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ples, I pretty generally. left the facts to take care of themselves. I never could remember any passages in books, or the particulars of events, except in the gross. I can refer to them. To be sure, I must be a different sort of man from Herder, who once was seriously annoyed with himself, because, in recounting the pedigree of some German royal or electoral family, he missed some one of those worthies and could not recall the name.
Schmidt * was a Romanist; but I have generally found him candid; as indeed almost
wording them, the figures of speech being borrowed in the one instance from theology, and in the other from modern metaphysics), were urged on the convention and its vindicators; the magi of the day, the true citizens of the world, the plusquam perfecti of patriotism, gave us set proofs that similar results were impossible, and that it was an insult to so philosophical an age, to so enlightened a nation, to dare direct the public eye towards them as to lights of warning.” — Statesman's Manual, p. 14.
* Michael Ignatius Schmidt, the author of the History of the Germans. He died in the latter end of the last century. — Ep.
all the Austrians are. They are what is called good Catholics, but, like our Charles the Second, they never let their religious bigotry interfere with their political welldoing. Kaiser is a most pious son of the church, yet he always keeps his papa in good order.
July 20. 1832.
PURITANS AND JACOBINS. It was God's mercy to our age that our Jacobins were infidels and a scandal to all sober Christians. Had they been like the old Puritans, they would have trodden church and king to the dust - at least for a time.
For one mercy I owe thanks beyond all utterance, — that with all my gastric and bowel distempers,—my head hath ever been like the head of a mountain in blue air and sunshine.
July 21. 1832.
I HAVE often wished that the first two books of the Excursion had been published separately, under the name of “ The Deserted Cottage.” They would have formed, what indeed they are, one of the most beautiful poems in the language.
Can dialogues in verse be defended ? I cannot but think that a great philosophical poet ought always to teach the reader himself as from himself. A poem does not admit argumentation, though it does admit development of thought. In prose there may be a difference; though I must confess that, even in Plato and Cicero, I am always vexed that the authors do not say what they have to say at once in their own persons. The introductions and little urbanities are, to be sure, very delightful in their way; I would not lose them: but I have no admiration for the practice of ventriloquizing through another man's mouth.
I cannot help regretting that Wordsworth did not first publish his thirteen books on the growth of an individual mind — superior, as I used to think, upon the whole, to the Excursion. You may judge how I felt about them by my own poem upon the occasion.* Then the plan laid out, and, I believe, partly suggested by me, was, that Wordsworth should assume the station of a man in mental repose, one whose principles were made up, and so prepared to deliver upon authority a system of philosophy. He was
* Poetical Works, vol. i. p. 206. It is not too much to say of this beautiful poem, and yet it is difficult to say more, that it is at once worthy of the poet, his subject, and his object :
“ An Orphic song indeed,
to treat man as man, — a subject of eye, ear, touch, and taste, in contact with external nature, and informing the senses from the mind, and not compounding a mind out of the senses; then he was to describe the pastoral and other states of society, assuming something of the Juvenalian spirit as he approached the high civilization of cities and towns, and opening a melancholy picture of the present state of degeneracy and vice; thence he was to infer and reveal the proof of, and necessity for, the whole state of man and society being subject to, and illustrative of, a redemptive process in operation, showing how this idea reconciled all the anomalies, and promised future glory and restoration. Something of this sort was, I think, agreed on. It is, in substance, what I have been all my life doing in my system of philosophy.
I think Wordsworth possessed more of the genius of a great philosophic poet than any man I ever knew, or, as I believe, has existed in England since Milton; but it seems