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Rome such as she has not known for ages—a glory equalled only by the burning shame of her unnatural assailants. And Hungary astonished the age by such unanimous enthusiasm, such magnanimous self-devotion, such magnificent endeavours, and such transcendent heroism, as have made her name holy and precious all over the earth, and engraved it never to be effaced on the heart of every generous son of England. The bitterness, the perversion, the despair of mankind, which seized upon Wordsworth, cannot oppress his successors of this day. The nations have struggled nobly and fallen gloriously. Hope survives ; Faith is strengthened ; Humanity has been justified, and God is glorified.
We will leave our readers to learn for themselves from the last three books of the “Prelude,” how Wordsworth was gradually uplifted from this mental impotence and moral despair by the gracious ministration of Nature, the tender intervention of his sister, and the various agencies of domestic affection, and regained the vigorous serenity of mind and the happy harmony of faculties necessary for the manifestation of his genius and the fulfilment of his task. We shall be the more excused for so leaving them, as they appear to us the least interesting and splendid portion of the Poem. As a Poem, we hold the “ Prelude” to be very great. It possesses, to be sure, many of the faults of Wordsworth. Now and then it is tiresomely diffuse; and contains a very unnecessary amount of prose, and more than a reasonable allowance of philosophising. But notwithstanding this, it is a noble production, has far transcended our expectations, and greatly raised the poetical rank of Wordsworth in our estimation. It reveals a fulness of life, a vividness of thought, a potency of passion, a continuous power and richness of expression, and a sustained harmony of numbers, which we hardly expected from Wordsworth. Upon the whole we prefer it to the “Excursion.” There is a might and glory as of youth about the earlier strain, which we miss in its successor, which preceded it in manifestation to the world.
Asa mental autobiography, the“Prelude” is most precious. We have there laid open the secret growth of a great soul, the origin of a great revolution in our Literature. We behold how the great Poet was inspired-how the poetical Innovator was fashioned for his task. Awful secrets are told us and glorious mysteries are revealed. We watch the unfolding of a mighty mind; we witness the inspiring of a lofty genius. The hidden process is made plain; the continuous progress is minutely traced. Nature first fed and ministered to that mind, shone upon it with her best beauty, and filled it with her very fulness, made it noble and kept it pure. Graceful and temperate intercourse with the world, and happy experience, widened its range, confirmed its power, and added to its wealth. The French Revolution enlarged and glorified it; that mighty conflagration enkindled it; that dawning of the world's Elysium uplifted it into a divine altitude of hope and love, from which, as the glory vanished and the fire celestial darkened down to flame infernal, it was hurled into depths of bitterness, perplexity and despair, to be replenished with more than its original light and beauty by the gracious ministrations of Nature, and the sweet cherishings of home. The great Poet was built up from the worshipper of Nature, the political enthusiast, and the lover of Humanity. Not without the English lakes, not without the French Revolu. tion, was English Poetry renewed and glorified.
We see how great Poets grow and thrive-by the union of an intense love of Nature, with an intense love of man. Mere enthusiasm for outward beauty and grandeur is insufficient to equip and perfect the Poet; he cannot be transcendently mighty, he cannot be abidingly glorious, without the still diviner enthusiasm for the glory of the soul and the possibilities of man-enthusiasm for his political advancement - enthusiasm for his individual welfare.
ART. I.-SYMEON THE FIRST PILLAR-SAINT
Symeon der erste Säulenheilige in Syrien, und sein Einfluss
auf die weitere Verbreitung des Christenthums im Orient. Von Friedrich Uhlemann. Leipzig, 1846. Symeon the first Pillar-Saint in Syria, and his influence on the wider spread of Christianity in the East. A contribution to Church-history derived from the original sources by Frederick Uhlemann, &c., &c., &c. From the Journal of Historical Theology. 1845. III. and IV.
The conflict of man with himself is the one most frequently recurring and most painfully interesting characteristic of his nature. He dare not follow his own forces. He must direct and master them, or they will tear him to pieces. He has steeds of the sun to draw him, and there is no alternative but a steady course by means of a tight rein, or a headlong career, in which not even the horses are masters, for in such a case there is no master at all. It has been usual in most ages to seek for the interpreting law in the simple phenomena. Thus the Manichean declared that man bad a double nature; one of the flesh and evil, another of the spirit and good; and the object to be
CHRISTIAN TEACHER.—No. 52.
achieved according to his apprehension was simply the eversion of the former by the latter. According to this view therefore man was a combination of two sets of forces, both of which were to struggle for, and one of which was to gain, the mastery. Everything in consequence which could degrade, weaken, and utterly subdue the wants and desires of the body, and make their force as nothing compared with the wants and desires of the soul, was a step towards the fulfilment of the great object of a worthy existence. Thus every man was born into the world to wage a perpetual war; the antagonism was inevitable, continual and designed. His natural and necessary condition was one of internecine conflict. He himself was at once assailer and defender. He contended as with his own two hands, one against the other. His own emotions and desires formed the mutually opposed armaments, and his own wretched heart the convulsed and bloody battlefield. Man having within himself a good and a bad nature, his creation, double in the same manner, must have been the joint work of a good and evil power. This conviction arising from the apparent phenomena of the case, exercised, as a theory, a strong retro-active influence upon the interpretation of the phenomena. So that, irreconcileable phenomena led to the supposition of irreconcileable originating powers, and the existence and influence of these embittered the strife of the phenomena, and made peace impossible.
The error here arose from seeking a philosophy not from the phenomena but in them. The interpretation, if it deserved such a name, was a mere statement and aggregation of the app nt facts. It declared that there were two sets of tendencies and powers in our nature, opposed to each other, and that one of these, as the better, ought to triumph, to the subjugation and prostration of the other, as the worse. But it failed to show by what power one of these sides of the double nature triumphed; was it by a power residing in itself? or was it not by a power extraneous to and in a measure independent of itself? And if so, was not that power superior to the material forces as well as the spiritual ? and that being the case, was the true interpretation of the phenomena to be found simply in themselves, in the supposed fact that there were two sets of