Page images
PDF
EPUB

INTRODUCTION.

It is now nearly forty years since HENRY KIRKE WHITE finished his short course on earth. To those unaccustomed to read the providence of God in all events, it seemed a matter of mere accident that his literary “Remains” should be gathered up and embalmed by the hand of friendship. His race was so brief, the difficulties which beset him, and the obstacles in his path, were so many and so great, that few supposed that the interest which was then awakened could be permanent. His warmest admirers claimed for him only the immortality which that generation, perhaps which a single year, could bestow. And it has been a matter of surprise to many, that these relics have not long since passed away on the stream of oblivion. We well remember, in the warm days of boyhood, reading these volumes, and also with feelings of undefined indignation, the cold criticisms which were poured upon

them in this and in their native country. It was predicted, with all the assurance and wise gravity of Reviews, that learning so meagre, youth so raw, and fragments of poetry so few, and so unfinished, must shortly die. The writers of such criticisms have passed away unknown and forgotten, while poor White holds on his way with a wing untired, and a flight undepressed. The predictions of some have failed, and the hopes of others have been more than fulfilled, because the hand which was so early withered in death, struck two cords,—neither of which is slow to vibrate, or quick to cease vibrating. We mean genuine Poetry, and Evangelical Piety. We shall have occasion to illustrate this remark hereafter.

Another thing that makes and will continue to make White a favourite, is, that youth must ever be pleased with what youth writes. The old man retires into the chambers of his own thoughts, and there, in recalling the past, in building again air-castles which have been retouched a thousand times, in living over the fresh days of his youth, or, if he has wisely sought and found the great object for which he was created, in looking forward to the time when he shall realize the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »