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mountains, skipping over the hills. Arise, my love, my dove, my beautiful one and come. For the winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come, the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. The fig-tree hath put forth her green figs, the vines in flower yield their sweet smell, arise my love, my beautiful one, and come. Return; be like my beloved, to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of Bether. Till the day break, and the shadows retire, I will go to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus, come. Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes, and with one hair of thy neck. The voice of my beloved knocking: open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled, for my head is full of dew, and my locks of the drops of the nights. My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands. His eyes as doves upon brooks of waters, which are washed with milk, and sit beside the plentiful streams Here are passages that possess neither loftiness nor majesty: on the contrary, they decline from the imposing grandeur of the one, and the stately dignity of the other, to the softest and humblest images on which the mind can rest. And yet, with all their want of loftiness and majesty, they are, perhaps, the purest specimen of poetic rapture which was ever dictated by inspiration itself. The very soul seems breathing upon the lips: the heart bursts forth in the plenitude of it's feelings, or is melted in love. It is this expression of feeling, this communication of kindred emotions, which constitutes, as I have already shewn in my Criterion of Poetical Pre-eminence," the highest excellence to which poetry can attain. It would be no argument to quote passages from Homer or Virgil, and to say, that nothing can be more sublime, nothing more majestic; for unless we choose to adopt the invariable principles of poetry" which have been offered to the world, as a criterion of poetical


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pre-eminence by the late editor of Pope's works, we must not confound the sublimity and the poetry of a passage with each other; for a passage may be poetic without being sublime, and sublime without being poetic, though it is certain that it may be sublime and poetic at the same time. Dryden, then, seems to be mistaken in saying, that the force of nature can go no farther than loftiness and majesty, particularly when he applies his observation to poetry; for, as I have shewn in the essay above referred to," the heart-rending pathos of feeling," is that which not only confers the highest interest on poetry, but it is that which forms it's distinctive character, and draws a line of separation between it and every other species of writing, except prose works of fiction. Pleasure, indeed, is the immediate object of both, but still poetry distinguishes itself from all other works of fiction, by the superior pleasure which it imparts, and the more absolute dominion which it exercises over the sympathies and affections of the heart. Mr. Campbell very justly observes in his "Lectures," that "the idea of happiness is still the sovereign feeling of poetry," for happiness, pleasure, delight, rapture, bliss, joy, felicity, &c. are only those kindred modifications of feeling which poetry seeks to excite in the human breast; and the moment the poet forgets that this is the direct object of his art, the moment he seeks to instruct, rather than to please, he passes over from the festive bowers and smiling retreats of the muse, and however musical and harmonious may be his numbers, he is no longer a poet. I would not insinuate, that the poet is not obliged to address the reasoning faculties, as well as the historian or the philosopher, for if he did not do so, he could impart no pleasure. No image or poetic representation can please the heart which is not true to nature, and in which the understanding can trace neither consistency nor object, or from which it can select nothing to encrease it's former stock of knowledge. But while the philosopher seeks only to improve the mind, the poet is bound by the nature of his art, to impart no information which is

European Magazine for December, 1821.

incapable of being so expressed, as to please at the same moment that it instructs. Hence it is, that some subjects are unfit for poetry, because they are barren of delight; but a great poet can still render a barren subject fruitful by images and associations, borrowed from other sources of pleasure, and from images of felicity which do not properly belong to the subject of which he treats. When Dryden, therefore, informs us, that Homer excelled in loftiness, and Virgil in majesty, we know nothing of the poetic excellence of either, because loftiness and majesty belong as much to prose as to poetry. Of this, instances without number might be quoted from the scriptures, so that pre-eminence in poetry, so far from being confined to loftiness and majesty, is no more allied to them than pre-eminence in prose.

to collect from the distinction made between the genius of Homer and Virgil, I am at a loss to discover any other; but if this be his meaning, we are completely bewildered in attempting to ascertain wherein does the genius of Homer differ from that of Milton. If Milton possessed the loftiness of Homer, it is unnecessary to tell us that he possessed the majesty of Virgil, simply because he who reaches to the highest degree, must necessarily be master of all the degrees which are subordinate to it, and excel in them all. If, then, Milton excelled in loftiness, he must have excelled still more in majesty; and so must Homer for the same reason; and yet we are told, that Milton alone excelled in both. Majesty of thought, then, cannot be a degree of loftiness, for if it were, Homer would be as majestic as Milton, as he posssessed Dryden's celebrated epigram, there- that loftiness of which majesty is supfore, leaves us as much in the dark posed to be only a degree. If then, respecting the poetic genius of Homer, by the majesty of Virgil, Dryden did Virgil, and Milton, as if we had never not intend to express a portion of read it. All we can collect from it Homer's loftiness, he must have inis, that these writers were men of tended to express two different spebigh intellectual endowments, but cies of poetic excellence, which were whether prose writers or poets, can- both united in Milton. If so, majesty not be determined from the endow- of thought forms a particular cast of ments conferred upon them. Besides, genius, which has no alliance with in what does majesty differ from loftiness, which is placed neither loftiness of thought? I apprehend above nor below it, but stands by Dryden never asked himself the ques- itself, and forms a particular species tion, or he would have never used the of it's own. The question then to be term majesty, to express a distinction, resolved is, what is this majesty of in which, when examined, we find no thought which Milton possessed, and of distinction; or at least one unworthy of which Homer was deficient? For my a critic, because it is ambiguous,uncer- part I know not what it is, and I doubt tain, and undefined. The loftiness of whether the most discriminating mind thought conferred upon Homer, is only can perceive any other distinction an extraordinary elevation of mind, than what I have pointed out. I am which wafted the Meonian bard to also inclined to think, that the term is heights inaccessible to all his succes- improperly applied to mental attrisors. But wherein does majesty differ butes, as it is borrowed from art and from this proud elevation, but in not not from nature. It was originally rising so high, and in it's incapacity to taken from the dignified manner and grasp at images and conceptions which elevated deportment observable in were sublimely placed above the reach Kings and Princes. But this manner of inferior genius. According to Dry- is artificial, for if it were founded in den, then, the genius of Homer dif- nature, the Peasant would be as mafered from that of Virgil, not in kind, jestic as the Baron, the Baron as the but in degree; or, in other words, Duke, and the Duke as the King. Virgil and Homer thought and felt Majesty, then, is not born with us: it alike so far as they could travel toge- is the offspring of circumstances, and ther, but Homer travelled farther. He cannot therefore be an original endowentered into regions of intellect, and ment of mind; for all original endowexplored creations of "untried being," ments must be founded in human to which Virgil was denied admittance. nature. All attributes of excellence, If this be not the idea which we are however, which are artificial, can

have no alliance with genius, because pure genius has it's origin in the same source with all other natural endowments. It cannot be the creature of circumstances, for if it were, circumstances would confer genius on a dunce. Majesty, therefore, is a term taken from art, and alway suggests to the mind images of artificial life, of personal or external, but not of mental greatness. We find, accordingly, that the terms, majesty and majestic are always applied by correct writers to manners or personal accomplishments. Milton, himself, who in his proper application of terms has, perhaps, never been excelled, if we except his Latinisms,Grecisms and Hebraisms, though, he frequently uses these terms, always applies them to sensible appearances, manners, or deportment, but never to passions or intellectual endowments but once. The reader who consults the verbal index to his works, which points out the different passages in which they occur, will be able to satisfy himself of the truth of this observation. In one passage, indeed, he does not apply it to sensible objects, but even here it is not used to express passions, or mental faculties, but simply to characterize style. The passage occurs in the fourth book of his "Paradise Regained," line 359. And even in these lines, I have no hesitation to say, that, critically and philosophically speaking, (and the epigram on which I now comment can only be considered in this point of view) the term is improperly applied, for a majestic style is, in the strictest sense of the expression, an artificial style. It is a style propped up by studied expressions, by an affectation of loftiness, without those internal resources of mind which, alone, can enable us to acquire it. It is a style of words and not of thoughts; or if a style of thoughts be not a licensed expression, it is a style which substitutes lofty terms for lofty ideas. It is a style of pomp, shew, ornament, grandeur, splendour and magnificence, all of which are terms that denote nothing originally great, and merely designate what is rendered great in appearance; or, in other words, it is the greatnes of art, and not of nature. We must not, therefore, unless we wish to be amused with words, flatter ourselves with an opinion, that Dryden's celebrated epigram enables us to form a clear and distinct perception of Mil

ton's genius; and consequently we must travel farther in pursuit of it. The moment, however, we discover the true character of his genius, we shall have little difficulty in distinguishing it from that of Homer and Virgil. We shall then perceive, that the genius of Homer, Virgil, and Milton differed from each other not so much in degrees of elevation, loftiness, sublimity, or expansion of intellect, as in the original stamp or character of their genius. Before I enter into this enquiry, I shall make a few observations on the original causes that distinguish writers of genius from each other. These causes will naturally lead me to distinguish them into four different classes, but the individuals of each class will be related to each other, not in their intellectual powers, or the celebrity which they have acquired by their works, but in the original character of their minds, and the congenial impulses by which they were directed and governed in their literary pursuits. The relative merits of Milton cannot therefore be determined by the class in which he may be placed, but by the rank which he holds in that class.

There are two sorts of knowledge; one which is acquired through the medium of the understanding, the other through the feelings; or, as some philosophers call them, the internal senses. The knowledge communicated through the latter source begins to dawn much earlier on the infant mind than that which is obtained from the reasoning faculties. We know that a rose is more beautiful than a thistle long before we know that the whole is greater than any of it's parts; not but the latter truth is as obvious as the former, the moment we come to reflect upon it, but some people grow up to maturity before such a reflection ever enters their minds; whereas the appearances of nature are always before our eyes, and force themselves upon our attention whether we will or will not. We have therefore ideas of beauty and deformity, long before we begin to attend to the agreement or disagreement of our own ideas. All our other feelings are exercised in the same manner, before the understanding thinks of taking cognizance of it's own operations. We read in the countenances of our parents, brothers, sisters, and all those with

whom we associate, the passions of love and hatred, of mildness and anger, of commiseration and cruelty, of patience, impatience, and all the other passions incident to human nature, in our earliest years. Hence it is, that the experience which we acquire in matters of feeling, before the reasoning faculties begin to unfold themselves, renders us always, more or less, the creatures of instinct, for all knowledge acquired through the senses must necessarily be instinctive; and hence also it is, that even philosophers and metaphysicians, though they devote themselves to abstract contemplations, cannot always divest themselves of that domination which sensible impressions exercised over them in their early years; and they are now, as in their youth, often hurried away; if not in their writings, at least in their actions, by the influence of the first impulse.

This influence, however, varies almost in every individual; but it varies not in kind but in degree. What pleases or displeases one man will generally be found to please or displease another, but then the degree of pleasure or displeasure which it imparts varies in cach. The same observation is applicable to all our feelings. What renders one man angry will have the same effect upon another, though one may be in a rage when the other is only somewhat ruffled in his temper. One man is transported with the beauties of nature, and revels in the intoxication of sensible delight, while another is simply pleased with the scenes or objects by which this pleasure is produced. The former, consequently, perceives with a more discriminating eye what qualities in objects are most pleasing and agreeable, and continues longer to feel their influence, while the latter forgets the influence of impressions that were never captivating or delightful, after his mind has been for some time directed to abstract contemplations, and his reasoning faculties sufficiently developed. He begins now to repel the little of influence which he felt before, to repress his own feelings, and to obey no law but that of the understanding. Such a man is always a novice in the science of feeling, and consequently no judge of works of taste, as the understanding alone can never determine their merits. But

notwithstanding his want of feeling, and his consequent ignorance of works of taste, his intellectual faculties may be of Herculean structure, and, in matters of pure science, he may trace relations and differences which Homer and Milton would seek after in vain. Hence, then, the question is easily decided, whether "one science only will one genuis fit," for it is obvious that he who unites apathy of feeling with strong intellectual faculties, can neither be a judge nor a writer of works of taste, and can therefore never produce an "Iliad" or a "Paradise Lost," because no intellectual power will enable him to discriminate beauty unless he can feel it. Dr. Johnson then is evidently mistaken in supposing, that whoever possesses strong intellectual faculties, is qualified to excel in any literary pursuit to which he directs his attention. If the Doctor, or any of the writers who have treated on this subject, had attended to the distinction which is rightly made between pure science and that knowledge which is acquired through feeling, they could not hesitate a moment in agreeing with Pope. The mind or intellectual faculties can form no judgment whatever of sensible beauties, as they come entirely under the province of feeling. How then can he who has no feeling describe what he has no conception of, because he cannot conceive it except through feeling. It is impossible to describe the beauties of nature, or the pleasures resulting from them, unless they are felt; and the history of literature makes us acquainted with men whose mental powers were of "giant mould," but who were notwithstanding incapable of relishing the beauties of nature. A man of this stamp might possess as much knowledge in his little finger, to use a common but very significant expression, as Akenside possessed in his head; but a host of such men could not write the following his "Pleasures of Imagination," where he describes the happiness which men of feeling can alone enjoy.

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And still new beauties meet his lonely walk,

And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze

of feeling which nature has portioned out to the individuals of which it is composed, partly from the different

Flies o'er the meadow; not a cloud im- objects of feeling which engage their


The setting sun's effulgence; not a strain From all the tenants of the warbling shade

Ascends; but whence his bosom can partake

Fresh pleasures, unreproved."

If this passage could only be written by him who felt what he described, and if, at the same time, there have been writers, who, though they could not describe it, possessed more enlarged intellectual faculties than Akenside could pretend to, it is obvious that men of genius divide themselves into two classes; namely, men whose knowledge is chiefly acquired through the medium of feeling, and men who acquire it chiefly through the medium of the understanding, and that consequently the latter can excel only in matters of pure science, the former only in works of taste and imagination. The latter cannot excel in works of taste, because they do not feel. At every step they advance, they require to be propped up by principles, dogmas, data, axioms, postulates, premises, conclusions, corollaries, majors, minors, predicates, and all the other original elements of reasoning on which demonstration is founded. The former cannot excel in abstract subjects, because the ardor of their feelings will not suffer them to linger amid the desert abodes of an uninhabited world, to trace distinctions where there are no visible objects to be distinguished, and to discover relations, not between the sensible appearances but the invisible attributes of the physical and intellectual world. They love to give an unlimited career to the predominating influence of their own feelings, from which they derive that energy, vigour, enthusiasm, invention, and genius, which have immortalized their names, and stamped a character of originality upon their works, which distinguish them from every other class of writers. These are the only two classes of minds into which nature has distinguished the human race: but these again divide themselves into an endless diversity of orders, particularly the former class. This diversity partly arises from the different degrees

attention, and partly from the different degrees in which they exercise their intellectual faculties.

The principal writers belonging to these two classes, which I shall call the first and fourth classes of writers, for reasons which will immediately appear, are,

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These two classes of writers, though cach of them contains some of the most celebrated names of which literature can boast, stand in the opposite extremes of intellect. They possess, indeed, very little in common, and differ as much as is possible for one mode of intelligence (reasoning "from what we know,") to differ from another. The writers of the first class view every object through the medium of feeling, or if they exercise their understanding, they either do so unconsciously or seem to do so, so that their works never smell of the midnight oil. They differ from each other, therefore, in degrees of feeling, not in degrees of intellect; for the lowest in the scale, as Massilon, Goldsmith, Sterne, &c. could deduce conclusions from premises with as great accuracy, and distinguish the objects which engaged their attention

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