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he make of his opponents ! They afford him only food for his mirth, yea, for his laughter. The satire of Brougham is a heavy but unfailing instrument. It does not play round the head, but reaches the heart. His smiles are sometimes more terrible than the frowns of other men. It has been said that he is not an effective party-man, because his oratory is too often offensive, and too rarely persuasive. But persuasion has been tried too long. The evils of corruption, tyranny and misrule have at last become so utterly intolerable, that it would be a mockery to treat their supporters with hollow courtesies. A more vigorous and trenchant system of warfare is now called for to put down the enemies of liberty and truth. Nothing can so effectually silence them as the voice of Brougham. They tremble at the thunder of his eloquence and the lightning of his satire. There is no man living that we could not better spare. His very name is a tower of strength, and the most audacious of his opponents are ashamed to speak with unqualified contempt of a cause to which he lends it.
The most remarkable excellence of Lord Brougham's mind is its universality. He is not a mere encyclopedic genius with a general but shallow knowledge of most subjects and a mastery of none. He speaks on every occasion like one having authority. This variety and extent of power is rare indeed; for such is the ordinary limitation of the human capacity, that to excel in any one particular art or science usually demands a concentration of mind at once exclusive and severe. " Painting," said Michael Angelo, " is a jealous god, and requires the whole man.” When a purchaser expressed himself dissatisfied at the price of one of Sir Joshua Reynolds's pictures, and inquired how long he had taken to paint it, the artist replied a whole life ; meaning that it was the labour of a whole life, that had enabled him to execute the smallest work in the manner worthy of his fame. The same principle equally applies to all other arts and sciences. It requires a vast and wonderful force of mind to be able to grapple effectually with a variety of subjects. Men of such gigantic intellect are produced but rarely and at long intervals. In the present age there is perhaps too great a tendency to generalize education. Such men as Bacon and Brougham may search into all things with a learned and laborious spirit, but the powers of inferior intellects are enfeebled by too much latitude and an indiscriminate voracity of knowledge. They who are not fully conscious of possessing extreme energy and immense capacity should be content with a more moderate range of subjects ; for even men of real genius and originality of mind may overstrain their powers and injure themselves by too much exertion. The division of labour is, generally speaking, the cause of excellence in individuals as well as in communities. Some of Lord Brougham's professional enemies, envious of his rapid rise above them, have hinted that he is an indifferent lawyer ; and it is more than probable that he does not excel in verbal quibbles and minute details. A similar accusation was brought against Lord Bacon by no less a person than Queen Elizabeth. Bacon,” said her Majesty,“ hath many excellent flowers of wit, but he is no great lawyer.” The present Lord Chancellor may well afford to smile at an accusation, to which even such a glorious predecessor was exposed. Men of narrow views cannot duly appreciate the great. ness of such a mind as Lord Brougham's, though they are disturbed by a vague sense of his superiority, and are chilled and disheartened by the shadow into which he throws them.
The name of Brougham is so closely connected with every great political event of the nineteenth century, and he has been such an active and efficient leader in the great march of mind that has achieved such amazing triumphs over the ignorance and bigotry descended to us from the "good old times,” that no public man of the present day is more secure of a favorable place in the annals of his country, perhaps indeed, in the history of the world. The time has arrived when the benefactors of the human race are no longer in danger of sinking into oblivion or insignia ficance by the side of kings and conquerors.
A discoverer or a guide in the realms of mind may now look for that just appreciation of his merits which until Lord Brougham sent the Schoolmaster abroad was so generally denied to him. A Brougham or a Bentham exercises a more enduring sway over the human mind, and eventually over the destinies of nations, than a Wellington or a Bonaparte. It is a more difficult and noble task to eradicate an error from the head than to pass a sword through the heart. It is delightful to observe so powerful a mind as Lord Brougham's devoted with indefatigable toil and unabated zeal to the cause of freedom and to the interests of the poor. The eloquence of his tongue and pen has always been employed to some noble purpose, and those wondrous physical and mental exertions which have never been surpassed by the most energetic slaves of Mammon, are all so many generous sacrifices of his personal ease for the benefit of mankind.
But though his powers are so various and gigantic, his oratory is not in every respect what his admirers would wish it to be. He has vast strength and wide and noble views, but he is less rarely carried away by a lofty and sustained enthusiasm than by a tumultuous emotion of something like personal anger. His imagination, though great compared with that of ordinary men, is not equal to his other endowments. A prodigious force of understanding and an undaunted spirit are the qualities most impressed upon his hearers. He is one of the most vigorous and just of reasoners, but he seems to scorn to sweeten his medicine to the general taste. He does not wind into a subject like a snake, as Goldsmith said of Burke ; but he seizes it like a tiger, and soon tears to tatters the toughest sophistries of his antagonists. But of all his powers as a speaker his withering sarcasm
is perhaps the most effective and characteristic. It is absolutely appalling
This article was writen several years ago; since then Lord Brougham has somewhat disappointed his admirers by showing too great a readiness to quarrel with his friends, and less disposition than of old to keep aloof from the enemies of the people.
NO. VII.-WILSON. The poetry of Professor Wilson is not adapted to the general taste. It is addressed to a limited class of readers who think and feel like the author himself. It is not every eye that can trace his dreamy and indistinct creations. His mind is like a twilight lake, in which the reflections of material things assume vague and unsubstantial aspects. There is rarely in the poetry of Wilson any ordinary incident or' worldly passion to arouse the sympathy of common readers. He is in every respect the opposite of Crabbe. He deals not in histories of daily events, in descriptions of vulgar life, or in simple revelations of the human heart; but he leads us, with glimmering and uncertain lights, into the most aërial regions of imagination. His Muse has no footing on the earth. She dallies with the sunbeams, glides like a shadow over the breezy mountains, and holds converse with “ the
gorgeous company of clouds." Yet though the poetry of Wilson can never be truly popular, it wins from the least congenial reader, however dazzled and perplexed, an instant acknowledgment of the author's genius. But the admiration it excites is rarely allied to love. For its full appreciation and enjoyment it requires such an intense abstraction of mind from all ordinary thoughts and objects, and such an unflagging attention to the subtle and ever-shifting hues of the poet's fancy, that there are few who can long accompany him without a sense of weariness and confusion. His poetry is full of beauties, but they are of such a gossamer-like consistency, of so
ethereal a texture, and are so enveloped in a glittering mist of words, that none but those who take an especial delight in forgetting this material world and revelling in a land of visions, have the patience to trace out each almost evanescent charm, or a sufficient sympathy with the enchanter to submit entirely to his sway and to sacrifice all familiar associations. When Wilson's readers are unimaginative, or when they are disposed to be cold and critical, his genius is impotent and his spell is broken. His power as a prose writer throws his poetry into the shade, because his essays and criticisms, though somewhat too inflated and declamatory, are better suited to the comprehension of the general reader. It is true that they are often characterized by the same dreaminess of fancy, and the same exaggerated tone of sentiment and redundant yet felicitous phraseology; but in prose compositions the poet cannot always be on the wing, and he is compelled at frequent intervals to alight upon the common earth and hold communion with its humblest inhabitants.
The effect of Wilson's poetical imaginings is too frequently injured by the indistinctness of his style ; and his descriptions are sometimes so unnecessarily mystical and florid, as to bewilder our senses, instead of illustrating the object that he would place before us.
Familiar things are disguised under an ostentatious wealth of ornament.
But let not the spirit of criticism carry us too far in our objections. It must not be forgotten that many of Wilson's errors are occasioned by a very rare excess of some of the finest elements of genius. His great merit consists in his fervid admiration of intel. lectual beauty—in the delicacy and spirituality of his fancy-his religious love of nature, and his exquisite perception of her least obvious charms-his deep domestic tenderness, and his pure
and elevated faith in the natural excellence of the heart of man. Though his metre is occasionally somewhat deficient in strength and firmness, it is always very sweet and flowing; and his diction