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less original than this mode of disposing of the world's oppressors. The quickest, surest, most natural, and most common method of obtaining rights, is to kill him who deprives you of them. This, so far, has been the opinion of the human race, and has been expressed in divers ways at divers times. But one, in whose soul abide the eternal forms of beauty, goodness, truth, and virtue, whose heart comprehends all mankind in its love, and thirsts for a period when universal benevolence will prevail upon the earth, — who would sing, “long before the blissful hour arrives,” the peaceful triumph of good over evil, and right over wrong, — to such a one, the usual mode of despatching oppressors is apt to be distasteful. He may think, that, in the present condition of things, the common course has its advantages; but if he desires to impress on the hearts and imaginations of the people a model of a perfect state of society, he will, if he is a bard of the future, be likely to leave out some of the harsh and imperfect means and materials of the present. This, at least, was the feeling of Wordsworth and Shel. ley; and this, we humbly conceive, is the Christian feeling.

Wordsworth is considered a champion of monarchy and aristocracy. We do not know but that there may be opinions expressed in his writings which can be forced to bear a construction inimical to political liberty ; still, if we consider the tendency of his whole works, we shall find them in the highest degree democratic. “The rights

. of man” is a phrase to which he gives a more extended application than could be given by any person of less extensive sympathies. Mercy, justice, wisdom, piety, love, freedom, in their full beauty and grandeur, are the subjects of his song; and we have yet to learn, that these can subsist with the slightest injury done to a human being. Indeed, he professes to have

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and to teach the last hyperbole of toleration, that

"He who feels contempt For any living thing, hath faculties Which he has never used."

That Wordsworth was unsuccessful in commenting on the politics of the hour, and blundered often in applying his ideal standards to the wrong objects, we willingly admit; we think this is an objection to him as a practical politician and philosopher, and not an objection to him as a poet, “submitting the shows of things to the desires of the mind."

To estimate the degree of longevity which will attach to Wordsworth's poetry might be difficult; but as he has built upon the enduring rock as well as the shifting sand, we cannot tolerate the idea that he will be swept away with things forgotten. As we pause thoughtfully before some of the majestic fabrics of his genius, they seem to wear the look of eternity. And when we consider the vast debt of delight we owe to him, the new inspiration he poured into poetry, and his delivery of it from the bondage of a hundred and fifty years,

- the many teasing persecutions he has endured for humanity and literature; - when we think of the consecrations he has shed upon our present existence, and the splendor of the vistas he has opened beyond the grave, - his desire to bring the harsh domain of the actual into closer vicinity to the sunny land of the ideal, - his kindling

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strains for freedom and right, - his warm sympathy with all that elevates and ennobles our being, and the sway he has displayed over its holiest and tenderest affections, and the many images of beauty and grace with which he has brightened our daily life; - when we consider these, his faults and errors seem to dwindle into insignificance; reverence and love leap to our lips, and warm from the heart and brain springs our benison,

“Blessings be on him, and eternal praise,

Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares!"


The revolution in the character of imaginative literature which has taken place in the present century had its most violent and convulsionary manifestation in Lord Byron. In an article on Wordsworth, in our last number, we referred to some of the external influences which stimulated the genius of the great poets of the age,

and laid particular stress on spiritual philosophy and the French Revolution. These two agencies, of course, were modified by the individual peculiarities of the poets they influenced. Wordsworth, in whose temperament the thoughtful element predominated over the impulsive, impressed on them the qualities of his own nature; and their effect on him is seen in the preeminence given in his writings to spiritual things and to humanity, to the imagination and the affections. On Byron, whose mind was naturally more under the dominion of sensibility, and rendered almost chaotic by suffering and error, the radical influences flowing from the French Revolution operated with more power, and were controlled by less moral and humane feeling.

Indeed, if any person can be pointed out as the mouthpiece of the harsher revolutionary spirit of his time, it is

* The Works of Lord Byron in Verse and Prose, including his Letters, Journals, &c., with a Sketch of his Lite. New York: A. V. Blake. 8vo. 1843. - North American Review, January, 1845.


assuredly Lord Byron. The extraordinary popularity of his poems, and the notoriety of his life, have led to various essays on his character and writings, differing in object and mode of treatment, and all more or less onesided. Denunciation and panegyric have both been lavished upon his name. Those who represent him as a fiend, darting with a sort of diabolical instinct on all that is bad and impious, and overthrowing with a kind of diabolical energy all that is good and holy, and those who represent him as little less than a saint, seem equally to err; and the error of both arises in a great degree from an attempt to delineate a character which shall be consistent with itself. Byron may almost be said to have had no character at all. Every attempt to bring his virtues or his vices within the boundaries of a theory, or to represent his conduct as guided by any predominant principle of good or evil, has been accompanied by blunders and perversions. His nature had no simplicity. He seems an embodied antithesis, a mass of contradictions, - a collection of opposite frailties and powers. Such was the versatility of his mind and morals, that it is hardly possible to discern the connection between the giddy goodness and the brilliant wickedness which he delighted to exhibit. His habit of mystification, of darkly hinting remorse for sins he never committed, of avowing virtues he never practised, increases the difficulty. From his actions, his private journals and correspondence, his poems, from all those sources whence we derive a consistent idea of other writers, it is hard to obtain a harmonious notion of him. It is quite easy to sustain any theory of his character, good, bad, or indifferent, by numerous extracts from his writings and undoubted events of his life. Friends or enemies need not

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