Imatges de pÓgina
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II.

"False Parent of Mankind!

Obdurate, proud, and blind,

I sprinkle thee with soft celestial dews,
Thy lost, maternal heart to re-infuse!

Scattering this far-fetched moisture from my wings,
Upon the act a blessing I implore,

Of which the rivers in their secret springs,
The rivers stained so oft with human gore,
Are conscious;-may the like return no more!
May Discord for a Seraph's care

Shall be attended with a bolder prayer-
May she, who once disturbed the seats of bliss
These mortal spheres above,

Be chained for ever to the black abyss !
And thou, O rescued Earth, by peace and love,
And merciful desires, thy sanctity approve!"

The Spirit ended his mysterious rite, And the pure vision closed in darkness infinite.

XI.

LINES

WRITTEN ON A BLANK LEAF IN A COPY OF THE AUTHOR'S
POEM "THE EXCURSION," UPON HEARING OF THE DEATH
OF THE LATE VICAR OF KENDAL.

To public notice, with reluctance strong,
Did I deliver this unfinished Song;
Yet for one happy issue;-and I look
With self-congratulation on the Book
Which pious, learned, MURFITT saw and read ;-
Upon my thoughts his saintly Spirit fed;

He conned the new-born Lay with grateful heart-
Foreboding not how soon he must depart;
Unweeting that to him the joy was given
Which good men take with them from earth to
heaven.

XII.

ELEGIAC STANZAS.

(ADDRESSED TO SIR G. H. B. UPON THE DEATH OF HIS

SISTER-IN-LAW.) 1824.

O FOR a dirge! But why complain?

Ask rather a triumphal strain

When FERMOR's race is run;

A garland of immortal boughs

To twine around the Christian's brows, Whose glorious work is done.

We pay a high and holy debt;
No tears of passionate regret
Shall stain this votive lay;
Ill-worthy, Beaumont! were the grief
That flings itself on wild relief
When Saints have passed away.

Sad doom, at Sorrow's shrine to kneel,
For ever covetous to feel,
And impotent to bear!

Such once was hers-to think and think
On severed love, and only sink
From anguish to despair!

But nature to its inmost part
Faith had refined; and to her heart
A peaceful cradle given:

Calm as the dew-drop's, free to rest
Within a breeze-fanned rose's breast
Till it exhales to Heaven.

Was ever Spirit that could bend
So graciously?—that could descend,
Another's need to suit,

So promptly from her lofty throne ?—
In works of love, in these alone,
How restless, how minute!

Pale was her hue; yet mortal cheek
Ne'er kindled with a livelier streak
When aught had suffered wrong,-
When aught that breathes had felt a wound;
Such look the Oppressor might confound,
However proud and strong.

But hushed be every thought that springs
From out the bitterness of things;
Her quiet is secure;

No thorns can pierce her tender feet,
Whose life was, like the violet, sweet,
As climbing jasmine, pure—

As snowdrop on an infant's grave,

Or lily heaving with the wave
That feeds it and defends;

As Vesper, ere the star hath kissed
The mountain top, or breathed the mist
That from the vale ascends.

Thou takest not away, O Death! Thou strikest-absence perisheth, Indifference is no more;

The future brightens on our sight; For on the past hath fallen a light That tempts us to adore.

XIII.

ELEGIAC MUSINGS

IN THE GROUNDS OF COLEORTON HALL, THE SEAT OF THE LATE SIR G. H. BEAUMONT, BART.

In these grounds stands the Parish Church, wherein is a mural monument bearing an Inscription which, in deference to the earnest request of the deceased, is confined to name, dates, and these words: Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O LORD!'

WITH copious eulogy in prose or rhyme

Graven on the tomb we struggle against Time,
Alas, how feebly! but our feelings rise
And still we struggle when a good man dies:
Such offering BEAUMONT dreaded and forbade,
A spirit meek in self-abasement clad.
Yet here at least, though few have numbered days
That shunned so modestly the light of praise,
His graceful manners, and the temperate ray
Of that arch fancy which would round him play,
Brightening a converse never known to swerve
From courtesy and delicate reserve;
That sense, the bland philosophy of life,
Which checked discussion ere it warmed to strife;
Those rare accomplishments, and varied powers,
Might have their record among sylvan bowers.
Oh, fled for ever! vanished like a blast
That shook the leaves in myriads as it passed;-
Gone from this world of earth, air, sea, and sky,
From all its spirit-moving imagery,
Intensely studied with a painter's eye,
A poet's heart; and, for congenial view,
Portrayed with happiest pencil, not untrue
To common recognitions while the line
Flowed in a course of sympathy divine ;-
Oh! severed, too abruptly, from delights
That all the seasons shared with equal rights;-
Rapt in the grace of undismantled age,
From soul-felt music, and the treasured page
Lit by that evening lamp which loved to shed
Its mellow lustre round thy honoured head;
While Friends beheld thee give with eye, voice,
mien,

More than theatric force to Shakspeare's scene ;-
If thou hast heard me if thy Spirit know
Aught of these bowers and whence their pleasures

flow;

If things in our remembrance held so dear,
And thoughts and projects fondly cherished here,
To thy exalted nature only seem
Time's vanities, light fragments of earth's dream-
Rebuke us not!-The mandate is obeyed

That said," Let praise be mute where I am laid;"

The holier deprecation, given in trust
To the cold marble, waits upon thy dust;
Yet have we found how slowly genuine grief
From silent admiration wins relief.

Too long abashed thy Name is like a rose
That doth within itself its sweetness close;'
A drooping daisy changed into a cup
In which her bright-eyed beauty is shut up.
Within these groves, where still are flitting by
Shades of the Past, oft noticed with a sigh,
Shall stand a votive Tablet, haply free,
When towers and temples fall, to speak of Thee!
If sculptured emblems of our mortal doom
Recal not there the wisdom of the Tomb,
Green ivy risen from out the cheerful earth,
Will fringe the lettered stone; and herbs spring
forth,

Whose fragrance, by soft dews and rain unbound,
Shall penetrate the heart without a wound;
While truth and love their purposes fulfil,
Commemorating genius, talent, skill,

That could not lie concealed where Thou wert known;

Thy virtues He must judge, and He alone,
The God upon whose mercy they are thrown.

XIV.

Nov. 1830.

WRITTEN AFTER THE DEATH OF
CHARLES LAMB.

To a good Man of most dear memory
This Stone is sacred. Here he lies apart
From the great city where he first drew breath,
Was reared and taught; and humbly earned his
bread,

To the strict labours of the merchant's desk
By duty chained. Not seldom did those tasks
Tease, and the thought of time so spent depress,
His spirit, but the recompence was high;
Firm Independence, Bounty's rightful sire ;
Affections, warm as sunshine, free as air;
And when the precious hours of leisure came,
Knowledge and wisdom, gained from converse sweet
With books, or while he ranged the crowded streets
With a keen eye, and overflowing heart:
So genius triumphed over seeming wrong,
And poured out truth in works by thoughtful love
Inspired-works potent over smiles and tears.
And as round mountain-tops the lightning plays,
Thus innocently sported, breaking forth
As from a cloud of some grave sympathy,
Humour and wild instinctive wit, and all

The vivid flashes of his spoken words.
From the most gentle creature nursed in fields
Had been derived the name he bore-a name,
Wherever christian altars have been raised,
Hallowed to meekness and to innocence;
And if in him meekness at times gave way,
Provoked out of herself by troubles strange,
Many and strange, that hung about his life;
Still, at the centre of his being, lodged
A soul by resignation sanctified:
And if too often, self-reproached, he felt
That innocence belongs not to our kind,
A power that never ceased to abide in him,
Charity, 'mid the multitude of sins
That she can cover, left not his exposed

To an unforgiving judgment from just Heaven.
O, he was good, if e'er a good Man lived!

From a reflecting mind and sorrowing heart Those simple lines flowed with an earnest wish, Though but a doubting hope, that they might serve Fitly to guard the precious dust of him

Whose virtues called them forth. That aim is missed;

For much that truth most urgently required
Had from a faltering pen been asked in vain :
Yet, haply, on the printed page received,
The imperfect record, there, may stand unblamed
As long as verse of mine shall breathe the air
Of memory, or see the light of love.

Thou wert a scorner of the fields, my Friend, But more in show than truth; and from the fields, And from the mountains, to thy rural grave Transported, my soothed spirit hovers o'er Its green untrodden turf, and blowing flowers; And taking up a voice shall speak (tho' still Awed by the theme's peculiar sanctity Which words less free presumed not even to touch) Of that fraternal love, whose heaven-lit lamp From infancy, through manhood, to the last Of threescore years, and to thy latest hour, Burnt on with ever-strengthening light, enshrined Within thy bosom.

"Wonderful' hath been The love established between man and man, 'Passing the love of women;' and between Man and his help-mate in fast wedlock joined Through God, is raised a spirit and soul of love Without whose blissful influence Paradise Had been no Paradise; and earth were now A waste where creatures bearing human form, Direst of savage beasts, would roam in fear, Joyless and comfortless. Our days glide on;

And let him grieve who cannot choose but grieve
That he hath been an Elm without his Vine,
And her bright dower of clustering charities,
That, round his trunk and branches, might have clung
Enriching and adorning. Unto thee,
Not so enriched, not so adorned, to thee
Was given (say rather thou of later birth
Wert given to her) a Sister-'tis a word
Timidly uttered, for she lives, the meek,
The self-restraining, and the ever-kind;
In whom thy reason and intelligent heart
Found-for all interests, hopes, and tender cares,
All softening, humanising, hallowing powers,
Whether withheld, or for her sake unsought-
More than sufficient recompence!

Her love

(What weakness prompts the voice to tell it here?)
Was as the love of mothers; and when years,
Lifting the boy to man's estate, had called
The long-protected to assume the part
Of a protector, the first filial tie

Was undissolved; and, in or out of sight,
Remained imperishably interwoven

With life itself. Thus, 'mid a shifting world,
Did they together testify of time

And season's difference-a double tree
With two collateral stems sprung from one root;
Such were they-such thro' life they might have been
In union, in partition only such;

Otherwise wrought the will of the Most High;
Yet, thro' all visitations and all trials,

Still they were faithful; like two vessels launched
From the same beach one ocean to explore
With mutual help, and sailing-to their league
True, as inexorable winds, or bars
Floating or fixed of polar ice, allow.

But turn we rather, let my spirit turn With thine, O silent and invisible Friend! To those dear intervals, nor rare nor brief, When reunited, and by choice withdrawn From miscellaneous converse, ye were taught That the remembrance of foregone distress, And the worse fear of future ill (which oft Doth hang around it, as a sickly child Upon its mother) may be both alike Disarmed of power to unsettle present good So prized, and things inward and outward held In such an even balance, that the heart Acknowledges God's grace, his mercy feels, And in its depth of gratitude is still.

O gift divine of quiet sequestration! The hermit, exercised in prayer and praise,

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Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore,
To works that ne'er shall forfeit their renown,
Adding immortal labours of his own-
Whether he traced historic truth, with zeal
For the State's guidance, or the Church's weal,
Or Fancy, disciplined by studious art,
Inform'd his pen, or wisdom of the heart,
Or judgments sanctioned in the Patriot's mind
By reverence for the rights of all mankind.
Wide were his aims, yet in no human breast
Could private feelings meet for holier rest.
His joys, his griefs, have vanished like a cloud
From Skiddaw's top; but he to heaven was vowed
Through his industrious life, and Christian faith
Calmed in his soul the fear of change and death.

* See Note.

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