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or a Deist, as he happened to be in the mood-or as this no-belief or that seemed best suited for a series of stanzas to astonish the natives. We have seen what he made by trying to "mingle with the universe." In one of the most admired passages in the third book of the Childe, throughout the whole of which he is haunted by Wordsworth, whom he would, all in vain, hate and imitate-while declaring that he has delivered himself up, soul and body, to the feeling of the infinite, the supersensual, and the spiritual, sympathizes with the early Persian in making
"His altar the high places, and the peak Of earth o'ergazing mountains,"
"Come and compare Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer;"
even in that very mood of ecstasy, rapt and inspired beyond this "visible diurnal sphere" by the more glorious aspects itself assumes, he destroys our delusion, and lets us into the secret of his own or rather into that of his deception--by a single blow that jars all the nerves in our body
And storm and darkness, ye are wondrous
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
From peak to peak, the rattling crags
Leaps the live thunder
is glorious; but, alas! how could the same man who said that say
"And now the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountainmirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth!!"
Now turn to Wordsworth-not on account of any similarity of style, for there is none, between him and Byron -nor yet on account of much similarity between the objects dealt with, for there is little, except that they are in both cases objects of nature-but on account of the manifest but unsuccessful straining, in the stanzas we have been reading, after the spirit of the communion which Wordsworth holds in his poetry with all outward things.
"These beauteous forms,
On that best portion of a good man's life,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Is lighten'd:-that serene and blessed mood,
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
"If this Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft, In darkness, and amid the many shapes Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, Has hung upon the beatings of my heartHow oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, O silvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
The picture of the mind revives again :
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts,
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
"When like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
"That time is past,
Not harsh nor grating, but of amplest power
"And I have felt
All thinking things, all objects and all thought,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
What divine exaltation, and what divine composure! Poetry, Philosophy, Religion. And clear as light-harmonious as music-the perfectly beautiful language of the Revelation!
Or turn to that glorious passage in the Excursion--but the mountains all wear an unusual hush, and we shall give it utterance to glorify the gloom.
"Such was the Boy-but for the growing youth What soul was his, when from the naked top
Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
Rise up, and bathe the world in light! he looked-
Of visitation from the living God,
Lowly; for he was meck in gratitude,
Oft as he called those ecstasies to mind,
And whence they flowed; and from them he acquired
Wisdom, which works through patience; thence he learned,
In oft recurring hours of sober thought,
To look on nature with a humble heart,
Self-questioned where it did not understand,
People say that, of all poets, Byron alone has fitly sung the sea. recite the celebrated close of Childe Harold.
"Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling-place,
Ye Elements !-in whose ennobling stir
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
"Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ; Man marks the earth with ruin-his control Stops with the shore ;-upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, When, for a moment, like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknell'd, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
"His steps are not upon thy paths,-thy fields Are not a spoil for him,-thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields For earth's destruction thou dost all despise, Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies, And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies His petty hope in some near port or bay, And dashest him again to earth-there let him lay,
"The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
"Thy shores are empires, changed in all save theeAssyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free, And many a tyrant since; their shores obey The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay Has dried up realms to deserts:—not so thou, Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' playTime writes no wrinkle on thine azure browSuch as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
"Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed-in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
"And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy I wanton'd with thy breakers-they to me Were a delight; and if the freshening sea Made them a terror-'twas a pleasing fear, For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near, And laid my hand upon thy mane-as I do here."
What connexion of thought or feeling is there between the first and the second of these stanzas? None. Nay, though manifestly supposed by the poet to be embued with one and the same spirit, they cut each other's throats. In the first he longs and prays for a friend of his soul-a female to sip with him in the desert the goblet of delight; in the second he declares there is no happiness like that of mingling with the universe. "With one fair spirit for my minister."
It would seem she were not to be human, for with her he yearns to live, that he might forget all the human race." Yet while fancying such an one as he desires, he asks
"Do I err In deeming such inhabit many a spot, Though with them to converse can rarely be our lot?"
He asks the elements if they can accord him such a being-the elements "in whose ennobling stir he feels himself exalted"-though we see no high exaltation in such an apostrophe and we shall believe, therefore, that "the one fair spirit" is a child of their own-but in what is to lie her ministry? Will her sex proteet her? Why has the fair spirit sex? Is he too to be a spirit in the desert? Ah! no. A man. So it is only a new version of the old story— the impassioned poet is still flesh and blood and the child of the elements, aerial as she seems, or of illumined tears, or lambent fire that burns not, will be found after all to have a taint
Setting aside its inconsistency with what precedes it, there is not in the second stanza much power either of thought or expression.
"There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar," is the repetition, for the tenth or twentieth time in the poem, of a sentiment that pleased Cicero, Plutarch, Bacon, and many other wise men, and must
therefore be a natural and pleasing one; but here it reminds one of Paul Pry. "And music in its roar" is an irrelevant and impertinent fact. "From these our interviews" is far from poetical-and it is paying Nature but a poor compliment to say "I love her the more." "To mingle with the universe" we have had rather too often-it is strong, but far from original; and never was there such an impotent conclusion as "and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal!"
But what think ye, Mountains, of the Address to the Ocean? What! not one among you that has got the courage to speak out? You all look as if ye were deaf and dumb. Clap your hands then, in sign of praise— and Thou with the coronet of clouds, unking thyself in homage to the great Poet of the Sea.
Not a word will one of them utter -'tis their Siesta - and every mother's son of them is asleep. Like horses they seldom lie down, and prefer to dream on their feet. But we must awaken them-HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Well, it was worth while coming here, all the way from Auld Reekie, for sake of that circular series of echoes. the smothered laughter of a Fairy, far Another yet-like far away, hiding herself in a hillockso sweet and wild it was-so musical
with the voice of some mysterious kind of life!
If Cruachan will not criticise, Christopher must-and what then, we ask ourselves, and you most attentive audience of Clouds, who, judging from
have made up your minds to follow the enlightened gloom on your faces, our lecture with thunders of applause -what then, thou beautiful but broken Sky who look'st somewhat restless and as if thou wast given to changewhat then, O Sun who hast such an eye for nature-and what, O Nature, who lovest all things and hast them given thee into thy holy keeping-what