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to keep life in the half-dead body. But
these dismal hymns were her receipt for
occupation and cheerfulness. 'When I cannot
sleep,' she would say, in a dialect of her
own peculiar pattern, 'I mew.'—There was
poetry in the origin of these ' mewings,'  though
none in the dark and narrow stanzas themselves.

From the above illustrations it may be
gathered that much of the bye-way poetry
with which we shall deal, has never been
promoted to the honours and heartaches of
paper and printnor even taken the manuscript
forms of ' longs and shorts ' as decidedly
as did the imaginative instincts of Black
Phillis, or the long-tried patience of the
sufferer in the———Ward. We mayand shall
have to do with authorship in humble life,
but less, perchance, than those will expect,
who have considered our subject merely
from the outside of the bookseller's window,
or from the sum total of a rhymester's
subscription list drawing thence the charming
inference that A. B. or C. is a poet, because he
has found a publisher and extorted a public!
Too seldom has a Capel Lofft, or a Southey,
or a More, while trying to bring forward a
Bloomfield, or a Mary Colling, or an
ungrateful Bristol Milkwoman, whose facility in
versifying has arrested them,—considered how
wide is the distance betwixt what may be
called the unconscious Poetry of the People
and that meagre and second-hand manufacture,
produced with a desire for fame, or under
hopes of gain, which challenges competition
with the efforts of men more favourably
circumstanced, and which goes forth as virtually
a solicitation for alms.—On the one side (to
take the first instance which occurs) we shall
find something like the Gondolier songs of
Venice, patched upSt Mark and the
Moon know how!—out of bits of plays and bits of
verses and bits of old opera-tunes, by old men and
girls and boys, while a sprightly people ply
their picturesque trade under an Italian sky,
with every image round them to inspire and
encourage a sense of tune,—and which, after
a while, get so rubbed into shapeso rounded
and changed,—so decked with canal-wit,—so
filled with local names and local words,—that a
College of Anatomists should be  puzzled to
'resolve them into their primary elements.'—
On the other side, we may cite as example any
of the myriad verses anxiously strung together
by the hectic and over-wrought operative, by
the light of his candle, whose very burning
would be reprehensible as an extravagance,
could not the ware fabricated at midnight find
an immediate market. The first is an utterance
the second a manufacture. The first speaks
with the breath of a peculiar life, and wears
the colour of a peculiar scenerythe second is
an exercise produced under circumstances,
which, however stimulating to energy, are but
discouraging to Fancy. We may be told, it is
true, that many of our dearest ' household
words ' have been wrung from our greatest
men, by the pressure of the cruellest exigency.
One poet, to pay for his mother's funeral, must
needs write a 'Rasselas'another, under constraint
less instant, but perhaps not less harassing,
shall gladden England for ever, by calling
up Olivia and Sophia in the hayfield, and
Farmer Flamborough's Christmas party, and
the Vicar slyly making an end of 'the wash
for the face,' which his innocently-worldly
daughters were brewing. But evidence, like
this does nothing to contradict our wisdom.
Had Johnson been compelled to compose
his superb style, at a moment's warning
by the coffin-side; had Goldsmith possessed
no treasury of adventure and experience
to draw upon, no power to handle the
pen already learnedneither Imlac nor Mrs.
Primrose would have been alive at this
day. Without preparation, training,
craftsmanship, there is little literature there
is no art. Ballads may grow up but not
epics be produced, nor live-act plays be
constructed, nor tales be woven, nor even
a complete lyric be finished. It has fallen to
the lot of every one of us too often and again,
to see hearts fevered, hopes wrecked, life
embittered, and Death (or Madness) courted,
because men cannotand their friends will
notsufficiently fix their minds on this plain
truth; because inclinations are perpetually
mistaken for powers; because,bewildered by
some faëry dream that the world in which a
Scott is king or a Siddons is queen, is paved
with goldevery boy who can cut paragraphs
into lengths fancies that he is a Scott and
every girl with a strong voice who loves
play-going, that she is a Lady Macbeth, a Cleopatra,
a Queen Constance, who can shake 'the
play-house down.'

At all events, in such mistakes as the
above, followed by their sure consequence
of misery, lives not the Poetry which we are
seeking. In its place we too often encounter
a dismal wax-work showa creature with
glassy eyes and hot red cheeks, and a stiff
arm, in a noble attitude perhaps, but always
beckoning in one and the same directionnot
the living, breathing, hoping, fearing being,
human like ourselves, yet better than
ourselves, with whom we can sit down at meat,
and kneel down at prayernot the fragment of
Heaven upon Earth to encounter and make
acquaintance with, which redeems us from
utter heartlessness or discomfort. The Poetry
of appreciation when creation is impossible
the Poetry of daily life, as sung in deeds of
unselfishness, delicacy, triumph over temptations
consideration of the weak (let the
brute-force theorists ' sound their trumpets
and beat their drums ' as loudly as if upon
themselves devolved the whole orchestral and
choral noise of 'Judas Maccabeus') and
companionship with the humblethe Poetry of
a healthy, not a maudlin love for Nature
these are to be sought out and gathered up.
In turn we may sit on the bleak hill-sides of
Scotland with the shepherd-rhymesters of
the northor wander down the alleys of