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melancholy marked him for her own.” In it does not appear that Unwin was ever a the following remarks we shall deal imme- guest at Olney, or that friendship ever diately with none of Cowper's biographers, attracted Cowper to Unwin's parsonage. but offer a brief commentary on some por- When, however, Lady Austin or Lady Hestions of his life and writings. It may be keth are guests to be expected at either possible, even at the eleventh hour, to cor- Olney or Weston, his spirits rise, neither rect certain prevalent mistakes, or at least pains nor forethought is spared in preparato bring out some new lines in a portrait tion, for them the house is garnished, the which has long attracted, and may long con- garden is made trim, good accommodation tinue to attract, a numerous class of readers. is provided for servants and horses, cellar
It is remarkable that while Cowper speaks and larder are replenished, and“ 'gauoccasionally of his mother, of whom he can deamus” is written legibly in every lethave had only a vague recollection, he has ter in which their visit is mentioned. To a only once mentioned his father, of whom he spirit so cleavimg to female society, the must have retained a distinct and lively im- crowning infelicity of his unhappy life was pression. And this is the more remarkable, perhaps that which met him at the very because Cowper is by no means chary in threshold of it-the death of his mother mentioning his nearest relatives on the pa- while he was yet an infant. ternal side. To the memory of a parent If we may judge, of their characters by whom he lost almost in his infancy, he ad- their portraits yet extant, Anne, wife of John dressed the most pathetic of his shorter Cowper, was a graceful, tender, and loving poems. Her kindred in the second genera- woman, endowed with some humor, with a tion he received with open arms; on her vein of melancholy, and with much sympapicture he gazed with the rapture of a devo- thy; whereas John her husband, “ Chaplain tee. But to the parent who was alive when to King George II.,” has the look of a shrewd Cowper had attained to man's estate, he says and stirring personage, who could elbow his nothing beyond a simple notification of his way with the best at a levee, and who was decease in 1756. John Cowper, indeed, never sad without a reason-such as a remarried a second time; yet there is no rea- buff from his bishop, or a cold reception from son for assuming this second marriage as a lay-patron. The Cowper family had althe cause of his son's reticence, since he re- ready produced one lord chancellor, and, fers to his “mother-in-law at Berkhamp- besides an earldom, held sundry good apstead," as sometimes troubling him with pointments, as befitted sound Whigs. Wil"shopping” in London, but without any liam Cowper had displayed at Westminster charge or insinuation of novercal injustice. school -fair scholastic abilities; and idle At Berkhampstead, of which parish Dr. though he undoubtedly was in a solicitor's Cowper was rector, the poet's school holi- office, Mr. Newton says of him years afterdays and law vacations were often spent ;' ward that he was by no means so ignorant but neither the parish, the parsonage, nor of law as he represented himself to be. It the pastor, seems to have been classed is possible that his father conceived hopes among his pleasant recollections; whereas that there might be a well-briefed barrister, of the native home of his mother he never if not a second lord chancellor in the famwrites without interest, and sometimes with ily, may have pressed on him the virtue of yearning emotion. We have no grounds rising in the world, may have cited the exfor assuming the doctor to have been "a ample of his ancestors and kinsfolk, hard man,” for though Cowper has chronicled his own sufferings at school, he says
“To pater Æneas et avunculus excitet Hecnothing of any discomforts at home. Perhaps we may find a probable solution for this and have been rexed, if not wroth, when his unequal division of filial retrospect. Through- son evinced such evident propensities for the out his life Cowper exhibits a predilection life contemplative. “ The world,” says Pisfor female rather than for male companions. tol, “ is mine oyster, which I with sword will To Unwin, indeed, he writes as to a brother; open.” But Cowper's mood was less magand he deplores the early death of a “ friend nanimous than “mine Ancient's.” The diftorn from him "-Sir William Russell. But fidence and inconstancy of purpose which a
From St. James' Magazine. Many who read these lines will, perhaps,
have observed its workings in their own " There nre more things in heaven and earth, minds. I myself—no poet, and but an indifHorario,
ferent prose-writer-am continually subject Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. to the effects of its influence. What it is
why it is—whence it is, I cannot tell. I The poet Coleridge-long before he had know it only in its results. become entangled in the subtleties of the This sensibility is the effect--or, perhaps, "omject” and “sumject,” and whilst yet a I ought rather to say the defect-of my orbareheaded, blue-coated boy—on one occa- ganization. I can no more belp being intiusion converted the Strand into the Helles- enced by the power of which I am speaking pont, and a poor street-lamp into the signal than I can help being hungry after a long light of the beautiful priestess of Sestos. fast. It is not reverie, for reverie would imThe poet, we are told, was proceeding ply voluntary submission ; but I do not through the well-known thoroughfare I have readily yield. On the contrary, I resist iis mentioned, stretching out his arms in the influence-yet it comes. I fly from it-yet manner of one who is swimming, when a it follows. All it requires is a situation passenger, finding a hand at his coat-tail, wherein to unfold itself, and I am completely suddenly turned round, rudely seized the at its mercy. It exerts itself in many and boy, and accused him of an attempt at pick- various ways; but, as I have said, I am acing his pockets. Coleridge denied the quainted with it in its effects alone. Withicharge; and thereupon, and as an excuse out, therefore, attempting an explanation of for his strange motions, made the singular what is from its nature inexplicable, let me confession that he had utterly forgotten give some examples of its mode of operation. where he was, and had somehow firmly be- You must know, then, I am an inveterate lieved himself to be in the waters of the street-walker ; being, indeed, as De QuinHellespont, across which he was endeavor- cey has it, a philosopher of the peripatetic ing to swim. The writer to whom we owe sect. It is my habit to go out and wander this anecdote relates the circumstance pre- about London without any fixed purpose cisely as he would have described any ordi- other than my own entertainment. But, if nary event in the life of the subject of his I derive no real profit from these perambubiography, and seems to have had no con-lations, the employment has come to afford ception of recording anything unusual, or me a sort of melancholy pleasure I am unwhat needed comment or explanation. And, able to resist. I regard the streets as peculto most persons, the incident does doubtless iarly my domain, and compare myself to the appear to be eminently ludicrous. They astronomer who devotes night after night to look upon Coleridge as, what he termed the task of watching the heavens in order himself, a playless day-dreamer, and regard to discover new worlds, or to see that none this performance of his as the mere passing of the old ones be missing. As with him, fancy of a distempered imagination—a fancy the scope of my observation is unlimited. such as all are sometimes subject to, and Nor are our occupations totally different ; poets more especially. I am, however, in- for is not every man I meet an Atlas bearing clined to believe there is in the occurrence on his shoulders a world-sometimes beausomething strange—something of mystery— tiful and in order ; sometimes a very chaos? and that, to the mind of the boy, the scene And, whilst contemplating the stream of had possessed the essential properties of a human countenances eddying and flowing real spectacle. I am convinced, by plentiful around me in any crowded thoroughfare, I experience, that there is in the human mind a make many discoveries. I look upon some mysterious power which is able to re-call and with wonder–upon some with dread-upon re-create what has disappeared into the Past; all with curiosity. To me, every face is the and which, though at present awaiting recog- photograph of a soul, and has distinctive nition and direction, will hereafter strengthen features. With all I find myself in a posiitself-extend itself—and be of no small action to become acquainted in a more or less count to humanity. And this faculty is by intimate degree; none that passes will no means rare; nor is it confined to poets. thenceforth be to me an entire stranger • and, now and then, but at unexpected inter- ; its accustomed appearance, and reverts to vals, some one will seem to demand a closer that which it originally presented. examination than I usually bestow. I dread With me, these sensations are of recent to meet him, for, upon his approach, I feel growth. At one time I had so great a difconscious of possessing the unwelcome power ficulty in conceiving the past and the absent, to read the full history of his life, and to that whenever I endeavored, in imagination, follow him with my mental eye through his to revivify scenes that had previously ocprevious career. However distasteful the curred, or to recall bygone events or the apexercise of this power may be to my feel- pearance of a person with whom I had been ings, my endeavors to restrain it are una- acquainted, the attempt was an utter failure. vailing. As I look, and whilst he passes, But, now, my conception is too distinct—my his whole appearance undergoes a radical organization is too easily affected—all my change; he becomes younger; his features senses conspire against me. A peculiar assume an altogether new expression. Then, scent, a note of music, a cloud rolling from scene after scene develops itself-each more off the face of the sun, a motion of my body, remote in point of time—with all the vivid- even, is often the sole cause in producing a ness of reality, and a distinct and definite renewal of impressions first receive years impression is left upon me, just as if I had ago, and feelings long since gone and forbecome thoroughly acquainted with the per- gotten. And not only in recalling to the son in the ordinary way. The reception of memory, with intense truth, my own expethese ideas is not within my own power, nor riences that have faded away, but also in have I any intimation of their approach. I reproducing scenes in which, by the nature cannot suppress them; I cannot control of things, I never could have participated. them; I cannot terminate them. When A casual glance at the name of a street is they come, however, I am wholly under their sufficient to call up to my second-sight scenes dominion. You may call it hallucination, that have been enacted therein, or persons or the vagaries of a day-dreamer ; to me, that I know have in some way been conhowever, they are no voluntary fictions of nected with it. Thus, it occasionally hapthe brain, but real and spontaneous presen- pens to me that a street with which I am tations, and I feel an inward conviction of perfectly familiar suddenly loses its accustheir truth.
tomed appearance, and assumes that strange. As with persons, so with places. Every- ness and newness with which I first beheld body that observes cannot fail to have no- it. For a moment or two it retains this asticed, that long contemplation of any object pect. Then, by degrees, there comes a completely alters its appearance. The im- change, and, instead of reverting to the appression it left, in time wears itself out, and pearance with which I am most familiar, the is insensibly succeeded by another. That street becomes the nucleus of extraordinary strangeness which at first sight characterizes phenomena. A strange spectacle presents the object, becomes invariably dissipated by itself. That ever-moving crowd, which to familiarity, and, at last, the thing assumes me is solitude, begins, one by one, to disapa permanent expression' wholly different pear; that roaring traffic, which on me profrom what it bore when first seen. In com- duces the same effect as silence elsewhere, mon with others, I have noticed this fact. begins to subside ; my senses become involThere is, too, another, of similar nature, untarily inactive; the impressions of surthat I once believed I alone had observed, rounding objects fade away. Then, another but which I now find is by no means the crowd and another kind of noise succeed, case. Tennyson, but in a very limited and and I feel I am in contact with beings that, partial sense, has noticed it in the following I know by some intuition, have long since passage :
disappeared beyond the limits of temporal
influence. At first, all is a bewildering con“ As when we dwell upon a word we know, Repeating till the sound we know so well
fusion; the figures that flit to and fro posBecomes a wonder, and we know not why."
sess an indistinctness of outline not unlike
what is commonly observed in a thick NoThus the converse operation is performed in vember fog ; nothing is clearly visible. But the mind. What has been familiarized loses there soon follows order and distinctness
and harmony, and I find myself-spectator, persons and occurrences. Whenever the haud particeps-in the midst of a scene that spectacle is generated I cannot evade it, it I feel convinced must in former years have is not in my power to dissipate it; the scene been enacted in that street. After awhile, must wear itself out. My attention is comit grows fainter and fainter, and at last, pletely absorbed by the spectacle, and I am just as the vapor produced by breathing on bound to be a silent spectator of what is goglass evaporates, completely wears itself ing on. Once-and once only—was I conout. The forms I see, move along just as scious of exerting force to free myself from people of to-day; they appear to recognize the enthralment. I was walking through an each other ; enter into conversation with unobserving train of these phantoms, when each other; and have all the characteristics suddenly a bell in some neighboring church of real beings. As for myself, I do not speak struck out. On all occasions, if a sound -I cannot speak ; I am among them, but from the outer world is heard by me, the not of them ; I am not perceived, but I per- spell is at once broken and I am released. ceive these forms as plainly as I perceive But on this, I could clearly hear the bell, this paper on which I am writing, and with and yet it was as if I were altogether out such distinctness as to enable me long after- of the world whence it came. I was alarmed wards to recall to my mind their gait, their at the idea of participating in two distinct lineaments, the expression of their counte- existences. Terror came on me as in a nances—the very texture of their skin. I nightmare. A thought struck me that I was am, moreover, enabled by some internal but henceforth to live in visions. I struggled, unmistakable assurance to recognize indi- i with all my might to free myself. All my viduals and identify events. Thus—to omit attempts were in vain ; every effort served lesser incidents I have found myself at only to weaken my power of resistance-the Westminster in the crowd that thronged the spectacle maintained itself. At last, and approaches to the Abbey at the coronation after I had given myself up to its influence, of Henry VII.; I have seen Shakspeare (of it suddenly and spontaneously disappeared. the Globe" in more senses than one) hurry- Of kindred origin_if not derived from the ing along to his theatre in Bankside; I have same inscrutable cause is another class of been jostled by the mob that attended the feelings to which I am sometimes subject. execution of Charles the First ; in Russell A scene beheld for the first time appears Street, at Covent Garden, I have stood and with an aspect of perfect familiarity. A watched " the Wits as they came out from house, a person, or a landscape presents itWills' or Button's. To come to a later pe- 'self, and I recognize it, although it is utterly riod—I have, in Holborn, been passed by impossible I could ever before have seen it. that wonderful Boy who left Bristol and I feel as if I were renewing a former moment came to live and starve and die in Lon- of existence. Three winters ago I was passing don; and, in the same thoroughfare, have, through Birmingham on my way to Ireland. for some short distance, followed the Vis- Having to walk from one station to another, count Chateaubriand with dishevelled hair I had engaged the service of a porter to carry and bloodshot eye-dragging himself along, my baggage. We were proceeding in comdevoured of hunger, deserted of sleep-come pany, when suddenly I was obliged to halt. abroad that none might know his destitu- Turning out of a narrow lane, through which tion.
we had threaded our way to shorten the disNor, at the time of their occurrence, docs tance, I found myself in front of an old-fashit appear at all strange to me that I should ioned brick house by which we were to pass. see these sights. I am sensible of no sur- Most people, it is certain, would have seen prise at their coming, and, as in a dream nothing remarkable or singular in the appersons never question the reality of the ap- pearance of this house. Upon me, however, paritions that present themselves, so in pres- it had a peculiar effect. The moment I saw ence of these phantom-scenes of mine I am it, I felt much as I should had a cord been firmly convinced of their reality. I am, tied round the great artery of my heart and however, fully aware they are not real ex- suddenly loosened. The physiognomy of istences, in the ordinary sense of the term; the house was impressive. It seemed to but I feel them to be true pictures of actual have a threatening aspect, and to menace me in a strange and unaccountable way. I feared cepted by Consciousness as belonging to the to pass it. I become possessed of the idea identy of its being. The house I speak of it was by some means or other to be con- wears a sombre and mysterious air. I often nected with my fate. I had never before see it, and have since frequently passed near been at Birmingham; but I was positive I it, but never have been able to bring myself had previously scen this house. I felt as- to approach it. My reason discredits the sured I was able to find my way through its superstition ; but the feeling is so deeply rooms and passages—draw, without enter- rooted in my mind, that all the wealth of all ing, the plan of its interior-make an inven- the treasuries of Europe would not induce tory of its books and furniture, and other- me voluntarily to enter. wise describe its contents, with as much Such are some of the sensations to which accuracy as if I had been familiar with it I am subject. I may here be permitted to from childhood. This impression had all the state, that I am conscious of no bodily or weight of certainty to my mind. Moreover, mental disorder: I suffer from no organic the belief that it boded ill to me became disease, nor am I laboring under any temdeeply rooted in my imagination, and I feared porary functional derangement. Whence, to approach it. But this apprehension did then, do these sensations arise ? No discovnot arise simultaneously with the idea of ered law of the human mind can adequately having seen the house before ; neither was account for them ; neither that of Contiguity, it inherent in that idea, but deduced there- nor that other of Constructive Association, from by me. Nevertheless, the impression will avail us ; other causes must be sought. I received was of a character to justify the I am no believer in the Supernatural; that rendering I gave it. It was an impression is, in the possibility of anything occurring that conveyed an intimation of some future out of the order of Nature. But-in reply danger; but when, or from what, or in what to that large class, the “ matter-of-fact" phiway, was not apparent. Fear suggested losophers, who will assume the whole to be the interpretation, and my mind was predis- a delusion, "breaking in upon the laws of posed to accept it. I was constrained to Nature, which are uniform, invariable,” etc., turn back !
-I would ask, What are these laws? How There is too, here, in London, a house do you know when they are broken in upon P which has the same effect upon me as did You should, first of all, discover the whole that at Birmingham. It is in the neighbor- of those laws, before you can, with truth, hood of Leicester Square-large, gloomy, say what is and what is not a law; and this and retiring. On the day I saw it first, I is plainly not in your power. Besides, it is was sensible of a kind of prccognition. The possible we may—and in reality we do-obinstant I beheld the object, I become con- serve effects, the causes of which lic necesscious of experiencing a repetition of some sarily beyond the sphere of our observation previous impression. I strove to recollect to discover. To discriminate the real from the occasion, but failed: the impression was the false is not always so easily accomplished too vague and fleeting. I could not, that is as “matter-of-fact” philosophers imagine. to say, recall to my mind the distinct points I will take leave to ask them ono question : in time and place wherein and whereat it Time and Space—what are they? Are they originally occurred. At length, I was irrc-real--or are they nonentities, having no absistibly forced to the conclusion that the solute existence apart from our own Conseemingly long interval which had clapsed sciousness? We know there is One who is between the antecedent impression and the not affected by them, and to whom a thoupresent, was altogether imaginary—that, in sand years are as one day, and one day as reality, both were contemporaneous; and, a thousand years. Are we not told also, that that the time which seemed to have passed " in Him we live, and move, and have our was purely a fiction of the mind-created at being "?
X. the moment the object first appeared, and ac
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