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"But when I looked at my mistress' face, It was all too grave the while,
And when I ceased, methought there was more Of reproof than of praise in her smile. That smile I read aright, for thus,
Reprovingly, said she :
Such tales are meet for youthful ears,
But give little content to me. From thee far rather would I hear
Some sober, sadder lay,
Such as I oft have heard, well pleased,
"Nay, mistress mine,' I made reply;
That sense which held me back in youth
Nor marvel you if I prefer
Of playful themes to sing:
Such hues hath nature thrown,
Why should I seek to call forth tears?
"Enough of foresight sad, too much
"From public ills and thoughts that else
It only remains for me to show that that spirit of mirth was healthful,—a help to his moral strength, and consistent with a profound spirit of meditation. Let us turn, therefore, to the sublime closing strains of the most spiritual of his lyrical poems, the noble ode on the portrait of Bishop Heber. They had been friends; and, when India's saintly bishop was no longer upon the earth, Southey's heart was strongly stirred as he gazed upon his portrait:
"O Reginald! one course
Our studies and our thoughts,
Our aspirations, held.
We had a bond of union, closely knit
In spirit, though in this world's wilderness
"Hadst thou revisited thy native land,
And Change, must needs have made
In sure and certain hope,
Before the hand of age
Or sorrow reached him in his heart of hearts!
Most happy if he leave in his good name
A light for those who follow him,
Of good, prolific still!
"Yes, to the Christian, to the heathen world, Heber, thou art not dead,-thou canst not die Nor can I think of thee as lost.
A little portion of this little isle
At first divided us; then half the globe:
The breaking of a shell,
The rending of a veil !
Oh, when that leaf shall fall,
That shell be burst, that veil be rent, may then
A catholic taste in literature-Difficulties of a course of critical lectures Southey and Byron - The spirit of criticism, the spirit of charity-Roger's plea for Byron's memory-Popularity of his poetry -"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers"-" Childe Harold”-His love of external nature - Formation of his literary character Admiration for Pope-Success of "Childe Harold"-His Oriental tales-Literature of the last century-Story of Byron's marriage— Noctes Ambrosianæ-Contrast between the "Corsair" and the "Prisoner of Chillon"-" The Dream"-Materialism in his poetryManfred Venice - The Dying Gladiator-Strains for liberty-Beauty of womanly humanity-" Sardanapalus"-Byron's selfishness-His Infidelity.
In one of the introductory lectures of this course I took occasion to advert to the importance of cultivating a catholic taste in literature, and, in so doing, gave at least an implied pledge that it should be one of my chief efforts to carry the same spirit into what I might wish to say to you on the many and multiform productions of English poetry. A rash or a mock originality lies not within my ambition; and I have striven so to govern my voice that it should not convey to your ears old errors or old truisms disguised as startling paradoxes, that you should not turn from my opinions as prejudices or feel a
wound given to your own prepossessions. Indeed, I have desired to introduce into these lectures no more of my own opinions than the very nature of my position made necessary, and, avoiding the spirit of the judge or the advocate, simply to set before your minds the poets as they have risen in succession on the glorious registry we have been examining, to open and illustrate the hidden nature of their genius, and then to leave you to know and to feel the character and spirit of their poetry. Believing that every profession has its peculiar temptation and peril, and that the professional teacher has most need to be on his guard against the insidious habit of dogmatizing, I have arrogated no authority for my opinions. But when I have felt assured that they had a root of truth, and branching aspirations after truth, I have given them utterance, trusting that the sounds awakened by the breath of poetic inspiration would prove sounds of truth.
I have refrained from adverting at any time to the difficulties which may attend the prosecution of a course of lectures such as we have been engaged in, for the simple reason that it belongs to the lecturer alone to measure and meet them, and it is a matter of small moment whether they are appreciated or not by his hearers. One difficulty may be made in some measure an exception to the rule of silence, for partially it is shared by both parties. I mean the difficulty, consequent on a rapid succession of criticisms, of making the requisite transfer of the mind from one subject to another. No one, whether for the purpose of forming a critical opinion or of reading without any thought of criticism, can gain a real knowledge of an author, and, most of all authors, of a poet, without entering into the spirit of his writings, be