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zine verfification; and all the difference between them is, that they borrow their phrases from a different and a scantier gradus ad Parnaffum. If they were, indeed, to discard all imitation and set phrafeology, and to bring in no words merely for show or for metre, as much, perhaps, might be gained in freedom and originality, as would infallibly be loft in allufion and authority; but, in point of fact, the new poets are just as great borrowers as the old; only that, inftead of borrowing from the more popular paffages of their illuftrious predeceffors, they have preferred furnishing themselves from vulgar ballads and plebeian nurseries.
Their peculiarities of diction alone, are enough, perhaps, to render them ridiculous; but the author before us really feems anxious to court this literary martyrdom by a device ftill more infallible, we mean, that of connecting his moft lofty, tender, or impaffioned conceptions, with objects and incidents, which the greater part of his readers will probably perfift in thinking low, filly, or uninterefting. Whether this is done from affectation and conceit alone, or whether it may not arife, in some measure, from the felf-illufion of a mind of extraordinary fenfibility, habituated to folitary meditation, we cannot undertake to determine. It is poffible enough, we allow, that the fight of a friend's gardenfpade, or a fparrow's neft, or a man gathering leeches, might really have fuggefted to fuch a mind a train of powerful impreffions and interesting reflections; but it is certain, that, to molt minds, fuch affociations will always appear forced, rained, and unnatural; and that the compofition in wich it is attempted to exhibit them, will always have the air of parody, or ludicrous and affected fingularity. All the world laughs at Elegiac ftanzas to a fuckingpig-a Hymn on Washing-day Sonnets to one's grandmotheror Pindarics on goofeberry-py; and yet, we are afraid, it will not be quite eafy to convince Mr Wordsworth, that the fame ridicule muft infallibly attach to most of the pathetic pieces in these volumes. To fatisfy our readers, however, as to the justice of this and our other anticipations, we fhail proceed, without further preface, to lay before them a fhort view of their contents.
The firft is a kind of ode to the Daify,'-very flat, feeble, and affected; and in a diction as artificial, and as much encumbered with heavy expletives, as the theme of an unpractifed schoolboy. The two following ftanzas will ferve as a fpecimen.
When soothed a while by milder airs,
That thinly fhades his few grey hairs;
Whole fummer fields are thine by right;
Doth in thy crimson head delight
Nor car' if thou be fet at naught;
We meet thee, like a pleafant thought,
The scope of the piece is to fay, that the flower is found every where; and that it has fuggefted many pleasant thoughts to the author-fome chime of fancy wrong or right'-fome feeling of devotion more or lefs'-and other elegancies of the fame ftamp. It ends with this unmeaning prophecy.
Thou long the poet's praise fhalt gain;
In times to come; thou not in vain
Art Nature's favourite.'
The next is called 'Louisa,' and begins in this dashing and affected manner.
I met Louifa in the shade;
And, having feen that lovely maid,
That she is ruddy, fleet, and frong;
Does Mr Wordsworth really imagine that this is at all more natural or engaging than the ditties of our common song writers ?
A little farther on we have another original piece, entitled, 'The Redbreast and the Butterfly,' of which our readers will probably be contented with the first stanza.
Aft thou the bird whom man loves beft,
The bird, whom by fome name or other All men who know thee call their brother, The darling of children and men? Could Father Adam open his eyes, And fee this fight beneath the skies, He'd wish to close them again.' I. 16. This, it must be confessed, is Silly Sooth' in good earnest. The three last lines seem to be downright raving.
By and by, we have a piece of namby-pamby to the Small Celandine, which we should almost have taken for a professed imitation of one of Mr Philips's prettyisms. Here is a page of it.
• Comfort have thou of thy merit,
After talking of its bright coronet,
the ditty is wound up with this piece of babyish absurdity.
Thou art not beyond the moon,
But a thing" beneath our fhoon;"
Who will love my little flower.' I. 30.
After this come some more manly lines on The Character of the Happy Warrior,' and a chivalrous legend on The Horn of Egremont Castle,' which, without being very good, is very tolerable, and free from most of the author's habitual defects. Then follow some pretty, but professedly childish verses, on a kitten playing with the falling leaves. There is rather too much of Mr Ambrose Philips here and there in this piece also; but it is amiable and lively.
Further on, we find an Ode to Duty,' in which the lofty vein is very unsuccessfully attempted. This is the concluding
Stern lawgiver! yet thou doft wear
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds;
And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and
The two last lines seem to be utterly without meaning; at least we have no sort of conception in what sense Duty can be said to keep the old skies fresh, and the stars from wrong.
The next piece, entitled The Beggars,' may be taken, we fancy, as a touchstone of Mr Wordsworth's merit. There is something about it that convinces us it is a favourite of the author's; though to us, we will confess, it appears to be a very paragon of silliness and affectation. Our readers shall have the greater part of it. It begins thus.
She had a tall man's height, or more;
What other dress she had I could not know;
Before me begging did fhe ftand,
And yet a boon I gave her; for the creature
Was beautiful to lee; a weed of glorious feature!' I. 77, 78. The poet, leaving this interesting person, falls in with two ragged boys at play, and like that woman's face as gold is like to gold.' Here is the conclusion of this memorable adventure.
• They bolted on me thus, and lo!
Your mother has had alıns of mine."
"That cannot be," one answered, "She is dead. "
Nay but I gave her pence, and she will buy you bread. ”
"She has been dead, Sir, many a day.
"Come, come!" cried one; and, without more ado, Off to fome other play they both together flew.' I. 79.
Alice Fell' is a performance of the same order. The poet, driving into Durham in a pestchaise, hears a sort of scream; and, calling to the post-boy to stop, finds a little girl crying on the back of the vehicle.
"My cloak!" the word was last and first,
"What ails you, child?" fhe fobb'd, "Look here!"
A weather beaten rag as e'er
From any garden fcarecrow dangled.' I. 85, 86. They then extricate the torn garment, and the good-natured bard takes the child into the carriage along with him. The narrative proceeds
"My child, in Durham do you dwell?"
And I to Durham, Sir, belong."
The chaife drove on; our journey's end
As warm a cloak as man can fell!"
Proud creature was fhe the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell!' I. p. 87, 88.
If the printing of such trash as this be not felt as an insult on the public taste, we are afraid it cannot be insulted.
After this follows the longest and most elaborate poem in the volume, under the title of Resolution and Independence.' The poet, roving about on a common one fine morning, falls into pensive musings on the fate of the sons of song, which he sums up in this fine distich.
We poets in our youth begin in gladness ;
But thereof comes in the end defpondency and madness.' I. p. 92. In the midst of his meditations
I faw a man before me unawares :
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.
Motionless as a cloud the old man ftood;