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only, or as a restricted trade. Few have of studies something which it is pleased to any faith in philosophy as the original and dignify with the title of philosophy, in the rightful mistress of life. Few have any shape particularly of metaphysics and firm, solid belief in the reality of ideas, as ethics, as a sort of crowning distinction in anything more than the generalizations of honor of the Senior year. But the crown, sense, or the wisely calculated results of alas ! is not what it ought to be, the keycommon utilitarian experience. He is stone of the academic arch, that binds and counted too generally to be the best phi- supports the whole; it is at best an outlosopher, whose thinking is found to move side ornament simply, of most light and most fully in the orbit of the common un- airy structure, set loosely on its summit, derstanding, while it shows itself at the of which, in a short time, no trace whatsame time most skillful in discerning the ever is to be fonnd. We may safely say, relation between means and end, and is that the way in which philosophy is taught crowned at last with the largest percent- and studied in our colleges generally, is age, in the way of practical benefit and suited only to bring it into discredit. It profit. The bearing of all this on our na- stands in no organic connection with the tional life, is sufficiently plain in every di- course as a whole ; it is handled in the rection. Our literature and science, our most mechanical and external way, as a economics and politics, nay, our very eth- thing of simple memory and report; and ies and divinity, are all made to suffer in to complete the misery, it is acknowledged the same way. They are not properly only in a form which subverts its whole scientific
sense, by substituting for it a poor parody The defect is particularly obvious and that is wholly unworthy of its name. In worthy of notice, in our general system of its own nature the most earnest of intereducation. Whatever advantages this may ests, it is thus metamorphosed into the possess in other respects, it is character- | most frivolous and trivial. We need not ized almost universally by a sad want of wonder, that in such circumstances, it true philosophical spirit.' The idea of a should appear shorn of all strength. We separate department or faculty of philoso- need not wonder, that the interest of libephy, as necessary to complete the concep- ral study generally, deprived in this way of tion of a university education, is almost its proper soul, should be made to suffer at gone from our minds. The prejudice of every point. An earnest philosophy is intradition is indeed too strong, to allow its dispensable to an earnest education, as total banishment from our colleges, in an through this again it is indispensable to all open and formal way. Every institution real earnestness in life. J. W. N. feels itself bound to include in its course
Poetry, or rather the poetic, is a theme hard, and full of rage, but poetry may which must be forever re-discussed and for the time change his nature : the wildre-defined, since it is a matter upon which | est savage has his chants and danees, and the uneducated and unreflecting must though when they are translated to us ever refer to their own individual impres- there is nothing poetic perceptible in them, sions. Like the divine institution of Chris- yet they shall
, to him, be poetry. The tianity, it adapts itself to all hearts and Chinese have their poems, as well as we all capacities. There is none so stockish, ours; but, with the perverseness apper
Evangeline, a Tale of Acadie: William D. Ticknor & 'Co. 1848.
By Henry WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. Second Edition. Boston:
taining to most traits of character in our they almost universally consider very pecelestial antipodes, what they consider el- dantic and dry; and although they cannot egant poetic writing, we should class with but admit there are some humorous charthe maxims of poor Richard. “Keaou acters in Shakspeare, they would rather see Seen Sang,” says the Rev. Mr. Smith, a him on the stage than read him. As they late traveller, "seemed to revel in a para- grow up into life, however, if they dise of self-complacency, as we sat to lis- continue (as, alas! but few of them do ten to his magniloquent intonations of the in our spreading country,) to love litclassics. The impassioned gesture and lit- erary studies, they see more and more of erary enthusiasm of Keaou, would have the greatness of these wonderful men, and led is to believe that his mental enjoy- acquiesce more and more in the general ment was very great, and the ideas con- verdict of the world. Thus the process veyed by the composition very sublime. forever goes on, the pure art of poetry But, on translating the immortal fragment, standing before the race like a pillar of it was frequently found to consist of some fire, seen by all, but seen best by those such sentiment as these: "He who makes who are in the vån, or now and then seen just agreements, can fulfill bis promises; best of all by the far-reaching eye of he who behaves with reverence and pro- genius. priety, puts shame and disgrace to a dis- There was one not many years ago that tance; he who loses not the friendship of saw it, as it would seem, in its very purity; those whom he ought to treat with kind who had approached, with his self-conness and respect, may be a master."" sciousness all awake, into its empyreal These are very sensible worldly maxims, circle, and could define its form and fix its but they are certainly not much more po- qualities and limits—COLERIDGE, the most etic to us than “Time is money," “ An hon- poetic of philosophers, and the most proest man's the noblest work of God," or found and candid of critics. His mind any of the points and antitheses which may seemed peculiarly formed to be at once occur in poetry, and belong to it, but can the exhibiter and expounder of the highest exist without it—the pure products of the forms of poetry; he could assume the raised intellect. So, if we are content to lyric frenzy, and could analyze it also ; he scek nearer than China for an illustration, not only wooed the pure muse successfully, we may discern that what is poetry to one but without losing his own heart; he is not so to another; for who has not united, in short, in one person, the rarest seen eyes suffused by the recitation of bal- qualities of artist and critic, actor and lads of the most silly character possible ? reflector, doer and observer. The definiPolitical elections often engender serious tion of poetry he has given in his Biopoems of this sort. The Miller doctrine graphia Literariá, and especially in the was a myth that gave birth to hymns at volume containing the immortal criticism once lofty and laughable. The temple of of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads, is one the Mormons, no doubt, echoed to the whose excellence appeals to a man's indisongs of bards.
vidual growth in the same manner with In the multitude of tastes between these that of all the great models of art, viz. : it extreme productions and those of Shak- grows better by time, and is more underspeare and Milton, there can never be a stood the more it is studied. Few persons consensus omnium as to the true definition in active life have leisure to read Coleof POETRY, any more than there can be ridge ; indeed, it is questionable whether among artists as to what are the requisites his peculiar, minutely guarded, yet eloof HIGH ART. There is, however, a con- quent, philosophical style should be recomstant tendency towards such an unanimous mended to young persons engaged in acagreement, as generations rise up from tive literary or professional pursuits ; he youth to age, through the experience of is a writer who were perhaps better left to passion and the growth of reason. It is those who cannot avoid him. Any such very well settled that the names we have one who may have fancied that he fully just mentioned stand at the head of our comprehended the distinctions in the defini poetic literature. Some college students tion we are speaking of several years ago, prefer Byron—others Tennyson ; Milton will probably find on re-reading the passage, ample argument for modesty in the ceived from each part in a true poem must retrospection. And this will arise, not be such as is also compatible with the defrom a certain theory's wedding itself to light to be inspired by the whole ; each his mind and confining it to a particular must help each and all. But the philosotrack, but simply from his own personal pher does not overlook this in his next experience of life; he will understand them paragraph : “If a man chooses to call better, as he does his Milton and Shak- every composition a poem, which is rhyme, speare, not from their having educated or measure, or both, I must leave his opinhim, but from his having grown older and ion uncontroverted. The distinction is at thought and suffered more. It is our least competent to characterize the writer's purpose to recur briefly to these distinc- intention. If it were subjoined, that the tions and principles, culling out and ex- whole is likewise entertaining or affecting, plaining some of the most important of as a tale, or a series of interestiug reflecthem, and then to apply them to the tions, I of course admit that this is another work under review.
fit ingredient of a poem, and an additional In the first chapter of the second vol- merit. But if the definition sought for be ume of the Biographia, a new edition of that of a legitimate poem, I answer, it must which has just been issued by the Messrs. be one, the parts of which mutually supWiley & Putnam, after a short account port and explain each other ; all in their of the origin of the Lyrical Ballads, the proportion harmonizing with, and supportauthor proceeds to explain his ideas, first, ing, the purpose and known influences of of a Poem, secondly, of Poetry itself, in metrical arrangement. The philosophic kind and in essence. Of a poem he ob- critics of all ages coincide with the ultiserves : First. That it must be in metre mate judgment of all countries, in equally or rhyme, or both ; it must have the su- denying the praises of a just poem, on the perficial form. Secondly. Its immediate one hand, to a series of striking lines or purpose must be the communication of distichs, each of which, absorbing the pleasure. But, thirdly. " The communica- whole attention of the reader to itself, distion of pleasure may be the object of a work joins it from its context, and makes it a not metrically composed, as in novels and separate whole, instead of an harmonizing romances. Would, then, the mere super- part; and on the other hand, to an unsusaddition of metre, with or without rhyme, tained composition, from which the reader entitle these to the name of poems? The collects rapidly the general result, unatanswer is, (and this distinction we italicize, tracted by the component parts. The that the reader may observe it carefully,) reader should be carried forward, not that nothing can permanently please which merely, or chiefly, by the mechanical imdoes not contain in itself the reason why it is pulse of curiosity, or by a restless desire 30, and not otherwise. If metre be super- to arrive at the final solution ; but by the added, all other parts must be made con- pleasurable activity of mind, excited by sonant with it. They must be such as to the attractions of the journey itself. _Like justify the perpetual and distinct attention the motion of a serpent, which the Egypto each part, which an exact correspondent tians made the emblem of intellectual recurrence of accent and sound are calcu- power; or like the path of sound through lated to excite. The final definition, then. the air ; at every step he pauses, and half so deduced, may be thus worded : A po- recedes, and, from the retrogressive moveem is that species of composition, which is ment, collects the force which again car opposed to works of science, by proposing ries him onward. Precipitandus est liber for its immediate object pleasure, not spiritus, says Petronius Arbiter, most haptruth; and from all other species (having pily. The epithet liber, here balances the this object in common with it) it is dis- preceding verb; and it is not easy to concriminated by proposing to itself such de-ceive more meaning, condensed in fewer light from the whole, as is compatible with words." 3 distinct gratification from each compo
We have quoted largely this character
istic passage for its beautiful clearness and The discrimination here made seems to breadth and condensation of thought. cover too much; for the gratification re- But the definition, it must be remembered,
is after all only of a poem, and is intended | activity, with the subordination of its faculties to distinguish that species of writing from to each other, according to their relative worth prose.
Evangeline, and many works far and dignity. He diffuses a tone and spirit of inferior to it, come indisputably within the unity, that blends
, and (as it were) fuses, each definition. If we wish to examine what to which we have exclusively appropriated the
into each, by that synthetic and magical power, are the elements of a great poem, we shall name of imagination. This power, first put in find them in the succeeding and concluding action by the will and understanding, and reparagraphs of the chapter, under the defi- tained under their irremissive, though gentle nition of poelry.
Of course the excel and unnoticed, control, (laxis effertur habenis,) lence of a poem as a work of art must be reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of determined by the manner in which it de- opposite or discordant qualities; of sameness, velops those elements. After the form, crete ; the idea, with the image ; the individ
with difference ; of the general, with the conthe question is, how far is the piece poetic? ual, with the representative ; the sense of norOr the examination might be reversely elty and freshness, with old and familiar obthus : after considering how far the piece jects; a more than usual state of emotion, is poetic, the only other question must be, with more than usual order ; judgment ever how far is the form born of and consonant awake, and steady self-possession, with enthuwith the quality of the piece as poetry? | while it blends and harmonizes the natural and
siasın and feeling profound or vehement; an For in poetry the form and the spirit are
the artificial, still subordinates art to nature; in reality inseparable, and the task of con
the manner to the matter ; and our admirasidering them apart, to which our minds tion of the poet to our sympathy with the are compelled by the infirmity of their con- poetry.” stitution, while it is the only way by which Finally, GOOD SENSE is the BODY of poetic we arrive at a clear understanding of the genius, FANCY its DRAPERY, MOTION its LIFE, whole subject, leads necessarily through a
and IMAGINATION the SOUL, that is everywhere, labyrinth of distinctions in which it is and intelligent whole.”
and in each ; and forms all into one graceful hardly possible to thread one's way without errors.
To make this perfectly clear, it would We might now consider the form of be necessary to read, or rather study, the Evangeline, and its general keeping, and chapters in the preceding volume of the its intellectual ability and merit as a work Biographia, leading to the discussion of of taste; the definitions already given the esemplastic power, up to the point being, as we consider, for such an exami- where the author wisely writes himself a nation, the best standard. But as all these letter, advising him to proceed no furtherqualities should be subordinate to, and a task we would recommend to none created by, POETRY, we must go still fur- who are not already somewhat versed in ther into the matter abstractly before de- metaphysical reading, and have not smatscending into particulars. Poetry is to all tered away the original confidence in their the other qualities what charity is to hu- ignorance, which is the surest guide to man abilities ; without it all is “sounding knowledge. Let us reverently endeavor brass.” It is the father of all metres ; all to explain what he means by the Imaginavarieties of rhyme are but its outward tion which is the soul of poetic genius, limbs and flourishes. Let us abandon our- and the Fancy which is its drapery. In selves once more to the guidance of the common parlance these words are used inadventurous explorer, whose soul lived in terchangeably : here their meanings are the tropics of passion, while at the same widely different. If the important words time his mind wandered clear and unchilled in this final sentence are fully understood, in the darkest and coldest zones of thought. we are under no apprehension of being
unintelligible, when we speak of the genius “What is poetry ? is so nearly the same of Mr. Longfellow. question with, what is a poet ? that the answer What is meant by“good sense” is clear; to the one is involved in the solution of the other. For it is a distinction resulting from the having the common knowledge of the
we understand a vigilant presiding reason, fies the images, thoughts and emotions of the world in greater or less degree under its popto-nyo mind. The poet, described in ideal control: in some of our modern small poets
hrings the whole soul of man into animal feeling seems to take its place, and we then have poems very well sustained, with images ; can resolutely cast himself very well clothed, moving very grace- loose and abandon himself to a rapture fully, but for all that extremely weak that is feigned and yet real—that despises and nonsensical. What is meant by reason, yet never goes beyond it—that in motion is also perfectly plain ; but the short sets the whole of the faculties of his other two words are less easily dis- nature into intense activity—it is by the tinguished, and no man can understand strength of his imagination that he is enathem fully, unless he possesses them in a bled to do it; and it is according as this conscious degree himself, which very faculty of his mind is put forth, that we many do not. Let us go back to the feel his power. In some, it is exerted concluding definitions in the first volume, with less of the will than in others. already referred to :—-" The IMAGINA- Shakspeare's imagination carried him TION, then, I consider either as priniary quite beyond consciousness, so that he or secondary. The primary IMAGINATION, utters the divinest songs without knowing I hold to be the living power and it; Milton's had more of the dull clay to prime Agent of all human Perception, contend with, but then, with an Atlas-like and as a repetition in the finite mind of the strength, he bears the burden to the very eternal act of creation in the infinite I Am.' sky. Coleridge himself is another splenThat is to say, as we understand it, it is that did example of the power of the faculty first principle in the mind of man, which he has analyzed. He must have had an enables him to say, “I exist;" over this almost infinitely greater tenacity of conthe will has no control. “The secondary scious reason to overcome than ordinary I consider as an echo of the former, co-ex- men, yet when he does rise, how strong is isting with conscious will, yet still as iden- his flight ! He reminds one, though the tical with the primary in the kind of its reader will smile at the application, of agency, and differing only in degree, and in what the French Lord says of Parolles, in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, All's Well that Ends Well: “Is it posdiffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create ; sible he should know what he is, and be or, where this process is rendered impossi- that he is ?” Like his own Albatross, he ble, yet still, at all events, it struggles to is an unwieldy bird ; but when he is once idealize and to unify. It is essentially on the wing," thorough the fog," or on rilal,” etc. “Fancy, on the contrary, has the good south wind, he wins his way with no other counters to play with, but fixities an unconquerable vigor. and definities. The fancy is, indeed, no Wherever this strength is put forth, other than a mode of memory emancipated and under whatever variety of obstacles, from the order of time and space, and it never fails to be felt. It is indeed “the blended with, and modified by, that empir- faculty divine." Whether exerted with ical phenomenon of the will, which we êx- more or less of learning, in poetry or press by the word choice. But, equally prose, in writing or in any other art, or in with the ordinary memory, it must receive actual life, it is at once perceived and its all its materials ready-made from the law of force measured according to its degree. association."
It is the contact of soul with soul. In life, In brief, it is to the imagination that we it is the essence of character. Men do owe the sustaining power in poetry, and to not affect each other through dry intelthe fancy its imagery. The imagination lect; it is not by argument alone that is the wing-the fancy, the plumage ; they sway each other; it is by the that is, considering them as distinct qual strength of the imagination. Some men ities, like the “organs” of the phrenolo- have weak intellects combined with great gist. But they unite in all proportions, and force of character: it is almost miraculous in all degrees of submission to the primary what a power they will exert over those consciousness. Where the poet, in the around them. In some this power deopen day, with the disappointments of the velops itself, through a rough nature, in past, the distraction of the present, and violence and impetuosity ; in others it the hopelessness of the future around him; works smoothly. It makes the tunes, with with his judgment all awake, his memory which, in this jangled and discordant stored with learning and his fancy teeming world, the spirits of men play upon each