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Are my torn meditations ragged clothing,
Immediately after these burlesque passages I cannot proceed to the extracts promised, without changing the ludicrous tone of feeling by the interposition of the three following stanzas of Herbert's.
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
For thou must die.
Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
And thou must die.
Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
And all must die.
THE BOSOM SIN:
A SONNET BY GEORGE HERBERT.
Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
To rules of reason, holy messengers,
Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,
Bibles laid open, millions of surprises •
• [The Synagogue, a collection of poems generally appended to the Temple, has been retained in Mr. Pickering's edition of 1835. “They were first printed,” as the Preface mentions, A. D. 1640, and have been, with much probability, attributed to the Rev. Christopher Harvie, M. A. The poein quoted is at p. 274 of the edit. S. C.]
Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness,
The sound of Glory ringing in our ears :
Without, our shame; within, our consciences; Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears.
Yet all these fences and their whole array
Dear friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad :
(I sigh to say)
(I sigh to tell)
The offerer's heart. “ Your heart was hard, I fear."
(I sigh to speak)
> [The three poems are at pp. 87, 40, and 133 respectively. S. C) CHAPTER XX.
The former subject continued--The neutral style, or that common to
Prose and Poetry, exemplified by specimens from Chaucer, Herbert, and others.
I HAVE no fear in declaring my conviction, that the excellence defined and exemplified in the preceding chapter is not the characteristic excellence of Mr. Wordsworth's style ; because I can add with equal sincerity, that it is precluded by higher powers. The praise of uniform adherence to genuine, logical English is undoubtedly his; nay, laying the main emphasis on le word uniform, I will dare add that, of all contemporary poets,
is his alone. For, in a less absolute sense of the word, I should e "Jainly include Mr. Bowles, Lord Byron, and, as to all his ałór writings, Mr. Southey, the exceptions in their works being 30 few and unimportant. But of the specific excellence de. scribed in the quotation from Garve, I appear to find more, and more undoubted specimens in the works of others; for instance, among the minor poems of Mr. Thomas Moore, and of our illus. trious Laureate. To me it will always remain a singular and noticeable fact; that a theory, which would establish this lingua communis, not only as the best, but as the only commendable style, should have proceeded from a poet, whose diction, next to that of Shakspeare and Milton, appears to me of all others the most individualized and characteristic. And let it be remembered too, that I am now interpreting the controverted passages of Mr. Wordsworth's critical preface by the purpose and object, which he may be supposed to have intended, rather than by the sense which the words themselves must convey, if they are taken without this allowance,
A person of any taste, who had but studied three or four of Shakspeare's principal plays, would without the name affixed
scarcely fail to recognise as Shakspeare's a quotation from any other play, though but of a few lines. A similar peculiarity, though in a less degree, attends Mr. Wordsworth's style, when. ever he speaks in his own person ; or whenever, though under a feigned name, it is clear that he himself is still speaking, as in the different dramatis persona of The Recluse. Even in the other poems, in which he purposes to be most dramatic, there are few in which it does not occasionally burst forth. The reader might often address the poet in his own words with refer. ence to the persons introduced :
" It seems, as I retrace the ballad line by line
That but half of it is theirs, and the better half is thine."1
Who, having been previously acquainted with any considerable portion of Mr. Wordsworth's publications, and having studiec them with a full feeling of the author's genius, would not a once claim as Wordsworthian the little poem on the rainbow ?
“ The Child is father of the man," &c.
Or in the Lucy GRAY ?
“ No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide moor;
Or in the IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS ?"
1 [Altered from The Pet Lamb, P. W., p. 30. S. C.] ? P. W., p. 2, line 7.
“ My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Or let me die!
Bound each to each by natural piety.” S. C.) 3 [1h , i., p. 16. S. C.]
4 [Ib., i., p. 31. S. C.]