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ru'e voc'ation. Stra’ins of pure fe'eling, touches of tenderness,
mages of innocent hap'piness, sym'pathies with suffering virtue, bursts of sco'rn or indignation at the h'ollowness of the wor'ld, pa'ssages/ tru'e to our moral n'ature, often escape in an imm'oral-work, and sho'w us/ how hard it is for a gi'fted spirit/* to divorce itself whoʻlly/ from what is good. Poetry has a natural all'iance/ with our bes't-affections. It delights in the bea’uty and sublim'ity of the outward creʼation and of the sou'l. It indeed portrays (with terrible e'nergy) the excesses of the passions ; but they are passions/ which show a mighty n'ature, which are full of p'ower, which command a'we, and excite a de'ep/ though shu`ddering-sympathy. Its great te'ndency and pu'rpose, i's, to carry the mind beyo'nd and abov'e the beaten, du'sty/ weaỘry-walks of o'rdinary-life ; to lift it into a pu'rer element, and to breathe into it more profoʻund and ge'nerous emo'tion. It reveals to us the lo'veliness of n’ature, brings back the fres'hness of you thful 'fe'eling, revives the reli'sh of simple pleasures, keeps/ unquenched/ the enth'usiasm/ which warmed the spring-time of our b'eing, refin es youthful lo've, strengthens our interest in human na ture/ by vi'vid delineations of its te’nderest and lo'ftiest fe’elings, spreads our sym'pathies/ over all clas'ses of soc'iety, kni'ts-us (by ne'wties) with univ`ersal be’ing, an'd (through the brightness of its : prophetic vis’ions) helps faith/ to lay hold on the future-life.
OBJECTIONS TO POETRY COMBATED
DR. CHANNING. We are awar'e, that it is objected to po'etry, that it gives wrong views and excites fa lse expectations-of-life, peoples the mind with sha'dows and illu'sions, and builds up imagin'ations on the ruin's of wi’sdom. That there i's-a-wisdom, against which po'etry wars, (the wisdom of the se'nses, which makes physical comfort and gratification the supreme g'ood, and wea`lth the chief interest of li'fe) we do not den'y; nor do, we deem it the lea'st-service/ which poetry renders to m’ankind, that it rede'ems them from the thra'ldom of this ea‘rthborn pru’dence.* Bu't, passing over this topic, we would observ'e, that the complaint against poetry, (as abounding in illu'sion and decep'tion) is in the m’ain/ grou'ndless. In many p'oems/ there is more of truth/ than in many histories and philosophic theories. The fictions of g'enius/ are often the ve'hicles of the sublimest v'erities, and its flashes/ often open new regions of tho’ught, and throw ne'w-light/ on the m'ysteries of our be'ing. In p'oetry/ the letter is fá'lsehood, but the spiorit/ is often profoundest-wisdom. An'd/ if truth thus dwells in the boldest fic'tions of the poet, much more may it be expected in his delinea'tions of li'fe ; for the pr'esent life (which is the fir'st-stage of the immortal m'ind) abounds in the mater'ials of poetry, and it is the high office of the b’ard/ to detect this divine e'lement/ among the grosser la'bours and ple’asures of our earthly be'ing. The present life is not whoʻlly pros’aic, prec'ise, tam'e, and fi'nite. To the gifoted-eye/ it abounds in the poetic. The affec'tions/ which spread beyond oursel'ves and stretch fa'r/ into futu'rity; the workings of mighty pa’ssions, which seem to arm the so'ul/ with-an-almost-superh'uman en'ergy; the innocent and irrepre'ssible jo'y of in'fancy, the blo'om, and buoyancy, and dazzling-h'opes of you'th; the throbbings of the heart, when it first wakes to lov'e, and dreams of a ha'ppiness too vas't for earth ; wooman with her be'auty, and gra'ce, and gen’tleness, and fu'lness of feel'ing, and depth of affe'ction, and her blu'shes of purity, and the ton'es and loạoks/ which only a moʻther's-heart/ can inspire ;-these are all poetical. It is not true that the p'oet/ paints a life which does not ex'ist. He only extracts and conc'entrates (as it w'ere) life's ethe'real e'ssence, arr'ests and conden'ses/ its volatile fra'grance, brings together/ its scattered be’auties, and prolongs its more refi'ned/ but evane 'scent jo'ys; a'nd/ in th'is/ he does we'll ; fo'r/ it is good to fe'el that lif'e/ is not whoʻlly usurped by cares for subsis'tence, and physic'al gratific'ations, but adm'its (in measures which may be inde finitely enla'rged) senti'ments and deli'ghts/ worthy of a hi'gher bei'ng. This power of poetry/ to refine our views of li fe and hap'piness/ is m'ore, and more ne'eded, as soc'iety/ adva'nces. It is needed to withstand the encroachments of heartless and artificial man'ners/ which make civiliz'ation/ so tam'e and unin'teresting. It is needed to counteract the tendency of physical sci'ence, wh'ich (being now sought, n'ot as for merly for intel·lectual gratifica'tion, b’ut/ for multiplying bo‘dily csomforts,) requires a new dev'elopment of imagina'tion, tas'te, and p'oetry, to preserve men from sinking into an ear'thly, mat'erial, epicure'an-life. Our remar'ks/ in vindication of p'oetry/ have extended beyond our oʻriginal desi'gn. They have had a hig'her-aim/ than to assert the di'gnity of Mil'ton as a poạet, and tha't-is, to ende’ar and recomm'end this divine a'rt/ to a9l who reve'rence/ and would c'ultivate and refione their na'ture.
* It will not be forgotten, that every infinitive mood requires a pause before it, as well as every preposition except "of,” which is almost always pronounced in the same breath with the word that precedes it ;-as
* In this example we perceive the restraining power of the stronglyqualifying word " but." Though there is a period after “prudence,” it manifestly requires to be pronounced with the rising voice, agreeably to the principle of the first general Rule. And here it may be observed, that sentences immediately preceding all such strongly modifying words as but, nevertheless, while, whilst, whereas, &c., (whatever punctuation the word may have that precedes them) require, in general, the rising inflection, as in the example now instanced.
MILTON'S CHARACTER AS A POET.
Dr. CHANNING. In delineating Milton's cha'racter/ as a pooet, we are saved the necessity of looking fa'r/ for its disti nguishing-attributes. His na‘me is almost identified with subl'imity. He is/ in tru'th/ the subli'mest-of/ me'n. He ris’es, not by ef 'fort or d’iscipline, b'ut/ by a native tendency and a godlike in'stinct/ to the contemplation of ob'jects of gra’ndeur and aw'fulness. He always m'oves/ with a conscious-energy. There is no subject so va'st or terr'ific, as to repe'l or intim°idate-him. The overpowering grandeur of a th'eme/ kin'dles and attractshim. He enters on the description of the infer'nal-regions/ with a fearless tr'ead, as if he felt/ within himself a power/ to erect the prison-house of fallen spirits, to encircle them with flam'es and hor'rors/ worthy of their cr’imes, to call forth fr'om them, sho'uts/ which should “ tear hell's coʻncave," and to emb'ody in their chief/ an archangel's e'nergies and a demon's pri'de and hat'e. Even the stupendous conception of Saotan/ seems never to oppr'ess his fa'culties. This character of poower/ runs through a'll-Milton's-works. His descriptions of na'ture/ show a fre'e and bo'ld-hand. He has no need of
the m'inute, grap"hic-skill, which we prize in Cow per or Cr’abbe. With a few stro'ng or de'licate toʻuches, he impre'sses (as it w'ere) his own mi'nd/ on the sceʼnes/ whi'ch he would des'cribe, and kindles the imagina'tion of the gi'ftedreader/ to clothe them with the same radiant h’ues/ under wh'ich/ they app'eared/ to his ow'n.
This attribute of p'ower/ is universally felt to char’acterize Mi'lton. His subli’mity/ is in every man's mo'uth. Is it felt that hi's poetry/ breathes a sen'sibility and ten'derness/ hardly surpa'ssed by its sublimity? We apprehend that the gra'ndeur of Milton's mind) has thrown some shade over his milder-beauties/; and th'is/ it has do'ne/ not only by being more strik'ing and impoʻsing, bu't/ by the tendency of vast mental e'nergy/ to give a certain ca'lmness to the expre'ssion of te'nderness and deep-feeling. A groeat-mind/ is the master of its o'wn enth'usiasm, and does not often break out i'nto those tu'mults, which pa'ss/ with ma'ny/ for the sig'ns of profoundemotion. Its sensib'ility (though more intense and end'uring) is more self-poss'essed, and less pertu'rbed/ than thoat of other m'en, and is/ the'refore/ less observed and f'elt, except by thos'e/ who under stand (through their own con’sciousness) the workings and u'tterance of g'enuine fee'ling.*
« THE RUIN OF ENGLAND, THE SETTLED PURPOSE OF BUONAPARTE'S HEART."
DR. CHANNING. Will it be said that the conqueror has too much work at ho'me/ to care for Ameʼrica ? He has inde'ed work at hoʻme; bu't (unhappily for this coʻuntry) that work ever brings u's) to his vie'w. There is one work, one oʻbject, which is ever
“Of Milton's poʻetry, it would require a tongue like his ow'n/ to speak the pr'aise ; – it invigorates the understan'ding ; it pu’rifies the affe'ctions ; it lifts up the he’art, to Go'd :— Virtue; goeth o'ut of it.' E'ver will it end'ure to put to sha'me thoʻsel_who pervert the noblest gʻift-of H'eaven/ to lo'w and sen'sual-abu'se! Ever will it remain a triumphant memo'rial/ that the lamp of genius/ shines with the brightest lu'stre/ when it is fe'd' with the pu’rest-oil !"-Quarterly Review, No. LXXI., June, 1827.
present to the mi'nd-of Napoleon.* It mingl'es/ with all his thoug'hts. It is his dre'am by night, his caʼre/ by daủy. He did not forget it on the sho'res of the Ba’ltic, or the banks of the Danube.t The ruin of England is the fir'st, the most settled pu’rpose-of his he'art. Tha't nation, is the o'nly b'arrier/ to his ambi’tion. In the opulence, the e'nergy, the pu'blicspirit, the liberty-of-England, he sees the only obstacles to univ'ersal do'mination. England once fa’llen, and the civilized wor'ld/ lies at his fe'et. England ere ct, and there is one asylum for virtue, magnani'mity, freedom; one-spark/ which may set the world on fir'e ; on^e-nation/ to encour'age the disaffec'ted, to hold-up/ to the oppressed, the sta’ndard-of revo'lt. En ́gland/ therefore/ is the great object of the hostile fu'ry-of the Fr'ench-em'peror. En gland/ is the grea't-end of his plans; and hi's-plans (of cosurse) embrace all na'tions, which come in contact with E'ngland; which lo've/ or haîte her, which can give her supp'ort, or contʼribute to her do'wnfall. We th’en, (we may be ass'ured) are not overlooked by Napoleon.t We are a n'ation/ spru'ng from E'ngland. We have received from her our law's, and many of our institutions. We speak her laʼnguage, and/ in her la’nguage/ we dare to express the indigna'tion which she feel's at oppre'ssion. Besides, we have other t’ies/ which conn'ect us with En ́gland. We are a commercial peo'ple; commercial by l’abit, commercial by our very
situation. But/ no'-nation can be comm'ercial without maintaining some connection with E'ngland, without having many common interests wit'h her, without strengthening the foundations of her greatness. England is the great emporium of the wor'ld; and the conqueror kn'ows/ that it is only by extin'guishing-the commerce-of the world, by bringing every commercial na'tion/ to bear h‘is y'oke, that he can fix a mortal wo’und/ on Eng'land. Moreo'ver, we are the neighbours of some of the most valuable English c'olonies, and can exert an important i'nfluence on those channels of her co'mmerce, those so'urces of her op'ulence.
Can we then suppose that the ambi'tious, the keen-s`ightedNapoleon/ overlooks us in his schemes of universal c'on
* This celebrated proper name is become Anglicised, and has, agreeably to rule, the accent on the penultimate.
† Negative sentences, and negative members of sentences, it will be recollected, generally require the rising inflection.