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ets, those that embalmed the language in which they were conceived, and survived their time, are those of the passions; and the early collections of this kind are objectionable because they “consisted almost exclusively of love-songs and sonnets.” Nature alone is permanent, and the whole secret of the immortality of thought is disclosed in the precept that; Time effaces the fictions of opinion, but confirms the determinations of nature.
But poetry to be permanent, must, in a great measure, be independent of this world; it must rise above the real, into the ideal world, and make the creations of the imagination instinct with natural feeling; then the changes of manners and the lapse of time, cannot deeply affect or destroy it; and it never ceases its hold upon the human affections, for its source is nature, it acts on nature, and it may survive as long as nature continues,"
Shakspeare's fancy is playful and full of grace; his imagination is 5 rich and lofty," and his knowledge of human nature is almost boundless, but there is something besides all this that has given him his distinction, and secured to him the communion of the world of mind. It is his feeling that gives to him the power of withdrawing us from our senses, so that for the moment the past, the future, and the distant prevail over the present. . Without this, his imagina tion, like the winter's sky, would appear as much colder as it is clearer than that of common minds.
He is familiar with all beautiful forms; he is deli cately sensible to "the indescribable charm of flowers,
of odors, of dews and bright waters;" he is alive to all that is beautiful and grand in art, to all that is sweet and majestic in nature, in sounds, sweet airs, starry nights, and moonlit bowers, which form so much of the frame-work of poetry: and all the possible forms and combinations of human nature are present to his mind, yet it is the fine sense of their relation to mental emotion, to the affections, which is the essential of poetry, that gives him such unlimited power over the human soul. His genius falls like gleams of sunshine on the human heart, and he delights at the same time that he instructs.
In his delineations of character he represents all the possible combinations of human nature, and omits no trait, however delicate; in his paintings of nature his words reflect its hues and breathe its very spirit.
Such is the interest excited in the story of Shakspeare's plays, that the attention never flags for a moment.
His characters are drawn with so much feeling, that they are poetic in the highest degree, though portrayed in the simplest language. The conduct of the unhappy Lear is founded entirely upon the impulses of sensibility : when he discovers the treachery of those in whom he had relied, and cherished with so much fondness and expectation, he despairs, and is bereft of every source of consolation ; cast out with utter coldness and contempt by his inhuman daughters, for whom he had stripped himself of dignity and power, and in whom he had centered every hope of comfort and repose ; and tortured with the reflection of having
deserted the only child that loved him, he is driven to distraction. The development of the scene of this dreadful affliction had evinced the poet's intimate knowledge of the workings of the human mind under all its aberrations, wrought up under the most intense feeling, had he written only this. The fallen monarch exhibits the spectacle of a great mind in ruins : his passion is terrible as a volcano, while the sweet spirit of Cordelia mellows the scene with an angel-light.
Fool. That lord that counsel'd thee
To give away thy land,
Or do thou for him stand:
Will presently appear;
The other found out there.
Physician. So please your majesty, That we may wake the King ? he hath slept long,
Cordelia. Be governed by your knowledge, and proceed ['the sway of your own will. Is he arrayed ?
Gentleman. Ay, madam; in the heaviness of his sleep,
Phys. Be by, good madam, when we do awake him ;
Cor. Oh, my dear father! Restoration, hang
Kind and dear princess !
Cor. Had you not been their father, these white flakes
Mine enemy's dog,
Phys. Madam do you; 'tis fittest.
Lear. You do me wrong to take me out o' the grave :-
Sir, do you know me?
Lear. Where have I been ? Where am I? Fair daylight ?
o, look upon me, sir,
Pray do not mock me;
What place this is, and all the skill I have,
And so I am, I am.
This whole scene is poetry as perfect as fancy and pathos can make it.
The passage referring to the storm is also, in the highest degree, sublime:
Was this a face
It is said, with as much truth as beauty, that these lines might have been struck out by the flash itself: no dislocation can break the charm of these simple words; they are breathed from a soul as tremblingly sensitive to the mild influences of nature, as to the flash of lightning
MUSIC AND MOONLIGHT.
The Lovers, Lorenzo and Jessica, discourse of the Night and Music, and
welcome the return home of Portia and Nerissa,
Lor. The moon shines bright :- In such a night as this,