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above ;-all of which graces enter as essen- which could not be felt or understood, as tial ingredients into the sanctification of the they existed in the abstract and invisible gospel."-Serm. V. The Judgment of Men Deity, are brought down to our conceptions compared with the Judgment of God. in a manner the most familiar and impresa

• Before we conclude, we shall just ad. sive, by having been made, through Jesus vert to another sense, in which the Media- Christ, to flow in utterance from human tor between God and man may be affirmed lips, and to beam in expressive physiognoto have laid his liand upon them both :- my from a human countenance. He fills up that mysterious interval which lies between every corporeal being, and the but the unseen Spirit of God, my mind

“ So long as I had nothing before me God who is a spirit and is invisible.

wandered in uncertainty, my busy fancy No man liath seen God at any time, and the power which is unseen is terrible, my heart with disquietude and terror. But

was free to expatiate, and its images filled Fancy trembles before its own picture, and in the life, and person, and history of Jesus superstition throws its darkest imagery over

Christ, the attributes of the Deity are it.' The voice of the thunder is awful; brought down to the observation of the but not so awful as the conception of that angry Being who sits in mysterious conceal. when in the Son, who is the express image

senses; and I can no longer mistake them, ment, and gives it all its energy. In these of his father, I see them carried home to sketches of the imagination, fear is sure to my understanding by the evidence and expredominate. We gather an impression of pression of human organs,—when I see the Nature's God, from those scenes where Na- kindness of the Father, in the tears which uure threatens, and looks dreadful. We fell from the Son at the tomb of Lazarusspeak not of the theology of the schools, and when I see his justice blended with his the empty parade of its demonstrations.- mercy, in the exclamation, “ O Jerusalem, We speak of the theology of actual feeling, Jerusalem,” by Jesus Christ; uttered with --that theology which is sure to derive its lessons from the quarter whence the human human bosom ever prompted, while he be

a tone more tender than the sympathy of heart derives its strongest sensations, and wailed the sentence of its desolation,-and we refer both to your own feelings, and to the history of this world's opinions, if God he threw upon Peter, I feel the judgment

in the look of energy and significance which is more felt or more present to your ima- of God himself, flashing conviction upon ginations in the peacefulness of spring, or the loveliness of a summer landscape, than while his wrath is suspended, and he still

my conscience, and calling me to repent when winter with its mighty elements sweeps waiteth to be gracious. the forest of its leaves, when the rushing of the storm is heard upon our windows, and

“ And it was not a temporary character man flees to cover himself from the desola. which he assumed. The human kindness, tion that walketh over the surface of the and the human expression which makes it world.

intelligible to us, remained with him till his .“ If nature and her elements be dreadful, latest hour. They survived his resurrec. how dreadful that mysterious and unseen

tion, and he has carried them along with Being, who sits behind the elements he has him to the mysterious place which he now formed, and gives birth and movement to occupies. How do I know all this? I all things! It is the mystery in which he know it from his history,—I hear it in the is shrouded,,it is that dark and unknown parting words to his mother from the cross, region of spirits, where he reigns in glory,

- see it in his unaltered form when and stands revealed to the immediate view he rose triumphant from the grave,- per. of his worshippers,—it is the inexplicable ceive it in his tenderness for the scruples of manner of his being so far removed from the unbelieving Tbomas,—and I am given that province of sense, within which the un to understand, that as his body retained the derstanding of man can expatiate,-it is its impression of his own sufferings, so his total unlikeness to all that nature can fur. mind retains a sympathy for ours, as warm, nish to the eye of the body, or to the con

and gracious, and endearing, as ever. We ception of the mind which animates it,-it have a Priest on high, who is touched with is all this which throws the Being who

a fellow feeling of our infirmities. My formed us at a distance so inaccessible, soul, unable to support itself in its aërial which throws an impenetrable mantle over flight among the spirits of the invisible, now his way, and gives us the idea of some dark reposes on Christ, who stands revealed to and untrodden interval betwixt the glory of my conceptions in the figure, the counte. God, and all that is visible and created. nance, the heart, the synipathies of a man. “ Now, Jesus Christ has lifted up this

He has entered within that veil which hung mysterious veil, or rather he has entered over the glories of the Eternal, and the within it. He is now at the right hand of mysterious inaccessible throne of God is di. God; and though the brightness of his vested of all its terrors, when I think that a Father's glory, and the express image of friend who bears the form of the species, and his person, he appeared to us in the palpable knows its infirmities, is there to plead for characters of a man ; and those high attri me."--Serm. VI. The necessity of a Mediabutes of truth, and justice, and mercy,

tor between God and Man.


BURNS, Wordsworth, and Crabbe, are who has seen deeper into the constitu. the three poets who, in our days, tion of the human soul than any other have most successfully sought the sub- since the days of Shakspeare. Though, jects and scenes of their inspiration in therefore, not yet a popular poet, (in the character and life of the People. the noblest sense of the word popuWhile most of our other great poets lar,) like Burns and Crabbe, Wordshave in imagination travelled into worth has exerted a power over the foreign countries, and endeavoured mind of his age, perhaps, of deeper to add to those profounder emo- and more permanent operation than tions which all representations of that of all the rest of the poetry by human passion necessarily excite, which it has been elevated and adorna that more lively impression of no- ed. There is not a man of poetical velty and surprise produced by the genius in Britain who is not under difference of national manners, and all manifold obligations to his pure and the varieties of external nature—or angelic muse; and though the responhave restricted themselves, as, for ses of her inspiration have been neexample, in the splendid instance of glected or scorned by the vulgar and Scott, to one romantic era of history- the low, they have been listened to those Three have, in almost all their with the deepest delight by all kinnoblest compositions, grappled closely dred spirits, and have breathed a charwith the feelings which at all times acter of simplicity and grandeur over constitute the hearts and souls of our the whole poetry of the age. own Islanders, so that the haunt of But though we have thus classed their song may be said to have lain in these three great poets together, as the wide and magnificent regions of the poets of human nature, who, in the British character. Accordingly, modern times, have thought nothing their poetry has been more deeply felt, that belongs to human nature in our where it has been felt at all, than that country unworthy of their regard, noof any of their contemporaries. No thing surely can be more different than poet ever so lived in the love of the the views they take of its forms and people of his native country as Burns shews, as well as the moods and emonow lives ; and his poetry has inter- tions which the contemplation of all mingled itself so vitally with the best these awakens in their hearts. Each is feelings of their nature, that it will in strength a king—but the boundaries exist in Scotland while Scotland re- of their kingdoms are marked by clear tains her character for knowledge, mo- lines of light--and they have achieved rality, and religion. Crabbe is, con- their greatest conquests without the fessedly, the most original and vivid invasion of each other's territory. painter of the vast varieties of common Burns is by far the greatest poet life, that England has ever produced ; that ever sprung from the bosom of and while several living poets possess a the People, and lived and died in a more splendid and imposing reputa- lowly condition of life. Indeed no tion, we are greatly mistaken if he country in the world, but Scotland, has not taken a firmer hold than any could have produced such a manother, on the melancholy convictions and Burns will

, through all posterity, of men's hearts ruminating on the be an object of intense and delighted good and evil of this mysterious world. interest, as the glorious representative Wordsworth, again, has produced poe- of the national and intellectual character try reflecting the shadows of our exis- of his country. He was born a poet, if tence, which has met with a very sin- ever man was, and to his native gegular kind of reception among the nius alone is owing the perpetuity of people of Britain. For, while he is his fame. For he manifestly never considered by some as a totally mis- studied poetry as an art, nor reasoned guided man of genius, and by some as on its principles, or looked abroad, à versifier of no merit at all, he is with the wide ken of intellect, for oblooked on by others, and among them jects and subjects on which to pour minds of the first order, as the poet out his inspiration. The condition of

* Murray, London. . 1819. Two volumes 8vo. £1,4s.

the peasantry of Scotland—the hap- delusion-no affectation-no exaggerpiest, perhaps, that Providence ever ation--no falsehood in the spirit of allowed to the children of labour-was Burns' poetry. He rejoices like an not surveyed and speculated on by untamed enthusiast-and he weeps like Burns as the field of poetry, but as a prostrate penitent. In joy and in the field of his own existence ; and he grief the whole man appears his finest chronicled the events that passed there, poetry was poured out before he had not as food for his imagination as a left the fields of his infancy, and when poet, but as food for his heart as a he scarcely hoped for other auditors man. Hence, when genius impelled but his own heart, and the simple him to write poetry, poetry came gush- dwellers of the hamlet. He wrote not ing freshly up from the well of his to please or surprise others, but in his human affections and he had nothing own delight; and even after he dismore to do, than to pour it, like covered the power of his talent to kinstreams irrigating a meadow, in many dle the sparks of nature wherever a cheerful tide over the drooping they slumbered, the effect to be proflowers and fading verdure of life. duced seems never to have been conImbued with vivid perceptions, warm sidered by him,-informed, as he was, feelings, and strong passions, he sent by the spirit within him, that his his existence into that of all things, poetry was sure to produce that pasanimate and inanimate, around him; sion in the hearts of other men from and not an occurrence in hamlet, vil which it boiled over in his own. What. lage, or town, affecting in any way the ever, therefore, be the faults, or dehappiness of the human heart, but fects, or deficiences, of the poetry of roused as keen an interest in the soul Burns—and no doubt it has many—it of Burns, and as genial sympathy, as has, beyond all the poetry that ever if it had immediately concerned him- was written, this greatest of all merits self and his own welfare. Other poets -intense, passionate, life-pervading, of moral life have looked on it through and life-breathing truth. the aerial veil of imagination-often Wordsworth, on the other hand, is beautified, no doubt, by such partial a man of high intellect and profound concealment, and beaming with a mis- sensibility, meditating in solitude on ty softness more touching and more the phenomena of human nature. He delicate than the truth. But Burns sometimes seems to our imagination could not fancy where he had felt like a man contemplating from the felt so poignantly all the agonies and shore the terrors of the sea, not surely all the transports of life. He looked with apathy, but with a solenn and around him-and when he saw the almost unimpassioned sense of the awsmoke of the cottage rising up quietly ful mysteries of Providence. This and unbroken to heaven, he knew, for seeming self-abstraction from the turhe had seen and blessed it, the quiet moil of life gives to his highest poejoy and unbroken contentment that try a still and religious character that slept below; and when he saw it driven is truly sublime-though, at the same and dispersed by the winds, he knew time, it often leads to a sort of mystialso but too well, for too sorely had he cism, and carries the poet out of those felt them, those agitations and dis- sympathies which are engendered in turbances which had shook him till he human hearts by a sense of our coma wept on the bed of toil and of misery. mon imperfections. Perhaps it would In reading his poetry, therefore, we not be wrong to say, that his creed is feel what unsubstantial dreams are all sometimes too austere, and that it those of the golden age. But bliss deals, almost unmercifully, with misbeams upon us with a more subduing guided sensibilities and perverted pas. brightness through the dim melan- sions. Such, at least, is a feeling choly that shrouds lowly life; and that occasionally steals upon us from when the Peasant Burns rises up in his the loftiest passages of the Excursion, might as Burns the poet, and is seen in which the poet, desirous of soaring to derive all that might from the life to heaven, forgets that he is a frail which at this hour the noble pea- child of earth, and would in vain free santry of Scotland are leading, do not his human nature from those essential our hearts leap within us, because that passions, which, in the pride of intelsuch is our country, and such the no- sect, he seems unduly to despise ! bility of her children. There is no But the sentiment which we have

now very imperfectly expressed, refers the man, that when he undertakes the almost entirely to the higher morals of task of laying open the hearts of his the Excursion, and has little or no re- fellow mortals, he prefers the dead to spect to that poetry of Wordsworth in the living, because he is willing that which he has painted the character erring humanity should enjoy the priand life of certain classes of the Eng- vilege of the grave, and that his own lish People. True, that he stands to a soul should be filled with that charity certain degree aloof from the subjects which is breathed from the silence of of his description, but he ever looks the bouse of God. It is needless to on them all with tenderness and be- say with what profound pathos the nignity. Their cares and anxieties are poet speaks of life thus surrounded indeed not his own, and therefore, in with the images of death-how more painting them, he does not, like Burns, beautiful beauty rises from the grave identity himself with the creatures of how more quietly innocence seems his poetry. But, at the same time, he there to slumber-and how awful graciously and humanely descends in- is the rest of guilt. to the lowliest walks of life and General and indeed vague as is this knowing that humanity is sacred, he account of the genius of Wordsworth, views its spirit with reverence. Though perhaps it may serve, by the power of far above the beings whose nature he contrast, to bring into more prominent delineates, he yet comes down in his view the peculiar genius of Crabbe. wisdom to their humble level, and He delights to look over society with strives to cherish that spirit

a keen, scrutinising, and somewhat “ Which gives to all the same intent,

stern eye, as if resolved that the hu

man heart should not be suffered to When life is pure and innocent."

conceal one single secret from his inThe natural disposition of his mind quisitorial authority: He has, eviinclines him to dwell rather on the dently an intense satisfaction int moral mild, gentle, and benignant affections, anatomy; and in the course of his than on the more agitating passions. dissections, he lays bare, with an unIndeed, in almost all cases, the passions shrinking hand, the very arteries of of his agents subside into affections the heart. It will, we believe, be -and a feeling of tranquillity and re- found, that he has always a humane pose is breathed from his saddest pic- purpose,—though conscious of our own tures of human sorrow. It seems to frailties, as we all are, we cannot help be part of his creed, that neither vice sometimes accusing him of unrelentnor misery should be allowed in the ing severity. When he finds a wound, representations of the poet, to stand he never fails to probe it to the botprominently and permanently forward, tom. and that poetry should give a true but Of all men of this age, he is the a beautiful reflection of life. Certain best portrait-painter. He is never it is, that of all the poets of this age, contented with a single flowing sketch or perhaps any age, Wordsworth holds of a character—they must all be drawn the most cheering and consolatory full-length-to the very life and faith-and that we at all times rise with all their most minute and chafrom his poetry, not only with an racteristic features even of dress and abatement of those fears and perplexi- manners. He seems to have known ties which the dark aspect of the world them all personally; and when he often flings over our hearts, but almost describes them, he does so as if he with a scorn of the impotence of grief, thought that he would be guilty of a and certainly with a confiding trust in kind of falsehood, in omitting the dethe perfect goodness of the Deity. We scription of a single peculiarity. ACwould appeal, for the truth of these cordingly, to make the picture in all remarks, to all who have studied things a perfect likeness, be very often the Two Books of the Excursion, enters into details that weary; nay, even entitled, The Church-Yard among disgust and not unfrequently a chathe Mountains. There, in narra racter is forced, obtruded as it were, ting the history of the humble dead, on our acquaintance, of whose disaWordsworth does not fear to speak of greeable existence we were before haptheir frailties, their errors, and their pily ignorant. His observation of men woes. It is indeed beautifully cha- and manners has been so extensive and racteristic of the benignant wisdom of so minute, that his power of raising up Vol. V.


living characters is wholly without li- steeping in tears or in blood the footmitation ; and Mr Crabbe has thrown steps of the humblest of our race; and open a gallery, in which single porov that he has opened, as it were, a thetraits and groupes of figures follow atre on which the homely actors that each other in endless procession, hab- pass before us assume no disguise-on ited in all the varieties of dress that which every catastrophe borrows its distinguish the professions, orders, and terror from truth, and every scene occupations of the whole of human so seems shifted by the very hands of ciety.

nature. Perhaps the very highest poetical In all the poetry of this extraordinary enthusiasm is not compatible with such man, we see a constant display of the exquisite acuteness of discernment, or passions as they are excited and exacerif it be, the continual exercise of that bated by the customs, and laws, and infaculty must at least serve to abate it. stitutions of society. Love, anger, haAccordingly, the views which Mr tred, melancholy, despair, and remorse, Crabbe does in general take of human in all their infinite modifications, as life, are not of a very lofty kind; and exhibited by different natures and unhe rarely, if ever, either in principle or der different circumstances, are rife feeling, exhibits the idealism of na- throughout all his works; and a perture. Accustomed thus to look on men petual conflict is seen carried on among as they exist and act, he not only does all the feelings and principles of our not fear, but he absolutely loves to nature, that can render that nature view their vices and their miseries ; happy or miserable. We see love and hence has his poetry been accused, breaking through in desperation, but and perhaps with some reason, of giv- never with impunity, the barriers of ing too dark a picture of life. But, at human laws; or in hopelessness dying the same time, we must remember, beneath them, with or without its vicwhat those haunts of life are into which tim. The stream of life flows over a his spirit has wandered. Throughout rugged and precipitous channel in the a great part of his poetry, he has cho- poetry of Crabbe, and we are rarely sen to describe certain kinds of society indeed allowed to sail down it in a reand people, of which no other poet we verie or a dream. The pleasure he exknow could have made any thing at cites is almost always a troubled plea. all. The power is almost miraculous sure, and accompanied with tears and with which he has stirred up human sighs, or with the profounder agitation nature from its very dregs, and shewn of a sorrow that springs out of the conworking in them the common spirit of viction forced upon us of the most imhumanity. Human life becomes more perfect nature, and therefore the most arious and wonderful in his hands, imperfect happiness of man. pregnant with passion as it seems to Now, if all this were done in the mere be, throughout the lowest debasement pride of genius and power, we should of profligacy and ignorance. He lays look on Mr Crabbe in any other light before us scenes and characters from than as the benefactor of his species. But which in real life we would turn our in the midst of all his skill-all his art eyes with intolerant disgust; and yet -we see often—indeed always-the he forces us to own, that on such scenes 'tenderness of the man's heart; and we and by such characters much the same hear him, with a broken and melanxind of part is played that ourselves, choly voice, mourning over the woe and and others like us, play on another wickedness whose picture he has so stage. He leaves it to other poets to faithfully drawn. Never in any one carry us into the company of shepherds instance (and he claims this most and dalesmen, in the heart of pastoral boldly in his preface) has he sought peace; and sets us down in crowds of to veil or to varnish vice-to confuse our fierce and sullen men, contending notions of right and wrong—to depreagainst each other, in lawful or in law- ciate moral worth, or exaggerate the less life, with all the energies of exas- value of worldly accomplishments—to perated passion. Mr_Hazlitt, in his cheat us out of our highest sympathies Lectures on English Poets, has said, due to defeated or victorious virtue, that in Crabbe we find the still life of or to induce us, in blindfolded folly, to tragedy: To us it appears, on the other bestow them on splendid guilt and hand, that till Crabbe wrote, we knew dazzling crime. It is his to read aloud not what direful tragedies are for ever to us the records of our own hearts

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