Imágenes de páginas

Willi AM Wordsworth, who is descended from a family of high respectability in Cumberland, was born at Cockermouth, on the 7th of April, 1770. He was educated with his almost equally distinguished brother,<-Dr. Christopher Wordsworth,-at Hawkesworth School, in Lancashire; and was entered at St. John's, Cambridge, in 1787, where he took his degree. Since the beginning of the year 1800, he has “had his home,” either at his present residence, Rydal Mount, Westmoreland, or within two miles of it, though, as appears from his writings, he has made excursions both on the Continent and on our own island. We can afford but small space to a Memoir of the Poet;-small as it is, however, it will suffice. His life has been retired and uniform : he has been subjected to few trials;—possessed of “health, peace, and competence," his course has been as smooth, even, and tranquil, as that of a “silent river.”

Mr. Wordsworth is above the middle size. His features are strongly marked; but their expression is, like his poetry, contemplative rather than energetic. He has a calm look, and a gentle manner; his action is persuasive, and the tones of his voice peculiarly so. We have known him only amid the uncongenial scenes of a great city; but have been told that, among the hills and valleys of his native Westmoreland, his society is as a mildly healthful breeze, and his conversation as a delicious melody. He has ever been “a Poet for Poets:” from the beginning of his career, he “F1T audience found though few ;” but his reception as a Poet for universal man, is of very recent date. His lack of popularity was owing, partly to that taste for the French school of poetry—which was still lingering among us from the times of Dryden and Pope—and partly to the excess to which Mr. Wordsworth pushed his simplicity, as if in scorn of that school, which naturally enough irritated the wits and others who had been bred up in its conventional elegancies. He has since given indications of a consciousness of having gone a little too far; and they, on the other hand, have grown complimentary: meanwhile, he waited patiently for the turn of the tide that was to bear him into a crowd of devoted admirers. He knew it would come at last; and went on writing, in spite of the sneers of those who either could not, or would not, understand him. He has lived to enjoy a large portion of his anticipated triumph; and— for he is not an aged man—will probably continue with us until he finds himself the most popular Poet of the existing age, and second only to him who is “for all time.”

The style of Wordsworth is essentially vernacular, at once vigorous and simple. He is ever true to nature; and, therefore, if we except Shakspeare, no writer is so often quoted: passages from his poems have become familiar as household words, and are perpetually called into use to give strong and apt expression to the thoughts and feelings of others. This is, perhaps, the highest compliment a Poet can receive ; it has been liberally paid to him even by those who know little of the rich mine of which they are but specimens. With him the commonest objects,

* Hare trees, and mountains bare,
The grass, and the green fields,”

are things sacred: he has an alchymy of his own, by which he draws from them “a kind of quintessence;" and, rejecting the “gross matter," presents to us the purest ore. “He sees nothing loftier than human hopes, nothing deeper than the human heart;" and while he worships nature, he so paints her aspect to others, that he may succeed in “linking to her fair works the human soul.” His poems are full of beauties peculiarly their own, of original thoughts, of fine sympathies, and of grave yet cheerful wisdom. No man has received finer compliments from his contemporaries: the most recent, and not the least worthy, was paid to him by the author of “Ion,” in the course of a speech on the subject of copyright, delivered in the House of Commons, on the 18th of May, 1837. “He has supplied the noblest antidote to the freezing effects of the scientific spirit of the age; and, while he has done justice to the poetry of greatness, has cast a glory around the lowest conditions of humanity, and traced out the subtle links by which they are connected with the highest.” The following passage is from a poem addressed to him, by Mrs. Hemans. “True bard and holy: thou art cven as one who, by some secret gift of soul, or eye,

in every spot beneath the smiling sun
Seco where the springs of living waters lie.”


son NET.

ADIEu, Rydalian laurels' that have grown
And spread as if ye knew that days might come
When ye would shelter in a happy home,
On this fair mount, a Poet of your own,
One who ne'er ventured for a Delphic crown
To sue the God; but, haunting your green shade
All seasons through, is humbly pleased to braid
Ground-flowers, beneath your guardianship, self sown.
Farewell! no minstrels now with harp new-strung
For summer wandering quit their household bowers;
Yet not for this wants Poesy a tongue
To cheer the itinerant on whom she pours
Her spirit, while he crosses lonely moors,
Or, musing, sits forsaken halls among.


ODE. 1NTIM ATIons of IM MoRt ALITY, FRom REcoLLEctions of EA R LY childhood.

“The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.”

TheRE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore ;-
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare :
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth,
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
To me alone there came a thought of grief;
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong :
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong ;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay :
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;-
Thou child of joy.
Shout round me, let me hearthy shouts, thou happy

Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make ; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee ;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss I feel—I feel it all.
Oh, evil day! if I were sullen
While earth herself is adorning
This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,

Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm :—
I hear, I hear—with joy I hear!
But there's a tree, of many one,
A single field which I have looked upon.
Both of them speak of something that is gone :
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam :
Where is it now, the glory and the dream *

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home :
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing boy;
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy:
The youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended ;
At length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own ;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' darling of a pigmy size
See, where 'mid work of his own hand, he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art:
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song :
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part,
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage'
With all the persons, down to palsied age,
That life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind;—
Mighty prophet ! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,

« AnteriorContinuar »