Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ The Soul, of origin divine,

God's glorious image, freed from clay, In heaven's eternal sphere shall shine

A star of day. “The sun is but a spark of fire,

A transient meteor in the sky: The soul, immortal as its Sire,

SHALL NEVER DIE !"

THE PILLOW.
The head that oft this pillow press'd,
That aching head, is gone to rest;
Its little pleasures now no more,
And all its mighty sorrows o'er,
For ever, in the worm's Jark bed,
For ever sleeps that humble head!

My friend was young, the world was new;
The world was false, my friend was true;
Lowly his lot, his birth obscure,
His fortune hard, my friend was poor ;
To wisilom he had no pretence,
A child of suffering, not of sense;
For Nature never did impart
A weaker or a warmer heart.
His fervent soul, a soul of flame,
Consumed its frail terrestrial frame;
That fire from Heaven so fiercely burn'd,
That whence it came it soon return's :
And yet, O Pillow! yet to me,
My gentle friend survives in thee;
In thee, the partner of his bed,
In thee, the widow of the dead.

On Helicon's inspiring brink,
Ere yet my friend had learn'd to think,
Once as he pass'd the careless day
Among the whispering reeds at play,
The Muse of Sorrow wander'd by ;
Her pensive beauty fix'd his eye ;
With sweet astonishment he siniled;
The Gipsy saw-she stole the child ;
And soft on her ambrosial breast
Sang the delighted babe to rest;
Convey'd him to her inmost grove,
And loved him with a mother's love.
Awaking from his rosy nap,
And gayly sporting on her lap,
His wanton fingers o'er her lyre
Twinkled like electric fire :
Quick and quicker as they flew,
Sweet and sweeter tones they drew;
Now a bolder hand he flings,
And dives among the deepest strings;
Then forth the music brake like thunder;
Back he started, wild with wonder.
The Muse of Sorrow wept for joy,
And clasp'd and kiss'd her chosen boy.

Ah! then no more his smiling hours
Were spent in childhood's Eden-bowers;
The fall from infant-innocence,
The fall to knowledge drives us thence:
O Knowledge! worthless as the price,
Bought with the loss of Paradise.
As happy ignorance declined,

And reason rose upon his mind,
Romantic hopes and fond desires
(Sparks of the soul's immortal fires)
Kindled within his breast the rage
To breathe through every future age,
To clasp the fitting shade of fame,
To build an everlasting name,
O’erleap the narrow vulgar span,
And live beyond the life of man.

Then Nature's charms his heart possessid,
And Nature's glory fillid his breast :
The sweet spring-morning's infant rays,
Meridian summer's youthful blaze,
Maturer autumn's evening mild,
And boary winter's midnight wild,
Awoke his eye, inspired his tongue ;
For every scene he loved, he sung.
Rude were his songs, and simple truth,
Till boy hood blossom'd into youth;
Then nobler themes his fancy fired,
To bolder fights his soul aspired ;
And as the new moon's opening eye
Broadens and brightens through the sky.
From the dim streak of western light
To the full orb that rules the night;
Thus, gathering lustre in its race,
And shining through unbounded space,
From earth to heaven his genius soar'd,
Time and eternity explored,
And haild where'er its footsteps trod,
In Nature's temple, Nature's God :
Or pierced the human breast, to scan
The hidden majesty of man;
Man's hidden weakness too descried,
His glory, grandeur, meanness, pride :
Pursued along their erring course
The streams of passion to their source :
Or in the mind's creation sought
New stars of fancy, worlds of thought.
-Yet still through all his strains would flow
A tone of uncomplaining wo,
Kind as the tear in Pity's eye,
Soft as the slumbering infant's sigh,
So sweetly, exquisitely wild.
It spake the Muse of Sorrow's child.

O Pillow! then, when light withdrew,
To thee the fond enthusiast flew;
On thee, in pensive mood reclined,
He pour’d his contemplative mind,
Till o'er his eyes with mild control
Sleep like a soft enchantment stole,
Charm'd into life his airy schemes,
And realized his waking dreams.

Soon from those waking dreams he woke,
The fairy spell of fancy broke;
In vain he breathed a soul of fire
Through every chord that strung his lyre.
No friendly echo cheer'd his tongue ;
Amidst the wilderness he sung;
Louder and bolder bards were crown'd,
Whose dissonance his music drown'd;
The public ear, the public voice,
Despised his song, denied his choice,
Denied a name,-a life in death,
Denied-a bubble and a breath.

Thus star by star declines,

Till all are passed away,
As morning high and higher shines

To pure and perfect day:
Nor sink those stars in empty night,
-They hide themselves in heaven's own light.

Stript of his fondest, dearest claim,
And disinherited of fame.
To thee, O Pillow! thee alone,
He made his silent anguish known;
His haughty spirit scorn'd the blow
That laid his high ambition low;
But, ah! his looks assumed in vain
A cold ineffable disdain,
While deep he cherish'd in his breast
The scorpion that consumed his rest.

Yet other secret griefs had he,
O Pillow! only told to thee;
Say, did not hopeless love intrude
On his poor bosomn's solitude ?
Perhaps on thy soft lap reclined,
In dreams the cruel Fair was kind,
That more intensely he might know
The bitterness of waking wo.

Whate'er those pangs from me conceald,
To thee in midnight groans reveal'd,
They stung remembrance to despair ;
“A wounded spirit who can bear ?"
Meanwhile disease, with slow decay,
Moulder'd his feeble frame away ;
And as his evening sun declined,
The shadows deepen'd o'er his mind.
What doubts and terrors then possess'd
The dark dominion of his breast !
How did delirious fancy dwell
On madness, suicide, and hell !
There was on earth no power to save
-But, as he shudder'd o'er the grave,
He saw from realms of light descend
The friend of him who has no friend,
Religion !-Her almighty breath
Rebuked the winds and waves of death ;
She bade the storm of phrensy cease,
And smiled a calm, and whisper'd peace :
Amidst that calm of sweet repose,
To heaven his gentle spirit rose.

DISCOVERY AND CONQUEST OF

AMERICA. The first Columbus, with the mighty hand Of grasping genius, weigh'd the sea and land; The floods o'erbalanced :—where the tide of light, Day after day, roll'd down the gulf of night, There seem'd one waste of waters :-long in vain His spirit brooded o'er the Atlantic main; When sudden, as creation burst from nought, Sprang a new world through his stupendousthought, Light, order, beauty !-While his mind explored The unveiling mystery, his heart adored; Where'er sublime imagination trod, He heard the voice, he saw the face, of God.

The winds were prosperous, and the billows bore The brave adventurer to the promised shore; Far in the west, array'd in purple light, Dawn'd the new world on his enraptured sight: Not Adam, loosen'd from the encumbering earth, Waked by the breath of God to instant birth, With sweeter, wilder wonder gazed around, When life within, and light without, he found; When, all creation rushing o'er his soul, (whole. He seem'd to live and breathe throughout the So felt Columbus, when, divinely fair, At the last look of resolute despair, The Hesperian isles, from distance dimly blue, With gradual beauty open'd on his view. In that proud moment, his transported mind The morning and the evening worlds combined, And made the sea, that sunder'd them before, A bond of peace, uniting shore to shore.

Vain, visionary hope! rapacious Spain Follow'd her hero's triumph o'er the main, Her hardy sons in fields of battle tried, Where Moor and Christian desperately died. A rabid race, fanatically bold, And steel'd to cruelty by lust of gold, Traversed the waves, the unknown world explored, The cross their standard, but their faith the sword; Their steps were graves; o'er prostrate realms they trod;

[God. They worshipp'd Mammon while they vow'd to

Let nobler bards in loftier numbers tell How Cortez conquer'd, Montezuma fell; How fierce Pizarro's ruffian arm o'erthrew The sun's resplendent empire in Peru; How, like a prophet, old Las Casas stood, And raised his voice against a sea of blood, Whose chilling waves recoil'd, while he foretold His country's ruin by avenging gold. -That gold, for which unpitied Indians fell, 'That gold, at once the snare and scourge of hell, Thenceforth by righteous Heaven was doom'd to Unmingled curses on the spoiler's head; [shed For gold the Spaniard cast his soul awayHis gold and he were every nation's prey.

FRIENDS.

Friend after friend departs;

Who hath not lost a friend? There is no union here of hearts,

That finds not here an end; Were this frail world our only rest, Living, or dying, none were blest. Beyond the flight of Time,

Beyond this vale of death, There surely is some blessed clime

Where life is not a breath, Nor life's affections transient fire, Whose sparks fly upward to expire. There is a world above,

Where parting is unknownA whole eternity of love,

Form'd for the good alone; And faith beholds the dying here Translated to that happier sphere.

The rolling seasons, day and night,

Sun, moon, and stars, the earth and main, Erewhile his portion, life and light

To him exist in vain.
The clouds and sunbeams, o'er his eye

That once their shades and glory threw, Have left in yonder silent sky

No vestige where they few. The annals of the human race,

Their ruins, since the world began Of him afford no other trace

Than this,-THERE LIVED A Man!

YOUTH RENEWED. Spring-FLOWERS, spring-birds, spring-breezes

Are felt, and heard, and seen;
Light trembling transport seizes

My heart, -with sighs between :
These old enchantments fill the mind
With scenes and seasons far behind;
Childhood, its smiles and tears,
Youth, with its flush of years,
Its morning-clouds and dewy prime,
More exquisitely touch'd by Time.
Fancies again are springing,

Like May-flowers in the vales;
While hopes, long lost, are singing,

From thorns, like nightingales;
And kindly spirits stir my blood,
Like vernal airs, that curl the flood :
There falls to manhood's lot
A joy, which youth has not.
A dream more beautiful than truth,
-Returning Spring, renewing Youth.
Thus sweetly to surrender

The present for the past;
In sprightly mood, yet tender,

Life's burden down to cast,
- This is to taste, from stage to stage,
Youth on the lees refined by age :
Like wine well kept and long,
Heady, not harsh, nor strong,
With every annual cup, is quaff'd
A richer, purer, mellower draught.

THE COMMON LOT. Once in the flight of ages past,

There lived a Man :--and who wAS HE? -Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast,

That Man resembled thee. Unknown the region of his birth,

The land in which he died unknown:
His name has perish'd from the earth,

This truth survives alone: -
That joy and grief, and hope and fear,

Alternate triumph'd in his breast :
His bliss and wo,-a smile, a tear!

-Oblivion hides the rest.
The bounding pulse, the languid limb-

The changing spirits' rise and fall;
We know that these were felt by him

For these are felt by all.
He suffer’d,—but his pangs are o'er;

Enjoy’d, but his delights are fled;
Had friends, his friends are now no more ;

And foes,-his foes are dead. He loved, but whom he loved, the grave

Hath lost in its unconscious womb,
Oh she was fair—but naught could save

Her beauty from the tomb.
He saw whatever thou hast seen;

Encounter'd all that troubles thee;
He was—

-whatever thou hast been ; He is—what thou shalt be.

THE STRANGER AND HIS FRIEND. A poor wayfaring man of grief

Has often cross'd me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief,

That I could never answer, “Nay :"
I had not power to ask his name,
Whither he went, or whence he came,
Yet was there something in his eye,
That won my love, I knew not why.
Once, when my scanty meal was spread,

He enter'd; not a word he spake ;-
Just perishing for want of bread;

I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
And ate,—but gave me part again ;
Mine was an Angel's portion then,
For while I fed with eager haste,
That crust was manna to my taste.
I spied him, where a fountain burst

Clear from the rock; his strength was gone; The heedless water mock'd his thirst,

He heard it, saw it hurrying on;
I ran to raise the sufferer up;
Thrice from the stream he drain'd my cup,
Dipt and return'd it running o'er;
I drank, and never thirsted more.
'T was night; the floods were out; it blew

A winter hurricane aloof;
I heard his voice abroad, and flew

To bid him welcome to my roof;
I warm’d, I clothed, I cheer'd my guest,
Laid him on my own couch to rest ;
Then made the hearth my bed, and seem'd
In Eden's garden while I dream'd.
Stript, wounded, beaten, nigh to death,

I found bim by the highway side ;
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,

Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment; he was heal'd;
I had myself a wound conceald;
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
In prison I saw him next, condemn'd

To meet a traitor's doom at morn ;
The tide of lying tongues I stemm’d,

And honour'd him midst shame and scorn: My friendship's utmost zeal to try, He ask'd, if I for him would die ; The flesh was weak, my blood ran chill, But the free spirit cried, “I will."

Then in a moment to my view

The stranger darted from disguise, The tokens in his hands I knew,

My Saviour stood before mine eyes: He spake; and my poor name He named ; « Of me thou hast not been ashamed : These deeds shall thy memorial be; Fear not, thou didst them unto Me."

INCOGNITA.

IMAGE of one, who lived of yore!

Hail to that lovely mien,
Once quick and conscious;—now no more

On land or ocean seen!
Were all earth's breathing forms to pass
Before me in Agrippa's glass,
Many as fair as thou might be,
But oh! not one,-not one like thee.
Thou art no child of fancy ;-thou

The very look dost wear,
That gave enchantment to a brow

Wreath'd with luxuriant hair ;
Lips of morn embathed in dew,
And eyes of evening's starry blue;
Of all who e'er enjoy'd the sun,
Thou art the image of but one.
And who was she, in virgin prime,

And May of womanhood,
Whose roses here, unpluck'd by time,

In shadowy tints have stood;
While many a winter's withering blast
Hath o'er the dark cold chamber pass'd,
In which her once-resplendent form
Slumber'd to dust beneath the storm?
Of gentle blood ;-upon her birth

Consenting planets smiled,
And she had seen those days of mirth,

That frolic round the child;
To bridal bloom her strength had sprung,
Behold her beautiful and young!
Lives there a record, which hath told,
That she was wedded, widow'd, old ?
How long her date, 't were vain to guess :

The pencil's cunning art
Can but a single glance express,

One motion of the heart;
A smile, a blush, ,-a transient grace
Of air, and attitude, and face-
One passion's changing colour mix;
One moment's fight for ages fix.
Her joys and griefs, alike in vain,

Would fancy here recall;
Her throbs of ecstasy or pain

Lullid in oblivion all;
With her, methinks, life's little hour
Pass'd like the fragrance of a flower,
That leaves upon the vernal wind
Sweetness we ne'er again may find.
Where dwelt she ?--Ask yon aged tree,

Whose boughs embower the lawn,

Whether the birds' wild minstrelsy

Awoke her here at dawn;
Whether beneath its youthful shade,
At noon, in infancy she play'd :
-If from the oak no answer come,
Of her all oracles are dumb.
The dead are like the stars by day;

- Withdrawn from mortal eye, But not extinct, they hold their way,

In glory through the sky : Spirits, from bondage thus set free, Vanish amidst immensity, Where human thought, like human sight, Fails to pursue their trackless flight. Somewhere within created space,

Could I explore that round,
In bliss, or wo, there is a place,

Where she might still be found;
And oh! unless those eyes deceive,
I may, I must, I will believe,
That she, whose charms so meekly glow,
In what she only seem'd below-
An angel in that glorious realm,

Where God himself is king;
-But awe and fear, that overwhelm

Presumption, check my wing;
Nor dare imagination look
Upon the symbols of that book,
Wherein eternity enrolls
The judgment on departed souls.
of her of whom these pictured lines

A faint resemblance form;
-Fair as the second rainbow shines

Aloof amid the storm;
Of her this « shadow of a shade"
Like its original must fade,
And she, forgotten when unseen,
Shall be as if she ne'er had been.
Ah! then, perchance, this dreaming strain,

Of all that e'er I sung,
A lorn memorial may remain,

When silent lies my tongue,
When shot the meteor of my fame,
Lost the vain echo of my name,
This leaf, this fallen leaf, may be
The only trace of her and me.
With one who lived of old, my song

In lowly cadence rose;
To one who is unborn, belong

The accents of its close :
Ages to come, with courteous car,
Some youth my warning voice may bear ;
And voices from the dead should be
The warnings of eternity.
When these weak lines thy presence greet,

Reader! if I am blest,
Again, as spirits, may we meet

In glory and in rest :
If not,ếand I have lost my way,
Here part we;-go not thou astray;
No tomb, no verse my story tell!
Once, and for ever, fare thee well.

« PreviousContinue »