Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Famous Reviews.
of sovereignty for his imagination, and the effect of these qualities was practically to anticipate, so far as was needful for his purposes, the mental philosophy of a future age.  Metaphysics must be the stem of poetry for the plant to thrive; but if the stem flourishes we are not likely to be at a loss for leaves, flowers, and fruit.  Now, whatever theories may have come into fashion and gone out of fashion, the real science of mind advances with the progress of society like all other sciences.  The poetry of the last forty years already shows symptoms of life in exact proportion as it is imbued with this science.  There is least of it in the exotic legends of Southey, and the feudal romances of Scott.  More of it, though in different ways, in Byron and Campbell.  In Shelley there would have been more still, had he not devoted himself to unsound and mystical theories.  Most of all in Coleridge and Wordsworth.  They are all going or gone; but here is a little book as thoroughly and unitedly metaphysical and poetical in its spirit as any of them; and sorely shall we be disappointed in its author if it be not the precursor of a series of productions which shall beautifully illustrate our speculations, and convincingly prove their soundness.

Do not let our readers be alarmed.  These poems are anything but heavy; anything but stiff and pedantic, except in one particular, which shall be noticed before we conclude; anything but cold and logical.  They are graceful, very graceful; they are animated, touching, and impassioned.  And they are so, precisely because they are philosophical; because they are not made up of metrical cant and conventional phraseology; because there is sincerity where the author writes from experience, and accuracy whether he writes from experience or observation; and he only writes from experience and observation, because he has felt and thought, and learned to analyse thought and feeling; because his own mind is rich in poetical associations, and he has wisely been content with its riches; and because, in his composition, he has not sought to construct an elaborate and artificial harmony, but only to pour forth his thoughts in those expressive and simple melodies whose meaning, truth, and power, are the soonest recognised, and the quickest felt....

Mr. Tennyson seems to obtain entrance into a mind as he would make his way into a landscape; he climbs the pineal gland as if it were a hill in the centre of the scene; looks around on all objects with their varieties of form, their movements, their shades of colour, and their mutual relations and influences, and forthwith produces as graphic a delineation in the one case as Wilson or Gainsborough could have done in the other, to the great enrichment of our gallery of intellectual scenery....

Our author has the secret of the transmigration of the soul.  He can cast his own spirit into any living thing, real or imaginary....

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Famous Reviews from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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