Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

not-with this one critique on Camp- many a glorious flight. And there, bell—so cold and chary—and it will their genius, if you choose it, may be be allowed by all, that either the one compared; but whether you agree with poet has had dealt to him more, or us or no in that assertion, it is not posthe other poet less than justice.“ sible for you to disagree with us in this:

Finally, the critic has not done that it is the height of injustice to seek what he pledged himself to do with to detract from the genius of the poet the poetry of Campbell. He has not of the Pleasures of Hope, and Gertrude examined his pretensions to immor- of Wyoming, and Ye Mariners of tality,“ in competition with the England, and Lochiel's Warning, bepicked champions—the laurelled vic. cause they do not display " that keen tors—of all preceding ages." He has and vigorous sense, and that penetranot examined his pretensions at all ting observation of mankind which dis. either in themselves positively, or tinguish our great Poet of Society"relatively to those of the “great heirs forsooth-in his Satires and his Rape of fame” who have succeeded to their of the Lock; for the Essay on Man" inheritance. Be the genius of Camp. -a philosophical poem of the highest bell what it may, you will seek for its order-does not seem to fall under the character in vain through the few above description; but if it do, the indisparaging pages of that critique ; justice to Campbell is just as great as and certainly, of all “ honest attempts if it had been objected to him that his to determine a question,” we never powers were not of the same kind as read one so indifferent to data.

Milton's. Let us, therefore, strictly examine The critic continues". We know the judgment so authoritatively pro- not whether it will be considered as nounced on the genius and achieve- an advantage or a disgrace, that in an ments of this most delightful poet. age of philosophical poets, Campbell

After speaking of him with high is without boast or appearance of praise, and in felicitous language, philosophy. His verse bears no trace as a writer who,“ having adopted the of anxious meditation ; nor does his same compact and lucid style of com- heart seem ever to have been impliposition as Pope's, has frequently at- cated in that suspense and vicissitude tained the same species of excellence," of feeling that await on speculative and " at least secured an immortal- enquiry. But as poetry is addressed ity of quotation,” the critic goes on to the generality of mankind, this to say—“ But if Mr Campbell

has fre- absence of a profounder strain of mequently rivalled his master in the flow ditation than they are disposed to folof his verse, and the elegance and low, may be regarded as no fair obforce of his illustrations, he cannot be jection, or viewed even as a circumsaid to share in that keen and vigorous stance fortunate to his fame.” Finely sense, and that penetrating observa- and truly said—in the general-nor tion of mankind, which distinguish have we any serious objection to make our great Poet of Society. Neither to the spirit of such a passage.

But has he frequently risen into those we may be allowed to observe, that higher regions of poetical enthusiasm Campbell wrote his Pleasures of from which Pope was confessedly Hope at a time when, so far as we remote.” This is most unfair ; Pope know, there was not a philosophical is “ our great Poet of Society poet within the Four Seas—and pray, taking society in the limited significa. where are they now? An age of tion here assigned to it- Campbell is philosophical poets! Why, except not; and yet his genius is here de- Wordsworth, not one of them all depreciated, because it does not ex- serves the name. Age of pseudohibit qualities for which nobody philosophical poetasters, would be would look in such poetry as his, nearer the mark. True that his “ verse and which could not have been exhi. bears no trace of anxious meditation" bited there, without utter destruction – why should it? But sentiments of its tal spirit! That “ Pope is such as bis, “ so tender and true'confessedly remote from the higher emotions, deep and high, carrying us regions of poetical enthusiasm,” is with them as they sink or soarworse than a rash assertion. He has were all the birth of Thought-of frequently risen into those higher Thought “ not implicated in that regions and so has Campbell in suspense and vicissitude of feeling

that await on speculative enquiry" - have been ample, since the charges an unhealthy state, not of strength but were sweeping ; and the poem should weakness—but clear and untroubled have been spoken of throughout with in its creative mood, and genial as the enthusiasm--as a youthful production spring. Campbell has written much whatever may be its faults or decriticism-without any parade of phi- fects-full of force and fire-flowing losophy; but what has Shakspeare from an exalted imagination and an himself said through the lips of Ham- awakened heart. let, Lear, Othello, or Macbeth, that “ At the commencement of the piece Campbell does not show he under- weare presented with a succession of si. stands- whether veiled in darkness or tuations from real life, in each of which in light--as

the sentiment of hope is to be displayed “ Airs from heaven or blasts from hell ?!!

in operation; and although, in the

course of these descriptions, many lines “ There is, however, another defect occur of great beauty, yet nowhere is manifest in his compositions, which

the sentiment itself, as springing from, cannot be so readily excused. He and involved in, the particular circumhas too frequently drawn his topics, stances of the case, vividly and natunot from the stores of his own con- rally portrayed. Here he has failed sciousness, or from actual observations simply from not having fixed his

eye upon the realities of life, but from the with sufficient steadiness on the thing learning of books; he has taken the tself meant to ibe impressions left by the writings of

- The sailor who, while stemming other men for the subject matter of the monotonous and interminabie his own verse; he has been more ocean, thinks of his distant home, and occupied with words than things. finds his spirit upheld by the hope of The Pleasures of Hope—the earliest, returning to it again, is an admirable but yet the most successful of his subject for the poet. The sentiment works-is more particularly marked, felt is one which readily commands as might be expected, with this error our sympathy, and the external cir. of youthful poets." Why, if it be “an cumstances with which it is associated error of youthful poets," it might have are highly picturesque and magnifi. been more gently urged against the

cent. With these last Mr Campbell originality of Campbell, who wrote may have succeeded, but he has not the Pleasures of Hope-a wonderful

been equally fortunate in presenting achievement - when he was under

to us the feelings of the man. He twenty! He could not have had takes his mariner to the Atlantic much booklearning at that age, nor • Where Andes, giant of the western star, much knowledge of the “ realities of With meteor-standard to the winds unlife," nor large “ stores of his own furl’d, consciousness ;” but he had genius_ Looks from his throne of clouds o’er the mens divinior. Nature had made half the world.'-him a poet-and in the transport, the He then carries him to Greenland, tumult, of bis “ delighted spirit,” he where beautified all the visions that visited

• Cold on his midnight watch the breezes it, and gave vent to joy-and to the

blow, joy of grief in impassioned music, From wastes that slumber in eternal “ strong as the soul of a mountain

snow'river"_like the sea fluctuating in pur- And having set him fairly again on ple light, which is oftentimes a dark, the broad ocean, he gives an enumepess-and in its sweetest murmurs still ration of those images of home which heard to be rolling-a power at peace! are supposed to engage the mind, and

To support those charges, and they feed the expectation of the sailor. In are serious ones-indeed such as, if this catalogue there is not one cir. true, would shear that noble poem of cumstance which could be selected as all its beams-the reviewer proceeds a manifest violation of probability; to quote two or three lines here and and yet the reader feels throughout there, from the Pleasures of Hope that it is a collection of topics gathered to criticise them-and to make a num- from remote sources, not the result of ber of rash and untenable assertions a strong realization in the poet's mind of utter failure where success has been of the feeling of the home-sick mari. complete. The quotations should ner."

a

[ocr errors]

roar

Snow:

roar

If these freezing remarks be false, While, long neglected, but at length ca- . as we believe they are, the surest way ress'd, to thaw them is to quote the whole His faithful dog salutes the smiling guest,

Points to the master's eyes (where'er they passage, and well known as it is, it delights us to do so, for a copy of roam) Campbell is not on all parlour tables,

His wistful face, and whines a welcome

home.” though on many thousands.

What better could our excellent “ Angel of life! thy glittering wings friend, if he will allow us to call him explore

so—had he his heart's content-pos. Earth's' loneliest bounds, and Ocean's sibly desire ? We feel assured that he wildest shore.

is willing to eat his words, and to Lol to the wintry winds the pilot yields

pronounce-with us--the passage perHis bark cartering o’er unfathom d fields;

fectly beautiful. The poet has not Now on Atlantic waves he rides afar,

given us here “ a collection of topics Where Andes, giant of the western star, With meteor-standard to the winds un

gathered from remote sources”-you furi'd,

must not say so-you must not indeed Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half ---for were that dog to overhear you the world.

finding fault with his master, he would

bite the calf of your leg-and though " Now far he sweeps, where scarce a not mad he--you might happen to die summer smiles,

of the phoby. On Behring's rocks, or Greenland's naked

“ And waft across the wave's tumultuous isles : Cold on his midnight watch the breezes

The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's blow,

shore." From wastes that slumber in eternal

Had Coleridge written these two lines, And waft across the wave's tumultuous Heavens ! how the Quarterly would

have extolled them to the skies-and The wolf's long howl from Oonalaska's Maga rejoiced to join her-for their shure,

imitative harmony—that is howling

and what not, while all the ears in the Poor child of danger, nursling of the

neighbourhood would have been deaf.

ened with perpetual mouthings of Sad are the woes that wreck thy manly

“ OONALASKA'S SHORE.” Bless “ the form!

wolf's long howl'' to the ghastly moon Rocks, waves, and winds, the shatter'd

- for the sailor-as he shuddered to bark delay;

hear it-thought of his far-away faith. Thy heart is sad, thy home is far away.

ful dog “ whining a welcome home”

--and his “ heart was in heaven.” 6. But Hope can here her moonlight vigils

In a note, the reviewer says of the keep,

three lines above about Andes, “ This And sing to charm the spirit of the deep; Swift as yon streamer lights the starry

passage, we believe, is a general fa

vourite. The last line deserves appole, Her visions warm the watchman's pensive plause ; a mountain, viewed from a soul;

distance, may be visible above as well His native hills that rise in happier climes,

as below the clouds, and the expres. The grot that heard his song of other

sion times,

Looks from his throne of cloucs o'er half His cottage home, his bark of slender sail, the world,' His glassy lake, and broomwood-blos

is as just as bold. But the passage is som d vale, Rush on his thought; he sweeps before disfigured, to our taste, by the introthe wind,

duction of too many points of simili. tude with human grandeur.

« The Treads the loved shore he sigh'd to leave behind;

giant of the Western Star, shall be Neets at each step a friend's familiar face,

allowed to pass in all its vague mag. And Aies as last to Helen's long embrace; “niloquence; but the meteor-standurd Wipes from her cheek the rapture-speak

to the winds unfurld,' inevitably sug. ing tear,

gests ideas of military pomp, if not of And clasps, with many a sigh, his children military office, which accord but ill dear !

with the mountain's solitary and severe

storm.

a

1

[ocr errors]

magnificence. Had the poet spoken ministers. In nature he may be “ of the Andes as a chain or assemblage chain or assemblage of mountains of mountains, this image would have but if he be, we commend Mr Campbeen more in keeping.

bell for keeping his thumb on that cir. Let us see. We are glad that “the cunistance ; nor do we distinctly see, last line deserves applause," and we with the critic, how the “ image would join in the general “ ruff.” That have been more in keeping with a " a mountain, viewed at a distance, chain"-or even with “ an assem. may be visible above as well as be- blage"-for if he will have it that the low the clouds," is a rare observation, mountains were all drawn up like an that shows the critic is familiar with army, then Andes, who carried the nature. We cannot say that we see colours, had no right to sit upon a any vague magniloquence" in throne, but ought to have been with “ Andes, giant of the western star," his own regiment. but, nevertheless, are pleased to The reviewer, reverting to his rethink " that it shall be allowed to marks on the passage about the homepass."

• The western star,"_if we sick sailor, goes on to say,mistake not-is a poetical image, sig- “ The same may be said, with still nificant of the " whereabouts” of the greater justice, of the descriptions giant-somewhat vague, no doubt- wbich immediately follow.

The but meant to be so for his latitude ardent expectations of a youth of and longitude are both well known to genius were to be represented. Hope navigators. The passage is said to descends in the form of an angel, and “ be disfigured by the introduction of after ' waving her golden wand,' protoo many points of similitude with claims the various glories that await human grandeur." Andes « is al- on the successful prosecution of lowed” to be a giant-and to sit on science, philosophy, or the muse. a throne of clouds; but “ with me- There is here much skilful verse, but teor-standard to the winds unfurl’d" is there one glow of honestenthusiasm ? spoils all and the pensive public That Hopeahould have been personia thinks of O'Doherty. So did not wem fied, and made the speaker on the though we have recited the passage to occasion, is an inauspicious com. ourselves and others a thousand times mencement; but was Mr Campbell's

- till assured by the reviewer that it imagination so inextricably involved “ inevitably suggests ideas of military in the mythology of Greece, that he pomp, if not of military office”-and could not put into her mouth an then indeed we beheld the head of the address to the young poetical aspirant Standard-bearer. Yet may we be per- somewhat nearer to our feeling than mitted to hint, that Andes is not re- such as this? presented by Mr Campbell as the Ad

Turn, child of Heaven, thy rapturejutant. If we mistake not, Milton

lighten’d eye somewhere speaks of Black Night

To Wisdom's walks, the sacred Nine and her standard - without mean

are nigh: ing that she bore a commission in his

Hark! from bright spires that gild the infernal majesty's service. Andes, Delphian height, though a solitary giant, desired to see From streams that wander in eternal and to be seen-o'er and by “ half light, the world." Therefore, he kept oc. Ranged th« ir hill, Harmonia's casionally streaming a meteor round daughters swell his head and shoulders--furnished him The mingling tunes of horn, and harp, by the atmosphere of the Western and shell; Star- and the poet chooses to call Deep from his vaults the Loxian murthis a meteor-standard to the winds murs flow, unfurl'd" - without a thought at

And Pythia's awful organ peals below."" the time, we verily believe, of the Irish Ensign. A meteor standard,

Here again we shall answer the rewe cannot, for the life of us think, viewer by a quotation of the entire “ accords ill with the mountain's soli- passage:tary and severe magnificence;" on “ Congenial Hope! thy passion-kindling the contrary, 'tis an image that shows

power, him to us superbly arrayed in his re- How bright, how strong, in youth's un. galia, with the elements, his flaming troubled hour !

on

came,

On yon proud height, with Genius hand 6 Beloved of Heaven! the smiling Muse in hand,

shall shed I see thee light, and wave thy golden Her moonlight halo on thy beauteous head; wand.

Shall swell thy heart to rapture unconfined,

And breathe a holy madness o'er thy mind. Go, child of Heaven! (thy winged words I see thee roam her guardian pow'r beproclaim)

neath, 'Tis thine to search the boundless fields of And talk with spirits on the midnight fame!

heath; Lo! Newton, priest of nature, shines afar, Enquire of guilty wand'rers whence they Scans the wide world, and numbers every star!

And ask each blood-stain'd form his earthly Wilt thou, with him, mysterious rites ap

name; ply,

Then weave in rapid verse the deeds they And watch the shrine with wonder-beam.

tell, ing eye!

And read the trembling world the tales of Yes, thou shalt mark, with magic art pro

hell. found, The speed of light, the circling march of “ When Venus, throned in clouds of rosy sound;

hue, With Franklin grasp the lightning's fiery Flings from her golden urn the vesper dew, wing,

And bids fond man her glimmering noon Or yield the lyre of heaven another string. employ,

Sacred to love, and walks of tender joy ; “ The Swedish sage admires, in yonder A milder mood the goddess shall recall, bowers,

And soft as dew thy tones of music fall; His winged insects, and his rosy nowers ; While Beauty's deeply-pictured smiles imCalls from their woodland haunts the sa

part

A pang more dear than pleasure to the With sounding horn, and counts them on heartthe plain

Warm as thy sighs shall flow the Lesbian So once, at Heaven's command, the wan- strain, derers came

And plead in Beauty's ear, nor plead in To Eden's shade, and heard their various vain.

vage train

name.

" Or wilt thou Orphean hymns more “ Far from the world, in yon sequester’d sacred deem, clime,

And steep thy song in Mercy's mellow Slow pass the sons of Wisdom, more sub

stream; lime;

To pensive drops the radiant eye beguileCalm as the fields of heaven, his sapient For Beauty's tears are lovelier than her eye

be given,

smile ; The loved Athenian lifts to realms on high, On Nature's throbbing anguish pour relief, Admiring Plato, on his spotless page, And teach impassion'd souls the joy of Stamps the bright dictates of the Father grief?

sage: Shall Nature bound to Earth's diurnal Yes; to thy tongue shall seraph-words

span The fire of God, th' immortal soul of And power on earth to plead the cause of

Heaven;

The proud, the cold untroubled heart of is Turn, child of Heaven, thy rapture

stone, lighten'd eye

That never mused on sorrow but its own, To Wisdom's walks, the sacred Nine are Unlocks a generous store at thy command, nigh :

Like Horeb's rocks beneath the prophet's Hark! from bright spires that gild the hand. Delphian height,

The living lumber of his kindred earth, From streams that wander in eternal light, Charm'd into soul, receives a second birth, Ranged on their hill, Harmonia's daugh- Feels thy dread power another heart afford, ters swell

Whose passion touch'd harmonious strings The mingling tones of horn, and harp,

accord and shell;

True as the circling spheres to Nature's Deep from his vaults the Loxian murmurs plan; flow,

And man, the brother, lives the friend of And Pythia's awful organ peals below.

man?'

man.

« PreviousContinue »