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the greater or the less; and since the idea of a dual unit, the coefficients of which are both solar, is impossible ; it follows that they become both planetary, revolving round one another like double suns, that is to say, both negative; that is to say, again, both non-sensitive, both non-voluntative, both non-cogitative; that is to say, again, both asleep. Is this the true theory of sleep? Since one hemisphere of the cerebral mass is often larger than the other, may it not in that degree and in such cases be neuro-positive; and does not such a supposition render the Joseph, or habitual dreamer, intelligible? In conclusion, may not the partial disentrancement of only one of the hemispheres, in one who sleeps, produce sleepwalking and its extraordinary concomitants, such as prevision and clear. sight? At all events, it is certainly not so difficult to reduce the fact of spontaneous somnambulism under our gratuitous hypothesis as it seems at first sight.

One word more, and we have done. It is to be feared that some readers, and more especially such as are very favorable to the claims of Mesmerism, will be of opinion that this hypothesis has been brought forward with unbecoming levity. It will perhaps be supposed that we do really believe in the higher phenomena just as decidedly as we have professed to do in the trance, but that we are ashamed or afraid to avow the fact. The real truth of the matter is neither far to seek nor ill to tell. The whole subject of Mesmerism was thrust on our attention early in life. We witnessed experiments of every sort, and we were too easily satisfied with their results. Then came the intellectual necessity of understanding and explaining such amazing phenomena; that is to say, of ccördinating and coadunating them with the uncompleted sphere of science. A little band of fellow-students looked to us for such a service, and the hypothesis, which has been outlined above, was the product of our eager meditations. Having seen reason, however, to question the methodological validity of mesmeric evidence, our poor hypothesis is now advanced as nothing more than a playful exercitation of the intellect, in so far as all the more dubious findings of mesmeric research are concerned. Whatever may be its intrinsic worth or worthlessness as a piece of speculative thought, its value as a contribution to science is exactly equal to zero; and we do not entertain the very faintest hope, wish, or expectation concerning its future fortunes in the world.

The earth hath bubbles as the water bath,
And this is of them!


We shall not be accused of courting popular approbation in the selection of a subject for the following essay. The English poet, whose name is written above, is with few exceptions the least known among 11s.

True, he has admirers among the lovers of genuine poetry. But the great verse-devouring public cannot stop to analyze and appreciate the beauties of writers like him, like Tennyson, Milnes, and Browning. Therefore Mrs. Norton, Eliza Cook, Mrs. Ellis, and Barry Cornwall are the names by which modern English poetry is commonly represented among us.

There are exceptions to these remarks. Tennyson has long been before the public, in a readable form, and is at last coming into notice since it has become fashionable to read “ The Princess.” Keats has but lately appeared in a manner worthy his merits. One only of Milnes' charming volumes has strayed among us, but its modest presence was forgotten amid the flourish of trumpets that announced the “New Timon.” Browning and Horne, the authors of “ Paracelsus," “ Sordelles,” “Bells and Pomegranates," and “Orion," are yet to come. Perhaps we ought not to complain of this. It is easier to read songs than study epics. The jingling bells of rhyme sound pleasantly enough to ears not attuned to the sphere-born melody of the true singer. But we may certainly be excused in our attempt to write a few imperfect words on Keats, a poet differing widely in several ways from all other living English or American writers.

This peculiarity is the reproduction of the beautiful in nature and sensuous life, with a corresponding beauty of form. Poets of this class have little of the didactic, little of the higher spiritual insight of which we shall hereafter speak as the characteristics of the lowest and highest species of poetry. Keats represents beauty as it manifests itself in outward forms, not from any ulterior moral purpose, but simply from a love of the beautiful in itself. He is an Artist of the first degree, embodying his conceptions, at times, in forms of surpassing beauty, as in “ Hyperion,” « The Eve of St. Agnes,” and portions of “ Endymion.

Such being the distinguishing feature of this writer, it seems necessary, previous to a review of his works, to indicate the relation of the beautiful to poetry. This will require a definition of Poetry, which we will endeavour to give in a brief

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space, though at the risk of repeating what has been better said by critics before.

What, then is the essence of the poetical ? With what objects material or spiritual is poetry concerned ?

The least informed reader of the reviews will discover that every man has an answer to this. One tells us poetry is imitation, another, creation, another, that its legitimate province is the beautiful, another, that it should be a teacher of truth and morality. In fact the subtle spirit seems to elude the grasp of all. No sooner have the critics built their walls of limitation around it, than it lightly scales them and darts off into unexplored realms. Every original poet finds the materials of his art lying in by-places and corners which had been given over by common consent to the dominion of the prosaic. We must not look to criticism to teach us the possibilities of poetry. It can deal only with the past, illustrating and explaining what has been done. It must follow in the train of genius, content with being her expositor. The weather-prophet may sit in the fields, on a bright day, surrounded with his almanacs and instruments, and predict the changes of the elements; but the sudden rising of a thunder storm disperses all his fine calculations, and sends him dripping to his home. Our definitions of poetry must not be narrow. Any theory of the Art is incomplete which shuts the door against the future. We must accept the past, acknowledge and classify it, if we will, but stand in reverence before the awful coming of every new bard.

The futility of all these critical limitations at once appears when we attempt to define our ideas of the beautiful, the true, and the good, the very terms employed to limit the art. What is this Beauty, this Truth, this Love, which are separately or unitedly considered the domain of poetry?

As far as our vision extends, Truth, Love, and Beauty appear to complete the circle of being. They are perceived by what we call the intellectual, affectional, and imaginative faculties of the mind. This distinction seems the least arbitrary of any we can make. It is one which the mind appears naturally to recognize. This is all we are now permitted to know of absolute being; as much of the Deity as he is pleased to reveal to us; as much, perhaps, as our faculties, in their present state, can comprehend.

But here arises a difficulty. Are Truth, Love, and Beauty separate elements, or is Being one, revealing itself in these forms ? In nature, are the forces of heat, electricity, and attraction really different, or only one force acting in different circumstances ? In morals, are humility, piety, self-denial, separate virtues, or is there but one essential virtue receiving these names from its several manifestations ?

These questions, especially the first, which includes the others, are of the first importance to the decision of our subject; for if there be but one germ of spiritual existence which is Truth, Love, or Beauty, according to the relation in which we perceive it, then is it manifestly absurd to say poetry deals only with the beautiful, the true, or the good.

The most accurate analysis we can make of things so abstract seems to prove that Being is one. At least, no one of the elements we have mentioned can exist in perfection separated from the others. Remove the elements of Truth from existence, and Love and Beauty go to seek their lost companion. There can be no perfect Love without Truth and Beauty; no perfect Beauty disjoined from Truth and Love. As we fix our mental vision upon the essence of Being, these elements blend and separate like the shifting lights of a brilliant gem.

Thus a spiritual thing is not fully known until this question is decided in relation to it. Then if we knew the precise amount of the element or elements of Being in it, its relation to every other thing in the universe and to God, the source of all, our knowledge of it would be complete. Then could we form a theory of poetry which would last for all time, but not till then. Our critics, we apprehend, are not anxious to attempt such a task.

The Poet sees things in their reality. In proportion as he looks deeply into the mystery of Being, discovering the blended lustre of Truth, Love, and Beauty, is he a true seer. His vocation is not to sever things God hath joined. He cannot cut off one from the triple elements of existence and sing of it, for the sole condition of a correct appreciation of one is a knowledge of all. This poet is yet to come. The songs of the bards have hitherto been of things in their diversity. They have been musical fragments from the secret of nature.

His song must be of its harmony, its unity.

Men have sought to limit the province of poetry, and their limitations have only indicated the boundaries of their own vision. They tell us Homer, Shakespeare, Pope, or Shelley have closed the door against all others. They can only mean that their own sight can pierce no further. Poesy obeys other laws than those of their manufacture. Its range is coextensive

with the universe. There is nothing so high that it will not fy up to it; nothing so common that it will not stoop to raise it from its abasement. Let us, then, have done with this poor play of limitations. We only weave a web to entangle ourselves, the meshes of which wither like burnt flax from around the limbs of Genius. The spiritual creation is not exhausted. There are mysteries beneath mysteries, yet to be solved. In fact, what have been all our advances but a clearing of the field for seed time. To many men flashes of reality have come, but they have been wise by moments only to be foolish for years. The great poetical sayings of all the poets would fill but a few volumes. No one of them has been great altogether. Yet let us not despise what has been done. We cannot understand why we must hate Pope to love Emerson. Let us have every man who has written up to his capacity. He is necessary to complete the series of minds which, beginning with the lowest, shall ascend to the highest. Our own spirits must pass through these successive steps in their progress. At every point of advancement stands a bard to instruct us. We wrench his secret from him and pass on, but why should it be with a frown? As we pace the street at night we leave behind, one after another, the lamps that have lighted our course. Shall we extinguish them, that he who follows may stumble in darkness ?

If these remarks are true, we may by their aid assign the position of different kinds of poets in the ascending series. The lowest rank we would give to merely didactic teachers in verse, of science, manners, or religion. The powers required to execute this species of poetry, if such it can be called, are only a facility in versification with terseness of expression. The same may be said of the satirist, although it requires a greater degree of insight to wield his weapons than to repeat standard precepts of morality, or scientific truth. Next are the painters of external nature, life and marners; men like Irving, Scott, and Crabbe, who aim only to represent the surfaces of things, content if arousement may thereby be rendered to their readers. Beyond this come various degrees of spiritual insight, varying in men so widely as to forbid

classification. Now flashing down for an instant into the deep places of nature and mind, as in Bulwer and Bailey, now stealing in unconsciously and imparting a spiritual grace, as at times in Keats, and oftener in Tennyson; now pervading the thought of a writer, so that it almost destroys his medium of communication NO. VIII.


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