« PreviousContinue »
“ Why slee'pest thou, Eve' ? Now is the pleasant ti'me, “ The cool, the sil'ent, (save where silence yields “ To the night-warbling-b'ird, th'at/ no'w awake “ Tunes swee'test his lo've-laboured-song) now reigns “ Full-orbed the mo'on, an'd/ with more pleasing ligh't/ “ Sha'dowy sets o'ff/ the fa'ce of things; in vai'n, “ If none resgard : Heaven w'akes/ with all his e'yes ; “ Wh‘om to behold buît the'e, N'ature's desir'e ? “ In whose sigʻht/ all things jo'y, deli ́ghted, “ Attra'cted by thy b'eauty/ still to ga'ze." I rose as at thỹ-call, but fou'nd-thee not: To find th'ee/ I directed then my
wal'k : And o'n (methoʻught) alone I passed through wa'ys/ That bro'ught-me/ on a sud'den/ to the tre'e Of interdi'cted kno'wledge : fai'r it se'emed, (Much fairer to my fan cy/ than by da’y :) And, as I wondering lo'oked, beside it sto od One shaʼped and win ged/ like on'e of those from he’aven By u's/ oft see'n ; his dewy locks dist’illed Ambros'ia ; on tha't tree/he a'lso gaz'ed; And, “O fair plant,” (said he,)“ with fruit surch'arged,
Deigns non e) to e'ase thy loa'd, and tas'te thy swe'et, “ Nor Go'd, nor m'an ? Is know'ledge so desp'ised ? “Or en vy, or wha't-reserve/ forbi'ds to taste ? “ Forbi'd who wi'll, non'e/ shall from mạe withh'old “ Longer thy offered gʻood; why el’se set her'e ?” This s'aid, he pa'used not, but/ with venturous ar’m/ He plu'cked, he ta`sted: me^/ damp horror chilled At such bold wor'ds, (vouched with a deed so b’old.) But h'e/ thus overjoyed : “O fruit divi'ne, “Sweet of thyse'lf, but much mor'e-sweet/ thus cropped ; “ Forbidden her'e, it seems, as only fit “ For go'ds, yet able to make gods of m'en : “ And why not go`ds of moen, since gʻood, (the more “ Comm'unicated,) more abu'ndant gro'ws, “ The author not imp'aired, but hoʻnoured mo're ? "He're, ha'ppy-creature, fa'ir/ ange'lic E've, “ Partake tho'u al'so; happy though thou a'rt,
H‘appier thou ma’yst be, worothier/ can’st-not-be : “ Taste thi's, and be hencefor'th/ among the g'ods “ Thy self a goddess ; not to earth confi'ned, “ But sometimes in the ai'r, as w`e; sometimes
“ Ascend to h'eaven, (by merit th’ine,) and see
MILTON'S INTELLECTUAL POWERS.
DR. CHANNING. In speaking of the intellectual qua'lities of M'ilton,* we may begin with obser'ving, that the very splendour of his poetic fam'e/ has tended to obsc'ure or conceal the extent of his mi'nd, and the variety of its e'nergies and attai'nments. To ma'ny/ he seems only a po'et, when/ in truth/ he was a profound sch‘olar, a man of vast compass of thou'ght, imb'ued thoroughly/ with all an'cient and mo'dern-learning, and able to ma'ster, to moʻuld, to impreîgnate with his own intellectual po'wer, his gre'at and va“rious-acquisitions. He had not learned the superficial doctrine of a la'ter d'ay, -that p'oetry/ flourishes mo'st/ in an uncu^ltivated s'oil, and that ima'gination, shapes its brig'htest-visions/ from the mists of a supersti'tious a'ge; and he had no dread of accumulating know'ledge, lest it should oppr'ess and smo'ther his ge’nius. He was conscious of th'at/t
* It may be considered as a general rule that the concluding word of a portion of a sentence commencing with a preposition, “in, on, of,”' &c., (as in the case of the adverb and conjunction) requires the rising inflection.
+ When “that” occurs as a demonstrative pronoun (as in this instance,) it uniformly requires accentual force ; when as a conjunction or relative, it requires no force,—the “a” being merged almost into the sound of u :-Example, " I recollect that (1) the same circumstance that(") occurred to me, occurred also to that individual."
(1) Pronounced nearly as if spelt thut.
with’in him/ which could quicken a'll kno'wledge, and wie'ld-it with ea'se and mi’ght; which could give fres'hness to old tru'ths, and har'mony to discordant thou'ghts; which could bind tog'ether (by living ties and mysterious affi'nities*) the most remote disc'overies; and rear fabrics of glo‘ry and be'auty/ from the rude mat'erials, which other mi’nds/ had colle'cted. Milton had that universality/ which marks the hi’ghest-order of intellect. Though accu'stomed (almost from infancy) to drink at the fountains of classical li'terature, he had nothing of the p'edantry and fasti'diousness/ which disda'in all other dra'ughts. His' healthy mi'nd/ 'delig'hted in ge'nius, on whatever so'il or in whatever a'ge-it-burst-forth/ and poured o’ut its fu'lness. He understood/ too well/ the ri'ghts and dignity, and pri'de of creative imagin'ation, to lay on it the laws of the Greek or Roman-school. Parnassus/ was not/ to him/ the oʻnly/ holy ground of g'enius. He felt that poetry/ was as a univ'ersal presence. Great minds were everywhere hi's kindred. He felt the ench'antment of Oriental fic'tion, surrendered himself to the strange creations of “ A'raby the Ble'st," and delighted still more in the romantic spirit of ch'ivalry, and in the tales of wo'nder/ in whic'h/ it was embo died. Accor'dingly/ hi's po'etry/ remi'nds us of the o'cean, which a'dds/ to its own bo'undlessness contributions from all r'egions/ under hea'ven. Nor was it only in the department of imagina`tion that his acquisitions were v'ast. He travelled over the who'le-field of kno'wledge, (as far as it had then been explored). His various philological attai’nments were used to put him in possession of the wi’sdom/ stoʻred in all coʻuntries where the i'ntellect had been cu'ltivated. The natural philo'sophy, metaph'ysics, e'thics, his'tory, theo'logy, and political s'cience of his ow'n and foʻrmer-times, were fami'liar-to-him. Never was there a more unconfined mi’nd, and we could cite Mi^lton/ as practical example of the benefits of that universal cu'lture of in'tellect, which forms on'e distinction of our ti'mes, but which soʻme dre'ad/ as unfrie’ndly to original thought. Let suck remem'ber, that Mi'nd is') in its own n'ature) diffu'sive. Its
* Let me here repeat, for the subject is of paramount importance, that every portion of a sentence in the form of a simile or comparison,-every illustrative adverbial phrase, and every clause directly or collaterally descriptive, or explanatory, may be read parenthetically with great ad. vantage.
oʻbject is the u'niverse, which is strictly o'ne, (or bound together by infinite connections and correspondencies); and accor'dingly/ its natural progress is from o'ne/ to another-field of thou'ght; and/ wherever original po'wer (creative g'enius) ex'ists, the mi’nd (far from being distra'cted or oppressed by the var'iety of its acquis'itions) will see more and more co'mmon bearings/ and hidden and beautiful anʼalogies in all the o'bjects of kno'wledge—will see mutual ligʻht/ shed from truth to tr’uth, and will comp'el-us (with a kingly-power, whatever it understands,) to yield some tribute of pro'of, or illustration, or spleîndour, to whatever to'pic, it would unfo'ld.
ESTIMATE OF POETRY-MILTON'S OPINION.
DR. CHANNING. OF a'll God's gifts of i'ntellect, Milton esteemed poșeticalgenius the m'ost transce'ndent. He estee'med it/ in himself/ as a kind of inspir'ation, and wrote his great works/ with something of the conscious dignity of a prophet. We agree with M'ilton/ in his estimate of po'etry. It seems to us the divi'nest of all a'rts, fo'r/ it is the brea'thing or expres'sion-of that principle or se'ntiment, which is de'epest and subli'mest in human n'ature; we me'an of that thi’rst or aspira'tion, to which no mind is whoʻlly a stra'nger, for something pu’rer and lo'velier, something more po'werful, lo'fty, and thr’illing, than ordinary and re'al-life affo'rds. No doctrine is more com'mon/ among Chr'istians/ than that of ma'n's immortality, but/ it is not so generally understo'od, that the ger'ms or prin ciples of his whole f'uture-being, are now wrapped up in his s'oul, (as the ru'diments of the future plant in the sesed.) As a necessary resu'lt of this constit’ution, the soʻul (possessed and moved by these migʻhty/ though i'nfant e'nergies) is perpetually stretching beyo'nd/ what is present and v'isible, struggling against the bounds of its earthly prison-h'ouse, and seeking reli'ef and jo'y/ in imaginings of unse'en and ide'al-being. Thi'sview of our n'ature (which has never been fu'lly developed, and which goes further/ towards explaining the contradictions of human li'fe/ than all others) carries us to the very
found'ation and so'urces-of-poetry. He/ who cannot inteʻrpret (by his own coʻnsciousness) what we have now sa'id, wants the
tru`e key to woʻrks of ge'nius. He has not penetrated those sacred reces'ses of the so'ul, where poetry is bo‘rn and no'urished, and inhales immortal vigour, and wings herself for her be'avenward-flight. In an intellectual na'ture, (framed for krogress and for hig'her-modes of b’eing,) there must be creative e'nergies, powers of ori’ginal and e'ver-growing thoʻught; and poșetry is the foʻrm/ in which these e'nergies are chiefly ma'nifested. It is the glorious prerogative of this ar't, that it “makes all things ne'w,” for the gratification of a di'vine ins'tinct. It inde'ed finds its e'lements/ in what it actually se'es and expe'riences, (in the worlds of ma'tter and mi’nd :) but/ it comb'ines and blen'ds-these/ into new for’ms/ and according to n'ew a'ffinities; breaks do'wn (if we may so s'ay) the distin'ctions and bou'nds of n’ature ; imparts to material oʻbjects life, and se'ntiment, and emoʻtion, and invests the mind with the po'wers and splen'dours-of the ou^tward cre'ation; describes the surrounding u'niverse in the colours/* which the passions throw o'ver it, and depicts the mind, in those modes of repo'se or agita'tion, of ten'derness or sublime em'otion, which manifests its thi'rst/ for a more po'werful and jo'yful exi'stence. To a man of a li'teral and prosa'ic ch'aracter, the mind may seem law'less/ in these wo'rkings; but/ it observes hig'her-laws/ than it transgreosses, (the law's of the immortal in'tellect ;) it is trying and deve'loping its best fa' culties; a'nd/ in the objects, which it describes, or in the emo'tions/ which it aw'akens, anticipates those states of progressive power, sple'ndour, bea'uty and ha'ppiness, for which/ it was crea'ted.
We accordingly believe that p'oetry (far from injuring soc'iety) is one of the great instruments of its refi'nement and exaltation. It lifts the mind above o'rdinary-life, gives it a res'pite from pressing ca'res, and awakens the consciousness of its affi'nity/ with what is p'ure and no'ble. In its legi'timate and hi`ghest e'fforts, it has the same tendency and ai'm/ with Christia'nity; that is, to spir'itualize our nature. Tru'e ; poetry has been made the instrument of v'ice, the pander of ba'd-passions ; b'ut/ when genius thus sto'ops/, it dim's its fi'res, and parts with mu'ch of its po'wer; and/ even when poetry is enslaved to lice'ntiousness or misan’thropy, she cannot whoʻlly forget her
* The relative pronouns, in whatever case they occur, require a pause before them, except when preceded by of; as “ of whom," " of which,” &