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especially in the first and second, and the two last books, might be read off as prose, without materially offending the ear of a critic, by a poetical cadence, or even collocation : but they would always make vigorous, and generally beautiful prose.
As a fair specimen of his style, we extract the following portrait of Lord Byron, already alluded to. We object to it that he overrates Byron's genius throughout—the majority of our readers, however, will probably find no fault with him upon that score.
But what all will admit is, that this picture, however good as a likeness, or powerful and striking in the conception and the colouring, is, in one part of it at least, excessively overcharged. The lines in italics, seem to us exaggerated and bombastic.
“ A man of rank, and of capacious soul;
Who riches had, and fame beyond desire:
An heir of flattery, to titles born,
And reputation, and luxurious life.
Yet not content with ancestorial name;
Or to be known, because his fathers were ;
He on this height hereditary stood,
And gazing higher, purposed in his heart
To take another step. Above him seemed
Alone the mount of Song—the lofty seat
Of canonized bards; and thitherward,
By nature taught, and inward melody,
In prime of youth, he bent his eagle eye.
No cost was spared. What books he wished, he read:
What sage to hear, he heard: what scenes to see,
And first in rambling school-boy days,
Britannia's mountain-walks, and heath-girt lakes,
And story-telling glens, and founts, and brooks;
And maids, as dew-drops pure and fair, his soul
With grandeur filled, and melody, and love.
Then travel came, and took him where he wished.
He cities saw, and courts, and princely pomp:
And mused alone on ancient mountain brows;
And mused on battle-fields, where valour fought
In other days; and mused on ruins grey
With years: and drank from old and fabulous wells ;
And plucked the vine that first-born prophets plucked ;
And mused on famous tombs; and on the wave
Of ocean mused; and on the desert waste.
The heavens, and earth of every country saw :
Where'er the old inspiring Genii dwelt,
VOL. II.--NO. 4.
Aught that could rose, expand, refine the soul,
Thither he went, and meditated there.
He touched his harp, and nations heard, entranced.
As some vast river of unfailing source,
Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed,
And opened new fountains in the human heart.
Where fancy halted, weary in her flight
In other men, his fresh as morning rose,
And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at home,
Where angels bashful looked. Others, tho' great,
Beneath their argument seemed struggling whiles;
He from above descending, stooped to touch
The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as tho'
It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature's self
He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest
At will with all her glorious majesty.
He laid his hand upon “the Ocean's mane,'
And played familiar with his hoary locks.
Stood on the Alps, stood on the Appenines,
And with the thunder talked, as friend to friend;
And wove his garland of the lightning's wing,
In sportive twist—the lightning's fiery wing,
Which, as the footsteps of the dreadful God,
Marching upon the storm in vengeance seemed
Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung
His evening song, beneath his feet, conversed.
Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds his sisters were ;
Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, and winds, and storms,
His brothers-younger brothers, whom he scarce
As equals deemed. All passions of all men-
The wild and tame—the gentle and severe;
All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane;
All creeds, all seasons, Time, Eternity;
All that was hated, and all that was dear;
All that was hoped, all that was feared by man,
He tossed about, as tempest-withered leaves,
Then smiling looked upon the wreck he made.
With terror now he froze the cowering blood;
And now dissolved the heart in tenderness :
Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself.
But back into his soul retired, alone,
Dark, sullen, proud : gazing contemptuously
On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
So Ocean from the plains, his waves had late
To desolation swept, retired in pride,
Exulting in the glory of his might,
And seemed to mock the ruin he had wrought.
As some fierce comet of tremendous size, To which the stars did reverence, as it passed ;
So he through learning, and through fancy took
His flight sublime ; and on the loftiest top
Of Fame's dread mountain sat : not soiled and worn,
As if he from the earth had laboured up,
But as some bird of heavenly plumage fair,
He looked, which down from higher regions came,
And perched it there, to see what lay beneath.
The nations gazed, and wondered much, and praised.
Critics before him fell in humble plight;
Confounded fell; and made debasing signs
To catch his eye; and stretched, and swelled themselves
To bursting nigh, to utter bulky words
Of admiration vast: and many too,
Many that aimed to imitate his flight,
With weaker wing, unearthly Auttering made,
And gave abundant sport to after days.
Great man! the nations gazed, and wondered much,
And praised: and many called his evil good.
Wits wrote in favour of his wickedness;
And kings to do him honor took delight.
Thus full of titles, flattery, bonor, faine ;
Beyond desire, beyond ambition full,
He died-he died of what? Of wretchedness.
Drank every cup of joy, heard every trump
Of fame; drank early, deeply drank; drank draughts
That common millions might have quenched-then died
Of thirst, because there was no more to drink.
His goddess, Nature, wooed, embraced, enjoyed,
Fell from his arms, abhorred; his passions died;
Died all but-dreary, solitary pride :
And all his sympathies in being died.
As some ill-guided bark, well built and tall,
Which angry tides cast out on desert shore,
And then retiring, left it there to rot
And moulder in the winds and rains of heaven;
So he, cut from the sympathies of life,
Aud cast ashore from pleasure's boisterous surgea
A wandering, weary, worn, and wretched thing;
Scorched, and desolate, and blasted soul;
A gloomy wilderness of dying thought-
Repined, and groaned, and withered from the earth.
His groanings filled the land, his numbers filled:
And yet he seemed ashamed to groan. Poor man!
Ashamed to ask, and yet he needed help.”—Book IV. pp. 84–87. The first image of the following passage appears to us as original as it is gorgeous and brilliant. It is worthy of Shakspeare-approaching, like some of his, the very border of ex
travagance, but still not passing it, and dazzling the curious eye of criticism that would scan its propriety too strictly.
“And there were too-harp! lift thy voice on high,
And run in rapid numbers o'er the face
Of Nature's scenery—and there were day
And night; and rising suns, and setting suns ;
And clouds, that seemed like chariots of saints,
By fiery coursers drawn-as brightly hued,
As if the glorious, bushy, golden locks
Of thousand cherubim, had been sborn off,
And on the temples hung of morn and even.
And there were moons, and stars, and darkness streaked
With light ; and voice of tempest heard secure.
And there were seasons coming evermore,
And going still, all fair, and always new,
With bloom, and fruit, and fields of hoary grain.
And there were hills of flock, and groves
And flowery streams, and garden walks embowered,
Where side by side the rose and lily bloomed.
And sacred founts, wild harps, and moonlight glens;
And forests vast, fair lawns, and lonely oaks ;
And little willows sipping at the brook :
Old wizard haunts, and dancing seats of mirth;
Gay festive bowers, and palaces in dust;
Dark owlet nooks, and caves, and battled rocks :
And winding vallies, roofed with pendant shade;
And tall, and perilous cliffs, that overlooked
The breadth of ocean, sleeping on his waves."-Book V. pp.99-100. We select at random the only other extract which our limits admit of, for the purpose of exemplifying that extraordinary vigour of style for which Mr. Pollok is remarkable, and to which he never scruples to sacrifice mere elegance and a finical delicacy. Many readers may find some of bis descriptions revolting and disgustful, merely from their severe accuracy-but the poet's maxim seems to be “rien n'est beau que le vrai”—and this homely strength of expression and painful minuteness of delineation in painting objects that can be properly described in no other way, is, in our opinion, an excellence of no mean order. It is one for which Spenser is eminently distinguished.
“Of comely form she was, and fair of face ;
And underneath her eyelids sat a kind
Of witching sorcery that nearer drew
Whoever with unguarded look beheld ;
A dress of gaudy hue loosely attired
Her loveliness : her air and manner frank,
And seeming free of all disguise; ber song
Enchanting; and her words which sweetly dropt
As honey from the comb, most large of promise,
Still prophesying days of new delight,
And rapturous nights of undecaying joy.
Aud in her hand, where'er she went, she held
A radiant cup that seemed of nectar full-
And by her side danced fair delusive Hope.
The fool pursued enamoured, and the wise
Experienced man who reasoned much, and thought,
Was sometimes seen laying his wisdom down,
And vying with the stripling in the chase.
Nor wonder thou ! for she was really fair;
Decked to the very taste of flesh and blood.
And many thought her sound within; and gay
And healthy at the heart : but thought amiss :
For she was full of disease; her bones
Were rotten : consumption licked her blood, and drank
Her marrow up; her breath smelled mortally;
And in her bowels plague and fever lurked;
And in her very heart, and reins and life,
Corruption's worm gnawed greedily unseen.
Many her haunts, they might's have seen her now
With Iudolence, lolling on the mid-day couch,
And whispering drowsy words; and now at dawn,
Loudly and rough, joining the sylvan horn;
Or sauntering in the park, and to the tale
Of slander giving ear; sitting fierce,
Rude, blasphemous, malicious, raving, mad,
Where fortune to the fickle die was bound.
But chief she loved the scene of deep debauch,
Where revelry, and dance, and frantic song,
Disturbed the sleep of honest men. And where
The drunkard sat, she entered in, well pleased,
With eye brimful of wanton mirthfulness,
And urged him still to fill another cup.
And at the shadowy twilight-in the dark
And gloomy night, I looked, and saw her come," &c.
[Book III. pp. 46-47. Upon the whole, we regard this volume as an accession to English literature, and as destined to attain to permanent celebrity and reputation, not, perhaps, among men of the world, but throughout the great community of Christian readers, and all whose minds have been brought by the disappointments of life, to deep and solemn reflection upon its emptiness and illusions. It ought not to be forgotten too, that it was the first elaborate production of a young man, who had come late to his