Page images
PDF
EPUB

How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self!

The Lady Madeline at her Devotions.
There was a listening fear in her regard,
As if calamity had but begun;

From the Eve of St Agnes.
As if the vanward clouds of evil days

Out went the taper as she hurried in; Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear

Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died : Was, with its stored thunder, labouring up.

She closed the door, she panted, all akin One hand she pressed upon that aching spot

To spirits of the air and visions wide : Where beats the human heart, as if just there,

No uttered syllable, or, woe betide ! Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain ;

But to her heart her heart was voluble, The other upon Saturn's bended neck

Paining with eloquence her balmy side; She laid, and to the level of his ear

As though a tongueless nightingale should swell Leaning with parted lips, some words she spake

Her throat in vain, and die heart-stifled in her dell. In solemn tenor and deep organ tone ; Some mourning words, which in our feeble tongue A casement high and triple-arched there was Would come in these like accents-oh! how frail, All garlanded with carven imageries To that large utterance of the early gods !

Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, "Saturn, look up! though wherefore, poor old And diamonded with panes of quaint device king?

Innumerable, of stains and splendid dyes, I cannot say, “O wherefore sleepest thou ?"

As are the tiger-moth's deep damasked wings; For heaven is parted from thee, and the earth

And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, Knows thee not, thus afflicted, for a god ;

And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, And ocean, too, with all its solemn noise,

A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens Has from thy sceptre passed, and all the air

and kings. Is emptied of thine hoary majesty. Thy thunder, conscious of the new command,

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, Rumbles reluctant o'er our fallen house ;

And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, And thy sharp lightning in unpractised hands

As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon; Scorches and burns our once serene domain.

Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, O aching time! O moments big as years !

And on her silver cross soft amethyst, All, as ye pass, swell out the monstrous truth,

And on her hair a glory like a saint: And press it so upon our weary griefs

She seemed a splendid angel newly drest, That unbelief has not a space to breathe.

Save wings, for heaven ; Porphyro grew faint : Saturn, sleep on! Oh, thoughtless, why did I

She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal Thus violate thy slumbrous solitude ?

taint. Why should I ope my melancholy eyes ? Saturn, sleep on! while at thy feet Í weep.'

Hymn to Pan.— From 'Endymion.' As when, upon a tranced summer night,

O thou, whose mighty palace-roof doth hang Those green-robed senators of mighty woods,

From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,

Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death Dream, and so dream all night without a stir,

Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness; Save from one gradual solitary gust

Who lovest to see the hamadryads dress Which comes upon the silence, and dies off,

Their rufiled locks where meeting hazels darken; As if the ebbing air had but one wave;

And through whose solemn hours dost sit, and So came these words and went.

hearken

The dreary melody of bedded reeds The antique grace and solemnity of passages like In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds this must be felt by every lover of poetry. The The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth, chief defects of Keats are his want of distinctness Bethinking thee, how melancholy loath and precision, and the carelessness of his style.

Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx-do thou now, There would seem to have been even affectation

By thy love's milky brow, in his disregard of order and regularity; and he

By all the trembling mazes that she ran, heaps up images and conceits in such profusion,

Hear us, great Pan! that they often form grotesque and absurd com O thou for whose soul-soothing quiet turtles binations, which fatigue the reader. Deep feeling Passion their voices cooingly ’mong myrtles, and passion are rarely given to young poets What time thou wanderest at eventide redolent of fancy, and warm from the perusal of Through sunny meadows, that outskirt the side the ancient authors. The difficulty with which Of thine enmossed realms : 0 thou to whom Keats had mastered the classic mythology gave it

Broad-leaved fig-trees even now foredoom an undue importance in his mind : a more perfect Their ripened fruitage ; yellow-girted bees knowledge would have harmonised its materials,

Their golden honeycombs; our village leas and shewn him the beauty of chasteness and sim

Their fairest blossomed beans and poppied corn ; plicity of style; but Mr' Leigh Hunt is right in

The chuckling linnet its five young unborn, his opinion that the poems of Keats, with all their

To sing for thee; low creeping strawberries

Their summer coolness ; pent-up butterflies defects, will be the sure companions in field and Their freckled wings ; yea, the fresh budding year grove of those who love to escape 'out of the

All its completion-be quickly near, strife of commonplaces into the haven of solitude

By every wind that nods the mountain pine, and imagination.'

O forester divine ! One line in Endymion has become familiar as a household word' wherever the English language Thou to whom every faun and satyr flies is spoken

For willing service; whether to surprise

The squatted hare while in half-sleeping fit;
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

Or upward ragged precipices flit

To save poor lambkins from the eagle's maw; Away! away! for I will fly to thee
Or by mysterious enticement draw

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Bewildered shepherds to their path again ;

But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Or to tread breathless round the frothy main,

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards : And gather up all fancifulest shells

Already with thee! tender is the night, For thee to tumble into Naiads' cells,

And haply the queen-moon is on her throne, And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping;

Clustered around by all her starry fays; Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping,

But here there is no light, The while they pelt each other on the crown

Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brown

Through verdurous blooms and winding mossy By all the echoes that about thee ring,

ways. Hear us, O satyr king !

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, O hearkener to the loud-clapping shears,

Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, While ever and anon to his shorn peers

But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet A ram goes bleating : winder of the horn,

Wherewith the seasonable month endows When snouted wild boars, routing tender corn,

The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ; Anger our huntsmen : breather round our farms,

White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; To keep off mildews and all weather harms :

Fast fading violets covered up in leaves; Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds,

And mid-May's eldest child, That come a-swooning over hollow grounds,

The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, And wither drearily on barren moors :

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Dread opener of the mysterious doors Leading to universal knowledge-see,

Darkling I listen ; and for many a time Great son of Dryope,

I have been half in love with easeful Death, The many that are come to pay their vows,

Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme, With leaves about their brows!

To take into the air my quiet breath;

Now more than ever seems it rich to die, Be still the unimaginable lodge

To cease upon the midnight with no pain, For solitary thinkings; such as dodge

While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad Conception to the very bourne of heaven,

In such an ecstasy! Then leave the naked brain : be still the leaven,

Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vainThat, spreading in this dull and clodded earth,

To thy high requiem become a sod.
Gives it a touch ethereal-a new birth :
Be still a symbol of immensity;

Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
A firmament reflected in a sea;

No hungry generations tread thee down; An element filling the space between;

The voice I hear this passing night was heard An unknown-but no more : we humbly screen

In ancient days by emperor and clown : With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly bending, Perhaps the self-same song that found a path And giving out a shout most heaven-rending,

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for Conjure thee to receive our humble Pæan,

home, Upon thy Mount Lycean!

She stood in tears amid the alien corn ;

The same that ofttimes hath
Ode to a Nightingale.

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam

Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Forlorn! the very word is like a bell Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

To toll me back from thee to my sole self! One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,

As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. But being too happy in thy happiness,

Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

Past the near meadows, over the hill-stream,
In some melodious plot

Up the hillside ; and now 'tis buried deep
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

In the next valley's glades : Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

Was it a vision or a waking dream ?

Fled is that music :-do I wake or sleep? O for a draught of vintage, that hath been

Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,

To Autumn.
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm south,

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness !
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,

Conspiring with him how to load and bless
And purple-stained mouth;

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

run; And with thee fade away into the forest dim : To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget

To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells What thou among the leaves hast never known, With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more, The weariness, the fever, and the fret,

And still more, later flowers for the bees, Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ; Until they think warm days will never cease, Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,

For summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store ?
And leaden-eyed despairs;

Sometimes, whoever seeks abroad may find
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

139

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Reginald retired for a few minutes to the corner Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook of the room, and returned with the beautiful

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers; lines :
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook ;

No hammer sell, no ponderous axes rung ;
Or by a cider-press with patient look,

Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung. Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Majestic silence !

His picture of Palestine, in its now fallen and Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? desolate state, is pathetic and beautiful :

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barred clouds bloom the soft dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue ;

Palestine. Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Reft of thy sons, amid thy foes forlorn, Among the river sallows, borne aloft

, Or sinking, as the light wind lives or dies;

Mourn, widowed queen! forgotten Sion, mourn ! And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn ;

Is this thy place, sad city, this thy throne,

Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone ?
Hedge-crickets sing; and now, with treble soft,
The redbreast whistles from a garden crost,

While suns unblest their angry lustre fling,
And gathering swallows twitter from the skies.

And wayworn pilgrims seek the scanty spring ?
Where now thy pomp, which kings with envy viewed ?
Where now thy might, which all those kings subdued ?

No martial myriads muster in thy gate ;
Sonnets.

No suppliant nations in thy temple wait ;
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.

No prophet-bards, the glittering courts among,
Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,

Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song :

But lawless Force and meagre Want are there,
And many goodly states and kingdom seen ;
Round many western islands have I been

And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear,

While cold Oblivion, 'mid thy ruins laid,
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

Folds his dank wing beneath the ivy shade.
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne : He has also given a striking sketch of the Druses,
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

the hardy mountain race descended from the Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :

Crusaders :
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken ;

The Druses.
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes

Fierce, hardy, proud, in conscious freedom bold, He stared at the Pacific—and all his men

Those stormy seats the warrior Druses hold; Looked at each other with a wild surmise

From Norman blood their lofty line they trace,
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Their lion-courage proves their generous race.
On England.

They, only they, while all around them kneel

In sullen homage to the Thracian steel, Happy is England! I could be content

Teach their pale despot's waning moon to sear To see no other verdure than its own ;

The patriot terrors of the mountain spear. To feel no other breezes than are blown

Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your sabres shine, Through its tall woods with high romances blent ;

The native guard of feeble Palestine,
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan

Oh, ever thus, by no vain boast dismayed,

Defend the birthright of the cedar shade!
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.

What though no more for you the obedient gale

Swells the white bosom of the Tyrian sail ; Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters ;

Though now no more your glittering marts unfold Enough their simple loveliness for me ;

Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold;
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging :

Though not for you the pale and sickly slave
Yet do I often warmly burn to see

Forgets the light in Ophir's wealthy cave ;
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,

Yet yours the lot, in proud contentment blest,
And float with them about their summer waters. Where cheerful labour leads to tranquil rest.

No robber-rage the ripening harvest knows;
DR REGINALD HEBER.

And unrestrained the generous vintage flows :

Nor less your sons to manliest deeds aspire ; DR REGINALD HEBER, bishop of Calcutta, was And Asia's mountains glow with Spartan fire. born April 21, 1783, at Malpas in Cheshire, where So when, deep sinking in the rosy main, his father had a living. In his seventeenth year The western sun forsakes the Syrian plain, he was admitted of Brazen-nose College, Oxford,

His watery rays refracted lustre shed, and soon distinguished himself by his classical

And pour their latest light on Carmel's head. attainments. In 1802 he obtained the university

Yet shines your praise, amid surrounding gloom, prize for Latin hexameters, his subject being the

As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb;

For few the souls that spurn a tyrant's chain, Carmen Seculare. Applying himself to English

And small the bounds of freedom's scanty reign. verse, Heber, in 1803, composed his poem of Palestine, which has been considered the best In 1805 Heber took his degree of B.A., and the prize-poem the university has ever produced. same year gained the prize for the English essay. Parts of it were set to music ; and it had an exten- He was elected to a fellowship at All Souls' sive sale. Previous to its recitation in the theatre College, and soon after went abroad, travelling of the university, the young author read it to Sir over Germany, Russia, and the Crimea. On his Walter Scott, then on a visit to Oxford ; and Scott return he took his degree of A.M. at Oxford. He observed, that in the verses on Solomon's Temple, appeared again as a poet in 1809, his subject being one striking circumstance had escaped him-Europe, or Lines on the Present War. The namely, that no tools were used in its construction. struggle in Spain formed the predominating theme

of Heber's poem. He was now presented to the Salvation ! oh, salvation ! living of Hodnet ; and at the same time he married

The joyful sound proclaim,
Amelia, daughter of Dr Shipley, dean of St Asaph. Till each remotest nation
The duties of a parish pastor were discharged by

Has learned Messiah's name.
Heber with unostentatious fidelity and application.
He also applied his vigorous intellect to the study

From Bishop Heber's Journal.
of divinity, and in 1815 preached the Bampton
Lecture, the subject selected by him for a course

If thou wert by my side, my love, of sermons being the Personality and Office of the

How fast would evening fail Christian Comforter. He was an occasional con

In green Bengala's palmy grove, tributor to the Quarterly Review; and in 1822 he

Listening the nightingale ! wrote a copious

life of Jeremy Taylor, and a review If thou, my love, wert by my side, of his writings, for a complete edition of Taylor's My babies at my knee, works. Contrary to the advice of prudent friends, How gaily would our pinnace glide he accepted, in 1823, the difficult task of bishop of O'er Gunga's mimic sea ! Calcutta, and no man could have entered on his mission with a more Christian or apostolic spirit.

I miss thee at the dawning gray,

When on our deck reclined, His whole energies appear to have been devoted

In careless ease my limbs I lay, to the propagation of Christianity in the East. In

And woo the cooler wind. 1826 the bishop made a journey to Travancore, accompanied by the Rev. Mr Doran, of the I miss thee when by Gunga's stream Church Missionary Society. On the 1st of April

My twilight steps I guide, he arrived at Trichinopoly, and had twice service

But most beneath the lamp's pale beam on the day following. He went the next day,

I miss thee from my side. Monday, at six o'clock in the morning, to see the I spread my books, my pencil try, native Christians in the fort, and attend divine

The lingering noon to cheer, service. He then returned to the house of a friend, But miss thy kind approving eye, and went into the bath preparatory to his dressing Thy meek attentive ear. for breakfast. His servant, conceiving he remained too long, entered the room, and found the

But when of morn or eve the star bishop dead at the bottom of the bath. Medical

Beholds me on my knee, assistance was applied, but every effort proved

I feel, though thou art distant far, ineffectual ; death had been caused by apoplexy.

Thy prayers ascend for me. The loss of so valuable a public man, equally Then on ! then on! where duty leads, beloved and venerated, was mourned by all classes, My course be onward still ; and every honour was paid to his memory. At O'er broad Hindostan's sultry meads, the time of his death he was only in his forty-third

O'er bleak Almorah's hill. year--a period too short to have developed those talents and virtues which, as one of his admirers

That course, nor Delhi's kingly gates,

Nor wild Malwah detain ; in India remarked, rendered his course in life,

For sweet the bliss us both awaits from the moment that he was crowned with aca

By yonder western main. demical honours till the day of his death, one track of light, the admiration of Britain and of India.

Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say, The widow of Dr Heber published a Memoir of

Across the dark-blue sea ; his Life, with selections from his letters; and

But ne'er were hearts so light and gay also a Narrative of his Journey through the Upper

As then shall meet in thee!
Provinces of India from Calcutta to Bombay.

CHARLES WOLFE.
Missionary Hymn.

The Rev. CHARLES WOLFE (1791-1823), a
From Greenland's icy mountains,

native of Dublin, may be said to have earned a From India's coral strand,

literary immortality by one short poem. Reading Where Afric's sunny fountains

in the Edinburgh Annual Register a description Roll down their golden sand ;

of the death and interment of Sir John Moore on From many an ancient river,

the battle-field of Corunna, this amiable young From many a palmy plain,

poet turned it into verse with such taste, pathos, They call us to deliver

and even sublimity, that his poem has obtained Their land from error's chain.

an imperishable place in our literature. The

subject was attractive-the death of a brave and What though the spicy breezes

popular general on the field of battle, and his Blow soft on Ceylon's isle,

burial by his companions-in-arms—and the poet Though every prospect pleases,

himself dying when young, beloved and lamented And only man is vile;

by his friends, gave additional interest to the proIn vain, with lavish kindness,

duction. The ode was published anonymously in The gifts of God are strown, The heathen, in his blindness,

an Irish newspaper in 1817, and was ascribed to Bows down to wood and stone.

various authors ; Shelley considering it not unlike

a first draught by Campbell. In 1841 it was Shall we whose souls are lighted

claimed by a Scottish student and teacher, who With wisdom from on high ;

ungenerously and dishonestly sought to pluck the Shall we to man benighted

laurel from the grave of its owner. The friends The lamp of life deny ? of Wolfe came forward, and established his right

141

[ocr errors]

beyond any further question or controversy; and the new claimant was forced to confess his impos

Song: ture, at the same time expressing his contrition

The following pathetic lyric is adapted to the Irish air Gramfor his misconduct. Wolfe was a curate in the machree. Wolfe said he on one occasion sung the air over and established church, and died of consumption. His over till he burst into a flood of tears, in which mood he composed

the song. literary remains have been published, with a memoir of his life by Archdeacon Russell.

If I had thought thou couldst have died,

I might not weep for thee ;

But I forgot, when by thy side,
The Burial of Sir John Moore.

That thou couldst mortal be:

It never through my mind had passed
Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,

The time would e'er be o'er,
As his corpse to the rampart we hurried ;

And I on thee should look my last,
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot

And thou shouldst smile no more!
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

And still upon that face I look,
We buried him darkly at dead of night,

And think 'twill smile again;
The sods with our bayonets turning,

And still the thought I will not brook,
By the struggling moonbeams' misty light,

That I must look in vain ! And the lantern dimly burning.

But when I speak-thou dost not say

What thou ne'er left'st unsaid ;
No useless coffin inclosed his breast,

And now I feel, as well I may,
Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;

Sweet Mary! thou art dead!
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.

If thou wouldst stay e'en as thou art,

All cold and all serene-
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;

I still might press thy silent heart,
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,

And where thy smiles have been !
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

While e'en thy chill bleak corse I have,

Thou seemest still mine own;
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,

But there I lay thee in thy grave-
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,

And I am now alone!
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his
head,

I do not think, where'er thou art,
And we far away on the billow!

Thou hast forgotten me;

And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart,
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,

In thinking too of thee:
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him-

Yet there was round thee such a dawn
But little he 'll reck, if they let him sleep on

Of light ne'er seen before,
In the grave where a Briton has laid him,

As fancy never could have drawn,

And never can restore ! But half of our heavy task was done,

When the clock struck the hour for retiring ;
And we heard the distant and random gun

THE DIBDINS-JOHN COLLINS.
That the foe was sullenly firing.

CHARLES DIBDIN (1745-1814) was celebrated Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

as a writer of naval songs, 'the solace of sailors From the field of his fame fresh and gory;

in long voyages, in storms, and in battles,' and he We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone

was also an actor and dramatist. His sea-songs But we left him alone with his glory!

are said to exceed a thousand in number! His The passage in the Edinburgh Annual Register and song-writers, but inferior to the elder Dibdin.

, Charles and Thomas, were also dramatists (18085 on which Wolfe founded his ode was written THOMAS DIBDIN (1771-1841) published his Reby Southey, and is as follows :: Sir John Moore miniscences

, containing curious details of theatrical had often said that if he was killed in battle, he affairs. We subjoin two of the sea-songs of the wished to be buried where he fell. The body was elder Charles Dibdin : removed at midnight to the citadel of Corunna. A grave was dug for him on the rampart there by a body of the 9th regiment, the aides-de-camp

Tom Bowling: attending by turns. No coffin could be procured, Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling, and the officers of his staff wrapped the body, The darling of our crew; dressed as it was, in a military cloak and blankets. No more he'll hear the tempest howling, The interment was hastened; for about eight in For Death has broached him to. the morning some firing was heard, and the officers His form was of the manliest beauty, feared that if a serious attack were made, they His heart was kind and soft ; should be ordered away, and not suffered to pay

Faithful below he did his duty, him their last duty. The officers of his family bore

But now he's gone aloft. him to the grave; the funeral-service was read by

Tom never from his word departed, the chaplain; and the corpse was covered with

His virtues were so rare; earth.' In 1817 Wolfe took orders, and was first

His friends were many and true-hearted, curate of Ballyclog, in Tyrone, and afterwards of

His Poll was kind and fair : Donoughmore. His incessant attention to his

And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly ; duties, in a wild and scattered parish, not only

Ah, many's the time and oft ! quenched his poetical enthusiasm, but hurried him But mirth is turned to melancholy, to an untimely grave.

For Tom is gone aloft.

« PreviousContinue »