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receives from slight hints, such as occur to any of us in daily life; and it is this which makes a genial admiration of his writings so precious an acquisition. It is a companionship which clings to humanity in all its paths. Once open your heart to it, and its benignant light will be shed on your domestic hearth, upon all your intercourse with your fellow-men, upon your civic responsibilities to your country, and the sublimer relations in which man is placed. Feelings that are apt to run to waste ripen beneath the influence of his imagination, hope is cherished, and the best impulses confirmed, the noblest aspirations sustained. Hence comes that ardent affectionate gratitude for moral and intellectual obligations which, from so many hearts, is the silent tribute to the aged poet: :
"Beauty—a living Presence of the earth,
Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves
Or a mere fiction of what never was?
Which speak of nothing more than what we are
It is this purpose which has led Wordsworth to consecrate by his imagination things which poetry never shone upon before. You will find in this way a dignity and grace given to feelings which before were perhaps deemed unworthy a second thought. For instance, it is hardly possible for any one to pass along the vacant, noiseless street of a city at very early morn, before the population is stirring,—to move amid the sleeping power of a large city,--without a sense of the tranquillity of the moment. The emotion is a natural, a common, and a simple one, but it is indefinite and evanescent, and therefore needs the imaginative power of a true poet to give it impressiveness without spoiling its simplicity. Wordsworth once gazed upon sleeping London, and the feeling I have just been speaking of is now a thing registered for ever in
HIS POETICAL SYMPATHIES.
poetry, in the exquisite expression of deep repose which he has given in his famous sonnet on Westminster Bridge :
"Earth has not anything to show more fair.
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
To take one other illustration; most persons have, I imagine, on looking on the placid surface of a pure and transparent sheet of water, felt a sort of thoughtless impulse, often uttering a sportive wish, to plunge into it. It would hardly be supposed that this blind impulse was susceptible of poetry or of an imaginative solution:
Why stand we gazing on the sparkling brine
Another form of poetic communion with nature is that which discovers a sympathy between the appearances of the outer world and emotions stirring in the heart. This is another great element of Wordsworth's poetry. On one occasion, having just read that the death of a celebrated and very popular British statesman was hourly looked for, he walks forth in the evening of a stormy day, and what he beholds and feels is a type of both the agitated spirit of the poet and his
countrymen, and of the steady, placid light of a meditative resignation :
"Loud is the vale: the voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,—
Of all her voices one!
"Loud is the vale: this inland depth
"Sad was I, even to pain deprest;
Importunate and heavy load!
"And many thousands now are sad,
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
"A power is passing from the earth
To breathless nature's dark abyss;
"That man, who is from God sent forth,
Then wherefore should we mourn?"
Passing from inanimate nature, I must hasten rapidly along the farreaching line of Wordsworth's poetic sympathies, entering next into the range of the lower orders of animal life. The tenderness of the human heart for the dumb creatures which surround us is a sentiment as pure as it is appropriate. Neglected, it leads to cruelty worse than brutish; but, on the other hand, in may be overwrought into a species of sentimental misanthropy. When one of Sir Walter Scott's dearest pet dogs died, he caused it to be buried in his garden,—his children weeping over the remains of their mute playmate, and he, as Mrs. Lockhart remembered, smoothing down the turf with one of the saddest expressions she had ever seen on his face. When afterwards the noblest and most celebrated of his favourites died, he caused a stone and inscription to be placed, near the gate of Abbotsford, over the dog's grave. When Lord Byron's dog expired, he set up a conspicuous monument in the garden at Newstead Abbey, with an elaborate poetic inscription, recording the virtues of the dead dog in an affected strain of
abuse and hatred of living men: The poet, moreover, by his will,
directed his own body to be buried near his faithful favourite. Now, every one must feel that this is a gross perversion of a feeling which might be chastened to better uses. The moment you find appropriated to the brute creation the obsequies which the heart hallows for man alone, you recoil instinctively from it, as either involving a heartless mockery or as degrading to humanity. The affection towards the creatures beneath us in the scale of being may be made to flow in a deep and true channel, as this tribute to a favourite dog well shows:
TRIBUTE TO A FAVOURITE DOG.
'Lie here, without a record of thy worth,
Beneath a covering of the common earth!
Or want of love, that here no stone we raise.
Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
I grieved for thee, and wish'd thy end were past,
Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share,
There is a beautiful expression of Wordsworth's meditative fancy inspired by musing over some gold and silver fishes in a vase, which I allude to, however, rather because of a higher inspiration prompted by the slight hint, the restoration of them to freedom. It tells his deep sympathy with the liberty of all the mere animal creation :
"Who can divine what impulses from God
Reach the caged lark, within a town-abode,
Roll on, ye spouting whales, who die cr keep
But the noblest dedication of Wordsworth's genius has been in his communion with his fellow-men,—a sympathy as expanded as ever filled the human heart, comprehensive of the highest and the lowliest of the race, and shedding a glory on all conditions of humanity :
"T is nature's law
No! man is dear to man; the poorest poor
When they can know and feel that they have been