« PreviousContinue »
Now in equipage stately, now humbly on foot,
Both fortunes he tried, but to neither would trust; And whirled in the round as the wheel turned about,
He found riches had wings, and knew man was but dust.
This verse, little polished, though mighty sincere,
Sets neither his titles nor merit to view; It says that his relics collected lie here;
And no mortal yet knows if this may be true. ...
If his bones lie in earth, roll in sea, fly in air,
To fate we must yield, and the thing is the same: And if passing thou giv'st him a smile or a tear,
He cares not:— yet prithee, be kind to his fame.
But John unhappily thought fit
Sure, John and I are quit.
Yes, every poet is a fool;
By demonstration Ned can show it:
Prove every fool to be a poet.
Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
Can Stuart or Nassau claim higher ?
ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER.
1864. she be Household., The author contributor: that “ Maest
PROCTER, ADELAIDE ANNE, an English poet, daughter of “ Barry Cornwall;" born at London, October 30, 1825; died there, February 2, 1864. She became a convert to Roman Catholicism in 1851. Early in 1853 “ Household Words " received a poem bearing the signature “Mary Berwick." The author was requested to send more ; and she soon became a frequent contributor. It was not until nearly two years after that Dickens learned that “ Mary Berwick” was Adelaide Procter, the daughter of one of his oldest literary friends. With the exception of a few early verses, a little volume entitled “A Chaplet of Verses,” published in 1862 for the benefit of a charitable association, all of her poems originally appeared in periodicals edited by Dickens, who prefixed a biographical Introduction to a complete edition issued shortly after her death.
A LEGEND OF BREGENZ.
The fair Lake Constance lies;
Shine back the starry skies;
Float silently and slow,
Lies on our earth below!
Midnight is there; and Silence,
Enthroned in Heaven, looks down
Upon a sleeping town:
Upon the Tyrol shore,
A thousand years and more.
Her battlements and towers,
From off their rocky steep,
Have cast their trembling shadow
For ages on the deep: Mountain, and lake, and valley,
A sacred legend know,
Three hundred years ago.
A Tyrol maid had fled,
And toil for daily bread :
So silently and fast,
The memory of the Past.
She served kind, gentle masters,
Nor asked for rest or change; Her friends seemed no more new ones,
Their speech seemed no more strange; And when she led her cattle
To pasture every day,
On which side Bregenz lay.
With longing and with tears; Her Tyrol home seemed faded
In a deep mist of years ; She heeded not the rumors
Of Austrian war and strife, Each day she rose, contented,
To the calm toils of life.
Yet, when her master's children
Would clustering round her stand,
Of her own native land;
She knelt before God's throne,
Rose to her lips alone.
And so she dwelt: the valley
More peaceful year by year; When suddenly strange portents
Of some great deed seemed near.
The golden corn was bending
Upon its fragile stock, While farmers, heedless of their fields,
Paced up and down in talk.
The men seemed stern and altered,
With looks cast on the ground; With anxious faces, one by one,
The women gathered round;
Or work, was put away,
To go alone to play.
One day, out in the meadow
With strangers from the town, Some secret plan discussing,
The men walked up and down. Yet now and then seemed watching
A strange uncertain gleain, That looked like lances 'mid the trees
That stood below the stream.
At eve they all assembled,
Then care and doubt were fled; With jovial laugh they feasted;
The board was nobly spread.
Rose up, his glass in hand,
Of an accursed land !
“The night is growing darker,
Ere one more day is flown, Bregenz, our foeman's stronghold,
Bregenz shall be our own!” The women shrank in terror,
(Yet Pride, too, had her part,) But one poor Tyrol maiden
Felt death within her heart.
Before her stood fair Bregenz;
Once more her towers arose; What were the friends beside her ?
Only her country's foes!
The faces of her kinsfolk,
The days of childhood flown, The echoes of her mountains,
Reclaimed her as their own!
Nothing she heard around her
(Though shouts rang forth again), Gone were the green Swiss valleys,
The pasture, and the plain ; Before her eyes one vision,
And in her heart one cry, That said, “Go forth, save Bregenz,
And then, if need be, die!"
With trembling haste and breathless,
With noiseless step, she sped ; Horses and weary cattle
Were standing in the shed; She loosed the strong, white charger,
That fed from out her hand, She mounted, and she turned his head
Towards her native land.
Out-out into the darkness
Faster, and still more fast;
The chestnut wood is past;
Why is her steed so slow ? Scarcely the wind beside them
Can pass them as they go.
“Faster!” she cries, “O faster!"
Eleven the church-bells chime : “ O God," she cries, “ help Bregenz,
And bring me there in time!” But louder than bells' ringing,
Or lowing of the kine, Grows nearer in the midnight
The rushing of the Rhine.
Shall not the roaring waters
Their headlong gallop check ? The steed draws back in terror,
She leans upon his neck