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that is likely to be improved by a country life or by country labours. Education, or original sensibility, or both, must pre-exist, if the changes, forms, and incidents of nature are to prove a sufficient stimulant. And where these are not sufficient, the mind contracts and hardens by want of stimulants; and the man becomes selfish, sensual, gross, and hard-hearted. Let the management of the Poor LAws in Liverpool, Manchester, or Bristol be compared with the ordinary dispensation of the poor rates in agricultural villages, where the farmers are the overseers and guardians of the poor. If my own experience have not been particularly unfortunate, as well as that of the many respectable country clergymen with whom I have conversed on the subject, the result would engender more than scepticism concerning the desirable influences of low and rustic life in and for itself. Whatever may be concluded on the other side, from the stronger local attachments and enterprizing spirit of the Swiss, and other mountaineers, applies to a particular mode of pastoral life, under forms of property, that permit and beget manners truly republican, not to rustic life in general, or to the absence of artificial cultivation. On the contrary the mountaineers, whose manners have been so often eulogized, are in, general better educated and greater readers than men of equal rank elsewhere. But where this is not the case, as among the peasantry of North Wales, the ancient mountains, with all their terrors and all their glories, are pictures to the blind, and music to the deaf. I should not have entered so much into detail upon this passage, but here seems to be the point, to which all the lines of difference converge as to their source and centre. (I mean, as far as, and in whatever respect, my poetic creed does differ from the doctrines promulged in this preface.) I adopt with full faith the principle of Aristotle, that poetry as poetry is essentially” ideal, that it avoids and excludes all accident; that its apparent individualities of rank, character, or occupation must be representative of a class; and that the persons of poetry must be clothed with generic attributes, with the common attributes of the class; not with such as one gifted individual might possibly possess, but such as from his situation it is most probable before-hand, that he would possess. If my premises are right, and my deductions legitimate, it follows that there can be no poetic medium between the swains of Theocritus and those of an imaginary golden age. The characters of the vicar and the shepherdmariner in the poem of the “BROTHERs,” those of the shepherd of Green-head Gill in the “ MICHAEL,” have all the verisimilitude and representative quality, that the purposes of poetry can require. They are persons of a known and abiding class, and their manners

* Say not that I am recommending abstractions, for these class-characteristics which constitute the instructiveness of a character, are so modified and particularized in each person of the Shaksperian Drama, that life itself does not excite more distinctly that sense of individuality which belongs to real existence. Paradoxical as it may sound, one of the essential properties of Geometry is not less essential to dramatic excellence; and Aristotle has accordingly required of the poet an involution of the universal in the individual. The chief differences are, that in Geometry it is the universal truth, which is uppermost in the consciousness; in poetry the individual form, in which the truth is clothed. With the ancients, and not less with the elder dramatists of England and France, both eomedy and tragedy were considered as kinds of poetry. They neither sought in comedy to make us laugh merely; much less to make us laugh by wry faces, accidents of jargon, slang phrases for the day, or the clothing of common-place morals in metaphors drawn from the shops or mechanic occupations of their characters. Nor did they. condescend in tragedy to wheedle away the applause of the spectators, by representing before them fac-similies of their

own mean selves in all their existing meanness, or to work

on their sluggish sympathies by a pathos not a whit more

respectable than the maudlin tears of drunkenness. Their

tragic scenes were meant to affect us indeed ; but yet within

the bounds of pleasure, and in union with the activity both

of our understanding and imagination. They wished to trans

port the mind to a sense of its possible greatness, and to im

plant the germs of that greatness, during the temporary obli

vion of the worthless “thing we are,” and of the peculiar

state in which each man happens to be, suspending our in

dividual recollections and lulling them to sleep anid the

music of nobler thoughts.

FRIEND, Pages 251, 252.

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An old man stout of heart, and strons at hubs
His bodily frame had been flow vouth to age
Of an unusual strength ; his mud was keew,
Intense and frugal, apt for all affairs,
And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt
And watchful more than ordinary men,
Hence he had learnt the meaning of all winds,
Of blasts of every tone, and ostentimes
When others heeded not, he heard the South
Make subterraneous music, like the noise
Of bagpipers on distant highland hills,
The shepherd, at such warning, of his slook
Bethought him, and he to himself would say,
The winds are now (levising work for me !
And truly at all times the storm, that drives
The traveller to a shelter, summon'd him
Up to the mountains. He had been alone
Amid the heart of many thousand misss,
That came to him and left him on the heights,
So liv'd he, till his eightieth year was pass'd,
And grossly that man errs, who should suppose
That the green vallies, and the streams and rocke,
Were things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughs,
Fields, where with chearful spirit; he had or wood
The common air; the hills, which he w of
Had climb d with vigorout ope; who adowy, we'd
So many incidents upon it woud
Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or 4 ar;
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Had fed or shelter'd, linking to such acts,
So grateful in themselves, the certainty
Of honorable gains ; these fields, these hills
Which were his living being, even more
Than his own blood—what could they less had laid
Strong hold on his affections, were to him
A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
The pleasure which there is in life itself.

On the other hand, in the poems which are pitched at a lower note, as the “HARRY GILL,” “IDIot Boy,’ &c. the feelings are those of human nature in general ; though the poet has judiciously laid the scene in the country, in order to place himself in the vicinity of interesting images, without the necessity of ascribing a sentimental perception of their beauty to the persons of his drama. In the “Idiot Boy,” indeed, the mother's character is not so much a real and native product of a “situation where the essential passions of the heart find a better soil, in which they can attain their maturity and speak a plainer and more emphatic language,” as it is an impersonation of an instinct abandoned by judgement. Hence the two following charges seem to me not wholly groundless: at least, they are the only plausible objections, which I have heard to that fine poem. The one is, that the author has not, in the poem itself, taken sufficient care to preclude from the reader's fancy the disgusting images of ordinary,


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