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another, we can only wonder that there should be but one small blemish in so many fair and beautiful pages of genuine poetry, adorned throughout with the most tender, refined, and elevated thoughts.
Gertrude of Wyoming is another poem strikingly illustrative of the influence of taste. In the death-song of the Indian chief, we observe how skilfully the poet has blended the indignant spirit of an injured man, with the strong affections, wild metaphors, an wilder visions, of that interesting and dignified people.
“ And I could weep ;-th' Oneyda chief
“ But hark, the trump--to morrow thou
My father's awful ghost appears,
“ He bids my soul for battle thirst
Campbell's “lines on leaving a scene in Bavaria,” full of the deep pathos of poetic feeling, afford one of the most splendid instances of the power of that faculty, which can strike with the rapidity of thought the chords of true harmony, and waken the genuine music of the soul--the echo of its deep, but secret passions. We cannot read these lines without feeling that there is a language for the wounded spirit—a voice amidst the solitudes of that
“ Unknown, unploughed, untrodden shore,"
whose melancholy cadence is in unison with the feelings which we may not, dare not, utter; and we inwardly bless the mournful minstrel for the wild sweet melody of his most harmonious lyre. Were we to attempt to quote passages from these lines, the temptation would extend to the whole of this inimitable poem, we can only recommend it to the reader as one of the finest specimens of poetic taste,
as well as poetic feeling, which our language affords.
After all that has been said on the subject, we feel that taste is something to be felt, rather than defined, yet of such unparalleled importance to the poet, that wanting this requisite, he may sing for ever, and yet sing in vain. As well might the musician expect to charm his audience, by playing what he assures them is the finest music, on a broken or defective instrument, as the poet hope to please without making himself thoroughly acquainted with the principles of taste-perhaps we should rather say, with what is, or is not in accordance with its rules, for as a principle, taste has not yet arrived at a definite state of existence; and if the young poet should read “The Pleasures of Hope" with reference to this subject, and not feel in his very soul the presence and the power of taste, he might bid adieu to the worship of the muses, and devote his genius to objects less elevated and sublime.
We have now examined the four requisites for writing poetry, to none of which it would be wise to assign a station of pre-eminence, because they are equally necessary to the success of the poet's art-impression to furnish lasting ideas, imagination to create images from such ideas, power to strike them out with emphasis and truth, and taste to recommend such as are worthy of approbation, and to dismiss such as are not. We have also been daring enough to maintain that poetry, as principle, pervades all nature, and if the fact be acknowledged that poetry is neither written with that ardour, nor read with that delight, which characterised an earlier era in our history, it becomes an important and interesting inquiry, What is the cause?
That imagination should be exhausted, is a moral impossibility; because the creation of a thousand images in no way disqualifies for the creation of a thousand more; any one quality extracted from a former image, and added to the whole or a part of another, being sufficient for the creation of one, that shall appear to the world entirely original or new. should be expended, is no less an absurdity in thought; because that being the vital principle by which thoughts are generated, man can only cease to think when he ceases to feel, and only cease to feel when he ceases to exist. And that taste should have lost its influence over the human mind, is equally at variance with common sense; because with increased facility in collecting and comparing evidence for the establishment of true excellence, taste must unavoidably become more definite in its nature, and more determinate in its operations. Beyond this, we may ask, is there anything in the customs, occupations, or mode of education peculiar to the present day, which hinders the exercise of imagination? We should rather say, that its sphere of action is widened to an incalculable extent. Is there anything that weakens the mind, or destroys its native power ?