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Cowpositions resembling those here collected are not unfrequently condemned for their querulous Egotism. Bat Egorism is to be condemned then only when it offends against time and place, as in a History or an Epic Poem. To censure it in a Monody or Sonnet is almost as absurd as to dislike a circle for being round. Why then write Sonnets or Monodies? Because they give me pleasure when perhaps nothing else could. After the more violent emotions of Sorrow, the mind demands amusement, and can find it in employment alone; but, full of its late sufferings, it can endure no employment not in some measure connected with them. Forcibly to turn away our attention to general subjects is a painful and most often an unavailing effort. But 0: how grateful to a wounded heart The tale of Misery to impart— From others' eyes bid artless sorrows flow,
And raise esteem upon the base of Woe! Shaw.
The communicativeness of our Nature leads us to describe our own sorrows; in the endeavour to describe them, intellectual activity is exerted; and from intellectual activity there results a pleasure, which is gradually associated, and mingles as a corrective, with the painful subject of the description. • True!” (it may be answered) - but how are the Public interested in your Sorrows or your Description on We are for ever attributing personal Unities to imaginary Aggregates. What is the Public, but a term for a number of scattered individuals? of whom as many will be interested in these sorrows, as have experienced the same or similar. Holy be the lay which mourning soothes the mourner ou his way.
If I could judge of others by myself, I should not hesiLate to affirm, that the most interesting passages are those in which the Author develops his own feelings? The sweet voice of Cona" never sounds so sweetly, as when it speaks of itself; and I should almost suspect that man of an unkindly heart, who could read the opening of the third book of the Paradise Lost without peculiar emotion. By a Law of our Nature, he, who
labours under a strong feeling, is impelled to seek for sympathy; but a Poet's feelings are all strong. Quicquid amet valde amat. Akenside therefore speaks with philosophical accuracy when he classes Love and Poetry, as producing the same effects:
Love and the wish of Poets when their tongue
Would teach to others' bosoms, what so charms
Pleasures of Imagination.
There is one species of Egotism which is truly disgusting; not that which leads us to communicate our feelings to others, but that which would reduce the feelings of others to an identity with our own. The Atheist, who exclaims a pshaw!" when he glances his eye on the praises of Deity, is an Egotist: an old man, when he speaks contemptuously of Love-verses, is an Egotist: and the sleek Favourites of Fortune are Egotists, when they condemn all - melancholy, discontented - verses. Surely, it would be candid not merely to ask whether the poem pleases ourselves, but to consider whether or no there may not be others, to whom it is well calculated to give an innocent pleasure.
I shall only add, that each of my readers will, I hope, remember, that these Poems on various subjects, which he reads at one time and under the influence of one set of feelings, were written at different times and prompted by very different feelings; and therefore that the supposed inferiority of one Poem to another may sometimes be owing to the temper of mind in which he happens to peruse it.
My poems have been rightly charged with a profusion of double-epithets, and a general turgidness I have pruned the double-epithets with no sparing hand; and used my best efforts to tame the swell and glitter both of thought and diction." This latter fault however had
' Without any feeling of anger, I may yet be allowed to expres some degree of surprise, that after having run the critical gauntlet for a certain class of faults, which I had, viz. a too ornate, and elaborately poetic diction, and nothing having come before the judgment-seat of the Reviewers during the long interval, I should for at least seventeen years, quarter after quarter, have been placed by them in the foremost rank of the prose, ibed, and made to abide the brunt of abuse and ridicule for faults directly opposite, viz. bald and prosaic language, and an affected simplicity hoth of matter and manner—faults which assuredly did not enter into the character of my compositions.—Literary Life, i, 51. Published 1817.
insinuated itself into my Religious Musings with such intricacy of union, that sometimes I have omitted to disentangle the weed from the fear of snapping the flower. A third and heavier accusation has been brought against me, that of obscurity; but not, I think, with equal justice. An Author is obscure, when his conceptions are dim and imperfect, and his language incorrect, or unappropriate, or involved. A poem that abounds in allusions, like the Bard of Gray, or one that impersonates high and abstract truths, like Collins's Ode on the poetical character, claims not to be popular—but should be acquitted of obscurity. The deficiency is in the Reader. But this is a charge which every poet, whose imagination is warm and rapid, must expect from his contemporaries. Milton did not escape it; and it was adduced with virulence against Gray and Collins. We now hear no more of it: not that their poems are better understood at present, than they were at their first publication; but their fame is established; and a critic would accuse himself of frigidity or inattention, who should profess not to understand them. But a living writer is yet sub judice; and if we cannot follow his conceptions or enter into his feelings, it is more consoling to our pride to consider him as lost beneath, than as soaring above us. if any man expect from my poems the same easiness of style which he admires in a drinking-song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia, non intellectum adfero.
I expect neither profit or general fame by my writings; and I consider myself as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has been to me its own ... exceeding great reward;" it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude: and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the Good and the Beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me.
S. T. C.
Main of my Love, sweet Genevieve!
SONNET. To THE AUTUMNAL MOON. Milo Splendour of the various-vested Night! Mother of wildly-working visions! hail! 1 watch thy gliding, while with watery light Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY.
AN allecott Y.
ON the wide level of a mountain's head (I knew not where, but 't was some faery place) Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread, Two lovely children run an endless race, A sister and a brother! This far outstript the other; Yet ever runs she with reverted face, And looks and listens for the boy behind: For he, alas! is blind o'er rough and smooth with even step he pass'd, And knows not whether he be first or last.
MONODY ON THE DEATH OF CHATTERTON.
0 what a wonder seems the fear of death,
Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away!
Thee, Chatterton' these unblest stones protect
Yet of, perforce ('t is suffering Nature's call),
is this the land of song-ennobled line?
Sublime of thought, and confident of fame, From vales where Avon winds, the Minstrel" came. Light-hearted youth! aye, as he hastes along, He meditates the future song, How dauntless Ella fray'd the Dacyan foe; And while the numbers flowing strong In eddies whirl, in surges throng, Exulting in the spirits' genial throe | In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.
And now his cheeks with deeper ardors flame, His eyes have glorious meanings, that declare More than the light of outward day shines there, A holier triumph and a sterner aim! wints grow within him; and he soars above | Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love. Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health, He hears the widow's prayer, the good man's praise; To scenes of bliss transmutes his fancied wealth, And young and old shall now see happy days. On many a waste he bids trim gardens rise, Gives the blue sky to many a prisoner's eyes; And now in wrath he grasps the patriot steel, And her own iron rod he makes Oppression feel.
Sweet Flower of Hope! free Nature's genial child ! That didst so fair disclose thy early bloom, Filling the wide air with a rich perfume! For thee in vain all heavenly aspects smiled; From the hard world brief respite could they win– The frost nipp'd sharp without, the canker prey'd within! Ah! where are fled the charms of vernal Grace, And Joy's wild gleams that lightened o'er thy face? Youth of tumultuous soul, and haggard eye' | Thy wasted form, thy hurried steps I view, On thy wan forehead starts the lethal dew, And ob! the anguish of that shuddering sight
Such were the struggles of the gloomy hour, When Care, of wither'd brow, Prepared the poison's death-cold power: Already to thy lips was raised the bowl, When near thee stood Affection meek (lier bosom bare, and wildly pale her cheek), Thy sullen gaze she bade thee roll On scenes that well might melt thy soul; Thy native cot she slash’d upon thy view, Thy native cot, where still, at close of day, Peace smiling sate, and listen'd to thy lay; Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear, And mark thy Mother's thrilling tear; See, see her breast's convulsive throe, Her silent agony of woes Ah! dash the poison'd chalice from thy hand!
* Avon, a river near Bristol; the birth-place of Chatterton.
And thou hadst dash'd it, at her soft command,
Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep,
Poor Chatterton' he sorrows for thy fate
Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shall dwell
O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Alas vain Phantasies! the fleeting brood
SONGS OF THE PIXIES.
The Pixies, in the superstition of Devonshire, are a race of beings invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man. At a small distance from a village in that county, balf way up a wood-covered hill, is an excavation called the Pixies' Parlour. The roots of old trees form its ceiling; and on its sides are innumerable cyphers, among which the author discovered his own cypher and those of his brothers, cut by the hand of their childhood. At the foot of the hill flows the river Otter.
To this place the Author conducted a party of young Ladies, during the Summer months of the year 1793; one of whom, of stature elegantly small, and of complexion colourless yet clear, was proclaimed the Faery Queen. On which occasion the following Irregular Ode was written.
i. whow the untaught Shepherds call Pixies in their madrigal, Fancy's children, here we dwell: Welcome, Ladies' to our cell. Here the wren of softest note Builds its nest and warbles well; Here the blackbird strains his throat; Welcome, Ladies! to our cell.
II. When fades the moon all shadowy-pale And scuds the cloud before the gale, Ere Morn with living gems belight Purples the East with streaky light, We sip the furze-flower's fragrant dews, Clad in robes of rainbow hues: Or sport amid the rosy gleam Soothed by the distant-tinkling team, While lusty Labour scouting sorrow Bids the Dame a glad good-morrow, Who jogs the accustom'd road along, And paces cheery to her cheering song.
III. But not our filmy pinion We scorch amid the blaze of day, When Noontide's fiery-tressed minion Flashes the fervid ray. Aye from the sultry heat We to the cave retreat O'ercanopied by huge roots intertwined With wildest texture, blacken'd o'er with age: Round them their mantle green the ivies bind, Beneath whose foliage pale, Fann'd by the unfrequent gale, We shield us from the Tyrant's mid-day rage.
IV. Thither, while the murmuring throng Of wild-bees hum their drowsy song, By Indolence and Fancy brought, A youthful Bard, unknown to Fame," Wooes the Queen of Solemn Thought, And heaves the gentle misery of a sigh, Gazing with tearful eye, As round our sandy grot appear Many a rudely sculptured name To pensive Memory dear! Weaving gay dreams of sunny-tinctured hue We glance before his view:
O'er his hush'd soul our soothing witcheries shed, And twine our faery garlands round his head.
V. When Evening's dusky car, Crown'd with her dewy star, Steals o'er the fading sky in shadowy flight, On leaves of aspen trees We tremble to the breeze, Weiled from the grosser ken of mortal sight. Or, haply, at the visionary hour, Along our wildly-bower'd sequester'd walk, We listen to the enamour'd rustic's talk; Heave with the heavings of the maiden's breast, Where young-eyed Loves have built their turtle nest; Or guide of soul-subduing power The electric flash, that from the melting eye Darts the fond question and the soft reply.
Wi. Or through the mystic ringlets of the vale We flash our faery feet in gamesome prank; Or, silent-sandal'd, pay our defter court Circling the Spirit of the Western Gale, Where wearied with his flower-caressing sport, Supine he slumbers on a violet bank; Then with quaint music hymn the parting gleam By lonely Otter's sleep-persuading stream; Or where his wave with loud unquiet song Dash'd o'er the rocky channel froth along; Or where, his silver waters smoothed to rest, The tall tree's shadow sleeps upon his breast.
Wii. Hence thou lingerer, Light! Eve saddens into Night. Mother of wildly-working dreams! we view The sombre hours, that round thee stand With down-cast eyes (a duteous band): Their dark robes dripping with the heavy dew. Sorceress of the ebon throne Thy power the Pixies own, When round thy raven brow Heaven's lucent roses glow, And clouds in watery colours drest, Float in light drapery o'er thy sable vest: What time the pale moon sheds a softer day, Mellowing the woods beneath its pensive beam: For 'mid the quivering light 'tis ours to play, Aye dancing to the cadence of the stream.
Wiii. Welcome, Ladies! to the cell Where the blameless Pixies dwell: But thou, sweet Nymph! proclaim'd our Faery Queen, With what obeisance meet Thy presence shall we greet? For lo! attendant on thy steps are seen Graceful Ease in artless stole, And white-robed Purity of soul, With Honour's softer mien; Mirth of the loosely-flowing hair, And meek-eyed Pity eloquently fair, Whose tearful cheeks are lovely to the view, As snow-drop wet with dew.
Unbonstful Maid! though now the Lily pale
Transparent grace thy beauties meek; Yet ere again along the empurpling vale, The purpling vale and elfin-haunted grove, Young Zephyr his fresh flowers profusely throws,
we'll tinge with livelier hues thy cheek; And, haply, from the nectar-breathing Rose
Extract a Blush for Love'
A chrisTMAS TALE, told BY A school-Boy To His Little BRothens AND Sistests.
Uxper NEAta a huge oak tree
At length he came back, and with him a She,
The boughs from the trunk the woodman did sever;
He heard the last shriek of the perishing souls— See see : o'er the topmast the mad water rolls! Right glad was the Raven, and off he went fleet, And Death riding home on a cloud he did meet, And he thank'd him again and again for this treat: They had taken his all, and Revenge was sweet!
A FAREwell ode oN QUITTING school for Jesus CoLLEGE, campaidge.
Whene graced with many a classic spoil
Ah fair delights! that o'er my soul
The Sun who ne'er remits his fires
LINES ON AN AUTUMNAL EVENING.
0 rhou, wild Fancy, check thy wing! No more
O dear deceit ! I see the Maiden rise,