« AnteriorContinuar »
quent curiosa fehcitas of his diction, of which I need not here give specimens, having anticipated them in a preceding page. This beauty, and as eminently characteristic of Wordsworth’s poetry, his rudest assailants have felt themselves compelled to acknowledge and admire.
Fourth ; the perfect truth of nature in his images and descriptions as taken immediately from nature, and proving a long and genial intimacy with the very spirit which gives the physiognomic expression to all the works of nature. Like a green field reflected in a calm and perfectly transparent lake, the image is distinguished from the reality only by its greater softness and lustre. Like the moisture or the polish on a pebble, genius nei. ther distorts nor false-colors its objects; but on the contrary brings out many a vein and many a tint, which escape the eye of common observation, thus raising to the rank of gems what had been often kicked away by the hurrying foot of the traveller on the dusty high road of custom.
Let me refer to the whole description of skating, vol. i., page 42 to 47, especially to the lines
“ So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
And not a voice was idle: with the din
Or to the poem on The Green LINNET, vol. i., p.
40 What can be more accurate yet more lovely than the two concluding stanzas ?
“ Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Yet seeming still to hover;
so (Influence of Natural Objects. P. W., i., p. 38. & C.). 40 (P. W., ii., p. 27. The last stanza is now a little a!tcred. S. C.]
There! where the flutter of his wings
That cover him all over.
While thus before my eyes he gleams,
His little song in gushes :
Of Leaves among the bushes."
Or the description of the blue-cap, and of the noon-tide silence,
41 [P. W., ii., p. 71.
Where is he that giddy Sprite
p. 284 ; or the poem to the cuckoo, p. 299;“ or, lastly, though I might multiply the references to ten times the number, to the poem, so completely Wordsworth's, commencing
“Three years she grew in sun and shower”_43
Fifth: a meditative pathos, a union of deep and subtle thought with sensibility; a sympathy with man as man; the sympathy of a contemplator, rather than a fellow-sufferer or co-mate (spectator, haud particeps), but of a contemplator, from whose view no difference of rank conceals the sameness of the nature ; no injuries of wind or weather, of toil, or even of ignorance, wholly disguise the human face divine. The superscription and the image of the Creator still remain legible to him under the dark lines, with which guilt or calamity had cancelled or cross-barred
Is it that they have a fear
Sweeter even than gaiety ?” S. C.] 42 (P. W., ii., p. 81.]
(Lucy. P. W., ii., p. 91. This poem contains those most beautiful stanzas
She shall be sportive as the fawn
Or up the mountain springs ;
Of mute insensate things.
The foating clouds their state shall lend
Nor shall she fail to see
By silent sympathy.
The stars of midnight shall be dear
In many a secret place
Shall pass into her face.
it. Here the Man and the Poet lose and find themselves in each other, the one as glorified, the latter as substantiated. In this mild and philosophic pathos, Wordsworth appears to me without a compeer. Such as he is :' so he writes.
See vol. i., page 134 to 136,44 or that most affecting composition, The AFFLICTION OF MARGARET
page 165 to 168, which no mother, and, if I may judge by my own experience, no parent can read without a tear. Or turn to that genuine lyric, in the former edition, entitled, THE MAD MOTHER,46 page 174 to 178, of which I cannot refrain from quoting two of the stanzas, both of them for their pathos, and the former for the transition in the two concluding lines of the stanza, so expressive of that de. ranged state, in which, from the increased sensibility, the suffer. er's attention is abruptly drawn off by every trifle, and in the same instant plucked back again by the one despotic thought, bringing home with it, by the blending, fusing power of Imagination and Passion, the alien object to which it had been so abruptly divert. ed, no longer an alien but an ally and an inmate.
“ Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
It cools my blood ; it cools my brain;
44 ['Tis said, that some have died for love. P. W., i., p. 154.
Amongst the Poems founded on the Affections is one called, from its first line, “I travelled among unknown men,” which ends with these lines, wherein the poet addresses his native land:
Thy mornings showed, thy nights concealed
The bowers where Lucy played ;
That Lucy's eyes surveyed.
A friend, a true poet himself, to whom I owe some new insight into the merits of Mr Wordsworth's poetry, and who showed me, to my surprise, that there were nooks in that rich and varied region, some of the shy treasures of which I was not perfectly acquainted with, first made me feel the great beauty of this stanza ; in which the Poet, as it were, spreads day and night over the object of his affections, and seems, under the influence of passionate feeling, to think of England, whether in light or darkness, only as her play-place and verdant home. S. C.] 45 [The Amiction of Margaret. P. W., i., p. 177. S. C.]
(Her eyes are wild P. W., i., p. 256. S. C.]
Thy lips, I feel them, 'baby! they
" Thy father cares not for my breast,
'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest;
Last, and pre-eminently, I challenge for this poet the gift of Imagination in the highest and strictest sense of the word. In the play of fancy, Wordsworth, to my feelings, is not always
47 [" Meditative pathos,” “the union of subtle thought with sensibility,” is highly manifested in a poem among those On the Naming of Places, entitled “ When to the attractions of the busy world.” The last paragraph contains those lines of marked expression,
Even so didst thou become
P. W., ii., p. 301.
The speech of Francis to his sister in Canto II. of The White Doe, especially from the lines,
For thee, for thee, is left the sense
is a beautiful and lofty strain, breathing, amid deep pathos, a spiritual elevation, for which dignity seems a poor word. S. C.]