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of angels. It was customary in the day of Johnson's glory, to call him a giant—to class him with a mighty but still an earth-born race. Milton we should rank among seraphs. Johnson's mind acted chiefly on man's actual conditionon the realities of life-on the springs of human action-on the passions which now agitate society, and he seems hardly to have dreamed of a higher state of the human mind than was then exhibited. Milton, on the other hand, burned with a deep yet calm love of moral grandeur and celestial purity. He thought not so much of what man is, as of what he might become. His own mind was a revelation to him of a higher condition of humanity, and to promote this he thirsted and toiled for freedom, as the element for the growth and improvement of his nature. In religion, Johnson was gloomy and inclined to superstition; and on the subject of government, leaned towards absolute power: and the idea of reforming either, never entered his mind but to disturb and provoke it. The church and the civil polity under which he lived, seemed to him perfect, unless he may have thought that the former would be improved by a larger infusion of Romish rites and doctrines; and the latter, by an enlargement of the Royal prerogative. Hence, a tame acquiescence in the present forms of religion and government, marks his works. Hence, we find so little in his writings which is electric and soul-kindling, and which gives the reader a consciousness of being made for a state of loftier thought and feeling than the present. Milton's whole soul, on the contrary, revolted against the fashionable maxims of legitimacy hereditary faith, and servile reverence for established power. He could not brook the bondage to which men had bowed for ages. Reformation was the first word of public warning which broke from his youthful lips, and the hope of it was a fire in his aged breast. The difference between Milton and Johnson, may be traced not only in these great features of mind, but in their whole characters.
Milton was refined and spiritual in his habits-temperate almost to abstemiousness, and refreshed himself after intellectual effort by music. Johnson inclined to more sensual delights. Milton was exquisitively alive to the outward creation—to sounds, motions, and forms—to natural beauty and grandeur. Johnson, through defect of physical organization, if not through deeper deficiency, had little susceptibility of these pure and delicate pleasures, and would not have exchanged the Strand for the vale of Tempe or the gardens of the Hesperides! How could Johnson be just to Milton?
The comparison which we have instituted, has compelled us to notice Johnson's defects. But we trust we are not blind to his merits. His stately march, his pomp and power of language, his strength of thought, his reverence for virtue and religion, his vigorous logic, his practical wisdom, his insight into the springs of human action, and the solemn pathos which occasionally pervades his descriptions of life, and his references to his own history, command our willing admiration. That he wanted creative imagination and lofty sentiment, was not his fault. We do not blame him for not being Milton. We love intellectual power in all its forms, and delight in the variety of mind. We blame him only, that his passions, prejudices, and bigotry, engaged him in the unworthy task of obscuring the brighter glory of one of the most gifted and virtuous of men. We would even treat what we deem the faults of Johnson, with a tenderness approaching respect; for they were results, to a degree which man cannot estimate, of a diseased, irritable, nervous, unhappy physical temperament, and belonged to the body more than to the mind. We only ask the friends of genius, not to put their faith in Johnson's delineations of it. His biographical works are tinged with his notoriously strong prejudices, and of all his “Lives,” we hold that of Milton to be the most apocryphal.
NIGHT is the time for rest:
How sweet, when labours close, To gather round an aching breast The curtain of repose
Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head
Upon our own delightful bed!
Night is the time for dreams-
When truth that is, and truth that seems,
Blend in fantastic strife!
Ah! visions less beguiling far,
Night is the time for toil-
To plough the classic field,
Till all is ours that sages taught,
Night is the time to weep
To wet, with unseen tears,
Hopes that were angels in their birth,
Night is the time to watch
On Ocean's dark expanse,
To hail the Pleiades, or catch
The full Moon's earliest glance, That brings into the home-sick mind All we have loved and left behind.
Night is the time for care—
Night is the time to muse
Then, from the eye the soul
Takes flight, and with expanding views
The dawn of uncreated light.
Night is the time to pray
Our Saviour oft withdrew
So will his followers do;
Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
Night is the time for death-
Calmly to yield the weary breath,
Think of Heaven's bliss, and give the sign
I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream:The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went-and came, and brought no day,
And they did live by watch-fires; and the thrones,
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes