Page images
PDF
EPUB

he studied for some time at Oxford, but ultimately came to depend chiefly on literature for support. His latter years were marked by misfortunes, under the pressure of which he addressed some beautiful verses to his wife :

Address to a Wife. Oh, hadst thou never shared my fate, But there are true hearts which the sight More dark that fate would prove,

Of sorrow summons forth; My heart were truly desolate

Though known in days of past delight, Wi thy soothing love.

We knew not half their worth. But thou hast suffered for my sake, How unlike some who have professed Whilst this relief I found,

So much in friendship's name, Like fearless lips that strive to take Yet calmly pause to think how best The poison from a wound.

They may evade her claim. My fond affection thou hast seen,

But ah ! from them to thee I turn,
Then judge of my regret,

They'd make me loathe mankind,
To think more happy thou hadst been Far better lessons I may learn
If we had never met !

From thy more holy mind.
And has that thought been shared by thee? The love that gives a charm to home,
Ah, no! that smiling cheek

I feel they cannot take : Proves more unchanging love for me We'll pray for happier years to come, Than laboured words could speak.

For one another's sake.

Oh, NO! We never Mention Him.

Oh no! we never mention him, his name is never heard ;
My lips are now forbid to speak that once familiar word:
From sport to sport they hurry me, to banish my regret ;
And when they win a smile from me, they think that I forget.
They bid me seek in change of scene the charms that others see;
But were J in a foreign land, they'd find no change in me.
'Tis true that I behold no more the valley where we met,
I do not see the hawthorn-tree; but how can I forget ?
For oh! there are so many things recall the past to me-
The breeze upon the sunny hills, the billows of the sea ;
The rosy tint that decks the sky before the sun is set;
Ay, every leaf I look upon forbids me to forget.
They tell me he is happy now, the gayest of the gay;
They hint that he forgets me, too-but I heed not what they say:
Perhaps like me he struggles with each feeling of regret ;

But if he loves as I have loved, he never can forget. This amiable poet died of jaundice in 1839. His songs contain the pathos of a section of our social system; but they are more calculated to attract attention by their refined and happy diction, than to melt us by their feeling. Several of them, as · The Soldier's Tear,' 'She Wore a Wreath of Roses;' Oh, no! We never Mention Him;' and 'We met—'twas in a crowd,' attained to an extraordinary popularity. Of his livelier ditties, 'I'd be a Butterfly' was the most felicitous: it expresses the Horatian philosophy in terms exceeding even Horace in gaiety.

What though you tell me each gay little rover

Shrinks from the breath of the first autumn day:
Surely 'tis better, when summer is over,

To die when all fair things are fading away.
Some in life's winter may toil to discover

Means of procuring a weary delay-
I'd be a butterfly, living a rover,
Dying when fair things are fading away!

THE REV. JOHN KEBLE. In 1827 appeared a volume of sacred poetry, entitled “The Christian Year: Thoughts in Verse for the Sundays and Holidays throughout the Year. The work has had extraordinary success. The object of the author was to bring the thoughts and feelings of his readers into more entire unison with those recommended and exemplified in the English Prayer-Book, and some of his little poems have great tenderness, beauty, and devotional feeling. Thus, on the text: So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city' (Genesis, xi. 8), we have this descriptive passage: Since all that is not Heaven must fade, Far opening down some woodland deep Light be the hand of Ruin laid

In their own quiet glades should sleep Upon the home I love:

The relics dear to thought, With Iulling spell let soft Decay

And wild-flower wreaths from side to side Steal on, and spare the Giant sway, Their wavering tracery hang, to hide The crash of tower and grove.

What ruthless Time has wrought. Another text (Proverbs, xiv. 10) suggests a train of touching sentiment:

Why should we faint and fear to live alone,

Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor even the tenderest heart, and next our own,

Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh?
Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe

Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around, in gloom or glow,

Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the heart.
The following is one of the poems entire:

Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity. The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.-Habakkuk, ii 3.

The morning mist is cleared away,
Yet still the face of heaven is gray,
Nor yet th' autumnal breeze has stirred the grove,

Faded yet full, a paler green
Skirts soberly the tranquil scene,
The redbreast warbles round this leafy cove.

Sweet messenger of calm decay,'

Saluting sorrow as you may,
As one still bent to find or make the best,

In thee, and in this quiet mead,

The lesson of sweet peace I read,
Rather in all to be resigned than blest.

[ocr errors]

'Tis a low chant, according well
With the soft solitary kneli,
As homeward from some grave beloved we turn,
Or by some holy death-bed dear,

Most welcome to the chastened ear
Of her whom Heaven is teaching now to mourn.

O cheerful tender strain! the heart
That duly bears with you its part,
Singing so thankful to the dreary blast,

Though gone and spent its joyous prime,

And on the world's autumnal time,
Mid withered hues and sere, its lot be cast:

That is the heart for thoughtful seer,
Watching, in trance nor dark nor clear. *
The appalling Future as it nearer draws:

His spirit calmed the storm to meet,
Feeling the rock beneath his feet,
And tracing through the cloud th' eternal Cause.

That is the heart for watchman true

Waiting to see what God will do,
As o'er the Church the gathering twilight falls :

No more he strains his wistful eye,

If chance the golden hours be nigh,
By youthful Hope seen beaming round her walls.

Forced from his showy paradise,
His thoughts to Heaven the steadier rise;
There seek his answer when the world reproves:

Contented in his darkling round,
If only he be faithful found,

When from the east th' eternal morning moves. The Rev. JOHN KEBLE (1792–1866), author of "The Christian Year,' was the son of a country clergyman, vicar of Coln-St-Aldwinds, Gloucestershire. At the early age of fifteen he was elected a scholar of Corpus Christi, Oxford, and having distinguished himself both in classics and mathematics was in 1811 elected to a Fellowship at Oriel. He was for some years tutor and examiner at Oxford, but afterwards lived with his father, and assisted him as curate. The publication of The Christian Year,' and the marvellous success of the work, brought its author prominently before the public, and in 1833 he was appointed professor of poetry at Oxford. About the same time the Tractarian movement began, having originated in a sermon on national apostacy, preached by Keble in 1833; Newman became leader of the party, and after he had gone over to the Church of Rome, Keble was chief adviser and counsellor. He also wrote some of the more important Tracts, inculcating, as has been said, “deep submission to authority, implicit reverence for Catholic tradition, firm belief in the divine prerogatives of the priesthood, the real nature of the sacraments, and the danger of independent speculation.' Such principles, fettering the understanding, are never likely

* It shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark. -- Zecha. riah, xiv. 6.

to be popular, but they were held by Keble with saint-like sincerity and simplicity of character. In 1835, the poetical divine became vicar of Hursley, near Winchester. In 1846, he published a second volume of poems, ‘Lyra Innocentium,' and he was author of a 'Life of Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man,' and editor of an edition of Hooker's Works.' The poetry of Keble is characterized by great delicacy and purity both of thought and expression. It is occasionally prosaic and feeble, but always wears a sort of apostolic air, and wins its way to the heart.

NOEL THOMAS CARRINGTON, A Devonshire poet, MR. CARRINGTON (1777–1830), has celebrated some of the scenery and traditions of his native district in pleasing

His works have been collected into two volumes, and consist of “The Banks of Tamar,' 1820; ‘Dartmoor’ (his best poem), 1826; • My Native Village;' and miscellaneous pieces.

The Pixies of Devon. The age of pixies, like that of chivalry, is gone. There is, perhaps, at present, scarcely a house which they are reputed to visit. Even the fields and lanes which they formerly frequented seem to be nearly forsaken.. Their music is rarely heard; and they appear to have forgotten to attend their ancient midnight dance. -DREW'S

verse.

6

Cornwall.

They are flown.
Beautiful fictions of our father's, wove
In Superstition's web when Time was young,
And fondly loved and cherished: they are flown
Before the wand of Science! Hills and vales,
Mountains and moors of Devon, ye have lost
The enchantments, the delights, the visions all,
The elfin visions that so blessed the sight
In the old days romantic. Nought is heard,
Now, in the leafy world, but earthly strains-
Voices, yet sweet, of breeze, and bird, and brook,
And water-fall; the day is silent else.
And night is strangely inute! the hymnings high-
The immortal music, men of ancient times
Heard ravished oft, are flown! Oh, ye have lost,
Mountains and moors, and meads, the radiant throngs
That dwelt in your green solitudes, and filled
The air, the fields, with beauty and with joy
Intense; with a rich mystery that awed
The mind, and flung around a thousand hearths
Divinest tales, that ihrough the enchanted year
Found passionate listeners !

The very streams
Brightened with visitings of these so sweet
Ethereal creatures! They were seen to rise
From the charmed waters, which still brighter grew
As the pomp passed to land, until the eye
Scarce bore the unearthly glory. Where they trod,
Young flowers, but not of this world's growth, arose,
And fragrance, as of amaranthine bowers,
Floated upon the breeze. And mortal eyes
Looked on their revels all the luscious night;

And, unreproved, upon their ravishing forms
Gazed wistfully, as in the dance they moved,
Voluptuous to the thrilling touch of harp
Elysian!

And by gifted eyes were seen
Wonders-in the still air; and beings bright
And beautiful, more beautiful than throng
Fancy's ecstatic regions, peopled now
The sunbeam, and now rode upon the gale
Of the sweet summer noon. Anon they touched
The earth's delighted bosom, and the glades
Seemed greener, fairer-and'the enraptured woods
Gave a glad leafy murmur-and the rills
Leaped in the ray for joy; and all the birds
Threw into the intoxicating air their songs,
All soul. The very archings of the grove,
Clad in cathedral gloom from age to age,
Lightened with living splendours; and the flowers,
Tinged with new hues and lovelier, upsprung
By millions in the grass, that rustled now
To gales of Araby!

The seasons came
In bloom or blight, in glory or in shade;
The shower or sunbeam fell or glanced as pleased
These potent elves. They steered the giant cloud
Through heaven at will, and with the meteor flash
Came down in death or sport; ay, when the storm
Shook the old woods, they rode, on rainbow wings,
The tempest; and, anon, they reined its rage
In its fierce mid career. But ye have flown,
Beautiful fictions of our fathers ! flown
Before the wind of Science, and the hearths
Of Devon, as lags the disenchanted year,

Are passionless and silent !
Some poet-translators of this period merit honourable mention.

ARCHDEACON WRANGHAM. The Rev. FRANCIS WRANGHAM (1769–1843), rector of Hunmanby, Yorkshire, and archdeacon of Chester, in 1795 wrote a prize poem on the 'Restoration of the Jews,' and translations in verse. He was the author of four Seaton prize-poems on sacred subjects, several sermons, an edition of Langhorne’s Plutarch, and dissertations on the British empire in the East, on the translation of the Scriptures into the oriental languages, &c. His occasional translations from the Greek and Latin, and his macaronic verses, or sportive classical effusions among his friends, were marked by fine taste and felicitous adaptation. He continued his favourite studies to the close of his long life, and was the ornament and delight of the society in which he moved.

HENRY FRANCIS CARY.

The Rev. HENRY FRANCIS CARY (1772-1844), by his translation of Dante, has earned a high and lasting reputation. He was early distinguished as a classical scholar at Christ's Church, Oxford, and familiar with almost the whole range of Italian, French, and English

was

« PreviousContinue »