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a philosopher ? In what sense does he read “the eternal deep?" In what sense is he declared to be “ for ever haunted by the Supreme Being ? or so inspired as to deserve the splendid titles of a mighty prophet, a blessed seer? By reflection ? by knowledge ? by conscious intuition? or by any form or modification of consciousness?" These would be tidings indeed; but such as would pre-suppose an immediate revelation to the inspired communicator, and require miracles to authenticate his inspiration. Children at this age give us no such information of themselves; and at what time were we dipt in the Lethe, which has produced such utter oblivion of a state so godlike? There are many of us that still possess some remembrances, more or less distinct, respecting themselves at six years old; pity that the worthless straws only should float, while treasures, compared with which all the mines of Golconda and Mexico were but straws, should be absorbed by some unknown gulf into some unknown abyss.
But if this be too wild and exorbitant to be suspected as having been the poet's meaning; if these mysterious gifts, faculties, and operations, are not accompanied with consciousness who else is conscious of them ? or how can it be called the child, if it be no part of the child's conscious being? For aught I know, the thinking Spirit within me may be substantially one
with the principle of life, and of vital operation. For aught I know, it may be employed as a secondary agent in the marvellous organization and organic movements, of my body. But, surely, it would be strange language to say, that I construct my heart !' or that I propel the finer influences through my nerves ! or that I compress my brain, and draw the curtains of sleep round my own eyes! SPINOZA and BenMEN were on different systems both Pantheists; and among the ancients there were philosophers, teachers of the EN KAI IIAN, who not only taught, that God was All, but that this All constituted God. Yet not even these would confound the part, as a part, with the Whole, as the whole. Nay, in no system is the distinction between the individual and God, between the Modification, and the one only Substance, more sharply drawn, than in that of SPINOZA. JACOBI indeed relates of LESSING, that after a conversation with him at the house of the Gleim (the Tyrtæus and Anacreon of the German Parnassus) in which conversation L. had avowed privately to Jacobi his reluctance to admit any personal existence of the Supreme Being, or the possibility of personality except in a finite Intellect, and while they were sitting at table, a shower of rain came on unexpectedly. Gleim expressed his regret at the circumstance, because they had meant to
drink their wine in the garden: upon which Lessing in one of his half-earnest, half-joking moods, nodded to Jacobi, and said, “ It is I, perhaps, that am doing that," i. e. raining! and J. answered, “ or perhaps I;" Gleim contented himself with staring at them both, without asking for any explanation.
So with regard to this passage. In what sense can the magnificent attributes, above quoted, be appropriated to a child, which would not make them equally suitable to a bee, or a dog, or a field of corn; or even to a ship, or to the wind and waves that propel it? The omnipresent Spirit works equally in them, as in the child; and the child is equally unconscious of it as they. It cannot surely be, that the four lines, immediately following, are to contain the explanation ?
66 To whom the grave
Of day or the warm light,
Surely, it cannot be that this wonder-rousing apostrophe is but a comment on the little poem of “ We are Seven ?” that the whole meaning of the passage
is reducible to the assertion, that a child, who by the bye at six years old would have been better instructed in most cbristian families, has no other notion of death than that
intellectual importance of habituating ourselves
in poetry it is practicable to preserve the diction uncorrupted by the affectations and misappropriations, which promiscuous authorship, and reading not promiscuous only because it is disproportionally most conversant with the compositions of the day, have rendered general. Yet even to the poet, composing in his own province, it is an arduous work : and as the result and pledge of a watchful good sense, of fine and luminous distinction, and of complete selfpossession, may justly claim all the honor which belongs to an attainment equally difficult and valuable, and the more valuable for being rare. It is at all times the proper food of the understanding ; but in an age of corrupt eloquence it is both food and antidote. In prose
I doubt whether it be even possible to preserve our style wholly unalloyed by the vicious phraseology which meets us every where, from the sermon to the newspaper, from the harangue of the legislator to the speech from the convivial chair, announcing a toast or sentiment. Our chains rattle, even while we are complaining of them. The poems of Boetius rise high in our estimation when we compare them with those of his contemporaries, as Sidonuis Apollinaris, &c. They might even be referred to a purer age, but that the prose, in which they are set, as jewels in a crown of lead or iron, betrays the true age of the writer. Much