scantiness of finer natural perceptions in Greek and Roman literature, in spite of the grand oceanic rhythm of Homer, and the delicate water-coloring of the Greek Anthology and of Horace.
The Oriental and the Norse sacred books are full of fresh and beautiful allusions; but the Greek saw in Nature only a framework for Art, and the Roman only a camping-ground for men. Even Virgil describes the grotto of Aeneas merely as a black grove with horrid shade,—Horrenti atrum nemus imminet umbra.
Wordsworth points out, that, even in English literature, the Windsor Forest of Anne, Countess of Winchelsea, was the first poem which represented Nature as a thing to be consciously enjoyed; and as she was almost the first English poetess, we might be tempted to think that we owe this appreciation, like some other good things, to the participation of woman in literature.
But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the voluminous Duchess of Newcastle, in her Ode on Melancholy, describes among
sanity of thought, which Coleridge so finely makes the crowning attribute of Wordsworth, is in no way so well matured and cultivated as in the society of Nature.
There may be extremes and affectations, and Mary Lamb declared that Wordsworth held it doubtful if a dweller in towns had a soul to be saved.
During the various phasay in the Pot Tavern?
Compare the enormity of pleasure which De Quincey says Wordsworth derived from the simplest natural object, with the serious protest of Wilkie
In literature this is easy, the descriptions are so few and so faint.
When Wordsworth was fourteen, he stopped one day by the wayside to observe the dark outline othe whole; and one is tempted to charge even Emerson, as he somewhere charges Wordsworth, with not being of a temperament quite liquid and musical enough to admit theerhaps,—an odd triad, surely, for the whimsical nursing mother to select,—are Wordsworth, Bettine Brentano, and Thoreau.
Yet what wonderful achievements have some
nt, and may hereafter supply evidence of earth's changes upon some smaller scale.
May expands to its prime of beauty; the summer birds come with the fruit-blossoms, the gardens are deluged with bloom, and the air with melody, while in the woods the timid spring flowers fold themselves away in silence and give place to a brighter splendor.
On the margin of some quiet swamp a myriad of bare twigs seem suddenly overspread with purple butterflies, and we know that the Rhodora is in bloom.
Wordsworth never immortalized a flower more surely than Emerson this, and it needs no weaker words; there is nothing else in which the change from nakedness to beauty is so sudden, and when you bring home the great mass of blossoms they appear all ready to flutter away again from your hands and leave you disenchanted.
At the same time the beautiful Cornel-tree is in perfection; startling as a tree of the tropics, it flaunts its great flowers high up among the forest-branches, intermingling its lon