Nor Can We Be Mistaken Respecting The Essential Purity
Of His Character, Disregarding The Apology Of The Manners Of The
A simple pathos and feminine gentleness, which Wordsworth
only occasionally approaches, but does not equal, are peculiar to
We are tempted to say that his genius was feminine, not
masculine. It was such a feminineness, however, as is rarest to
find in woman, though not the appreciation of it; perhaps it is
not to be found at all in woman, but is only the feminine in man.
Such pure and genuine and childlike love of Nature is hardly to
be found in any poet.
Chaucer's remarkably trustful and affectionate character appears
in his familiar, yet innocent and reverent, manner of speaking of
his God. He comes into his thought without any false reverence,
and with no more parade than the zephyr to his ear. If Nature is
our mother, then God is our father. There is less love and
simple, practical trust in Shakespeare and Milton. How rarely in
our English tongue do we find expressed any affection for God.
Certainly, there is no sentiment so rare as the love of God.
Herbert almost alone expresses it, "Ah, my dear God!" Our poet
uses similar words with propriety; and whenever he sees a
beautiful person, or other object, prides himself on the
"maistry" of his God. He even recommends Dido to be his bride, -
"if that God that heaven and yearth made,
Would have a love for beauty and goodnesse,
And womanhede, trouth, and semeliness."
But in justification of our praise, we must refer to his works
themselves; to the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, the account
of Gentilesse, the Flower and the Leaf, the stories of Griselda,
Virginia, Ariadne, and Blanche the Dutchesse, and much more of
less distinguished merit.
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