« PreviousContinue »
And gather up all fancifulest shells
For thee to tumble into Naiads' cells,
And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping;
Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping,
The while they pelt each other on the crown
With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brown-
By, all the echoes that about thee ring,
Hear us, O satyr king!
O hearkener to the loud-clapping shears,
While ever and anon to his shorn peers
A ram goes bleating : winder of the horn,
When snouted wild-boars, routing terder corn,
Anger our huntsmen: breather round our farms,
To keep off mildews and all weather harms:
Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds,
That come a-swooning over hollow grounds,
And wither drearily on barren moors:
Dread opener of the mysterious doors
Leading to universal knowledge--see,
Great son of Dryope,
The many that are come to pay their vows,
With leaves about their brows!
Be still the unimaginable. lodge
For solitary thinkings; such as dodge
Conception to the very bourne of heaven,
Then leave the naked brain; be still the leaven,
That, spreading in this dull and clodded earth,
Gives it a touch ethereal-a new birth:
Be still a symbol of immensity ;
A firmament reflected in a sea;
An element filling the space between;
An unknown-but no more: we humbly screen
With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly bending,
And giving out a shout most heaven-rending,
Conjure thee to receive our humble Pæan,
Upon thy Mount Lycean !
Ode to a Nightingale.
My heart aches, and a drowsy pumbness paing
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
"Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in their happiness,
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm south,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth ;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim;
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret,
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where Beauty cannot keep ber lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee
Not eharioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the queen-moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous blooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable moth endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets covered up in leaves ;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath ;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstacy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain
To thy high requiem become a sqd.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn ;
The same that oftimes hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self ! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the hill-stream.
Up the hillside; and now ?tis buried deep
In the next valley's glades: Was it a vision or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:--do I wake or sleep?
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness !
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage tree,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes, whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind:
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook ;
Or by a cider-press with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, While barrèd clouds bloom the soft dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river swallows, borne aloft,
Or sinking, as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now, with treble soft,
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft,
And gathering swallows twitter from the skies.
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.
Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdom seen ;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne:
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific-and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne.
And half forgot what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters ;
Enough their simple loveliness for me;
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance and hear their singing,
And float with them about their summer waters,
DR. REGINALD HEBER. DR. REGINALD HEBER, bishop of Calcutta, was born April 21, 1783, at Malpas in Cheshire, where his father had a living. In his seventeenth year he was admitted of Brazen-nose College, Oxford, and soon distinguished himself by his classical attainments. In 1802 he obtained the university prize for Latin hexameters, his subject being the Carmen Seculare. Applying himself to English verse, Heber, in 1803, composed his poem of Palestine,' which has been considered the best prize-poem the university has ever produced. Parts of it were set to music; and it had an extensive sale. Previous to its recitation in the theatre of the university, the young author read it to Sir Walter Scott, then on a visit to Oxford; and Scott observed, that in the verses on Solomon's Temple, one striking circum stance had escaped him-namely, that no tools were used in its construction. Reginald retired for a few minutes to the corner of the room, and returned with the beautiful lines:
No hammer fell, no ponderous axes rung;
Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.
Majestic silence ! His picture of Palestine, in its now fallen and desolate state, is pathetic and beautiful:
Reft of thy sons, amid thy foes forlorn,
Mourn, widowed Queen ! forgotten Sion, mourn!
Is this thy place, sad city, this thy throne,
Where the wild desert rears its craggy stone ?
While suns unblest their angry lustre fling,
And wayworn pilgrims seek the scanty spring ?
Where now thy pomp, which kings with envy viewed ?
Where now thy might, which all those kings subdued ?
No martial myriads muster in thy gate;
No suppliant nations in thy temple wait;
No prophet-bards, the glittering courts
Wake the full lyre, and swell the tide of song:
But lawless Force and meagre Want are there,
And the quick-darting eye of restless Fear,
While cold Oblivion, 'mid thy ruins laid,
Folds his dank wing beneath the ivy shade.
He has also given a striking sketch of the Druses, the hardy moun. tain race descended from the Crusaders:
Fierce, hardy, proud, in conscious freedom bold,
Those stormy seats the warrior Druses hold;
From Norman blood their lofty line they trace,
Their lion-courage proves their generous race.
They, only they, while all around them kneel
In sullen homage to the Thracian steel,
Teach their pale despot's waning moon to fear
The patriot terrors of the mountain spear.
Yes, valorous chiefs, while yet your sabres shine,
The native guard of feeble Palestine,
Oh, ever thus, by po vain boast dismayed,
Defend the birthright of the cedar shade!
What though no more for you the obedient gale
Swells the white bosom of the Tyrian sail;
Though now no more your glittering marts unfold
Sidonian dyes and Lusitanian gold;
Though not for you the pale and sickly slave
Forgets the light in Ophír's wealthy cave;
Yet yours the lot, in proud contentment blest,
Where cheerful labour leads to tranquil rest.
No robber-rage the ripening harvest knows;
And unrestrained the generous vintage flows;
Nor less your sons to manliest deeds aspire;
And Asia's mountains glow with Spartan fire,
So when, deep sinking in the rosy main,
The western sun forsakes the Syrian plain,
His watery rays refracted lustre shed.
And pour their latest light on Carmel's head,
Yet shines your praise, amid surrounding gloom,
As the lone lamp that trembles in the tomb;
For few the souls that sparn a tyrant's chain,
And small the bounds of freedom's scanty reign. In 1805 Heber took his degree of B.A., and the same year gained the prize for the English essay. He was elected to a fellowship at All Souls' College, and soon after went abroad, travelling over Germany, Russia, and the Crimea. On his return he took his degree of A.M. at Oxford. He appeared again as a poet in 1809, his subject being ' Europe, or Lines on the Present War.' The struggle in Spain formed the predominating theme of Heber's poem. He was now presented to the living of Hodnet; and at the same time he married Amelia, daughter of Dr. Shipley, dean of St. Asaph. The duties of a parish pastor were discharged by Heber with unostentatious fidelity and application. He also applied his vigorous intellect to the study of divinity, and in 1815 preached the Bampton Lecture, the subject selected by him for a course of sermons being the Personality and Office of the Christian Comforter. He was an occasional contributor to the 'Quarterly Review; and in 1822 he wrote a copious life of Jeremy Taylor, and a review of his writings, for a complete edition of Taylor's works. Contrary to the advice of prudent friends, he accepted, in 18 the difficult task of bishop of Calcutta, and no man