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cannot really love Wordsworth ; nor can to them “ the simplest flower” bring “ thoughts that lie too deep for tears.” Happy his pupils; they are gentle, they are calm, and they must always be progressing in our knowledge; for, to a mind which can sympathize with his, no hour, no scene can possibly be barren.
The contents of the lately published little volume* accord per. fectly, in essentials, with those of the preceding four. The son. nets are like those he has previously written—equally unfinished as sonnets, equally full of meaning as poems. If it be the case with all his poems, that scarcely one forms a perfect whole by itself, but is valuable as a leaf out of his mind, it is peculiarly so with his sonnets. I presume he only makes use of this difficult mode of writing because it is a concise one for the expression of a single thought or a single mood. I know not that one of his sonnets is polished and wrought to a point, as this most artistical of all poems should be ; but neither do I know one which does not contain something we would not willingly lose. As the beautiful sonnet which I shall give presently, whose import is so wide and yet so easily understood, contains in the motto, what Messer Pe. trarca would have said in the two concluding lines.
(Miss not the occasion; by the forelock take
That subtle power, the never-halting time,
Mischance almost as heavy as a crime) –
Forth to her dove, and took no further heed;
Across the harp, with soul-engrossing speed;
* Yarrow Revisited, and other poems.
Forced from that voice so lately tuned to a strain
She could not rescue, perished in her sight!" Even the Sonnet upon Sonnets, so perfect in the details, is not perfect as a whole.
However, I am not so fastidious as some persons about the dress of a thought. These sonnets are so replete with sweetness and spirit, that we can excuse their want of symmetry; and probably should not feel it, except from comparison with more highly-finished works of the same kind. One more let me ex. tract, which should be laid to heart :
“Desponding father! mark this altered bough
To hope-in parents sinful above all.” “ Yarrow Revisited” is a beautiful reverie. It ought to be read as such, for it has no determined aim. These are fine verses.
" And what for this frail world were all
That mortals do or suffer,
Memorial tribute offer?
Her features, could they win us,
That hourly speaks within us ?
“ Nor deem that localized romance
Plays false with our affections;
For fanciful dejections;
Sustain the heart in feeling
With friends and kindred dealing." and this stanza,
“ Eternal blessings on the Muse,
And her divine employment!
For hope and calm enjoyment;
Has o'er their pillow brooded;
Not easily eluded.” reminds us of what Scott says in his farewell to the Harp of the North :
“Much have I owed thy strains, on life's long way,
Through secret woes the world has never known,
And bitter was the grief devoured alone, That I o’erlive such woes, Enchantress, is thine own.” “ The Egyptian Maid” is distinguished by a soft visionary style of painting, and a stealthy alluring movement, like the rippling of advancing waters, which, I do not remember elsewhere in Wordsworth's writings.
“ The Armenian Lady's love” is a fine balled. The following verses are admirable for delicacy of sentiment and musical sweet
" Judge both fugitives with knowledge;
In those old romantic days
To support, restrain, or raise.
Foes might hang upon their path, snakes rustle near,
“ Thought infirm ne'er came between them,
Whether printing desert sands
Forest fruit with social hands;
The Evening Voluntaries are very beautiful in manner, and full of suggestions. The second is worth extracting as a forcible exhibition of one of Wordsworth's leading opinions.
"Not in the lucid intervals of life
That come but as a curse to party strife;
Vain is the pleasure, a false calm the peace,
His gracious help, or give what we abuse." But nothing in this volume better deserves attention than “ Lines suggested by a Portrait from the pencil of F. Stone,” and “ Stanzas on the Power of Sound.” The first for a refinement and justness of thought rarely surpassed, and the second for a lyric flow, a swelling inspiration, and a width of range, which Wordsworth has never equalled, except in the “ Ode on the Intimations of Immortality,” and the noble ode, or rather hymn, to Duty. It should be read entire, and I shall not quote a line. By a singular naiveté the poet has prefixed to these stanzas a table of contents. This distrust of his reader seems to prove that he had risen above his usual level.
What more to the purpose can we say about Wordsworth, except-read him. Like his beloved Nature, to be known he must be loved. His thoughts may be transfused, but never adequately interpreted. Verily,
“To paint his being to a grovelling mind,
Were like describing pictures to the blind. But no one, in whose bosom there yet lives a spark of nature or feeling, need despair of some time sympathizing with him ; since one of the most brilliantly factitious writers of the day, one I should have singled out as seven-fold shielded against his gentle influence, has paid him so feeling a tribute :
“How must thy lone and lofty soul have gone