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the vigorous and restless activity of his intellect might be discerned, curiously inquiring for the secret springs of its own distress, and regarding its sorrows as high problems worthy of the most painful scrutiny. While he exhibited to us the full and pensive stream of emotion, with all the images of soft clouds and delicate foliage reflected on its bosom, he failed not to conduct us to its deep-seated fountains, or to lay open to our view the jagged caverns within its banks. Yet here the vast intellectual power was less conspicuous than in his last poems, because the personal emotion was more intense, single, and pervading. He is now, we rejoice to observe, more “i' the sun,” and consequently, the nice workings of his reason are set more distinctly before us. The “Desultory Thoughts in London” embrace a great variety of topics, associated in the mind of the author with the metropolis, but many of them belonging to those classes of abstraction which might as fitly be contemplated in a desert. Among these are “Fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute," —the theories of manners and morals—the doctrines of expediency and self-interest—with many speculations relating to the imaginative parts of literature, and the influences of religion upon them—all of which are grasped by the hand of a master. The whole range of controversial writing scarcely affords an example of propositions stated so lucidly, qualified so craftily, and urged with such exemplary fairness and candour, as in this work. It must, indeed, be admitted, that the admirable qualities of the argument render it somewhat unfit for marriage “with immortal verse.” Philosophical poetry, when most attractive, seizes on some grand elemental truths, which it links to the noblest material images, and seeks rather to send one vast sentiment to the heart through the medium of the imagination, than to lead the mind by a regular process of logic, to the result which it contemplates. Mere didactic poetry, as Pope's Essay on Man, succeeds not by the nice balance of reasons, but by decking out some obvious common place in a gorgeous rhetoric, or by expressing a familiar sentiment in such forcible language as will give it a singular charm to all who have felt its justice in a plainer garb. In general, the poet, no less than the woman, who deliberates, is lost. But Mr. Lloyd's effusions are in a great measure exceptions to this rule;—for though they
are sometimes “harsh and crabbed,” and sometimes too minute, they are marked by so hearty an earnestness, and adorned by such variety of illustration, and imbued with such deep sentiment, that they often enchant while they convince us. Although his processes are careful, his results belong to the stateliest range of truths. His most laborious reasonings lead us to elevated views of humanity—to the sense of a might above reason itself—to those objects which have inspired the most glorious enthusiasm, and of which the profoundest bards have delighted to afford us glimpses. It is quite inspiring to follow him as he detects the inconsistencies of worldly wisdom, as he breaks the shallow reasonings of the advocates of expediency into pieces, or as he vindicates their prerogatives to faith and hope. He leads us up a steep and stony ascent, step by step; but cheers us by many a ravishing prospect by the way, and conducts at last to an eminence, not only above the mists of error, but where the rainbow comes, and whence the gate of heaven may be seen as from the Delectable Mountains which Bunyan's Pilgrim visited.
We scarcely know how to select a specimen which shall do justice to an author, whose speculations are too vast to be completed within a short space, and are connected with others by delicate links of thought. We will give, however, his vindication of the enthusiastic and self-denying spirit, which, however associated with absurdity, is the soul of all religion and virtue.
Reasoners, that argue of ye know not what,
The blind as well might doubt of sense and sight;
Will ye deny, to them alone 'tis given,
'Tis mainly requisite, to partake of heaven,
According to thy faith shall it be given
As well all facts whence man experience hath,
As doubt immunities bound up in faith.
'Tis easy thing to say, that men are knaves;
We know all this; but we know also well,
God is their rock, their fortress of defence,
Ye, that might cavil at these humble lays,
Was eler an instance known, that man could taste
In other things were this alliance traced;
We scruple not to call them; or, at least,
Thc one, the other. This coincidence
Facts, facts, are stubborn things! We trust the sense
Of sight, because th' experience of each day Warrants our trust in it. Now, tell me whence
It is, no mortal yet could dare to say, Man trusted in his God for his defence,
And was confounded ? cover'd with dismay? Loses he friends? Religion dries his tears! Loses he life? Religion calms his fears!
Loses he health? Religion balms his mind,
And pains of flesh seem ministers of grace, And wait upon a rapture more refin'd,
Then e'en in lustiest health e'er found a place.
He had before renounced; thus he can trace
He too as much enjoys the spectacle
Of good, when done by others as by him: Loses he fame? the honour he loves well
Is not of earth, but that which seraphim Might prize! Loses he liberty? his cell,
And all its vaults, echo his rapturous hymn! He feels as free as freest bird in air! His heaven-shrin'd spirit finds heaven every where!
'Tis not romance which we are uttering! No;
Thousands of volumes each word's truth attest! Thousands of souls redeem'd from all below
Can bring a proof, that, e'en while earthly guest, 'Tis possible for man that peace to know,
Which maketh him impassive to the test
Pleasure, or philosophical or sensual,
Is not, ought not to be, man's primary rule; We often feel bound by a law potential
To do those things which e'en our reasons fool. God, and he only, sees the consequential;
The mind, well nurtur'd in religion's school Feels that He only—to whom all's ubedientHas right to guide itself by the expedient.
Duty is man's first law, not satisfaction!
That satisfaction comes from this perform'd, We grant! But should this be the prime attraction
That led us to performance, soon inform'd By finding that we've miss'd the meed of action,
We shall confess our error. Oft we're warm'd, By a strong spirit we cannot restrain, To deeds, which make all calculation vain.
Had Regulus reason'd, whether on the scale
Of use, in Rome, his faculties would most, Or Carthage-patriotism's cause avail,
He never had resum'd his fatal post. Brutus, Virginius had they tried by tale
Their country's cause, had never been her boast. Yet had it not these self doom'd heroes seen, Rome “ the eternal city," ne'er had been!
Shall Christ submit upon the cross to bleed,
And man for all he does a reason ask? Have martyrs died, and confessors, indeed,
That he must seek a why for every task?
Of this enlighten'd age! Take off the mask!
Were not the Greeks wiser than our wise men.
When he would raise up states for history's pen, This more than mortal instinct! Yet absurd
It is (because, perhaps, our narrower ken
No, let us keep at least our lips from lies;
Let us not falsify her prodigies.
From her past triumphs so t'apostatize
Go to Palmyra's ruins; visit Greece,
Behold! The wrecks of her magnificence Seem left, in spite of man, thus to increase
The sting of satire on his impotence.