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queen of them all, in her many forms, all beautiful; the red rose, and the Austrian rose, with its luxurious purple leaves; and the white rose, as Cowper describes it, throwing up into the gloom of the neighbouring yew or cypress
“ Its silver grobes, light as the foamy surf
Which the wind severs from the broken wave.”
Even the yellow Dutch rose pleases me for its name's sake. There is something really superior in the pleasure you derive from
One feasts one's eyes on the colours of a tulip, with the same sensations one experiences in reading Darwin's Poemspleased with the gaudy hues, and nothing more ; and the fragrance of the jonquil is, after all, but a mechanical sort of enjoyment; but there is something of sentiment in a rose. It is beautiful, too, at all stages of its existence—whether in the bud, or full-blown, or newly opening-like Caroline Mowbray, already exquisitely fair, yet giving promise of a rich arrear of beauties, hid one within the other, fold behind fold.But I am losing myself.
I have compared sundry flowers to sundry women-and, indeed, there appears to be an analogy between women and flower kind,—both beautiful, and delicate, and weak-gay in attire, and requiring assiduous care and fostering. Surely flowers are the womankind of inanimate nature. Man may take the trees and shrubs for his emblems ;-the venerable elm may signify wisdom ; and the pine, warring with the storm, be the type of courage
“ The manly oak, the pensive yew,
To warrior and to sage be due ; but flowers-dear flowers! they were made for Woman.
My cousin Catharine--alas, my Cousin she is gone; but none who have seen her can forget her ;-so enchantingly graceful in her person and manners, and yet so dignified; she was like one of the Graces enthroned. My cousin Catharine, I remember, was passionately fond of flowers, and she had an eloquent tongue to praise them withal. I cannot conclude better than with an extract from a letter of hers to myself. She had just before been employing a metaphor drawn from her favourites.
[The remainder of this Rhapsody, together with the whole of the fifteen which were to follow, is lost.]
TO THE EDITOR.
DEAR PEREGRINE, I SEND you a critique on the worthy C. H. TOWNSEND's Poems. I am perfectly ashamed of it, for it was written currente calamo; and I shall be obliged to you to make this acknowledgment public, for without such a confession I could not bring myself to appear before your Readers. If, however, it will serve to fill up the interstices of your Work, you are welcome to it. Should your Readers find it dry, I recommend them, by way of refreshment, to resort to the Poems themselves, which they ought to read in the evening, over a well-tempered bowl of congenial tea.
ON THE POEMS OF C. H. TOWNSEND. THERE are some who deny the name of Poet to any writer whose genius is not of the highest order. We confess we see no reason for this penury of honour. The republic of Poetry is not like the ancient democracies, in which a small part only of the population were citizens, and the rest slaves. Whosoever has a spark of minstrel-fire within him-whosoever has beheld, although as it were through a mist, the
“ forms that glitter in the Muse's ray
With orient bues, unborrow'd of the subwhoever looks on the beauties of Nature, the sublimities of Truth, and the graces and sweetnesses of Domestic Life, with the eye of a Poet--and has given tangible and legible proofs of such faculty, is, we conceive, entitled by courtesy, if not by right, to that envied appellation. The truth is, that there is a great deal more Poetry in the world than most people imagine. Nature, liberal in this as in other respects, seems to have sown the seed wherever there is a soil prepared to receive it. The circumstances of the present age are favourable to the development of this species of talent; and accordingly we find, that, while those who would have been great Poets at any period, have attained a height of excellence, of which, in another situation, they would themselves have had no conception; many of smaller note, whose faculties, under the influence of more ungenial season,
would probably have remained torpid, are now coming forth, beneath
the cheering beams of the new-risen Sun of Poetry, to disport themselves in flight, and show their gay plumes to the sunshine, and chaunt to the listening air their songs of various measure. But we must have done with metaphor.
The elegant volume before us is the work of a quondam Etonian, and therefore entitled to honourable remembrance in our Journal.
The Author has placed at the threshold of his Collection a Poem on the subject of “Jerusalem,” which gained the Chancellor's prize at Cambridge; and the work concludes with an unsuccessful attempt of the same description, entitled « Waterloo ;" neither of them worthy of association with the rest of the volume. He seems to have placed them in these situations for the purpose of warping off from his work those two classes of readers, who, before they enter upon the perusal of a book, are in the habit of exploring its merits, by opening at the beginning or at the end. He has fenced in his little garden with a high and heavy brick wall on either side, to exclude frivolous visitors. We ought in justice, however, to observe, that “ Waterloo” is decidedly superior to “ Jerusalem.” The latter, indeed, labours under peculiar disadvantage, on account of its subject reminding the reader of Heber's Palestine, the most beautiful artificial flower that ever appeared in the shape of a prize poem.
The body of the work is composed of miscellaneous PoemsSongs and Lyrical Pieces—Devotional Poems—and Sonnets. Of these, we consider the first-mentioned class as altogether the best. It consists of short pieces, principally sentimental, but sometimes descriptive. In his delineations of scenery, our Author frequently follows Warton as a model ; and it is no exaggeration to say, that in the particular style of painting which he adopts, and in the management of the Wartonian octosyllabic couplet (a modification of that of the Penseroso), he is sometimes little inferior to his master. We allude chiefly to the Ode on the First of December, from which we extract the following lines : Mute is every tuneful strain,
The robin only to the dell That warbled from the woodland train. Yet falters forth his weak farewell. No more, on dewy pinions borne, Lingers the long and dreary night; The lark gives morrow to the morn; Scarce the dim and dubious light No more, its fitful shadow seen, Peeps through the severing mists that Skimming the sunshine of the green, chill, The vanish'd swallow, twittering, Coldly blue, yon eastern hill. leaves
Yet the wan moon, amid the west, Its nest of clay beneath the eaves. On twilight's bosom loves to rest; No more resound from bush to bush Yet from each tree her pale beams The gay notes of the sprightly thrush. throw In other climes, the nightingale A branching shadow o'er the snow: Tells to the moon his tender tale : Yet, here and there, a feeble star Of all the tribes, whose music sweet Gleams, scarcely glimmering, from Lov'd answering Echo to repeat,
Or, struggling thro' the vapour's damp, Back reflects upon the sight
On the river's margin troop
The thirsty herds in gather'd group; Can pierce aslant the watery clouds, And eye, with drooping aspect, there Where the sad sun his radiance The wave, they see, but cannot share. shrouds.
Hark! the rude bind, with sturdy Slow, as their heavy volume moves, blow, O'er the hill-side the dim light roves; Gives the imprison'd streams to With a pale gleam of radiance falls flow! On the white villa's distant walls ; Loud rings round, from rock to rock, And, glancing on the fair cascade, In long repeat, the crackling shock; Where, as it moans along the glade, O'er the wide forest echoes still, The transitory gale no more
And dies to silence on the hill. Can catch the sullen, deep’ning roar,
The Ode to Memory is in parts poetical; of the other Odes (so called) we will say nothing. The Weaver's Boy is a painfully interesting tale, but not adapted for poetry.
It is in the representation of delicate and tender feelings, operating on an amiable and sensitive mind, that our Author particularly excels. There is a chaste refinement spread around all his delineations, which constitutes their characteristic charm. Solitude-the gentle influence of Nature—the delights of Friendship—the pleasures and pains of delicate Love-Retrospection of the past--and Moral Reflection, are his favourite topics.
His faculty indeed is a confined one; he cannot search out the full sweetness of natural objects; or penetrate far into the recesses of the human mind; but what he feels he describes naturally and affectingly. A strong tinge of melancholy pervades most of his writings, on which we may hereafter make some observations: there is more, however, of sorrow in them than repining; and frequent gleams of religious thought are visible. On the whole, with the exception of a few indifferent pieces, we have seldom met with a more agreeable little volume of Poetry. We shall quote a few of the pieces which pleased us best.
TO A FRIEND,
The world does not know me: to that I appear,
The good oft reprove, yet look kindly the while;
worst is within.
Thou only dost know me; to thee is reveald
AMID THE WEST, THE LIGHT DECAYING. Amid the west, the light decaying, From many a stone the sea-weed
Like joy, looks loveliest ere it dies, streaming, On ocean's breast, the small waves Now floats--now falls—the waves playing
between, Catch the last lustre, as they rise. Its yellow berries brighter seeming
Amid the wreaths of dusky green. Scarce the blue curling tide displaces
One pebble in its gentle ebb; This is the hour the lov'd are dearest, Scarce on the smooth sand leaves its This is the hour the sever'd meet; traces,
The dead—the distant, now are nearest, In meshes, fine as fairy's web. And joy is soft, and sorrow sweet.
We would willingly quote the lines entitled “ Childhood,” p. 196; but our limits constrain us to be brief, and we shall therefore conclude our' extracts from this part of the book with what we consider the most powerfully-written piece in the whole collection. We think our Readers will agree with us in calling it exquisite :