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a complete poet. Milton, who sung the misfortunes of primeval man, sighed also in Il Penseroso.
Those good writers of the French nation, who have known the charms of reverie, have prodigiously surpassed Young Chaulieu, like Horace, has mingled thoughts of death with the illusions of life. The following well known lines are of a melancholy cast much more to be admired than the exaggerations of the English poet.
« Grotto, where the murm'ring stream
Mossy bank and flow'ret laves,
And of yonder limpid waves.
Fontenay, delicious spot,
Which my youthful life recals,
May I rest within thy walls !
Muses who dispellid my woe,
While the humble swain you bless'd,
Soon you'll see me sink to rest."
In like manner the inimitable La Fontaine indulges himself.
“Why should my verse describe a flow'ry bank?
It was a great poet, from whom such ideas emanated; but to pursue the comparison, there is not a page of Young, which can afford a passage equal to the following
one of J. J. Rousseau. “When evening approached, I
• descended from the higher parts of the island, and seated myself at the side of the lake in some retired part of the strand. There the noise of the waves and the agitation of the water fixed my attention, and driving every other agitation from my soul, plunged it into a delicious reverie, in which night often imperceptibly surprised me. The Aux and reflux of the waves, with their continued noise, but swelling in a louder degree at intervals, unceasingly struck my eyes and ears, while they added to my internal émotions, and caused me to feel the pleasure of existence without taking the pains to think. From time to time a weak and short reflection on the instability of human affairs, occurred to me, which was supplied by the surface of the waters; but these slight impressions were soon effaced by the uniformity of the continued motion which rocked my mind to repose ; and which, without any active concurrence of my soul, attached me so strongly to the spot, that when summoned away by the hour and a signal agreed upon, I could not tear myself from the scene without a disagreeable effort." This passage
of Rousseau reminds me that one night, when I was lying in a cottage, during my American travels, I heard an extraordinary sort of murmur from a neighbouring lake. Conceiving this noise to be the fore. runner of a storm, I went out of the hut to survey the heavens. Never did I see a more beautiful night, or one in which the atmosphere was purer. The lake's expanse was tranquil
, and reflected the light of the moon, which shone on the projecting points of the mountains, and on the forests of the desert. An Indian canoe was traversing the waves in silence. The noise, which I had heard,
I proceeded from the flood tide of the lake, which was beginning, and which sounded like a sort of groaning as it Tose among the rocks. I had left the hut with an idea of a tempest-let any one judge of the impression which this calm and serene picture must have made upon merit was like enchantment.
Young has but ill availed himself, as I conceive, of the reveries, which result from such scenes; and this arose from his being eminently defective in tenderness. For the same reason he has failed in that secondary sort of sadness, which arises from the sorrows of memory.
. Never does the poet of the tombs revert with sensibility to the first stage of life, when all is innocence and happi.
He is ignorant of the delights afforded by the recollection of family incidents and the paternal roof. He knows nothing of the regret, with which a person looks back at the sports and pastimes of childhood. He nenever exclaims, like the poet of the Seasons :
“ Welcome, kindred glooms!
Gray in his Ode on a distant view of Eton College has introduced the same tenderness of recollection.
« Ah happy hills, ah pleasing shade,
Ah fields beloy'd in vain,
A stranger yet to pain!
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
To breathe a second spring."
As to the recollections of misfortune, they are numerous in the works of Young. But why do they appear to be deficient in truth, like all the rest? Why is the reader unable to feel an interest in the tears of the poet? Gilbert, expiring in a hospital, and in the flower of his age, finds his way to every heart, especially when he speaks of the friends who have forsaken him.
Có At life's convivial board I sat,
And revell'd in its choicest cheer,
I die--and none will shed a tear.
Farewell, ye streams and verdant glades,
And thou, bright sun, with smile so warm,
Farewell to nature's every charm!
On friends I fondly deem'd so true,
Without one final sad adieu !"
Look in Virgil at the Trojan women, seated on the sea shore, and weeping while they survey the immensity of the ocean.
“ Cunctæque profundum Pontum espectabant fientes."
What beautiful harmony! How forcibly does it depict the vast solitude of the ocean, and the remembrance of their lost country! What genuine sorrow is conveyed by this one weeping glance over the surface of the billows!
M. du Parny has combined the tender charms of memory with another species of sentiment, His complaint at the tomb of Emma is full of that soft melancholy,
which characterizes the writings of the only elegiac poet of France.
« Friendship, with fugitive deception kind,
The Muse or the poet, to whom we are indebted for Eleonora, indulged in reverie upon the same rocks where Paul, resting his head upon his hand, saw the vessel sail away, which contained Virginia. The cloistered Eloïsa revived all her sorrows and all her love by even thinking of Abelard. Recollections are the echo of the passions ; and the sounds, which this echo repeats, acquire, from distance, a vague and melancholy character, which makes them more seductive than the accents of the passions themselves.
It remains for me to speak of religious sadness. Except Gray and Hervey, I know only one protestant writer (M. Necker) who infused a degree of tenderness into sen: timents drawn from religion. It is known that Pope was a catholic, and that Dryden was the same at intervals. It is believed too that Shakspeare belonged to the Roman church. A father burying his daughter by stealth in a foreign land—what a beautiful subject for a christian minister ! Notwithstanding this, but few affecting passages are to be found in Young's Complaint called Narcissa. He sheds fewer tears over the tomb of his only daughter than Bossuet over the coffin of Madame Henriette.
6. Sweet harmonist, and beautiful as sweet! And young as beautiful, and soft as young? And gay as soft, and innocent as gay!