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and the fresher and more various imagery, which give a value
like all other good things, is the result of thought and the submissive study of the best models. * If it be asked, “ But what shall I deem such ?"_the answer is: presume those to be the best, the reputation of which has been matured into fame by the consent of ages. For wisdom always has a final majority, if not by conviction, yet by acquiescence. In addition to Sir J. Reynolds I may mention Harris of Salisbury; who in one of his philosophical disquisitions has written on the means of acquiring a just taste with the precision of Aristotle, and the elegance of Quinctilian.t
Gelido suo ruscel chiaro, e tranquillo
Aure dell'angoscioso viver mio
* ["On whom then can he rely, or who shall show him the path that leads to excellence? The answer is obvious. Those great masters who have travelled the same road with success are the most likely to conduct others. The works of those who have stood the test of ages have a claim to that respect and veneration to which no modern can pretend. The duration and stability of their fame is ufficient to evince that it has not been suspended upon the slender thread of fashion and caprice, but bound to the human heart by every tie of sympathetic admiration." Reynolds. Discourse ii. Ed.)
† (See Philological Inquiries : Part Ii., chap. xii., especially the concluding paragraphs. This Treatise is contained in vol. ii. of the collective edition of the works of Harris-by his son the Earl of Malmesbury, in two vols., 4to. London, 1801.
James Harris, the author of those volumes, was born in the Close of Salisbury, July 29, 1709—died Dec. 22, 1780. He is best known as the author of Hermes, a work on Universal Grammar; which, according to Bishop Lowth, presents “the most beautiful ex'mple of analysis that has beon exhibited since the days of Aristotle :” and three Treatises con: cerning Ar-Music, Painting and Poetry, and Happiness—which imitate the method of Plain, and are written with admirable distinctness. Harris was not given up wholly to literary pursuits, and domestic and social amusements, though possessed of high qualifi tations for both the one and the other : be also took a part in public life, held the office first of a Lord of the Admiralty, then for about two years of a Lord of the Treasury. In 1774 he became Secretary and Comptroller to the Queen. He represented the Borough of Christ Church till the day of his death, was assiduous in the discharge of his parliamentary duty, and occasionally took a share in devates. See Memoirs of the Author by his Son, prefixed to his works. 8. C.]
honor to our own times, and to those of our immediate pre. decessors."
Anna* mia, Anna dolce, oh sempre nuovo
Hor che'l prato, e la selva si scolora,
Risi e piansi d'Amor; nè però mai
? [The union of “high finish and perfusive grace with pathos and manly reflection”-pathos recalling the peculiar tone of Southey with a Wordsworthian strength of thought and stateliness of sentiment–is exemplified, as it seems to me, in the poetry of Mr. H. Taylor (not to speak of its other merits of a different kind) especially his later poetry, and very exquisitely in his printed but unpublished Lines written in remembrance of E. E. Vil. liers. A friend pointed out to me, what I had before been feeling, the fine interwoven harmony of the stanza in this poem, which, though long and varied, forms a whoie to the ear as truly as the more formal Spenserian stanza, but has a soft, flowing movement remarkably well fitted for the expression of thoughtful tenderness, and well illustrates Mr. Wordsworth's remark, recorded in this work, on the musical “sweep of whole paragraphs.” It is easy enough to invent new metres, but some new metres
• [Filli in Strozzi's Madrigal. 8. O.)
which the world has lately been presented with will never live, I fear, to be old. They are as unmusical and not so spirited as a Chicasaw warsong. There is a witch in Mr. Tennyson's poetry, but I do not imagine that any great part of her witching power resides in newness of metrethough perhaps it is rash even to hazard a conjecture on the properties of such a subtle enchantress, or to say how such a mysterious siren does or does not bewitch. S. C.]
Examination of the tenets peculiar to Mr. Wordsworth-Rustic life (above
all, low and rustic life) especially unfavorable to the formation of a human diction—The best parts of language the product of philosophers, not of clowns or shepherds—Poetry essentially ideal and generic-The language of Milton as much the language of real life, yea, incomparably inore so than that of the cottager.
As far then as Mr. Wordsworth in his preface contended, and most ably contended, for a reformation in our poetic diction, as far as he has evinced the truth of passion, and the dramatic propriety of those figures and metaphors in the original poets, which, stripped of their justifying reasons, and converted into mere arti. fices of connexion or ornament, constitute the characteristic falsity in the poetic style of the moderns; and as far as he has, with equal acuteness and clearness, pointed out the process by which this change was effected, and the resemblances between that state into which the reader's mind is thrown by the pleasur. able confusion of thought from an unaccustomed train of words and images, and that state which is induced by the natural language of impassioned feeling ; he undertook a useful task, and deseryes all praise, both for the attempt and for the execution. The provocations to this remonstrance in behalf of truth and nature were still of perpetual recurrence before and after the publication of this preface. I cannot likewise but add, that the comparison of such poems of merit, as have been given to the public within the last ten or twelve years, with the majority of those produced previously to the appearance of that preface, leave no doubt on my mind, that Mr. Wordsworth is fully justified in believing his efforts to have been by no means inef. fectual. Not oniy in the verses of those who have professed their admiration of his genius, but even of those who have distin. guished themselves by hostility to his theory, and depreciation