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ashamed to acknowledge that I had may probably change their creed, or been carried over the sentence by its become somewhat more liberal when mere euphony, - though, perhaps, they reflect upon this undeniable there was no good reason why I truth which I have just asserted. So should have been ashamed. Had delicate a judgment does it require my friend possessed much suscepti- exactly to determine that bound bility of ear for the music of poetry, which the “ vaulting. ambition” of a the grandeur of the phrase he ob- poet's mind cannot overleap without jected to would have entranced his an offence to good sense or good mind, and for the moment made him taste, that no author who has ever incapable of looking further. But dared to ascend “ the brightest heaas my ear grew familiar with the ven of invention” can be found who euphony of the above expression, and has always sustained himself in that was sated with it, I should naturally high medium with perfect steadiness. have sought out its other merits, its He is either lost in the clouds by intellectual supply of gratification. some extravagant reach at loftier I have often done this ; often repeat- points, or « plumb down he drops" ed the phrase with a hope that its in some awkward attempt at original meaning would, as it were, lighten excursions. It is to this nodding over my mind, which is all that I re- judgment that we owe such images quire; but after many trials, I am as—« legs like pillars of marble,”
" inclined to think that the sound of 6 eyes like the fish pools of Heshbon," the syllables is the only merit they a " nose like the tower of Lebanon, possess. There is a passage in Mil- &c. &c. in the Song of Solomon; it ton's Comus, which similarly, though is to this that we are to trace Shaknot in the same degree, tantalizes the speare's ridiculous bombastics, and intellectual apprehension of a reader, Milton's occasional incomprehensigratifying his ear as this does. Where bilities. It is to the want of this the poet speaks of music that did nice faculty of discriminating between
imagery or sentiment, purely and Float upon the wings Of silence, through the empty-vaulted
impurely sublime, that we must atnight,
tribute the errors of the German and At every fall smoothing the raven down
French schools of composition. The Of darkness till it smiled.
former cannot perceive the distinc
tion between sublime and grotesque The image were palpable if it had imagery, nor the latter that between been light which smoothed the raven
sublime and inflated sentiment. When down of darkness till it smiled; but the war-horse in Job is described as I confess myself unable clearly to ap- saying.“ among the trumpets, ha! prehend how such a visible quality ha!” the poet, I conceive, has gone can, even figuratively, be attributed the very uttermost length that any to sound. If it be merely meant that poet could go with impunity. One music made even the gloom of night step farther, and he would have inepleasant, this indeed is plain enough; vitably incurred ridicule. What led but such fine words cannot have so him to the brink of this precipice, ordinary a sense.
where another step would have been There is, however, in the preceding destruction ?-his imagination, which extract from Job, enough of remain- gloried in snatching a wreath from off ing and unequivocal sublimity to that pinnacle where a less sublime challenge admiration. Its merits have genius would have feared to tread. been illustrated in a paper of the What withheld him at the extremest Guardian, to which I refer my reader, limit of safety?-his judgment, which if indeed he requires any assistance told him that so far he could go, but in appreciating them. To the above no farther. And this in poetry is the remark on one phrase of this extract peculiar province of judgment,—to I will merely subjoin another on the restrain the transgressions of a roving last verse.
There are two perilous imagination, to chastise the insolence extremes to which sublimity is al- of an over-peering fancy. Hence if ways verging: the unintelligible and a daring imagination be essential to the ridiculous. Those who are indis- the constitution of a supreme poet, posed to concede the faculty of judg- is not a refined judgment also indisment in any great degree to any poet pensable? How therefore can we conclude that judgment and the poetic tended, the writer of the book of faculty are inconsistent?
Job. The pervading spirit of that It is not now my intention to enter poem (deservedly so called) is darupon the consideration of Scriptural ing, arrogant, high-reaching sublimisublimity in its full extent; but ty. The style of the great legislator whilst I relinquish this subject for of the Jews is, both with respect to the present, I cannot help asking my sentiment and phraseology, simple reader if the habit of repeating the even to homeliness, equable, and unPsalms by rote has prevented him ambitious. Sublimity, though always from noticing the tremendous energy urest when couched in the simplest of a passage which he must have language, springs from a double frequently read with his outward eye. fountain : with simplicity of diction Thy feet shall be dipped in the blood of
a compatible grandeur of sentiment thine enemies, and the tongues of the dogs There is little of this latter quality in
must unite to form the true sublime. shall be red with the same.
the books of the Pentateuch. That There is something terrible in instance which occurs in the first the vindictive sublimity of this threat, chapter, and upon which so much from which a modern imagination needless eloquence has been spent, is would shrink, however audacious. what may be called involuntary subNo one but a servant of Omnipo- limity. An historian of that simple tence would dare to utter such a age relating such a magnificent fact menace ; no enemies but those of the as the creation of the world could most High could deserve such a not well have avoided being sublime. fierce anathema to be hurled against The fact in itself and independent of them. Another passage in the pri- the historian was sublime: the simvate letters of a celebrated individual ple relation of it must be so too; and of our own age and country has the relation of it by an historian of always impressed me with a sensa- that age must have been simple. tion of indescribable awe when I Hence are the three first verses of thought of it:
Genesis necessarily sublime. The As to you, it is clearly my opinion,
same may be said of the description that you have nothing to fear from the of the Flood, the passage of the Red Duke of Bedford. I reserve some things Sea, and others. This sacred author expressly to awe him, in case he should and parent of all authors seldom goes think of bringing you before the House of out of his way to be sublime. He is Lords. I am sure I can threaten him pri- every where simple, concise; often vately with such a storm, as would make homely, and jejune.
Less of an him tremble even in his grave.
orator than an historian, less of an The author of these letters (who- historian than a chronicler.
But ever he may have been) was a man though a writer so meek in his literaof the most energetic powers of ry aspirations that he rather admits mind; but they were nevertheless than introduces the sublime ; of so unequal to the above passage. It is didactic a mind that he rarely detaken, word_for word, from the viates from the straight forward road Scriptures. Before I detected this, of narrative into the pleasure grounds I had admired the genius which in- of description or embellishment; yet vented such a powerful expression; neither the modesty of his style nor I now only admire the taste which the brevity of his manner has preselected it.
vented bim leaving us a specimen of My having accidentally adverted the beautiful, one of the most perfect to the book of Job will serve to in- on record. It is indeed but a dimitroduce the subject upon which alone nutive though an invaluable gem. I at first intended to speak. There Like a solitary snow-drop it endeaare one or two fine passages in those vours to escape observation amidst parts of the Sacred Writings known the waste in which it smiles. Though as the work of Moses; but I can- its beauty be of the most attractive not think he was, as has been con- kind when laid open to view, the
* Locke's definition of wit is just as applicable to poetry and “ pleasant" prose so as it be metaphorical, whether witty or not, as to that which he meant to define. And his arguments go as well to prove judgment and poetry incompatible, as judgment and wit.
flower is so small and so retiring that be understood by the term weeping. we pass over the spot where it grows But the excess of pathos in the above without seeing it. I have never heard five words is consummated by the any one speak of the “ Finding of choice of the word “ wept," in preMoses” as a story offering any pecu- ference to all others of the same class. liar beauty to the reader's contempla- Had the word—cried been used, it tion; yet I think I should have heard would perhaps have expressed the every one speak of it as such. I babe's little history as well ; but cannot account for this, inasmuch as there is a depth of woe, a gentleness to me the beauty contained in it is as and yet a bitterness of complaint, an clear as starlight; except in the sup- utter feeling of desertion and helpposition that as a little star, though lessness, indicated by the term perhaps more intrinsically brilliant wept, as here employed, which no than the moon, is unobserved by rea- other word could convey. The parson of its littleness, so the beauty I ticular choice of this term may be allude to, though more exquisite than the merit of the translator ; but the that which glares in many a larger whole phrase is beautiful, and precircuit of words, has been left unno- sents such an exquisite picture of inticed by reason of the exceedingly nocence, desertedness, and distress, small space it occupies on the page. as cannot but interest the finest feelIn fact, though palpable when speci- ings of the heart. I would have it fically contemplated, it is nearly im- observed too that the story would perceptible when surveyed at large have been complete without these with other objects. It is contracted five words; it is therefore to be coninto five words.
sidered as having flowed merely from And there went a man of the house of the spirit of poetry and tenderness in Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
the author's breast. It is sufficient to And the woman conceived and bare a son; redeem pages of barren chronicle.and when she saw him that he was a good. As a description of helpless innocence ly child, she hid him three months. the above passage from Exodus is
And when she could not longer hide unrivalled. There is however a dehim, she took for him an ark of hulrushes, scription of the same subject in the and put the child therein, and she laid it works of a profane writer which apin the flags by the river brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what proaches its
model more nearly than should be done to him.
any other I can now recollect. It And the daughter of Pharaoh came down also resembles its prototype in being to bathe herself at the river, and her nearly invisible to the general reader; maidens walked along by the river side:
at least I have never heard it cited. and when she saw the ark among the flags, We find it in a strange book too, and she sent her maid to fetch it.
where we should by no means have And when she opened it, she saw the expected it to appear,—The History child : and behold !--the babé wept. And of a Foundling ! The benevolent she had compassion on him and said, This Allworthy is described as listening to is one of the Hebrew's children.
the speech of his servant, who advises Exodus, Chap. II.
him to expose the little foundling to Here is a picture !-or rather a the inclemency of the night,—to let miniature, touched by the pencil of it (as she says) “ die in a state of a fairy. It would make a delicate innocence.” But the voice of Nature subject for Ariel to paint in the ten- in Allworthy's heart outpleaded this der leaf of a cowslip. No !--no ar- sordid piece of eloquence: tist could possibly do it justice, but he who paints in words, to the soul
He had now got one of his fingers into not to the sense.
A painter could the infant's hand, which by its gentle never reach the whole beauty of the pressure seemed to implore his assistance. phrase" wept." He could only Nothing can exceed the pathos and give the silent meaning of that word, beauty of this description, unless it which is but part of its true mean
be the combination of those same ing, and belongs as well to other less qualities in the “ Finding of Moses." piteous modes of distress than is to
WALK TO PAESTUM, LEUCOSIA, &c.
(Concluded.) On leaving the monks of Capaccio, The approach to Acropoli is dewe descended to the Paestan plain, lightful: a considerable stream flows crossed the fiume salso, and passed before it, and irrigates a number of close to the walls of the ancient city, fine gardens, almost entirely hedged at Spinazzi, a farming establishment in with the Indian fig; the romantic which belongs to the Prince of Angri. little town, with an old castle, a diNear here we saw a great number of lapidated wall, and numerous small breeding mares, horses, and colts. towers in ruins, stands on a pleasant Beyond Spinazzi, we soon got among sloping green hill about a hundred the macchioni, immense thickets, and thirty feet above the sea; the chiefly of high myrtle bushes--places gentle cape of Tresina throws itself admirably adapted to robbers, and out beyond it, and the hills behind it which have often been illustrated by are exceedingly well cultivated, and their deeds. As we walked along speckled with neat white casini, and the narrow shady paths, buffaloes a spacious monastery. This Cecropea close by stuck out their ugly muz- of Posidonia, for such it was aczles at us, as if in contempt; for cording to Mazzocchi and Pontanus, the way they elevate their black has long outlived its mighty parent; snouts, has certainly that expression; it was erected into a city by the they paid no attention to our shouts, Greeks, who found it a convenient but stood gazing at us unmoved. sea-port in the beginning of the sixth
From Spinazzi to Acropoli is about century, and in 599 it became the four miles; in that distance we pass- see of a bishop: the Saracens took ed but three or four houses and a it and held it for some time, and a martello tower, and until close to flat on the outside of the walls is Acropoli, we did not meet a human still called Campo Saraceno. At prebeing. This space was covered with sent its population is inconsiderable, the Sybarite city of Posidonia; the it gives employment to only four soil is still rough and stony with its paranzelle (large open boats) that fragments ; due examination might, carry produce to Salerno and Naples, as Mr. Eustace opines, bring forth and to a few fishing boats.
Here “ some monument of the opulence we took a guide for Leucosia; he and the refinement of its founders ;” was a smart jolly fellow that had but recourse must be had to excava- served the English when in Sicily, tion, for the whole surface, which and had afterwards, without knowhas been “ duly examined,” offers ing two words of Greek, married a nothing more important than a mor- Greek woman at Cephalonia, who ceuu of a frieze, a perforated stone, did not know a word of Italian. On or a piece of a column. The cause leaving Acropoli, we immediately of malaria, all along the coast of ascended Monte Tresina ; fine views Italy, is here found in perfection: of the mountains of the Cilento, a the water that descends from the beautiful and fertile district which mountains has not sufficient courses comprises several considerable towns to the sea; it deluges a great part of and many villages, presented themthe soil in the winter and spring, selves to us: on a lofty wooded point carrying off in its violence almost we saw Santa Maria la Tempatella, a every thing it finds in its way; and renowned monastery of the Cumaldoit stagnates in the summer, poisoning lesi, now deserted; and on a sepathe pure air that nature and climate rate hill, a Franciscan monastery, have given. Yet how easy would still occupied. Our guide pointed out it be to convert the fiumari into to us another monastery on a mountain canals, and render this desert plain still more distant, where is held weekly the seat of cultivation and prosperity! a great market, called N Mercato di How easy, but how hopeless the ex- Sabato dentro Cilento. Pier di Fiume periment, in a country where indi- is the nearest town to it, but it is frevidual spiritlessness and indolence qliented by the inhabitants of at equal the apathy of government ! least a hundred towns and villages. Beyond Monte Tresina, we crossed falling to ruin, and a cottage, stand a loftier mountain, La Serra dell' near the shore, and about a dozen Alano, from whose summit the pros- cottages are spread about at the pect is superb; it includes the whole foot of the hill, the Enipeon Prosweep of the bay of Salerno, from montory. We found two customCapo Campanella to the Punto di house soldiers, four sailors, and the Licosa, with its beautiful indented tavernaro and his wife, who all comcoasts, and the grand mountains that plained of the loneliness of the spot. look over them. The road or path The sailors conducted us to the is almost as bad as can be imagined ; Syren Isle, which is now not above it was once paved, but like all the three hundred paces from the shore; works of public utility, in the pro- the strait between is very shallow, 'vinces, it has been suffered to go to not being more than six feet deep in decay, and the poor asses and mules the middle. Imagine a low reef, find it sad work indeed to cross it. based on rocks, three hundred paces As we descended the sides of La long and from forty to sixty broad, Serra dell' Alano, we got into a fine matted with robust weeds and myrtle fertile country, abounding with corn, bushes, a few detached masses of festooned vines, immense numbers of masonry, a choked up bath, some fig-trees and pear-trees, (the latter little hillocks of loose stone mixed beautifully in blossom), many white with pieces of marble-such is now farm-houses spread about, and a very the Insula Leucosia ! pretty one at the foot of the moun- As we landed, the screams of some tain, with a large Italian pine-tree marine fowls that we startled, and overshadowing it. Here we saw not the enchanting voice of the some flocks of sheep of an uncom- Syren, saluted our ears; and as we monly fine breed, with very long advanced, instead of meeting the wool, silky and snowy white. beauteous form, the poetical crea
After a fatiguing walk of nearly tion of Greek fable, we saw a troop three hours, we arrived at La Marina of timid white rabbits retreating del Castello, a large village situated before us. on the sea-shore, just under Castel- According to Antonini,* some lalabbate, an old town on the peak of bourers who were employed on the a steep mountain. A pleasant path, island to erect an hospice for the mostly along the margin of the sea, monks travelling to and from Sicily led us to the Marina of San Marco, and Calabria, discovered, in 1696, consisting of a taverna, a little chapel, several very ancient vestiges, some and one
or two huts : we then wonderfully thick walls, and some ascended a hill, and continued our sepulchres in which were found huway on heights above the sea, some- man bones, of enormous size of course. times close on their edge, sometimes In the evening we looked from our inward, leaving cultivated slopes dilapidated chamber; the little island between us and the precipices. The lay like an ocean monster sleeping hills that rose to our left were rich upon the rippling waters, a large and blooming in the extreme; there black cross spread out its broad arms were the pale olive, the flaunting on the still main-land shore, as if to vine, the rich orange-trees, the blue guard it from the approach of evil; rinded fig-trees, contrasted with the two or three boats were reverted on emerald green corn growing among the sands, some large fishing nets them, the pear-trees in blossom, and were spread on poles near the cotthe long defensive lines of the speary tage, and the moon shining brightly Indian fig.
on these simple objects and on the It was about half-past five on a delicious evening in spring, when we
Chiare le onde faceva, tremule e crespe. arrived at the solitary Punto di As circumstances did not permit Licosa, which is about four miles us to extend our excursion along this from the Marina del Castello. A interesting coast, the next morning rude taverna, the remains of a little we turned our steps backward, confort blown up by the English during soling ourselves with the hope of the last war, a large white house crossing “the noble river Hales," of
Lucania, Part ii. Disc. 8.