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To Shelley a star near the moon suggests a minister supplying light from the sun—“That one star which to her almost seems to minister half the crimson light she brings from the sunset's radiant springs.” With Milton“ all the stars hide their diminisht heads” when the sun appears. To Keats they suggest steadfastness—“ Bright star, would I were stead fast as thou art;" while the seas it looks down upon, lapping the coasts, are like priests washing the feet of pilgrims—“ The moving waters at their priest-like task of pure ablution round earth’s human shores.” To Wolfe, in his “Odeon Sir John Moore's Burial,” the moon struggles to send her light down to earth, for the interment takes place by the “struggling moonbeams' misty light;” and so, for a similar reason, Shelley asks that orb, “Art thou pale for weariness of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, wandering companionless ?” The echoes of music suggest to Moore the higher echoes of love—“How sweet the answer echo makes to music at night! . . . Yet love hath echoes truer far, and far more sweet, . . . when the sigh that's breathed for one to hear is by that one, that only dear, breathed back again." Mark how the music in King's College Chapel, Cambridge, teems with suggestions for Wordsworth, when, reverberating through“that branching roof, self-poised and scooped into ten thousand cells, where light and shade repose, ... the music dwells lingering and wandering on as loth to die, like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof that they were born for immortality ;”—the sound has ceased and is gone; but no, for “from the arms of silence, list, O list, the music bursteth into second life; the notes luxuriate, every stone is kissed with sound or ghost of sound in mazy strife." To the same poet, moreover, the skylark, that prolific progenitor of similes, is an “ethereal minstrel, pilgrim of the sky, ... type of the wise, who soar but never roam.” Shelley sees something more than human in this bird ; it is a happy soul—“Hail to thee, blithe spirit, bird thou never wert. Thou dost float and run like an unbodied
joy whose race is just begun. ... Like a poet hidden in the light of thought singing hymns unbidden till the world is wrought to sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.” So, likewise, the cuckoo to Wordsworth is “no bird, but an invisible thing, a voice, a mystery ; ... thou bringest unto me a tale of visionary hours, the same whom in my schoolboy days I listened to, . . . and thou wert still a hope, a love; still longed for, never seen! and I can listen to thee yet, ... till I do beget the golden time again.” The linnet with the same author is a blood-relation of the tree he sings in—“a brother of the dancing leaves." For Wordsworth, too, the daffodils enter into a dancing contest with the waves beside them, and emulate them to some purpose, for “they, ... a jocund company, outdid the sparkling waves in glee." Metaphors from kinship are favourites, and much availed of by poets. We have heard Shelley call Venice ocean's nursling, her child, and her queen; in his “Hymn to the Spirit of Night” he says, “ Thy brother Death came and cried, Would'st thou me ? Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed, murmured like a noontide bee." Note the complex suggestion (metaphor and simile in one) in this last sentence: Sleep is a child that murmurs like a bee. The same poem furnishes us with another complication, where “the weary day turned to his rest, lingering like an unloved guest.” The climax of this species of analogy is, perhaps, reached in a short poem by the same author, where many agreeable emotions are felt and much kissing is carried on by winds, and rivers, and fountains—" See the mountains kiss high heaven, and the waves clasp one another; no sister flower would be forgiven if it disdained its brother. And the sunlight clasps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea; what are all these kissings worth if thou kiss not me ?”
The foregoing citations are surely beautiful and poetic; but the beauty of the poetry consists in the suggestions which are liberated. We have assurance of this both from the poems themselves and from the acknowledg
ments of their authors. “There's a tree,” says Wordsworth, “ of many, one-a single field, which I have looked
— upon; both of them speak of something that is gone." Whether these physico-moral analogies are more beautiful than those of the first class or not may be a question; certain it is they are of a higher order, since they not only adorn a phenomenon but "point a moral.” We pass to the third division.
3RD CLASS—Moral phenomena suggesting physical phe
This division comprises allusions to inanimate objects or actions instigated by some moral theme. Here, therefore, we break up new ground, for the principal subject is no longer a bird, or a flower, a star, a place, sound, &c., but age, youth, love, innocence, fidelity, contentment, calamity, fortitude, death, futurity, and other ethical conceptions, which, while being described, are sought to be embellished by a reference to physical phenomena—a process the converse of the class immediately preceding, where moral phenomena were employed to set off the objects and actions of inanimate nature.
In a poem on “ Youth and Age " we might expect some illustrations of the division in hand. Let Coleridge speak, for he has a much-admired lyric on that theme: "When I was young life went a-Maying, . . . Hope clung feeding like a bee. . . . How lightly then it flashed along like those trim skiffs unknown of yore, ... that ask no aid of sail or oar. . . . Love is flower-like ; Friendship is a sheltering tree. O the joys that came down shower-like of friendship, love, and liberty e'er I was old. ... 0 Youth! it cannot be that thou art gone; thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled, and thou wert aye a masker bold. . . . So think I will that Youth and I are housemates still." Lamb refers to the lone widower as a cripple who “ʼreft of wife, thenceforward drags a maimed life." Longfellow's “Psalm of Life” contains a striking analogy of this class, where we are told that “we can make our lives sublime, and, depart
ing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.” The love between the sexes, when spiritualised into worship, is likened by Shelley to the desire of the “moth for the star, of the night for the morrow”—curious examples of allusions at once complex and reflex. The lover pouring his secrets into the “gentle bosom ” of the loved one is, with a certain anonymous author, “like the care-burthened honey-fly that hides his murmurs in the rose.” Illustrating the evanescence of love, Campbell supplies us with the following quatrain of analogies : “Bind the sea to slumber stilly ; bind its odour to the lily; bind the aspen ne'er to quiver; then bind love to last for ever.” The evils that assail youth and the calamities that wait on age are by Cowper compared to worms—"A worm is in the bud of youth and
at the root of age.” When Wordsworth is happy life is delightful, and the “glorious world fresh as a banner bright, unfurled.” Lord Bacon is sad, and thinks that “the world's a bubble, and the life of man less than a span”—a sentiment which predominates with poets, for the race is mostly melancholy. “Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,” says Lamb; and for Shelley life is a “deep, wide sea of misery," over which sails the “ frail bark of this lone being, ... and its ancient pilot, Pain, sits beside the helm again.” Most of these barks of life are lost amid the "solid darkness black;' but some redeem themselves, only, however, as Byron tells us, to be mocked and disappointed: “The few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess; the magnet of their course is gone, or only points in vain the shore to which their shivered sail shall never stretch again.” A great and good life is like a phenomenon from another world :
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart, ... pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,” says Wordsworth to Milton. The same author, when he beholds the Highland girl of Inversnaid, the spirit of the home, wearing on her
forehead the “freedom of the mountaineer," living in a " bondage sweetly brooked, a strife” which gave her
gestures grace and life,” thus expresses himself analogically: “So have I, not unmoved in mind, seen birds of tempest-loving kind, thus beating up against the wind.”
Lockseley Hall” might be expected from its theme to be replete with analogies of this class. The following are a few that present themselves to Mr. Tennyson: “The centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed.
. . All the current of my being sets to thee. . . . Love took up the glass of Time, and turned it in his glowing hands; every moment lightly shaken ran itself in golden sands. Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might; smote the chord of self, that trembling passed in music out of sight. . .. A sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things. 'Tis a purer life than thine, a lip to drain thy trouble dry. The nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.
The Parliament of man, the Federation of the world. .. They to whom my foolish passion were a target for their scorn.
. . All thy passions matched with mine are as moonlight unto sunlight and as water unto wine.” We now pass to the fourth class.
4TH CLASS.—Moral phenomena suggesting moral pheno
In this division of analogies the main subject to be illustrated is the same in kind as that in the preceding class—viz., a moral conception; but instead of being adorned by physical, it is set off by moral ornaments. This order of composition is the appropriate province of prose;—the suggested metaphor or simile being less an ornament than a lesson; we, therefore, begin here to trench upon ethics, and the examination must not go far. A moral, like an article of food, is in general too weighty and useful in itself to serve for embellishing anything else. Consequently we shall find that even where a