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of the human mind; and there his analysis ends. A great gulf is fixed between such facts and the laws of which they are expressions ; nor is the way bridged over, neither can be, from this side of the wide intermediate fosse. On the other, indeed, a castle well fortified is already erected, evidently too with a draw-bridge, whereof the owners may let it down whenever they are so disposed, and make incursions into the land of experience at their pleasure. And to the shore of this gulf is brought the historian of all kinds, whether his subject be the passivities of nature, the activities of man, the progression of society, or the dispensations of Providence
-hither he must come, and send over that ample deep a loud voice, demanding of the echoes that but repeat his question, what the System is, of which he has conceived the Idea ?—what the Order, of which he acknowledges the Principle?—what the Purpose, of which he apprehends the Law ?
Something then above or beyond science is required—a want which the scientific man feels as an instinct, but has not yet expressly assumed as a postulate. Evermore, however, glimpses of majestic truth come to him, that the subjects of his enquiry are processes toward one grand developement of this extra something, so lofty-so distant! All kinds of historical research, into natureinto man-into institutions-into nations—all are portions of a philosophy not yet reduced into its elements—not yet worked out: yet evermore operating and being exhibited in partial solutions.
It would be easy to show that the metaphysical enigmas with which the sphynx-adoring world has been puzzled or amused, are historical evolutions of the one philosophy which, in all ages aird countries of the world, has been the same spirit, everywhere acknowledged, and animating the theorists of all denominations and complexions. The conviction of this truth has received, from time to time, illustration in the works of the noblest minds, both in this country and on the continent. Kant, Fichte, Schelling, the Schlegels, Herder, Lessing, Schiller, Göthe; De Stael, Chateaubriand, Cousins; Southey, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Anster, Carlyle, and others, including the present Editor of this Magazine, have alike testified to the prevalence of this conviction, and illustrated it in their productions. The late Samuel Taylor Coleridge dedicated his life to the evolution of Catholic religion, as the formal enunciation of the one philosophy, or, more strictly speaking, of that Wisdom who, being before the hills, has nevertheless “her delights among the sons of men." If we use the word Philosopher, rather than Sophist, it is in condescension to the prejudice which has condemned the latter phrase to contemptuous uses. Men, not wise, had made a lucrative profession of gravely seeming so, until the truly wise, as in the instance of Pythagoras, thought fit to decline the title in favour of one more modest. But the new term has been since as much abused ; and it is not without a sneer, more or less intensified, that men predicate of a fellow-man the philosophic character Who would, in these days, presume so much as to name another a wise man? The notion is preposterous! And yet-and yet-hear, Oye Heavens! and give ear, Othou Earth !-the
Man of Wisdom is even he for whom the Heavens enquire, and the Earth travails !
With the prejudices that militate against the high tone of sentiment in which we have just indulged, the class of minds we have enumerated have fought, and not in vain. How little they have been aided by periodical criticism, the destiny of Coleridge sufficiently illustrates. He lived to prove the truth of the feeling under which Shelley writhed only too intensely. Both were made to feel that in and to, and for, this world, Genius is a splendid error-at best a dazzling indiscretion-and entirely out of place on the surface of a material planet, among beings solicitous only for their physical interests. But nevertheless it still lives-on Hope; it feeds on Faith, and the essence and spirit of its being is Love ;faculties these which leave their possessor starving and naked here, and even then have freest exercise when he, to outward seeming, is most destitute of all who perish beneath the sun. It was well for Shelley that he had a fortune. His poetry was eminently unsuccessful. Had not Providence supplied his wants from other sources, he must have been a beggar- perhaps a maniac. Verily, a fearful gift is the gift of song. Justly might it be said of the prophet“And lo! thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument,” and no more. The language of the Muses is a foreign tongue ;-the poet in the world is like Ruth when, in the field of Boaz, "she stood alone amid the alien corn."*
Shelley was a victim to the want of philosophic completeness in his own person, as well as to the utter want of the philosophic spirit in the critical productions of the time. Coleridge, however,
• As an illustration of the change in opinion current with the rising intellect of the age, we may refer to the following sonnet addressed to Shelley, from a just published volume of poems now lying before us—"The Demons of the Wind, and other Poems. By Henry Longueville Mansell.”
Systems shall pass and perish. Visioned dreams
Shall, like defeated spoiler, haste away,
Like the sun-gazing eagle's, dared to soar
Above the clouds of custom, and explore
As thy accuser; but each virtuous deed
That gilds thy life, an advocate shall be-
And be successful. Bigot Calumny,
Shall fade before thy memory's stainless light. For a philosophical analysis of Shelley's mind, the reader is respectfully referred to an article of our own on Shelley's poetry in the last June number of FRASER'S MAGAZINE. Beside the defences of Coleridge from the same pen in that periodical, there are two articles in the third number of The'CHURCH OF ENGLAND QUARTERLY Review, treating of the works both of Roger Bacon and of Coleridge, in which we have expressed opinions concerning à priori and a posteriori science that we are desirous of avowing.
N. 8.-VOL. I.
was accomplished at all points—the poetic and the sophistic; and the deficient appreciation of his productions by the public, was altogether due to the neglect of the reviewers. O they were blind, passing all ordinary blindness, to the utterances of pure truth in whatever shape. It is amusing to read their late recantationsthose of the Edinburgh, in relation to Kant and Wordsworth—those of the Quarterly, in reference to Shelley, and Hazlitt, and Coleridge; and that of nearly all Magazines in connexion with Southey.* More amusing is it to remark the confusion of some old readers of all these works; they are utterly perplexed. The decisions on which they once built their literary faith, are, like the equally unalterable decrees of the Medes and Persians, with the things that were. Time has pronounced upon them—they are failures. However well they may have prospered in the market of their time, those critical journals, in the moral world, are failures. The volumes that remain are ruins, the spaces in libraries they occupy show as Cities of the Dead, where grinning Idiocy sits, like a gibbering ape, horribly mocking amidst dishonoured columns and desecrated types--once superstitiously idolised—now religiously abhorred.
· Politics.—The present condition of Politics is a result of the mal-influences above deplored. Under this head, we beg to include both Church and State. Every thing with both is now, and has been, in antagonism; and all along of the deleterious authority exercised by periodical literature abandoned of every principle. The progress of our great literature, from the time of Henry the Eighth to the present, has been to the general and abstract; the tendency of critical works to the petty and the sectarian. What mattered it that a venerable Hooker had, even at the dawn of the reformation, risen to the prothetic idea of Law as identified with the Divine Being himself; and that an eloquent Coleridge, in their own days, had shown its evolution in two infinite forces, for ever tending in opposite directions, but, nevertheless, stayed and supported in a common medium by the impartial attraction of a common centre ? Not a single public critic thought it worth his while to suggest the point of mediation, but found, or sought, his profit, in championing one or other of the antagonist principles, cheering on the mob in the madness of their expectation, that one ever could subdue the other, as if, of two eternal powers, one could be destroyed. Absurd and asinine assumption !-not, however, confined to the monster multitude, but partaken by the leaders of popular opinion ! Witness reviews, magazines, newspapers, all, without exception, devoted to a party, to one of the poles in this great contest, and none giving the slightest hint of a prior Unit, or Whole, the perception whereof solves all difficulties, and reconciles all anomalies. If the conductors of such works knew not of this antecedency to all ecclesiastical and political manifestations whatever, they were unfit for the office that they assumed ; if they knew of it, they were the veriest knaves that ever received the wages of the hireling. And look at the lamentable effects of such villany or ignorance ! The members of society yet striving together, as if they had really separate interests, instead of only apparent ones, notwithstanding the publication of treatises demonstrating the contrary, as it were, with the finger of light itself. These treatises have been crushed by the neglect of reviewers so that the light hath shined in a darkness that comprebended it not. And those to whom it had come, preferred the darkness before the light, because their deeds, their words, their very thoughts were evil.
* These remarks are as honourable to the present editors of such works, as they are criminatory of their predecessors.
The extent to which the partizanship spirit of periodical publication has been lately carried, exceeds all example. We have now not only two or three Reviews, but nine or ten ; it may be more : Magazines still more numerous; and weekly publications out of number-one advocating one sect or party, another, another; one patronising the Church of England, another the Church of Rome ; one, one sect, and another, another : but none, except this new series of the Monthly Magazine, devoted to truth as it is in itself, without favour or affection-working for God and Man, and not for individuals or cliques, falsely solicitous concerning mistaken interests. A great want, accordingly, has arisen, which we desiderate to supply. In a conflict so complicated, an Umpire is, indeed, demanded to decide between all parties--an impartial Arbitrator, who shall assume the vicarage of justice, and fulfil the duties of the station. God grant that neither we nor the time may be altogether unfitted for the needful task and its uncorrupt performance !
To conclude, however, an address, become somewhat intricate and laborious. A ready answer, we know, will be given to our argument, on the ground of the difference between Taste and Genius. Taste, we shall be told, is but the mirror of Genius, and presumes its prior existence. Homer was before Longinus. Poetry preceded criticism. What wonder, therefore, that the critics should be behind the great writers of the nineteenth century? We concede all this at once and for ever. But the objection involves not the assumption that the critic's taste shall not be on a par with a writer's genius. It is enough that a book shall be published to-day, and that the review shall appear tomorrow. A critic well instructed in the principles of his art, need fall into no error-the posteriority is one in time only, and not in mind. And what is Taste ?-at least a sympathy with Genius-more, in reality ;-even a certain amount of Genius-a manifestation, in fact, a demonstration of a nature universally partaken, by the assertion of a common right to appreciate its productions. This was sometime a paradox, which is now a mere common-place.
And how does this Sympathy shew itself? By an Appreciation of Excellence. The detection of defects, save by contrast, is no part of its business; where it perceives no significance, it will, as it ought, say nothing. It will shew reverence to every work of a man of genius. Did Milton entertain a high opinion of his Paradise Regained ?-it will not contradict him, but piously seek the reasons for his preference. Did Göthe value the second part of his Faust?—it will proceed to the investigation of the work with respect. In regard to the latter production, critics, both in Germany and in England, have been greatly in fault. Elaborate essays have been compiled to lead to the elaborate conclusion, that the critic had discovered no meaning in the poem. We know, however, that those who bave investigated this production with care, feel that it possesses epic proprieties, and still more wonderous attributes, not to be profanely treated. That these points may be settled to the satisfaction of the English reader, we have caused a prose literal version of it to be made, of which a portion will appear in each number of this magazine until the whole is completed; and on which, as a faithful translation, implicit reliance may be placed. The Second Part of Göthe’s Faust, for the Monthly Magazine, will be rendered into English by Mr. Leopold John Bernays, a translator whose happy position precludes the possibility of erroneous interpretation. At some future opportunity we shall give two or three papers from our own pen on the whole of Göthe's works, with some criticisms on the Faust in particular.
Such are the services, then, which we purpose to render the British reader in the pages of the Monthly Magazine. Confident of the rectitude of our intentions, and proud of the nobility of our cause, we shall proceed fearlessly, and, we are sure, prosperously. For it is not according to the eternal order, that the soldier of truth should go to war at his own charges. Meantime, we repeat, a new æra has dawned on mankind. The genius of nations has commenced a new series of operations. All nations and peoples, all sects and parties, believers and infidels—all are now looking, as once before during the commonwealth, for a millennium, political or religious. A poetic instinct of humanity, this, which more than any, perhaps, requires regulation, and should be specially regarded by the public instructor. The first and second childhood of the world, as we have elsewhere remarked, are the poetical periods of imagination, “ glorious with exhalations of the dawn,” or radiant with the hues of sunset. Needful it is, however, that we should know, that those ideal æras are not to be fully actualised in the prose realities of mortal life; nor in attempting to reduce them to such levels can we retain the “ fine touches" which in their native element set them off so winningly. More needful will this caution seem to us, when become aware of the fact, that all enthusiasts are of poetic temperament, being, if not writers, actors of poems; no less than that all poets are enthusiasts-Vates heaveninspired; and that there is a tendency in all such to actualise in forms of flesh and blood these visionary anticipations, oblivious of the pregnant precept, that " flesh anıl blood itself cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Such mistakes have been made by great divines—men of fervid eloquence; nay, have been adopted by persons of sober understanding, and the plodding matter-of-fact professor. Mistakes these, however, which may be forgiven to a Shelley, an Irving, or a Fourier; or more than forgiven, being, as