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He closed the door behind him as he went.
“ Alas ! alas !" the lady thought and sighed, My grief's too great to seek for any vent
Save tears—it will resist both time and tide! Nought but the hand of death can heal the rent
And tortured soul of the forlorn bride! Time may go on, but time will never cure ; As long as life my misery will endure !"
And time went on, and fleeting days flew by,
And by degrees she felt herself resigned. Two months sufficed her tearful eyes to dry,
In four for company she felt inclined ; In six she never knew what 'twas to sigh,
In ten she smiled and went abroad and dined ; In twelve she dropped her weeds, and, strange to tell, Wedded another mate-she felt so well.
And time pursued his noiseless ceaseless flight,
And death snatched off old Timon's only sonA youth who was his father's sole delight
Whose gentle manners general friendship won.
At losing this, his dear, his only one ;
The lady heard of this his poignant grief,
And how the livelong day he moaned and sighed; And anxious to afford him some relief,
She made a list of kings whose sons had died, (Correct according to her best belief,
Taken from history which never lied,)
And stern old Time still plodded on his way,
And added to the past another year.
His cheek was moistened by no bitter tear ;
Content, nay cheerful, did he now appear ; And those who gazed on him could ne'er have known That he had ever lost an only son !
The lady marvelled. “ Ah! 'tis time alone,
“ Can calm," she said, “the sorrow-stricken breast, Can stifle with his touch each heavy moan,
And lull the anguish-torn mind to rest !"
A monument that should for ever last,
A CELUI QUI CONSOLE!
POETRY, AND DECLINE OF THE POETICAL GENIUS.
THERE is an interregnum in the mo- ture, and to confirm the decrees of narchy of song. The harps are hung a fortune unjust to the muse? upon the willows; the laurels are sere; Doubtless there are ; and as unquesthe fingers, whose cunning called sweet tionably they are difficult to analyse magic from the one are wearied and and specify. Amid the vast variety unrelieved; the brows that sustain the of minds, how few causes will be found other are wrinkled with an honourable so universal as to act similarly on all, age, and find no cause to smooth in and how many obstacles to some enersmiles upon the vigour and daring of a gies, will be found the strongest incenyoung and lusty generation of suc. tives of others; wbile, on the other
hand, how many of those combinations And yet nature is the same as ever. of circumstances which stimulate the Her majestic harmony, her minute per- exertions of one class of intellectual fection, her colours, her sounds, her operatives, hang with dull and oppresfragrance, are all as unchanged in their sive weight upon the stupor-stricken exquisite adaptation to the sense of efforts of their fellows, till the philosoBeauty which lies treasured in the heart phic inquirer is lost in perplexity, and of man, are all as prompt to woo his humiliated by finding his predictions enthusiasm and win him to musings continually falsified, his generalizations that soar above the atmosphere of constantly erroneous! Nay, so unmaearth, and invade infinity, as they have nageable a subject is human nature, even ever yet been, when, from age to age, in those more stable conditions in which the master spirits of our race have it would seem to present an invariable embalmed contemplation in immortal aspect, and to be easily detained in the words, bequeathing an incorruptible grasp of speculation, that even the inheritance of pure and perfect solid architecture of civil constitutions thoughts to mankind, and confirming presents no definite material of inquiry the holy alliance of the beautiful and as to possible results, and that even the true, till imagination is only reason political prophesy, which ventures to arrayed in smiles, and wreathed with a trace the shadows of the past projected chaplet of roses.
into the future, is, perhaps, more freIf, then, nature, with her priceless quently mistaken than any, though it dower of beauty and wisdom, be still has the known character of a people, as worthy of the ardour of poesy as
and the known form of their governshe has ever been, why has she no ment among the data on which it suitors, why have we no poet? For the builds its cautious conclusions. Hartruth is lamentably undeniable, that the rington, as every one knows, deduced light has gradually expired, and the from general principles and after a glory hath passed away; that the protracted consideration, the impossiswans of the Lakes are no longer meta- bility of re-establishing a monarchy in phorical, nor the dainty meads of Slo- England ; and the restoration of the pertoni vocal with song ; and that, in king confuted his book almost before it short, almost every glorious home of was read. But if the experienced tenverse in the land is tenanted by occu- dencies of a national character and a pants weary of the toil of composition, national government are found to supand anxious to resign its honours to ply but a wavering and deceptive index candidates of less experience and more of their future history: and if, after all active energies. But wherefore have that has been demonstrated with manone appeared ? Is the cause to be thematical cogency on all sides, politiwholly sought in the accidental and cal wisdom is felt to consist rather in temporary deficiency of genius, or are the fine discrimination of a practical there causes collateral and coefficient, tact than in any application of infallible operating to aid the unkindness of na- principles of general truth—what shal! we say of literary history ? how shall subject so elusive: it is for the we dare to collect its universal charac- candid examiner to suggest general teristics, or with what confidence can views, which may be modified in innuwe pronounce the causes of its present merable ways--nay, which may never phenomena or the means of its future come into unmingled efficiency, but alteration ? For our concern in this which, nevertheless, are likely to be department is not with the common found, on the whole, influential upon mind of humanity-our travels are the character or direction of the poetinot over the level plain, where no cal genius of the country. As in maambitious eminence disturbs the uni- terial, so in moral science--we can formity of the prospect, and where an calculate with more certainty the moimpartial light is equably diffused upon tions of huge aggregates than of the the whole. No ; we have to explore minor masses which compose them; the heights and hollows, bleak or ver- we can state with precision the paths durous, where the light by which we of the bodies that march the heavens, endeavour to guide our steps, is broken while we ascribe to chance the direcinto masses and crossed by depths of tion of the pebble that falls from the shade—where, “ now in glimmer and cliff-we can tell the laws of the tides, now in gloon," the path is obscure, yet cannot conjecture the restless evoperilous, and unsteady: In a word, we lutions of the innumerable waves that have to do with Genius--that myste- form them ; because the latter are the rious essence which it seems so im- results of endless, intricate, interfering, practicable to fix or analyse ; for, in- and unobservable influences, while the scrutable as is the power that directs former are those of a few ascertained the train of ideas on all occasions, still ones. And thus it is, likewise, that more transcending our comprehension we know more of society than of any is the nature, and even the subordinate part of it--that we may mark with laws of this commanding energy which strict justice the character of a comperpetually directs it, with the certaintymunity, and find it contradicted in of an instinct, through the loftiest every one of our acquaintance. So regions of conception. The laws of true is the acute remark of the inimithe common intellect are, perhaps, table Rochefoucauld, that “it is easier easily assignable : but criticism has to know man in general than any man regard to the Miracles of mind; and in particular.” The result of the whole the general laws of such extraordinary is, that we may discourse learnedly of instances are as secret, and, from the universal maxims, but that genius is poverty of those instances, as impossi- born to break them. Hence the ingloble to be pronounced, as the similar rious conclusion, that those cautious laws which have been thought so to generalities which avoid precision, and bind together the divine interferences address the feelings more than the with the course of material nature that understanding, can alone protect the its very deviations are a system.* It critic from the shame of an unfulfilled is not for us—it is not for any specula- prophesy, and the fatal necessity of tor to presume to pronounce maxims gracing the triumph of some coming and draw logical inferences upon a genius, who is to turn the stream of
* May we be permitted, as we have casually alluded to the subject, to digress for a moment from our immediate topic, and cite a remark from an ancient writer, which seems to bear a curious degree of resemblance to this sublime theological speculation, as it has been stated with his usual cautious daring by Bishop Butler? In Aristotle we and the following passage :-Εστι γαρ το τερας των παρα φυσιν τι, παρα φυσιν δε ου πάσαν, αλλα την ως επι πολυ. παρα γαρ την αει, και την εξ αναγκης, ουδεν γινεται Taga pusir. (Lib. IV. de Generat. Animal.) Monstrum (vel Miraculum) est aliquid præter naturam, sed non omnem ; illam tantum quæ solens et usitata est. Nampræter illam sempiternam, &c. nihil omnino fit. Though the aspata to wbich the great modern divine referred, were of a different kind from those which the ancient naturalist had in view, the coincidence, in the applicability of the same proposition to both, is not, perhaps, the less remarkable. But we have to ask pardon for thi. little irrelevancy.
public taste into some desert wild now of peace is not set among the clouds unthought of, or condemned as irre- of toil, and weariness, and distressclaimable by human skill.
and are not these the burden that Let us return more to the deeply depresses the loaded atmosphere topic from which we started. Let us of British intellect for this year, and dwell upon the divine form of nature; for years past? Who does not see so truly divine that we can almost that the spirit of poetic abstraction is pardon the dreamers of old, who mis- alien from our land ? Where is the took the work for the artist, and called man who has received on his mind the the world itself a god. Let us behold impression of present society, by beher animate and her inanimate realıns, coming part of the moving mass, and all alive with ever-changing forms of entering into the membership of its unchanging loveliness, and again ask feelings and excitements, and who has ourselves why she hath found no inter- been able to preserve the virgin simpreter of her beauty-110 deep-sighted plicity of the poetic taste? It will be inquisitor of her secret charms—none said that we have asked a qnestion, to who have obtained more than a public which the saine answer may be given audience of the fascinator, in the in all ages—we partially admit it. But undistinguishing courtesy of her draw- there is an especial pertinency in that ing-room siniles-none who have been answer, as we are now circumstanced. admitted to share the truth of her The immense spread of commercial hidden feelings in the tenderer com- and manufacturing interests, has lowmunion of those private hours when ered the fancy of the people, and she may be won to wliisper her special confined it within the meanest circle revelations. Picture the soft ardours of conceptions—the energy of political of a summer's day, (such as that on disquisition has agitated the universal which we write those lines,) and wonder mind in the most profitless of all that we have none who can teach us regions of excitement—the diffusion to feel them even deeper!
of “ useful knowledge,” which is usually The fact is, that the spirit of the the courteous title for a heartless Utiliage is not poetic, nor formed to en- tarianism in philosophy, and a disconcourage poesy by its admiring sympa tented Utopianism in government, bave, thies. We have declared that we with other causes, of a more limited meant to deal in generalities, and will and peculiar nature, contributed to admit no private experiences to impugn augment a distaste for the perusal or this truth. Our readers are, doubtless, encouragement of poetry. What is poetic—their taste is, indeed, unques- poetry but the history of beauty and tionable, inasmuch as they are our of passion. We have no interest in readers—but, unfortunately, they do the former, and we are not constitute all society, though we cerned with the reality than with the are free to admit they form the most analysis of the passions of our nature. distinguished part of it. Again—we How, then, did Byron first win his may not deny that there is much rude but majestic course among us, vagrant poesy hovering, during those and what was that conjuration by sweet days of rural idlesse, among the which his first great production at Jakes of Cumberland and Killarney, once arrested the hearts of mankind by the mystic shores of Glendalough, in such an age? It was by addresswhere the spirit of hoar antiquity and ing those very impulses which have lingering religion still haunts the most sway in society, as society is reverend silence of the everlasting now constituted-by appealing not to hills, or disporting in nature's loveliest our sense of beauty, not to our love dimple--the leafy dells of the Dargle. of peace, not to the slumbering divinity Sonnets, too, have been found flutter- of our souls-no, but by talking to ing among the breezy ravines of North us in that matchless eloquence, which Wales, and attesting the potent spell duskily burns along his gloomy stanzas, of its cliff's and waving woods. But of our interests, and our vices, and this power, which thus unlocks the
our corrupted nature, and suiting his hearts of the young, has but a tem- sarcastic inferences to the hardened porary and local reign ; he pervades votary of the world, and to the victim not the dead mass of society--his bow of disappointment, to whom disap
pointment has brought no instruction. it is needless to cite the domestic It was never by the man of soaring portraits of Crabbe. Yet these are imagination, so much as by the man of special cases, which prove not the morbid reflection, that Byron was truly tendency of our present society either felt and fostered—it was less for his to produce poetry or to peruse it. We poetry than his eloquence-less for bis could almost say that it is their proxeloquence than his philosophy, that imity to prose, in the absence of imagithe world, in spite of the indignation native appeals, which has recommended of all who valued the moral progress the tales of Crabbe to our age ; and of mankind, cherished and idolized him. Mr. Elliott's popularity, though it He bad touched the key-note of the seems to be deserved, can be acage. Men enslaved to ambitious in- counted for on other grounds than the trigue, yet unconsciously weary of that excellence of his effusions. Try the unhappy servitude, felt a secret some- age by a surer test of its poetical thing which they could not express- appreciation. How few are the readers and Byron gave them words. Men of Milton! How forced is the applause driven by the misfortunes of war or that hails Wordsworth, the Plato of commerce, (then daily casualties,) into verse! How small is the number that that disgust of the world, which so can separate Shakspeare from Kean or many imagine to be philosophy, wanted Macready, and can read him because a system of opinions,—and Byron be- he wrote the noblest works of imaginacame their bible. The country—the tion which the world has ever seen, not world-began to loathe the noise of because he wrote the stock pieces of battles, and to sicken at the folly that “the acting drama!" The exclusive had entangled it in the ceaseless quar- selfishness, which is termed common rels of imperial rapine—“ There let sense, and which is the rankest growth them rot, ambition's honoured fools,” of a commercial race, has overrun the said Byron. Finally, untaught and domains of sensibility, without being unteachable, surrounded by scenes of able to stifle the cries of imagination blood and confusion, which seemed to for her food ; and that fair faculty, make earth a Tartarus, and wholly to thus neglected and thus vigorous, is cloud the moral government of God, too often reduced to snatch her hasty many had no heart for religion, and meal from banquets unwholesome and were wont, with a sneer of supreme unsatisfying. And hence the Novel contempt, to annihilate the pretensions has assumed an importance so unpreof every creed and system ;* but these cedented in our literature. We must pithy aphorisms which condense re- have excitement, and we must have probation in a line, and pack philo. it on the cheapest terms, and in the sophy in portable parcels, were grieve most abbreviated form. It must be ously needed—they consulted the new prepared for our indolence, in a shape apostle, found that “ Even gods must which shall leave no trouble to the yield, religions take their turn, &c.," pre-occupied reader-it must appeal and the passage became a proverb. less to our fancy, and our exalted Thus at once, creator and created, moods, than to the coarser interest Byron was alike the offspring and the of complicated narrative and characdirector of his age !
teristic dialogue. The principle of And it is true that from every state utilitarianism has extended even to the of society, in which human passion pleasures of imagination, and we barcan find play, there may be poetry gain for our quantum of excitement at derived, which shall elevate or depress, a cheap cost of time and toil, with the as the genius that extracts the precious same elevated feeling as that which essence shall please in his power to actuates the honest mechanic who comwill Mr. Elliot has interested us plains of the extravagant expense of with the effects of the corn laws, and the shilling gallery, and the unreason
Except their own, the most positive and arrogant of all. It is curious that Scepticism is really the most dogmatic of all heresies, in its speculative tenets. It is quite unnecessary, after the close of the last century, to say that it is as intolerant in its practice as any.