Page images


SINCE Bacon, no man has exhibited so won- 1 years after, on the death of Sir Joseph BANKS, i derful a combination of the highest powers of he was elected President of the Royal Society.

science with the faculties of the poet, as Sir Towards the close of 1826, he experienced an HUMPHRY Davy. COLERIDGE said to Mr. | attack of paralysis; but so far recovered as to Poole, “ Had not Davy been the first chemist, | be able to undertake a journey to the contihe probably would have been the first poet of nent early in the next year. He died at Gehis age;" and the “ Consolations in Travel,” | neva, 29th May, 1829. His remains were and the notes and poems recently given to the deposited in the burying-ground of that city. world by his brother, Dr. John Davy, are suf- The poetry now printed is a selection from ficient to prove that that opinion was not ex- | the pieces published by his brother. It was travagant. “Who that has read his sublime written at various periods. Some of his poems quatrains on the doctrine of SPINOZA," says appeared in 1799, in the Annual Anthology, an LOCKHART, the soundest critic of our times, interesting miscellany, of which two of the “can doubt that he might have united, if he volumes were edited by SouthEY, and the had pleased, in some great didactic poem, the third by Tobin. One of these poems, “The vigorous ratiocination of DRYDen and the moral Tempest," is printed below; it bears the date majesty of Wordsworth ?” Even taking his 1796. The poem alluded to by Mr. Lockeffusions as we find them, it would not be dif- hart, is that entitled “ Written after Recovery ficult to vindicate their superiority to a vast from a dangerous Illness." deal of the most popular poetry of the age. There is a remark in one of Sir HumphRY

The life and scientific career of Sir Hum- | Davy's memorandum-books, exhibiting so sinPHRY are so fully before the world in the gular a coincidence, in feeling and perception, biographies of Dr. Paris and Dr. Davy, that with one of Mr. Wordsworth's admired pasit is unnecessary here to do more than refer to sages, that it will probably interest the reader a few dates. He was born at Penzance, on to see it extracted.-" To-day, for the first the shore of Mount's Bay, in Cornwall, the time in my life, I have had a distinct sympa17th December, 1778. His faculties were de- thy with nature. I was lying on the top of a veloped very early: he made rhymes and dis | rock to leeward; the wind was high, and played a fondness for drawing when scarcely | every thing in motion; the branches of an five years old. In 1798, Dr. Bedoes con oak tree were waving and murmuring to the ferred upon him the situation of superintendent | breeze; yellow clouds, deepened by gray at of the Pneumatic Institution at Clifton, and the base, were rapidly floating over the westhe accordingly removed to that place. In ern hills; the whole sky was in motion; the 1802, he was appointed professor of chemistry yellow stream below was agitated by the in the Royal Institution, London. From this | breeze; every thing was alive, and myself part post he retired upon his marriage, in 1812, with of the series of visible impressions; I should Mrs. APREECE. In the following year he went have felt pain in tearing a leaf from one of the abroad, and remained there till 1815. In 1818, | trees.” The poem entitled “ Nutting” will ne made a second visit to the continent. Two occur to every reader of WORDSWORTH.


But tho' now all is murky and shaded with gloom,

Hope, the soother, soft whispers the tempest shall The tempest has darken'd the face of the skies,

cease: The winds whistle wildly across the waste plain, / Then nature again in her beauty shall bloom, The fiends of the whirlwind terrific arise, [main. And enamour'd embrace the fair, sweet-smiling

And mingle the clouds with the white foaming peace. All dark is the night and all gloomy the shore, For the bright blushing morning, all rosy with light,

Save when the red lightnings the ether divide; Shall convey on her wings the creator of day; Then follows the thunder with loud sounding roar, He shall drive all the tempest and terrors of night, And echoes in concert the billowy tide.

And nature, enliven'd, again shall be gay.



Then the warblers of spring shall attune the soft lay, And again the bright floweret shall blush in the

vale; On the breast of the ocean the zephyr shall play, And the sunbeam shall sleep on the hill and the

dale. If the tempest of nature so soon sink to rest ;

If her once faded beauties so soon glow again; Shall man be for ever by tempest oppress'd,

By the tempest of passion, of sorrow, and pain? Ah, no! for his passions and sorrows shall cease,

When the troublesome fever of life shall be o'er: In the night of the grave he shall slumber in peace,

And passion and sorrow shall vex bim no more. And shall not this night, and its long dismal gloom,

Like the night of the tempest again pass away? Yes! the dust of the earth in bright beauty shall

bloom, And rise to the morning of heavenly day.


The mists disperse,—and where a sullen cloud Hung on the mountain's verge, the sun bursts forth In all its majesty of purple light. It is a winter's evening, and the year Is fast departing; yet the hues of heaven Are bright as in the summer's warmest month. It is the season of the sleep of things; But nature in her sleep is lovely still ! The trees display no green, no forms of life; And yet a magic foliage clothes them round, And purest crystals of pellucid ice, All purple in the sunset. Midst the wood Fantastically rise the towering cliffs, That in another season had been white, But now, contrasted with the brilliant ice, Shine in aërial tints of purest blue ! The varied outline has a thousand charms; Here rises high a venerable wood, Where oaks are seen with massy ice girt round, And birches pendent with their glittering arms, And graceful beeches clinging to the soil ; There, massy forms exist of rocks alone,Rising as if the work of human art, The pride of some great Paladin of old, In awful ruins. Nearer I behold The palace of a race of mighty kings; But now another tenants. On these walls, Where erst the silver lily spread her leaves, The graceful symbol of a brilliant courtThe golden eagle shines, the bird of prey,Emblem of rapine and of lawless power: Such is the fitful change of human things : An empire rises, like a cloud in heaven, Red in the morning sun, spreading its tints Of golden hue along the feverish sky, And filling the horizon ;--soon its tints Are darken'd, and it brings the thunder-storm,, Lightning, and hail, and desolation comes; But in destroying it dissolves, and falls Never to rise !

Lo! o'er the earth the kindling spirits pour

The flames of life that bounteous nature gives; The limpid dew becomes the rosy flower,

The insensate dust awakes, and moves, and lives. All speaks of change : the renovated forms

Of long-forgotten things arise again ;
The light of suns, the breath of angry storms,

The everlasting motions of the main-
These are but engines of the Eternal will,

The One Intelligence, whose potent sway Has ever acted, and is acting still,

Whilst stars, and worlds, and systems all obey; Without whose power, the whole of mortal things

Were dull, inert, an unharmonious band, Silent as are the harp's untuned strings

Without the touches of the poet's hand A sacred spark created by His breath,

The immortal mind of man His image bears; A spirit living 'midst the forms of death,

Oppress'd but not subdued by mortal cares ; A germ, preparing in the winter's frost

To rise, and bud, and blossom in the spring; An unfledged eagle by the tempest toss'd,

Unconscious of his future strength of wing ; The child of trial, to mortality

And all its changeful influences given; On the green earth decreed to move and die,

And yet by such a fate prepared for heaven. Soon as it breathes, to feel the mother's form

Of orbed beauty through its organs thrill, To press the limbs of life with rapture warm,

And drink instinctive of a living rill;
To view the skies with morning radiance bright,

Majestic mingling with the ocean blue,
Or bounded by green hills, or mountains white,

Or peopled plains of rich and varied hue;
The nobler charms astonish'd to behold,

Of living loveliness,to see it move,
Cast in expression's rich and varied mould,

Awakening sympathy, compelling love;
The heavenly balm of mutual hope to taste,

Soother of life, affection's bliss to share ; Sweet as the stream amidst the desert waste,

As the first blush of arctic daylight fair; To mingle with its kindred, to descry

The path of power; in public life to shine ; To gain the voice of popularity,

The idol of to-day, the man divine; To govern others by an influence strong [main,

As that high law which moves the murmuring Raising and carrying all its waves along,

Beneath the full-orb'd moon's meridian reign; To scan how transient is the breath of praise,

A winter's zephyr trembling on the snow, Chili'd as it moves; or, as the northern rays,

First fading in the centre, whence they flow.

« PreviousContinue »