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Wordsworth's Poems

The Boston Quarterly Review, April, 1839

Art. I. The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. London.    1832.   4 vols.

This is not the latest edition of the poetical works of William Wordsworth, that has appeared either in England or in this country; but it is the latest which happens to be in our possession, and it is the one from which we shall make such extracts as we may see proper to introduce in the course of our remarks.

In proceeding to offer some considerations on the merits of William Wordsworth as a poet, we find ourselves in a sad predicament, or, as the worthy Captain Truck would say, " in a category." Our brethren of the reviewing tribe seem to have conspired to elevate the said William Wordsworth to the throne of English Poesy, and we are in danger of suffering decapitation if we do not go with them, and pretty sure of being hung as traitors to the legitimate sovereign if we do. We hardly know what course to take. But, inasmuch as we are by nature strongly attached to legitimacy, and by education and habit not a little averse to innovations, rebellions, revolutions, and all such like matters, we believe we shall adhere to the old dynasty, and die, if die we must, in defence of the established line of succession.   This, upon the whole, is the safest course, and the one to which a  scrupulous conscience the most easily  reconciles  itself.    We  do not, it is true, object absolutely to being hung ; but if we must be hung, we  choose  it  should  be with a  good conscience, and in the full assurance of the rectitude of our cause.   The rebel, the man who seeks to overturn the settled order of things, and to  introduce a new and untried order,  can  rarely have  this good conscience, this  full  assurance.     He wars   against   the sovereign he was taught and accustomed in childhood to love, reverence, and  obey ;  and  he meets  not  his fate   without   some    inward   questionings,   some   unpleasant misgivings.    There is a wide difference between dying as a rebel, as a revolutionist, and dying as the advocate of legitimacy.    In the  first case the man dies in a strange land, away from all the associations  dear to  the heart,  in  the midst of strangers, looking only on  strange faces, and  listening  only to strange  tongues; in the last case the man  dies  at home, beneath  the paternal roof, in the midst of old familiar   friends,  beholding   old   familiar   faces,   and hearing old familiar voices, which  recall  for  him  his earliest and sweetest life.    We would  die  at home, beneath that same blue  sky on which we gazed with the freshness of our young hearts, and in that humble but never forgotten cottage in which our  eyes first opened to the light.    So the heretic, however he wanders, whatever strange   countries he  visits,  strange connexions he forms, returns  at last to the church of his forefathers, and reposes on that soft maternal bosom   on which his  infant   head  was   pillowed.    We cannot  prove false  to our first love;   and our latest offering shall be laid on the same altar which received our first and best.

Doubtless we shall be told that Wordsworth is the true poetical sovereign, and that, as the advocates of legitimacy, we ought to own his sway, and yield him our heart's homage. But this is the point in dispute. Is Wordsworth the real sovereign of English Poety? Is he a true poet?    Who  is  a  true  poet?   What is poetry? The question, what is poetry, is not easily answered, and especially by one who, like ourselves, is to be regarded as destitute of the poetic temperament, as a sort of incarnation of prose. Nevertheless we will try to answer it, and answer it for the understanding, though we fail to answer it for the heart.

In justice to ourselves, we must premise that we undertake to answer the question, what is poetry, not without some scruples of conscience. Poetry is something to be felt, not defined. It appears to us almost an act of sacrilege, to attempt to analyze it and determine its essence. Who would apply the rule and dividers, or the dissecting knife to that loved face which beams upon his heart, which goes with him whithersoever he goes, and is to him the visible embodyment of his soul's Ideal of the Beautiful. WThen the true poet chants, we do never ask ourselves, Is this poetry 1 We listen, and it occurs not to us to ask, why we are pleased; why now we melt with tenderness; why now we frown with indignation; why now we are fired with love, with devotion; and why now we kindle, nerve our souls for deeds of lofty daring, and rush to the battle-field, the dungeon, the scaffold, the cross, for justice, for liberty, for country, for man, for God? WTe are in the hands of the poet as clay in the hands of the potter ; or rather we are the living lyre, whose strings he sweeps with a bold hand, and from which he discourses his divine harmonies, and soul-subduing melodies. He who claims to be a poet, and yet cannot make his claims felt, is no true poet; his song may be divine-like, but it is not divine. It is in the absence of the miracle-worker, not in his presence, that we question the reality of the miracle.

Nevertheless, after the poet's strain has died into a distant echo, and we are left to recover from the spell with which he bound us, and to exercise with some degree of calmness the reflective powers with which we are endowed, to enter into ourselves, and analyze our spiritual nature, we may possibly approach the source of the emotions of which we have been conscious, and obtain some clue to the answer to the question, what is poetry?

All the facts of consciousness, or phenomena of that world we carry in ourselves, are of a complex nature , but a profound psychology arranges them under three fundamental faculties, which, though never acting separately, are yet radically distinct. These three faculties, after Cousin, and some others, we term the reason or intellect, sensibility or capacity of feeling, and the activity, or power of willing- Man is a being capable of knowing, feeling, and willing. Reason or intellect is his only source of light, that by virtue of which he sees all he does see, and knows all that he does know.
Reason is both personal and impersonal, spontaneous and reflective. It sometimes acts by virtue of its own inherent energy, independently of our volitions, and instead of being subjected to them, it subjects them to itself, and compels us to receive and obey its laws. Sometimes, however, it acts only as we will to exercise it, and on such subjects only as we choose. In this last case it is personal, and is called reflection. In the other case it is impersonal, and is called spontaneity, or in ordinary language, inspiration.

The spontaneous reason, or spontaneity, expresses itself in various manners. Sometimes it utters itself by means of harmonies and melodies, and its utterance is called music ; sometimes by means of forms and colors, and its utterance is sculpture and painting; sometimes by construction, in the Doric column, and the Gothic minster, and its utterance is architecture; sometimes in words, and then its utterance is poetry. We do not mean by this that every utterance of spontaneity by means of words, language, is poetry. The ordinary utterances of spontaneity, though akin to poetry, are not poetry. There is poetry only where spontaneity so utters itself as to move the sensibility. Poetry always excites, always kindles, and when   it  is   genuine and of a lofty kind, it affects the sensibility in the most powerful manner, and produces that spiritual state called enthusiasm.

Spontaneity is the divine in man. It is the voice of the universal reason, or Word of God, uttering itself in us. It is in immediate relation with God, and consequently with the primal source of truth, beauty, and goodness. It reveals to us truth, beauty, goodness, which are but different phases of absolute being  God. When these are revealed to the soul, when by spontaneity we are enabled to look through the veil of sense, and behold, as it were, the infinite God face to face, we are conscious of a shudder, not of fear, but of awe and delight. A thrill of inexpressible pleasure runs through us, and our whole souls, and even our bodies become instinct with life and enjoyment. This shudder, this delight, this pleasure, this enjoyment, feeling, is the poetic sentiment. When it is quickened by a distinct consideration of the Absolute as God, the Father, the Creator, the Protector, the Preserver, or the Sovereign, we call it the religious sentiment, or devotion, which we seek to express in prayers, praises, and the various forms of religious worship. When we express it without any conscious reference to the Divinity as such, we call it poetry.

Now any expression of the spontaneous reason which does not quicken the feeling, the sentiment here described, which does not make the soul shudder, thrill,  which does not produce more or less of enthusiasm, is not poetry, whatever use may be made of rhyme or measured language. He who shudders not before the infinite, dimly or clearly revealed to his soul, before the beautiful or the good which unveils itself to his spiritual vision, is no poet. The spontaneous reason is in all men, and reveals to all men, every day of their lives, the infinite, the true, the beautiful, the good ; but all men are not poets, because the revelation of which we speak does not excite emotion, does not move the sensibility in all men, and produce enthusiasm.

A man who can stand before the infinite unawed, behold God unmoved, and contemplate in nature or in man the truth, beauty, goodness which are in them, is no poet, however clear and comprehensive may be his views. If he can retain a perfect self-mastery, and disport himself at his ease, he may be a philosopher, a very extraordinary man, but not a poet. He masters the God that moves within him, instead of being mastered by him, and utters his own word, not God's word. So also the calm utterance of the inward revelations, their cool statement, which leaves the hearer wholly self-possessed, quiet, unagitated, is not poetry.

The poet is always a seer; and it is worthy of note that the common sense of mankind, which makes languages, frequently calls the poet and seer, or prophet, by the same name. Thus in Latin vates is either a prophet or a poet. The poet is not, strictly speaking, a maker, as the Greek name implies. He does not create  he finds ; hence, poetry has with justice been made to consist chiefly in invention, in discovering, in seeing, finding, that which ordinary men heed not, see not, or do not imagine to exist. He catches glimpses more or less perfect of the infinite reality, which lies back of the phenomena observed by the senses, or which shines out through them, whether under the aspect of truth, beauty, or goodness ; and his sensibility is agitated, his soul takes fire, and he utters what he sees in words that burn, in tones which make those who hear him feel as he feels, burn as he burns. This he may do, because the spontaneous reason, by means of which he obtains the glimpses which fill his soul with so much joy, is in all men, and thus lays the foundation of a secret but entire sympathy between him and them, making them capable of recognising the infinite he recognises, and of joining their voices with his in sublime chorus to the God of truth, beauty, goodness.

The poet, we have said, is a seer. He is a spectator. He stands before the spiritual universe, and merely sees what is  before him.    He does not make
that universe; nay, he has not sought to behold it. It has risen in its majesty, or in its loveliness before him. He does not seek his song ; it comes to him. It is given him. He is, to a certain extent, a passive, though not an unmoved recipient of it. To this fact he always bears witness. It is not he that sings, it is his muse.

Musa, mihi causas memora.

Apollo or some God inspires him. The power he feels, the beauty he sees, he cannot ascribe to himself. The song he sings is a mystery unto himself, and he feels that it must have been given him from abroad, from above. A spirit glows within him, a mind agitates him, which he feels is not his spirit, is not his mind, but the mind of his mind, the spirit of his spirit, the soul of his soul. In this he is right. The spontaneous reason, spontaneity, from which his song proceeds, is, we have said, the divine in man, and it acts without being put into action by the human will. "We may, by effort, by discipline, place ourselves in relation with it, bring ourselves within the sphere of its action ; but it is impersonal, and divine; it is the spirit of God, a portion of which is given unto all men, the logos (reason) which John assures us enlightens every man who comes into the world.

It follows from the view now taken, that there is always truth in poetry. Of all known modes of utterance poetry is one of the truest; for it is the voice of the spontaneous reason, the word of God, which is in immediate relation with truth. It is truer than philosophy. For in poetry God speaks ; whereas in philosophy it is only man that speaks. The reflective reason which gives us philosophy is personal, subject to all the infirmities of the flesh, short-sighted, and exclusive ; but the spontaneous reason, of which poetry is one of the modes of utterance, is impersonal, broad, universal, embracing, as it were, the whole infinitude of truth. Hence the confidence mankind have universally reposed  in their   sacred  prophets, in   the
inspired chants of their divine bards, and the distrust they have pretty uniformly manifested for the speculations of philosophers. In trusting the bard, they have felt that they were relying on divine authority; but in trusting the philosopher, that they were confiding in a merely human authority.

Poetry, if it be poetry, is always inspired. It is inspiration, clothing itself with words. And inspiration is never referred to ourselves ; we always refer it to God.

" In inspiration," says Cousin, " we are simple spectators. We are not actors, or at best our action consists in being conscious of what is taking place. This doubtless is activity, but not a premeditated, voluntary, and personal activity. The characteristic of inspiration is enthusiasm ; it is accompanied by that strong emotion which forces the soul out of its ordinary and subaltern state, and calls into action the sublime and divine pirt of its nature :

Est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo.

And indeed man in the marvellous fact of inspiration and enthusiasm, unable to refer to himself the pure and primitive affirmation, which it is, refers it to God, and calls it revelation. Is the human race wrong ? When man, conscious of his own feeble share in inspiration, refers to God the truths which he has not made, and by which he is subjugated, is he deceived? No, assuredly. For what is God ? He is, I have said, thought in itself, absolute thought with its fundamental movements the eternal reason, substance, and cause of the truths man perceives. When therefore man refers to God the truth which he can neither refer to himself nor to the external world, he refers it to that to which he ought to refer it, and the absolute affirmation of truth without reflection, inspiration, enthusiasm, is a real revelation. This is the reason why, in the infancy of civilization, he, who possesses the wonderful gift of inspiration in a higher degree than his brethren, is regarded by them as the confidant and interpreter of God. He is it for others because he is it for himself; and ho is it for himself, because he is it, in fact, in a philosophical sense. Here is the sacred origin of prophecies, pontificates, and religions.

" Remark also a peculiar effect of the  phenomenon of inspiration.    When pressed by the  vivid  and  rapid intuition of truth, and transported by inspiration and enthusiasm, man attempts to uticr in words what is passing within him, he can do it only in words which have the same character as the phenomenon itself. Hence the necessary form, the language of inspiration, is poetry, and the primitive word is a hymn."(footnote: * Introduction a 1'IIistoire de la Philosophic Paris : 1828. Le-(jori VI. pp. 11 - 13. The whole Lecture may be read in this connexion with pleasure and profit)

The poetic sentiment in its essence is not distinguishable from the religious sentiment. Either is that affection of the sensibility we are conscious of, when by inspiration, spontaneous revelations, we catch some glimpses of the truth, beauty, or goodness of God, that is, of God himself. Religion and Art are identical. Every work of Art is a sacrifice to God ; and every sacrifice to God is a work of Art. Poetry, music, sculpture, painting  all, no less than what are usually termed religious rites and ceremonies, proceed from the same intuition of the true, the beautiful, the good, and are the homage the soul pays to the living God. All tend to proclaim the glory of God, and to develop and perfect the human soul. In the service of God's house, the soul seeks to utter the revelations made to it by the spirit of God ; in every work of art, whatever its form, it seeks to do the same. Every genuine artist is a priest of the Most High God.
Poetry, as well as every other branch of art, then, is religious. Poetry is never an infidel. Its essence is a boundless faith in the Infinite. As dies out of the soul this boundless faith, so sinks the soul's power to produce poetry or even to relish it, Poetry affirms ; it does not deny. Whoso would deny God, must do it in prose ; he cannot do it in song. Atheism cannot be set to music. Every poet, so far forth as he is a poet, is devout; and every truly devout man is more or less of a poet, and chants rather than speaks the prayers and praises he addresses to the Deity. Who ever uttered his devotional feelings in sober prose, or sung his unbelief? Voltaire was a poet, and some may allege, also, an infidel; but he is   a  devout believer whenever he sino;s, and his loftiest and truest poetry is found in those passages in which he approaches nearest the Christian faith, and utters the religious sentiment.

Poetry is also moral. Immorality has no power to wake the lyre and call forth its soul-subduing melodies. We have heard of the song of Moses and the Lamb; we have not heard of the song of the devil and his angels. There are no harps in hell. The poet cannot sing the false, the licentious, the low, the mean, the harmful. His soul kindles only in view of the true, the beautiful, the good, the lofty, the ennobling, the grand, the sublime. His song enlarges, purifies, strengthens, and exalts. He may not always, indeed, be pure in heart or upright in conduct, but just so far as he leaves the path of virtue, does he lose his inspiration, and cease to be a poet. Those passages, we sometimes come across in the writings of what are termed licentious poets, which seem to have a vicious tendency to throw ridicule on the moral virtues, and which make good men weep and the chaste blush, are not poetry, any more than the Ante-ros of the Greeks was Eros, the true God of Love. They are wretched prose. Art is divine, and nothing that is not of God can inspire the artist. The moment he loses sight of the Godlike, his productions become mean and contemptible.

And yet the true poem is by no means merely the sermon or homily " done into metre." God is the universal life, life itself, as his name, I am, implies. All life, all being is from God, and he is in all life, all being. He is all that is. The universe with its endless variations is but " the varied God." In all outward nature and in man there are truth, beauty, goodness ; and truth, beauty, goodness are, as we have said, but different aspects of the indwelling, all-creating, all-sustaining God  a truth beautifully expressed by our American poet in his Forest Hymn:

" But thou art here  ihou filPst The solitude.    Thou art in the soft winds
That run along the summit of these trees
In music ;  thou art in the cooler breath,
That from the inmost darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt ;  the barky trunks, the ground,
The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee."

In all that exists there is a living reality, which we may contemplate under the three-fold aspect of the true, the beautiful, and the good, and which quickens thought, love, and devotion. This living reality, wherever seen, under whatever aspect beheld, is God. Our senses do not attain to this reality ; they see only the appearance, the outward fact, which is but its shadow. Yet the soul may pierce the fact, go behind the appearance, and stand face to face with that which makes the fact, which casts the shadow. Then do all things live ; all nature breathes, has a feeling and a voice.

" How often we forget all time, when lone, Admiring nature's universal throne, Her woods, her wilds, her waters, the intense Reply of hers to our intelligence. Live not the stars and mountains ?    Are the waves without a spirit?    Are the dropping caves Without a feeling in their silent tears ? No, no : they woo and clasp us to their spheres, Dissolve this clog and clod of clay before Its hour, and merge our soids in the great shore."

God is not merely in words and definitions. He is everywhere, and manifests himself in an infinite variety of forms. If blest with spiritual vision, we may see him in the starry heavens, in the foaming ocean, in 1 lie green earth, in the placid lake, the murmuring rill, the bubbling fountain, and humble violet that blooms in modesty beneath the hedge; in the planting of the infant colony, the growth of the state, the overthrow of the empire. It is God that, delivers the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, leads them through the wilderness, gives them a code of laws, drives out the heathen before them, and plants them in a " land flowing with milk and honey."     It is God that conducts our pilgrim fathers, lands them on Plymouth Rock, sustains them in their war with the elements and their savage brethren, cuts down the forest before them, increases them to a mighty people, and erects them into a free state. God is in all events, from the death of the monarch on his throne, to the fall of the lonely sparrow.    He is all and in all.   He

" Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze, Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees ; Lives through all life, extends through all extent, Spreads undivided, operates unspent; Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, As full, as perfect in a hair as heart; As full, as perfect in vile man that mourns, As the rapt seraph that adores and burns. To him no high, no low, no great, no small, He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all."

Religion is confined to no one manifestation of the Deity. The truly devout soul contemplates him in all his works, in the sacred chants of bards and prophets, in the woody dell, the opening flower, the waving grain, the golden sunset, the lengthening shadows of evening, the hues of the rainbow, the music of birds, the sublimity of the heavens, the majesty of the ocean, the roar of thunder, the fearful blast of the tempest, or the still loftier majesty of man, and higher sublimity of moral nature. Consequently, the range of the poet is as boundless as the Infinite, and the variations of his song may be as numerous as the various aspects under which the infinite God manifests himself to the soul of man.

It is of no consequence, then, what particular object, amidst the innumerable objects of the universe, the poet selects, the subject of his song is always the Infinite  that boundless world of Being, of Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty, which lies back of the world of sense, and is ever, as it were, peering through it. Whether he select the forest, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sea, the flower, the landscape, the generous sentiment, the lofty deed, the  noble daring, the self-sacrifice, the humble affections of every-day life, the romantic passions of youth, the restless longings of a soul ill at ease, or the burning thirst to know, to pierce through the veil of sense, to explore the universe of Mystery which lies round, about, and within us, and compel the mighty Unknown to surrender his secret, it is always the indwelling God he seeks, to whom he prefers his petitions, and whose praises he sings. The strong emotion he feels is always the result of his intuition in all these of something more than appears  truer, better, more beautiful, more permanent, more Godlike. He who sings heroic deeds, sings God, for there is something of God in every act of true heroism ; wherefore hero worship is not necessarily idolatry. He who sings liberty, sings God, for God is the essence of freedom, his law is the perfect law of liberty, and we approach him in proportion as we become free.

These remarks will suffice to show that, in denying poetry to all that is irreligious and immoral, we do by no means advance a narrow and exclusive theory. The theory we put forth is broad enough to embrace every imaginable species of poetry. Poetry, according to this theory, may be lyric, epic, dramatic, descriptive, narrative, didactic, idyllic, elegiac, or what not, only it must ever be the spontaneous utterance of the voice of truth, beauty, goodness, which fill the universe, are the ground of its being, and, as we have said, but varying aspects of the infinite, the living God.
We may now define poetry to be that branch of Art, which seeks to express in words the revelations of God made to the soul by the spontaneous reason, or spontaneity, which is, as we have said, the divine in man. These revelations in some degree are made to all men, but to the poet they come with more vividness and power, and are always accompanied by an inward shudder, a strong affection of the sensibility, which is usually termed enthusiasm. The poet lives ; he kindles, he burns ;  and he  kindles   the  souls   of all who listen to his inspired chant, and makes them burn as he burns. This effect on others he is able to produce, because he addresses in them that same spontaneity which is active within himself, and gives them glimpses of that same God by whom he himself is so deeply moved and agitated.
With these preliminary remarks on the nature of poetry, too extended we fear for the patience of our readers, and yet too brief for their subject, we proceed to an examination of the poetical works of William Wordsworth, and to ascertain, if we can, the poetical rank to which they are entitled.
That these works do not deserve the highest poetical rank, is evident from their great want of popularity. Wordsworth, we readily admit, is at present quite a favorite with reviewers, and most of our contemporaries in this country and in England have taken him under their especial protection ; but still he is not popular. The circle of his admirers may be select, and highly cultivated, but it is not large. Notwithstanding his boasted simplicity and naturalness, it requires an artificial taste to relish him. The great mass of the reading public appear to hold him in no high esteem. This is especially true in this country, where only two moderate editions of his works, if we have been rightly informed, have as yet been called for. Now this is altogether against him. The popular voice is the only authority to which we may appeal in matters of poetry, or any of the fine arts. The few may be deceived, misled by their own speculations, disposed to applaud because their own idiosyncrasies are flattered, or to condemn because they are not flattered. The many approve only that which is common to human nature, which is general, adapted to the race. To say of a poet that he is unpopular, is about the same as to say that he is no poet at ail. The philosopher may, indeed must, to a certain extent, be unpopular. He deals with problems of which only a few, comparatively speaking, have any distinct conception, and which can be   solved only by long  study and patient reflection, for which few have a taste, and to which not many will submit. It is therefore nothing against a philosopher that he is not popular. The people taken at large are not philosophers, and have little or no craving for philosophy. The people crave poetry and religion, and to say of either that it does not commend itself to the common soul, that the "common people do not receive it gladly," is to say that it is false.

Spontaneity, we have repeatedly said, is in all men, and the same in all men. When therefore spontaneity speaks, it finds that in all men which is prepared, in various degrees doubtless, to recognise it, and welcome its song. When I am the organ through which it speaks, I am responded to by all who hear my voice. Genius, which is only another name for spontaneity, is always popular. Who ever heard of an unpopular genius'? Wrhen he whom God inspires speaks, all Humanity listens; the people are astonished; they feel that he teaches with authority, not as the scribes, for his word is with power. Just so is it with every true genius. The scribes and pharisees, the chief priests and elders, the interested few, may close their ears, cry out against him, persecute, imprison, impale, or crucify him ; but this is never because he is unpopular, but because he is popular, because they dread his influence with the people, and fear that his authority may undermine their dominion. Martyrs to religion, truth, justice, liberty, country, fall not by the hands of the people, but by those of the people's masters. These sheepskin and goatskin clad prophets that wander the earth alone, live apart in the desert, the mountain, or the cave, of whom it is said the world is not worthy, want not sympathy with the people, or power to touch the popular heart, and carry the people along with them; but an interested few, fearing the changes they may produce, the revolutions their God-inspired words may generate, interpose between them and the people, or exile them from their brethren. Genius is essentially democratic ; his voice  is always music to the democracy, and only they who love not the democracy, or have a private end to gain, ever dream of stifling his voice. This accounts for what has but too often been his fate. But wherever his word has free course to run and be glorified, wherever it can meet the ear of the people, it vivifies the mass, and becomes the people's law, it may be, for a thousand centuries.
Now Wordsworth has had no obstacle to his popularity, but of his own creating. The people's masters have not opposed him. He has had free access to the people, and yet is he not popular. Why is it that long ere this, he has not caught an echo to his song from the depths of the human heart 1 Why, but because he is wanting in some of the essentials of a true poet? To us the voice he utters is the voice of William Wordsworth, not the voice of God, and his word is not a living, nor a life-imparting word. It does not come to us with authority. It does not take possession of our souls, and carry us away captive. We must give him our attention; he does not take it. WTe have rarely met an author who required so much discipline on the part of his readers. He does not take us up where he finds us, and carry us into the state in Avhich we can relish him ; but we must, by suppressing all our ordinary emotions, and sinking ourselves into a state of as complete negativeness as is compatible with a strong effort of the will, bring ourselves into his mode, into harmony with his fancies. Now this we might consent to do in case of a scientific work, addressed avowedly and intentionally to the pure intellect, but not in case of poetry, which is addressed to the sensibility, as well as to the intellect, and is designed to kindle, exalt, and enrapture us. It is taxing our good nature altogether too much.

Wordsworth aims to be simple and natural. He aims well. Good taste always delights in simplicity and naturalness, and no work of art is deserving any attention in which they are wanting. But in aiming to be simple, Wordsworth  not unfrequently becomes silly.    His story of the  Idiot Boy is  a proof of this, and almost justifies the well-known satire of Byron.

" Next comes the dull disciple of thy school, That mild apostate from poetic rule, The simple Wordsworth, framer of a lay As soft as evening in his favorite May ; Who warns his friend ' to shake off toil and trouble, And quit his books for fear of growing double;' Who, both by precept and example, shows That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose, Convincing all, by demonstration plain, Poetic souls delight in prose insane; And Christmas stories, tortured into rhyme, Contain the essence of the true sublime: Thus when he tells the Tale of Betty Foy, The idiot mother of ' an idiot boy ;' A moon-struck, silly lad who lost his way, And, like his bard, confounded night with day; So close on each pathetic part he dwells, And each adventure so sublimely tells, That all, who view the ' idiot in his glory,' Conceive the bard the hero of his story."

We cannot quote the  tale, but will select a specimen or two.

" And Betty's most especial charge Was, ' Johnny ! Johnny ! mind that you Come home again, nor stop at all, Come home again, whatever befall, My Johnny, do, I pray you do.
" Burr, burr  now Johnny's lips they burr, As loud as any mill, or near it; Meek as a lamb the Pony moves, And Johnny makes the noise he loves, And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
" And Susan is growing worse and worse, And Betty is in a sad quandary ; And then there is nobody to say If she must go, or she must stay !  She's in a sad quandary.'1''Vol. i. pp. 160-164.

These  specimens  have been   selected   at   random. No doubt  the  poem contains many more  such, and which the poet must have been in " a sad quandary " to have written. We select a few choice stanzas from a piece entitled " Anecdotes for Fathers." The poet addresses his little son.

"' Now tell me, had you rather be,' I said, and took him by the arm, ' On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea, Than here at Liswyn farm ? '
In careless mood he looked at me, While still I held him by the arm, And said, ' At Kilve I 'd rather be Than here at Liswyn farm.'
' Now little Edward, say why so : My little Edward, tell me why.' ' I cannot tell, I do not know. ' ' Why this is strange,' said I.
O dearest, dearest boy !   My heart
For better lore would seldom yearn,
Could I but teach the hundredth part
Of what from thee I learn."  Vol. i. pp. 16, 17.

But here is poetry with a vengeance, as well as a moral lesson every lazy urchin trudging unwillingly to school will joy to learn, and to practise.

" Up ! up ! my friend, and quit your books, Or surely you '11 grow double : Up ! up ! my friend, and clear your looks ; Whv all this toil and trouble ?
Books ! 't is a dull and endless strife ! Come hear the woodland Linnet, How sweet his music !   On lny life, There's more of wisdom in it."
Vol in. pp. 206, 207.

Certainly, more than in such prattle as this, and the music we own is much sweeter to our ears. For once we agree with the Bard.  All this, together with much more like it in the volumes before us, we shall be told is simple and natural. Simple it may be, but not in the sense in which the admirers of simplicity would have us understand it. It may be natural, but we fear in the sense in which individuals, who have the misfortune to be born without reason, are sometimes called JVat-urah. Wordsworth does not seem to us capable of being simple without approaching the silly. He loses his dignity the moment he attempts to place himself at ease, and enter into familiar chat. His naturalness is altogether too near akin to that attained in Dutch paintings,  a copy rather than a reproduction of nature. The nature represented by the true artist is never the nature of the senses, but a higher and truer nature,  the ideal, of which that of the senses is but a mere type or shadow. An actual landscape merely copied, were the production of an artizan, not of an artist. It is not the actual landscape that a Sal-vator Rosa or Claude Lorrain paints, but the ideal landscape, the higher, truer, and more beautiful landscape, which the artist finds in his soul, and to which the outward serves him but as an index. He who represents only what everybody sees and feels in nature is not an artist. His copies are nought, because nature herself is before us. Fidelity to nature in the poet is fidelity to that higher truth, which lies back of the outward, and which is visible to the soul only in its moments of inspiration. We say not that Wordsworth never attains to this higher truth, for sometimes we think he does, and to a degree to which few poets ever attain ; but in general he does not. His nature is bald and naked. Notwithstanding his spiritual philosophy, he does not spiritualize nature. He leaves it cold and material, uninviting and uninspiring.

Wordsworth's poems, again, rarely strike us as genuine effusions of spontaneity. They seem, in a majority of cases, to be mere creations of reflection. They appear to have been first meditated and moulded
in prose, and then done by laborious effort into verse. They wear their poetic garb as something which may be put on or oif at the pleasure of their author, not as an integral part of themselves. They may, therefore, be very good sense, very good philosophy, but they are not poetry. The most we can say of them is, that they are very successful imitations of poetry. The thoughts they contain could be expressed with equal naturalness, vividness, and force in prose. The poetic dress is by no means essential; and wherever it is not essential, we hold it to be objectionable.

The appropriate language of powerful inspiration, of spontaneity, is poetry; and when spontaneity is active in us, we cannot avoid the use of a poetical diction, even if we would. The natural language of reflection is prose. When we reflect, we suppress passion, we calm ourselves, and aim to leave the pure intellect undisturbed, and to remove everything which would tend to distract it. We are cool, clear, logical, precise, and require a language possessing the same characteristics. He, therefore, who attempts to express the spontaneous inspirations, which the spirit of God breathes into his soul, in the cold and precise language of prose, or the results of reflection in the burning words of poetry, offends correct taste, and sins against nature. Of this sin against nature Wordsworth appears to us to be frequently guilty. We take his great poem, called " The Excursion." This poem, we cheerfully own, contains many beautiful passages, which were worthy of the greatest poets ; but, taken as a whole, it is a philosophy rather than a poem. Its leading design appears to be to solve the great problems which relate to the destiny of Man, Society, and Nature. These are great and sublime problems, and are well deserving all the attention the profoundest philosopher can give them. But the solution which Wordsworth proposes,  if solution it can be called,  has evidently not been obtained by inspiration. It has not flashed upon his soul like lightning  from  heaven.     The   spirit  of God  has not descended and rested on him, as on the Apostles, in " cloven tongues of fire." It has been obtained by reflection, by study, in a word, by philosophizing. Its natural language then is prose, not verse ; and, in point of fact, it must have existed in prose before it was turned into metre. The metre is to us, therefore, an incumbrance, a hindrance. The work is addressed to the reflective reason, is intended mainly to teach us certain doctrines, and all propriety calls aloud for the natural language of reflection.

We have heard this production praised beyond all measure; we can only say that we have found it a very dull performance, and have never been able, notwithstanding repeated trials, to read the whole of it. But aside from this real or supposed dulness, the work does not satisfy us. The author makes a reflection, or throws out a thought, and when we look to see him point out its bearings, and show its systematic relations, we find him prattling about golden sunsets, gilded tree tops, quiet lakes, sequestered paths, sloping hills, and mountain cliffs. His pedler, into whose mouth he puts his philosophy, such as it is, never wins our hearts or satisfies our understandings. He is, no doubt, a very wise pedler, and we sometimes think that he might furnish us something valuable if he would; but, alas! he is ever a pedler, true to his early habits. His delight is to wander from cottage to cottage, and consequently he provides himself only with such light wares, as are not so heavy as to exhaust his strength, and which answer by no means the purpose for which he recommends them. In short, the pedler has too much reflection to be a poet, and not enough to be a philosopher.

Moreover, the poem bears no evidence of having been written because the author felt himself constrained to write it. He did not undertake it because it was rending his bosom, and must be uttered. It was not a " burden " to his heart as were their sacred songs to the hearts of the divine bards of old. In retiring to the Lakes, Wordsworth thought it was his duty to undertake  to construct  a literary work that should   live.    He   accordingly   took  a   survey of  his own powers, in order to ascertain for what he was by nature and education best fitted.    This survey convinced him that he was best qualified to sing the sublimest of all subjects,  and therefore he resolved to sing it. Having thus resolved, he very deliberately cast about him to   see what he  knew of the   matter, and   could say about it.    Here is  no  burning with unquenchable desire  to   utter a word which  is  given him to  utter. Nothing forces him out of his quiescent state.    He is ever as calm  as  the unruffled  lake   sleeping  beneath the  moonbeams  on   a  afentle  summer   evening;.     Nor does he  look  to  God  for inspiration,  for  the   light which is to guide him  into  all truth, but to his  own powers.     These   are   to   solve   the   mighty  problems with which he proposes to grapple.     He takes it upon himself to lash Pegasus into a divine rage, and make him frisk about among the stars.    Now no man, who sets out in this way, need ever hope to attain to immortality.    No  man  sings  well  unless   his   song be given him, in acceptable numbers  unless  they come, as it were, of their own accord.    The poet must feel a hand  upon  him  not  his   own,   a  power  above him forcing   him to   sing; his   song   must   press   heavily upon   his   heart, giving him  no  rest  by   day  or  by night  till  it  be  sung.     No word shall sound out forever, but the word of God.     All that is  of man shall die.    Providence sports with the creations of mortals, and delights  to   lay the monuments of their pride in the dust.    We may build with greatest pains, lay the foundations deep, rear the summits high, and flatter ourselves   that   our   structures   shall  stand; but  the breath of the Lord passes  them   by, and we  look in vain to find the places where  they stood.    " Vanity of vanities, all is vanity " ;  and there is not a greater vanity beneath the sun, than man's hope of being able to " construct a literary work, or any other work, that shall live."    Let man discipline his soul, let him  aim well, and aim high, for this  is his  duty ; but let, him do the work that is given him to do, utter the word given him to utter, and utter it in the very tones in which it comes to his own heart, and concern himself no more about it. If it be of God it wTill sound out through eternity, and fetch its echos from the depths of the Infinite ; if it be of man, however much he may have prized it, however great the pains he may have taken to utter it in the strains of the Immortals, it shall die in the breath that made it.

Wordsworth's great defect is not his want of intellect, nor his want of poetic sensibility, for he possesses both in a high degree ; but the fact that he frames all his poems in accordance with a theory. We say not that his theory is false, for in the main it may be true; but no man can write poetry according to a theory. Genius spurns all fetters, all systems of philosophy, and makes and follows his own rules. From the practice of Genius, we are to learn the laws of Genius. We, critics and system-makers, have no right to attempt to frame a code of laws for his observance. Our glory is to take our law from him, and interpret it faithfully. But Wordsworth, as the theorizer, has attempted to legislate for Wordsworth, as the poet, and hence his failure. Whenever he loses sight of his theory, and abandons himself to the workings of spontaneity, he sings a true song. Would that this were not so seldom !

In the history of our race poetry precedes systems of philosophy. The primitive word is a poem, the last word is a system. So is it wTith the individual. Spontaneity precedes reflection. Spontaneity gives us all the truth we ever have, but it gives it us enveloped in mystic though enchanting folds. So long as we are satisfied with truth in this envelope, we are satisfied with poetry. But one day it comes into our head to ask the poet what he means. We wish to have the truth he has taught us developed, stript of its mystic folds, laid bare to our gaze, nay, dissected for our better understanding of it. We begin to philosophize, to reflect,  to analyze, reason, compare, draw inferences, in a word, form theories, construct systems. In our systems truth is developed, drawn out in distinct propositions, rendered clear, precise, intelligible. After we have done this, why seek to reenvelope truth, why seek to plunge it back into the primitive confusion, where, though all is seen, nothing is seen clearly 1 Are we wrong in saying this is what Wordsworth does seek to do ? He has begun by framing a system, by constructing a philosophy such as it is  and then he has sought to poetize it. This is an inversion of the order of nature, and it renders Wordsworth the most unnatural of poets. In this we see his great defect, and the cause of his failure.

We are inclined  to believe that  those, who admire Wordsworth, admire him more for his supposed philosophy than for  his  poetry.    They, who  have  outgrown the material, the soulless philosophy of the last century,  and  turned  their  minds   inward  to   seek a more spiritual and living philosophy,  seem  to  themselves to find in Wordsworth a congenial soul.    They find after the great events and intense activity which closed the last  century, and the echo  of which hath not yet died away, something attractive in his  gentle spirit, in his quiet  smile,  and kindly feeling for all animate   and   inanimate   nature.     Wearied   with   the pomp  of kings  and  artificial  strut  of kinglets, too often and for too long a time the  theme of the poet's chant, they have joyed to meet a brother who has  an eye for the unpretending objects of nature, and a heart to    sympathize   with    the   humble   and   unobtrusive emotions  of ordinary  and   every-day  life.    Here we confess we  sympathize with Wordsworth as  fully as the warmest of his  admirers.    We  find much in his philosophy to  approve,  much in his quiet and gentle spirit to love,  much in his tenderness to all that live and breathe for wThich we  bless him.    But all this is said of him as a man,  not as a poet.    There is many a man we love, whom we would clasp  to  our " heart of hearts,"  on whose lips we hang with intense delight, whose words are to us as " apples of gold set in pictures of silver," who nevertheless is no poet.

With the present century commenced a reaction against the stirring and revolutionary spirit of the last. After violent action a season of rest, if not of exhaustion, must follow. This season of exhaustion, or of rest, Wordsworth represents. His song, so far forth as it is a song, is a sort of lullaby, a

" Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber."

The virtues he  sings  are mainly the passive virtues. The minds of many,  doubtless, have been turned by the reaction of which we  speak  to regard these virtues with new favor.    Disappointed  in its hopes for social progress, saddened and   disheartened by the failure   of   so   many   projects   for   advancing   man's earthly weal, wearied with  the " pomp and  circumstance of war,"  the soul at the commencement of the present  century  turned   away  from   active pursuits, came to the conclusion that the only cure for the ills of life is  to bear them, and therefore, that the passive  virtues   are  the most Godlike.    To the  soul in this   state   Wordsworth   is   doubtless   an   acceptable poet.    But the passive virtues, after all, are not the highest,   nor   those  best  fitted for  song.    Man was made for action,  and the universal sentiment of the race awards  the highest  rank to the active virtues. He who chants the quiet scenes of nature, the gentle affections of the  heart, may have  listeners, but only at a certain age and in a certain mood of mind; but he who chants the active virtues, though, displayed in war, in acts from which the  soul shrinks with horror, is sure of the race for his audience and his chorus. Man pants for action, and delights in the strife, the effort, the  struggle.    The sailor lives in the tempest, but dies in the calm; the old soldier, as he catches the   sound   of " the   ear-piercing   fife,"   and martial drum, draws himself up, takes a measured step, and longs to rush to the charge again.    Sweeter to him than music of " Woodland Linnets " is the volley of musketry, or the thunder of artillery; and dearer by far is the battle ground on which hero grapples with hero, than " flower-enameled meads." And this is right. Life is a warfare, and demands perpetual battle, a warfare in which there is much undoubtedly to be borne, but in which there is still more to be done. Well is it, then, that we are so made that we can delight in action, and joy to behold it as does the war-horse the battle which he snuffs from afar.

The shrine at which Wordsworth worships is Innocence. Hence his love and reverence of childhood, which he regards as the type of Innocence. Innocence is unquestionably an inoffensive Deity, but it is a negative one. It consists in the absence of sin, not in the presence of virtue. Its value may be learned from the fact that idiots are sometimes termed Innocents. We are poor creatures if we are only innocent. The servant who received the one talent, for aught that appears, was innocent. He put his talent to no bad use, but preserved it safe and sound for his master. Nevertheless, he was condemned as a " wicked and slothful servant." We must have positive virtue in order to recommend us to the favor of God. The praises of Innocence, then, are inferior to the praises of Virtue, and the worship of Innocence is not necessarily the worship of the Most High.

Nor are we sure that childhood is a perfect type of Innocence. We confess we cannot join in this baby-worship, which Wordsworth is said to have instituted, and which is becoming somewhat fashionable among ourselves. " God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations." It is a fact well attested by experience, that the corruptions of parents descend to their children; and who dare say that the corruptions of Adam's nature, by his transgression, have not passed upon all his posterity? We confess that we have some misgivings about this doctrine of the immaculate holiness of all children, which seems to be put forth by some with as much confidence as if it were a doctrine of revelation. Children are unquestionably born with corrupted natures, and they rarely sooner begin to act than we see some pf the fruits of corruption. We must have holy parents in order to have holy children. When parents no longer have a fallen or corrupted nature, then it may be contended that children are born pure and incorrupt.

We also dissent from the doctrine of the superior wisdom of childhood, which Wordsworth hints, and which has some advocates in our own city and country. We love childhood; it joys our heart to witness the child's cherub smile ; when overwhelmed with a sense of our own sinfulness, of our shortcomings, or grieved with the shortcomings of others, we sometimes look back with regret to the comparative inno-cency of childhood, and sigh for that sweet period of life which is gone to return never; but we cannot admit, without some important qualifications, the doctrine we suppose to be implied in the following.

" 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 forget fulness,
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."

We are not yet prepared to admit the Platonic doctrine, that to learn is but to remember, and that all knowledge is a reminiscence.     The  child is born with all the capacities of the man, but with them undeveloped. The oak may be said to be in the acorn, for its germ is there; but without light and warmth, earth and moisture, with all the acorns in the world, we cannot rear an oak. All does not come from within; something must come from without. The germ is in the child, but when that germ is unfolded into the man, it will be found to contain something it did not in the child. As the child's capacities are unfolded, its knowledge and wisdom increase; and we must continue to believe, that, other things, as say the phrenologists, being equal, hoary age is wiser than " muling and puking " infancy.

Some among us approve Wordsworth because he selects the subjects of his poems from humble life, and because he makes a pedler the mouth piece of his philosophy, In this it is said that he does homage to the democratic tendencies of the age. There may be something in this,  much there certainly would be, if he were really inspired by these subjects. Saving the case of the Idiot Boy, and which we ought to except, because idiots may be found in High Life as well as in Low Life, we do not recollect an instance where he writes under the influence of real inspiration, when the subject is a humble one, unless it be when recording the worth and giving vent to his sad grief for the loss of his good dog Touser, if Touser be the name. His selection of subjects from humble life always appeared to us a sort of condescension on his part, for which no democrat need thank him. However, we like the following, which proves that the author does sometimes utter a thought worth preserving.

" Our life is turned
Out of her course, wherever Man is made An offering, or a sacrifice, or a tool, Or implement, a passive thing employed As a brute mean, without acknowledgment Of common right or interest in the end ; Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt. Say, whatcan follow for a rational Soul
Perverted thus, but weakness in all good,
And strength in evil ?    Hence an after-call
For chastisement, and custody, and bonds,
And oft-times death, avenger of the past,
And sole guardian in whose hands we dare
Entrust the future.  Not for these sad issues
Was Man created ; but to obey the law
Of life, and hope, and action.    And 'tis known
That when we stand upon our native soil
Unelbowed by such objects as oppress
Our active powers, those powers themselves become
Strong to subvert our noxious qualities :
They sweep distemper from the busy day,
And make the Chalice of the big round Year
Run o'er with gladness ; whence the Being moves
In beauty through the world ; and all who see
Bless him, rejoicing in his neighborhood."
Vol. rv. p. 305.

But notwithstanding this, we have little faith in Wordsworth's democracy. He is a kind-hearted man, that would hurt no living thing, and who shudders to see a single human being suffer. So far, so good. But he has no faith in anything like social equality. He compassionates the poor, and would give the beggar an " awmous " ; but measures which would prevent begging, which would place the means of a comforta-able subsistence in the hands of all men, so that there should be no poor, he apparently contemplates not without horror. A man is not necessarily inclined to democracy because he sings wagoners, pedlers, and beggars, any more than he is necessarily inclined to aristocracy because he brushes his coat, and maintains his personal dignity and independence. Aristocracy may be found clad in rags, scarcely less often than in embroidery. True democracy compassionates the poor no more than it does the rich. It reverences all men, and seeks to put all men into possession of their native, inalienable rights. It rarely gives alms, except to relieve present suffering; it discovers no beauty in the beggar, and cannot pause to   idealize   him.    It   loathes  the beggar,  though it
loves the man, and seeks to convert him into an independent man, able to live without begging.

Wordsworth sings beggars, we admit, and shows very clearly that a man who begs is not to be despised ; but does he ever fire our souls with a desire so to perfect our social system, that beggary shall not be one of its fruits '? A Wordsworthian society without beggars, or such feeble old paupers as Simon Lee, would be shorn of all its poetic beauty. Herein lies the defect we discover in his democracy. He would lead us to love all men, but always in the condition in which we find them. This is to us the height of aristocracy. Aristocracy always delights in giving alms, in doing something for the poor and needy; but it never delights in taking measures to prevent there being any poor and needy, or to enable the poor and needy to work out their own salvation. Democracy, on the other hand, attempts to do little for the people. It believes the people do not need so many dry nurses as it has been thought; it believes the people, if their kind masters will let them alone, are fully competent to take care of themselves. It labors therefore to remove oppression, to take off the restraints which have been imposed upon their natural liberty, and to leave them free to employ their own limbs in procuring the means of their own well-being. Aristocracy gives alms to the poor, and nurses them as dependents; democracy proclaims their rights as men, and seeks to secure to them their possession. Aristocracy, with much kindness of look and voice, seeks to relieve the hunger of to-day; democracy seeks, often with a stern look and a harsh voice, to lay down principles and establish an order of things which shall relieve the hunger of all coming time. Good Henry the Fourth of France, in the benevolence of his heart, wished he could put a chicken into the pot of every man in his kingdom; democracy would so arrange matters that every man in its kingdom shall have it in his power to boil a chicken whenever he pleases.    We have seen nothing in Wordsworth to induce us to believe that his feeling towards the poor differs essentially from that of good king Henri Quatre.

The tendency of a man's soul is usually to be ascertained by the party with which he arranges himself. Wordsworth goes with the high Tory party of his country, and opposes, as much as a man of his inertness can, the the efforts of the friends of freedom. During the wars created by the French Revolution all his sympathies and all his powers were consecrated to the defence of the tyrants. His odes and his sonnets, blasphemously inscribed to Liberty, were in praise of those who fought for old abuses, never in praise of those who sided with the people. If he loves the people and desires their freedom, he has taken an odd way of showing it. We are aware that the French Revolution is a bugbear to many; but we dare be known among those who see in it a great, though terrible, effort of Humanity to gain possession of those rights which Christianity had taught her to regard as her inalienable patrimony, and to cherish as the apple of her eye, and we can own no man as a friend to his God, to his race, or to his country, who sided with those who took up arms against it, and sought to perpetuate old wrongs, time-hallowed oppressions. He must repent of his doings in sackcloth and ashes, with deep humility, with all the marks of sincere contrition, acknowledge his error, before we can believe the love of liberty lives in his heart. That Revolution had doubtless its excesses, but it needs no apology. Its apology stands in the fact that it has been. Its excesses will be forgotten much sooner than the excesses, the proscriptions, the murders, the soul-destroying tyrannies, of kings and aristocracies. The day will come when Humanity shall regard the chapter which records that Revolution as the brightest in her history. We should be the most shameless of all the world, citizens as we are of a country which owes its national existence to a Revolution, whose institutions  are based on the very principles of Liberty and Equality, which France sought, but sought in vain, yet not wholly in vain, to make the basis of her own, did we not sympathize with the French Revolution, and pity the blindness of a Wordsworth, who could not see that the cause of Humanity was in it.

But we can continue our remarks no further. We say in conclusion, that we regard Wordsworth as endowed by nature with a fine poetic temperament, and respectable talents, which he has assiduously cultivated. He has a reflective as well as a dreamy turn of mind, though his mind has but a limited horizon, and is full of narrow and local prejudices, as is unfortunately the case with most Englishmen. We regard him as the Cowley of the nineteenth century, though on this point we will not insist, for we are not very familiar with Cowley's works. As the poet of external nature, he is inferior to our own Bryant. We have read nothing of his that pleases us so much as Bryant's " Death of the Flowers," and we would by no means exchange " The Ages " for " The Excursion." Wordsworth is gentle and amiable, but he wants vigor, force of soul. We should like him altogether better were he made of sterner stuff, were he more robust and manly. But enough. There are moods of mind when we can read some of his pieces without any extraordinary effort. He does not address himself to the broad, universal soul of the race, but there will always be individuals and coteries to admire him.