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Undaunted, toward the imperishable heavens,

From her own lonely altar ?" When imagination thus lights up these sublime visions of childhood and infancy, what wisdom, what moral strength are we to gather - or are they to pass away as profitless as dreams? The answer is this : the lesson that teaches how holy a thing, even with all its frailty, the heart is, before worldly passions throng to take possession of it, is in itself persuasive to aspirations after a renewed innocence and simple feelings. The consciousness or the recollection of a better nature, call it which you may, and dim and shadowy though it be, is precious, because God in mercy has not divorced the soul of man from hope and the joy inspired by the mere sense of the good and the pure and the beautiful. That sense is strengthened by these imaginative revelations of infancy, reflecting promises of a redeemed nature, which in themselves are often feebly apprehended; and thus, to apply to this subservience of imagination to revelation one of Wordsworth's beautiful images, we may behold the

uncertain heaven received Into the bosom of the steady lake.” Not only assurances of a better nature are gained; these imaginative “recollections of early childhood” expand into “intimations of immortality” in the lofty ode closing the miscellaneous poems. The imagination fashions the memory of " delight and liberty, the simple creed of childhood," into the idea of a pre-existent state - a mode of symbolizing the eternal and the ideal — and by a mighty grasp the past and the future are brought together as fragments of eternity, and from the memory of our inmost being in early life, there springs up an intimation of our immortality :

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting :
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home;
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it lows,

He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the East

Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended ;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a Mother's mind,

And no unworthy aim,

The homely Nurse does all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,

Forget the glories he hath known,

And that imperial palace whence he came." We know of no mightier effort of poetic genius, than the immortal endowment of the poet's spirit thus struggling with its earthly freight "custom, time, and domineering faculties of sense, and we feel that the power is victorious, when he exultingly tells


“ The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction :

for those first affections
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,

To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,

Nor Nan nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!

Hence in a season of calm weather,

Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,

And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.”
These strains belong to the very highest order of imagination.
They may, to some, appear flighty, wild, and extravagant - to

others, mystic and cloudy. This will vary according to the intellectual and imaginative endowments of different readers. A matter-of-fact philosophy, not conversant with man's inner being, may demand what is the spot of reality from wbich the poet's imagination has soured so high. A dogmatic fanaticism may arraign the heart of childhood - beholding there, not as with the poet's eye, “glimpses of glory,” but only spots of sin the feebleness of our fallen nature and symptoms of incipient depravity. The poet's creed, divested of its radiance, is this — that recollections of early childhood awaken in the mind conceptions of a state of being purer and better than what belongs to our after-years — that those conceptions wrought upon by the imagination become endowed with attributes not limitable by time or space

that thus the soul acquires a sense of something within itself that is more than earthly -- a consciousness of communings with eternity — and in this spiritual mood it passes over the limits at once of physical birth and death, and is borne forward from its youngest memory into an existence beyond the grave. In the image of childhood the heart recognizes its own imperishable nature, and in the innocence of those days it discovers faintly shadowed forth promises of the soul redeemed and happy. “In that little Goshen -- the heart of childhood," says Charles Lamb, " there will be light, when the grown world flounders about in the darkness of sense and materiality.' Wordsworth's devotion to the beauty of early life is the same trait of genius which produced Shakspeare's sweet pictures of childhood — Jeremy Taylor's — and Southey's affectionate playfulness with his “ good little women and men.” But the question may occur, what authority has Wordsworth for thus regarding childhood as emblematic of a happy hereafter? How dare he so deeply reverence any era of man's life? How dare he in any form of humanity -- corrupt, and wretched, and down-trodden as it is in the feebleness of infancy or the flutterings of childhood — trace intimations of immortality

foretokenings and assurances of heaven? This shall be fully met -- but by no other vindication than an allusion to that narrative which tells us that Jesus bade his busy disciples suffer the little children to come unto him and proclaiming that “ of such is the kingdom of God," " took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” Now, to turn the questioning back, - who will impute to Wordsworth a heresy, in thus, as it were in obedience to the Saviour's teaching, an. nouncing that childhood is a consecrated thing for man to medi

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tate on? We have before spoken of all poetry of a high order partaking of a sacred character in a more comprehensive sense than that to which as a metrical expression of doctrine, the term is usually appropriated. Poetry becomes auxiliar to Divine truth, with which it acts in harmony without identifying itself with the same forms of its lessons. For fear of misapprehension, it may be well to illustrate this by the present instance. The Saviour announces in one short sentence that “ of such (the little children) is the kingdom of heaven :" then it is a fit theme for uninspired wisdom to disclose what is the nature of the liule child. Thus, when Wordsworth sends his spirit to explore the heart of childhood and bring to light the beauty of its innocence, the impulse of his chastened poetic instinct, is in accordance with the teachings of childlike simplicity which distinguish Christianity, and the deepest of his musings is consecrated to the truth of revelation.

This subject has been dwelt on, to illustrate the sublime tone of Wordsworth's poetry when treating even the simplest forms of humanity. From the emotions of childhood, another law of our moral being is evolved in the lines with which the poet meets his reader on his first page:

“My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man ;
So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die !
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to bo

Bound each to each by natural piety.” It is one of the sorrows of humanity that we are seeble in carrying forward into life the freshness of our early days, and that our self-consciousness loses its continuity. “Men exist,” remarks Coleridge, "in fragments.” The elements of the heart are wasted when the sympathy between different periods of existence is broken. No recollection of youthful innocence rises up to plead with the sophistications of manhood — impulses are received only from what is outward and accidental — and, when animal decay comes on, the heart which has never recognised its inner modes of feeling, is found to be desolate. How affectionately does Charles Lamb — " the man Elia" — regard bis other self-“ the child Elia, in the back ground," as “ a guardian giving the rule to his unpractised steps, and regulating the

tones of his moral being !" It is one of Wordsworth's great aims to preserve the freshness of the spirit by cherishing the sensibility to the beauty of external nature; but with that fidelity to truth wbich never leaves him, it is acknowledged, that the feeling is not exempt from the influence of time. The change from the passionate gaze on nature to meditative contemplation, is feelingly described in the admirable " Tintern Abbey' lines.

To do any thing like justice to Wordsworth's descriptive powers is impossible within our limits. A hundred passages might be cited to show the world of sense, painted not only in its bolder features, but in its most delicate lines. The study of external nature pervades the Excursion, the Memorials of Tours, the beautiful series of “ Evening Voluntaries," and is scattered through the small pieces. We shall not attempt more than a few detached specimens of the minute accuracy of his descriptions:

“A single beech-tree grew
Within this grove of firs! and on the fork
Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest;
A last year's nest, conspicuously built
At such small elevation from the ground
As gare sure sign that they, who in that house
Of nature and of love had made their home
Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long
Dwelt in a tranquil spot." Naming of Places, 6.

“We paused, one now
And now the other; to point out, perchance
To pluck, some flower or water-weed, too fair
Either to be divided from the place
On which it grew, or to be left alone
To its den beauty.Naming of Places, 4.

" the lake
Just at the point of issue, where it fears

The form and motion of a stream to take ;
Where it begins to stir, yet voiceless as a snake."

Desultory Stanzas.

By this the stars were almost gone,

The moon was sitting on the hill,
So pale you scarcely looked at her:
The little birds began to stir,
Though yet their tongues were still :The Idiot Boy.


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