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may see his lamp, outwatching the Bear, or exploring the dim regions of the spiritual world, or the dim mazes of alchemical study; or, if he betake himself to the enchantments of literature, "gorgeous Tragedy, in her sceptred pall," presents the high achievements of Thebes or Troy, or the forests and enchantments of Gothic story. Thus through the night, and until the sober-tinted morn appears, the musing man dreams his time away. Yet, even in the bright day time, he will find Nature to his humour; amidst piping winds, and rustling leaves, and showers, Nature responds to the mood of his spirit; or, if the sun flings his flaring beams, then to the arched walks and twilight groves of the ancient monumental oak in the retired solitudes haunted by sylvan shadows, where never was heard the stroke of the rude axe, and nymphs, in their hallowed coverts of the brooks, were never disturbed by the eye of the profane, —there would the musing man go, accompanied during the day only by the bee singing among the flowers, or the waters murmuring in concert,—so waving over the spirit some mysterious dream, sent with sweet music breathing above—about—beneath, by the unseen genius of the wood.
The cheerful man loves music,—so also does the melancholy man, but of a very different order; the solemn sound* that murmur through old abbeys; not the rebeck, but the organ; not the merry sounds of the cheerful dancers, but the solemn choristers in the old and vast cathedral.
"But let ray duo feet never fail
To Ny :ilt the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows, richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There lot the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced choir below,
In service hi^h, and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
These pleasures. Melancholy, give,
Dr. Johnson calls these pieces " two noble efforts of the imagination.'' Almost every line is a picture; and by ordinary readers they will perhaps be more readily perused than the more august and exalted strains of the poet. They are both portraits of temperaments entirely individual; they are "silent, solitary inhabitants of the breast; they neither receive nor transmit communication: no mention is therefore made of a philosophical friend, or a pleasant companion. The seriousness does not arise from any participation of calamity, nor the gaiety from the pleasures of the bottle."*
Mr. Todd quotes a fine letter from that accomplished scholar, Sir William Jones, to Lady Spenser, dated Oxford, September 7th, 1769. It seems from it, that it was his opinion that we are indebted, not to Horton, but to Forest Hill, for his descriptive pictures of the country. It was written during the celebrated Garrick Jubilee, in honour of Shakspeare, at Stratfordupon-Avon, and is interesting for many reasons: we will therefore cite it here.
"The necessary trouble of correcting the first printed sheets of my history, prevented me to-day from paying a proper respect to the memory of Shakspeare, by attending his jubilee.
* Johnson's Life of Milton, Lives of Poets.
intent upon his labonr, and the milk-maid returning from her country employment.
"As we ascended the hill, the variety of beautiful objects, the agreeable stillness and natural simplicity of the whole scene, gave us the highest pleasure. We at length reached the spot whence Milton undoubtedly took most of his images; it is on the top of the hill, from which there is a most extensive prospect on all sides: the distant mountains that seemed to support the clouds, the villages and turrets, partly shaded with trees of the finest verdure, and partly raised above the groves that surrounded them, the dark plains and meadows of a greyish colour, where the sheep were feeding at large; in short, the view of the streams and rivers convinced us that there was not a single useless or idle word in the above-mentioned description; but that it was a most exact and lively representation of nature. Thus will this fine passage, which has always been admired for its elegance, receive an additional beauty from its exactness. After we. had walked, with a kind of poetical enthusiasm, over this enchanted ground, we returned to the village.
"The poet's house was close to the church; the greatest part of it has been pulled down; and what remains belongs to an adjacent farm.