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“ Along the river's stony marge
The sand-lark chants a joyous song;
Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Ghyll.”
“ Yet had he many a restless dream;
Both when he heard the eagle's scream,
Near where their cottage stood.
Beside a lake their cottage stood,
And stirring in its bed.
And rivers large and strong:
As long as earth shall last.
And, with the coming of the tide,
Bring tales of distant lands."5
s (Ib., iii., pp. 145-6. Mr. Wordsworth has altered “gweetly” in the I might quote almost the whole of his Ruth, but take the following stanzas :
“ But, as you have before been told,
This Stripling, sportive, gay, and bold,
Of Indians in the West.
The wind, the tempest roaring high,
And such impetuous blood.
Whatever in those climes he found
The workings of his heart.
Nor less, to feed voluptuous thought,
Into those magic bowers.
Yet in his worst pursuits, I ween,
Of noble sentiment."
But from Mr. Wordsworth’s more elevated compositions,
last stanza to “safely.” In the first I venture to prefer “the eagle's scream,” which my father wrote, to “ the eagles," as it is written by Mr Wordsworth—because eagles are neither gregarious nor numerous, and the first expression seems to mark the nature of the bird, and to bring it more interestingly before the mind, than the last. S. C.]
[P. W., ii., p. 106. S. €.]
which already form three-fourths of his works; and will, I trust, constitute hereafter a still larger proportion ;—from these, whether in rhyme or blank verse, it would be difficult and almost superfluous to select instances of a diction peculiarly his own, of a style which cannot be imitated without its being at once recognised, as originating in Mr. Wordsworth. It would not be easy to open on any one of his loftier strains, that does not contain examples of this; and more in proportion as the lines are more excellent, and most like the author. For those, who may happen to have been less familiar with his writings, I will give three specimens taken with little choice. The first from the lines on the Boy of WINANDER-MERE, who
“ Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him. And they would shout
7 [There was a Boy. P. W., ii., p. 79. S. C.]
& Mr. Wordsworth’s having judiciously adopted concourse wild" in this passage for “ a wild scene" as it stood in the former edition, encourages me to hazard a remark, which I certainly should not have made in the works of a poet less austerely accurate in the use of words, than he is, to his own great honor. It respects the propriety of the word “scene,” even in the sentence in which it is retained Dryden; and he only in his more careless verses, was the first, as far as my researches have discovered, who for the convenience of rhyme used this word in the vague sense, which has been since too current even in our best writers, and which (unfortunately, I think) is given as its first explanation in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, and therefore would be taken by an incautious reader as its proper sense. In Shakspeare and Milton the word is never used without some clear reference, proper or metaphorical, to the theatre. Thus Milton;
“ Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm
A sylvan scene; and, as the ranks ascend
* [Par. Lost, Iv., 1. 139. 8. C.)
Would enter unavares into his mind
I object to any extension of its meaning, because the word is alrealy more equivocal than might be wished; inasmuch as in the limited use which I recommend, it may still signify two different things; namely, the scenery, and the characters and actions presented on the stage during the presence of particular scenes. It can therefore be preserved from obscurity only by keeping the original signification full in the mind. Thus Milton again,
-“ Prepare thee for another scene.”
9 [Part of this poetical description has been altered or expanded thus ;
And they would shout
I fear it is presumptuous even to express a feeling which hardly dares to be an opinion, about these fine verses (one of the most exquisite specimens of blank verse that I know, and fit to be placed beside the most exquisite specimens from Milton, though different from them in the kind of excel. lence) and yet I cannot forbear to express the feeling, that the latter part of this quotation stood better at first ; or that any improvement,-if any. there be,-in the first of the two altered lines, is dearly purchased by the comparative languor which has thus been occasioned in the second :
Of silence such as baffled his best skill seems to me almost prose in comparison with
That pauses of deep silence mocked his skill,which presents the image (if so it may be called) at once without dividing it, while the spondaic movement of the verse corresponds to the sense. Neither can I think that “ mirth” is here a superfluity even in addition to “ jocund din;" the logic of poetic passion may admit or even require what the mere logic of thought does not exact; and what is the objection to “ chanc'd,” which Milton uses just in the same way in Paradise Lost? The utter silence of the owls after such free and full communications, is
(Par. Lost, xi., 1. 637
Book ix., 1. 575.
The second shall be the noble imitation of Drayton (if it was not rather a coincidence) in the lines To JOANNA."
-“ When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space,
The third, which is in rhyme, I take from the Song AS Feast of BROUGHAM CASTLE, upon the restoration of Lord Clifford, the Shepherd, to the Estates and Honors of his Ancestors."
-“ Now another day is come,
as good an instance of chance, or an event of which we cannot see the cause, as the affairs of this world commonly present; and the word seems to me particularly expressive. S. C.)
10 Which Copland scarce had spoke, but quickly every hill,
Upon her verge that stands, the neighboring valleys fill ;
Drayton's POLYOLBION: Song XXX. 11 [P. W., ii., p. 299. S. C.] 1? [1b., p. 151. S. C.]