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THE BANES OF OUR RECENT POETRY.
not the individual; to generalise, and not to particularise ; to sink the national even in the cosmopolitan : a vision likely to be realised only when man has thrown off all the sloughs of his present nature. Add to this, that, as disciples of Fichte and Schelling, they attribute to the human mind powers that far overpass the boundaries of mere sensation. But where is this to end ?when we remember that, proceeding in the same vague tract, by no means a new one, Schiller succeeded in convincing Goethe that his view of the morphology of plants was the result, not of observation, but of an idea ; and that Oken broached a theory, which I believe Professor Owen is not disinclined to adopt, that the classes of animated nature are mere representations of the organs of the senses. That the latter-day poets have high aims and objects, however indefinite and difficult to be deciphered these may appear to the uninitiated, I never doubted. These seem principally to be a desire to exhibit the influence of physical nature on the
operations of the fancy and intellect; and we have, in consequence, simply their gropings amid the arcana of mind, in search of those hidden links of mystery which connect the seen to the unseen. But this, as the general subjective material, can scarcely be termed poetry ; or, if so, why stop short of versifying Jacob Behmen? In Shakespeare, in Milton, in Akenside, in Wordsworth, in Byron, and in Coleridge, we have, it is true, grand casual aspirations after ideal good, and man's perfectibility, and the knowledge of his whence and wherefore ; but, to make such the main staple of poetry is a vain attempt at constructing what would be all spirit and no body-a mere twisting of the sea-sand into ropesfor even ghosts should be invisible without the sem blance of a corporeal from ; and yet these things are selected to form everlasting themes of profitless speculation, to the exclusion of all pictorial effect, and all exercise of the practical understanding.
But although poetry is at present prostrated, it must revive-because it ever has been, and ever must be, a necessary aliment of our human nature. It is evident that literature, from an agglomeration of many concurrent causes, seems destined to accomplish certain specific cycles. We know what occurred on the extinction of the Homeric Chaucer—what followed the passing away of Shakespeare and Milton-how the brilliances of Dryden and Pope waned dim in their disciples. Could it be otherwise in our own age, after the setting of such luminaries as Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and William Wordsworth ? But the Occleves and Lyddgates of the first era, the Donnes and Henry Mores of the second, and the Mallets and Tickells of the third, had each their glimmering hour. A brighter poetic day must anon come, with its healthy exhilarating sunshine ; and poetry shall again awake in renovation, to exhibit a child-like nature united with a giant's power—the majestic imagination wedded to the masculine intellect.
BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.
BEING A VIEW OF THE HEALING ART AMONG THE EGYPTIANS,
GREEKS, ROMANS, AND ARABIANS.
One Volume, fcap. octavo, price 6s. cloth.
“This is a book of great and laborious research, and will be in the
a hands of every disciple of medicine, and, indeed, of every scholarwho wishes to trace up the history of the healing art to the earliest times. It will be valued as long as medicine is cultivated in this country, and the student would do well to master its contents among his initiatory steps in acquiring professional knowledge. Mr Moir has laid the profession of medicine under deep obligations to him for this valuable present.”—THOMAS CAMPBELL.
WORKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
THE LEGEND OF GENEVIEVE,
AND OTHER POEMS.
One Volume post octavo. 58. cloth. “He has produced many original pieces which will possess a permanent place in the poetry of Scotland. Delicacy and grace characterise his happiest compositions; some of them are beautiful, in a cheerful spirit that has only to look on nature to be happy, and others breathe the simplest and purest pathos. His scenery, whether sea-coast or inland, is always truly Scottish; and at times his pen drops touches of light on minute subjects, that till then had slumbered in the shade, but now shine well where they stand,' or lie, as component and characteristic parts of our lowland landscapes.”. PROFESSOR WILSON.
THE LIFE OF MANSIE WAUCH,
TAILOR IN DALKEITH:
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF.
New Edition, foolscap octavo. 3s. cloth.
“ Of all the productions of the season, in the class of works of the imagination, scarcely excepting - The Chronicles of the Canongate, none equals the genuine humour, the simple truth, the freshness and life of the autobiography of Mansie Wauch, Tailor in Dalkeith."-SPECTATOR.
“ Burns has almost completely missed those many peculiar features of the national character and manners which are brought out so inimitably in Mansie Wauch. Mansie himself is a perfect portraiture; and how admirably in keeping with the central autobiographer are the characters and scenes which revolve around his needle !”—THOMAS AIRD.
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS,
EDINBURGH AND LONDON.