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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)
Sped by thy father, from the battle plain?
(Playful, as seraphs in Elysian sleep,)
At whose sirocco, death-fraught breath I weep-
Ophthalmia, blinding with its subtle sand,
Which he must traverse, ere he gains the land
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 gently heaves thy little tranquil breast !
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.
Submissive only to Love's mystic will,
A fond intuitive communion still.
Awake, my loveliest! awake! awake!
With new-blown buds of hope my breast is strown,
Its joy, unsatisfied to feel alone.
(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,
Thine-thine to bid the moan of anguish cease,
ODE TO JOSEPH MAINZER,
The body of the melody is Beauty.
The choice expression of high love and duty;
Of thy warm heart, fond brooding o'er its young,
And poureth ever forth its songs among
Of some like echo. Oh, may it prolong
As a green spring-like linnet,
Or some sweet bird between it
For as fabulous I am
As any bard, when Cam
Now like thy twittering, Swallow !
Now like the mavis' notes which follow
Music is Thee,-thence thou canst music forth
Until thou chainest the wind o' the mutinous North,
Until faint maidens, lulled as by a hummer,
See not mirk clouds, and make o' thy music, summer ;
I hail thee, oh, musician!
High, haughty is thy mission !
And with the Song and Word,
Thou bearest a mighty sword,
Grand, glorious thy design!
Thou seest mankind to pine
And like a new Orpheus, ;
Would by thy music free us,
But look not back,
Nor let thy chord be slack,
For effort good around,
And preachest with thy music, unity!
Oh thou most living inborn Melody!
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,