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Mr. Fuller's "Temple of Fancy," or some other depôt of a similar nature, and there to purchase an immoderate supply of gold leaf to work out his design. We protest against this glittering array of words; it dazzles, it does not charm the senses. A diamond-beetle is a very pretty thing, but an antelope is more graceful, and a lion much more sublime. Mr. Moore's poems are all diamond-beetles.
But all this has very little to do with our friend D. L. R. We have spoken, thus freely of his Ocean Sketches, because he can afford to be blamed a little where there is so much to praise. Hazlitt says, that "those who are tenacious on the score of their faults, show that they have no virtues to bring as a set-off against them." Now D. L. R. having plenty of virtues, will readily allow us to say something of his faults. We have nothing more, however, to say about them, and we are heartily glad of it. But we have much to say of his merits, and happy are we that can we do so in a spirit as sincere as it is cordial. Here is a passage on which we have first lighted in the Ocean Sketches; and who is there amongst our readers who will not recognize the truthfulness of the picture?
How fitfully the struggling day-beams pierce
The veil of heaven! On yon far line of light,
As though 'twere painted on the sky's blue vault.
Here is another full of graphic power and beauty; it gives us little trouble to find such gems for they are clustering in every page. How finely he describes a ship in a storm :—
Her snow-white sails,
Outspread like wings of some gigantic bird
The dark heavens groan,-the wildly scattered clouds,
The dim-discovered stars. Up lofty bills,
Or down wide-yawning vales, the lone ship drives
Calm as silver cloud on summer skies,
Or yon pale moon amid the strife of heaven!
These are, we think, fair specimens of the Ocean Sketches; they are of the "average quality" of the whole, and have been culled with no particular care. Of the lesser poems we have marked a number for extract, and we are at a loss how to choose amongst them. The following lines will, we are sure, find an echo in many a lonely exile's breast. They are touchingly beautiful and plaintive:
WRITTEN IN INDIA.
The skies are blue as summer seas- -the plains are green and bright-
The sun-rise bursts upon the scene, like glory on the soul,
In that sweet hour when Fancy's spell inebriates the brain,
While, like unprisoned birds, we seek the haunts of happier years!
As a sort of appendix to these lines we must quote a stanza from an exqui. site poem entitled "Consolations of exile," and we wish that we could extract the whole:
Fair children! still, like phantoms of delight,
Ye haunt my soul on this strange distant shore,
A silent converse o'er the waters wide,
And fill the space that yearning hearts divide.
And now what better can we do than let our readers know how the "Home visions" of the poet were realized, when once again he trod the shores of his own native land. Oh! is it not worth a few years' exile-a few years of heartsolitude in a strange land-to feel the exulting spirit, the bounding pulse, the access of animal life, the buoyancy, the hopes which stir within us, when we plant our foot upon the strand of Merry England, and feel its mild airs breathing on us once more? How well do we remember all the sensations which D. L. R. has so beautifully described. We, at least, can vouch for the truth of the verses. How naturally does the poet allude to the first sight of his native fields and their spirit-stirring influence on his soul:—
And when among my native fields I wandered in the sun,
I felt as if my morn of life had only just begun.
But when upon my wildering doubts reflection flashed the truth,
We doubted, whether we would quote these lines, as there is a passage of a similar tendency in a delightful Essay on Children, which we had half promised ourselves to cite in this review. We hardly know which most to admire, the passage in the essay or in the poem; but we could not resist the temptation of giving a sort of unity to the three last quotations; they, indeed, form a series of beautiful pieces, each serving to illustrate the others. But we must be more chary of extracts or we shall soon run out of our bounds.
We have as yet said nothing of D. L. R's sonnets; but we are not there. fore blind to their merits. They are most of them exquisitely finished and full of genuine poetry. We think that, with the exception of Milton's and Wordsworth's, they are equal to any in the language. We have neither time nor inclination in the present place, to speak of the capabilities of the sonnet; there has been much controversy on the subject, and should any of our readers wish to carry on the enquiry, we would refer them at once to the preliminary observations which introduce D. L. R.'s masterly essay on the mysterious sonnets of Shakespeare, whilst we take at random a few of D. L. R.'s own, and offer them to the admiration of those who prefer following us in our criticisms.
SONNET-TO MY TWIN BOYS.
Ye seem not, sweet ones, formed for human care
Your dreams are tinged by heaven ;-your glad eyes meet
A charm in every scene; for all things greet
The dawn of life with hues divinely fair!
How brightly yet your laughing features wear
Oh! now glad Nature bursts upon mine eye!
Oh! there are green spots on the path of time
Our paths are desolate, and far apart-
Our fond, impassioned spirits. Quick tears start
And rend oblivion's veil. E'en now the store
A brief though dear delusion ?-All things fly
There are two poems, which we would fain quote entire did not their extreme length prevent us. The one is called Retrospection, the other Stanzas to my Child. We must, however, cite an extract from each of them, before we pass on to the consideration of D. L. R.'s merits as a prose writer. The latter of the two poems will lose nothing by a comparison with those exquisite verses of Leigh Hunt's commencing.
Sleep breathes at last from out thee
Thou little patient boy.
And we do not think that any higher praise than this could be bestowed on a domestic poem.
'Tis sweet on this far strand,
When memory charms the fond reverted eye,
To view that hallowed land
Where early dreams like sun-touched shadows lie!
The dear familiar forms,
That caught the fairest hues of happier hours,
As bursts of light between autumnal showers.
The green-wood's loveliest spot
The summer walk-the cheerful winter fire
The calm domestic cot
The village church with ivy-covered spire
Each scene we loved so well
With faithful force the mind's true mirror shows,
As Painting's mighty spell
Recalls the past, and lengthened life bestows.
I see my own first hours,
I see thee pluck the fresh spring-flowers,
When kindred bliss was mine;
Ah! dearest child, if thou
And I for ever gaze as now
Of earthly guilt or earthly care,
Methinks e'en this drear world might seem
We have already given a general estimate of the character of D. L. R.'s genius. Those remarks bore an equal reference to his prose and his poetical works. The spirit of all his writings is there faithfully described; but we shall be expected to say something in this place about the style of his prose-writings; and most honestly do we record our opinion that in grace of diction and felicity of expression few writers have surpassed D. L R. There is a delicacy and refinement, without an approach to coxcombry, in all his essays, which has seldom been equalled. It would be impossible to find in any one of his productions a coarse or vulgar expression. All that he has written bears the impress of an exquisite taste and a cultivated mind. There is no straining after effect, no glaring display of words, no vicious colouring in D. L. R.'s essays; all is quiet, elegance and subtle grace; the chaste beauties of his style are in fine keeping with the delicacy of his sentiments; he offends neither in thought nor diction. He has been a great reader in his day, and his reading is self-evident in his works; but there is no ostentatious display of it; it does not look like scrapbook learning. His illustrations are always apt and striking, and seem as though they had been naturally called to his memory by the previous reflexions, which they are made to exemplify, and not, as in the writings of some pedants we could name, as though the reflexion were merely a peg on which to hang a long string of portfolio-preserved book-scraps. There is often great subtlety in D. L. R.'s critical observations and much depth and knowledge of human nature in his moral essays and sketches of character. His reading has been chiefly in poetry, biography and critical history. He is neither a classic, nor a mathematician, nor a natural-pbilosopher; but he is a moralist and a first rate critic. We would take his opinion of a poem, or an essay, or a painting, or an actor sooner than that of any person we know. He has his prejudices, as have all critics, whose writings are worth a jot, but they are neither very numerous nor very strong. He is a cordial admirer of such writers as Wordsworth, Shelley, Hazlitt, Keats, Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb; but he can read Pope and Addison with pleasure, though he cannot tolerate Johnson's inflations, any where else than in Boswell's book. If we were to liken him to any living writer, it would be to Leigh Hunt purified of his conceits. He has less fancy than Hunt, but he has more taste, and though not such a good linguist, he has an equal acquaintance with English literature and full as much critical discrimination. In the Literary Leaves there are some able criticisms on Drummond, Pope, Brydges, Mrs. Charlotte Smith and others, as likewise a most subtle enquiry into the character of Shakespeare's Shylock. We entirely agree with D. L. R. in the estimate there formed; there is an exculpatory spirit pervading it, which to us is most pleasant, for we cordially execrate national prejudices. Though in this country, alas! they are most rife. It would be an injury to D. L. R. to extract a portion of this article, and our limits will scarcely permit us to give the criticism entire. We must seek for quotations in those essays which are more of a moral