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Foul offerings on the shrine of Misery,
And force from Famine the caress of Love!
May He shed healing on thy sore disgrace,
He, the great Comforter that rules above !
TO THE AUTHOR OP “THE ROBBERS.”
SchilLER ! * that hour I would have wish'd to die,
If thro' the shudd'ring midnight I had sent
From the dark Dungeon of the Tower time-rent
That fearful voice, a famish'd Father's cry-
That in no after moment aught less vast
Might stamp me mortal! A triumphant shout
Black Horror scream'd and all her goblin rout,
From the more with’ring scene diminish'd past.
Ah! Bard tremendous in sublimity!
Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood,
Wand'ring at eve with finely frenzied eye
Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood !
Awhile with mute awe gazing I would brood,
Then weep aloud in a wild extacy!
* One night in Winter, on leaving a College-friend's room, with whom I had supped, I carelessly took away with me “The Robbers” a drama, the very name of which I had never before heard of :a winter midnight-the wind high-and “The Robbers” for the first time- The readers of Schiller will conceive what I felt. Schiller introduces no supernatural beings; yet his human beings agitate and astonish, more than all the goblin rout even of Shakspeare.
COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR HAV
ING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH OF A SON, SEPTEMBER, 20, 1796.
Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mix'd with such feelings as perplex the soul
Self-question’d in her sleep: and some have said *
We liv'd, ere yet this fleshy robe we wore.
O my sweet Baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me, thou wert dead
(As sometimes, thro' excess of hope, I fear)
I think that I should struggle to believe
Thou wert a Spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenc'd for some more venial crime to grieve ;
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve,
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier !
TO A FRIEND, WHO ASKED HOW I FELT, WHEN THE NURSE
FIRST PRESENTED MY INFANT TO ME.
CHARLES ! my slow heart was only sad, when first
I scann'd that face of feeble infancy:
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst
Ην που ημωνη ψυχη πριν εν τωδε το ανθρωπινω ειδει γενέσθαι. . Plat. in Phædon.
All I had been, and all my babe might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,
And hanging at her bosom (she the while
Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile)
Then I was thrillid and melted, and most warm
Impress’d a Father's kiss : and all beguild
Of dark remembrance, and presageful fear
I seem'd to see an Angel's form appear.-
'Twas even thine, beloved Woman mild !
So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear,
And dearer was the Mother for the Child,
ON HAVING LEFT A PLACE OF RETIREMENT.
Low was our pretty Cot: our tallest Rose
Peep'd at the chamber-window. We could hear
At silent noon, and eve, and early morn,
The Sea's faint murmur. In the open air
Our Myrtles blossom’d; and across the porch
Thick Jasmins twin’d: the little landscape round
Was green and woody and refresh'd the eye.
It was a spot, which you might aptly call
The Valley of Seclusion ! Once I saw
(Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quietness)
A wealthy son of Commerce saunter by,
Bristowa's citizen: Methought, it calm’d
His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse
With wiser feelings: for he paus'd, and look'd
With a pleas'd sadness, and gaz’d all around,
Then eyed our cottage, and gaz'd round again,
And sigh’d, and said, it was a blessed place.
And we were blessed. Oft with patient ear
Long-listening to the viewless sky-lark's note
(Viewless, or haply for a moment seen
Gleaming on sunny wing) in whisper'd tones
I've said to my Beloved, “ Such, sweet Girl!
The inobtrusive song of Happiness-
Unearthly minstrelsy! then only heard
When the Soul seeks to hear; when all is hush'd
And the Heart listens !”
But the time, when first From that low Dell steep up the stony Mount I climb'd with perilous toil and reach'd the top, O what a goodly scene! Here the bleak Mount, The bare bleak Mountain speckled thin with sheep; Grey Clouds, that shadowing spot the sunny fields ; And River, now with bushy rocks o'erbrow'd Now winding bright and full, with naked banks; And Seats, and Lawns, the Abbey, and the Wood, And Cots, and Hamlets, and faint City-spire: The Channel there, the Islands and white Sails, Dim Coasts, and cloud-like Hills, and shoreless OceanIt seem'd like Omnipresence! God, methought, Had built him there a Temple; the whole World Seem'd imag'd in its vast circumference. No wish profan'd my overwhelmed Heart. Blest hour! It was a Luxury-to be!
Ah quiet Dell! dear Cot! and Mount sublime ! I was constrain'd to quit you. Was it right, While my unnumber'd Brethren toil'd and bled, That I should dream away the trusted Hours
On rose-leaf Beds, pampr'ing the coward Heart
With feelings all too delicate for use ?
Sweet is the Tear that from some Howard's eye
Drops on the cheek of one, he lifts from earth :
And He, that works me good with unmov'd face,
Does it but half: he chills me while he aids,
My Benefactor, not my Brother Man!
Yet even this, this cold Beneficence
Seizes my Praise, when I reflect on those,
The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving Tribe !
Who sigh for Wretchedness, yet shun the Wretched,
Nursing in some delicious solitude
Their slothful loves and dainty Sympathies !
I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand,
Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight
Of Science, Freedom, and the Truth in Christ.
Yet oft when after honourable toil
Rests the tir'd mind, and waking loves to dream,
My Spirit shall revisit thee, dear Cot!
Thy Jasmin and thy window-peeping Rose,
And Myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air.
And I shall sigh fond wishes-sweet Abode !
Ah-had none greater ! And that all had such !
It might be so—but the time is not yet.
Speed it, O Father! Let thy Kingdom come!