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66 Sæpe etiam immensum cœlo venit agmen aquarum,
Et foedam glomerant tempestatem imbribus atris
Collectæ ex alto nubes; ruit arduus æther,
Et pluviâ ingenti sata læta boumque labores
Diluit; implentur fossæ, et cava flumina crescunt
Cum sonitu, fervetque fretis spirantibus æquor.
Ipse pater, mediâ nimborum in nocte, corusca
Fulmina molitur dextrâ ; quo maxima motu
Terra tremit, fugere feræ, et mortalia corda
Per gentes humilis stravit pavor."
"And oft whole sheets descend of sluicy rain,
Suck'd by the spongy clouds from off the main;
The lofty skies at once come pouring down,
The promised crop and golden labours drown.
The dykes are fill'd, and with a roaring sound
The rising rivers float the nether ground;
And rocks the bellowing voice of boiling seas rebound.
The father of the gods his glory shrouds,
Involved in tempests, and a night of clouds ;
And from the middle darkness flashing out,
By fits he deals his fiery bolts about.
Earth feels the motions of her angry God,
Her entrails tremble, and her mountains nod;
And flying beasts in forests seek abode :
Deep horror seizes every human breast;
Their pride is humbled, and their fear confess'd."
We may trust, we think, to Lucretius as an evidence to the laws of the human heart on this subject.
"Præterea, cui non animus formidine divûm
Contrahitur? cui non conrepunt membra pavore,
Fulminis horribili cum plagâ torrida tellus
Contremit, et magnum percurrunt murmura cœlum?
Non populi, gentesque tremunt? Regesque superbi
Conripiunt divûm perculsi membra timore,
Ne qued ob admissum fœde, dictumve superbe
Pœnarum grave sit solvendi tempus adactum."
"Who does not feel his soul within him shrink,
And, crouch'd before the gods, a suppliant sink,
When, as the dreadful bolt descends from high,
The parch'd earth quakes, and murmurs fill the sky?
Kindreds and tribes in trembling terror hear,
And haughty tyrants own a sacred fear,
Lest now each deed of guilt, each word of pride,
Be doom'd its day of reckoning to abide."
Turn also to Shakspeare. The un-
happy Lear had excitements stronger
than the manifestations of the con-
tentious storm to drive him into the
wildest extravagances of imagina-
tion when exposed to the tyrannous
night; yet hear how even his wan-
dering delusions return by degrees to the divine and human truths, which no mind, possessing its faculties and feelings in any harmony of adjustment, can fail to be taught by such fearful occasions.
Lear. Blow wind, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once,
That make ingrateful man!
Rumble thy bellyfull! Spit, fire! spout, rain!
Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters:
I tax not you, you elements, with unkindness,
I never gave you kingdoms, call'd you children;
You owe me no subscription; why, then, let fall
Your horrible pleasure; here I stand your slave,
A poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man :-
But yet I call you servile ministers,
That have with two pernicious daughters join'd
Your high engender'd battles, 'gainst a head
So old and white as this.
Kent. Alas, sir, are you here? things that love night,
Love not such nights as these; the wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain I never
Remember to have heard: man's nature cannot carry
The affliction nor the fear.
That keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp'd of justice: Hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjured, and thou simular man of virtue
That art incestuous: Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming,
Hast practised on man's life !-Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace.-I am a man
More sinn'd against, than sinning.
Pr'ythee, go in thyself; seek thine own ease;
This tempest will not give me leave to ponder
On things would hurt me more. But I'll go in.
In, boy; go first.-[to the Fool.] You houseless poverty,―
Nay, get thee in. I'll pray, and then I'll sleep.-
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these?
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel;
That thou may'st shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more
It requires nothing, we think, but comparison, to see that moral power is the source and standard of genuine poetry in such descriptions; and that a predominance given to material images, where so much higher thoughts should be inspired, implies either a defect of mental balance, or a corruption of poetical judgment.
We have now noticed the operation and limits of personification arising from the contemplation of natural objects, whether lovely or magnificent. We proceed to follow out the subject in those cases where external objects are chiefly recommended to us by our individual interest in the persons or
things with which they are connected.
The love of home and of country, or of other scenes of fond recollection, is, from its origin, peculiarly calculated to confer personality on its objects. It is a congeries of simple feelings, which are almost entirely of a moral and spiritual character. spot of our birth, the seat of our domestic hopes and happiness, are dear to us, because they represent and embrace the thousand charities and delights of kindred and companionship, of family affection or social sympathy. "Cari sunt parentes, cari liberi, propinqui, familiares; sed omnes omnium
caritates patria una complexa est." But the composite feeling thus produced soon ceases to reveal to our observation its elementary parts, and becomes a new, homogeneous, and in.. dependent passion of the heart. Our affection is at last fixed directly on the soil and scene itself, with even, perhaps, a warmer love and longing than is ordinarily inspired by any, or all, of the living beings through, and for whom, the lifeless locality became at first a source of interest. Our affec
tions have a tendency to concentrate themselves in objects which fill and satisfy the senses, and especially the sight; and visible objects are, in absence, more easily than others, conjured up and contemplated by the imagination. It is chiefly on some image in the landscape of his native land that the mind of the exile delights to dwell. What does Homer tell us of the home-sick Ithacan's desires amid the allurements of Calypso's isle?
Αιει δε μαλακοισι και αίμυλιοισι λόγοισι
θελγεί, όπως Ιθακης επιλησεται· αυταρ Οδυσσευς,
εμενος ΚΑΙ ΚΑΠΝΟΝ ΑΠΟΘΡΩΣΚΟΝΤΑ νησ
ἧς γαίης, θανέειν ἱμειρεται.
"Successless all her soft caresses prove
To banish from his breast his country's love :
To see the smoke from his loved palace rise,
While the dear isle in distant prospect lies,
With what contentment would he close his eyes !"
What is the momentary reverie of poor Susan, when roused to recollection by the song of the thrush, like herself a native of the woods and plains, though now, like her too, a captive of the city.
"'Tis a note of enchantment: what ails her?
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
"Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail ;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.
"She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade :
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes."
Byron, indeed, has beautifully peopled the picture that rises before the soul of the dying Goth, when he falls amidst the shouts of the gazing amphitheatre :
"He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize :
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday."
But not less true or touching is the
vision of the falling Argive in the
Eneid, who has time but to fix on one
simple thought, but one that is a type
to him of all other joys and endear-
"Sternitur infelix alieno vulnere, cœlum-
Adspicit, et dulces moriens reminiscitur
"Now falling by another's wound, his eyes
He casts to heaven, on Argos thinks, and
Such being the source and history of the emotions we are now considering, in which the affections originally due to living and moral objects are transferred to the earth that we first trode, or the abode with which our life has been identified, it follows naturally that these inanimate existences should seem themselves to have borrowed an answering sensibility from the objects to which they owe their charms. Is not our native land as a mother to us? Are not the halls and bowers, the hills
and streams of a long or early residence, as kindred and companions? Such are undoubtedly our feelings towards them when absence, or danger, or triumph, or any other excitement, gives a spur to the imagination. It were idle to multiply examples of such personifications, with which every one is familiar, whether in the pages of
poetry or in ordinary speech; yet we may be forgiven for inserting some illustrations of the subject, which, trite as they are, will still recommend themselves by their untiring excellence. See how the calm majesty of the Mantuan Swan at last rises upon the wing as he sounds the praises of his native plains:
"Sed neque Medorum silvæ, ditissima terra,
Nec pulcher Ganges, atque auro turbidus Hermus
Laudibus Italiæ certent; non Bactra, neque Indi,
Totaque turiferis Panchaïa pinguis arenis.--
Sed gravidæ fruges et Bacchi Massicus humor
Implevere; tenent oleæque, armentaque læta.
Hinc bellator equus campo sese arduus infert,
Hine albi, Clitumne, greges, et maxima taurus
Victima, sæpe tuo perfusi flumine sacro,
Romanos ad templa deûm duxere triumphos.
Hic ver assiduum atque alienis mensibus æstas;
Bis gravidæ pecudes, bis pomis utilis arbor.
"Adde tot egregias urbes operumque laborem,
Tot congesta manu præruptis oppida saxis,
Fluminaque antiquos subterlabentia muros.
An mare, quod suprà, memorem, quodque alluit infrà?
Anne lacus tantos? te, Lari, maxime, teque
Fluctibus et fremitu assurgens, Benace, marino?—
Hæc genus acre virûm, Marsos, pubemque Sabellam,
Assuetumque malo Ligurem, Volscosque verutos,
Extulit; hæc Decios, Marios, magnosque Camillos,
Scipiadas duros bello, et te, maxime Cæsar,
Qui nunc extremis Asiæ jam victor in oris
Imbellem avertis Romanis arcibus Indum.
Salve, magna parens frugum, Saturnia tellus,
"But neither Median woods, (a plenteous land,)
Fair Ganges, Hermus, rolling golden sand,
Nor Bactria, nor the richer Indian fields,
Nor all the gummy stores Arabia yields;
Nor any foreign earth of greater name,
Can with sweet Italy contend in fame.—
But fruitful vines, and the fat olive's freight,
And harvests heavy with their fruitful weight,
Adorn our fields; and on the cheerful green
The grazing flocks and lowing herds are seen.
The warrior horse, here bred, is taught to train :
Here flows Clitumnus through the flowery plain,
Whose waves, for triumphs after prosperous war,
The victim ox and snowy sheep prepare.
Perpetual spring our happy climate sees;
Twice breed the cattle, and twice bear the trees;
And summer suns recede by slow degrees.
"Next add our cities of illustrious name,
Their costly labour and stupendous frame :
Our forts on steepy hills-that far below
See wanton streams in winding valleys flow.
Our twofold seas, that, washing either side,
A rich recruit of foreign stores provide.
Our spacious lakes; thee, Larius, first, and next
Benacus, with tempestuous billows vext.-
The inhabitants themselves their country grace;
Hence rose the Marsian and Sabellian race,
Strong-limb'd and stout, and to the wars inclined;
And hard Ligurians, a laborious kind';
And Volscians, arm'd with iron-headed darts;
Besides an offspring of undaunted hearts.
The Decii, Marii, great Camillus came
From hence, and greater Scipio's double name;
And mighty Cæsar, whose victorious arms
To farthest Asia carry fierce alarms,
Avert unwarlike Indians from his Rome,
Triumph abroad, secure our peace at home.
Hail, sweet Saturnian soil! of fruitful grain
Great parent, greater of illustrious men!"
Different in its character, yet not very different in its source, is the patriotic apostrophe wrung from the modern Italian by mingled feelings of shame, pity, and pride.
"Italia, Italia, o tu cui feo la sorte
Dono infelice di bellezza, ond 'hai
Funesta dote d'infiniti guai,
Che in fronte scritti per gran doglia porte;
Deh! fossi tu men bella, o almen più forte,
Onde assai più ti paventasse, o assai
T'amasse men, chi del tuo bello ai rai
Par che si strugga, e pur ti sfida a morte !
Che or giù dall' Alpi non vedrei torrenti
Scender d'armati, nè di sangue tinta
Bever l'onda del Po Gallici armenti;
Nè te vedrei, del non tuo ferro cinta,
Pugnar col braccio di straniere genti,
Per servir sempre o vincitrice o vinta."
Of which we subjoin the version of our own Mrs Hemans:-
"Italia! oh, Italia! thou so graced
With ill-starr'd beauty, which to thee hath been
A dower, whose fatal splendour may be traced
In the deep-graven sorrows of thy mien ;
Oh! that more strength, or fewer charms were thine,
That those might fear thee more, or love thee less,
Who seem to worship at thy radiant shrine,
Then pierce thee with the death-pang's bitterness!
Not then would foreign hosts have drain'd the tide
Of that Eridanus thy blood hath dyed;
Nor from the Alps would legions, still renew❜d,
Pour down; nor would'st thou wield an alien brand,
And fight thy battles with the stranger's hand;
Still, still a slave, victorious or subdued!"
As a companion or contrast to these passages, let us connect together t others from a poet of our own land, which, we think, breathe as much dignity and tenderness as the verses either of the ancient Mantuan or of the modern Tuscan.
"England, with all thy faults, I love thee still
My country! and, while yet a nook is left,
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform'd
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flower, for warmer France
With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers.
"My native nook of earth! Thy clime is rude,
Replete with vapours, and disposes much
All hearts to sadness, and none more than mine,
Thine unadulterate manners are less soft