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When versifiers and epigrammatists, authors of polished strains of unmeaning harmony, composers of tinsel couplets of gallantry and laboured compliment, are mistaken for Poets, the charges of frivolity, inattention, and emptiness are but a consequence of the first degrading error.
To stimulate dull or childish fancies by gaudiness and exaggeration, which constitute the grimace of poetry; to seek the fame of invention and originality by over-wrought images and sentiments, which want the simple forms and pure colours of native
inspiration, is, indeed, as unprofitable to others, as it S must be wearisome to him, who is thus employed.
But every record of natural feeling, every picK ture of our moral affections, is a delightful relief to
the bosom, which thus discharges itself, while the sympathy, that it awakes in those to whom it is presented, adds at once to their refinement and their virtue.
Easy as the task may seem; strait and open as 15 this path may appear to the Fountain-bead of the K Muses; experience shews us that it is the least attrac
tive; or the most difficult to be trod. For one Poet
of this kind, whose wreath, composed of legitimate Klaurel, has retained perennial verdure, how many khave snatched at gaudy and fading weeds ! But, pershaps, it arises from this, that it requires a vigour and
clearness of thought and conception, which Nature but seldom bestows: for where the disguise of dress and ornament is not allowed, the form itself must be beautiful and perfect in all its nakedness.
Two Sonnets of a Correspondent; with Remarks on the mingled
Pains and Pleasures of Imagination.
Aug. 28, 1815. In the IXth Number of The SYLVAN WANDERER I have introduced two Sonnets of the ingenious Author of “Childe Alarique.” After a lapse of two years, I introduce two others, received in a similar way. They are descriptive of the feelings of a true
Poet. But, alas! are these the feelings of happiness? 3 Mingled as they are with deep regrets, and dreadful
bitterness, at the troubles of life, of which common minds cannot form even a faint conception, they
“ Wrap the hour of woe in tenfold night.”
Moinents of inspiration sometimes return to us; the raptures of less gloomy days seem reviving in our bosoms: but suddenly clouds gather again; the sunshine of the breast is extinguished; and all is, once more, despondence and mental darkness. Then the limbs faulter; the whole fraine is debilitated and paralized; and a stupor, little better than idiotism, ensues. The wand of the Necromancer, in the realms of Fancy, never performed a greater change, by shifting the scene from gardens of bliss to naked and hopeless deserts, than too frequently takes place in the poetical mind. I, who am myself the morbid victim to these fluctuations of intellectual emotion, have experienced this change at the moment that my feeble pen is called upon to fill the pages of this paper with my lifeless remarks. .
“But what has this to do,” it may be asked, B“ with the Sonnets, before which it is placed? You
introduce a Poet, describing the refined delights of a
feeling and highly cultivated genius; and yet prepare 3 s us to suppress our sympathy, by reminding us that
they are pleasures which will not last !" Gentle Reader, blame the gloom of the day; or the disease, or the sorrows of the Sylvan WANDERER; but hear with indulgence and affection the moral and touching strains of one, who, I hope, will please and instruct you by his writings many years after this ill-fated WANDERER has been consigned to rest in his grave!
If glare and tinsel be too commonly requisite for immediate popularity; if the vulgar taste, which includes the great body of readers, can be little excited. by the chaste and simple colours of Nature, the judgment of the gifted few will gradually teach them a juster mode of appreciating excellence, and he whose productions flow warm from the heart, will live with distinction in the intellectual world, when minor ingenuity, displayed in laboured efforts, is cast with dislike into the pit of oblivion.
Balmakewan, Aug. 12, 1815. As to the captive that, for many a day
And night, no change has ever known, the view
Of Nature lovely in the verdant hue
And the wide landscape beaming. The wild sway
As when in times long past I bent my way
I see the light fall chequered through the trees;
I listen to the murmurs of the breeze,
'R. P. G.
Perhaps there is nothing more necessary to keep the mind in vigour, than a change of the images, which are presented to it. Even the most beautiful or sublime scenes lose their effect by an incessant familiarity with them. When we return to them after long absence, they seem re-invested with new splendour; while all the intellectual associations, which originally adhered to them, revive with an interest, and mellowness, increased and improved by time. But if scenes of former enjoyment are thus gratifying, when revisited, how agonizing are those of former sorrow or disgust! The wounds of the heart are opened afresh; and bleed with new violence.
Balmakewan, Aug. 15, 1815. The sun is now abroad; the butterflies
Are floating o'er the green from flower to flower;
“Good things of day" assume their pride and power; The mead unfolds her beauty to the skies, And in the mind each thought of sadness dies.
I sit as wont within the Muses' bower,
And Fancy, as of old, begins to tower;
The gifts, the inspirations from on high,
Be told in sounding verse harmoniously,
R. P. G.
Many Moralists and Philosophers argue that the pleasures of imagination, if so short-lived, or combined with effects so morbid, are but deceitful illusions, not to be desired; and ill exchanged for a cold,
reasoning, and prudential apathy. Yet in this state 5 of existence, in which good and evil are every where
intermixed, we must not condemn or despise high gifts, because they are subject even to great and grievous alloys. Were not the lots of mankind thus nearly equalized, Providence would seem unjust in its dispensations. But thus it is, that the high and the low; the rich and the poor; the brilliant and the dull, are capable, on the balance, of nearly equal happiness.