« AnteriorContinuar »
I may not hope from outward forms to And all misfortunes were but as the stuff win
Whence Fancy made me dreams of hapThe passion and the life, whose fountains piness: are within.
For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
And fruits, and foliage, not my own, O Lady, we receive but what we give,
seemed mine. And in our life alone does Nature live: But now afflictions bow me down to Ours is her wedding garment, ours her earth: shroud!
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth; And what we ought behold, of higher But oh! each visitation worth,
50 Suspends what Nature gave me at my Than that inanimate cold world allowed
85 To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd, My shaping spirit of Imagination.
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth For not to think of what I needs must feel, A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud But to be still and patient, all I can; Enveloping the earth
55 And haply by abstruse research to steal And from the soul itself must there be sent From my own nature all the natural A sweet and potent voice, of its own
This was my sole resource, my only Of all sweet sounds the life and element!
plan: Till that which suits a part infects the
whole, O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of And now is almost grown the habit of my
soul. What this strong music in the soul may be!
60 What, and wherein it doth exist,
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around This light, this glory, this fair luminous
my mind, mist,
Reality's dark dream!
95 This beautiful and beauty-making power. I turn from you, and listen to the wind, Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was Which long has raved unnoticed. given,
What a scream Save to the pure, and in their purest hour, Of agony by torture lengthened out Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that and shower,
ravest without, Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power, Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted Which wedding Nature to us gives in tree, dower,
Or pine-grove whither woodman never A new earth and new heaven,
clomb, Undreamt of by the sensual and the Or lonely house, long held the witches' proud
home, Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous Methinks were fitter instruments for cloud
thee, We in ourselves rejoice!
Mad Lutanist! who in this month of And thence flows all that charms or ear
showers, or sight,
Of dark-brown gardens, and of peeping All melodies the echoes of that voice,
105 All colors a suffusion from that light. 75
Makest Devils' yule, with worse than
wintry song, VI
The blossoms, buds, and timorous leaves There was a time when, though my path
among. was rough,
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds! This joy within me dallied with distress, Thou mighty Poet, even to frenzy bold!
What tell'st thou now about?
YOUTH AND AGE 'Tis of the rushing of an host in rout,
Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying, With groans of trampled men, with Where Hope clung feeding, like a beesmarting wounds
Both were mine! Life went a-maying At once they groan with pain, and shudder With Nature, Hope, and Poesy, with the cold!
When I was young! But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence!
When I was young?-Ah, woeful When! And all that noise, as of a rushing Ah! for the change 'twixt Now and Then! crowd,
This breathing house not built with With groans and tremulous shudderings- hands, all is over
This body that does me grievous wrong, It tells another tale, with sounds less O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands, deep and loud!
How lightly then it flashed along:A tale of less affright,
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore, And tempered with delight,
On winding lakes and rivers wide, As Otway's self had framed the tender That ask no aid of sail or oar, lay;
That fear no spite of wind or tide! 'Tis of a little child
Nought cared this body for wind or Upon a lonesome wild,
weather Not far from home, but she hath lost her When Youth and I lived in't together.
way: And now moans low in bitter grief and Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree; And now screams loud, and hopes to make Oh! the joys, that came down showerher mother hear.
Ere I was old!
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here! Full seldom may my friend such vigils o Youth! for years so many and sweet, 25 keep!
'Tis known, that thou and I were one, Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of I'll think it but a fond conceithealing,
It cannot be that thou art gone! And may this storm be but a mountain | Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled: birth,
And thou wert aye a masker bold! 3c May all the stars hang bright above her What strange disguise hast now put on, dwelling,
130 To make believe, that thou art gone? Silent as though they watched the sleep- I see these locks in silvery slips, ing Earth!
This drooping gait, this altered size: With light heart may she rise, But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips, 35 Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes! Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her Life is but thought: so think I will voice;
That Youth and I are house-mates still. To her may all things live, from pole to pole,
Dew-drops are the gems of morning, Their life the eddying of her living soul! But the tears of mournful eve!
40 O simple spirit, guided from above, Where no hope is, life's a warning Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my That only serves to make us grieve, choice,
When we are old: Thus mayest thou ever, evermore That only serves to make us grieve joice.
With oft and tedious taking-leave, 45
Like some poor nigh-related guest, us I do not recollect) that a series of poems That may not rudely be dismissed; might be composed of two sorts. In the Yet hath out-stayed his welcome while, one, the incidents and agents were to And tells the jest without the smile. be, in part at least, supernatural; and
the excellence aimed at was to consist (20
in the interesting of the affections by the WORK WITHOUT HOPE
dramatic truth of such emotions as would
naturally accompany such situations, supAll Nature seems at work. Slugs leave posing them real. And real in this sense their lair
they have been to every human being The bees are stirring-birds are on the who, from whatever source of delusion, wing
has at any time believed himself under And Winter slumbering in the open air, supernatural agency.
For the second Wears on his smiling face a dream of class, subjects were to be chosen from Spring!
ordinary life; the characters and (30 And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, 5 incidents were to be such as will be found Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor in every village and its vicinity, where sing.
there is a meditative and feeling mind to
seek after them, or to notice them when Yet well I ken the banks where ama- they present themselves. ranths blow,
In this idea originated the plan of the Have traced the fount whence streams of Lyrical Ballads; in which it was agreed nectar flow.
that my endeavors should be directed to Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom persons and characters supernatural, or ye may,
at least romantic; yet so as to transfer [40 For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, from our inward nature a human inaway!
terest and a semblance of truth sufficient With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, to procure for these shadows of imaginaI stroll:
tion that willing suspension of disbelief And would you learn the spells that for the moment, which constitutes poetic drowse my soul?
faith. Mr. Wordsworth, on the other Work without Hope draws nectar in a hand, was to propose to himself as his sieve,
object, to give the charm of novelty to And Hope without an object cannot live. things of every day, and to excite a feeling
analogous to the supernatural, by (50
awakening the mind's attention from From the BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA the lethargy of custom, and directing it CHAPTER XIV
to the loveliness and the wonders of the
world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, During the first year that Mr. Words- but for which, in consequence of the film worth and I were neighbors, our con- of familiarity and selfish solicitude, we versations turned frequently on the two have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear cardinal points of poetry, the power of not, and hearts that neither feel nor exciting the sympathy of the reader by understand. a faithful adherence to the truth of na- With this view I wrote The Ancient (60 ture, and the power of giving the interest Mariner, and was preparing, among other of novelty by the modifying colors of poems, The Dark Ladie, and the Chrisimagination. The sudden charm, which tabel, in which I should have more nearly accidents of light and shade, which [10 realized my ideal than I had done in my moonlight or sunset, diffused over a known first attempt.
first attempt. But Mr. Wordsworth's and familiar landscape, appeared to rep- industry had proved so much more sucresent the practicability of combining cessful, and the number of his poems so both. These are the poetry of nature. much greater that my compositions, The thought suggested itself (to which of instead of forming a balance, appeared rather an interpolation of heterogene- [70 tion (inflamed perhaps in some degree by ous matter. Mr. Wordsworth added two opposition) was distinguished by its or three poems written in his own char- | intensity, I might almost say by its reacter, in the impassioned, lofty, and sus-ligious fervor. These facts, and the intained diction which is characteristic of tellectual energy of the author, which his genius. In this form the Lyrical was more or less consciously felt, where Ballads were published; and were pre- it was outwardly and even bois- [130 sented by him, as an experiment, whether terously denied, meeting with sentiments subjects, which from their nature rejected of aversion to his opinions, and of alarm the usual ornaments and extra-colloquial | at their consequences, produced an eddy style of poems in general, might not (80 of criticism, which would of itself have be so managed in the language of ordinary borne up the poems by the violence with life as to produce the pleasurable interest which it whirled them round and round. which it is the peculiar business of poetry With many parts of this preface, in the to impart. To the second edition he sense attributed to them, and which added a preface of considerable length; in the words undoubtedly seem to authorize, which, notwithstanding some passages I never concurred; but, on the con- (140 of apparently a contrary import, he was trary, objected to them as erroneous in understood to contend for the extension principle, and as contradictory (in apof this style to poetry of all kinds, and pearance at least) both to other parts of to reject as vicious and indefensible all (90 the same preface and to the author's phrases and forms of style that were not own practice in the greater number of included in what he (unfortunately, I the poems themselves. Mr. Wordsworth, think, adopting an equivocal expression,) in his recent collection, has, I find, decalled the language of real life. From graded this prefatory disquisition to the this preface, prefixed to poems in which end of his second volume, to be read or it was impossible to deny the presence of not at the reader's choice. But he (150 original genius, however mistaken its di- has not, as far as I can discover, anrection might be deemed, arose the whole nounced any change in his poetic creed. long-continued controversy. For from At all events, considering it as the source the conjunction of perceived power (100 of a controversy, in which I have been with supposed heresy I explain the in- honored more than I deserve by the freveteracy, and in some instances, I grieve quent conjunction of my name with his, to say, the acrimonious passions, with I think it expedient to declare, once for which the controversy has been con- all, in what points I coincide with his ducted by the assailants.
opinions, and in what points I altogether Had Mr. Wordsworth's poems been the differ. But in order to render myself (160 silly, the childish things, which they were intelligible, I must previously, in as few for a long time described as being; had words as possible, explain my ideas, first, they been really distinguished from the of a poem; and secondly, of poetry itself, compositions of other poets merely by (110 in kind and in essence. meanness of language, and inanity of The office of philosophical disquisition thought; had they indeed contained noth- consists in just distinction; while it is ing more than what is found in the paro- the privilege of the philosopher to predies and pretended imitations of them; serve himself constantly aware that disthey must have sunk at once, a dead tinction is not division. In order to obweight, into the slough of oblivion, and tain adequate notions of any truth, (170 have dragged the preface along with we must intellectually separate its disthem. But year after year increased the tinguishable parts; and this is the technumber of Mr. Wordsworth's admirers. nical process of philosophy. But having They were found, too, not in the lower (120 so done, we must then restore them in our classes of the reading public, but chiefly conceptions to the unity in which they among young men of strong sensibility actually coexist; and this is the result of and meditative minds; and their admira- | philosophy. A poem contains the same elements as a prose composition; the dif- not contain in itself the reason why it is ference, therefore, must consist in a dif- so, and not otherwise. If meter be superferent combination of them, in conse- (180 added, all other parts must be made quence of a different object proposed. consonant with it. They must be such as According to the difference of the object to justify the perpetual and distinct atwill be the difference of the combination. tention to each part, which an exact corIt is possible that the object may be respondent recurrence of accent and merely to facilitate the recollection of sound are calculated to excite. The final any given facts or observations by arti- definition then, so deduced, may be ficial arrangement; and the composition thus worded. A poem is that species (240 will be a poem, merely because it is dis- of composition, which is opposed to works tinguished from prose by meter, or by of science, by proposing for its immediate rime, or by both conjointly. In this, (190 object pleasure, not truth; and from all the lowest sense, a man might attribute other species (having this object in comthe name of a poem to the well-known mon with it) it is discriminated by proenumeration of the days in the several posing to itself such delight from the months:
whole, as is compatible with a distinct
gratification from each component part. “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November," etc.,
Controversy is not seldom excited in
consequence of the disputants at- (250 and others of the same class and pur- | taching each a different meaning to the pose. And as a particular pleasure is same word; and in few instances has this found in anticipating the recurrence of been more striking than in disputes consound and quantities, all compositions (200 cerning the present subject. If a man that have this charm superadded, what- chooses to call every composition a poem, ever be their contents, may be entitled which is rime, or measure, or both, I must poems.
leave his opinion uncontroverted. The So much for the superficial form. A distinction is at least competent to chardifference of object and contents supplies acterize the writer's intention. If it were an additional ground of distinction. The subjoined, that the whole is likewise (260 immediate purpose may be the communi- entertaining or affecting as a tale, or as cation of truths: either of truth absolute a series of interesting reflections, I of and demonstrable, as in works of science; course admit this as another fit ingredior of facts experienced and recorded, (210 | ent of a poem, and an additional merit. as in history. Pleasure, and that of the But if the definition sought for be that highest and most permanent kind, may of a legitimate poem, I answer, it must result from the attainment of the end; be one the parts of which mutually supbut it is not itself the immediate end. port and explain each other; all in their In other works the communication of proportion harmonizing with, and suppleasure may be the immediate purpose; porting the purpose and known in- (270 and though truth, either moral or intel- fluences of metrical arrangement. The lectual, ought to be the ultimate end, yet philosophic critics of all ages coincide with this will distinguish the character of the the ultimate judgment of all countries, author, not the class to which the (220 in equally denying the praises of a just work belongs....
poem, on the one hand, to a series of But the communication of pleasure may striking lines or distichs, each of which be the immediate object of a work not absorbing the whole attention of the metrically composed; and that object reader to itself, disjoins it from its conmay have been in a high degree attained, text, and makes it a separate whole, inas in novels and romances. Would then stead of a harmonizing part; and on [280 the mere superaddition of meter, with or the other hand, to an unsustained comwithout rime, entitle these to the name position, from which the reader collects of poems? The answer is, that nothing rapidly the general result unattracted by can permanently please, which does (230 | the component parts. The reader should