Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

MR. Sotheby was born in London in the autumn of 1757. He was educated at Harrow, and on entering his eighteenth year he followed the example of his father, a colonel in the Guards, by purchasing a commission in the Tenth Dragoons. In 1780 he quitted the army, and bought a beautiful seat near Southampton, where for a considerable period he devoted his time to the study of the classics and the cultivation of poetry. On removing to London in 1798 he was elected a member of the Royal Society, and soon after published his translation of Wiel,AND's Oberon. In 1816 he visited the Continent, and while abroad


I saw the ages backward roll’d, The scenes long past restore: Scenes that Evander bade his guest behold, When first the Trojan stept on Tiber's shore— The shepherds in the forum pen their fold; And the wild herdsman, on his untamed steed, Goads with prone spear the heifer's foaming speed, Where Rome, in second infancy, once more Sleeps in her cradle. But—in that drear waste, In that rude desert, when the wild goat sprung From cliff to cliff, and the Tarpeian rock Lour'd o'er the untended flock, And eagles on its crest their aerie hung : And when fierce gales bow'd the high pines, when blazed The lightning, and the savage in the storm Some unknown godhead heard, and awe-struck, gazed On Jove's imagined form:— And in that desert, when swoln Tiber's wave Went forth the twins to save, Their reedy cradle floating on his flood: While yet the infants on the she-wolf clung, While yet they fearless play’d her brow beneath, And mingled with their food The spirit of her blood, As o'er them seen to breathe With fond reverted neck she hung, And lick'd in turn each babe, and form'd with fostering tongue: And when the founder of imperial Rome Fix'd on the robber hill, from earth aloof, His predatory home, And hung in triumph round his straw-thatch'd roof The wolf skin, and huge boar tusks, and the pride Of branching antlers wide: And tower'd in giant strength, and sent afar His voice, that on the mountain echoes roll'd,

Stern preluding the war:

wrote the series of poems subsequently published under the general title of Italy, which is the best of his numerous productions. The last of his works was a translation of Homer, commenced after he had entered upon his seventieth year. He died in London on the thirtieth of December, 1833. Mr. Sotheby was a man of rare scholarship, deeply imbued with the spirit of classical literature, and his numerous writings, consisting of translations from the Greek, Latin, and German, and original English poems, ill deserve the neglect to which they have recently been consigned.

And when the shepherds left their peaceful fold,
And from the wild wood lair, and rocky den,
Round their bold chieftain rush'd strange forms of
barbarous men :
Then might be seen by the presageful eye
The vision of a rising realm unfold,
And temples roof'd with gold.
And in the gloom of that remorseless time,
When Rome the Sabine seized, might be foreseen
In the first triumph of successful crime,
The shadowy arm of one of giant birth
Forging a chain for earth :
And though slow ages roll'd their course between,
The form as of a Caesar, when he led
His war-worn legions on,
Troubling the pastoral stream of peaceful Rubicon.
Such might o'er clay-built Rome have been foretold
By word of human wisdom. But—what word,
Save from thy lip, Jehovah's prophet ! heard,
When Rome was marble, and her temples gold,
And the globe Caesar's footstool, who, when Rome
View'd the incommunicable name divine
Link a Faustina to an Antonine
On their polluted temple; who but thou,
The prophet of the Lord! what word, save thine,
Rome's utter desolation had denounced 1
Yet, ere that destined time,
The love-lute, and the viol, song, and mirth,
Ring from her palace roofs. Hear'st thou not yet,
Metropolis of earth !
A voice borne back on every passing wind,
Wherever man has birth,
One voice, as from the lip of human kind,
The echo of thy fame?—Flow they not yet,
As flow'd of yore, down each successive age
The chosen of the world, on pilgrimage,
To commune with thy wrecks, and works sublime,
Where genius dwells enthroned " . . . . .
Rome! thou art doom'd to perish, and thy days,
Like mortal man's, are number'd : number'd all,
Ere each fleet hour decays.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

CAN I forget that beauteous day, -
When, shelter'd from the burning beam,
First in thy haunted grot I lay,
And loosed my spirit to its dream,
Beneath the broken arch, o'erlaid
With ivy, dark with many a braid,
That clasp'd its tendrils to retain
The stone its roots had writhed in twain!
No zephyr on the leaflet play'd,
No bent grass bow'd its slender blade,
The coiled snake lay slumber-bound;
All mute, all motionless around,
Save, livelier, while others slept,
The lizard on the sunbeam leapt;
And louder, while the groves were still,
The unseen cigali, sharp and shrill,
As if their chirp could charm alone
Tired noontide with its unison.

Stranger! that roam'st in solitude! Thou, too, 'mid tangling bushes rude, Seek in the glen, yon heights between, A rill more pure than Hippocrene, That from a sacred fountain fed The stream that fill'd its marble bed. Its marble bed long since is gone, And the stray water struggles on, Brawling through weeds and stones its way There, when o'erpower'd at blaze of day, Nature languishes in light, Pass within the gloom of night, Where the cool grot's dark arch o'ershades Thy temples, and the waving braids Of many a fragment brier that weaves Its blossom through the ivy leaves. Thou, too, beneath that rocky roof, Where the moss mats its thickest woof, Shalt hear the gather'd ice-drops fall Regular, at interval, Drop after drop, one after one, Making music on the stone, While every drop, in slow decay, Wears the recumbent nymph away. Thou, too, if e'er thy youthful ear Thrill'd the Latian lay to hear, Lull'd to slumber in that cave, Shalt hail the nymph that held the wave; A goddess, who there deigned to meet A mortal from Rome's regal seat, And, o'er the gushing of her fount, Mysterious truths divine to earthly ear recount. WILLIAM Lisle Bowles was born at King's Sutton in Northampshire, a village of which his father was vicar, in September, 1762. He took his degree of Master of Arts in 1792 at Trinity College, Oxford, where he obtained the chancellor's prize for a Latin poem on the Siege of Gibraltar. He soon after entered into holy orders, and was appointed to a curacy in Wiltshire, from which he was promoted to the living of Dumbledon in Gloucestershire, and finally, in 1803, to the prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral. We believe he is still living on the rectory of Bremhill, Wilts, where for many years he performed the duties of his office with industrious zeal, and was much loved and respected for his piety, amenity, and


- genius.

The first publication of Mr. Bowles, was a collection of Sonnets, printed in 1789. They were well received, and Coleridge speaks of himself as having been withdrawn from perilous errors by the “genial influence of a style of poetry so tender and yet so manly, so natural and real, and yet so dignified and


- SHE left The Severn's side, and fled with him she loved O'er the wide main; for he had told her tales Of happiness in distant lands, where care Comes not, and pointing to the golden clouds That shone above the waves, when evening came, Whisper'd, “Oh! are there not sweet scenesofpeace, Far from the murmurs of this cloudy mart, Where gold alone bears sway, scenes of delight, Where Love may lay his head upon the lap Of Innocence, and smile at all the toil Of the low-thoughted throng, that place in wealth Their only bliss 1 Yes, there are scenes like these. Leave the vain chidings of the world behind, Country, and hollow friends, and fly with me Where love and peace in distant vales invite. What wouldst thou here? Oh shall thy beauteous

look Of maiden innocence, thy smile of youth, thine eyes Of tenderness and soft subdued desire, Thy form, thy limbs—oh, madness!—be the prey Of a decrepit spoiler, and for gold 1–

harmonious,” whose sadness always soothed him— “like the murmuring Of wild bees in the sunny showere of Spring.” He subsequently published “Verses to John Howard on his State of the Prisons and Lazarettos,” “Hope,” “Coombe Ellen,” “St. Michael's Mount,” “A Collection of Poems” in four volumes, “The Battle of the Nile,” “The Sorrows of Switzerland,” “The Missionary,” “The Grave of the Last Saxon,” “The Spirit of Discovery by Sea,” (the longest and best of his works,) “The Little Villager's Verse Book,” and “Scenes and Shadows of Days Departed,” which appeared in 1837. He was at one time better known as a critic than as a poet, from his celebrated controversy with Byron, and others, on the writings of Pope and the “invariable principles” of poetry.

The sonnets of Mr. Bowles are doubtless superior to his other productions, but even they were never generally popular. He is always elegant and chaste, and sometimes tender, but has little imagination or earnestness.

Perish his treasure with him : Haste with me,
We shall find out some sylvan nook, and then
If thou shouldst sometimes think upon these hills,
When they are distant far, and drop a tear,
Yes—I will kiss it from thy cheek, and clasp
Thy angel beauties closer to my breast;
And while the winds blow o'er us, and the sun
Goes beautifully down, and thy soft cheek
Reclines on mine, I will enfold thee, thus,
And proudly cry, My friend—my love—my wife?”
So tempted he, and soon her heart approved,
Nay woo'd, the blissful dream; and oft at eve,
When the moon shone upon the wandering stream,
She paced the castle's battlements, that threw
Beneath their solemn shadow, and resign'd
To fancy and to tears, thought it most sweet
To wander o'er the world with him she loved.
Nor was his birth ignoble, for he shone
Mid England's gallant youth in Edward's reign—
With countenance erect, and honest eye
Commanding, (yet suffused in tenderness
At times,) and smiles that like the lightning play'd
On his brown cheek, -so nobly stern he stood,
Accomplish'd, generous, gentle, brave, sincere, |

[ocr errors]


Robert à Machin. But the sullen pride
Of haughty D'Arset scorn’d all other claim
To his high heritage, save what the pomp
Of amplest wealth and loftier lineage gave.
Reckless of human tenderness, that seeks
One loved, one honour'd object, wealth alone
He worshipp'd; and for this he could consign
His only child, his aged hope, to loathed
Embraces, and a life of tears' Nor here
His hard ambition ended: for he sought
By secret whispers of conspiracies
His sovereign to abuse, bidding him lift
His arm avenging, and upon a youth
Of promise close the dark forgotten gates
Of living sepulture, and in the gloom
Inhume the slowly-wasting victim.—
He purposed, but in vain: the ardent youth
Rescued her—her whom more than life he loved,
E’en when the horrid day of sacrifice
Drew nigh. He pointed to the distant bark,
And while he kiss'd a stealing tear that fell
On her pale cheek, as trusting she reclined
Her head upon his breast, with ardour cried,
“Be mine, be only mine; the hour invites;
Be mine, be only mine.” So won, she cast
A look of last affection on the towers
Where she had pass'd her infant days, that now
Shone to the setting sun– I follow thee,”
Her faint voice said; and lo! where in the air
A sail hangs tremulous, and soon her steps
Ascend the vessel's side: The vessel glides
Down the smooth current, as the twilight fades,
Till soon the woods of Severn, and the spot
Where D'Arset's solitary turrets rose,
Are lost—a tear starts to her eye—she thinks
Of him whose gray head to the earth shall bend,
When he speaks nothing:—but be all, like death,
Forgotten. Gently blows the placid breeze,
And oh! that now some fairy pinnance light
Might flit along the wave, (by no seen power
Directed, save when Love, a blooming boy,
Gather'd or spread with tender hand the sail,)
That now some fairy pinnance, o'er the surge
Silent, as in a summer's dream, might wast
The passengers upon the conscious flood
To scenes of undisturbed joy.
But hark 1
The wind is in the shrouds—the cordage sings
With fitful violence—the blast now swells,
Now sinks. Dread gloom invests the farther wave,
Whose foaming toss alone is seen, beneath
The veering bowsprit.
O retire to rest, [cheek
Maiden, whose tender heart would beat, whose
Turn pale to see another thus exposed :—
Hark! the deep thunder louder peals—Oh save—
The high mast crashes; but the faithful arm
Of love is o'er thee, and thy anxious eye,
Soon as the gray of morning peeps, shall view
Green Erin's hills aspiring !
The sad morn
Comes forth : but Terror on the sunless wave
Still, like a sea-fiend, sits, and darkly smiles
Beneath the flash that through the struggling clouds

Bursts frequent, half-revealing his scathed front,
Above the rocking of the waste that rolls
Boundless around:—
No word through the long day
She spoke:—Another slowly came :—No word
The beauteous drooping mourner spoke. The sun
Twelve times had sunk beneath the sullen surge,
And cheerless rose again:—Ah, where are now
Thy havens, France 1 But yet—resign not yet—
Ye lost sea-farers—oh, resign not yet
All hope—the storm is pass'd; the drenched sail
Shines in the passing beam : Look up, and say,

“Heaven, thou hast heard our prayers:"

And lo! scarce seen, A distant dusky spot appears;–they reach An unknown shore, and green and flowery vales, And azure hills, and silver-gushing streams, Shine forth, a Paradise, which Heaven alone, Who saw the silent anguish of despair, Could raise in the waste wilderness of waves.— They gain the haven—through untrodden scenes, Perhaps untrodden by the foot of man Since first the earth arose, they wind : The voice Of Nature hails them here with music, sweet, As waving woods retired, or falling streams, Can make; most soothing to the weary heart, Doubly to those who, struggling with their fate, And wearied long with watchings and with grief, Sought but a place of safety. All things here Whisper repose and peace; the very birds, That mid the golden fruitage glance their plumes, The songsters of the lonely valley, sing “Welcome from scenes of sorrow, live with us.”—

The wild wood opens, and a shady glen Appears, embower'd with mantling laurels high, That sloping shade the flowery valley's side; A lucid stream, with gentle murmur, strays Beneath the umbrageous multitude of leaves, Till gaining, with soft lapse, the nether plain, It glances light along its yellow bed. The shaggy inmates of the forest lick The feet of their new guests, and gazing stand.— A beauteous tree upshoots amid the glade Its trembling top; and there upon the bank They rest them, while the heart o'erflows with joy. Now evening, breathing richer odours sweet, Came down: a softer sound the circling seas, The ancient woods resounded, while the dove, Her murmurs interposing, tenderness Awaked, yet more endearing, in the hearts Of those who, sever'd far from human kind, Woman and man, by vows sincere betrothed, Heard but the voice of Nature. The still moon Arose—they saw it not—cheek was to cheek Inclined, and unawares a stealing tear Witness'd how blissful was that hour, that seem'd Not of the hours that time could count. A kiss Stole on the listening silence; never yet Here heard : they trembled, e'en as if the Power That made the world, that planted the first pair In Paradise, amid the garden walk'd,— This since the fairest garden that the world Has witness'd, by the fabling sons of Greece Hesperian named, who feign'd the watchful guard Of the scaled Dragon, and the Golden Fruit.

Such was this sylvan Paradise; and here The loveliest pair, from a hard world remote, Upon each other's neck reclined; their breath Alone was heard, when the dove ceased on high Her plaint; and tenderly their faithful arms Enfolded each the other. Thou, dim cloud, That from the search of men, these beauteous vales Hast closed, oh doubly veil them' But, alas, How short the dream of human transport: Here, In vain they built the leafy bower of love, Or cull'd the sweetest flowers and fairest fruit. The hours unheeded stole; but ah! not long— Again the hollow tempest of the night [sound; Sounds through the leaves; the inmost woods reSlow comes the dawn, but neither ship nor sail Along the rocking of the windy waste Is seen: the dash of the dark-heaving wave Alone is heard. Start from your bed of bliss, Poor victims' never more shall ye behold Your native vales again; and thou, sweet child ! Who, listening to the voice of love, has left Thy friends, thy country, oh may the wan hue Of pining memory, the sunk check, the eye Where tenderness yet dwells, atone, (if love Atonement need, by cruelty and wrong Beset,) atone e'en now thy rash resolves. Ah, fruitless hope' Day after day thy bloom Fades, and the tender lustre of thy eye Is dimm'd; thy form, amid creation, seems The only drooping thing. Thy look was soft, And yet most animated, and thy step Light as the roe's upon the mountains. Now, Thou sittest hopeless, pale, beneath the tree That fann'd its joyous leaves above thy head, Where love had deck'd the blooming bower, and strew'd The sweets of summer: Death is on thy cheek, And thy chill hand the pressure scarce returns Of him, who, agonized and hopeless, hangs With tears and trembling o'er thee. Spare the sight, She faints—she dies — He laid her in the earth, Himself scarce living, and upon her tomb, Beneath the beauteous tree where they reclined, Placed the last tribute of his earthly love. . . He placed the rude inscription on her stone, Which he with faltering hands had graved, and soon Himself beside it sunk—yet ere he died, Faintly he spoke; “If ever ye shall hear, Companions of my few and evil days, Again the convent's vesper bells, O think Of me ! and if in after-times the search Of men should reach this far-removed spot, Let sad remembrance raise an humble shrine, And virgin choirs chant duly o'er our grave— Peace, peace.” His arm upon the mournful stone He dropp'd—his eyes, ere yet in death they closed, Turn'd to the name till he could see no more— “ANNA.” His pale survivors, earth to earth, Weeping consign'd his poor remains, and placed Beneath the sod where all he loved was laid:— Then shaping a rude vessel from the woods,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Brar Ave me not of these delightful dreams
Which charm'd my youth; or mid her gay career
Of hope, or when the faintly-paining tear
Satsad on memory's cheek! though loftier themes
Await the awaken'd mind, to the high prize
Of wisdom hardly earn'd with toil and pain,
Aspiring patient; yet on life's wide plain
Cast friendless, where unheard some sufferer cries
Hourly, and oft our road is lone and long,
'T were not a crime, should we awhile delay
Amid the sunny field; and happier they,
Who, as they wander, woo the charm of song
To cheer their path, till they forget to weep;
And the tired sense is hush'd and sinks to sleep.



O TIME, who know'st a lenient hand to lay
Softest on sorrow's wounds, and slowly thence
(Lulling to sad repose the weary sense)
The faint pang stealest unperceived away :
On thee I rest my only hopes at last;
And think when thou hast dried the bitter tear,
That flows in vain o'er all my soul held dear,
I may look back on many a sorrow past,
And greet life's peaceful evening with a smile.
As some lone bird, at day's departing hour,
Sings in the sunshine of the transient shower,
Forgetful, though its wings be wet the while.
But ah! what ills must that poor heart endure,
Who hopes from thee, and thee alone a cure.

[ocr errors][merged small]

As slow I climb the cliff's ascending side,
Much musing on the track of terror past,
When o'er the dark wave rode the howling blast,
Pleased I look back, and view the tranquil tide
That laves the pebbled shores; and now the beam
Of evening smiles on the gray battlement,
And yon forsaken tower that time has rent:
The lifted oar far off with silver gleam
Is touch'd, and the hush'd billows seem to sleep.
Sooth'd by the scene e'en thus on sorrow's breast
A kindred stillness steals, and bids her rest;
Whilst sad airs stilly sigh along the deep,
Like melodies that mourn upon the lyre
Waked by the breeze, and as they mourn, expire.

« PreviousContinue »