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striking contrast to the ill success which has attended many similar aspirants after literary fame; but, as we have before observed, it seems to be the exception and not the rule, that genius should find favour with the world. Analogy seems to lead us to the conclusion, that many more of the Wild Flowers of intellect perish through the inclemency of the weather, and the uncongenial soil in which they are planted, than are successfully reared and brought to maturity by early care and attention.
Far be it from us, however, to judge harshly of those who have failed in establishing a reputation equal to their deserts, or to maintain that their ill-success must necessarily have been owing to some want of ability or discretion on their part : still less would we be disposed hastily to condemn those misguided beings, whose talents have been diverted from their legitimate channels, and exercised in other causes than those of virtue and religion; for, in these instances, the fault lies generally with their education rather than with themselves. A right course of training alone was necessary to render them not only distinguished intellects, but virtuous and worthy members of society; and if the difficulties which beset their path proved too strong for their principles, they claim our compassion rather than our censure, as frail and erring mortals. We cannot conclude with a better apology for both these descriptions of Wild Flowers, than by quoting the opening stanza of Beattie's Minstrel :
Ah! who can tell how hard it is to climb
Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime
(Concluded from p. 22.)
ταύτα πόνει» ταύτ' εκμελέτη τούτων χρή εραν σε:
WHEN Mr. Lockhart in “ Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk,” is comparing the style of two eminent Scotch advocates, and describes the impossibility of appreciating the quiet elegance of the one, after listening to the energetic fervour and impassioned oratory of the other, he says, that the auditor of the former would be subject to the same feelings, as he “ who has just been contemplating some rich, luxuriant piece of the Dutch or Flemish school, and cannot taste in immediate transition the more pale, calm, correct gracefulness of an Italian fresco. Nevertheless the eyes become cool as they gaze, and the mind is gradually yielded up to a less stimulant, but in the end a yet more captivating and soothing species of seduction.” From the affinity of the two arts, it is not difficult to transfer the sentiment to poetry. We can hardly expect that the youthful mind will be attracted by such a style as Herbert's. A school has grown up which has especial charms for youth : a class of writings characterized by great sensibility, a profusion of imagery, and an unsurpassable melody of diction, developing each requisite for Poetry, luxuriance of ideas, and exquisitely harmonious versification. But to the cool, reflective critic, who looked beyond this, there appeared, in this style, a chilling indifference to all the high, intellectual purposes of Poetry, to common morality, not to speak of religion. This objection was certainly justified by the fact, that while men's senses were absorbed in such delights, our greatest Poets, the mighty master-pieces of genius, were suffered to pass into obscurity. Shakspeare and Milton were thrown aside for Byron and Moore. Lately, however, a reaction has taken place; and we must wonder at the depraved taste of the time when men* “sate with dazzled eyes at a high festival of poetry, where, as at the funeral of Arvalan, the torchlight put out the starlight.”
The mind and muse of the divine Herbert were of the most pure and unaffected nature.
“ I need not,' says he, in a letter to his mother when a freshman at Cambridge, “ the scholar's help, to reprove the vanity of those many love-poems that are daily writ and consecrated to Venus; nor to bewail that so few are writ that look toward God and heaven. For my own part, my meaning is in these sonnets, to declare
resolu* Preface to Taylor's “Philip Van Artevelde," a Dramatic Romance, p. xi.
tion to be, that my poor abilities in poetry shall be for ever consecrated to God's glory."* Is he to be thought lightly of by modern critics, because he preferred to hymn the praises of his Maker, while he ministered at the altars of His Church ? Yet—though Herbert, from inclination as well as from the nature of his profession, chose this line of poetry, it is not necessary to question his secular learning. We know that he was an excellent scholar in a variety of languages, and we have seen poems of his, Greek and Latin, of all metres, that would by no means disgrace a modern student. Rather let it be considered in his favour, that, being a great scholar, he chose the humble, secluded life of a Parish Priest, from which retirement he might “behold the court with an impartial eye, and see plainly that it is made up of fraud, titles, flattery, and many other empty, imaginary, painted pleasures-80 empty, as not to satisfy when enjoyed; but in God and His service is a fulness of all joy and pleasure, and no satiety.” And if he did ever gladden his friends with the production of his luxuriant muse, the outpourings of an overflowing piety, his talents were always exercised in the right direction, and that which best befitted his sacred office, always used in honour of his Maker, and in vindication of the Church and the Monarchy.
The following stanzas are free from the mysterious quaintness which offends some tastes; on them and two or three other Poems we intend to rest Herbert's claim to the title of a Poet:
* Willmott's Sacred Poets, p. 234.
EASTER. I got me flowers to strew thy way; I got me boughs off many a tree; But Thou wast up by break of day, And brought'st Thy sweets along with Thee!
The sun arising in the East,
If, as a flower doth spread, and die,
Nipt in the bud;
At Thy great doom.
The stuff with Thee.
But with delays.
To water these.