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result of taste and genius,” said Clara ; “ and I thought that the poets, if poets there were three thousand years ago, could know nothing about such things as these.”
“ It is true that as mankind become more and more enlightened their taste is improved,” said Mr. C., “their ideas become refined, and poetry, the expression of elevated feeling and delicate thought, assumes a higher tone, yet it is, nevertheless, the language of nature ; and, indeed, the most beautiful poetry ever written was composed more than three thousand years ago!"
“You astonish me, papa.—Is it really true?"
“ That the higher order of poetry is not unattainable in an uncultivated age, is a truth clearly evinced by the example of the Hebrew people,” continued her father. “ In a primitive nation, unenlightened by science, uncorrected by taste, and as totally ignorant of the arts as of the luxuries of refined life, the bards of Zion composed their lofty songs. The simplicity and energy of their language accorded happily with the sublime nature of sacred poetry, and the Psalms of David, the Song of Solomon, and the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, as well as many other parts of the Scriptures, exhibit the plainest proofs of poetical writing.” . “Oh, I understand—I understand you now, papa. When you alluded to the poetry of the ancients, you meant the poetry of the Hebrews, scripture poetry; but you know that the Scriptures, considered as inspired writing, could not be otherwise than beautiful."
“I am glad to hear you make the observation, my love; but independently of the divine authority of the Sacred
Volume, the transcendant energy and simplicity, conciseness and sublimity, of the language in which it is written, clearly indicate that the Hebrews, three thousand years ago, were perfectly skilled in the art of poetical writing. The general tenor of the Hebrew poetry is of a singular nature and peculiar to itself; there is a certain solemn majesty in its style which has never been equalled in any other language ; it is remarkable for vigour and strength, and, as I observed before, for energy and simplicity, as well as for the highest beauties of bold and figurative expression, which all who have read the Scriptures with attention must have noticed..
“When we were speaking of metaphorical language, the other day, I remarked that it was familiar to a primitive state of society, and surely so intimately as it is allied to poetry, it would
be next to impossible for those who use it to remain totally ignorant of the latter. I think that poetry indeed may be, with much more propriety, termed the language of nature, than considered as the result of cultivation, because as we have proved, in the example of the Hebrews, it may exist and even flourish in countries where the refinement attendant upon education, which is so generally considered requisite towards the formation of good poetical composition, is almost unknown ; but, in fact, I scarcely know of a nation, however remote, in which vestiges of poetry may not be found; it has flourished in the dreary deserts of Arabia; in the perfumed vales of Persia ; in the flowery wilds of North America ; amidst the rocks and mountains of Norway; in the remote island of Iceland, which lies upon the bosom of the Frozen Ocean; among the bleak
and pine-clad hills of Scotland, and in the sultry plains of Egypt: it has in short, been used as the vehicle of historical knowledge in almost every country.".
“But do you think that the Hebrews were the first who excelled in poetical composition, papa ?" .
“ Undoubtedly I do, my dear; but the Greeks, always fond of attributing to their own nation the invention of all sciences and arts, have ascribed the origin of poetry to their own bards, Orpheus, Linus, and Musæus.” '.“ Ha ! ha! Orpheus with his lyre, and in company with his beloved Musæus, invented poetry, did he? - No wonder that the sound of his delightful harp called the Muses from their favourite abodes !—But, seriously, papa, I am not over fond of the Greeks with all their imaginary poets : -I do not believe