Imatges de pàgina
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POEMS BY MRS. EDWARD THOMAS.

THE SOLDIER'S WIFE TO HER SLEEPING INFANT. How can I mark thy smile, my slumb'ring boy,

Nor fancy-mock'd, deem it (to soothe my pain)
A courier-messenger of love and joy,

Sped by thy father, from the battle plain?
That soft smile stealing round thy dimpled mouth,

(Playful, as seraphs in Elysian sleep,)
Is wafted to thee, from that far-off South :

At whose sirocco, death-fraught breath I weep-
For tertian, spotted plague, tyrannic drought,

Ophthalmia, blinding with its subtle sand,
And ills unnumber'd, from those plains are caught,

Which he must traverse, ere he gains the land
Where victory's laurel-wreath is budding now,-

Oh! snatch'd with war's red hand, its only bloom,) To bind the conqueror's exulting brow;

But oft to garland his untimely tomb!
How calm the sleep that shuts thy sunny eyes !

How gently heaves thy little tranquil breast !
The deep'ning colour on thy soft cheek lies,

Bright as the fabled rose, night's lone bird blest, When only love awoke its plaintive song,

When only love in each sad note was heard ; While tender echoes the fond strains prolong,

And sympathetic leaves young zephyrs stirr'd ! Ah me! I dare not woo that gentle friend,

To soothing seal my sorrow-seeking sight; For when sleep's pinions o'er my brows extend,

Come horrid dreams, my slumber to affright, Painting thy father, with wounds gaping wide,

And calling on me, for my wifely aid ; Anon, come others, showing where he died,

And each ensanguined gash Bellona made. Smile on, my baby! Oh, in mercy, smile!

Let thy heart's gladness chase thy mother's fears ; Laugh out the dreams thou dost from cherubs wile,

That thy bright mirth reprove these dismal tears. Smile! smile, my boy! for then, sweet one, thou art

So like thy father, he seems not away: And thus, I lose my bosom's direst smart,

When thus fond Fancy doth her lures display. This holy hour, which pensive musing craves,

(Released from battle's toil,) he pictures thee, (While homeward thoughts rush like tumultuous waves,)

Serenely sleeping on thy mother's knee.
Yes, there is surely, between heart and heart,

Submissive only to Love's mystic will,
(Tho' distance holds them fearfully apart,)

A fond intuitive communion still.

Awake, my loveliest! awake! awake!

With new-blown buds of hope my breast is strown,
Yet, it doth hunger, that thou should'st partake

Its joy, unsatisfied to feel alone.
Awake, and share the dear ecstatic thought ;

(Come, let me rouse thee with this rapt'rous kiss !) Now whisper'd with a sweetness, angel-taught,

“ Thy sire, perchance, is conscious of our bliss.”

ATTENTION TO THE SICK AND AFFLICTED ITS OWN REWARD.

THERE is a bliss the self-absorb'd ne'er know,
A sparkling rill, from Mem'ry's fount to flow,
To irrigate the heart in after years,
When disappointment all its blossoms sears;
To domundo-all that Caprice may please,
To give the suffering momentary ease,
To hush one groan in the o'erlabour'd breast,
To soothe one riot pulse to healthful rest,
Yields the compassionate a joy supreme
Beyond what Selfishness could ever dream!
Oh ye! who sullen grudge the irksome task,
Who 'neath the cloudless sun of pleasure bask,-
Go! change with him, long fretted by disease!
Then wilt-thou learn how sweet is partial ease.
“ Take physic, Pomp, and feel what wretches feel ;"
Then will Compassion o'er thy bosom steal,
Like soft meand'ring stream, more felt than seen,
Whose limpid waters, with reviving green,
Clothe all they lave. But more thy tender care
Would the sad mourner rescue from despair-
Speak in the low tone, Sorrow holds so dear,
Nor hide from it the sympathetic tear;
Spare not the pressure of the gentle hand :
Wert thou the suff'rer, thou would'st understand
That these small acts, whose cost thou canst not count,
Are, to the stricken heart, of rich amount !
If aught of earth resemble Heaven's light,
It is the smile, so sudden and so bright, ..
That flashes o'er the wan face of Despair-
Made fully conscious,-Pity feels its care !-
Yes, sweet the radiant smile that then appears
Contesting with its melancholy tears !
Sweet is the beam that lights the cheerless eye,
When new fush'd Hope directs it to the sky !
And sweet the bloom that mantles o'er the cheeks,
When the heart's gratitude it fondly speaks !
" Woman! thy mission” is, that task divine;-
Oh! who, for worldly gauds, would it resign ?-

Thine-thine to bid the moan of anguish cease,
The worn with suffering, pain-enthrallid, release ;
To snatch the weary-hearted to thy breast;
And bid, God-like," the heavy-laden'd” rest!

ODE TO JOSEPH MAINZER,
Founder of the Plan for Popular and Gratuitous Instruction in Singing for the

Working Classes.
On, glory-hued South-west Wind, let me spy thee !-
The spirit of rare sound is floating nigh me,

The body of the melody is Beauty.
Long floats its curls, and its ripe lips are giving

The choice expression of high love and duty;
Song smileth from its eye, and Mainzer by me
Is giving life, and that is more than living,
For the sad Death of Life is in Ungiving.
Mainzer, methinks that in the mossy nesting

Of thy warm heart, fond brooding o'er its young,
A little singing bird o' the woods is resting,

And poureth ever forth its songs among
The untuneful paths o'men, in lovely questing

Of some like echo. Oh, may it prolong
Its echoed strains ! I sometimes picture it

As a green spring-like linnet,

Or some sweet bird between it
And a nightingale in songful vesper fit;

For as fabulous I am

As any bard, when Cam
With mystic images of mist is lit;
Though, in good faith, a singing bird must be
Within thy heart, or whence thy melody?
It comes not from the outward, though it varies,-
Now like bright songs of orient-plumed canaries !

Now like thy twittering, Swallow !
Now like thy chirping, golden-crested Wren!

Now like the mavis' notes which follow
The blackbird's whistlings sweet in nutty glen!
Now fond and high, and low, and fond agen,
Running through moods, and tunes, and notes o'the gamut, then,
Inborn, Eternal, and without a When.
It comes not from the Outward, Mainzer, Brother,

Music is Thee,-thence thou canst music forth
A strain of faith and love, and then another,

Until thou chainest the wind o' the mutinous North,
(As Order chained Chaos, rudely free,)
Even in winter, with linked melody;

Until faint maidens, lulled as by a hummer,

See not mirk clouds, and make o' thy music, summer ;
And dream of flower, blue butterfly and bee.

I hail thee, oh, musician!

High, haughty is thy mission !
For those who, like Perugin, stern have striven,
Angelic symphonies have oft.oped heaven;

And with the Song and Word,

Thou bearest a mighty sword,
To fight the loving battles of the Lord,
And sing of mankind saved, and sin forgiven.

Grand, glorious thy design!

Thou seest mankind to pine
In curst disunion, discord, and pale Hell;
And thou art wedded to Humanity,

And like a new Orpheus, ;
Or reborn old Museus,

Would by thy music free us,
And lead us from each dire Cimmerian cell,
As Orpheus would have led Eurydice :

But look not back,

Nor let thy chord be slack,
And great as was his fall, so thy success will be :

For effort good around,
Spreads wide and sweet as musicalest sound.
Oh thou ! that art a very Priest of God,

And preachest with thy music, unity!
Oh thou incarnate Lyre above a sod!

Oh thou most living inborn Melody!
Oh thou that bosomest the Idea Orphean!
May my poor ode be prelude of a pean.
Oh thou that art my friend, and shinest on me,
Shine on the world! And all success to thee!

J. G. B.

THE POETRY OF J. C. PRINCE.* THERE exists a maxim, now become somewhat trite, through constant repetition, that genius is essentially aristocratic. As in most cases, the truth or falsehood of this position is wholly dependent on the specific meaning which may, by different people, be attached to particular words. If it be meant that genius is exclusively confined to the dignified classes of the community, and that it is never vouchsafed to their humbler brethren, then the assertion is too ridiculous to need a serious refutation. Even among the very outcasts of society we shall find men whose beings have been agonized by “the vision and faculty divine;" although in them the blessing may have resulted in a curse. But if it be meant, that however lowly, however debased, the station or the birth of the man of genius, be, by virtue of his mission, takes precedence of all others, and belongs to a race rightfully claiming the highest prerogatives, we have an eternal verity enunciated, whose import demands the severest meditation. Men of genius form an aris

* " Hours with the Muses." By John Critchley Prince. Manchester : Rogerson, 1841.

N, S.-VOL. VI.

tocracy of themselves;-an aristocracy, in which all others have had their origin, and to which all others must look for their continuance. No hope remains for an oligarchy, when it can no longer enlist in its service the young and the vigorous, who, by the upward tendencies of genius, will force themselves from the level of the brute crowd, and loudly assert equality with the proudest. Nothing can stand the shock of centuries uninjured; and unless the ravages of time are repaired, the best constructed edifice will rot, will totter, and fall. England's aristocracy have reason to be thankful for the wise constitution which does not prohibit even the humblest among the commoners from cherishing the possibility that he may once be seated as high as they. Remote as this possibility is to most, it prevents the galling chain of exclusiveness from being felt quite so grievously as it otherwise would be; while the occasional instances of individual elevation from obscurity to honour and reputation proves that the path to fame, although rugged and nearly inaccessible, is still capable of being successfully trodden by the venturous aspirant.

Perhaps this feeling gave much of their peculiar character to the works of the uneducated poets of the last age. Of these, Bloomfield and Clare, the Northamptonshire peasant, will amply serve our present purpose of contrast. When they mention their lowly station in their verses, it is scarcely with a feeling of regret. No burning remonstrances against the wrongs, real or imaginary, suffered by the poorer classes of society, are recorded in their pages. True, it may be urged that Bloomfield, when known, was caressed by all the patrons of literature, and at one time in possession of a considerable income derived from his works-motives impelling rather to grateful content than restless dissatisfaction. Still should it be remembered how very many of his years were embittered by misfortune and penury, before we declare his exemption from the pangs of wearied expectation and fruitless endeavour. . But although, from various causes, the evidence of Bloomfield is open to objection, yet that of Clare is in every respect unpolluted. Very nearly the whole of his poetry was composed while destitute of friends, and unknown to the world; he existed on nine shillings a week, and performed the labours of a country clown. Sitting, perchance, on a heap of stones by the road-side, and using the crown of his hat as a desk, he scribbled his rustic lays, which were seldom other than joyful. He evidently had no idea that the world did him injustice in allowing him to remain poor ; and if he does sometimes lament his poverty, never impeaches the virtue or the charity of his superiors. To him, that he should toil for a bare subsistence appeared an unavoidable misfortune, for which nobody was to blame; and accordingly he writes of it without indignation : nevertheless he sometimes paints the miseries of the poor man's lot very graphically, as in the following lines-so simple, yet so beautiful :

“ Toiling in the naked fields,

Where no bush a shelter yields,
Needy Labour dithering stands,
Beats and blows his numbing hands;
And upon the crumping snows,
Stamps in vain to warm his toes."

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