Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

66 wash

THE PRAYER

no, but) " for thy Son our Lord Jesus in all things, and evermore to rejoice Christ's sake, forgive us all that is in his holy comfort !” May your souls past : grant this, O Lord, for the ho- be precious in his sight! May he nour of our Advocate and Mediator

you

in the blood of that imJesus Christ."

maculate Lamb, which was slain to To conclude. Remember that you take away the sins of the world !" are all to meet that God, “ to whom May he make you to know and feel, it belongeth justly to punish sinners," that “there is none other name under both in the hour of death and at the heaven given to man, in whom and day of Judgment; and it behoveth through whom you may receive health you beforehand," who for your evil and salvation, but only the name of deeds do worthily deserve to be pu- our Lord Jesus Christ !” And final nished," duly to humble yourselves at ly, from day to day, may God the Hothe feet of his majesty. “ The way ly Ghost sanctify you, together with and means thereto is to examine your « all the people of God!" To him, lives and conversations by the rule of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three God's commandments; and wherein- persons and one God, be ascribed all soerer ye shall perceive yourselves to honour, praise, might, majesty, and have offended, either by will, word, or dominion, for ever and ever. Amen. deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life,” if“ prevented O Holy God, who canst not look with his most gracious favour, and on iniquity without abhorrence, have furthered with his continual help.” mercy upon me a miserable sinner. And whenever you hear God's ten Deliver me from the delusion of atcommandments rehearsed in the pub- tempting to conceal my sins from thine lic congregation, after every com- all-seeing eye, and grant me“ repentmandment, ask God's mercy

for your ance unto life.” Pardon me through transgression thereof for the time past, the blood of the cross, all mine iniquiand grace to keep the same for the ties, " which I from time to time most time to come ; for it is God wust grievously have committed by thought,

grant you true repentance and his word, and deed, against thy divine Holy Spirit.” It is He must "en- majesty;" accept me through the due you with the grace of his Holy death and merits of thy beloved Son; Spirit,” in order that you may be ena- “ and grant that I may ever hereafbled to si amend.your lives according ter serve and please thee in newness to his holy word."

of life, to the honour and glory of thy But, “ above all things, you must name," and to the eternal benefit of give most humble and hearty thanks my own soul. Make me pure in heart, to God, the Father, Son, and Holy that I may be able to behold thy gloGhost, for the redemption of the world ry. (“cleanse the thoughts of my

O by the death and passion of our Sa- heart by the inspiration of thy Holy viour Christ, both God and man; who Spirit! Grant me by the same Spirit did humble himself even to the death to have a right judgment in all things, upon the cross for us 'miserable sin- and evermore to rejoice in his holy ners, who lay in darkness and the sha- comfort.” And “Forasmuch as thou dow of death; that he might make us hast prepared for them that love thee the children of God, and exalt us to such good things as pass man's undereverlasting life.”

standing, pour into my heart such love And now may these great things be towards thee, that I may love thee effectually accomplished within you! above all things, above the gains and May God “cleanse the thoughts of pleasures of this transitory world, and your heart by the inspiration of his may finally obtain thy promises, which Holy Spirit." May lie “grant you exceed all that I can desire, through by the Spirit to have a right judgment Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen.

May, 1817.]
Review of Cowper's Poems and Life.

133 Cowper's Character as a Poet-ex- comed on its appearance with general

tracted from a Review of the last acclamation. It has ever since con. volume of his Poems in the Quar- tinued to rank with the most popular terly Review.

poems. This performance, so singu.

iar in its nature and original, has a At the time when our poetry began sufficient admixture of faults : some to emerge from the bondage of for- passages are tedious, others unintermality and pomp, Cowper appeared esting, and others even revolting. The to advance the cause of nature and language is often tinged with meantrue taste. With an opinion suffi- ness, and pathos and beauty are someciently high of Pope and his contem- times interrupted by witticism. The poraries, modest and unenterprizing, charm of the work consists in its tenalive to censure, and seemingly scarce- der, generous, and pious sentimients; ly conscious that he was an innovator, in the frankness and warmth of its he get helped essentially to restore manner, its sketches of nature, eulo. the elder vigour and simplicity, by gies of country retirement, and intepresenting to us the primitive Muse of resting allusions to himself and those England in her own undisguised fea- he loves; the refreshing transitions tures, her flexibility of deportment, from subject to subject, and the elasher smiles and tears, her general ani- ticity with which he varies his tone, mation and frequent rusticity. From though the change is not always with ; the effects which this exhibition pro- out offence; and the glow, which when duced on the public, satiated with a poet feels, he is sure to impart to classical imitation and antithesis, he others. We share his walks, or his may be reckoned among the patri. fire-side, and hear him comment on archs of the present school of poetry. the newspaper or the last new book

Cowper's qualities are, conspicu- of travels; converse with him as a ousness of idea, often without sufficient kind familiar friend, or hearken to the choice ; keenness of observation, de- counsels of an affectionate monitor.

; scending occasionally to wearisome, We attend him among the beauties ness or disgust; an addiction to ele- and repose of nature, or the mild dig. vated thought and generous feeling; nity of private life ; sympathize with and a pliable manner, passing easily his elevations, smile with him at fol. from the tender to the sublime, and ly, and share his indignation at opagain to the humorous. In the very pression and vice-and if he somethrong and press of his observations: times detains us too long in the hoton the most serious subjects, it is not house, or tires us with political disunusual to encounter an effusion of cussion, we love him too well to wish wit, or a familiar remark. This may ourselves rid of him on that account. seem a strange anomaly in a writer He is most at home on nature and of Cowper's turn; yet it is to be ac- country retirement-friendship--docounted for. The subjects in ques- mestic life-the rights and duties of tion were the constant themes of his men--and, above all, the comforts and ineditation, the fountains of his ac- excellencies of religion : his physical tions, liig hopes, his duties; they were dejection never overcasts his docinwoven with his mind, and he spoke trines; and his devout passages are, of them with that familiarity, perfect to us, the finest of his poem. There ly distinct from lightness, with which is not in Milton or-Akenside such a men naturally speak of what is ha- continuation of sublime thoughts as in bitual to them, though connected with the latter part of the fifth and sixth their happiness, and involving many books. The peroration is remarkahopes and fears. It must be confess- bly graceful and solemn. ed, however, that he sometimes uses Cowper appears, at least at one expressions, which, in a person of dif- time, to have preferred his first puh ferent principles, would be interpret- lished didactic poems to the Ta ed as the language of levity.

There is something in priority of con His great work, the Task, was wel. position ; and the Tasks was to him

1

Odyssey, a second work on lighter nuch of the old poet's' simplicity, subjects, taken up more as a relaxa- without enough of his fire. Cowper tion, written less with a view of his has removed the gilded cloud which most favourite subject, and less with Pope had cast over him; and his verthe awful, yet elevating, sense of per- sion, though very imperfect, is the forming a momentous duty. What- more faithful portrait of the two. ever may be attributed to these con- In the Task, the author has introsiderations, we think that a poet's duced a new species of blank verse; opinion of his own performance is a medium between the majestic sweep seldom without some foundation and continuous variety of Milton and and that many of these pieces are Akenside, and the monotony of Young more uninterruptedly pleasing, and and Thomson. It is suited to his subcontain fewer intervals of insipidity, ject, smooth and easy, yet sufficiently than the longer poem. Table Talk varied in its structure to give the ear is a distinct production, a kind of Task its proper entertainment. Sometimes, in Miniature; as Young's Resigna- as in the description of the Sicilian tion is another Night-Thought. It earthquake, and the Millennium, he abounds with passages of wit, energy seems to aspire higher. He affects and beauty, and is replete with good much the pause on the third and sesense. There is something in it which venth syllables, the latter of which reminds us of Churchill. The seven combines dignity with animation more succeeding poems are mostly sets of than any other. It must be confessprecepts and remarks, characters and ed, however, that he has not avoided descriptions, delivered in a poetical flatness and uniformity. His rhyme manner. Here, as elsewhere, his wit, has the freedom and energy of Dryalways powerful, is often clumsy, and den's, without its variety. His dicsometimes, from being more intent tion resembles his versification; forcion the sentiment than the expression, ble, but often uncouth. It is the lanhis language deviates into prose. guage of conversation, elevated by There is, besides, a want of system in metaphors, Miltonic constructions, and the subjects of each piece, which in antiquated expressions, above the level some injures the continuity of inter- of prose. est. ' Still there is so much unsophis- His letters are full of the man-of ticated description, and sentiment, his mildness, philanthropy, and doand humour---the richness of the po- mestic temper; his pensiveness and et's heart and mind are so diffused devotion, his overstrained timidity, over the whole, that they will always and his liveliness of imagination. be read with delight. He who would They form the principal charm of behold the full beauty of Christiani. Hayley's Life--for of all biograty, might be referred to these poems phers, Mr. Hayley is happily the least -especially the last four.

loquacious; the letters, like the anecCowper's light pieces are charac- dotes in Boswell's Johnson, compenterized by vigour, playfulness, and in- sate for the scantiness or ordinary vention; debased sometimes by inele- quality of the narrative with which gance, and even by conceits. His they are interwoven. We think them Tales are excellent. The verses for equal to any we have met with. There the Bills of Mortality are poetical and is a delightful playfulness pervading impressive; and the Epistle to Hill is them, which is perhaps the most atquite Horatian. His lines on his mo- tracting quality of an epistle, . ther's picture display remarkably his Cowper was versed in the irony powers of pathos. Such a strain of which criminates without provoking, mellowed and manly sorrow, such affectionate reminiscences of childhood the chiding which affection loves, unmixed with trifling, such an union

Dallying with terms of wrong of regret with piety, is seldom to be the well-wrought affectation of pomp found in any language.

or gravity, and the thousand other arHis translation of Homer retains tifices, by which an agreeable sun

[ocr errors]

May, 1817.] Sonnet to Mrs. Unwin.--Lord Byron.

135 shine is thrown over poverty or dull- and the unthinking licentious; he ness of matter. Sometimes, too, in aims his shafts at all : and as Gospel the midst of sportiveness, an effusion truth is the base of morality, it is the of tenderness occurs, extremely af- groundwork of his precepts. fecting. It is a most interesting spec- In the remarks we have hazarded tacle, to survey the group of excel- on poetical morality, far be it from us lent persons assembled round our po- to aim at introducing a cheerless moet-their heroic exertions for his com- nastic air into works of fancy, or difort, and his warm returns of grati- minishing the quantum of poetic pleatude: such scenes are among the sure :-our system would have the “ greenest spots” of this world, and very contrary effect. It would reare almost enough to make us forget lieve us from revolting pictures of its miseries. His opinions on various crime, touched, retouched, and dwelt subjects, expressed in these letters, upon even to weariness; from long flow less from any expansion of intel- depressing complaints of the miseries lect or depth of penetration, than of life ; from the persevering maligfrom plain sense, a cultivated under- nity which pains us in reading the standing, and that clear-headedness works of some of our most approved which attends on virtue, and which satirists; from the tinge of impurity, enables it to discern many things which makes us dread the pleasure we which superior faculties, blinded by a receive from some exquisitely wrought bad heart or vicious habits, fail of dis- descriptions; from the want which cerning.

we feel in many a favourite character In the morality of his poems, Cow- of fiction-Poetry would be as cheerper is honourably distinguished from ful as the spring sun, and as vivifying, most of his brethren. Our poets have All the sources of delight would retoo often deviated into an incorrect main, only heightened and rectified; system of morals, coldly delivered ; our pleasure would be more full, and a smooth, polished, filed-down Chris- it would be without fear. tianity; a medium system, between the religion of the Gospel and the heathen philosophy, and intended ap

SUNNET TO MRS. UNWIN. parently to accommodate the two, There is nothing to comfort or guide Mary! I want a lyre with other strings, us, no satisfying centre on which to

Such aid from heaven as some have fcigned fix our desires; no line is drawn be. they drew,

An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new tween good and evil; we wander on

And undebased by praise of meaner things, amid a waste of feelings sublimated That ere through age or wo I shed my wings, to effeminacy, desires raised beyond I may record thy worth with honour due,

In verse as musical as thou art true, the possibility of gratification, and

And that immortalizes whom it sings. passions indulged till their indulgence But thou hast little need. There is a book seems almost a necessary of life. We By serapli's writ with beams of heavenly light, rise with heated ininds, and feel that

On which the eyes of God not rarely look,

A chronicle of actions just and bright: something still is wanting. In Cow- There all thy deeds, my faithfiil Mary, shine, per, on the contrary, all is reality; And, since thou own'st th:t praise, 1 spare thip

mine. there is no doubt, no vagueness of opinion; the only satisfactory object on which our affections can be fixed,

LORD BYRON. is distinctly and fully pointed out; the afflicted are consoled, the ignorant en

An Extract from the Quarterly Review. lightened. A perfect line is drawn With kinder feelings tu Lord Byron in between truth and error. The heart person and reputation no one could ap. is enlisted on the side of religion; proach him than ourselves : we owe it to every precept is just, every motive ef. the pleasure which he has bestowed upon

us, and to the honour he has done to our ficacious. Sensible that every vice is literature. We have paid our warmest connected with the rest; that the vo- tribute to his talents-it is their due.

is Luptuous will become hard-hearted, We will touch on the uses for which !

BY COWPER,

ܪ ܐ

[ocr errors]

was invested with them-it is our duty; consider our misfortunes, however pecuand happy, most happy, should we be, if, liar in their character, as our inevitable in discharging it, we could render this share in the patrimony of Adam; to bridistinguished author a real service. We dle those irritable feelings, wlich ungodo not assume the office of harsh censors; verned are sure to become governors ; to

we are entitled at no time to do so to. shun that intensity of galling and selfwards genius, least of all in its bour of wounding reflection which our poet has adversity; and we are prepared to make so forcibly described in his own burning full allowance for the natural effect of language : misfortune upon a bold and haughty spirit.

I have thought When the splitting wind Too long and darkly, till my brain became, Makes flexible the knee of knottert oks, In its own eddy, boiling and o'erwrought, And flies fled under shale, the Thing of Courage A whirling gulf of phantasy and fame" As roused with rage, with rage doth sympathize, And, with an accent tuned in self-same key,

-to stoop, in short, to the realities of Returns to chiding fortrine.”

life ; repent if we have offended, and par

don if we have been trespassed against; But this mode of defiance may last too to look on the world less as our foc than long, and hurry him who indulges it into

as a doubtful and capricious friend, whose further evils; and to this point our obser

applause we ought as far as possible to vations tend. The advice ought not to be deserve, but neither to court nor concontemned on account of the obscurity of temn-such seem the most obvious and those by whom it is given :- the roughest certain means of keeping or regaining fisherman is an useful pilot when a gallant mental tranquillity. vessel is near the breakers; the meanest shepherd may be a sure guide over a path

“ Semita certe less heath, and the admonition which is Tranquillæ per virtutem patet unica vite." given in well meant kindness should not be despised, even were it tendered with a We are compelled to dwell upon this frankness which may resemble a want of subject : for future ages, while our lancourtesy.

guage is remembered, will demand of this It is not the temper and talents of the why Lord Byron was unhappy? We retort poet, but the use to which he puts them, this query on the noble poet himself while on which his happiness or misery is it is called “to-day.” He does injustice grounded. A powerful and unbridled to the world, if he imagines he has left it imagination is the author and architect exclusively filled with those who rejoice of its own disappointments. Its fascina. in his sufferings. If the voice of consola. tions, its exaggerated pictures of good tion be in cases like his less loudly heard and evil, and the mental distress to which than that of reproach or upbraiding, it is they give rise, are the natural and neces- because those who long to conciliate, to sary evils attending on that quick suscep- advise, to mediate, to console, are timid tibility of feeling and fancy incident to in thrusting forward their sentiments, and the poetical temperament. But the Giver fear to exasperate where they most seek of all talents, while he has qualified them to soothe; while the busy and officious ineach with its separate and peculiar alloy, trude, without shame or sympathy, and has endowed the owner with the power embitter the privacy of affliction by their of purifying and refining them. But, as rude gaze and importunate clamour. But if to moderate the arrogance of genius, it the pain which such insects can give only is justly and wisely made requisite, that lasts while the wound is raw. he must regulate and tame the fire of his tient submit to the discipline of the soul fancy, and descend from the heights to enjoined by religion, and recommended which she exalts him, in order to obtain by philosophy, and the scar will become ease of mind and tranquillity. The mate. speedily insensible to their stings. Lord rials of happiness, that is, of such degree Byron may not have loved the world, but of happiness as is consistent with our pre- the world has loved him, not perhaps with sent state, lie around us in profusion. But a wise or discriminating affeotion, but as the man of talents must stoop to gather well as it is capable of loving any one. them, otherwise they would be beyond the And many who do not belong to the reach of the mass of society, for whose world, as the word is generally underbenefit, as well as for his, Providence has stood, have their thoughts fixed on Lord created them. There is no royal and no Byron, with the anxious wish and eager poetical path to contentment and heart's. hope that he will bring his powerful unease ; that by which they are attained is derstanding to combat with bis irritated open to all classes of mankind, and lies feelings, and that his next efforts will within the most limited range of intellect. show that he has acquired the peace of To narrow our wishes and desires within mind necessary for the free and useful ex. the scope of our powers of attainment; to ercisc of his splendid talents.

Let the pa

« PoprzedniaDalej »