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The romantic school has generated ed, it would be proper to adopt this others, for every thing founded in phraseology and diction at present. error is subject to fluctuation, and I admit, then, in limine, that cerprone to work itself into different tain words are more poetic than other directions. It is restless and uneasy words, and that the poet should alfrom a sense of being fixed on a ways prefer the former to the latter; sandy foundation. The term roman but I deny that, however happy tic, however, may be justly applied Spenser might have been in the seto every school of poetry. at variance lection of his words, such of them with the classical school, so far as as have been since antiquated should romance may be considered at va appear in our modern poetry. In riance with truth and nature. Those admitting that certain words are who cannot attain to excellence by more poetic than others, it is necescopying truth and nature, are oblig- sary to ascertain why they are so, ed to have recourse to other means. before any inference can be drawn The object of poets who are thus from it in favour of Spenser's dicput to their shifts is, like unskilful tion. There is only one circumpainters, to produce effect by one stance, then, that can render any means or other. Some copy the term more poetic than another; and stanza of Spenser, thinking by so that is, that it convey a more poetic doing they must come in for some idea. The poetic charm is not in portion of his fame, without reflect the word, but in the idea, for the ing that Spenser owes no part of most musical word in the English his fame to the stanza in which he language is not poetic if it convey wrote, and that he owes it entirely not a poetic idea, while a word comto the richness of his imagination, posed of the harshest combination the splendour and variety of his of syllables is poetic if it present a imagery, the unaffected simplicity poetic image to the mind. It is true, of his diction, and his close adhe- musical words have always the prerence to nature. These would have ference, when the ideas for which served to immortalize him, let him they stand are equally poetic; but have chosen what stanza he would, without this condition, their melody but the fact is, that if he had chosen has no charm to a poetic ear, howany other stanza, these creatures, ever exquisite they may be to a muwho live by the breath of others, sical one. In the change which the would have doffed this celebrated English language has undergone stanza, as they call it, and have pre- since the days of Spenser, a great ferred any other that bad the sanc- number of the words then in use tion of his name. But it is not the has since become obsolete ; but can stanza of Spenser alone that is de- the admirers of Spenser's diction voured by these poetic gluttons: point out a single antiquated term they live upon his very words. They for which we have not at present a know they have little chance of substitute. The substitute then must surprizing their readers by sublimity be as poetic as the term which it has of conception, splendour of diction, superseded, as it stands for the same or any other quality that constitutes idea, for the poetry of both depends true excellence ; and therefore they on the ideas for which they stand. hope to surprize them by :obsolete If any objection can be made to the words and antiquated phrases, to substitute, it must be, that it is not which those who are only acquainted as smooth and musical a term as with the English language, in its that which it has displaced. This, modern improved state, are utter however, is an objection which nestrangers.
ver can be made, because the only Having now endeavoured to ac reason that can possibly be assigned count for the nature of the revolu- for substituting one term for another tion which has generated poetio is, the harsh and ungrateful sound schools, and having shewn that they of that which is exploded. It is do not arise from the improved taste obvious, then, that however happy of the age, the next question to be Spenser is in the choice of poetic considered is, whether, admitting terms, they cannot be more poetic the phraseology and diction of Spen- than those which we have substitutser to be as poetic as it is represented for them, nor get more musical.
There are three reasons, then, against shade, and colouring, &c. &c. protheir adoption in modern poetry ; vided that we copy nature in each, the first is, that they have no advan and despise the low artifice of protage over the terms in common use, ducing effect by overcharging her, so far as regards their poetry; the by covering her with gold
and jewsecond, that they are not so musical; els, and placing her on a gorgeous the third, that their meaning is not throne, to create admiration at the so well known to the generality of sumptuosity and splendour of ber readers, who are frequently obliged appearance. This, however, is not to consult their dictionary to disco describing nature, but a prostitute ver it. This is a very important ob- idol which we have placed in her jection to the use of them, because stead. The classical school imposes the beauty of a passage is lost to no restrictions whatever on the poet him who cannot understand as fast but that of following nature, which as he reads. I admit that the terms is borrowed from Spenser arrest the At once the source, and end, and test attention of common readers more
of art. than their modern substitutes; but this does not prove them more poe does she delight only in one mea.
But is nature confined to one style? tical: it merely proves what requires no proof, that we are less apt to at
sure? can she sympathize only with tend to things with which we are
one class of images ? is she always long familiar than to those which
in a romantic mood, incapable of are novel to us. A person, come
feeling the heart-felt joys of domesfrom any of the country parts to
tic bliss, and domestic scenes? do London, is more apt to turn round
not our own laurels and evergreens, and gaze at a Turkish or Persian
our own native hills and oft-frehabit than at the most elegant Eng- quented bowers, the shades of our Jish dress; but does this prove the own oaks, the wanderings of our Turkish dress more beautiful than
own rivulets, the echoes of our own the English ? Certainly not. With vales, impart to a virtuous inind all our predeliction for novelty, we pleasures which it would not expass by a Turkish babit unregarded change for the uncertain raptures after becoming once habituated to
communicated by bowers and Shades it, while no length of time can pre- and in the very contemplation of
which exist only in imagination, vent us from admiring an English dress when elegantly adapted to the which the heart often human frame. It is so with the dia -distrusting asks if this be joy. lect of Spenser; it arrests attention because it is not known; but if it Nature is not so limited in her came once into common use, we
enjoyments. Pleasure flows to her should get as sick of it as our an
from every point of the compass. cestors did. The poets, therefore, She throws her own charms 'over who make use of it, are those who, every object, and has the art of being destitute of novelty of idea, turning bitterness into sweets. Even seek to make amends for their defi- the painful emotions of tragic scenes ciency by novelty of words. become a source of her highest and It is obvious, then, that every
divinest pleasures. The cadences school of poetry at variance with which please her are innumerable, the classical, is founded on a pervert- and the poet who adheres to nature ed taste and an erroneous view of will produce sweeter music from intrue excellence; and that instead of harmonious sounds, than he who enlarging, as it affects to do, the disguises her in gold and jewels can career of genius, it completely en
from the most harmonious and muchains it. It places poetic beauty
sical. in certain styles, measures, turns of “Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, expression, &c. while the classical
and one school, that school which is so false. The live-long night;" ly said to restrict the imagination of the poet, gives an unlimited sanction yet every warbler has cadences of to all styles, measures, subjects, ca- his own, and each of these cadences dences, images, modes of treatment, is musical to man. Even the scream
ing of the kite is music to his ear follow a thousand rules and a thouwhen his soul is in harmony with sand laws of their own formation, nature, but where this harmony is than this one rule of the classical destroyed, the notes of the nightin- school. gale are more discordant than the
“ First follow nature, and your judgcawing of the rook. The poet, ment frame therefore, who places nature before By her just standard, which is still the us, is atways musical, because when same.” his cadences are even inharmonious, It will be contended, however, by he drowns their discord in charms the advocates of the romantic school, of a higher and superior nature, for that the classical school exercises while we are alive to these charms, too scrupulous a severity in point of even discord is music to us. Thus language, severity and purity of it is that the kite, the owl, the jay, diction, &c. but it should be recol&c. are musical when the soul is en- lected, that she does so merely in raptured with the music of other obedience to that fundamental law
on which all her principles of excel-"Nor these (birds) alone, whose it is evident that we cannot follow
lence rest--first follow nature ; for notes Nice-fingered art must emulate vain;
nature without the severest purity But cawing rooks, and kites that swim of diction. The shades of nature sublime,
are endlessly diversified, and we can In still repeated circles, screaming loud, copy her faithfully only so far as we The jay, the pye, and even the boding distinguish one shade from another, owl,
'for if we confound them we repreThat hails the rising moon, have charms sent things which are perfectly dif
ferent as one and the same thing. Sounds inharmonious in themselves, and Again, if we give a false portrait of harsh,
nature, though we should even disYet heard in scenes where peace for tinguish the shades, unless we ex
ever reigns, And only there, please highly for their press every shade by a word appro
priated to itself, for if we express
different shades by the same word, CowPER.
we either confound or throw a veil The poet, then, who adheres to over things which are different in nature, is always musical, whatever their nature, so that they are made be his cadences, but if his cadences to appear either as one thing, or be also musical, the poetic beauty is concealed altogether from our view; proportionably increased ; while the and in either case we give a false poet who cannot copy nature, and transcript of nature. To attempt pursue her through all her disguises, to describe nature, therefore, withwho gives us an ornamented coun out the greatest precision in the use terfeit instead of the naked original, of words, and even in their collocais always discordant, however musi- tion, would be as unavailing as it cal his cadences may be, because our would be to attempt producing varifeelings are kept continually on the ous lights and shades by one die and rack by one violation of nature or one depth of colouring. Wherever another. The classical school of the classical school, therefore, is more poetry, then, is the only school which precise and observant of rule than gives an unlimited range to the ca the romantic, it will always be found, reer of genius: it acknowledges that it arises from that law of folevery thing to be stamped with the lowing nature to which all her other impress of excellence which is a laws are subservient. To this rule true copy of nature, and the only she admits of no exception, and reason why it is supposed to be the therefore it must be considered not most rigid of all the other schools, as a general, but as a universal law is simply because, with all the lati to which she admits of no exception tude it allows, it gives no latitude whatever. whatever for deviating from nature. It appears, then, that the admirers Here, however, is the great difficulty of Spenser ought to be divided into The disciples of the romantic school two classes, those who admire him are well aware that it is easier to as a true copier of nature, and those
who admire him only because he far le has avoided the glitter and chiefly confined himself to romantic ornament of unskilful painting. Of subjects, because he wrote in a cer. this little need be said. Spenser is tain stanza, and all the other arbi- simplicity itself, but his simplicity trary et ceteras which characterize is not the affected simplicity of the the romantic school of poetry. The modern school. He is simple, not former of these classes admire Spen- because he wishes to appear so, for ser because he is worthy of their it would seem that he is totally unadmiration, and because he excelled conscious of it, but because he enin that species of poetry which he deavours to describe nature as he cultivated. Hence it is that no per- found it; not, it is true, in its ordison admired Spenser more than nary appearances, but in its most Pope, though considered the model picturesque moods. What can be or founder of the classical school in more picturesque, and at the same England; but the defenders of the time more simple and unaffectedly romantic school admire him because natural, than the following descrip he has happened to fall in with their tion of a hermitage? particular system, because he hap
“ A little lowly hermitage it was, pened to write upon subjects to which they confine all excellence, Far from resort of people that did pass
Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side. and for many other reasons founded
In traveill to and froe: a little wyde on their own crazy system of poeti. There was an holy chappell edifyde, cal pre-eminence. Their admiration, wherein the hermite dewly wont to say then, should not, evidently, be attri- His boly things each morne and eresbuted to the improved taste of the tyde; present day, so far as this taste coin. Thereby a chrystall streame did gently cides with the romantic school, and play, it must therefore have arisen from Which from a sacred fountain welled the circumstances and causes which
forth away." I have already described.
It is a common expression to say I now leave the romantic school of poetry, to conclude my observa- how much more sublime, and at the
“ the wide canopy of heaven," but tions on the genius of Spenser.
same time how much more simple is Having shewn that he failed in the the expression of Spenser, pathetic, the first quality of excellence belonging to the subject of his “ Nought is there under heaven's wide “ Faerie Queen,” that he pre-emi
hollownesse." nently excelled in that species of In his description of the gardens of invention without which he could Adonis are united that simplicity in not attain to excellence in a subject the description of external nature, of a romantic nature, I now come and that luxuriance and richness of to inquire how far he succeeded in 'imagination which is the very soul that happy simplicity of description of descriptive poetry, and in which which pourtrays nature as it pre- Spenser perhaps has never been exsents itself to our view, and how celled.
M. M, D.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT. The conquests and splendid career The punishment of Philotas and of Alexander the Great were com the assassination of Parmenio prised in the short term of twelve
in .. years.
The murder of Clitus and the *The destruction of Thebes was in condemnation of Callistenes, the year before Christ...... 335
in ... The
passage of the Granicus in 334 The passage of the Indus and The battle of Issus in...... 333 the defeat of Porus, in...... 327 The taking of Tyre ; the foun. The sedition of the army, the dation of Alexandria; and the
dismissal of the veterans, and journey to Jupiter Ammon, in 332 Alexander's return to BabyThe battle of Arbella in ...... 331 lon, in The assumption of the title of The death of Alexander the King of Asia in .........
330 Great in....