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evaded by simulation of virtue as inverted by some people,” who will read these consecration of vice, and where debauchery is lectures, do not have their eyes opened by argued for on principles of reason, and religion these and similar passages, then, to use itself, the sacred law of love, is urged in behalf
our author's phrase, they may be given of lewdness and lust. The truth is, there are some people whose morality seems to be all in
over as “spoiled eggs. The truth shines their ears; who cannot bear to have things out of them so clearly that there is no called by their right names; nay, who are even mistaking it without intentionally shutfond of dirty things, and will compass seating the eyes. “Some people” can talk, and land to come at them, provided they can have them dressed in clean words; and who and will, which is the reason why it is a
and twist, and shift,--they always could are never contented unless they have something whereby to persuade themselves that they waste of time to argue with them; their are serving God while indulging their lusts."
very nature and essence includes a want of
reverence for God or man, and hence it is We do not feel as if this needed any their religion never to stop talking, never comment. Indeed, at present, it is not
to be put down, never to confess themapparent that anything remains to be said
But this plain showing upon the subject.
of them up must do much to dash even In another instance the social reformers, their effrontery, (we refer particularly to a very presumptuous and ignorant species the transcendental progressives and social of “some people,” are dealt with as fol
Walking down Broadway on one of “ Whether from a fault in himself or in the those evenings when the lamplighters are public for whom he wrote, it is a remarkable instructed to presume the existence of a fact, that Shakspeare never attempts to show bis respect for religion and law by reviling moon in defiance of the senses, an individministers and magistrates ; nor was he so scru
ual might accost one thus : “ Sir, wishing palously just and charitable as to represent all to afford you an unusual gratification, I poor men as wise, temperate, honest, and un take the liberty of walking by your side. fortunate, and all rich men as cheaters, extor- You are now conversing with person
who tioners, and sensualists: in a word, he was not
was for a long time at the head of one of so enlightened and sanctified as to identify social the greatest nations in the world. I am with moral distinctions; he therefore found, or perhaps fancied, something besides virtue in his late majesty, Louis Philippe, ex-King of hovels, and something besides vice in palaces; France, in disguise.” This might be a priests were not all villains, princes were not plan to delude one's vanity, while picking all dances, criminals were not all heroes, beg- his pocket. But if there was an individual gars were not all saints, with him. Which on the roof of the Museum, sending every will probably account for certain sneers and censures which have lately been cast upon him, of passengers, those strong rays of the
now and then upon the obscured throng as not being a reformer, but as being content to let things remain as he found them; as giving sible to feeling, the cheat is not one which
Drummond light which seem almost senDo prophecy' of 'a good time coming, nor making any efforts to bring it about ; in other would be likely to be attempted. The words, that he did not patronize Providence, person addressed would turn to the face nor try to rectify the moral government of the of the accoster, would see at once that he universe, so that all men, and especially all lacked the massy features of the ex-king, reformers, should be immediately rewarded according to their deserts, themselves being business, for that he desired none of his
and would then tell him to go about his jodges.”
society. One other instance shall suffice for a
Just so with “ some people,” these proview of Mr. Hudson's manner when speak- fessors of Everything; they meet us in the ing directly in his missionary character: crowd and affect to be so many Platos,
" Yet some appear to think that Shakspeare, Homers and Lycurguses ; they afflict exirreligious himself, could not delineate or ceedingly many honest persons who lack conceive truly religious characters; probably strength of mind to shake them off, and because his persons do not take sides on the who thus fall into the sin of answering them quinquaticular controversy ;' their faith always showing itself in works, not in words,
according to their folly. But now comes and their piety consisting in doing right, not in Mr. Hudson, and begins turning his Shakgetting religion.'
speare lecture Drummond light-precisely
as the man does on the Museum. The the folly, though of course he does not own honest persons turn upon the pseudo-phi- it. Why should we go down and vex ourlosophers who bore them, and they perceive selves with thoughts and questions which only “some people”-some very silly peo- lie in a region where all sensible thinkers ple—frequently fantastically dressed, with are absolutely omniscient? If, when we long hair, and the natural position of their are walking up Broadway, (to use under garments reversed. The philoso- former comparison,) a man comes up who phers also become conscious that their cha- tells us there are three hundred lamp posts racter is known to be assumed, and cannot between the Astor House and Canal street, be sustained ; if they were not before and that, therefore, we must believe in the aware of this, the strong beams of truth speedy restoration of the Jews, we are not make them so now, and those among them bound, unless by some very recent statute, who have sincerely erred will encourage to refute the proposition. The individual the delusion no more.
who wishes to entertain us with such specuBut many of them will persist in their | lations puts himself in a state of quasi inclaims with the same pertinacity in the sanity. He is no prophet, such a man, but face of truth and common sense, as though an auger, and his conversation is an unprothey were on the best of terms with those fitable bore. all-powerful allies. Just like the Demo If he intended to amuse us, or if he had cratic party, to which we have already to communicate, or desired to learn aught compared them, their object is not so of us, that would be another affair. If for much the asserting and supporting truth, instance, in passing the new Russ pavement, as the gaining and retaining power. one should call our attention to it as a fine
It is the instinct of a radical, no less in example of the rus in urbe, (even that might philosophy and letters than in politics, to be endured,) or if one stopped us merely be noisy. He cannot bear that there should to ask the way to such a street, or to inbe any finer or nobler being than his own. form us that we had dropped a gloveHe cannot understand poetry or art, and anything, no matter what, save utter vahis presence takes
away from the enjoy- pidness, would be tolerable. But we canment of either. He is fond of argument, not, with due courtesy to "some people,” because in it he can always talk, and al can not devote our time to nonsense. Their ways have the last word. If you pin him conversation and writing, therefore, have to a point he grins and avoids it. He will long ceased to appear to us worth answernot permit the existence of any elevated ing, or, for its own sake, even noticing. state of feeling in his friends. He is ever But Mr. Hudson, and this is another manifesting a disposition to laugh at what proof of his mission, is still annoyed by he cannot enter into or lift himself up to. "some people," and delights to perplex and He will keep to the letter of courtesy while confound them. It is of the nature of his he violates its spirit. He wears upon the mind to see things minutely in detail. His nerves, and requires to be held off at arm's Drummond light illuminates with exceedlength. Obedience, deference, modesty, ing clearness whatever point he turns it politeness even, are virtues he does not towards; but he is not, and this
be practice. He is one, in short, to whom, if said without disparagement, since there are one wishes to do any good, he must put on so few such in the world, a great fixed dignity and carry it towards him authorita- beacon like Coleridge, who irradiates at tively—a painful effort for sensitive nerves. once the broad horizon.
For our own part, we are glad to avoid Or, to speak in another figure, he is one the immediate contact of this sort of people. who, in writing, does not bear himself They annoy us to the verge of distraction. away on the wings of emotion, aroused by We prefer to let our light shine upon them the great vision of an entire effect, but he from a distance, and to obey the natural moves laboriously, fettered by the desire of impulses of benevolence rather by laboring being effective in every sentence, and by for their good through intelligent readers. the intensity with which he sees the immeHence we hear no transcendental or ultra diate points that arise in his treatment of orthodox conversation; the only Fourierite his subject. His sight is keen, but near friend we have is-yes, he is ashamed of the ground; he detects weeds among flow
ers, and wherever he does so they are sure of antagonizing and exterminating a pecuto come out; higher up he could not do liar development of sentimentalism. this so well, but would see wider land But besides his missionary labor, he has scapes. Little men and little thoughts vex produced in these volumes the best book and stop him. A capital marksman, he on Shakspeare that has ever been given to kills hundreds of squirrels, coons, foxes and the American public. He has so much other such vermin, when if he would not nationality as well as individuality that his be distracted by their clamor, but would calculations are peculiarly fitted to our leave the bush and take to the open prai- meridian; he sees through our mind, (being rie, he might have nobler sport with grim a Yankee,) and has aimed at it so well that white wolves and bellowing buffaloes. he has done his countrymen a service as
The droll, querulous manner in which well as himself an honor in what he has he pops away at all sorts of little-minded written. He would not desire of course ness, under the head of “some people,” is to be compared with Coleridge or Lamb; very diverting, as it is also creditable to his but he may justly congratulate himself on skill. He is the terror and the terrier of having produced what will have much knownothings. He will not have them more effect than their criticisms in keeping about him. He exclaims against them, Shakspeare before our people--and this slaps at them, and flattens scores of them too not by lowering his subject, but in a at every stroke. We look where they had way which all true Shakspearians and been, and there is nothing to be seen but honest men must approve. He cannot an antithesis or a comparison.
lay claim to a very high degree of poetic The spirit in which he attacks nonsense emotion; nor has he that sort of
power in general is, as he probably meant it to which flashes on the mind's eye new and be, highly entertaining in its quality as well abiding views of ideal characters. But he as suited to the purpose. He does not go talks about them in a way that must interinto great passions with it, but in just est readers, encourage them to freedom enough little ones to give his sarcasms and clearness of thought, and strengthen heartiness as well as pleasantness, and so them against all manner of temptation to to make them sting.
hypocrisy and self-deception. Though he
has exercised his wit in sarcasm, where it “ We should naturally presume, indeed, that
was needed, he has written more in love a man would understand a thing in proportion than to punish. He is evidently self-reas he had studied it; but herein we are liable to err; for critic Bottom plainly understands a
liant and fearless, but he has reverence for thing in proportion as he has not studied it: in his author, and designs to spread a true which respect he has certainly had more imita- knowledge of him. He is outright and tors of late years than any other great man frank; his faults are therefore pardonable, whose name and fame have reached us.” “ A straw fire in the night may be a very result of the sincere labor of an acute
and his excellencies not accidental, but the pretty thing; but it only sets people to running after it, and then dies out by the time they get
scholar. there, thus leaving them more in the dark than With regard to the sonnets of Shakthey were before.
speare, with which he begins his lectures, The tone of these, and a hundred other
we think it best to differ with him in supexcellent things in these lectures, as well posing, because they were addressed to a as of the passages above quoted, is so anal
Mr. W. H. as “the only begetter of these ogous to that of another worthy personage, love, or friend, celebrated in them, was
ensuing sonnets,” that therefore the ideal that one cannot help fancying there must be some blood relation between our author likely to have been William Herbert, Earl
of Pembroke. That he or some actual and the Nipper
person is meant in some few of them, is “A person may tell a person to dive off a quite probable; in the one wherein Downbridge head foremost into five and forty feet of land and Spenser are mentioned, for examwater, Mrs. Richards, but a person may be very ple, the poet is apostrophizing some living far from diving."
person. Perhaps in the composition of All these peculiarities make him just the others he may have had actual persons for one to achieve the work appointed for him sitlers-images from which he idealized
and created states of emotion and fancy, the teachings of common sense within, and embodied them in these works of art. than from the lamentable failures of late The sonnet commencing, “ Those pret- years in the many attempts to do so around ty wrongs that liberty commits,” should Good poetry requires the reason, the have been from a wife to her absent hus taste, and the intellect, as well as the heart, band; such ones as “When in disgrace,”* the fancy, and the imagination. The rapor, When I do count the clock," are from tures of song and music are not those of wine. a lover to his mistress. The whole together It would seem to be the idea with a appear to be a collection of pieces in that superficial class of thinkers, that even adform, written at various times, and in dif- mitting the necessity of a study of the ferent moods of mind. Some express a form of poetry, the poet should, at the proud power, others sad resolution, tender- time of inspiration, be able to forget that ness, regret, hope, love, sorrow; yet all he was using any form, and should flow on have that wonderful condensation and pe- in spontaneous jets of musical eloquence ; culiar freedom of language which mark and that poetry so written would be more them as the production of the same great perfect in form than if the writer should artist. Perhaps they were written as endeavor conscientiously to conform to studies, and Shakspeare persevered in using rule. In other words, they would have the sonnet form as the most purely artistic him study his rule till the moment of apand difficult of any, feeling that if he could plication, and then throw it aside and go attain the ease and habit of symmetry by the pure estus animi. This, it seems necessary to bring out that harmony of to us, is a very low view of the art. We emotion and expression which is the per are not to stndy celare artem but the ars fection of poetry, while compelling his celare artem. That is, we should not aim imagination to work under so great a stress to throw aside the art and conceal it by of carefulness, then the requirements of not using it, but we should endeavor to ordinary verse would leave him almost command the art, with so much power that free. Just as great composers of music there shall be a sense of ease and strength write in strict fugued counterpoint till they imparted to the reader. acquire an almost miraculous command of Just at our time, when “ some people" harmony, and painters study the human are so given to self-utterance, so ready to face and form till they master its changes take upon themselves the feeling that they under the many shades of expression and are great artists, when they are in truth no effect.
artists at all, it is well to insist on the pracFor poetry is an art, and its forms re tical part of poetry, and to say very plainly, quire study as much as those of any other at the expense of being styled a “convenart. The poet's emotion, thought, fancy, tionalist, “purist, whatever the passion, &c., pass out from him under the phrase may be, that poets are not those superintendence of his judgment, and in who can intoxicate themselves with the a strict form, of which he is perfectly nectar of conceit, and then expose their conscious. A man cannot well write a raptures to the world. They are those sonnet without knowing what he is about. who can express raised states of the soul He must write in some form, and the mas- experiable by all mankind, in forms suitable tery of any form is not a natural and ina- to those states; who have the art to conlienable attribute of humanity. We cannot trol themselves and beget a temperance in “gush" poetry, as is evident not less from the very tempest and whirlwind of passion;
who express not themselves but what they Mr. Hudson quotes thus :
think, see, and hear, in that
because Haply I think on thee; and then my state
they are impelled to it by a natural spiritIs like the lark at break of day uprising ual impulse-a feeling not primarily of From earth and singing hymns at heaven's gate. desire for fame or any other consequence,
Our London Edition of Hazlitt's Poets has it but of a strong wish to excel in that deHaply I think on thee,-and then my state
partment, and a notion that they can and Like to the lark at break of day arising
will—by study, by thought, by a resolute (From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate.compulsion of themselves to the task. How This must be the true reading.
earnestly did the inspired ploughman labor
to make himself worthy of the title | What then shall we say? even this: that .“ Robert Burns, Poet!” His was no such Shakspeare, no mere child of nature; no autoinspiration as took away his senses.
His maton of genius; no passive vehicle of inspiramost musical, most melancholy songs were
tion possessed by the spirit, not possessing it ; not produced by a mind made maudlin stood minutely, till knowledge, become habitual
first studied patiently, meditated deeply, underthrough a contemplation of its own charms. and intuitive, wedded itself to his habitual feelHe was too delicate-minded a man to un- ings, and at length gave birth to that stupendous cover himself and “think out ’loud” before power by which he stands alone, with no equal his countrymen. We gather but a meagre
or second in his own class; to that power which account of his personal history from his seated him on one of the two glory-smitten sum
mits of the poetic mountain, with Milton as his poems.
compeer, not rival. While the former darts If these be třue views of the art of himself forth, and passes into all the forms of writing poetry, then they afford a reason human character and passion, the one Proteus for supposing that Shakspeare composed of the fire and the flood; the other attracts all his Sonnets chiefly as exercises, artistically forms and things to himself, into the unity of creating imaginary conditions within him his own IDEAL. All things and modes of action self
, and producing them in required shape themselves anew in the being of Milton; forms. There is no necessity for believing while SHAKSPEARE becomes all things, yet forthem to have been personally intended ; hast thou not produced, England ! my country!
ever remaining himself. O what great men indeed, if it could be proved that they truly indeed -were so, it would tend to show that Shak
* Must we be free or die, who speak the tongue speare was not only himself, but compre- Which Shakspeare spake; the faith and morals hended Milton, and at the same time sang hold his native wood-notes wild on the blos’my Which Milton held: in everything we are spray of the social earth, and towered sprung among the stars like a winged messenger Of earth's first blood, have titles manifold !"" of heaven; it would make him the artist In Mr. Hudson's chapter on Shakof control as well as of liberty, and force speare's perceptive powers, near the end, us to admire the power of an imagination we have the following :which could at once bear its possessor to the gates of paradise, and gladden the Milton. Milton concentrates all things into
"Herein Shakspeare differs altogether from sullen earth with smiles. In fine, it would himself, and melts them down into his own inmake the musical element in him to predividuality ; Shakspeare darts himself forth into dominate and sustain the descriptive and all things, and melts down his individuality into the reasoning powers in such a way that he theirs. Every page of Milton's writings exshould seem to address himself to others, bibits a full-length portrait of the author; the whereas in his manifestation of himself perfect absence of Shakspeare from his own through the drama he appears rapt in
pages, makes it difficult for us to conceive of a
human being's having written them. The contemplation and self-communion, (not secret of this
probably is, Milton had nearly all revery,) speaking to himself alone-borne of Shakspeare's imagination, but perhaps not upward in his fight, not on self-created a tithe of Shakspeare's vision. The former pinions, or by the fire and strength of his might have created a thousand characters, and melody, but by the natural loftiness of his all would have been but modifications of himbeing.
self; the latter did create nearly a thousand, Before proceeding further in the path of and not an element of himself can be found in
one of them. Thus Milton transforms all the thought suggested by these observations, objects of his contemplation into himself, while there is a passage from Coleridge which it Shakspeare transforms himself into whatever is necessary to quote, for its own sake, as object he contemplates : the one makes us see well as in justice to Mr. Hudson. It is his own image in all things, the other makes part of the concluding paragraph of the us see everything but his own image.” critical analysis of the
Venus and Adonis And the chapter concludes as follows:and Lucrece, in the second volume of the Biographia Literaria. There is in the lat- stiff as granite. It comes from them shape 1
“With most authors language is as hard and ter form, he says —
and colored exactly as they find it. Instead of “ lastly, the same perfect dominion, often domi- governing it, they are governed by it; they nation, over the whole world of language. / shape and submit their minds to its pre-existing
VOL. II. XO. I. NEW SERIES. 4