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Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.

O dread and silent Mount! I gaz'd upon thee,
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,
Didst vanish from my thought; entranc'd in prayer,
I worshipp'd the Invisible alone.

Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody-
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it-
Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought,
Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy,
Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused
Into the mighty vision passing—there,
As in her natural form, swellid vast to heaven.


I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me.
Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them ?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart,
With a pure passion ?

In Byron's well-known description of a thunder-storm amongst the Alps, we have not only the most magnificent outline of the scene but an example of a total inversion of the older style of painting from nature ;-in this case a simile is drawn from humankind to illustrate the power and grandeur of material forces :

Not vainly did the early Persian make
His altar the high places and the peak
Of earth-o'ergazing mountains, and thus take
A fit and unwalled temple, there to seek
The spirit in whose honour shrines are weak
U preard of human hands. Come, and compare
Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer !
The sky is changed—and such a change !-Oh, night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong
And lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman ! Far along,
From peak to peak the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder !—not from one lone cloud,
For every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud.

And this is in the night !-most glorious night,
Thou wert not sent for slumber !-let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight-
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 'tis black; and now the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain mirth,

As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth! Scott has his own way of looking at nature; and in the most poetical of all his productions, he indulges in the bold fancy of imagining the objects of inanimate nature deploring over the loss of their fervent admirer :

Call it not vain, They do not err
Who say that when the poet dies
Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
And celebrates his obsequies—
Who say, tall cliff and cavern lone
For the departed bard make moan ;
That mountains weep in crystal rill,
That flowers in tears of balm distill,
Through his lov'd groves that breezes sigb,
And oaks, in deeper groans, reply ;
And rivers teach their rushing wave

To murmur dirges round his grave. With mystical and transcendental notions of this kind Shakspere would have nothing to do. He was a realist in his art, confining himself strictly to the business in hand. Even his greatest of philosophers, Hamlet, in all the turns of his ingenious and vagrant fancy, could be made to conceive of nothing so wild or so abstract as what frequently occurs in modern poetry.

But while Shakspere's references to natural scenery are in general literally " short and far between," and while he avoids the task of making up any complete picture, the attentive reader will observe that there are two objects in Nature which he is never tired of alluding to. The objects we refer to are the Sea and the Sun, and here again we find Shakspere closely following in the footsteps of Homer. As with the older bard, the Sea is noticed in all its varying aspects, and in delineating a storm the poet puts forth all the strength of his genius, and that so graphically and so minutely as to induce the belief that he was not writing from hearsay or from the narratives of observers so much as from his own actual experience. As to the sun-the rising sun more particularly-it seems to have been with him an object of special adoration as intense as if he had been a genuine Fire Worshipper. This phase of the great luminary he appears to be never weary of describing. He introduces it into nearly all his plays, and in the seventh sonnet is a most perfect description of the phenomenon. We have thought it worth the trouble, in order to show the profound art of Shakspere in dealing with a single object, to bring together a number of his allusions to the rising sun and the break of clay :

The silent hours steal on, And flaky darkness breaks within the east.

Richard III.- Act 5, scene 3. The early village cock Hath twice done salutation to the morn.

Richard III.-Act 5, scene 3. Then he [the sun] disdains to shine, for the book He should have braved the east an hour ago.

Richard III.-Act 5, scene 3. This battle fares like to the morning's sun, When dying clouds contend with growing light. —

King Henry VI.- Part III. Modest as morning, when she coldly eyes The youthful Phæbus.—

Troilus and Cressida-Act 1, sc. 3. As the morning seals upon the night, Melting the darkuess.-

Tempest-Act 1, sc. 1. Yon grey lines That fret the clouds are messengers of day.-

Julius Caesar-Act 1, sc. 1. The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning nig!:t, Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light, And flucked darkness like a drunkard reels.

liomeo anil Juliet-Act 2, sc. 3. But look, the morn, in russet maníle clad, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern lill.-

Hamlet-Act 1, sc. 1. And when the mo sun shall raise his car Above the border of the horizon.

King Henry VI. Part 3. Act 5. As is the diff rence betwixt day and night, An bour before the heavenly-harnessed team Dezins his golden progress in the east.

Henry IV. Part 1. Act 3, sc. 1. The wolves have prey'd, and look, the gentle day Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about Dapples the drowsy east with spots of rey:

Much Ado about Nothing-Act 5, scene 3. As when the golden sun salules the morn, And having gilt the ocean with his beams, Gallops ihe zodiac in his glistering couch, And overlooks the highest peering Lills.

Titus Andronicus-Act 2, scene 1.

The glorious sun
Stays in his course, and plays the alchemist,
Turning, with splendour of his precious eye,
The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold.-

King John-Act 3, sc. 2.
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.-

Miujummer Night-Act 3, scenc 2.
The glow-worm shows the main to be near,
And 'gins to pule his uneffectual fire, —

Hamlet-Aci 1, scene 5.
All so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the furthest east begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed.--

Romeo and Juliet-Act 1, scene 1.
An hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east.-

Lo! here the gentle lark, weary of rest,
From his moist cabinet mounts up on high,
And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
T'he sun ariseih in his majesty-
Who doth the world so glorionsly behold,
That cedar tops and hills are tinged with gold.-

Venus and Adonis.
Look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Romeo and Juliet-Act 3, sccnc 5. We have placed the above quotations, not in the order of their beauty, which it would be an impertinence to attempt, but as they seem to be more or less perfect and elaborate, until in the closing illustration a series of images are crowded together in a profusion rendering it entirely and perfectly Shaksperian.

In these remarks the aim has been rather to suggest than to determine-to offer reasons for a judyment than to make out a case—and we shall be glad if we have been the means of directing the attention of scholars to a subject which las been too much overlooked-one closely connected with the development of the human mind in its love and appreciation of the grand and beautiful.


It has been the fashion amongst a certain class of writers to speak of Shakspere as the creation of nature rather than of art, and an opinion has never ceased to prevail that his great success as a writer was due almost entirely to his natural and not to his acquired gifts. Judging from the tone of modern criticism, this and similar notions are less prevalent than they have been, and it would appear that we are arriving at more sound and correct judgments, but one can scarcely open the books of the earlier critics of Shakspere without being met by some such idea as that alluded to. What was generally believed in the age of Shakspere, and for a century afterwards, was, that if a person had not gone through a university curriculum-had not made himself master of Greek and Latin at least-he was of no use in the world of letters, and had no pretensions to write books such as scholars would read. It hence followed, that when Shakspere arose to instruct and delight the world, naturę got the credit of all his achievements. He had been at no college; he was unlearned, and could have no merit in his productions-nature had done everything for him and education nothing. The editors of the first Folio did their best to encourage this absurdity by informing their readers that Shakspere's " mind and hand went together, and what he thought he uttered with that easiness that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers”-leading to the inference that their author was under a kind of afflatus or direct inspiration. Milton, strange to say, fell into a similar error-in his case far less excusable. In the “L'Allegro," written twenty-one years after the death of Shakspere, he speaks of his greatest rival in fame as

Sweetest Shakspere, Fancy's child,

Warbling his native wood-notes wilda sentiment which, we need scarcely say, conveys quite a false impression of the genius of Shakspere. Fuller, in his “ English Worthies," makes the same mistake in writing

' thus :


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