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remote and abstract nature.

With the first

impressions of pain and pleasure, we learned to separate evil from good. We now learn that there is a deeper evil to which pleasure is frequently the prelude, and a higher good which can sometimes only be attained by passing through a medium of pain.

Our first strong impressions of a moral nature are of beauty and excellence. We should call beauty merely physical, did it not comprehend what belongs to fitness and harmony, as well as to colour and form. In all that is exquisite in art we are struck with the idea of beauty in connection with others; as, with all that is magnificent in nature we combine with the same idea, those of motion or sound, form or colour, light or shade, splendour or majesty, utility or power; but we are perhaps never more impressed with mere beauty than when contemplating a flower-gorgeous in its colour as the resplendent heavens-pure in its whiteness as the winter's snow. The eye that can gaze without admiration upon a flower, deserves to be prematurely dim; for what is there on earth more intensely beautiful! and yet how frail! so that scarcely does the breath of praise pass over it, than

its delicate petals begin to droop, and its stem that once stood proudly in the field or the garden, bends beneath the fading glory which it bears. Yet the same flower, supported by the hand of nature, and sheltered beneath her maternal wing, burst forth in the wilderness, where we are too delicate to tread, opened its gentle eye full underneath the sunbeams from which we turn away, rested on the thorns which startle us at every step, poured forth its odours upon the blast from which we shrink, drank in the dews which chill our coarser natures, endured the darkness of the solitary night from which we fly with terror, and derived its nourishment from the common earth, which we spurn, until we learn to value the latest friend whose arms are open to receive us.

Excellence, like beauty, is of kinds so various, and degrees so numerous, that it is only by a combination of impressions that we arrive at the idea of excellence in its abstract nature; but when once formed, it constitutes the point of reference, and the climax of all that we admire and love; and therefore it is of the utmost importance to the poet, that his standard of excellence should not only be acknowledged as such by the enlightened portion of mankind,

but that it should be as high as the human mind can reach, and at the same time so deeply graven upon his own heart, that neither ambition, hope, nor fear, nor any other passion or affection to which he is liable, can obliterate the impression, or supplant it by another.

All our ideas of intellectual as well as moral good are of a complex nature, arising not so much out of impressions made by things themselves, as by their relations, associations, and general fitness or unfitness one to another; hence it follows that the mind must be naturally qualified for receiving decided impressions of simple ideas, so as afterwards to make use of them, in drawing clear deductions, by comparing them one with another, and combining them together. How, for instance, would the poet describe the general influence of evening twilight, if he had never really felt its tranquillizing power as it extends over the external world, and reaches even to the heart? or how would he be able to convey a clear idea of the virtue of gratitude, if he had never known the expansion of generous feeling, the ardent hope of imparting happiness, and the disappointment of finding that happiness unappropriated, or received with contempt?

That there are men of common perceptions, who "travel from Dan to Beersheba," saying that all is barren, and that there are men of more than ordinary talent, who, deficient neither in imagination, power, nor taste, are yet unable to write poetry, is evidently owing to their want of capability for receiving lively impressions; for wherever such impressions exist, with sufficient imagination to arrange and combine them so as to create fresh images, with power to embody them in forcible words, and taste to render those words appropriate and pure, either poetry itself, or highly poetical prose, must be the natural language of such a mind.

We should say that opportunity for receiving agreeable impressions, as well as capacity for receiving them deeply, was essential to the poet, were it possible that any human being, even of moderately cultivated understanding, commanding the use of language, and acquainted with the principles of taste, should have been so entirely excluded from all contemplation of what is admirable, both in the external world and in human nature, as to have conceived no just idea either of physical or moral beauty. It is however of immense

importance to the poet that he should have formed an early and intimate acquaintance with subjects regarded as poetical by the unanimous opinion of mankind-that he should have gazed upon the sunset until his very soul was rapt in the blaze of its golden glory-that he should have lived in the quiet smile of the placid moon, and looked up to the stars of night, until he forgot his own identity, and became like a world of light amongst the shining host -that he should have watched the silvery flow of murmuring water, until his anxious thoughts of present things were lulled to rest, and the tide of memory rolled on, pure, and clear, and harmonious, as the woodland stream-that he should have listened to the glad voices of the birds of spring, until his own was mingled with the universal melody of nature, and strains of gratitude and joy burst forth from his overflowing heart-that he should have seen the woods in their summer vesture of varied green, and felt how beautiful is the garment of nature -that he should have found the nest of the timid bird, and observed how tender is maternal love, and how wonderful is the instinct with which the frailest creatures are endowed -that he should have stood by the wave

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