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graceful, and sometimes recondite. The likeness is occasionally too strange, or demands too peculiar a point of view, or is such as appears the creature of predetermined research, rather than spontaneous presentation. Indeed his fancy seldom displays itself, as mere and unmodified fancy.46 But in imaginative
48 [How true this is ! The Fancy in Mr. Wordsworth's poems I feel disposed, in my own mind, to resign to my Father's stricture; it is rather like the miniature painting of one who has been accustomed to a bold style in crayons. But most of the poems, placed by the author himself under the head of Fancy, are superficially fanciful, but internally far more. The Green Linnet derives its charm from the exquisite description of the bird, and the feeling conveyed, through him, of vernal rapture-of “ the music and the bloom, And all the mighty ravishment of Spring.” In the little poem To a Sexton, Fancy does but Ait, like a swallow, over a depth of human tenderness. Stanzas VIII, and IX. of The Oak and Broom contain a lovely natural description. The first poem, To the Daisy, is full of sweet sentiment, reminding one a little of Burns. The poems to the Celandine abound in happy expressions and images. What truth of nature poetically exhibited is there in this stanza!
Of all common flowers, the small celandine is the most burnished; it seems as if the sun had enclosed a bit of gold in its cup when he sent it forward as his harbinger. In the poems To a Skylark and The Danish Boy the general conception seems to me imaginative, though the particulars in each case are instances of Fancy To call up that “ spirit of Noon-day,” to clothe him with the attributes of Spring and of Day-time, and, by an exquisite metathesis, to invest his habitation,--the “ lovely dell” in which “he walks alone,”—with the spirituality of his presence, was surely the work of imagination ; nomere effort of memory, or of the associative power alone, for the result of the whole is something which acts upon the mind “like a new existence.” (See Mr. Wordsworth's Preface to the edit. of 1815. P. W., p. xxviii.) This poem seems to illustrate the joint action of Fancy and Imagination. The mere
aggregation or association” of images,—that part of the process, in any example, however, upon the whole, imaginative,-my Father would, I suppose, have assigned to Fancy;
power, he stands nearest of all modern writers to Shakspeare and Milton; and yet in a kind perfectly unborrowed and liis own. To employ his own words, which are at once an instance and an illustration, he does indeed to all thoughts and to all objects
add the gleam, The light that never was, on sea or land, The consecration, and the Poet's dream.”49
I shall select a few examples as most obviously manifesting this faculty ; but if I should ever be fortunate enough to render my analysis of Imagination, its origin and characters, thoroughly intelligible to the reader, he will scarcely open on a page of this poet's works without recognising, more or less, the presence and the influences of this faculty.
From the poem on the Yew Trees,60 vol. i., page 303, 304.
“ But worthier still of note
for how otherwise can we define her office? But this operation may b. tarried on, more or less, in subservience to the higher law of poetic crea tion, as it seems to me to be in The Danish Boy. S.C.]
49 [From Elegiac Stanzas. P. W., V., p. 311. S. C.) 50 (From Yew Trees. P. W., ii., p. 84. S. C.]
51 [“ Pining umbrage” in all the editions. I have left my Father's substitution, as a curious instance of a possible different reading. shade” and “piny verdure” we read of in the poets; but “pinal » I believe is new. Pining, which has quite a different sense, is doubtless still better; but perhaps my Father's ear shrunk from it after the word “ sheddings” at the beginning of the line. S. C.]
SILENCE and FORESIGHT; DEATH, the Skeleton,
The effect of the old man's figure in the poem of RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE, vol. ii., page 33.
“While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The Old Man's shape and speech all troubled me :
Or the 8th, 9th, 19th, 26th, 31st, and 33d, in the collection of miscellaneous sonnéts3—the sonnet on the subjugation of Switzer. land, page 210, or the last ode, from which I especially
52 [P. W., ii., p. 123. Stanza xix. S. C.]
63 [“ Where lies the Land.” Ib., iii., p. 33. “ Even as a Dragon's Eye,” p. 66. “O Mountain Stream !" iv., p. 20. “ Earth has not anything to show more fair," iii., p. 78. “Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne," p. 30. “ It is a beauteous Evening-calm and free.” (Now“ Air sleeps,-from strife or stir the clouds are free.") P. 32 S. C.]
54 [" Two voices are there." Ib. ib., p. 186.
The Sonnet “I heard (alas ! 'twas only in a dream)” iii., p. 47, is a beautiful companion to “ Methought I saw." I have sometimes amused myself with finding this sort of cognateness or companionable character amongst the sonnets of Mr. Wordsworth ; as we play with a wreath of gems, placing them in many different lights and positions for the gratification of the eye, so, playing with these jewels of poetry I have coupled the splendid sonnet, “Fair Star of Evening,” p.176,with that composed on Westminster bridge, p. 178;—“Two voices are there,” ib., p. 186, with “ Once did she hold the gorgeous earth in fee,” ib., p. 180 ;-" The world is too much with us,” ib., p. 35, with “ I watch and long have watched,” ib., p. 46 ;-and, not to trouble the reader with the whole of my match-making fancies, “ It is not to be thought of,” ib., p. 190, or “ When I have borne in memory,” ib., p. 191, with that truly majestic one,
-Inland, within a hollow vale, I stood : ib., p. 185,
which begins with such a quiet gravity, and Aows on so naturally into the excess of solemn grandeur. My father quoted this noble sonnet in The
select the two following stanzas or paragraphs, page 349 te 350.56
“ Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting :
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
And cometh from afar.
Upon the growing Boy;
He sees it in bis joy!
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended ;
352 to 354 of the same ode.56
“O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
Friend, when it first appeared, but the Public of 1809 cared little for The
55 [P. W., V., p. 340. S. C.]
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
sense and outward things,
To perish never :
And since it would be unfair to conclude with an extract, which, though highly characteristic, must yet, from the nature of the thoughts and the subject, be interesting, or perhaps intel. ligible, to but a limited number of readers ;-I will add, from the poet's last published work, a passage equally Wordsworthian ; of the beauty of which, and of the imaginative power displayed therein, there can be but one opinion, and one feeling. See White Doe, page 5.57
57 (P. W., iv., pp. 48–50. There are now two or three slight alterations, S. C)