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CRITICISM -

BY

JOHN W. LESTER,

CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

“ The world of nature, on which but now I gazed with wonder and admiration, sinks before me. With all its
abounding life and order and bounteous increase, it is but the curtain which hides one infinitely more perfect,
-the germ from which that other shall develope itself. My faith pierces through this veil, and broods over
and animates this germ. It sees, indeed, nothing distinctly; but it expects more than it can conceive, more
than it will ever be able to conceive, until time shall be no more."-FICHTE.

Second Edition,

REVISED AND ENLARGED.

LONDON:
LONGMAN, BROWN, AND CO., PATERNOSTER ROW:

J. DEIGHTON, CAMBRIDGE.

1848.

CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Metcalfe and Palmer, Trinity-Street.

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PREFACE
ALFORD, HENRY.
ATHERSTONE, EDWIN
BLAIR, ROBERT .

- BOWLES, W. L.

BRYDGES, SIR EGERTON

CARLYLE

CARRINGTON

COLERIDGE

COWPER .

CROLY, GEORGE

Davis, THOMAS

EMILY

GILFILLAN, GEORGE

-GRAHAME, JAMES

HAZLITT.

HEBER, BISHOP

HERAUD, JOHN A. .

HERVEY, T. K.

HURDIS, JAMES .
IRVING, EDWARD
KEATS, JOHN
MILLER, THOMAS
- POLLOK, ROBERT .
SMART, CARISTOPHER
STEVENSON, JOHN .
TIGHE, MRS. HENRY
WORDSWORTH

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CRITICISMS.

DEDICATED

loftiest speculations, and now sparkling and

beaming with a world's regeneration. A spirit TO THE REV. J. WRIGHT,

thanks them both-throbs out its fervid grati. VICAR OF MALVERN, ETC., ETC.

tude !

The time of which we spoke is only in reWITH THE HIGHEST SENTIMENTS OF RESPECT membrance, and this volume is the only meAND GRATITUDE,

mento. We now have higher aims than the

mere expression of literary sentiments; these BY THE AUTHOR.

trifling sweets we leave for conflict with the prince of darkness; there is now a sterner work to do. We have plucked a few flowers, sun

beamed, while on our way to the temple of PREFACE.

the Holiest, and ever and anon has come a wish

that they might be preserved. May the desire THERE is a time when the soft, dreamlike | be realized ! glory of our being is to be foregone, and those On those publications issued before our sixscenes of exquisite beauty, and those hymns of teenth year, we write “ Plagiarism.” Would mellowed sweetness which thrilled us in the that it had been otherwise ! world of intellectual loveliness, are to be forgotten in the renewed energies of the spirit, and the deeper feelings of the heart. And ere we pass these enchanting memories by, we cannot

HENRY ALFORD. choose but linger for awhile over the names and histories of those whose divine harmonies have We need not complain of halcyon songs and thus given a more significant meaning to the soothing canzonets : it is true that the spirit of ever-blessing creation around.

the French Revolution threw much of its energy We have to thank poet and painter, architect and reckless savageness into our literature, but and sculptor. We have oftentimes, indeed, it extinguished the sickly semblancy and sickly thought we could discern the golden light of sentimentalism of a former age, which was heaven radiating and beautifying their works ; | worth all the contortions that have since been and sometimes, too, have caught notes of a exhibited in some of our finest writers. The higher import than they at first expressed. war-cry, the trumpet-blast, and the atheistic There has been a strange beauty, as if the fair scoff that followed, deadened, indeed, for awhile | est gleam had fallen from the better land. And the melody of gentler bards : but the tumult they have taught us to look on nature as a pre has nearly ceased; it is daily becoming faint cious thing; as the embodiment of the Divine and fainter; its echo is all that we hear; the idea; as the symbol of the Everlasting.

whirlwind has passed, and once again the calm, Their names are gathered up in the follow unruffled heavens are breathing down upon us ing volume, either by allusion or by direct criti quietude and peace. cism. But there are two we would fain speak The nineteenth century was ushered in by a of here—the magnificent Trench, and the colos- pellucid strain, so exquisitely soft, and so exsal Carlyle; one of whom reminds us of some quisitely tender, that it lingers yet in the woods gigantic river, now winding its course gently and delis, in the happy homes and domestic from its limpid spring through sunny meadows retreats of England, as some angelic purifier of covered with the luxuriance of summer, and all that is nearest and dearest to the heart of now sweeping in its more majestic course by the man. Scarce had the sweet cadence of this eternal bases of towering mountains, snow-dia delicious hymn fallen from the harp of the demed; now bearing its bosom to the bound sainted Cowper, when another pæan to holy less heavens, and reflecting in its roll of rushing love breathed upwards to the Everlasting from waters the myriad stars, and now heaving, and the dark green sister-isle ; and from the rugged

velling and surging onwards to the desolate and romantic Scotland came notes of peace, and ocean ; sometimes dark and dim with pines and Leyden chanted the simple glories of creation; firs, and sometimes bright with the light of the and the Nottingham youth sang pleasantly of blue empyrean: the other, of some tremendous the past, and in a sublimer mood wrote the two being struggling with mighty power, now stand last stanzas of the Christiad; then Grahame ing amid thick darkness, and now beneath the walked forth on the quiet Sabbath morning and sublime radiance of universal sunlight; now taught us to love bird, bee, and butterfly, and gazing on the soft witchery of an evening twi the solemn service of our church, with its simlight, and now piercing into the blackest scenes ple beauty and hallowed blessedness, and we of the French Revolution; now immersed in were subdued and calmed; and even the stern

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