“’And now she’s at the
And now she’s at the pony’s head,
On that side now, and now on this;
And, almost stifled with her bliss,
A few sad tears does Betty shed....
She pats the pony, where or when
She knows not ... happy Betty Foy!
Oh, Johnny, never mind the doctor!’
“’The dew was falling fast,
the—stars began to blink;
I heard a voice: it said,—“Drink, pretty creature, drink!”
And, looking o’er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its side.
No other sheep was near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tether’d to a stone.’
“Now, we have no doubt this is all true: we will believe it, indeed we will, Mr, W. Is it sympathy for the sheep you wish to excite? I love a sheep from the bottom of my heart.
“But there are occasions, dear B——, there are occasions when even Wordsworth is reasonable. Even Stamboul, it is said, shall have an end, and the most unlucky blunders must come to a conclusion. Here is an extract from his preface:
“’Those who have been accustomed to the phraseology of modern writers, if they persist in reading this book to a conclusion (impossible!) will, no doubt, have to struggle with feelings of awkwardness; (ha! ha! ha!) they will look round for poetry (ha! ha! ha! ha!), and will be induced to inquire by what species of courtesy these attempts have been permitted to assume that title.’ Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
“Yet, let not Mr. W. despair; he has given immortality to a wagon, and the bee Sophocles has transmitted to eternity a sore toe, and dignified a tragedy with a chorus of turkeys.
“Of Coleridge, I cannot speak but with reverence. His towering intellect! his gigantic power! To use an author quoted by himself,
’J’ai trouve souvent que
la plupart des sectes ont raison dans une
bonne partie de ce qu’elles avancent, mais non pas en ce qu’elles
and to employ his own language, he has imprisoned his own conceptions by the barrier he has erected against those of others. It is lamentable to think that such a mind should be buried in metaphysics, and, like the Nyctanthes, waste its perfume upon the night alone. In reading that man’s poetry, I tremble like one who stands upon a volcano, conscious from the very darkness bursting from the crater, of the fire and the light that are weltering below.
“What is Poetry?—Poetry! that Proteus-like idea, with as many appellations as the nine-titled Corcyra! ‘Give me,’ I demanded of a scholar some time ago, ‘give me a definition of poetry.’ ‘Tres-volontiers;’ and he proceeded to his library, brought me a Dr. Johnson, and overwhelmed me with a definition. Shade of the immortal Shakespeare! I imagine to myself the scowl of your spiritual eye upon the profanity of that scurrilous Ursa Major. Think of poetry, dear B——, think of poetry, and then think of Dr. Samuel Johnson! Think of all that is airy and fairy-like, and then of all that is hideous and unwieldy; think of his huge bulk, the Elephant! and then—and then think of the ’Tempest’—the ’Midsummer Night’s Dream’—Prospero—Oberon—and Titania!