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THE DOE'S" HIGH COMMUNION."
Nor do a suffering Spirit wrong,
- p. 103.
This virtuous and reasonable person, however, has ill luck in all his dissuasories; for one of the horsemen puts a pike into him without more ado — and
"There did he lie of breath forsaken!'
And after some time the neighbouring peasants take him up, and bury him in the church yard of Bolton Priory.
The Seventh and last Canto contains the history of the desolated Emily and her faithful doe; but so very discreetly and cautiously written, that we will engage that the most tender-hearted reader shall peruse it without the least risk of any excessive emotion. The poor lady runs about indeed for some years in a very disconsolate way, in a worsted gown and flannel nightcap: But at last the old white doe finds her out, and takes again to following her whereupon Mr. Wordsworth breaks out into this fine and natural rapture.
Oh, moment ever blest! O Pair!
Belov'd of Heaven, Heaven's choicest care!
"That day, the first of a re-union
Which was to teem with high communion,
That day of balmy April weather,
They tarried in the wood together."- p. 117, 118.
What follows is not quite so intelligible.
"When Emily by morning light
Did she behold saw once again ;
It certainly is not easy to guess what could be in the mind of the author when he penned these four last inconceivable lines; but we are willing to infer that the
DOE'S ADOPTION BY "THE ETERNAL PRIME!"
lady's loneliness was cheered by this mute associate; and that the doe, in return, found a certain comfort in the lady's company —
Communication, like the ray
Of a new morning, to the nature
And prospects of the inferior Creature!"
In due time the poor lady dies, and is buried beside her mother; and the doe continues to haunt the places which they had frequented together, and especially to come and pasture every Sunday upon the fine grass in Bolton churchyard, the gate of which is never opened but on occasion of the weekly service. In consequence of all which we are assured by Mr Wordsworth, that she is approved by Earth and Sky, in their benignity; and moreover, that the old Priory itself takes her for a daughter of the Eternal Prime,' - which we have no doubt is a very great compliment, though we have not the good luck to understand what it means.
"And aye, methinks, this hoary Pile,
But Daughter of the Eternal Prime!'
1. Records of Women: with other Poems. By FELICIA HEMANS. 2d Edition. 12mo. pp. 323. Edinburgh: 1828.
2. The Forest Sanctuary: with other Poems. By FELICIA HEMANS. 2d Edition, with Additions. 12mo. pp. 325.
nor even scenes
WOMEN, we fear, cannot do every thing; nor even every thing they attempt. But what they can do, they do, for the most part, excellently- and much more frequently with an absolute and perfect success, than the aspirants of our rougher and more ambitious sex. They cannot, we think, represent naturally the fierce and sullen passions of men nor their coarser vices of actual business or contention nor the mixed motives, and strong and faulty characters, by which affairs of moment are usually conducted on the great theatre of the world. For much of this they are disqualified by the delicacy of their training and habits, and the still more disabling delicacy which pervades their conceptions and feelings; and from much they are excluded by their necessary inexperience of the realities they might wish to describe-by their substantial and incurable ignorance of business-of the way in which serious. affairs are actually managed - and the true nature of the agents and impulses that give movement and direction. to the stronger currents of ordinary life. Perhaps they are also incapable of long moral or political investigations, where many complex and indeterminate elements are to be taken into account, and a variety of opposite probabilities to be weighed before coming to a conclusion. They are generally too impatient to get at the ultimate results, to go well through with such discussions; and either stop short at some imperfect view of the truth, or turn aside to repose in the shade of some
PROPER SPHERE OF FEMALE TALENT.
plausible error. This, however, we are persuaded arises entirely from their being seldom set on such tedious tasks. Their proper and natural business is the practical regulation of private life, in all its bearings, affections, and concerns; and the questions with which they have to deal in that most important department, though often of the utmost difficulty and nicety, involve, for the most part, but few elements; and may generally be better described as delicate than intricate; - requiring for their solution rather a quick tact and fine perception, than a patient or laborious examination. For the same reason, they rarely succeed in long works, even on subjects the best suited to their genius; their natural training rendering them equally averse to long doubt and long labour.
For all other intellectual efforts, however, either of the understanding or the fancy, and requiring a thorough knowledge either of man's strength or his weakness, we apprehend them to be, in all respects, as well qualified as their brethren of the stronger sex: While, in their perceptions of grace, propriety, ridicule their power of detecting artifice, hypocrisy, and affectation the force and promptitude of their sympathy, and their capacity of noble and devoted attachment, and of the efforts and sacrifices it may require, they are, beyond all doubt, our Superiors.
Their business being, as we have said, with actual or social life, and the colours it receives from the conduct and dispositions of individuals, they unconsciously acquire, at a very early age, the finest perception of character and manners, and are almost as soon instinctively schooled in the deep and more dangerous learning of feeling and emotion; while the very minuteness with which they make and meditate on these interesting observations, and the finer shades and variations of sentiment which are thus treasured and recorded, trains their whole faculties to a nicety and precision of operation, which often discloses itself to advantage in their application to studies of a different character. When women, accordingly, have turned their minds as they have done but
WOMAN'S PECULIAR EXCELLENCE.
too seldom-to the exposition or arrangement of any branch of knowledge, they have commonly exhibited, we think, a more beautiful accuracy, and a more uniform and complete justness of thinking, than their less discriminating brethren. There is a finish and completeness, in short, about every thing they put out of their hands, which indicates not only an inherent taste for elegance and neatness, but a habit of nice observation, and singular exactness of judgment.
It has been so little the fashion, at any time, to encourage women to write for publication, that it is more difficult than it should be, to prove these truths by examples. Yet there are enough, within the reach of a very careless and superficial glance over the open field of literature, to enable us to explain, at least, and illustrate, if not entirely to verify, our assertions. No Man, we will venture to say, could have written the Letters of Madame de Sevigné, or the Novels of Miss Austin, or the Hymns and Early Lessons of Mrs. Barbauld, or the Conversations of Mrs. Marcet. Those performances, too, are not only essentially and intensely feminine; but they are, in our judgment, decidedly more perfect than any masculine productions with which they can be brought into comparison. They accomplish more completely all the ends at which they aim; and are worked out with a gracefulness and felicity of execution which excludes all idea of failure, and entirely satifies the expectations they may have raised. We might easily have added to these instances. There are many parts of Miss Edgeworth's earlier stories, and of Miss Mitford's sketches and descriptions, and not a little of Mrs. Opie's, that exhibit the same fine and penetrating spirit of observation, the same softness and delicacy of hand, and unerring truth of delineation, to which we have alluded as characterising the purer specimens of female art. The same distinguishing traits of woman's spirit are visible through the grief and piety of Lady Russel, and the gaiety, the spite, and the venturesomeness of Lady Mary Wortley. We have not as yet much female poetry; but there is a truly feminine tenderness, purity, and ele