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THE LAND OF WORDSWORTH.
rious awe of monastic associations, there is Naworth Castle, and the legends of Belted Will; there are Llanercost, and Furness, or if, as is likelier, he will be more impressed by the haunts of genius, there are the banks of Greta, sacred to the memory of Southey; the low cottage where poor Hartley Coleridge spent and ended his days; the humbler homes are strewn over all the land, and all converge to the Churchyard ; with what affecting beauty has the Poet caused each grave to heave with some simple tale, some legend of homely loveliness. How sweetly does he tell the story of Ellen and the JOYFUL TREE; of the old Elizabethan Knight; of the Infant's Grave; of the Conquest of Labour, and the Legend of the Pathway of Perseverance; of the Disappointed Clergyman; these are all told with the deepest pathos, they are narrations indeed everywhere found, but clad with a more distinct and clear meaning in those spots where man has time to look at man. Standing in Grasmere Churchyard we have thought, that is the centre of our Poet's Land; the rays of his genius would seem to converge and point there, while with the lesson of humanity lying at the feet, and the hills clasping us round as in an amphitheatre, and the shining lake waters, but all concealing the grim, and the black grandeurs lying beyond the hill, in Borrowdale or Wastwater; the calm, so near to darkness and storm, it seemed an appropriate place to chaunt the Poet's own lines.
“And blest are they who sleep; and we that know,
That all beneath us by the wings are covered
THE CHURCHYARD AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.
Smitten while all the promises of life
And here in the central shrine of the Poet's Longest Theme, and by the Grave Stone where lie his remains, we close our reminiscences of the Land of Wordsworth. CHAPTER VII.
WORDSWORTH AS AN ARTIST.
“For to say nothing of his natural gifts, he has cultivated himself and his art, he has studied how to live and how to write, with a fidelity and unwearied earnestness, of which there is no other living instance; of which among British Poets especially, Wordsworth alone offers any resemblance. And this in our view is the result. To our minds in those soft, melodious imaginations of his, there is embodied the wisdom which is proper to this time; the beautiful religious wisdom, which may still with something of its old impressiveness speak to the whole soul; still in these hard unbelieving, utilitarian days reveal to us glimpses of the Unseen but not Unreal World, that so the Actual and the Ideal may again meet together, and clear Knowledge be again wedded to Religion, in the life and business of men.”
Thomas CARLYLE.—Miscellanies ; Goethe.
“I must not be reproached with here confounding beauty with truth. I am very far from wishing that a work of art should be nothing but a true copy of the original. No it ought to be true, but it should also be beautiful, not by copying objects as they really are, but by bringing to light the idea which is in them.”
“From beauty infinitely growing
The subject with which we have headed this Chapter is indeed that of our whole book; we desire to pass in review some of those principles on which the Artist's
THE ARTIST DEFINED.
power is founded—those under-currents and streams of thought which give efficacy and enchantment to the painting; thus to illustrate some of those ideas in which the greatness of genius is supposed to consist. And first must we acknowledge, that as the Poet rises into the Artist, he passes beyond the impulses of ordinary humanity to a transcendental power,—the power of knowing things, and men by looking at them from a more exalted and ideal stand point. This is the greatness of the Artist; he sees things as they should be, rather than as they are, and seeing them so, he best illustrates their true character. Exact copies and imitations are never the best likenesses; the Painter makes the best likeness from his own genius, merely taking the outline and supplying the expression of the varying lights and shades which give the character to the Painting, or to the Portrait. The highest art is essentially Ideal, it exhibits the results and consequences of character, it shows the essence of a principle of conduct. So the Poet idealises Evil, as Goethe, or Good, as Schiller, or Passion, as Byron, or Nature and Abstract Humanity, as Wordsworth. And in a word, we may say that the Poet sees Nature from Law, not from Phænomenaobserves the beat of the Heart more than the colour of the Skin, and enters into the organic and vital life of things, and men, and beings, rather than the mechanical and occasional combinations. The inferior Poet is merely a Physiognomist, he only observes features, the great Poet, the Artist is a Physiologist :—and as the study of Physiology is in its first pages very re