« AnteriorContinua »
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
• Most musical, most melancholy,' bird! To wander back on such unhealthful road,
A melancholy bird? Oh! idle thought! Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And ill
In nature there is nothing melancholy. Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced Strew'd before thy advancing!
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love
|(And so poor Wretch! filled all things with himself, Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that hour
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale Of thy communion with my nobler mind
Of his own sorrow), he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain.
Beside a brook in mossy forest-diell,
By Sun or Moon-light, to the intluxes Already on the wing.
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of bis song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Be loved like Nature! But 't will not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical, Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring With momentary Stars of my own birth,
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still, Fair constellated Foam,' still darting off
Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea,
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains. Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the Moon.
My friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt And when--O Friend! my comforter and guide! A different lore: we may not thus profane Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength! Nature's sweet voices, always full of love Thy long sustained song finally closed,
And joyance! 'T is the merry Nightingale "And thy deep voice had ceased-yet thou thyself That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
With fast thick warble his delicious notes, That happy vision of beloved faces
As he were fearful that an April night Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close Would be too short for him to utter forth I sate, my being blended in one thought
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul (Thought was it? or Aspiration? or Resolve ?)
Of all its music!
And I know a grove
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove, Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
They answer and provoke each other's song, Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
With skirmish and capricious passagings, Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge!
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug, You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
And one low piping sound more sweet than allBut bear no murmuring: it flows silently,
Stirring the air with such a harmony, O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes, Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed, That gladden the green carth, and we shall find You may perchance behold them on the twigs, A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full, And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
Lights up her love-torch. "A beautiful white cloud of foam at momentary intervals 1 This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and liule stars of that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the mefame danced and sparkled and went out in it: and erery now and lapeboly man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author then light detachments of this white cloud-like foam darted off from makes this remark, to rescue bimself from the charge of having althe vessel's side, each with its own small constellation, over the luded with levity 10 a line in Milton : a charge than which pone sea, and scoured out of sight like a Tartar troop over a wilder- could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiness..--The Friend, p. zao.
culed his Bible.
A most gentle Maid, By its own moods interprets, every where Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Echo or mirror seeking of itself, Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
And makes a toy of Thought. (Even like a lady vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove)
But O! how oft, Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes, How oft, at school, with most believing mind That gentle Maid ! and oft a moment's space,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud,
To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft Hath heard a pause of silence; till the Moon
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-lower, With one sensation, and these wakeful Birds
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, As if some sudden gale had swept at once
So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me A hundred airy barps! And she hath watch'd With a wild pleasure, falling on mine car Many a Nightingale perch'd giddily
Most like articulate sounds of things to come! On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze, So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, And to that motion tune his wanton song
Lull'd me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my dreams! Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye Farewell, o Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book : And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
Save if the door half open'd, and I snatch'd We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
A hasty glance, and still my heart leap'd up, And now for our dear homes.—That strain again? For still I hoped to see the@tranger's face, Full fain it would delay mc! My dear babe,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, Who, capable of no articulate sound,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike! Mars all things with his imitative lisp, How he would place his hand beside his ear,
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled hy my side, His little hand, the small forefinger up,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
Fill up the interspersed vacancies
My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream), And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,
And in far other scenes! For I was rear'd And he beheld the Moon, and, hush'd at once,
In the great city, pent'mid cloisters dim, Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. While his fair eyes, that swam with undropp'd tears But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well! - By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags It is a father's tale: But if that Heaven
Of ancicni mountain, and beneath the clouds, Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores Familiar with these songs, that with the night
And mountain crags : so shalt thou see and hear Ne may associate joy! Once more farewell,
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Sweet Nightingale! Once more my friends! farewell. Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth Have left me to that solitude, which suits
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Abstruser musings: save that at my side
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch 'T is calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the cave-drops fall And vexes meditation with its strange
Heard only in the trances of the blast, And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
TO A FRIEND,
TOGETHER WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM. Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme Making it a coinpanionable form,
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart Whose puny paps and freaks the idling Spirit
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
Embow'rs me from noon's sultry inQuence!
gaze undazzled there, and love the soften'd sky.
Circling the base of the Poetic mount
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
There for the monarch-murder'd Soldier's tomb
THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN.
COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.
Dim hour! that slecp'st on pillowing clouds afar,
Still soar, my friend, those richer views among,
IV. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
THE THREE GRAVES.
A FRAGMENT OF A SEXTON'S TALE.
LINES TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
of wbose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scriptare, - Ask, and it shall be given you, and my human reason being moreover convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thaoksgivings 10 the Deity.
[TBE Autbor has pablished the following humble fragment, encouraged by the decisive recommendation of unore than one of our most celebrated living Poets. The language was intended to be dramatic; that is, suited to the narrator ; and the motre corresponds to the homeliness of the diction. It is therefore presented as the fragment, not of a Poom, but of a common Ballad-talo. Whether this is sufficient to justify tbe adoption of such a style, in nny metrical composition not professedly ludicrous, the Author is himself in some doubt. At all events, it is not presented as Poetry, and it is in no way connected with the Author's judgment concerning Poetic diction. Its merits, if any, are exclusively Psychological.
War, a Fragment.
* John the Baptist, a room, 3 Monody on John Henderson.
On the hedge-elms in the narrow lane
Still swung the spikes of corn: Dear Lord ! it seems but yesterday
Young Edward's marriage-morn.
Up through that wood behind the church,
There leads from Edward's door A mossy track, all over-bough'd For half a mile or more.
And from their house-door þy that track
The Bride and Bridegroom went; Sweet Mary, though she was not gay,
Seem'd cheerful and content.
But when they to the church-yard came,
I've heard poor Mary say,
Her heart it died away.
And when the vicar join'd their hands,
ller limbs did creep and freeze; But when they pray'd, she thought she saw
Her mother on her knees.
The story which must be sapposed to have been narrated in the first and second parts is as follows.
Edward, a young farmer, meets at the bouse of Ellen, her bosomfriend, Mory, and commences an acquaintance, which ends in a mutual attachment. With her consent, and by the advice of their common friend Ellen, he announces his hopes and intentions to Mary's Mother, a widow-woman bordering on ber fortieth year, and from constant health, the possession of a competent property, and from having had no o her children but Mary and another daughter (the Father died in their infancy), reuining, for the greater part, her personal attractions and comeliness of appearance ; but a woman of low education and violeat temper. The answer wbich sbe at once returned to Edward's application was remarkable-. Well, Edward! you are a handsome young fellow, and you shall have my Daughter. From this time all ibeir wooing passed under the Mother's eye; and, in tipe, she became berself enamoured of her forure Son-in-law, and practised every art, both of endearment and of calamny, to transfer bis affections from her daughter to herself. (The outlines of the Tale are positive ficts, and of no very distant date, though the auibor has purposely altered the names and the scene of action, as well as invented the characters of the parties and the detail of the incidents.) Edward, bowever, though perplexed by ber strange detractions from bor daughter's good qualities, yet in the innocence of his own heart still mistiking her increasing fondness for motherly affertion; she. at length overcome by her miserable passion, after much abuse of Mary's lemper and moral tendencies, exclaimed with violent emotion- 0 Edward indeed, indeed, she is not fit for you--shebas not a heart to love you as you descrve. It is I that love you! Marry me, Edward ! and I will this very day selle all my property on you..--The Lover's eyes were now opened ; and thus taken hy surprise, whether from the effect of the borror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on his nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense of guilt of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and absurdity, he flung ber from bim and burst into a fit of laughter, Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a loud voice that approached to a scream, she prayed for a Curse both on him and on ber own Child. Mary bappened to be in ibe room direcily above them, beard Edward's laugh and her Mother's blasphemous prayer, and fainted away. He, hoaring the fall, ran up stairs, and taking her in his arms, carried hor off to Ellen's bome; and after some fruitless attempts on her part toward a reconciliation with lier Mother, she was married to him.- And bere ibe third part of the Tale begins.
I was not led to chuse this story from any partiality to tragic, much less to monstrous events (though at the time that I composed the verses, soinen hat more than twelve years ago, I was less averse 10 such subjects than at present), but from finding in it a striking proof of the possible effect on the imagination, from an Idea violently and suddenly impressed on it. I had been reading Bryan Edwards's account of the effect of the Oby Witchcraft on the Negroes in the West-Indies, and learne's deeply interesting Ancedotes of similar workings on the imaginatiou of the Copper Indians (those of my readers who have it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to), and I conceived the design of showing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the progress and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginning.
The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country churcb-yard, lo a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each orber, 10 two only of wbich there were grave-stones. On the first of these was the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, no name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite.)
And o'er the church-path they return'd
I saw poor Mary's back,
Into the mossy track.
Her feet upon
track The married maiden set : That moment-I have heard her say
She wish'd she could forget.
The shade o'er-Oush'd her limbs with heal
Then came a chill like death : And when the merry bells rang out,
They seem'd to slop her breath.
Beneath the foulest Mother's curse
No child could ever thrive : A Mother is a Mother still,
The holiest thing alive.
So five months pass'd : the Mother still
Would never heal the strife; But Edward was a loving man,
And Mary a fond wife.
My mother says her nay:
More lifesome and more gay.
I know I have no reason ! Perhaps I am not well in health,
And 't is a gloomy season.» 'T was a drizzly time-noice, no snow!
And on the few fine days She stirr'd not out, lest she might meet
Her Mother in the ways. But Ellen, spite of miry ways
And weather dark and dreary, Trudged every day to Edward's house,
And made them all more cheery.
Toe grapes upon the vicar's wall
Were ripe as ripe could be ; And yellow leaves in sun and wind
Were falling from the tree.