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and it was not until 1850 that the poet made the world a sharer in these imaginings, composed at various intervals, and expressive of a profound and thoughtful sorrow, modified by seasons and by time. The volume must be a sealed book to all who allow themselves to think of

poetry as words to be lightly or indolently read, or as a mere effusion of effeminate sentimentalism : it demands not only study, but reflection on the reader's own inmost being. To such, and to repeated reading, the wisdom and beauty of the work disclose themselves; and in this lies one of the proofs of genius in it, for the poet is treating none of the merely superficial sentiments, but the more profound emotions and the most mysterious meditations, with which the soul of man strives to preserve communion with those who have passed behind the veil that hides the dead from the living. It is an effort made in no vain curiosity; there is no irrational and immoral dallying with grief, po wandering away from the light of divine truth, in chase of the false fires of human speculations. The poet clings to the memory of his dead friend, with a highsouled loyalty, holding it as an ever-present possession of good :

« This truth came borne with bier and pall,

I felt it when I sorrowed most,
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”

It is grief cherished, not for grief's sake—that were unmanly, irrational, weak, and wicked—but for its highest moral uses, a spiritual companionship that lifts him who is true to it above all ignoble thoughts and passions, and makes him truer to himself and to his God, by deepening and expanding his sense of immortal life. Here is a ministry of good for every human being who knows a single grave that holds the earthly part of one that ever was dear to his eyes; and thus poet expounds the chastening power

of sorrow:
How pure at heart, and sound in head,

With what divine affections bold,

Should be the man whose thought would hold
An hour's communion with the dead !

In vain shalt thou, or any, call

The spirits from their golden day,

Except, like them, thou too canst say,
My spirit is at peace with all.

They haunt the silence of the breast,

Imaginations calm and fair,

The memory, like a cloudless air,
The conscience as a sea at rest.

But when the heart is full of din,

And doubt beside the portal waits,

They can but listen at the gates,
And hear the household jar within."

It was said by Jeremy Taylor of one of the early Fathers, that there were some passages in his writings which a lamb might ford, and others which an elephant could not swim. In this volume of poems there are pieces which are the lucid expression of thought or feeling, common to many a mind, but uncommon in the exquisite utterance : there are other passages dim and even dark, for they tell of a great poetic imagination looking into very deep places. Nowhere is this more so, than in that series of stanzas in which he describes the homeward voyage of the ship from the Danube to the Severn freighted with his friend's lifeless remains.

How wonderfully expressive are they of that complex and confused state of thought and feeling toward the dead while they are yet within the reach of a tender care and of a sacred duty! The first of this series speaks of the dead as of the sleeping, and tenderly solicits the quiet guardianship of the ship, and the ocean, sky, and elements :

“Fair ship, that from the Italian shore

Sailest the placid ocean-plains

With my lost Arthur's loved remains,
Spread thy full wings, and waft him o'er.

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The voyage brings to the poet's earnest imagination the dread of dismal burial in the sea, what he elsewhere speaks of in allusion to the sailor's funeral in that remarkable line,

“His heavy-shotted hammock shroud

Drops in his vast and wandering grave.” The “vast and wandering grave" seems more fearful than the “narrow house” that moves only with the earth's motion, and is quiet in the churchyard or in the chancel.*

“I hear the noise about thy keel;

I hear the bell struck in the night;

I see the cabin-window bright;
I see the sailor at the wheel.

Thou bringest the sailor to his wife,

And travelled men from foreign lands;

And letters unto trembling hands;
And thy dark freight, a vanished life.

* And he who thus wrote, “the friend, the brother of my love,found his “vast and wandering grave" in the Atlantic. W. B. R.

So bring him: we have idle dreams;

This look of quiet flatters thus

Our home-bred fancies: oh, to us,
The fools of habit, sweeter seems

To rest beneath the clover sod,

That takes the sunshine and the rains,

Or where the kneeling hamlet drains
The chalice of the grapes of God;

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Than if with thee the roaring wells

Should gulf him fathom deep in brine;

And hands so often clasped in mine,

Should toss with tangle and with shells." When the ship has given up her trust, the poet's last thought of her follows her with thankfulness and benediction :

“Henceforth, wherever thou mayst roam,

My blessing, like a line of light,

Is on the waters day and night,
And like a beacon, guards thee home.

So may whatever tempest mars

Mid ocean, spare thee, sacred bark;

And balmy drops in summer dark
Slide from the bosom of the stars ;

So kind an office hath been done,

Such precious relics brought by thee;

The dust of him I shall not see

Till all my widowed race be run." After the unconscious and sacred freight is placed upon the land again—the devouring ocean having done gentle service of restoration—the poet's heart is almost exultant:

6'Tis well, 'tis something, we may stand

Where he in English earth is laid,

And from his ashes may be made The violet of his native land.

'Tis little; but it looks in truth

As if the quiet bones were blest

Among familiar names to rest,
And in the places of his youth.

Come then, pure hands, and bear the head

That sleeps, or wears the mask of sleep,

And come, whatever loves to weep,
And hear the ritual of the dead."

In this instance, the first period of grief was, by the peculiar circumstances, protracted much beyond the common duration; and thus there was delayed for a while that second period—which lasts through the mourner's lifewhen the separation is consummated by the grave.

The sharp agony or the dull anguish which follows, is coupled perhaps, first, with the memories that are prompted by local association, the familiar places that are darkened by the shadow. These feelings have their record in the volume, but perhaps even more expressively in some stanzas not contained in it, and different in metre, but obviously belonging to the same subject, written perhaps on the heights of the Bristol Channel :

“Break, break, break

On thy cold gray stones, O sea !
And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.

Oh well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!
Oh well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;
But oh for the touch of a vanish'd hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

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