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est order of intellect. Though accustomed, almost from infancy, to drink at the fountains of classical literature, he had nothing of the pedantry and fastidiousness which disdain all other draughts. His healthy mind delighted in genius, on whatever soil, or in whatever age it burst forth and poured out its fulness. He understood too well the rights, and dignity, and pride of a creative imagination, to lay on it the laws of the Greek or Roman schools. Parnassus was not to him the only holy ground of genius.
He felt that poetry was a universal presence. Great minds were everywhere his kindred. He felt the enchantment of Oriental fiction, surrendered himself to the strange creations of “ Araby the Blest," and delighted still more in the romantic spirit of chivalry, and in the tales of wonder in which it was embodied. Accordingly, his poetry reminds us of the ocean, which adds to its own boundlessness contributions from all regions under heaven. Nor was it only in the department of imagination that his acquisitions were vast. He travelled over the whole field of knowledge, as far as it had then been explored.
His various philological attainments were used to put him in possession of the wisdom stored in all countries where the intellect had been cultivated. The natural philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, history, theology, and political science of his own, and former times, were familiar to him. Never was there a more unconfined mind; and we would cite Milton as a practical example of the benefits of that universal culture of intellect, which forms one distinction of our times, but which some dread, as unfriendly to original thought.
Let such remember, that mind is in its own nature diffusive. Its object is the universe, which is strictly one, or bound together by infinite connexions and correspondences; and accordingly its natural progress is from one to another field of thought: and wherever original power, creative genius exists, the mind, far from being distracted or oppressed by the variety of its acquisitions, will see more and more common bearings and hidden and beautiful analogies in all the objects of knowledge; will see mutual light shed from truth to truth; and will compel, as with a kingly power, whatever it understands, to yield some tribute of proof, or illustration, or splendour, to whatever topic it would unfold.
The Genius of Shakspeare. In many points, Mr. Hazlitt* has acquitted himself excellently; particularly in the development of the principal characters with which Shakspeare has peopled the fancies of all English readers—but, principally, we think, in the delicate sensibility with which he has traced, and the natural eloquence with which he has pointed out, that familiarity with beautiful forms and images--that eternal recurrence to what is sweet or majestic in the simple aspect of nature — that indestructible love of flowers and odours, and dews and
* This piece is from a review of “ Hazlitt's Characters of Shakspeare.
clear waters--and soft airs and sounds, and bright skies, and woodland solitudes, and moonlight bowers, which are the material elements of poetry—and that fine sense of their undefinable relation to mental emotion, which is its essence and vivifying soul-and which in the midst of Shakspeare's most busy and atrocious scenes, falls like gleams of sunshine on rocks and ruins-contrasting with all that is rugged and repulsive, and reminding us of the existence of purer and brighter elements--which he alone has poured out from the richness of his own mind without effort or restraint, and contrived to intermingle with the play of all the passions, and the vulgar course of this world's affairs, without deserting for an instant the proper business of the scene, or appearing to pause or digress from love of ornament or need of repose; he alone, who, when the subject requires it, is always keen, and worldly, and practical, and who yet without changing his hand, or stopping his course, scatters around him as he goes all sounds and shapes of sweetness, and conjures up landscapes of immortal fragrance and freshness, and peoples them with spirits of glorious aspect and attractive grace, and is a thousand times more full of imagery and splendour, than those who, for the sake of such qualities, have shrunk back from the delineation of character or passion, and declined the discussion of human duties and cares. More full of wisdom, and ridicule, and sagacity, than all the moralists and satirists in existence, he is more wild, airy, and inventive, and more pathetic and fantastic, than all the poets of all regions and ages of the world; and has all those elements so happily mixed up in him, and bears his high faculties so temperately, that the
most severe reader cannot complain of him for want of strength or of reason, nor the most sensitive for defect of ornament or ingenuity. Everything in him is in unmeasured abundance and unequalled perfection ; but everything so balanced and kept in subordination as not to jostle or disturb or take the place of another. The most exquisite poetical conceptions, images, and descriptions, are given with such brevity, and intro. duced with such skill, as merely to adorn without loading the sense they accompany. Although his sails are purple, and perfumed, and his prow of beaten gold, they waft him on his voyage, not less, but more rapidly and directly, than if they had been composed of baser materials. All his excellences, like those of Nature herself, are thrown out together; and instead of interfering with, support and recommend each other. His flowers are not tied up in garlands, nor his fruits crushed into baskets, but spring living from the soil, in all the dew and freshness of youth; while the graceful foliage in which they lurk, and the ample branches, the rough and vigorous stem, and the wide-spreading roots on which they depend, are present along with them, and share, in their places, the equal care of their Creator.
The Steam Engine.
The steam engine has become a thing stupendous alike for its force and its flexibility--for the prodigious power which it can exert, and the ease, and precision, and ductility with which it can be varied, distributed, and applied. The trunk of an elephant, that can pick
up a pin or rend an oak, is as nothing to it. It can engrave a seal, and crush masses of obdurate metal before it-draw out, without breaking, a thread as fine as gossamer, and lift up a ship of war like a bauble in the air. It can embroider muslin and forge anchors, cut steel into ribbons, and impel loaded vessels against the fury of the winds and waves.
Genius not necessarily Unhappy.
Men of truly great powers of mind have generally been cheerful, social, and indulgent ; while a tendency to sentimental whining or fierce intolerance may be ranked among the surest symptoms of little souls and inferior intellects. In the whole list of our English poets we can only remember Shenstone and Savagetwo certainly of the lowest—who were querulous and discontented. Cowley, indeed, used to call himself melancholy; but he was not in earnest, and at any rate was full of conceits and affectations, and has nothing to make us proud of him. Shakspeare, the greatest of them all, was evidently of a free and joyous temperament; and so was Chaucer, their common master. The same disposition appears to have predominated in Fletcher, Jonson, and their great contemporaries. The genius of Milton partook something of the austerity of the party to which he belonged, and of the controversies in which he was involved: but even when fallen on evil days and evil tongues, his spirit seems to have retained its serenity as well as its dignity; and in his private life, as well as in his poetry, the majesty of a high character is tempered with great