose again of the best establishments in that king- asked for, and obtained leave to indom have been provided under that troduce a bill for regulating madAct. But in Scotland there is no such houses, the necessity for which some measure, although the necessity of it additional evidence before the comis even more apparent than in Eng- mittee had rendered still more appaland. In the south, the fault seems rent. We do not consider it necesto have been more in the management sary to remark farther on this geof the insane, and in their treatment, neral measure, than merely to state, than in the want of either public or that it again passed the House of private asylunis. After completing Commons, was carried up to the their investigations, which, with a pa- Lords, read a first time, and then, tience and perseverance that does the after lying for nearly three months on highest credit to their zeal and hu- their table, the further consideration manity, they had continued from of it, on a motion by the Marquis of year to year, the worthy chairman of Lansdown, was postponed for three the Committee proposed a bill to the months, that is, until a new bill should House, which he intituled “ An act to be again brought forward. However repeal an act made in the 14th year much we may regret the delays which of his present Majesty, and another have taken place in a measure of such act maile in the 55th year of his pre- vital importance to the interests of sent Majesty, for regulating Mad- humanity, we are satisfied that the houses ; and for making other provi- greater part of Mr Rose's bill will sions and regulations in lieu thereof. eventually pass into a law, and feel This measure passed the House of convinced, that, in the hands of the Commons, not only with unanimity, noble Marquis just mentioned, who, but with the expressed approbation to our own knowledge, has paid great of almost every member present. It attention to the subject for at least was carried to the Lords by the mov- twelve years past, the measure will er and some of his friends, read a first become much more effectual than it time, and no more heard of. Such otherwise would have been. Another were the proceedings of the legisla- year cannot pass without producing ture in the session 1815-16. In the some change in the horrible system course of the summer of 1816, Lord that has so long prevailed. Both Lords Binning, while resident at his father's and Commons agree as to the expedihouse in East Lothian, addressed a ency of the measure, and the only difletter to the conveners of the several ference of opinion appears to be with counties in Scotland, in which, after regard to some of the minor enactcalling their attention to the misery ments of Mr Rose's bill. existing in public as well as private But to return to what more immemad-houses, and which had been laid diately concerns ourselves. Very early open by the evidence taken before the in the session, Lord Binning obtained select committee, and the want of pro- leave to bring in a bill for the estaper places for the confinement and blishment of county or district asycare of the insane poor, particularly lurs in Scotland. This bill, which in Scotland,-he intimates his inten- appears to have been drawn up with tion of bringing forward some mea- great care and accuracy, was according, sure at the next meeting of Parliament, ly brought in, read a first time, and -enters into a detail of his proposed ordered to be printed. The second measure, and requests that his letter reading was postponed to a period suf

« AnteriorContinuar »