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A Grecian Temple rising from the Deep.”
To be repeated thence, but gently sank
Suffice it, therefore, if the rural Muse
Through crystal water, smoothly as a Hawk,
* Turn where we may.” said I, “we cannot err | In this delicious Region.”—Cultured slopes, Wild tracts of forest-ground, and scattered groves, And mountains bare—or clothed with ancient woods, Surrounded us; and, as we held our way Along the level of the glassy flood, They ceased not to surround us; change of place, From kindred features diversely combined, Producing change of beauty ever new. –Ah! that such beauty, varying in the light of living nature, cannot be pourtrayed By words, nor by the pencil's silent skill; But is the property of him alone Who hath beheld it, noted it with care, And in his mind recorded it with love!
Wouchsafe sweet influence, while her Poet speaks
Whose ends are gained? Behold an emblem here
This plaintive note disturbed not the repose
Soft heath this elevated spot supplied, And choice of moss-clad stones, whereon we couched Or sat reclined—admiring quietly The general aspect of the scene; but each Not seldom over anxious to make known His own discoveries; or to favourite points
| Directing notice merely from a wish
To impart a joy, imperfect while unshared.
on the refulgent spectacle—diffused t
Through earth, sky, water, and all visible space
The Priest in holy transport thus exclaimed
Save by degrees and steps which Thou hast deigned
“So fare the many; and the thoughtful few, Who in the anguish of their souls bewail This dire perverseness, cannot chuse but ask, Shall it endure?—Shall cnmity and strife, Falsehood and guile be left to sow their seed; And the kind never perish 1–Is the hope Fallacious, or shall righteousness obtain A peaceable dominion, wide as earth, And ne'er to fail Shall that blest day arrive When they, whose choice or lot it is to dwell In crowded cities, without fear shall live Studious of mutual benefit; and he, Whom morning wakes, among sweet dews and flowers Of every clime, to till the lonely field, Be happy in himself —The law of faith Working through love such conquest shall it gain, Such triumph over sin and guilt achieve 1 Almighly Lord, thy further grace impart And with that help the wonder shall be seen Fulfilled, the hope accomplished ; and thy praise Be sung with transport and unceasing joy.”
“Once,” and with mild demeanour, as he spake,
On us the Venerable Pastor turned
His beaming eye that had been raised to Heaven,
Woods waving in the wind their lofty heads,
This Vesper service closed, without delay, From that exalted station to the plain Descending, we pursued our homeward course, In mute composure, o'er the shadowy lake, Beneath a faded sky. No trace remained Of those celestial splendours; grey the vault, Pure, cloudless ether; and the Star of Eve Was wanting;-but inferior Lights appeared Faintly, too faint almost for sight; and some Above the darkened hills stood boldly forth In twinkling lustre, ere the Boat attained iter mooring-place;—where, to the sheltering tree our youthful Voyagers bound fast her prow With prompt yet careful hands. This done, we paced The dewy fields; but ere the Vicar's door was reached, the Solitary checked his steps; Then, intermingling thanks, on each bestowed A farewell salutation,-and, the like Receiving, took the slender path that leads To the one Cottage in the lonely dell; But turned not without welcome Promise given, That he would share the pleasures and pursuits Of yet another summer's day, consumed In wandering with us through the Valleys fair, And o'er the Mountain-wastes. “Another sun,” Said he, a shall shine upon us, ere we part, Another sun, and peradventure more; If time, with free consent, is yours to give, And season favours.”
To enfeebled Power,
From this communion with uninjured Minds,
Prer Ace. Page 262, col. 1. Descend, prophetic Spirit, that inspir'st The human soul, etc.
Not mine owu fears, nor the prophetic Soul of the wide world dreaming on things to come. Saaksre, as 's Sonnets. Page 265, col. 1. — — — much did he see of Men.
At the risk of giving a shock to the prejudices of ar
tificial society, I have ever been ready to pay homage to the Aristocracy of Nature; under a conviction that vigorous human-heartedness is the constituent principle of true taste. It may still, however, be satisfactory to have prose testimony how far a Character, employed for purposes of imagination, is sounded upon general fact. I therefore subjoin an extract from an author who had opportunities of being well acquainted with a class of men, from whom my own personal knowledge emboldened me to draw this Portrait. a We learn from Caesar and other Roman Writers, that the travelling merchants who frequented Gaul and other barbarous countries, either newly conquered by the Roman arms, or bordering on the Roman conquests, were ever the first to make the inhabitants of those countries familiarly acquainted with the Roman modes of life, and to inspire them with an inclination to follow the Roman fashions, and to enjoy Roman conveniences. In North America, travelling merchants from the Setlements have done and continue to do much more towards civilizing the Indian natives, than all the Missionaries, Papist or Protestant, who have ever been sent among them. • It is farther to be observed, for the credit of this most useful class of meu, that they commonly contribute, by their personal manners, no less than by the sale of their wares, to the refinement of the people among whom they travel. Their dealings form them to great quickness of wit and acuteness of judgment. Ilaving constant occasion to recommend themselves and their goods, they acquire habits of the most obliging attention, and the most insinuating address. As in their Pe. regrinations they have opportunity of contemplating the manners of various men and various Cities, they become eminently skilled in the knowledge of the world. As they wander, each alone, through thinly-inhabited districts, they form habits of reflection and of sublime contemplation. With all these qualifications, no wonder, that they should often be, in remote parts of the country, the best mirrors of fashion, and censors of manners; and should contribute much to polish the roughness, and soften the rusticity of our peasantry. It is not more than twenty or thirty years, since a yount; man going from any part of Scotland to England, on purpose to carry the pack, was considered, as going to lead the life, and acquire the Fortune, of a Gentleman. When, after twenty years' absence, in that honourable line of employment, he returned with his acquisitions to his native country, he was regarded as a Gentleman to all intents and purposes.” Headn's Journey in Scotland, Vol. i. p. 89.
Page 2:8, col. 2.
Since this paragraph was composed, I have read with so much pleasure, in Burnet's Theory of the Earth, a passage expressing correspondent sentiments, excited by objects of a similar nature, that I cannot forbear to transcribe it.
• Siquod vero Natura nobis dedit spectaculum, in hac tellure, were gratum, et philosopho dignum, id semel milli contigisse arbitror; cum excelsissima rupe sloculabundus ad oram maris Mediterranei, hinc rouor carruleum, illine tractus Alpinos prospexi : nihil quide" magis dispar aut dissimile, nec in suo genore, magis cgregium et singulare. Iloc theatrum ego facile pretulerim Romanis cunctis, Graecisve; atque id quod natura hic spectandum exhibet, scenicis ludis omnibus, aut amphitheatri certaminibus. Nihil hic elegans aut venustum, sed ingens et magnificum, et quod placet magnitudine suá et quadam specie immensitatis. Hinc intuebar maris acquabilem superficiem, usque et usque diffusam, quantum maximum oculorum acics ferri potuit; illinc disruptissimam terrae faciem, et vastas moles varie elevatas aut depressas, erectas, propendentes, reclinatas, coacervatas, omni situ inaequali et turbido. Placuit, ex hac parte, Naturae unitas et simplicitas, ct inexhausta quaedan planities; ex altera, multiformis confusio magnorum corporum, et insanae rerum strages: quas cum intuebar, non urbis alicujus autoppidi, sed confracti mundi rudera, ante oculos habere mihi visus sum. • In singulis fere montibus erat aliquid insolens et mirabile, sed pre caeteris mihi placebat illa, qua sedebam, rupes; erat maxima et altissima, et qua terram respiciebat, molliori ascensu altitudinern suam dissimulabat: qua vero mare, horrendum preceps, et quasi ad perpendiculum facta, instar parietis. Praeterea facies illa marina adeo erat lacvis ac uniformis (quod in rupibus aliquando observare licet) ac si scissa fuisset a summo ad imum, in illo plano ; vel terræ motu aliquo, aut fulmine, divulsa. • Ima pars rupis crat cava, recessusque habuit, et saxcos specus, euntes in vacuum montem; sive natură pridem factos, sive exesos mari, et undarum crebris ictibus: In hos enim cum impetu ruebant et fragore, acstuantis maris fluctus; quos iterum spumantes reddidit antrum, et quasiab imo ventre evomuit. “Dextrum latus montis eral praeruptum, aspero saxo et nuda caute; sinistrum non adeo neglexerat Natura, arboribus utpote ornatum: et prope pedem montis rivus limpidae aquae prorupit; qui cum vicinam vallem irrigaverat, lento motu serpens, et per varios meandros, quasi ad protrahendam vitam, in magno mari absorptus subito periit. Denique in summo vertice promontorii, commode eminebat saxum, cui insideban contemplabundus. Wale augusta sedes, llege digna: Augusta rupes, semper mihi memoranda lo Pag. 89. Telluris Theoria sacra, etc. Editio secunda.
Page 284, col. 2.
“A man is supposed to improve by going out into the World, by visiting London. Art ial iman does; he extends with his sphere; but, alas ! that sphere is microscopic: it is formed of minutiae, and he surrenders his genuine vision to the artist, in order to cmbrace it in his ken. His bodily senses grow acute, even to barren and inhuman pruriency; while his mental become proportionally obtuse. The reverse is the Man of Mind: lie who is placed in the sphere of Nature and of God, might be a mock at Tattersall's and Brookes's; and a sneer at St James's : he would certainly be swallowed alive by the first Pizarro that crossed him —But when he walks along the River of Amazons; when he rests his eye on the unrivalled Andes; when he measures the long and watered Savannah; or contemplates from a sudden Promontory, the distant, vast Pacific—and feels himself a Freeman in this vast Theatre, and commanding each ready produced fruit of this wilderness, and each progeny of this stream—His exaltation is not less than Imperial. He is as geutle, too, as he is great :
His emotions of tenderness keep pace with his elevation of sentiment; for he says, “These were made by a good Being, who, unsought by me, placed me here to enjoy them. He becomes at once a Child and a King his mind is in himself; from hence he argues, and from hence he acts, and he argues unerringly, and acts magisterially: His mind in himself is also in his God; and therefore he loves, and therefore he soars. n-From the notes upon The Hurricane, a Poem, by William Gilbert. The Reader, I am sure, will thank me for the above Quotation, which, though from a strange book, is one of the finest passages of modern English prose.
Page 286, col. 2.
'T is, by comparison, an easy task Earth to despise, etc.
See, upon this subject, Baxter's most interesting review of his own opinions and sentiments in the decline of life. It may be sound (lately reprinted) in Dr wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography.
Page 287, col. 1.
Alas! the endowment of immortal Power.
This subject is treated at length in the Ode at page 249. Page 288, col. 1.
Knowing the heart of Man is set to be, etc.
The passage quoted from Daniel is taken from a poem addressed to the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, and the two last lines, printed in Italics, are by him translated from Seneca. The whole Poem is very beautiful. I will transcribe four stanzas from it, as they contain an admirable picture of the state of a wise Man's mind in a time of public commotion.
Nor is he moved with all the thunder-cracks
Although his heart (so near allied to earth)
And whilst distraught Ambition compasses,
Thus, Lady, fares that Man that hath prepared
'age 305, col. 1.
or rather, as we stand on holy earth, And have the Dead around us. Lee. You, sir, would help me to the History of half these Graves * Priest. For eight-score winters past, with what I've witnessed, and with what I've heard, Perhaps I might: By turning o'er these hillocks one by one, we two could travel, Sir, through a strange round; Yet all in the broad highway of the world. See page 35.
Page 303, col. 2.
And suffering Nature grieved that one should die. Sournov's lietrospect.
Page 303, col. 2.
And whence that tribute? wherefore these regards?
The sentiments and opinions here uttered are in unison with those expressed in the following Essay upon Epitaphs, which was furnished by the author for Mir Coleridge's periodical work, the Friend; and as they are dictated by a spirit congenial to that which pervades this and the two succeeding books, the sympathising reader will not be displeased to see the Essay here annexed.
ESSAY UPON E PITA PHS.
It needs scarcely be said, that an Epitaph presupposes a Monument, upon which it is to be engraven. | Almost all Nations have wished that certain external signs should point out the places where their Dead are interred. Among savage Tribes unacquainted with Letters, this has mostly been done either by rude stones placed near the Graves, or by Mounds of earth raised over them. This custom proceeded obviously from a twofold desire, first, to guard the remains of the deceased from irreverent approach or from savage violation : and, secondly, to preserve their memory. • Never any,” says Camden, a neglected burial but some savage Nations; as the Bactrians, which cast their dead to the dogs; some varlet Philosophers, as Diogenes, who desired to be devoured of fishes; some dissolute Courtiers, as Maecenas, who was wont to say, Non tumulum curo ; sepelit natura relictos.
1 m careless of a Grave:-Nature her dead will save •
As soon as Nations had learned the use of letters, Epitaphs were inscribed upon these Monuments; in order that their intention might be more surely and adequately fulfilled. I have derived Monuments and Epitaphs from two sources of feeling : but these do in fact resolve themselves into one. The invention of Epitaphs, Weever, in his Discourse of Funeral Monuments, says rightly, a proceeded from the presage or fore-feeling of Immortality, implanted in all men naturally, and is referred to the Scholars of Linus the Theban Poet, who flourished about the year of the world two thousand seven hundred; who first bewailed this Linus their Master, when he was slain, in doleful verses, then called of him Oolina, afterwards Epitaphia, for that they were first sung at burials, after engraved upon the Sepulchres.”
And, verily, without the consciousness of a principle of immortality in the human soul, Man could never have had awakened in him the desire to live in the remembrance of his fellows: mere love, or the yearm
ing of Kind towards Kind, could not have produced it. The Dog or Horse perishes in the field, or in the stall, by the side of his companions, and is incapable of anticipating the sorrow with which his surrounding Associates shall bemoan his death, or pine for his loss; he cannot pre-conceive this regret, he can form no thought of it; and therefore cannot possibly have a desire to ieave such regret or remembrance behind him. Add to the principle of love, which exists in the inferior animals, the faculty of reason which exists in Man alone; will the conjunction of these account for the desire? Doubtless it is a necessary consequence of this conjunction; yet not I think as a direct result, but only to be come at through an intermediate thought, viz. That of an intimation or assurance within us, that some part of our nature is imperishable. At least the precedence, in order of birth, of one feeling to the other, is unquestionable. If we look back upon the
days of childhood, we shall find that the time is not in
remembrance when, with respect to our own individua Being, the mind was without this assurance; whereas, the wish to be remembered by our Friends or Kindred
after Death, or even in Absence, is, as we shall discover,
a sensation that does not form itself till the social feelings have been developed, and the Reason has connected itself with a wide range of objects. Forlorn, and cut off from communication with the best part of his nature, must that Man be, who should derive the sense of immortality, as it exists in the mind of a Child, from the same unthinking gaiety or liveliness of animal Spirits with which the Lamb in the meadow, or any other irrational Creature, is endowed; who should ascribe it, in short, to blank ignorance in the Child; to an inability arising from the imperfect state of his faculties to come, in any point of his being, into contact with a notion of Death; or to an unreflecting acquiescence in what had been ins: illed into him Ilas such an unfolder of the mysteries of Nature, though he may have forgotten his former self, ever noticed the early, obstinate, and unappeasable inquisitiveness of Children upon the subject of origination? This single fact proves outwardly the monstrousness of those suppositions: for, if we had no direct external testimony that the minds of very young Children meditate feelingly upon Death and Immortality, these inquiries, which we all know they are perpetually making concerning the whence, do necessarily include correspondent habits of interrogation concerning the whither. Origin and tendency are notions inseparably co-relative. Never did a Child stand by the side of a running Stream, pondering within himself what power was the feeder of the perpetual current, from what never-wearied sources the body of water was supplied, but he must have been inevitably propelled to follow this question by another: a towards what abyss is it in progress? what receptacle can contain the mighty influx And the spirit of the answer must have been, though the word might be Sea or Ocean, accompanied perhaps with an image gathered from a Map, or from the real object in Nature—these might have been the letter, but the spirit of the answer must have been as inevitably,–a receptacle without bounds or dimensions;–nothing less than infinity: We may, then, be justified in asserting, that the sense of Immortality, if not a co-existent and twin birth with Reason, is among the earliest of her Offspring: and we may further assert, that from these conjoined, and un