Puslapio vaizdai

Then comes Wordsworth's comment:
"Even be it so; yet still among your tribe,

Our daily world's true worldings, rank not me!
Children are blest and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet
And part far from them: sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet.
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,

He is a slave; the meanest we can meet!"

To understand this, you must carry in your recollection what Wordsworth's views of childhood and infancy are, as given in the sublime "Ode to Immortality." A child, according to Wordsworth, is a being haunted for ever by eternal mind. He tells us that "Heaven lies about us in our infancy "that the child moves perpetually in two worlds: the world that is seen right before him, and that terminated in another world—a world invisible, the glory of which is as from a palace" That imperial palace whence he came;" and that high philosophy and poetry are nothing but this coming back to the simple state of childhood, in which we see not merely the thing before us, but the thing before us transfigured and irradiated by the perception of that higher life

"Children are blest and powerful; their world lies

More justly balanced; partly at their feet,

And part afar from them."

Then Wordsworth goes on to show how poetry supplies the place which scandal and gossip had occupied.

Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,

Are a substantial world, both pure and good:

Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood, Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,

Matter wherein right voluble I am,

To which I listen with a ready ear;

Two shall be named, preëminently dear,—
The gentle lady married to the Moor;

And heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb."

In other words, scandal is nothing more than inverted love of humanity. An absolute necessity, Wordsworth tells us, exists within us for personal themes of conversation that have reference to human beings, and not to abstract principles; but when that necessity is gratified upon the concerns and occupations of those immediately around us, which necessarily become mixed with envy and evil feelings, then that necessity is inverted and perverted. So the place of detraction or scandal is by the poet occupied in personal themes; as, for example, when a man has made the object of his household thoughts such characters as Desdemona and Spenser's Una, then he has something which may carry his mind


to high and true principles, beyond the present. Then Wordsworth goes on to say,—

"Nor can I not believe but that hereby

Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote
From evil speaking; rancour, never sought,

Comes to me not, malignant truth, nor lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I

Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought:
And thus, from day to day my little boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably.
Blessings be with them-and eternal praise,

Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares— The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays.”

I shall now read you a passage from a letter written by Wordsworth to Lady Beaumont, in which he answers the objection that his poems were not popular, and explains the reason why in one sense his poetry never could be popular with the world of fashion.

"It is impossible that any expectations can be lower than mine concerning the immediate effect of this little work upon what is called the public. I do not here take into consideration the envy and malevolence, and all the bad passions, which always stand in the way of a work of any merit from a living poet; but merely think of the pure, absolute, honest ignorance in which all worldlings of every rank and situation must be enveloped,

with respect to the thoughts, feelings, and images, on which the life of my poems depends. The things which I have taken, whether from within or without-what have they to do with routs, dinners, morning calls, hurry from door to door, from street to street, on foot or in carriage; with Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox, Mr. Paul or Sir Francis Burdett, the Westminster election or the borough of Honiton? In a word-for I cannot stop to make my way through the hurry of images that present themselves to me-what have they to do with endless talking about things nobody cares anything for, except as far as their own vanity is concerned, and this with persons they care nothing for, but as their vanity or selfishness is concerned? What have they to do (to say all at once) with a life without love? In such a life there can be no thought; for we have no thoughts (save thoughts of pain,) but as far as we have love and admiration.

"It is an awful truth that there neither is, nor can be, any genuine enjoyment of poetry among nineteen out of twenty of those persons who live, or wish to live, in the broad light of the world— among those who either are, or are striving to make themselves, people of consideration in society. This is a truth, and an awful one; because to be incapable of a feeling of poetry, in

my sense of the word, is to be without love of human nature and reverence for God.

"Upon this I shall insist elsewhere; at present, let me confine myself to my object, which is to make you, my dear friend, as easy-hearted as myself with respect to these poems. Trouble not yourself upon their present reception: of what moment is that, compared with what I trust is their destiny?-to console the afflicted; to add sunshine to daylight, by making the happy happier; to teach the young and the gracious of every age to see, to think, and feel, and therefore to become more actively and securely virtuous— this is their office, which I trust they will faithfully perform, long after we (that is, all that is mortal of us) are mouldered in our graves."

And then, after some striking criticisms and analyses of his own poetry, he continues:

"Be assured that the decision of these persons has nothing to do with the question; they are altogether incompetent judges. These people, in the senseless hurry of their idle lives, do not read books; they merely snatch a glance at them that they may talk about them. And even if this were not so, never forget what, I believe, was observed to you by Coleridge-that every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great or original, must himself create the taste by which

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