Page images

Or the unmeaning laugh of vapid mirth
Accomplish not man's destiny.-'Tis his
To will-to do-to suffer-days of toil
And nights of watching-and to cast his lot-
To live for others-or to live in vain,

Before theSpirit to Bethesda's pool
Gave healing power, the waters first were moved;—
Could but such influence reach a worm like me,
And rouse from torpor, life new life would gain,
And, like the Eagle springing towards the Sun,
The soul, on angel-pinions borne, would seek
Eternal Beauty-undecaying Truth,

Wisdom heaven-taught, and Virtue strong in Faith."

Lord John's translation from the Odyssey contains Jove's message by Mercury to Calypso. We think it possesses no small share of Homer's circumstantial manner of description, conveyed in English aptly chosen.

"The golden sandals on his feet he tied,

Wing'd and immortal, by whose aid he darts,
Swift as the gale, o'er lands and oceans wide:

Then grasped the wand, whose magic power imparts
Sleep to the eyes of men; or, if applied

With other aim, the weary mortal starts
From deepest slumber: bearing in his hand
This rod, he lighted on Pierian land.

Thence from the mountain's top, with one light fling,
He touched the sea; and as upon the wave
The sea-gull hovers, dipping her white wing

From time to time, so too did Mercury lave
His brilliant pinion, till with easy spring

He reached the distant isle, where, in a cave,
Calypso dwells; then, rising from the brine,
He sought the mansion of the nymph divine.
A fire of cedar, blent with frankincense,

Round the green isle its pleasant odour spread;
The nymph's sweet song beguiled another sense,

And as she sung, she wove the golden thread;
Above the illumined cave a forest dense,

Of cypress, ash, and poplar, reared its head:
Where hawks and herns amid the boughs build high
Their rocking nests, and sea-mews circling fly.
Round the cave's mouth broad vines embracing throw
Their tendrils, rich with many a clustering grape
Four fountains here with crystal waters flow,

Together rise, but diff'rent ways escape;
There, in green meadows, scented violets grow,
While flowers and herbs, of every hue and shape,

Flourish uncheck'd; a god approaching near
Might well admire, nor deem Elysium dear.
Charm'd with the savage beauty of the place,

One moment Hermes paused; within the cave
The next he stood; Calypso knew the face

Of him she met; such sense immortals have,
Though far and long removed by time and space,-
But undiscovered was the chieftain brave:
He, sitting on the shore, in melting wo,
Gazed on the barren sea, and let his tears fast flow.
The fair-haired nymph, when she had placed the god
Upon her throne of ivory, thus addrest:
'Say, now, mild bearer of the golden rod,

What happy errand gives me such a guest?
For none, till now, have more unfrequent trod

My cave: be frank, and tell me thy behest,
Whate'er it be, thy pleasure be the lord
Of all my pow'r; but first partake my board.'
Then on a table spreading the repast,

Ambrosia and red nectar, Hermes took
Refection suited to his length of fast,
Then spoke.”

Our last extract shall be the most lengthened of any yet given; but it cannot well bear to be broken up, nor will any one think it too extended. It is by Mr. Landor, and has for title "Luther's Parents." Besides its dramatic power, and a felicitous shadowing forth of two characters, the scene is highly engaging, and poetically sustained. Indeed, with our other specimens this dialogue should recommend "The Tribute" to a multitude of readers. It will adorn and enrich any library in the land.

"John Luther. I left thee, Margaretta, fast asleep,
Thou, who wert always earlier than myself,
Yet hast no mine to trudge to, hast no wedge
To sharpen at the forge, no pickaxe loose
In handle.

Come, blush not again: thy cheeks
May now shake off those blossoms which they bore
So thick this morning, that last night's avowal
Nestled among them still.

So, in few months
A noisier bird partakes our whispering bower.
Say it again.

Margaretta. And, in my dream, I blushed!
John. Idler! wert dreaming too? and after dawn?
Marg. In truth was I.


Of me?

No, not of you.


John. No matter; for methinks some seraphs wing
Fann'd that bright countenance.

Methinks it did,

And stirr'd my soul within.

How could you go And never say good-bye, and give no kiss? John. It might have waken'd thee. I can give more Kisses than sleep: so thinking, I heav'd up Slowly my elbow from above the pillow, And, when I saw it woke thee not, went forth. Marg. I would have been awaken'd for a kiss, And a good-bye, or either, if not both. John. Thy dreams were not worth much then. Marg. Few dreams are;



By my troth! I will intrench upon
The woman's dowry, and will contradict,
Tho' I should never contradict again,

I have got more from dreams a hundred-fold
Than all the solid earth, than field, than town,
Than (the close niggard purse that cramps my fist,)
The mine will ever bring me.


So have I,
And so shall each indeed, if this be true.

John. What was it then? for when good dreams befall
The true of heart, 'tis likely they come true...
A vein of gold? ay? silver? copper? iron?
Lead? sulphur? alum? alabaster? coal?

Shake not those ringlets nor let down those eyes,
Tho' they look prettier for it, but speak out.
True, these are not thy dainties.

Guess again.


John. Crystalline kitchens, amber-basted spits
Whizzing with frothy savory salamanders,

And swans, that might, so plump and pleasant-looking,

Swim in the water from the mouths of knights;

And ostrich-eggs off coral woods (the nests
Outside of cinnamon, inside of saffron,

And mortar'd well, for safety-sake, with myrrh) Serv'd up in fern leaves green before the flood? Marg. Stuff! you will never guess it, I am sure. John. No? and yet these are well worth dreaming of. Marg. Try once again. John.

Faith! it is kind to let me.
Under-ground beer-cascades from Nuremberg?
Rhine vintage stealing from Electoral cellars,
And, broader than sea-baths for mermaid brides,
With fluits upon the surface strides across,
Pink conchs to catch it, and to light it down;

And music from basaltic organ-pipes
For dancing; and five faeries to one man.
Marg. Oh his wild fancies! ... Are they innocent?
John. I think I must be near it, by that shrug.
Spicy sack-posset, roaring from hot springs,
And running off like mad through candied cliffs,
But catching now and then some fruit that drops...
Shake thy head yet? why then thou hast the palsy.
Zooks! I have thought of all things probable
And come to my wit's end.

What canst thou mean?
Marg. Nay, I have half a mind now not to tell.
John. Then it is out... Thy whole one ill could hold it.
A woman's mind hates pitch upon its seams.
Marg. Hush! one word more! and then my lips are closed.
John. Pish! one more word! and then my lips...

O rare
Impudent man!... and such discourse from you!
I dreamt we had a boy...

A wench, a wench.....

I said a boy.

A boy were not like thee.
John. Well, let us have him, if we miss the girl.
Marg. My father told me he must have a boy,

And call him Martin (his own name), because
Saint Martin both was brave, and cloth'd the poor.
John. Hurrah then for Saint Martin! he shall have

Enough to work on in this house of our's.
Marg. Now do not laugh, dear husband! but this dream
Seem'd somewhat more.
Marg. Well, but it seems so still.

So do all dreams, ere past.

Aye, twist my fingers,

Basketing them to hold it.

Never grave!


John. I shall be.

That one thought should make you now,
John. And that one tap upon the cheek to boot.
Marg. I do believe, if you were call'd to heaven,
You would stay toying here.

I doubt I should.
Methinks I set my back against the gate,
Thrown open to me by this rosy hand,

And look both ways, but see more heaven than earth:
Give me thy dream: thou puttest it aside :
I must be feasted: fetch it forth at once.
Marg. Husband! I dreamt the child was in my arms,
And held a sword, which from its little grasp
I could not move, nor you: I dreamt that proud

But tottering shapes, in purple filagree,
Pull'd at it, and he laught.

John. They frighten'd thee!

Marg. Frighten'd me! no: the infant's strength prevail'd.
Devils, with angels' faces, throng'd about;

Some offer'd flowers, and some held cups behind,
And some held daggers under silken stoles.
John. These frighten'd thee, however.


He knew all;

I knew he did.

He knew and laught!

He sought his mother's breast,
And lookt at them no longer.

A dream! a dream indeed!

All the room

Was fill'd with light and gladness.


He shall be
Richer than we are; he shall mount his horse;
A feat above his father; and be one
Of the duke's spearmen.


God forbid they lead
Unrighteous lives, and often fall untimely.
John. A lion-hearted lad shall Martin be.
Marg. God willing; if his servant; but not else.

I have such hopes, full hopes, hopes overflowed.
John. A grave grand man, half collar and half cross,

With chain enough to hold our mastiff by,

Thou fain would'st have him. Out of dirt so stiff,
Old Satan fashioneth his idol, Pride.

Marg. If proud and cruel to the weak, and bent

To turn all blessings from their even course
To his own kind and company, may he

Never be great, with collar, cross, and chain;
No, nor be ever Angel, if, O God!
He be a fallen Angel at the last."

ART. V.- The Prison-House Unmasked: in a Letter to Her Most Gracious Majesty, shewing that Arrest and Imprisonment for Debt are Violations of Magna Charta, and therefore Illegal; and also the Cruelty and Inutility of the Present System. Second Edition. By RUNNEYMEDE SECUNDUS. London J. Hatchard & Son. 1837. THERE has of late years been a constantly increasing anxiety on the part of the British nation in reference to the law of arrest and imprisonment for debt, which, there can be no doubt, will, ere long, produce most important alterations. The general inefficacy, and the monstrous cruelty of the system, have often been proved by argu

« PreviousContinue »