Page images
PDF
EPUB

Why is it that, a worshipper,

I sit me here and think?

The wave runs round, the wave runs bright,

The wave runs dancing free,
As if it took a strange delight,

A dancing wave to be.
And down the vale it goes, a brook,

Over a golden pave;
And from the brink the cresses look,

And dally with the wave.
And every hue of leaf and sky,

And forms and things are caught,
Which dance, and glance, and glitter by,

As rapid as a thought.

As now the sun drops down the west,

And Hesper shines afar,
When lo! upon the fountain's breast,

Sparkles a mimic star.
And soft the reflex, glimmering out,

Is cut a thousand ways,
As there the bubbles whirl about,

And revel in the blaze.
And far along the sky of even,

The clouds, in golden dress,
Have painted here a little heaven

With added loveliness
With every light and shade so true

And exquisitely wrought,
As fancy never, never drew,

As fancy never taught.
And now the woods and sky are one,
And

up

the orient driven,
The crescent moon hangs off upon

The canopy of heaven.
And round her come a troop of stars,

And round her comes the night ;
And o'er her face, the clouds in bars

Are braided by the light.
VOL. I. NO. I.

11

And on her beams the Oreads sail

And revel as they go,
And little warriors clad in mail,

And Gnomes a faery show!
And every other combination

With poetry agreeing,
That nonsense and imagination

E’er conjured into being.

Odd fancies! - yet, they came to me,

A solitary child ;
A lover of the waters free,

A lover of the wild !

are

And here, I were a traitor vile,

If — though I mix with men
I could not lose the man awhile,

And play the boy again.
Then ask you why, I sit me here,

Beside this fountain's brink?
And ask you why, a worshipper,

I sit me here and think?” — pp. 82-85. We had marked further extracts, but we obliged to omit them for want of room. But the extracts we have given will serve to exhibit some of his characteristic traits. They certainly are not without promise. They breathe a noble spirit, and show an early and a resolute determination to shun the faults upon which so many geniuses have gone to wreck. Mr. Bacon would profit by a rigid verbal criticism. His style is too diffuse. There is often a slovenly confusion of incongruous images, an awkward phrase, or a violation of grammar, which mars its beauty. For instance, on page 54, we read :

“True to its nature - to the impress graved

Upon it by the hand of Deity.”
Here are other instances of faulty expression:

A chaplet wove of oak and rue.”
“ Pictures he bought, and statues, such as where

The soul speaks from the marble,” &c. - p. 105.

p. 65.

“ And he who scribbles verses knows (and no one knows

but him.) - p. 81. We did not know that the little word “buthad force enough to rule a pronoun into the objective case. But these are trifles; and the poet is not so poor in higher qualities, but that he can afford to have these defects pointed out.

Art. VI. — The Christian Examiner, No. LxxxII. No

vember, 1837, Article II., Locke and the Transcendentalists.

We have read with some interest an article in the Christian Examiner for November last, on Locke and the Transcendentalists. The article is written with spirit, in a sincere and earnest tone, and, for style and language, it deserves more than ordinary commendation. It is obviously the production of a mind somewhat given to philosophizing, although we should think of a mind which has not yet grappled, very closely, with the real problems of metaphysics. Its author appears to us a young writer, whose philosophical views are a little vague and fluctuating ; but at the same time a writer who, if he duly apply himself, may yet do himself great credit, and exert a salutary influence on the literature and philosophy of his country.

So far as we can judge from the article before us, we differ widely from the present philosophical tendency of its author; but we nevertheless welcome him into the philosophical field, and are glad to find him disposed to be one of its cultivators. We may from time to time take an account of his labors, but we will assure him, that we shall not quarrel with him, because he may chance to labor in a direction different from the one we have marked out for ourselves. They

We may

who cultivate philosophy must labor in peace. They must not call one another hard names, and seek to render one another odious to the public. Into all philosophical subjects we must carry calmness of mind, a catholic spirit, and a respect for every man's honest opinions. We must carry with us a disposition to seek for truth under the forms of gross error even, and that love for man and all that is human, which will prevent us from harboring, for one moment, a single intolerant feeling, and which will prevent a single harsh word from ever escaping us. subject, we ought to subject, all opinions to the most rigid investigation, not for the sake of triumphing over adversaries, not for the sake of proving others in the wrong ; but for the purpose of discovering the truth, and quickening our love and reverence for mankind.

No greater evil can befal us, than that of entering into a career of angry disputes, and of passing from the calm and rational inquiry after truth, to the violent and passionate crimination of individuals. In philosophizing, we ought to make an abstraction of individuals and their motives. Men honestly differ in their views. The views of all are more or less partial, and therefore defective, and therefore erroneous; and no one, therefore, has the right to condemn another. The philosopher, instead of complaining of men, charging them with folly, or with evil intentions, and seeking to render their views odious or suspicious, sets himself down to collect, quietly, the partial views of each, and to mould them into one systematic and harmonious whole. We insist on this point. A philosophical epoch for our country begins, and we would not have it disgraced by wrath and bitterness, by personal contentions, railings at individuals or systems. We would have every man, who enters the field of philosophy, enter it with a heart at peace with mankind, and solicitous only for the truth. Let every one guard against the trammels of a school, and the pride of system. Let him beware how he adopts a darling theory, which he shall be ambitious to make prevail. Let him beware how he looks on his fellow laborers as the disciples of another school, and therefore enemies to be fought and vanquished. Let him wed himself to the truth, and give it an uncompromising support; but let him, at the same time, expect truth in all theories, and be willing to receive it, let it come to him from what quarter it may.

We young Americans, who have the future glory of our country and of Humanity at heart, who would see our country taking the lead in modern civilization,

nd becoming as eminent for her literature, art, science, and philosophy, as she now is for her industrial activity and enterprise, must ever bear in mind the greatness and the sanctity of our mission. We must set an example worthy of being followed by the world. We must feel the dignity and immense reach of the work to which we are called.

Into all our discussions we must carry a free, lofty, and earnest spirit; we must purge our hearts of all low ambition, of all selfish aims, of all wish for personal triumph. We must fix our eyes on the True, and aspire to the Holy. We must be invincible in our dialectics, but still more so in our love of truth, and in our sympathy with Humanity in all its forms. A great and a glorious work is given us ; may we be equal to it, and worthy of achieving it!

We say we have read this article in the Examiner, with some interest, and so we have; but not altogether on account of its intrinsic merit. It interests us mainly as one of the signs of the times, as an indication of a change which has been silently taking place among us, on philosophical matters, and as a proof that our countrymen are beginning to lose some portion of their hereditary contempt for abstract thought, and that they are preparing themselves to raise hereafter the study of metaphysical science to the rank it deserves. It proves to us, that the da for philosophical discussion is ready to dawn on our

« PreviousContinue »