The Young Lady's Mentor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Young Lady's Mentor.
of the character of the emotion he wishes to excite, and thus form an appropriate accompaniment or preparation for its direct indulgence or display.  The former of those methods has perhaps been most frequently employed, and certainly has most attracted attention.  But the latter, though less obtrusive, and perhaps less frequently resorted to of set purpose, is, we are inclined to think, the most natural and efficacious of the two; and it is often adopted, we believe unconsciously, by poets of the highest order;—­the predominant emotion of their minds overflowing spontaneously on all the objects which present themselves to their fancy, and calling out from them, and colouring with their own hues, those that are naturally emblematic of its character, and in accordance with its general expression.  It would be easy to show how habitually this is done, by Shakspeare and Milton especially, and how much many of their finest passages are indebted, both for force and richness of effect, to this general and diffusive harmony of the external character of their scenes with the passions of their living agents—­this harmonizing and appropriate glow with which they kindle the whole surrounding atmosphere, and bring all that strikes the sense into unison with all the touches the heart.

But it is more to our present purpose to say, that we think the fair writer before us is eminently a mistress of this poetical secret; and, in truth, it was solely for the purpose of illustrating this great charm and excellence in her imagery, that we have ventured upon this little dissertation.  Almost all her poems are rich with fine descriptions, and studded over with images of visible beauty.  But these are never idle ornaments; all her pomps have a meaning; and her flowers and her gems are arranged, as they are said to be among Eastern lovers, so as to speak the language of truth and of passion.  This is peculiarly remarkable in some little pieces, which seem at first sight to be purely descriptive—­but are soon found to tell upon the heart, with a deep moral and pathetic impression.  But it is, in truth, nearly as conspicuous in the greater part of her productions; where we scarcely meet with any striking sentiment that is not ushered in by some such symphony of external nature—­and scarcely a lovely picture that does not serve as an appropriate foreground to some deep or lofty emotion.  We may illustrate this proposition, we think, by the following exquisite lines, on a palm-tree in an English garden.

    It waved not through an Eastern sky,
    Beside a fount of Araby
    It was not fanned by southern breeze
    In some green isle of Indian seas,
    Nor did its graceful shadows sleep
    O’er stream of Africa, lone and deep.

    But far the exiled Palm-tree grew
    Midst foliage of no kindred hue;
    Through the laburnum’s dropping gold
    Rose the light shaft of orient mould,
    And Europe’s violets, faintly sweet,
    Purpled the moss-beds at his feet.

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The Young Lady's Mentor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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