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The calm brow through the parted hair,
The gentle lips which knew no guile, Softening the blue eye's thoughtful care
With the bland beauty of their smile. Ah me!-at times that last dread scene
Of Frost and Fire and moaning Sea, Will cast its shade of doubt between
The failing eyes of Faith, and thee. Yet, lingering o’er thy charmed page,
Where through the twilight air of earth, Alike enthusiast and sage,
Prophet and bard, thou gazest forth: Lifting the Future's solemn veil,
The reaching of a trembling hand To put aside the cold and pale
Cloud-curtains of the Unseen Land! In thoughts which answer to my own,
In words which reach my inward ear
I feel thy living presence here.
The dust thy pilgrim footsteps trod,
The fixed economy of God. Shall these poor elements outlive
The mind whose kingly will they wrought? Their gross unconsciousness survive
Thy god-like energy of thought ? THOU LIVEST, FOLLEN!--not in vain
Hath thy fine spirit meekiy borne The burden of Life's cross of pain,
And the thorned crown of suffering worn. Oh! while Life's solemn mystery glooms
Around us like a dungeon's wallSilent earth's pale and crowded tombs,
Silent the heaven which bends o'er all!
While day by day our loved ones glide
In spectral silence, hushed and lone, To the cold shadows which divide
The living from the dread Unknown;While even on the closing eye,
And on the lip which moves in vain, The seals of that stern mystery
Their undiscovered trust retain ;
And only midst the gloom of death,
Its mournful doubts and haunting fears, Two pale, sweet angels, Hope and Faith,
Smile dimly on as through their tears ;'Tis something to a heart like mine
To think of thee as living yet; To feel that such a light as thine
Could not in utter darkness set.
And it may be that all which lends
The soul an upward impulse here,
And greets us in a holier sphere.
The humbler flowers of earth may twine ;
Blend with the angel-tasted wine.
And let the seeking lips be dumb,-
Shall mortal blindness seek to come ?
And that the same returnless tide
And we who mourn thee with it glide.
And to our gaze ere long shall turn
We so much wish, yet dread to learn.
With Him, before whose awful power
Thy spirit bent its trembling knee, -
And forest leaf, looked out on thee,
We leave thee, with a trust serene
Which Time, nor Change, nor Death can move, While with thy child-like faith we lean
On Him whose dearest name is Love !
It is rather late now to offer our shall give them some consideration in readers a review of Campbell's Life of the tone of our age and country ; in Petrarch. We took it up with such a that sceptical cross-examining spirit purpose when it was new, but desisted which tries the spirits, and likes to see on finding the book a performance very things proved. inferior to the promise of its title. The For there is proof even in matters of matter is not new, nor put in any new poetry. Verses are intrinsically and light; the manner is not good, nor really good or bad; like fruits from the consistent in any one kind of badness; tree, or water from the fountain, taking the style is sententious, turgid, flippant, essential character from the minds that and familiar, by turns; the language produce them. If the mind be not insometimes pedantic and at others vul- stinct with immortality, then is the gar; and the whole work so flimsy that, poetry a form without a substance; like the Sybilline oracles, if two-thirds specious, perhaps, but empty; a result, of it were burned, the remainder would according to Campbell's own clever be worth the whole. There are traces expression, of “ tactics in the march of 100 of incompetency deeper than de words;" not a speaking of the soul to fect of style; there are tokens of ig: the soul,--for the age has a soul, and norance of the subject and of congenial the true poet has his mission to speak subjects, signs of a learning hastily to it, and such an one shall never lack laid in pro-hac-vice, and laid out again hearers. His voice sounds to the initistill crude, lumpy, and unassimilated. ated-to the elect; and they, in this But enough: we have something to busy generation, are all the active and say about Petrarch, something about honorable, all who are true children of Campbell
, and something about what- the age; all who, while the long sleep ever may come in our way, but no is not yet fallen on them, would fain be more about this book.
up and doing,-aye, up and doing good; Prose by a Poet, is not, on the whole, and something great, if possible-but very taking title; Mr. Montgomery let it be good first. What they would once tried if it would sell a book, but highly, that they would holily; and, did not meet with very distinguished unlike Macbeth, not only would not success. It is a little as if one should play false, but would not wrongly win. say, English by a Dutchman, or Horse. These are the children of the spirit of manship by a Sailor. Excellence in the age-the sharers of that spirit verse, as a general rule, destroys prose, which, like a little leaven, is now leaand the contrary. Byron excelled in both; vening this vast lump of a world. but such instances are rare. Moore's These are they to whom Longfellow prose is Lalla-Rookh-ish, and South- speaks, and let us hear him. We may ey's
, poems are Book-of-the-Church-ish. inagine strange and improbable changSuch rules cannot be absolute ; but es in times to come, but does anybody Campbell is not an exception to this believe that such words as these shall one, and his prose has so many defects, be lost ?-and so little merit of any kind to redeem it, that it gives rise to unpleas só Life is real, life is earnest, ant suspicions as to the grounds on And the grave is not its goal; which we have admired his verse. Dust thou art, to dust returnest, What is good verse? What makes a Was not spoken of the soul. good or a great poet? And what claim Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, has Campbell --what claim has Pe Is our destined end or way; trarch, to such a title? These are dif But to act, that each to-morrow ficult and doubtful questions; and we
Find us farther than to-day."
* Life of Petrarch. By Thomas Campbell, Est. London. 1841. 2 vols. 8vo.
Sir Philip Sidney said, the old ballad decays. We cavil at human nature; of Chevy Chace made his heart leap as we talk of the increase of crime, of the at the sound of a trumpet. Sir Philip general tendency to corruption, and we was a warrior: his tasie is in a meas- shut our eyes to the mighty truth that, ure lost, and so is the force of his com so far as history can be interpreted, parison. Blow a trumpet in Pearl street, every great vice and crime diminishes, or on 'Change, and you shall see what every virtue is more and more diffused you shall see: it will stir as many and cherished. Religious persecution, hearts as a hurdy-gurdy, and no more. war, tyranny, slavery, and intemperBut pick me out one of those plain citi- ance, are put under the ban of the civilzens, and put me a touchstone to his ized world, and the whole world now soul; follow him to his counting-house must eventually, inevitably be civilized. and to his desk; come behind him, and That we have arrived at our present try him unawares with a criterion : he stage of improvement by a gradual has po sympathy with a war-horse; progress through many ages, who can but has he iherefore none with man, doubt? In any given ten or twenty none with nature, none with futurity? years the change may not be appreciaHis coat is threadbare, perhaps; his air ble; but take the view by centuries, negligent, or even common; he passes and the conclusion is brought home. half his life in obscure labors, the other Look at England in 1540, under the half, unseen and unheard-of, at his do- brutal and cruel Henry VIII. ; in 1640, mestic hearth. He has no ambition, on the eve of civil war; in 1740, under you say--no sublime longings nor high Walpole; and in 1840. What giant aspirations. But read these verses in strides of progress! And if you go his ear, and he will answer you like back from Henry VIII. to the HeptarIsabel :
chy, it is a regular falling off from order
and some seinblance of good govern“ There spoke my brother, there my ment, to a life nearly savage, and batfather's grave
tles, as Milton expressed it, of kites and Did utter forth a voice."
crows:-So France, Germany, Russia :
everything but Italy; and there, too, in For this man, who appears so simple spite of Rome, there has been progress, and humble, is, nevertheless, possessed for Rome has grown weaker. But with deep and high aspirations; so these remarks to our present subject deep as to be out of the ken of general only signify this, that wisdom accumuobservation, and so high as to look lates where fathers teach and children above the approbation of man for its learn; that true wisdom is virtue, and reward. He has received from his pa- thus civilisation is transmitted. How rents a precious inheritance of good far it is from its perfection yet; how principles: it has been wrought into liable to cavil, to misapprehension ; his early education, and made the stuff how overlaid with hypocrisy, and beset of his earliest thoughts: it has become with false friends and open enemies, chronic and constitutional in him, and we know,--but the gates of hell shall his hope is to transmit it to his children, not prevail against it. Each rising and perpetuate it with increase in the generation will choose more good, and world. In this design every morrow reject more evil; for God so forms the finds him farther advanced than to-day minds of children that, though the good -in this track the footsteps he leaves seed thrown into them may be choked, are permanent. Castles and walled it never dies. And there is in this cities, palaces and temples of false community a vast mass of men who gods, shall pass away; but the eternal never theorized upon this matter, nor pyramids of virtue shall remain ; and put it into shape in their own thoughts, Hle that seeth in secret shall reward yet who do effectively believe this the builders openly.
principle, and who act on it in their If we consider for a moment, we shall unseen lives, with a true vocation to a see that there is no perennial work but great but anonymous immortality. this-no other laboring for immortality. Now, for such men, what is Poetry ? The highest and noblest occupation for It may bc hard to say what poetry will human energy is open to us all; the suit them, but certainly none will that only one whose effects survive and in- a man writes who could not write crease while everything else human prose. Read “ Hohenlinden”toa man of
this class, or "Lochiel,” and if you find up of human perfectibility. Such he does not relish it, macadamise the shouid the poet be for the benefit of poetry, take the rhymes out, disjoint his poetry, and for his own, and for his the measure, and see whether you can readers. Not a pensioner like Wordsrelish it yourself. There remains no- worth ; not a troubadour like Petrarch; thing but the common-places of bal- not a man living in morbid seclusion lad-singing. Campbell's " tactics in like Cow per; not one writing verses by the march of words” are admirable, his contract at so much a day like Moore; measure is most perfect and harmoni- but an active denizen of the every-day ous; his poetry would appear delight- worldindependent, vigorous, and ful even if read to a man who under- observant, writing from fulness of stood no English: it is sweet, graceful, thought and knowledge. Such a man perfect, what you please, but burning would stir up the hearts of Pearl-street, words and breathing thoughts there and only such a man. If one went to are none.
them from the dead, though it were Campbell, then, shall not be the lau- Homer, they would not hear him; but reate of the march of mind-that is ea- let one come who lives, and who has sily decided; but the question is much lived to some purpose, and whose more difficult, who shall? He who works give evidence of his life, and to will have minds march to his music him they will give ear. should have some progress in his own; It is an old, but a stale and false he should cheer us on, and go before adage, which would persuade us that like a trumpeter, not sit like a fiddler matters of taste are not subjects of in an orchestra, and keep us promenad- argument. It is a convenient thing ing up and down; and yet most poets for a prating critic first to set taste do so. They seclude themselves from above reason, and then to give himself the world, at least from its active em out for the oracle of taste, after which ployments, and go round and round in he leaves you no alternative but to one circle of ideas; and, so far from worship his false gods, or be proscribed to-morrow finding them farther than as a Vandal. Yet there is reason even to-day, in any progress towards know. in matters of poetry. Like the bubbles ledge, it is a chance rather if yesterday on alcohol, which, to the skilful eye, did not. The age marches and leaves are the sure proof of the spirit, even so them hehind, as it must all non-practi- it is with these bubbles of the mind. cal men. This is not the true system. The weak and washy intellect cannot He who would tell the world some- give them forth bright and strong; the thing, should inform himself first what false and perverted cannot produce the it knows already. He who would ex- pure and holy. What is Petrarch to cite, surprise, or please it, must first us? What was he to himself, to his know it; and to know it, must mix in family, to his friends, to his age ? A it. He must mix in its real bustle of false priest, a negligent father, an business, in its contests for material amiable and attached friend and corinterest; he must watch the collisions respondent perhaps, but not free from that take place there, expose himself interest in his attachment, and not to them, and note his experience well known in his long life ever to have of himself and others; and if he live a done one generous or disinterested act. century, every day will add to this ex- Yet he was something beyond his age perience some new and unexpected both in virtue and knowledge, enough line. Such a man will not write inuch, so to have made it his highest duty to but what he writes will have its mean- educate his children and bequeath that ing, and the ardor and enterprise of knowledge and virtue to them. Such youth, the riper and deeper thoughts, a legacy, in the then existing state of the more enlarged, sadder, yet more Italy, would have been worth more charitable and impartial views of man- than his poetry. Such a family might hood, and the serene wisdom of age, have been a leavening nucleus in the will appear in their due succession. mass of the depravity of the time. His works will be the reflection of his Petrarch thought not of that; he ran life-a chart for those who shall come about after laurel crowns, and danced after-an impressive precept added to attendance on emperors and nobles, mapy precepisma grain in the pyra- dawdling on in endless verse about mid, contributed toward the building Laura, and pedantic epistles to Virgil