« PreviousContinue »
For dancers in the festive hall
Fetched from the shadowy world ! ”T is said, that warnings ye dispense, Embolden'd by a keener sense;
That men have lived for whom, With dread precision, ye made clear The hour that in a distant year
Should knell them to the tomb. Unwelcome insight! Yet there are Blest times when mystery is laid bare,
Truth shows a glorious face,
Sage spirits ! by your grace.
Whose wisdom fix'd the scale
When lights of reason fail.
TO THE DAISY.
PRESENTIMENTS ! they judge not right
Retire in fear of shame;
Such privilege ye claim.
Were mine in early days;
And venture on your praise.
Lurk near you—and combine
Your origin divine.
Builds castles, not of air;
And teach us to beware.
Shall vanish, if ye please,
In gaycty and ease.
Prognostics that ye rule;
Are pupils of your school.
A rainbow, a sunbeam,
An echo, or a dream.
Ye feelingly reprove;
And exercise of love.
Oft, startled and made wise
Of bitter contraries.
As sail hath been unfurl'd;
In youth from rock to rock I went,
Most pleased when most uneasy ;
Ker much-loved daisy ! Thee winter in the garland wears That thinly decks his few gray hairs; Spring parts the clouds with softest airs,
That she may sun thee; Whole summer fields are thine by right; And autumn, melancholy wight! Doth in thy crimson head delight
When rains are on thee. In shoals and bands, a morrice train, Thou greet'st the traveller in the lane ; Pleased at his greeting thee again;
Yet nothing daunted Nor grieved if thou be set at nought: And oft alone in nooks remote We meet thee, like a pleasant thought,
When such are wanted.
Her head impearling;
The poet's darling.
Near the green holly,
ODE TO DUTY.
STERN daughter of the voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove; Thou, who art victory and law When empty terrors overawe; From vain temptations dost set free; And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity!
He needs but look about, and there
Or stray invention.
A lowlier pleasure;
Of hearts at leisure.
With kindred gladness :
Of careful sadness.
To thee am owing;
Nor whither going.
As lark or leveret,
Art nature's favourite.
There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them; who, in love and truth, Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth: Glad hearts ! without reproach or blot ; Who do thy work and know it not; Oh! if through confidence misplaced They fail, thy saving arms, dread Power! around
them cast. Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be, When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security. And they a blissful course may hold Even now, who, not unwisely bold, Live in the spirit of this creed; Yet find thy firm support, according to their need. I, loving freedom, and untried ;
No sport of every random gust, Yet being to myself a guide,
Too blindly have reposed my trust : And oft, when in my heart was heard Thy timely mandate, I deferr'd The task, in smoother walks to stray; But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may. Through no disturbance of my soul,
Or strong compunction in me wrought,
But in the quietness of thought:
SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTROD.
Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace; Nor know we any thing so fair
As is the smile upon thy face: Flowers laugh before thee on their beds; And fragrance in thy footing treads; Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong; And the most ancient heavens, through Thee, are
fresh and strong.
SAE dwelt among the untrodden way
Beside the springs of Dove,
And very few to love:
Half bidden from the eye!
Is shining in the sky.
When Lucy ceased to be;
The difference to me!
To humbler functions, awful Power!
I call thee: I myself commend Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end ! Give unto me, made lowly wise, The spirit of self-sacrifice; The confidence of reason give;. And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live! WE ARE SEVEN.
- A SIMPLE Child,
That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl :
She was eight years old, she said ; Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.
“So in the churchyard she was laid ;
And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I. « And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
And he lies by her side.”
“ If they two are in heaven ?” Quick was the little maid's reply,
“O master! we are seven.” “But they are dead; those two are dead !
Their spirits are in heaven!” 'Twas throwing words away : for still The little maid would have her will,
And said, “ Nay, we are seven!"
She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad: Her eyes were fair, and very fair,
-Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be ?" How many ? Seven in all," she said, And wondering looked at me.
AN INCIDENT AT BRUGES.
“ And who are they? I pray you, tell.”
She answered, “Seven are we; And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother;
Dwell near them with my mother.” “ You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea, Yet ye are seven !-I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be.”
Then did the little maid reply,
“Seven boys and girls are we; Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“ You run about, my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive; If two are in the churchyard laid,
Then ye are only five."
Is Bruges town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled; Where, without hurry, noiseless feet
The grass-grown pavement tread.
Flung from a convent-tower,
To a voice of thrilling power.
Was fit for some gay throng; Though from the same grim turret fel
The shadow and the song.
The strain seemed doubly dear,
Had fallen upon the ear.
And pinnacle and spire
Clothed with innocuous fire;
Showed little of his state :
'Twas through an iron grate. Not always is the heart unwise,
Nor pity idly born,
For them who do not mourn.
Captive, whoe'er thou be?
And opening life to thee?
A feeling sanctified
From the maiden at my side;
Borne gayly o'er the sea,
of English liberty?
“ Their graves are green, they may be seen,”
The little maid replied, “ 'Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem; And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.
« And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair, I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.
«The first that died was sister Jane :
In bed she moaning lay,
And then she went away.
But list !-though winter storms be nigh, Uncheck'd is that soft harmony:
There lives Who can provide For all his creatures; and in Him, Even like the radiant seraphim,
These choristers confide.
THE SOLITARY REAPER. BEHOLD her, single in the field.
Yon solitary Highland lass!
Stop here, or gently pass !
More welcome notes to weary bands
Among Arabian sands :
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
And battles long ago:
As if her song could have no ending; I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending.
SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF DELIGHT.
She was a phantom of delight, When first she gleam'd upon my sight; A lovely apparition, sent To be a moment's ornament; Her eyes as stars of twilight fair ; Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful dawn; A dancing shape, an image gay, To haunt, to startle, and waylay. I saw her upon nearer view, A spirit, yet a woman too! Her household motions light and free, And steps of virgin liberty; A countenance in which did meet Sweet records, promises as sweet; A creature not too bright or good For human nature's daily food; For transient sorrows, simple wiles, Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles. And now I see with eye serene The very pulse of the machine; A being breathing thoughtful breath, A traveller between life and death; The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; A perfect woman, nobly plann'd, To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a spirit still, and bright With something of an angel light.
THE sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields Are hung, as if with golden shields,
Bright trophies of the sun!
The mountains looking on.
By love untaught to ring,
Than music of the spring.
In nature's struggling frame,
Therein a portion claim.
This hymn of thanks and praise,
And earth's precarious days.
A MOUNTAIN SOLITUDE. It was a cove, a huge recess,
That keeps till June December's snow; A lofty precipice in front,
A silent tarn below!
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer. The crags repeat the raven's croak
In symphony austere; T'hither the rainbow comes, the cloud; And mists that spread the flying shroud, And sun-beams; and the sounding blast, That, if it could, would hurry past, But that enormous barrier binds it fast.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh on | memory, and inspired some of the most beautithe fifteenth of August, 1771. “My birth,” ful passages in his poetry. In 1797, however, says he, “was neither distinguished nor sor he became acquainted with Miss CHARPENTIER, did ; according to the prejudices of my coun- the daughter of a French refugee, to whom, in try it was esteemed gentle, as I was con- the autumn of that year, he was married. nected, though remotely, with ancient fami Previous to this time M. G. Lewis had lies, both by my father's and mother's side." acquired considerable reputation by his imitaDelicacy of constitution, attended by a lame tions of the German ballads; and conceiving ness which proved permanent, was apparent that if inferior to him in poetical powers, he in his infancy, and induced his removal to the | was his superior in general information, Scott rural residence of his grand father, near the had undertaken to become his rival. His earTweed, where he remained until about the liest efforts, translations of Burger's Leonore eighth year of his age. In the introduction and Wild Huntsman, were published in 1796, to the third canto of Marmion he has graphi and two years afterward appeared in London cally described the scenery by which he was his version of Goethe's Goetz von Berlichinsurrounded, his interest in its ruins and his gen. Each of these volumes was favourably sympathy with its grandeur and beauty. The | reviewed, but coldly received by the public. romantic ballads and legends to which he Soon after his marriage Scort had taken a listened here were treasured in his memory, | pleasant house on the banks of the Tweed, and had a powerful influence upon his future about thirty miles from Edinburgh. By the character. From 1779 to 1783 he was in the death of his father he had come into posseshigh school of Edinburgh. He tells us, allud sion of a considerable income; his wife had ing to this period, that he had a reputation as an annuity of four hundred pounds; and the a tale-teller, and that the applause of his com- office of sheriff of Selkirkshire, which imposed panions was a recompense for the disgraces very little duty, now produced him some three and punishments he incurred by being idle | hundred more. At twenty-eight years of age himself and keeping others idle during hours few men were more happily situated, but he which should have been devoted to study. had as yet done scarcely any thing toward In 1783 he became a student in the university, | founding a reputation as a man of letters. but his education proceeded unprosperously. His leisure hours were for several years He had no inclination for science, and was a devoted to the preparation of The Minstrelsy careless learner of the languages, though he of the Scottish Border, the third and last acquired the French, Italian, and Spanish, so volume of which appeared in 1803. This as to read them with sufficient ease.
work gave him at once an enviable position. In 1786 he entered the law office of his He soon after visited London, where he formed father, and in 1792, being then nearly twenty- | friendships with the leading authors of the one years of age, he was called to the bar. | day, and in the beginning of 1805 he placed He paid little attention to his profession, but himself in the list of classic writers by the was an industrious reader of romantic lite- publication of his first great original work, rature, in his own and foreign languages, | The Lay of the Last Minstrel, which was reespecially in the German, with which he had | ceived with universal applause, and of which recently become familiar. The position of his more than thirty thousand copies were sold in family, and his own cheerful temper and fine the ensuing twenty years. colloquial abilities, procured him admission to The limits of this biography forbid any the best society of the city, and led to his thing more than an allusion to Scott's obacquaintance with a young lady by whose mar- taining one of the principal clerkships in the riage long and fondly-cherished hopes were Scottish Court of Session, his quarrel with disappointed. Her image was for ever in his Constable, partnership with Ballantyne, esta