Sidor som bilder

Again he is a blithesome child !

Free as Pontoosuc's' deer again
Speeds his light step, in gambols wild,

O'er Nahtukook's hill-circled plain.
Again on broad Mahkeenac's3 tide,

Swiftly as winged things of air,
The light canoes like ripples glide

O'er star and mountain mirrored there.
In lonely grandeur to the sky

His hoary brow old Greylock* rears;
And southward, towering huge and high,

Tahkonac'ss misty blue appears.
Within the shade of yonder groves

Sit the old men in council high ;
While from Deowkook,' far above,

Howls on the wind the wolf's wild cry.
He shudders as he hears again

The sighing of the midnight breeze,
Waving, within yon mystic glen,

Of icy caves, the solemn trees.
For 'mid those rocks so wildly piled,

That awful gloom of rayless shade,
Well might he deem, the forest child,

Dark spirits their abode had made.
Again his Indian bosom swells,

As from the Rock of Sacrifice
Peal on his ear the exulting yells

'Mid which the foe in torture dies.

Or now, where on its foamy way,

Down its green slope Seepoosaht springs,

· The Indian name of Pittsfield, a few miles north of Stockbridge, signifying the field of the deer.

? The Indian name for the valley of Stockbridge, signifying the valley surrounded by hills.

3 The westward and larger of the two lakes or ponds lying between Stockbridge and Lenox. It signifies great water, and is now known by the appropriate name of the Mountain Mirror.

4 “Greylock” is the highest peak of “ Saddle Mountain." This mountain is peculiarly insulated. It stands about 2800 feet above the valley, and 3600 above the level of the sea. Its Indian name I do not know. Professor Hitchcock, in his Geological Report, (page 74), says, that it derives its name “from the hoary aspect, which the upper part of the mountain presents in the winter months. During that season, the frost attaches itself to the trees, which, thus decorated, it needs no great stretch of the imagination to regard as the grey locks of this venerable mountain."

5 This name remains unchanged, and will probably continue as long as the hills themselves. 6 A very familiar object in the village, the Indian council grove.

Meaning the hill of the wolves, now Rattlesnake's Hill.

This wild and rocky cleft through a hill, wrought by some great convulsion of nature, known as the Ice Glen, must be visited to be conceived.

9 The Sacrifice Rock, on the western edge of “ Laurel Hill,” (the scene of Magawisca's beautiful heroism), has been made classical by the Authoress of“ Hope Leslie.”

10 The name of the little stream which, after dancing down the side of a hill, empties into the Housatonic a little above and opposite to the northern mouth of the “ Ice Glen."

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The joyous sound of children's play

Loud through the forest echoes rings.

By fair Pahquonac's' sheltered mead,

'Neath the dark hill that frowns above, The Indian girl, with gentle tread,

Lingers to list the voice of love.

Or wanders 'mid yon laurel bowers,

Whose blushing beauty clothes the hill,
As though a very snow of flowers

Had fall’n from heaven and lay there still.

Or oft at even steals alone

Fearfully ’neath yon rugged steep,
And weeps and trembles as her stone

She piles upon that sacred heap.3

And while upon the tomb she flings

The fresh wild flowers that deck her hair,
A dirge in low sweet accent sings,

For love's lone victim sleeping there.

The sun has set-his dream is o'er

Fade, fade those phantom visions bright-
The Indian's sun may rise no more,

Nor star illume his hopeless night!

And now, alone and desolate,

By Housatonic'st winding wave,
Sad, stern and still, the old man sate,

And watched beside his people's grave.


Meaning little retired meadow ; it is now known as “ Bennett's Meadow.” If it was never put to the use here indicated, it was not the fault either of the writer or of the natural fitness of the spot.

2 The litile eminence known by the name of “ Laurel Hill,” in the proper season is so covered with the bloom of the plant from which it takes its name, that no other description than that here adopted seems adequate to convey an idea of it. It is now the most favorite haunt of the children of the village, having been purchased and bestowed on the town by the Sedgwick family, as public property, never to be enclosed or applied to any other purpose. It is surmounted with “Sacrifice Rock,” from which a beautiful view is commanded eastward and southward down the Stockbridge valley or “the Plain.”

? For the legend of the “Monument Mountain,” it is scarcely necessary to refer to Bryant's beautiful poem of that name. An Indian maiden having conceived a love which she could not conquer for a youth who was her cousin-such love being held unlawful and incestuous by the institutions of her tribe-in mingled despair and remorse, after spending the day on the top of the steep precipice composing the eastern side of “ Monument Mountain" in decking herself with wild-flowers, and in her death-song bewailing her fate, cast herself down at evening, and was dashed to pieces on the rocks at the foot. A heap of stones is said to have long marked the spot where she fell and was buried, to which each Indian visiting it was bound to add one.

4 The Housatonic, or the river that goes over the hills, retains its Indian name, and is as remarkable for the tortuous meandering of its course as for the beauty of the scenery amid which it thus seems to delight to linger.


The meagerest outline of the historical diency; and this applies with the view of political Poets, the catalogue greater force in a free country and in raisonnée of those poets who had taken an enlightened epoch. As humanitaan emphatic interest, and evinced a rians, (since the Poet by his vocation deep zeal in the cause of Freedom and is a philanthropist), the Poets feel as Civil Liberty-and of those who had no other race or class of men can feel ; by their pen zealously espoused cer- for the whole circle of human necessitain partizan doctrines or the govern- ties, from the lowest animal desires, up ing principles of their age-we have to the most elevated spiritual impulses, found too wide for a single paper; and, is included in their sympathies; and, therefore, after a few glances at the those, too, of the most delicate and general subject, shall confine ourselves intelligent description. The Poet is to the text which forms the caption of the brother of his fellow-men and the present article. In its most com “ Creation's heir," with the same prehensive sense, we might call all fortunes and a similar destiny. poetry political: for all truly inspired The genuine Poet, then, is a patriot : verse is the outpouring of the Spirit of sometimes, he is a bigot, a satirist, a Freedom, and the Spirit of Humanity. partizan. Personal gratitude has inA similar love of freedom animates clined many a man of political genius both the Poet and the Patriot, and the to embrace a particular side; the proslatter acts out, what the other in song pect of future fame, or a desire to exhorts all men to act. Music, decla- secure present patronage, has been the mation, and all the refinements, both motive with many for enlisting under of art and learning, flourish in the the banners and swearing by the shibmost servile communities, and under boleth of party. The Muse is, somethe reign of despots: only true poetry times, seen in a political livery; though and vigorous eloquence (worth all the Freedom has been, not inappropriately, rest) decay and wilt away, unconge- styled “the Mountain Nymph." Yet nial planis in such a soil. All the there have been, and still are, authors master-bards, and the vast majority of who unite the poet and the partizan lesser lights (so they burn with original of admirable genius in the former lustre), of necessity are eulogists of capacity, and of unquestioned integfreedom in the abstract, as of the Law rity in the last. These have been the of Right, the Law of Truth, and the noblest defenders of true independence, reverence of the Beautiful ; for, without “Lords of the lion heart and eagle these, what were poetry but a mere eye,” as Smollett, a writer of this heap of fables and false devices. But rare stamp, styles them. The names thai generous code of criticism which of the chief of these we have menfollowed the trained system of French tioned before, and the list might easily classicality, has taught us the infinite be swelled out; we have, however, worth of Poetry, as a mine of the selected Wordsworth as a single proof highest truth and the deepest wisdom, of our theory, and as one of the safest aparı from its beneficial moral ten- witnesses that could be brought upon dency, and quite separate from its the stand. He (true Poet-like) has claims upon us as the sweetest of held the most opposite creeds; and it charmers, “most musical,” though by is to be inferred, from the turn of his no means most melancholy.” Of all life, and the tone of his writings, that writers, the Poets are the most moral, he is now as sincere in his present the most metaphysical, and we may belief as he was in his early devotion add, the most political.

to dernocratic principles. Like many As philosophers, (for the Poet is the other sanguine advocates of the French right popular philosopher), they cannot Revolution, in his youth Mr. Wordsavoid the propagation of free princi- worth became discontented, as that conples and liberal ideas; if only on the vulsion in its progress seemed to involve shallow grounds of diplomatic expe• greater calamities than those it was

expected to remove: mature manhood also. Though a monarchist and a moderated his Republicanism, and conversative, our Poet is yet a man, with his associates, fellow-poets and and his manliness is often more than a brother politicians, Coleridge and match for his confined formularies. Southey, he proceeded so far, as in His soul cannot be so far restrained in time utterly io recant his cherished the expression of its impulses, as to dogmas and Ideal state, and came over make him recreant to a higher cause to the ranks of the conservatives. He than that of any human system of is now a zealous churchman, and a policy. His Christianity bills out and loyal subject. Age, which sobers the vivifies his attachment to the British early visions of youth into truest pic- church, but is too expansive to be tures of reality; which teaches distrust cramped by liturgies or articles of faith. from the occurrence of frequent failure, Before entering into the heart of our and induces a skepticism as to the subject, we must premise iwo observaproposed benefits of innovation, has tions; the first, of a general descripconfirmed the author of the “Excur- tion, the second, relative to the poet sion” in his respect for authority, for personally; and both may serve for precedent, for an established church, an apology (were one essential), for and a settled Monarchy. When we the fact of Wordsworth's derelictions consider, too, the truly royal position from his early creed, or, as it is too that Wordsworth now holds as Prince often and too harshly termed, his aposof living English Poets; that his pecu- tasy. In the first place, all of the liar department is that of profoundly poets (really worthy of the title) who meditative and philosophic poetry, have taken any sincere interest in which instrucis, impresses, exhorts the government and in the governed, have reader, and scorns light entertainment almost uniformly been at one period of or trivial fancies; we think we see an their lives enthusiastic builders of ideal additional reason for Mr. Wordsworth's commonwealths. It is said to be a political faith. Full of human sym- test of man's natural talent for 'metapathy as is the poetry of this great physical speculation, that he be at the master, it is the feeling and compassion early date of his philosophical career, of a superior, not of an equal. There is an ardent admirer of the Berkleian no democracy in his verse, nor do we system. Idealism, they imagine, the suspect in his character. We rather touch-stone of intellectual acuteness. incline to picture him as one of the In the same way, we may infer the modest and most benevolent of aristo- free spirit of the poet is to be judged. crats, but still an aristocrat. Neither To become a rational lover of freedom in theory or practice, in his poetry in mature life, it is well that he runs or philosophy, does the mass occupy riot in youthful aspirations after a his whole mind. He has national perfect, Platonic, republican Utopia, appeals; but no popular addresses. not to be realized for centuries to When he does worship the “ great, come. Thus, too, we allow in the good” poor man; when he does rev- youthful writer a prodigal diffuseness, erence worth in the beggar; it is the knowing full well, that this will settle individual he regards and paints, not down into condensed force, if real vigor the class. We have abundant in- be present. The only fear is, that dividual instances of Wordsworth's from one extreme, the poetical polihumanity; but we want an illustration tician may run into the other; that of his love for the people as such, not as from an unrestrained licentiousness, paupers, or citizens, or as Christians he may ik zorize himself into the beor politicians, but as brethren. We lief, that a government cannot be too may err, but we apprehend such an strong or despotic. Both views are illustration is not to be found. We perfectly erroneous. We want the are obliged, hence, to abandon the best possible government; but that we hope of adding this illustrious name need. For the most intelligent and to the list of democratic poets; but conscientious, laws are comparatively he has, nevertheless, powerful claims needless; but how greatly, alas! does to prefer. He is the Poet of Liberty ignorance and an uninformed moral in the abstract, and in very many sense preponderate even in the wisest instances of Freedom in the concrete and most virtuous community. Words

worth, however, is not to be consid A general objection might be raised ered an instance of violent conversion. against the favorite plan of WordsA man of reflection, his creed is unin. worih, of writing a series of sonnets spired by passionate excitement; the on any particular topic or occasion. avenue to his heart is through his Serial poetry becomes tiresome from reason, and his feelings are fortified by its minuteness and monotony. As we the deductions of his understanding. would have done with all cavil, at as He is a rational advocate of liberty, early a stage as possible, we will without any great enthusiasm or add the defects that occur to us, at strong impulses. His poetry is desti- once, in order to leave room and time tute of these attractions; and compara- for dwelling upon what is beautiful and tively his character is, on the whole, noble in these miniature epics. Many equable and unimpassioned. There is of these are bare and cold, and might more of the storm and tempest of for all the purposes of utility have passion in a canto of Byron, than in a been as well written in prose, for they volume of Wordsworth; and to ac are prosaic in all but the form of poetry, knowledge an individual preference, They are entirely discriminated, and we would not exchange the deep sen- each is an independent historical pictiment of the second for the impetuous ture, or philosophical lecture. Now, fire of the first; but, at the same time, continuity is a powerful beauty of all we must consess Wordsworth's defects writings continued in series. Drayton as an heroic poet, one to stir the na. (the author of the Polyolbion and Engtional heart, or rouse freemen into land's Heroical Epistles) would have glorious action.

written a connected poetical history of Again, no generous critic or faithful Europe during the space of time, about student of Wordsworth's poetry, can fifteen years, over which the Sonnels ever be brought to believe, that his of Wordsworth extend. But Words. office of Distributor of Stamps, from worth is much more of a philosopher which we learn that he has lately re- than the musical Drayton ; loves to tired on a pension, weighed a jot in the paint sentiment, and conduct reflective scale of determining his political disquisitions. The Sonnets dedicated opinions. The office of Stamp Dis- to Liberty are, for the most part, pictributor must be not the most agreea- turesque arguments to a mighty acted ble to a man of our poet's peculiarly but unwritien Epic of the Past, that sensitive temper and secluded habits. grand heroic poem, whose chief action His private fortune, we should suppose was taken up with the career of Na(from De Quincey's relation), to be poleon, and in which the French Revoabundantly commensurate with all his lution, the extinction of the Venetian wants and desires; so that a salary Republic, the story and fate of Touscould hardly have been a sufficient saint L'Ouverture, the abolition of the bribe, even admitting (which we could Slave Trade, the patriotic valor of not for a moment) that Wordsworth Hofer and the Tyrolese, the retreat was a man to be bribed. No; we from Moscow, the Peninsular War, and pretend not to question the sincerity of the other stirring events, ending with the poet's present views, 'nor the the Battle of Waterloo, were the most fidelity of his attachment to the party striking episodes. The whole body of of which he now forms a most distin. Sonnets are divided into two parts, guished member.

which we shall separately consider. Independently, however, of Words Part the First is the shortest and the worth's personal politics or individual best, not from its brevity, but its greater career, the Sonnets dedicated to Lib- freshness, and a heartier feeling and erty are instinct with an intrinsic sense of power displayed in it. It worth, and possess a peculiar interest. contains some of the very finest sonThey are picturesque and historical, nets Wordsworth ever wrote, especially as well as political, and conveying per- those marked XIII., XIV., and XV., sonal impressions. If the special turn which have been repeatedly referred given to a few give rise 10 objection, to. There are others much less known, the eternal philosophical verities with but almost as fine, and in many there which others are filled, secure for them are lines and sentences of golden beauty lasting importance.

and inestimable value. Here are two:

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