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sometimes deeply, piercingly, and with a must do, into Politics; is a Reformer, at least Seer's eye. Strong thoughts are not wanting, a stern Complainer, Radical to the heart: his beautiful thoughts; strong and beautiful ex-poetic melody takes an elegiaco-tragical chapressions of thought. As traceable for instance racter: much of him is converted into Hostility, in this new illustration of an old argument, the and grim, hardly-suppressed Indignation, such mischief of Commercial Restrictions: as Right long denied, Hope long deferred, may awaken in the kindliest heart. Not yet as a rebel against any thing does he stand; but as a free man, and the spokesman of free men, not far from rebelling against much; with sorrowful, appealing dew, yet also with incipient lightning, in his eyes; whom it were not desirable to provoke into rebellion. He says in Vulcanic dialect, his feelings have been hammered till they are cold-short; so they will no longer bend; "they snap, and fly off,"-in the face of the hammerer. Not unnatural, though lamentable! Nevertheless, under all disguises of the Radical, the Poet is still recognisable : a certain music breathes through all dissonances, as the prophecy and ground-tone of returning harmony; the man, as we said, is of a poetical nature.
To his Political Philosophy there is perhaps no great importance attachable. He feels, as all men that live must do, the disorganization, and hard-grinding, unequal pressure of the Social Affairs; but sees into it only a very little farther than far inferior men do. The frightful condition of a Time, when public and private Principle, as the word was once understood, having gone out of sight, and Self-interest being left to plot, and struggle, and scramble, as it could and would, Difficulties had accumulated till they were no longer to be borne, and the spirit that should have fronted and conquered them seemed to have forsaken the world;—when the Rich, as the utmost they could resolve on, had ceased to govern, and the Poor, in their fast-accumulating numbers, and ever-widening complexities, had ceased to be able to do without governing; and now the plan of" Competition" and "Laissez-faire” was, on every side, approaching its consummation; and each bound up in the circle of his own wants and perils, stood grimly distrustful of his neighbour, and the distracted Commonweal was a Common-wo, and to all men it became apparent that the end was drawing nigh :-all this black aspect of Ruin and Decay, visible enough, experimentally known to our Sheffield friend, he calls by the name of "CornLaw," and expects to be in good part delivered from, were the accursed Bread-tax repealed.
In this system of political Doctrine, even as here so emphatically set forth, there is not much of novelty. Radicals we have many; loud enough on this and other grievances; the removal of which is to be the one thing needful. The deep, wide flood of Bitterness, and Hope becoming hopeless, lies acrid, corrosive in every bosom; and flows fiercely enough through any orifice Accident may open: through Law Reform, Legislative Reform, Poor Laws, want of Poor Laws, Tithes, Game Laws, or, as we see here, Corn Laws. Whereby indeed only this becomes clear, that a deep, wide flood of evil does exist and corrode; from which, in all ways, blindly and seeingly, men seek deliverance, and cannot rest till they find it; least of all till they know what part and proportion
"These, O ye quacks, these are your remedies:
Will not God smite thee black, thou whited wall?
Thy law is lifeless, and thy law a lie,
Or Nature is a dream unnatural:
Look on the clouds, the streams, the earth, the sky;
To feed the all-feeding sea! the molten gold
And wake to verdant life hill, vale, and plain.
Nature and the doings of men have not passed by this man unheeded, like the endless cloudrack in dull weather; or lightly heeded, like a theatric phantasmagoria; but earnestly inquired into, like a thing of reality; reverently loved and worshipped, as a thing with divine significance in its reality, glimpses of which divineness he has caught and laid to heart. For his vision, as was said, partakes of the genuinely Poetical: he is not a Rhymer and Speaker only, but, in some genuine sense, something of a Poet.
Farther we must admit him, what indeed is already herein admitted, to be, if clear-sighted, also brave-hearted. A troublous element is his; a Life of painfulness, toil, insecurity, scarcity, yet he fronts it like a man; yields not to it, tames into some subjection, some order; its wild fearful dinning and tumult, as of a devouring Chaos, becomes a sort of wild war-music for him; wherein too are passages of beauty, of melodious melting softness, of lightness and briskness, even of joy. The stout heart is also a warm and kind one; Affection dwells with Danger, all the holier and the lovelier for such stern environment. A working man is this; yet, as we said, a man: in his sort, a courageous, much loving, faithfully enduring and endeavouring man.
What such a one, so gifted and so placed, shall say to a Time like ours; how he will fashion himself into peace, or war, or armed neutrality, with the world and his fellow men, and work out his course in joy and grief, in victory and defeat, is a question worth asking: which in these three little Volumes partly receives answer. He has turned, as all thinkers up to a very high and rare order in these days
of Adam this is ever the way; some evil that lies nearest us, be it a chronic sickness, or but a smoky chimney, is ever the acme and sumtotal of all evil: the black hydra that shuts us out from a Promised Land: and so, in poor Mr. Shandy's fashion, must we "shift from trouble to trouble, and from side to side; button up one cause of vexation, and unbutton another."
of it is to be found. But with us foolish sons | black colours of Life, even as here painted, and brooded over, do not hide from him that a God is the Author and sustainer thereof; that God's world, if made a House of Imprisonment, can also be a House of Prayer; wherein for the weary and heavy-laden, Pity and Hope are not altogether cut away.
It is chiefly in virtue of this inward temper of heart, with the clear disposition and adThus for our keen-hearted singer, and suf- justment which for all else results therefrom, ferer, has "the Bread-tax," in itself a consider- that our Radical attains to be Poetical; that the able but no immeasurable smoke-pillar, swoln harsh groanings, contentions, upbraidings, of out to be a world embracing Darkness, that one who unhappily has felt constrained to darkens and suffocates the whole Earth, and has adopt such mode of utterance, become ennobled blotted out the heavenly stars. Into the merit into something of music. If a land of bondof the Corn Laws, which has often been dis- age, this is still his Father's land, and the cussed, in fit season, by competent hands, we bondage endures not for ever. As worshipper do not enter here; least of all in the way of and believer, the captive can look with seeing argument, in the way of blame, towards one eye: the aspect of the Infinite Universe still who, if he read such merit with some emphasis fills him with an infinite feeling; his chains, on the scantier trenchers of his children," were it but for moments, fall away; he soars may well be pardoned. That the "Bread-tax," free aloft, and the sunny regions of Poesy and with various other taxes, may ere long be Freedom gleam golden afar on the widened altered and abrogated, and the Corn Trade be- horizon. Gleamings we say, prophetic dawncome as free as the poorest "bread-taxed ings, from those far regions, spring up for him ; drudge" could wish "it, or the richest satrap nay, beams of actual radiance. In his ruggedbread-tax-fed” could fear it, seems no extrava-ness, and dim contractedness, (rather of place gant hypothesis: would that the mad Time than of organ,) he is not without touches of a could, by such simple hellebore-dose, be feeling and vision, which, even in the strictest healed! Alas, for the diseases of a "world sense, is to be named poetical. lying in wickedness," in heart-sickness and atrophy, quite another alcahest is needed;-a long, painful course of medicine and regimen, surgery and physic, not yet specified or indicated in the Royal-College Books!
One deeply poetical idea, above all others, seems to have taken hold of him: the idea of TIME. As was natural to a poetic soul, with few objects of Art in its environment, and driven inward, rather than invited outward, for But if there is little novelty in our friend's occupation. This deep mystery of ever-flow. Political Philosophy, there is some in his poli-ing Time; "bringing forth," and as the Antical Feeling and Poetry. The peculiarity of cients wisely fabled, "devouring" what it has this Radical is, that with all his stormful de- brought forth; rushing on, in us, yet above structiveness, he combines a decided loyalty us, all uncontrollable by us; and under it, and faith. If he despise and trample under dimly visible athwart it, the bottomless Eterfoot on the one hand, he exalts and reverences nal;-this is, indeed, what we may call the on the other: the "landed pauper in his coach- Primary idea of Poetry: the first that introand-four" rolls all the more glaringly, contrasted duces itself into the poetic mind. As here: with the "Rockinghams and Savilles" of the past, with the "Lansdowns and Fitzwilliams," many a" Wentworth's lord," still "a blessing" to the present. This man, indeed, has in him the root of all reverence,-a principle of Religion. He believes in a Godhead, not with the lips only, but apparently with the heart; who, as has been written, and often felt, " reveals Himself in Parents, in all true Teachers, and Rulers," '-as in false Teachers and Rulers quite Another may be revealed! Our Rhymer, it would seem, is no Methodist: far enough from it. He makes the Ranter," in his hotheaded way, exclaim over
"The hundred Popes of England's Jesuitry;" and add., by way of note, in his own person, some still stronger sayings: How "this baneful corporation," "dismal as its Reign of Terror is, and long armed its Holy Inquisition, must condescend to learn and teach what is useful, or go where all nuisances go." As little perhaps is he a Churchman; the "Cadi-Dervish" being nowise to his mind. Scarcely, however, if at all, does he show aversion to the Church as Church; or, among his many griefs, touch upon Tithes as one. But, in any case, the
"The bee shall seek to settle on his hand,
Who numbers worlds and writes their names in light,
And not the first idea only, but the greatest, properly the parent of all others. For if it can rise in the remotest ages, in the rudest states of culture, wherever an "inspired thinker" happens to exist, it connects itself still with all great things; with the highest results of new Philosophy, as of primeval Theology: and for the Poet, in particular, is as the life-element wherein alone his concep
tions can take poetic form, and the whole world | make even Corn-Laws rhyme, we require of become miraculous and magical.
him this further thing,-a bearing worthy of himself, and of the order he belongs to,-the highest and most ancient of all orders, that of Manhood. A pert snappishness is no manner for a brave man ; and then the manner so soon influences the matter; a far worse result. Let him speak wise things, and speak them wisely; which latter may be done in many dialects, grave and gay, only in the snappish seldom or
The truth is, as might have been expected, there is still much lying in him to be developed; the hope of which development it were rather sad to abandon. Why, for example, should not his view of the world, his knowledge of what is and has been in the world, indefinitely extend itself? Were he merely the "uneducated Poet," we should say, he had read largely; as he is not such, we say, Read still more, much more largely. Books enough there are in England, and of quite another weight and worth than that circulating-library sort; may be procured too, may be read, even by a hard-worked man; for what man (either in God's service or the Devil's, as himself chooses it) is not hard-worked? But here again, where there is a will there is a way. True, our friend is no longer in his teens; yet still, as would seem, in the vigour of his years: we hope too that his mind is not finally shut in, but of the improvable and enlargeable sort. If Alfieri (also kept busy enough, with horsebreaking and what not) learned Greek after he was fifty, why is the Corn-Law Rhymer too old to learn?
"We are such stuff
As Dreams are made of: and our little life
Figure that, believe that, O Reader; then say whether the Arabian Tales seem wonderful! "Rounded with a sleep, (mit Schlaf umgeben)!" says Jean Paul: "these three words created whole volumes in me."
To turn now on our worthy Rhymer, who has brougne us so much, and stingily insist on his errors and shortcomings, were no honest procedure. We had the whole poetical encyclopædia to draw upon, and say commodiously, Such and such an item is not here; of which encyclopædia the highest genius can fill but a portion. With much merit, far from common in his time, he is not without something of the faults of his time. We praised him for originality; yet is there a certain remainder of imitation in him; a tang of the Circulating Libraries, as in Sancho's wine, with its key and thong, there was a tang of iron and leather. To be reminded of Crabbe, with his truthful severity of style, in such a place, we cannot object; but what if there were a slight bravura dash of the fair tuneful Hemans! Still more, what have we to do with Byron, and his fierce vociferous mouthings, whether "passionate," or not passionate and only theatrical? King Cambyses' vein is, after all, but a worthless one; no vein for a wise man. Strength, if that be the thing aimed at, does not manifest itself in spasms, but in stout bearing of burdens. Our Author says, "It is too bad to exalt into a hero the coxcomb who would have gone into hysterics if a tailor had laughed at him." Walk not in his footsteps, then, we say, whether as hero or as singer; repent a little, for example, over somewhat in that fuliginous, blue-flaming, pitch-and-sulphur "Dream of Enoch Wray," and write the next otherwise.
We mean no imitation in a bad palpable sense; only that there is a tone of such occasionally audible; which ought to be removed; -of which, in any case, we make not much. Imitation is a leaning on something foreign; incompleteness of individual development, defect of free utterance. From the same source, spring most of our Author's faults; in particular, his worst, which after all is intrinsically a defect of manner. He has little or no Humour. Without Humour of character he cannot well be; but it has not yet got to utterance. Thus, where he has mean things to deal with, he knows not how to deal with them; oftenest deals with them more or less meanly. In his vituperative prose Notes, he seems embarrassed; and but ill hides his embarrassment, under an air of predetermined sarcasm, of knowing briskness, almost of vulgar pertness. He says, he cannot help it; he is poor, hardworked, and" soot is soot." True, indeed; yet there is no connection between Poverty and Discourtesy; which latter originates in Dullness alone. Courtesy is the due of Man to Man; not of suit of clothes to suit of clothes. He who could master so many things, and
However, be in the future what there may, our Rhymer has already done what was much more difficult, and better than reading printed books;-looked into the great prophetic-manuscript Book of Existence, and read little passages there. Here, for example, is a sentence tolerably spelled:
"Where toils the Mill by ancient woods embraced,
Bid Science on his cheek prolong the bloom:
With him they feel the majesty of might,
His neighbour's fence, if so his will requires,
It is rustic, rude existence; barren moors, with the smoke of Forges rising over the waste expanse. Alas, no Arcadia; but the actual dwelling-place of actual toil-grimed sons of Tubal-cain: yet are there blossoms and the wild natural fragrance of gorse and broom; yet has the Craftsman pauses in his toil; the Craftsman to has an inheritance in Earth;
and even in Heaven.
"Light! All is not corrupt, for thou art pure,
To him the very air a banquet yields.
Envious he watches the poised hawk that wheels
His little Boys are with him, seeking flowers,
So by the daisy's side he spends the hours,
tic-Tragical. It is said, "the good actor soon makes us forget the bad theatre, were it but a barn; while, again, nothing renders so apparent the badness of the bad actor as a theatre of peculiar excellence." How much more in a theatre and drama such as these of Life itself! One other item, however, we must note in that ill-decorated Sheffield theatre: the back-scente and bottom-decoration of it all; which is no other than a Workhouse. Alas, the Workhouse is the bourne whither all these actors
and workers are bound; whence none that has once passed it returns! A bodeful sound, like the rustle of approaching world-devouring tornadoes, quivers through their whole existence; and the voice of it is, Pauperism! The thanksgiving they offer up to Heaven is, that they are not yet Paupers; the earnest cry of their prayer is, that "God would shield them from the bitterness of Parish Pay."
A guide no more, I seem to want a guide,
"Hail Sabbath! Day of mercy, peace, and rest!
And when thou com'st, less silent are the fields,
Through whose sweet paths the toil-freed townsman this Sheffield Eye-witness, and "from their
own knowledge and observation fearlessly declare that the little master-manufacturer," that the working man generally, "is in a much worse condition than he was in twenty-five years ago." Unhappily, the fact is too plain; the reason and scientific necessity of it is too plain. In this state of things, every new man is a new misfortune; every new market a new complexity; the chapter of chances grows ever more incalculable; the hungry gamesters (whose stake is their life) are ever increasing in numbers; the world-movement rolls on: by what method shall the weak and help-needing, who has none to help him, withstand it? Alas, how many brave hearts, ground to pieces in that unequal battle, have already sunk; in every sinking heart, a Tragedy, less famous than that of the Sons of Atreus; wherein, however, if no "kingly house," yet a manly house went to the dust, and a whole manly "lineage was swept away." Must it grow worse and worse till the last brave heart is
King-humbling" bread-tax, "blind rule" and enough else.
And so our Corn-Law Rhymer plays his part. In this wise, does he indite and act his Drama of Life, which for him is all too Domes
Mournful enough, that a white European Man must pray wistfully for what the horse he drives is sure of,-That the strain of his whole faculties may not fail to earn him food and lodging. Mournful that a gallant manly spirit, with an eye to discern the world, a heart to reverence it, a hand cunning and willing to labour in it, must be haunted with such a fear. The grim end of it all, Beggary! A soul loathing, what true souls ever loathe, Dependence, help from the unworthy to help; yet sucked into the world-whirlpool,-able to do no other: the highest in man's heart struggling vainly against the lowest in man's destiny! In good truth, if many a sickly and sulky Byron, or Byronlet, glooming over the woes of exist. ence, and how unworthy God's Universe is to have so distinguished a resident, could transport himself into the patched coat and sooty apron of a Sheffield Blacksmith, made with as strange faculties and feelings as he, made by God Almighty all one as he was,-it would throw a light on much for him.
Meanwhile, is it not frightful as well as mournful to consider how the wide-spread evil is spreading wider and wider? Most persons, who have had eyes to look with, may have verified, in their own circle, the statement of
broken in England; and this same "brave | sunk in dishonesty has not been given thee; Peasantry" has become a kennel of wild-howl- solely over one man therein thou hast a quite ing ravenous Paupers ? God be thanked absolute uncontrollable power; him redeem, There is some feeble shadow of hopes that the him make honest; it will be something, it will change may have begun while it was yet time. be much, and thy life and labour not in vain. You may lift the pressure from the free man's shoulders, and bid him go forth rejoicing; but lift the slave's burden, he will only wallow the more composedly in his sloth: a nation of degraded men cannot be raised up, except by what we rightly name a miracle.
Under which point of view also, these little Volumes, indicating such a character in such a place, are not without significance. One faint symptom perhaps that clearness will return, that there is a possibility of its return. It is as if from that Gehenna of Manufacturing Radicalism, from amid its loud roaring and cursing, whereby nothing became feasible, nothing knowable, except this only, that misery and malady existed there, we heard now some manful tone of reason and determination, wherein alone can there be profit, or promise Nay, it appears to us as if in this humble of deliverance. In this Corn-Law Rhymer we chant of the Village Patriarch might be traced seem to trace something of the antique spirit; rudiments of a truly great idea; great though a spirit which had long become invisible all undeveloped. The Rhapsody of "Enoch among our working as among other classes; Wray" is, in its nature, and unconscious tenwhich here, perhaps almost for the first time,dency, Epic; a whole world lies shadowed in reveals itself in an altogether modern political it. What we might call an inarticulate, halfvesture. "The Pariahs of the Isle of Woe," | audible Epic! The main figure is a blind aged as he passionately names them, are no longer man; himself a ruin, and encircled with the Pariahs if they have become Men. Here is ruin of a whole Era. Sad and great does that one man of their tribe; in several respects a image of a universal Dissolution hover visible true man; who has abjured Hypocrisy and as a poetic background. Good old Enoch! Servility, yet not therewith trodden Religion He could do so much, was so wise, so valiant. and Loyalty under foot; not without justness No Ilion had he destroyed; yet somewhat he of insight, devoutness, peaceable heroism of had built up: where the Mill stands noisy by resolve; who, in all circumstances, even in its cataract, making corn into bread for men, these strange ones, will be found quitting him- it was Enoch that reared it, and made the rude self like a man. One such that has found a rocks send it water; where the mountain voice who knows how many mute but not Torrent now boils in vain, and is mere passing inactive brethren he may have in his own and music to the traveller, it was Enoch's cunning in all other ranks? Seven thousand that have that spanned it with that strong Arch, grim, not bowed the knee to Baal! These are the time-defying. Where Enoch's hand or mind men, wheresoever found, who are to stand has been, Disorder has become Order; Chaos forth in England's evil day, on whom the hope has receded some little handbreadth; must of England rests. For it has been often said, give up some new handbreath of his realm. and must often be said again, that all Reform Enoch too has seen his followers fall round except a moral one will prove unavailing. him, (by stress of hardship, and the arrows of Political Reform, pressingly enough wanted, the gods,) has performed funeral games for can indeed root out the weeds (gross deep-fixed them, and raised sandstone memorials, and lazy dock-weeds, poisonous obscene hemlocks, carved his Abiit ad Plures thereon, with his own ineffectual spurry in abundance ;) but it leaves hand. The living chronicle and epitome of a the ground empty,-ready either for noble whole century; when he departs, a whole cenfruits, or for new worse tares! And how else tury will become dead, historical. is a Moral Reform to be looked for but in this Rudiments of an Epic, we say; and of the way, that more and more Good Men are, by a true Epic of our Time,-were the genius but bountiful Providence, sent hither to dissemi-arrived that could sing it! Not "Arms and nate Goodness; literally to sow it, as in seeds the Man" "Tools and the Man," that were shaken abroad by the living tree? For such, now our Epic. What indeed are Tools, from in all ages and places, is the nature of a Good the Hammer and Plummet of Enoch Wray to Man; he is ever a mystic creative centre of this Pen we now write with, but Arms, whereGoodness; his influence, if we consider it, is with to do battle against UNREASON without or not to be measured; for his works do not die, within, and smite in pieces not miserable fel but being of Eternity, are eternal; and in new low-men, but the Arch Enemy that makes us transformation, and ever wider diffusion, en-all miserable; henceforth the only legitimate dure, living and life-giving. Thou who ex-battle! claimest over the horrors and baseness of the Time, and how Diogenes would now need two Lanterns in daylight, think of this; over the Time thou hast no power: to redeem a World
We have given no epitomized abstract of these little Books, such as is the Reviewer's wont: we would gladly persuade many a reader, high and low, who takes interest not in rhyme only, but in reason, and the condition of his fellow-man, to purchase and peruse them for himself. It is proof of an innate love of worth, and how willingly the Public, did not thousand-voiced Puffery so confuse it, would have to do with substances, and not with deceptive shadows, that these Volumes carry "Third Edition" marked on them,-on all of them but the newest, whose fate with the reading world we yet know not; which, however, seems to deserve not worse but better than either of its forerunners.
Which Epic, as we granted, is here altogether imperfectly sung; scarcely a few notes thereof brought freely out: nevertheless with indication, with prediction that it will be sung