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ings and a peculiar cast to his whole soul. In the presence of nature he has grown up to manhood, and in her presence has he continued through his life to rejoice. The scenery with which he has been familiar, is the most remarkable of any in the British Isles,various, beautiful and sublime. In the midst of it he has lived, and it has been with him as much a regular part of his daily life to gaze upon its mountains and its lakes, as it has been to arise in the norning, or to perform the necessary duties of each day. Scenes, such as are lost on almost the whole race through the indurating power of custom, and which startle them only when clothed in some novel form,—these have ever found in him a soul awake to their wonders. To look on the face of nature as it is varied by plain or mountain, as it is painted with changing colors by the seasons in their succession, and as it is now brightened or shaded by morning, noon or dewy eve, bas been with him through lise a passion. As a consequence, those features and combinations of features which escape the notice of the hasty or infrequent observer, or if they do not escape his notice, pass from his recollection, Mr. Wordsworth bas accurately observed and permanently recorded in his mind. Not only does the proof of this appear in his poetry, but it is most distincıly seen in the little work in prose which we have mentioned. When he speaks of the scenery of the lake country in this work, it is with that accuracy of description and that sort of scientific familiarity, with which an artist discourses of the painting of this or that master, or of the ornaments of the Flemish or Venetian school. The effect of the combination of particular colors, of the planting of particular trees, and of the disposition of that portion of the landscape which art can control, so that it may suit the portion which nature bas permanently established; are treated of with an accuracy which none but a patient observer of nature can appreciate, and of which no one but such an observer would imagine the subject to be capable.
Nature has also been to Wordsworth a teacher of truth and an inspirer of moral feeling. The babits to which she trains those who studs her works with an earnest and constant attention, are habits of gentleness, docility and love. In the permanence which is ever to be seen in her great outlines, there is something which gives permanence and fixedvess to the character of the man, who daily looks with interest on the same strongly marked features. The graceful and gentle hand wbich has made itself visible in her minuter forms, and has shaded her delicate colors, cannot be watched, in its noiseless operation from day to day, without attracting the soul to a love of the beautiful and the graceful in malters of taste, and to a love of the peaceful and the kind in feeling. Indeed, to be capable of becoming interested in nature at all, -to admit one of her lessons to take hold on the soul,all feelings VOL. VIII.
which are opposed to permanence, to gracefulness and love, must first be cast out from the soul. Is her observer vaio, frivolous, or fickle in character ? her lessons are 100 grave for a trifler to learn. Is he ferocious and coarse, through passion ? she can speak to 110 one in such a mood. Is he impatient or proud ? before she will unclose to him her lips, he must sit at her feet with a docile spirit and an open heart. No writer bas perhaps given so great an importance to the influence of the objects in the external universe, io forming the character and feelings aright,-no one has seen in nature such a perfect adaptation to che training of man's immortal spirit,-as has Wordsworth. To one who is unacquainted with the personal babits of the poet himself,—who does not know that his opinions on this subject are founded on wbat he has experienced in his own case,-bis estimate of what the influence of nature should be, may appear unfounded in truth, and his anticipations of what will one day be the result of a just regard of the works of God, may appear extravagant. Let no man judge on this subject, who has never attempted to interest himself in the works of nature. Let not the man who has never read a single line in this great and glorious book, which God holds open to all his creatures, despise its lessons, or affect to say, that none can be read on its fair and bright pages. He is no adequate judge in the case ; it becomes him to give no opinion.
There is still another result which happens to the true poet of nature, and also to the man who looks on nature with true poetic feeling. It is that which springs from the habit of associating with her features our strongest and most cherished emotions. From this tendency in man springs figurative language, which, while it sets forth itself, re-acts also on the feelings to which it furnishes winged words. The influence of nature in this respect has not been lost on Mr. Wordsworth. His own feelings of elevated contemplation, of deep reflection, and of rapturous praise, have found a fit support and outward resting-place in the beautiful and the majestic, as seen in the heavens and the earth. To strengthen these feelings, to give them tone and vigor by associating them with outward things, has been a habit of his daily and ordinary life:
• Therefore am I still
Of all my moral being.' vol. ii. p. 111. Hear, too, in what language, he extols the mistress who has so kindly taught him :
Knowing that nature never did betray
Is full of blessings.' vol. ii. p. 111. No one who has observed nature habitually, and with a right spirit, or who has given to ber scenes half the attention which is requisite for a tolerable familiarity with any one of the sciences; no one who has opened his heart to the lessons which may be read in her varied page, will say, that for a poet thus to speak is to talk in the language of dreams; or is to attempt to give utterance to that which no man in his senses can have distinctly experienced.
Wordsworth is also the poet of religion. He has not, however, concerned himself with the great objects which it reveals to our faith, so much as he has with the heart of man as it is influenced and controlled by these objects. The men and the human hearts which be has commended to our reverence and love ; the domestic peace, and the lowly yet godly life which he has so sweetly described ; are such only as are in fact seen where a pure faith is reverenced with a sacred and a serious awe, and where it blossoms and ripens into those golden fruits, which “ are joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” He is free to acknowledge this as his own conviction, in its appropriate place, though not with that explicitness and frequency which a theological polemic might think was required.
Superficial students of his poetical works may, and superficial students of his poetry have imagined, that his views of human nature as it actually exists, are those which he exhibits as its perfect ideal. But he can have read his works to but little purpose, who does not find in them the utterance of one burdened under a sense of the folly and madness of his kind, and of one who has addressed himself to the office of summoning them to higher aims, and of winning them to richer hopes, by telling them with gentleness and love what they might become, did they but think and feel with him :
• The way is marked,
So fare the many; and the thoughtful few,
Be sung with transport and unceasing joy.' vol. iv. p. 349. Let no one who can read and comprehend the import of such language as this, doubt that Wordsworth is the poet of religion. It is indeed true, that to the Father of all mercies, and to the Redeemer of man, he has addressed but few hymns; but the few which he has composed are marked by genuine humility and by exalted praise, while they are clothed in language chaste and pure. We only regret that they are so sew in number; though for this unfrequent occurrence we find a sufficient reason in the character and habits of his mind. The same peculiarity of original constitution, and the modification which this constitution has derived from his habits which forbid him to be successful as a dramatic poet, unfit him also in a degree to attain the highest rank in lyrical and devotional composition. He is in all his peculiar characteristics a reflecting poet; and consequently he turns to man and nature, and meditates on them, rather than summons himself to the purpose of exciting others to devotion, or stirring them up to action by strains that are vigorously expressed, or such as are animated by strong feeling. We may also say, that of design be has chosen for himself a peculiar class of subjects, and has confined himself to a circle of thought that is somewhat contracted. To unsold and desend the doctrines of our faith, and to guide the devotions of the church of God, he has left to the labors of others. Hiniself, with all his powers, has he devoted to describe man and nature as they are, and to show what man may become, when he is formed in the presence of nature, and trained by her influence. Man, as fitted to the external world, and the external world as adapted to the soul of man, are the themes which have engaged bis thoughts through lise, and which, with greater or less prominence, he has made the subjects of all his poems. We are bold to say, however, that the spirit which animates all his works, is the spirit of true religion; that the truth to which he calls our attention is none other than religious truth.
Such is the poet Wordsworth, in the threefold aspect under which we have viewed him; as the poet of man, of nature, and of religion. We are ready to admit, that his poetical genius is peculiar,—that it is heavy and somber in its features, and dignified and solemn in its movements. It does not starile nor attract at a first view; on the contrary, we are not disposed to deny, that its appearance at first is rather unattractive. His muse is a grave matron, and she invites you to enter a plain, rustic-looking cell. But the man that enters this cell and makes it bis abode, will find peace and a holy quietness within ; his mind will kindle with an enthusiasm more and more glowing, and with purposes that will become more determined in every good cause. His aspirations after perfection in mental power and in moral worth, will become more and more ardent. His taste in regard to works of literature, will become more just and elevated. His views of life will become more chastened, and yet sustained by higher hopes. From it he will go forth, fitted to grapple with the difficulties of life to better purpose, prepared to enjoy its varied pleasures with a purer taste and a keener relish, and enabled to turn all its joys and its sorrows into food for his immortal soul.
We should convey a wrong impression to our readers, if they should conclude, that Wordsworth is the founder of an entirely new school in poetry; or, that no other English poets can be named who resemble bim in his most important and distinctive features. Among the earlier poets of Great Britain, there are not a few who, in sweetness and the quiet beauty of expression, in their heartselt love of all that is great and good in human nature, and in their gentle moralizing on the character and destiny of man, are as Wordsworthiau as Wordsworth himself. Daniel and Drummond may be pamed as examples, though inferior in tone and energy, and never reaching that elevation to which he attains. Milton, however, in his character and writings, has been to bim a teacher; and him in many respects be professes to follow, though at a humble distance. In their sonnets, these two great poets will bear a comparison which will not result greatly to the disadvantage of the poet of our own times. Indeed, the sonpets of Wordsworth are equal to any in our language; wbile their number and their uniforin superiority speak much for the sertility of his genius. Here he appears in majestic strength, setting forth a single thought which in itself is noble, which advances by easy and graceful transitions, and which is borne onward by a stately and natural low of language. We give one as a specimen :
• Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour :