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will it be of a system in which charity is unknown. That piety which shrinks from all the temptations and hardships of a determined struggle for God's truth, is of little worth, save to its possessor. It may be a plant of the right sort, sprung from a divine seed; but the modern mode of treatment adopted towards it, renders it well nigh unproductive. It was never intended by God for a conservatory, but for the open field of the world. Nursed into dwarfishness, it becomes sickly and barren. To be strong, healthy, fruitful, it must stand in the open air, and encounter every wind which blows, come from whatever quarter it may. Then would its leaves be for the healing of the nations—and the surrounding atmosphere be redolent of its fragrance. We fear dissenters have not considered the subject in this its noblest aspect. They unwittingly cherish among them a morbid delight in a species of spiritual selfism. The distinctive truths they hold from heaven, they hold captive too often, we suspect, 'in unrighteousness.' Holy writ rebukes them. Even unsanctified reason detects their inconsistency; and, with all their greater advantages of light and experience, they might listen with profit to the teaching of our dramatic bard
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do ;
Art. II. De Poeticæ Vi Medica. Prælectiones Academicæ Oxonii habite,
Annis 1832—1841, a Joanne Keble, A.M. Poeticæ Publico Prelectore, Collegii Orielensis nuper Socio. Oxonii : J. H. Parker. 1844.
2 vols. pp. 853. THESE two volumes contain the lectures delivered by Mr. Keble, during the ten years in which he held the professorship of poetry in the university of Oxford. Each election to it is for the term of five years only; but at the expiration of that term, the professor may be re-elected for five years more. Among Mr. Keble's predecessors are found the names of Milman, Coplestone, and Lowth; the well known lectures of the last mentioned professor on Hebrew poetry were delivered on the occasion of his holding this chair. As the volumes before us contain the deliberate and well weighed judgments, which one, eminently imbued with the poetic spirit, has been led to form, respecting the essential nature of poetry, both as viewed in the abstract, and as illustrated in the writings of Homer, of the three Greek tragedians, of Pindar, of Lucretius, and of Virgil (not to name some others who occupy a less prominent place), we do not doubt that our readers, even those who are themselves not unfamiliar with the Latin language, will thank us for giving in our own tongue a somewhat extended account of their contents. While doing so, we shall venture, occasionally, to express our sentiments both on the opinions here advanced and on the subjects respecting which they treat; but our object will not be so much to criticise Mr. Keble's performance, as to develope his views for the information and pleasure of our readers.
We shall have no occasion to enter upon another of those discussions of Puseyism, with which the present generation is so much vexed, and which the author before us has himself been so largely instrumental in originating. If he has here and there let fall a sentiment belonging to the catholic school, he can yet be hardly charged with having designed to convert æsthetical investigations into vehicles of catholie teaching, or to have done more than may be fairly allowed to a man who is really in earnest. If our readers recollect what an impulse has been given to the development of the views referred to, by the publication of the Christian Year,' they will also recollect how deeply tinctured that volume is (elaborate as it certainly must always be felt to be) with the genuine spirit of meditative poetry. They will thus perhaps be disposed to concede that large measure of deference to his views on this subject, which they would feel constrained to withhold from his sentiments on subjects of far deeper importance.
Those who know the volume of poems referred to, or, indeed, consider the general tendencies of the system lately put forth by the Oxford party, will readily suppose, that Mr. Keble is a profound and reverential worshipper of whatever the consent of ages has pronounced worthy of worship. Too familiarly, he complains in his first lecture, has it been the fashion for the last age or two, to handle and discuss the remains of great poets; with too great rashness and petulance are those sanctuaries commonly invaded; whatever new thing, whatever notion unheard of before, any one fancies he has excogitated, without any hesitation, without any scruple of pious reverence, is at once and with a mighty outcry brought out and cast down before others. For himself, though he is sometimes apprehensive, that, just as in the advancing daylight the beautiful tints of morning are wont to fade away
from the sky, so the gratification, which in the period of youth is derived from poetry, may likewise have become fainter and more languid in his mind; yet he feels that his age warrants him to entertain one confidence: in the whole of the work before him, he hopes that he shall, as in a matter of solemn interest and of almost sacred inviolability, listen carefully to the dictates of profoundest reverence, and, if he may promise any thing for himself, he promises that he will.
He is fully aware of the embarrassments and disadvantages which arise from the obligation entailed by the conditions on which the professorship is held, to lecture in the Latin language. Yet, on the whole, he is far from expressing dissatisfaction with the arrangement. He is glad to be thus withdrawn from the temptation to use that style of criticism which is now so much in vogue. For the benefit of our brother-reviewers, as well of all writers whatever who may read our pages, we will give the estimate which, with too much justice, he forms of the mode of composition so popular in the present day.
• I am not sure whether it will not be much more advisable in the present day to discourse on poetry in the Latin than in the English tongue. I cannot, indeed, deny, the grief and vexation I am myself almost every hour experiencing—that whatever genius one is possessed of is thus in a manner kept down and shackled; that invention is dulled; that the whole mind more quickly becomes languid and weary; that whilst we are on the hunt for words and phrases, and are seeking to produce something in a knowing [scite) and really Latin dress, we are in great danger of receding from the actual truth of things. It is so. Yet I would not, therefore, wish any change herein to be made, because I think, that from the opposite side there are evils yet greater and yet more incompatible with the spirit of our present pursuit. Matters are now come to this pass, that in writing poetry he is thought to achieve just nothing, who does not contrive to dazzle the eyes of his readers by a never-ceasing recurrence of splendid passages. There is now nothing sedate, simple, unaffected ; everything which is said is destitute of all repose, and extravagant, and turbid, not to say, unnatural, and revolting. One may fancy himself listening to the singing of a number of little boys who have not been trained to the practice, and whose only effort seems to be, to sing each as loud as he can ;-how harmoniously, with what propriety, or with what sweetness, they neither care nor indeed know.
In this decline of poetry, it could hardly be expected that criticism would maintain its own functions in unimpaired efficiency; for in a most corrupt condition of a commonwealth who would hope to find the judges free from corruption? In the present day, at any rate, it has come about, that those very men, whose business it properly was to keep down all unruly growth, are every where running wild in unchastened luxuriancy, both of thought and of expression; that they who ought to have been engaged in cutting back all that was ambitious, are themselves the most chargeable with the same fault ; that those who ought to have confirmed the judgments of natural feeling, do themselves daily sow in the public mind the most idle fancies and the most empty opinions. In a word, too much is accorded to cleverness, too little to truth.
Further, nothing can be imagined more obtrusively annoying than these Reviewers. Some of them once a week,-others, more modest, once a month,--those, who exercise the greatest self-denial, at any rate four times in the year, come back upon you boasting in the name and position of critics. Very small is the number of those, who, in such rapidity of composition, do not say very many things in a manner quite different from what is alone right. But however absurd they may be, they almost all of them find some to support them, and, which is worst of all, some to read and to buy their effusions.
• Such being the case, I do not think it has fallen out amiss, that in the discharge of a very important work we are bound to such regulations, as have more regard to your dignity and to the interests of that severer kind of learning which belongs to this place, than either to the short-lived gratification of the ear or to the judgment of men more remarkable for acuteness than for depth. We shall bear without repining the absence of some things, which on other occasions are most desired and most advantageous, such as reputation, popularity, crowded benches; further, we shall be resigned to a more serious inconvenience than this, the loss of many admirable topics of discourse such as might in the very highest degree assist us in the successful achievement of our work;—. provided only, as on a matter so sacred, nothing is uttered which is marked by affectation, nothing which is tinctured with a false colouring for the sake of mere effect, nothing which is not characterised by ancient truthfulness and simplicity.'-vol. i. pp. 6—8.
To the inconveniences, which Mr. Keble enumerates in the earlier part of this extract, we think he might fairly have added that which arises from the imperfection of the Latin language, when employed as a vehicle of philosophical investigation. We know that Cicero judged very differently of his mother-tongue; but the consideration of what he has himself achieved in his attempt to express in Latin the refinements of Grecian philosophers, is enough, one would have thought, to deter any modern from the attempt to write in that language on subjects requiring any degree of philosophical nicety. And further, would not a greater service have been done to English criticism, if Mr. Keble, for instance, had published in his own tongue discourses on the subject of poetry, conceived with the same regard to 'ancient truthfulness and simplicity,' which he has propounded to himself as his aim in the above extract? There are, we believe, but few readers, however well versed in Latin, ancient or modern, who would not have understood his precise meaning far better, than when put, as it now has been, into the disguise of a Latin dress.
But taking matters as we find them, and waiving the remark which we might urge respecting reviews, that they are very often the means of introducing into the world the most effective and deeply-weighed productions of our best writers, and that Mr. Keble ought not to suppose, as he seems to do, that the same persons write every month or every quarter,-waivingall this, the observations made in the passage just translated are deserving of the most serious consideration. That affectation of point and study of making the diction striking—that continual aiming at something especially clever or strong—that absence of the repose and symmetry which are the proper concomitants of a well developed intellect and a perfectly educated taste that want of simplicity, in short, in words and sentiments, of which Mr. Keble so strongly expresses his abhorrence, may be regarded as the most crying sin in our ordinary literature. It is probably, in most cases, only the result of imperfect mental culture: in some, however, it is mere affectation. But, even when associated, as in a very few it may be, with ability, it is always repulsive. We have ourselves been greatly struck by the simplicity, in some instances almost approaching to baldness, which characterises the writings of men of thorough education when dealing with topics which really interest them; and after perusing the plain, manly, and yet often beautiful and deeply moving language of Mr. Newman, or other leaders of that school, we have almost sickened in heart at the reflexion, how much their severe taste would be at once offended—we might almost say disgusted, by the style employed by some of our most popural modern authors,— by some even of those who, not without due qualifications, have challenged their attention as opponents. And if the defects of style referred to are thus prejudicial to the influence of such writers, what are we to say of the large and everincreasing class who have little or nothing to set against the deep demerits of flippancy, rhetorical inflation, or anxious grasping at striking points ?
But we must return to the lectures. The question which, in effect, is first discussed is, what is the nature of that gratification which is received from poetry? And justice to our author requires that we should state his views on this point at some length. They are as follows.
Our nature is so constituted, that when we areunder the excitement of any strong emotion, it is a great relief and solace to be able to express our feelings in some way or other, whether by words or by gestures. The many forms of passionate exclamation and execration which are common in all languages, however deserving of deep censure the last may be, will serve as examples —their utterance relieves the bosom in some measure of that strong excitement with which it is overcharged. But there is, also, in the minds of all but the most abandoned, an antagonist principle of shame, which tends to check and repress the utterance of our deeper feelings. And this sensibility to shame is often seen to exist in the very highest degree along with keen sensibility in other respects. Men the most susceptible of emo