« AnteriorContinuar »
That birds may come and drink upon his grave, Making it holy !*
The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch
WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT, 1786. While through the broken pane the tempest sighs, And my step falters on the faithless floor, Shades of departed joys around me rise, With many a face that smiles on me no more; With many a voice that thrills of transport gave, Now silent as the grass that tufts their grave !
AN ITALIAN SONG.
DEAR is my little native vale,
WRITTEN IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOT
LAND, SEPTEMBER 2, 1812.
The fairy isles fled far away;
Tarbat, thy shore I climb'd at last,
Night fell; and dark and darker grew
w we hail
AN INSCRIPTION. SHEPHERD, or huntsman, or worn mariner, Whate'er thou art, who wouldst allay thy thirst, Drink and be glad. This cistern of white stone, Arch’d, and o'erwrought with many a sacred verse, This iron cup chain'd for the general use, And these rude seats of earth within the grove, Were given by Fatima. Borne hence a bride, 'Twas here she turn'd from her beloved sire, To see his face no more.* O, if thou canst, ('Tis not far off,) visit his tomb with flowers; And with a drop of this sweet water fill The two small cells scoop'd in the marble there,
* A Turkish superstition. + A famous outlaw.
Signifying, in the Erse language, an isthmus. & Loch Long. || A phenomenon described by many navigators.
See an anecdote related by Pausanias, iii. 20.
O blest retreat, and sacred too! Sacred as when the bell of prayer
WRITTEN IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY. Toll'd duly on the desert air,
OCTOBER 10, 1806.*
WHOE’ER thou art, approach, and, with a sigh, Oft shall my weary mind recall,
Mark where the small remains of greatness lie.t Amid the hum and stir of men,
There sleeps the dust of Fox, for ever gone: Thy beechen grove and waterfall,
How dear the place where late his glory shone ! Thy ferry with its gliding sail,
And, though no more ascends the voice of prayer, And her—the lady of the glen!
Though the last footsteps cease to linger there,
Still do I see (while through the vaults of night
The funeral song once more proclaims the rite)
The moving pomp along the shadowy aisle, ORCE more, enchanting maid, adieu!
That, like a darkness, fill'd the solemn pile ; I must be gone while yet I may ;
Th’illustrious line, that in long order led, Oft shall I weep to think of you,
Of those that loved him living, mourn'd him dead; But here I will not, cannot stay.
Of those the few, that for their country stood The sweet expression of that face,
Round him who dared be singularly good : For ever changing, yet the same,
All, of all ranks, that claim'd him for their own; Ah no, I dare not turn to trace
And nothing wanting—but himself alone ! It melts my soul, it fires my frame!
O say, of him now rests there but a name;
Wont, as he was, to breathe ethereal flame? Yet give me, give me, ere I go,
Friend of the absent, guardian of the dead !S One little lock of those so blest,
Who but would here their sacred sorrows shed? That lend your cheek a warmer glow,
(Such as he shed on Nelson's closing grave; And on your white neck love to rest.
How soon to claim the sympathy he gave!)
In him, resentful of another's wrong,
Truth from his lips a charm celestial drew-
Ah, who so mighty and so gentle too ?!
What though with war the madding nations rung, O say—but no, it must not be.
“ Peace,” when he spoke, was ever on his tongue ! Adieu! a long, a long adieu!
Amidst the frowns of power, the tricks of state, -Yet still, methinks, you frown on me,
Fearless, resolved, and negligently great!
In vain malignant vapours gather'd round;
The clouds, that rise to quench the orb of day,
Reflect its splendour, and dissolve away!
When in retreat he laid his thunder by,
For letter'd ease and calm philosophy, APPROACH with reverence. There are those within Blest were his hours within the silent grove, Whose dwelling-place is heaven. Daughters of Where still his godlike spirit deigns to rove; Jove,
Blest by the orphan's smile, the widow's prayer, From them flow all the decencies of life;
For many a deed, long done in secret there. Without them nothing pleases, virtue's self
There shone his lamp on Homer's hallow'd page ; Admired, not loved; and those on whom they smile, There, listening, sate the hero and the sage; Great though they be, and wise, and beautiful,
And they, by virtue and by blood allied, Shine forth with double lustre.
Whom most he loved, and in whose arms he died.
Friend of all human kind! not here alone
Long, long shall England be revered in thee !
And, when the storm is hush'd-in distant years-
* After the funeral of the Right Hon. Charles James Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold.
Fox. There shall thy wings, rich as an evening sky, † Venez voir le peu qui nous reste de tant de grandeur, Expand and shut with silent ecstasy!
etc.-Bossuet. Oraison funèbre de Louis de Bourbon. -Yet wert thou once a worm, a thing that crept
$ Et rien enfin ne manque dans tous ces honneurs, que On the bare earth, then wrought a tomb and slept.
celui a qui on les rend.-Ibid.
§ Alluding particularly to his speech on moving a new And such is man; soon from his cell of clay
writ for the borough of Tavistock, March 16, 1802. To burst a seraph in the blaze of day!
Il See that aimirable delineation of his character by Sir
James Mackintosh, which first appeared in the Bombay * At Woburn Abbey.
Courier, January 17, 1807.
DEDICATED TO THE GRACES.
The poem of The Sabbath will long endear the giving vent to the familiar sentiments of his bosom. name of JAMES GRAHAME to all who love the due We can trace here, in short, and with the same pleasobservance of Sunday, and are acquainted with the ing effect, that entire absence of art, effort, and afdevout thoughts and poetic feeling which it inspires. fectation, which we have already noticed as the most Nor will he be remembered for this alone ; his remarkable distinction of his attempts in descripBritish Georgics and his Birds of Scotland, rank tion. Almost all the other poets with whom we are with those productions whose images and sentiments acquainted, appear but too obviously to put their take silent possession of the mind, and abide there feelings and affections, as well as their fancies and when more startling and obtrusive things are phrases, into a sort of studied dress, before they forgotten. There is a quiet natural case about all venture to present them to the crowded assembly his descriptions; a light and shade both of land of the public: and though the style and fashion of scape and character in all his pictures, and a truth this dress varies according to the taste and ability and beauty which prove that he copied from his of the inventors, still it serves almost equally to own emotions, and painted with the aid of his own hide their native proportions, and to prove that eyes, without looking, as Dryden said, through the they were a little ashamed or afraid to exhibit spectacles of books. To his fervent piety as well them as they really were. Now, Mr. Grahame, as poetic spirit the public has borne testimony, by we think, has got over this general nervousness purchasing many copies of his works. The Birds of and shyness about showing the natural and simple Scotland is a fine series pictures, giving the form, feelings with which the contemplation of human the plumage, the haunts, and habits of each individ- emotion should affect us; or rather, has been too ual bird, with a graphic fidelity rivalling the labours seriously occupied, and too constantly engrossed of Wilson. His drama of Mary Stuart wants that with the feelings themselves, to think how the passionate and happy vigour which the stage re- confession of them might be taken by the genequires ; some of his songs are natural and elegant; rality of his readers, to concern himself about the his Sabbath Walks, Biblical Pictures, and Rural contempt of the fastidious, or the derision of the Calendar, are all alike remarkable for accuracy of unfeeling. In his poetry, therefore, we meet nei. description and an original turn of thought. He ther with the Musidoras and Damons of Thomson, was born at Glasgow, 220 April, 1765; his father, nor the gipsy-women and Ellen Orfords of Crabbe; who was a writer, educated him for the bar, but he and still less with the Matthew Schoolmasters, showed an early leaning to the Muses, and such a Alice Fells, or Martha Raes of Mr. Wordsworth ;love of truth and honour as hindered him from but we meet with the ordinary peasants of Scot. accepting briefs which were likely to lead him out land in their ordinary situations, and with a touchof the paths of equity and justice. His Sabbath ing and simple expression of concern for their sus. was written and published in secret, and he had the ferings, and of generous indulgence for their faults. pleasure of finding the lady whom he had married He is not ashamed of his kindness and condescen. among its warmest admirers ; nor did her admira- sion, on the one hand; nor is be ostentatious or tion lessen when she discovered the author. His vain of it, on the other; but gives expression in health declined; he accepted the living of Sedge the most plain and unaffected manner to sentiments ware, near Durham, and performed his duties that are neither counterfeited nor disguised. We diligently and well till within a short time of his do not know any poetry, indeed, that lets us in so death, which took place 14th September, 1811. directly to the heart of the writer, and produces so
The great charm of Mr. Grahame's poetry,(says a full and pleasing a conviction that it is dictated by writer in the Edinburgh Review,) appears to us to the genuine feelings which it aims at communicatconsist in its moral character ; in that natural ex-ing to the reader. If there be less fire and eleva. pression of kindness and tenderness of heart, which tion than in the strains of some of his contempo gives such a peculiar air of paternal goodness and pa- raries, there is more truth and tenderness than is triarchal simplicity to his writings ; and that earnest commonly found along with those qualities, and and intimate sympathy with the objects of his com- less getting up either of language or of sentiment passion, which assures us at once that he is not than we recollect to have met with in any modern making a theatrical display of sensibility, but merely composition.
Murmurs more gently down the deep-worn glen ; THE SABBATH.
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O’ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms—the simple song of praise. Description of a Sabbath morning in the country. The
With dove-like wings, peace o'er yon village labourer at home. The town mechanic's morning
broods; walk; his meditation. The sound of bells. Crowd The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din proceeding to church. Interval before the service Hath ceased; all, all around is quietness. begins. Scottish service. English service. Scriptures Less fearful on this day, the limping hare read. The organ, with the voices of the people. The sound borne to the sick man's couch: his wish. The Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man, worship of God in the solitude of the woods. The Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free, shepherd boy among the hills. People seen on the Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large ; heights returning from church. Contrast of the present And, as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls, times with those immediately preceding the Revolu. His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning ray. tion. The persecution of the Covenanters: A Sabbath
But chiefly man the day of rest enjoys. conventicle: Cameron: Renwick: Psalms. Night conventicles during storms. A funeral according to Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day. the rites of the church of England. A female charac. On other days the man of toil is doom'd ter. The suicide. Expostulation. The incurable of To eat his joyless bread, lonely; the ground an hospital. A prison scene. Debtors. Divine ser
Both seat and board; screen'd from the winter's cold vice in the prison hall. Persons under sentence of death. The public guilt of inflicting capital punish- But on this day, imbosom’d in his home,
And summer's heat, by neighbouring hedge or tree; ments on persons who have been left destitute of religious and moral instruction. Children proceeding to He shares the frugal meal with those he loves ; a Sunday-school. The father. The impress. Appeal With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy on the indiscriminate severity of criminal law. Com- of giving thanks to God—not thanks of form, parative mildness of the Jewish law. The year of ju- A word and a grimace, but reverently, bilee. Description of the commencement of the jubilee. With cover'd face and upward earnest eye. The sound of the trumpets through the land. The bond. man and his family returning from their servitude to
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day. take possession of their inheritance. Emigrants to the The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe wilds of America. Their Sabbath worship. The whole The morning air, pure from the city's smoke; inhabitants of Highland districts who have emigrated While, wandering slowly up the river-side, together, still regret their country. Even the blind
He meditates on Him, whose power he marks man regrets the objects which he had been con.
An emigrant's contrast between the tropical In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough, climates and Scotland. The boy who had been born As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom on the voyage. Description of a person on a desert Around its roots; and while he thus surveys, island. His Sabbath. His release. Missionary ship. With elevated joy, each rural charm, The Pacific ocean. Defence of missionaries. Effects He hopes, yet fears presumption in the hope, of the conversion of the primitive Christians. Transi. tion to the slave trade. The Sabbath in a slave ship. | That heaven may be one Sabbath without end. Appeal to England on the subject of her encouragement
But now his steps a welcome sound recalls : to this horrible complication of crimes. Transition to Solemn the knell, from yonder ancient pile, war. Unfortunate issue of the late war-in France- Fills all the air, inspiring joyful awe: in Switzerland. Apostrophe to Tell. The attempt to Slowly the throng moves o'er the tomb-paved grounds resist too late. The treacherous foes already in pog. The aged man, the bowed down, the blind session of the passes. Their devastating progress. Desolation. Address to Scotland. Happiness of seclu- Led by the thoughtless boy, and he who breathes sion from the world. Description of a Sabbath evening With pain, and eyes the new-made grave well in Scotland. Psalmody. An aged man. Description pleased ; of an industrious female reduced to poverty by old age These, mingled with the young, the gay, approach and disease. Disinterested virtuous conduct to be found The house of God; these, spite of all their ills, chiefly in the lower walks of life. Test of charity in the A glow of gladness feel; with silent praise opulent. Recommendation to the rich to devole a por. tion of the Sabbath to the duty of visiting the sick. "In. They enter in. A placid stillness reigns, vocation to health-to music. The Beguine nuns. Laza. Until the man of God, worthy the name, rus. The Resurrection. Dawnings of faith-its progress Arise and read th' anointed shepherd's lays. --consummation.
His locks of snow, his brow serene, his look How still the morning of the hallow'd day! Of love, it speaks, “ Ye are my children all; Mute is the voice of rural labour, hush'd
The gray-hair'd man, stooping upon his staff, The ploughboy's whistle, and the milkmaid's song. As well as he, the giddy child, whose eye The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath Pursues the swallow fitting thwart the dome.” Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers, Loud swells the song: O how that simple song, That yester-morn bloom'd waving in the breeze. Though rudely chanted, how it melts the heart, Sounds the most faint attract the earthe hum Commingling soul with soul in one full tide Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
Of praise, of thankfulness, of humble trust! The distant bleating midway up the hill.
Next comes the unpremeditated prayer, Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud. Breathed from the inmost heart, in accents low, To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
But earnest.-Alter'd is the tone; to man The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale; Are now address'd the sacred speaker's words. And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark Instruction, admonition, comfort, peace, Warbles his heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook Flow from his tongue: O chief let comfort now!
It is most needed in this vale of tears :
Almost beyond the sound of city chime, Yes, make the widow's heart to sing for joy ; At intervals heard through the breezeless air; The stranger to discern th' Almighty's shield When not the limberest leaf is seen to move, Held o'er his friendless head; the orphan child Save where the linnet lights upon the spray ; Feel, 'mid his tears, I have a father still !
When not a floweret bends its little stalk, 'Tis done. But hark that infant querulous voice Save where the bee alights upon the bloom ; Plaint not discordant to a parent's ear;
There, rapt in gratitude, in joy, and love, And see the father raise the white-robed babe The man of God will pass the Sabbath noon; In solemn dedication to the Lord :
Silence his praise ; his disembodied thoughts, The holy man sprinkles with forth-stretch'd hand | Loosed from the load of words, will high ascend The face of innocence; then earnest turns, Beyond the empyrean.And prays a blessing in the name of Him
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne, Who said, Let little children come to me ;
The Sabbath-service of the shepherd-boy. Forbid them not :* the infant is replaced
In some lone glen, where every sound is lull'a Among the happy band : they, smilingly,
To slumber, save the tinkling of the rill, In gay attire, hie to the house of mirth,
Or bleat of lamb, or hovering falcon's cry, The poor man's festival, a jubilee day,
Stretch'd on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son ; Remember'd long.
Or sheds a tear o'er him to Egypt sold, Nor would I leave unsung And wonders why he weeps ; the volume closed, The lofty ritual of our sister land :
With thyme-sprig laid between the leaves, he sings In vestment white, the minister of God
The sacred lays, his weekly lesson, conn'd Opens the book, and reverentially
With meikle care beneath the lowly roof, The stated portion reads. A pause ensues. Where humble lore is learnt, where humble worth The organ breathes its distant thunder-notes, Pines unrewarded by a thankless state. Then swells into a diapason full:
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen, The people rising, sing, With harp, with harp, The shepherd-boy the Sabbath holy keeps, And voice of psalms; harmoniously attuned Till on the heights he marks the straggling bands The various voices blend ; the long drawn aisles, Returning homeward from the house of prayer. At every close, the lingering strain prolong. In peace they home resort. O blissful days! And now the tubes a mellow'd stop controls, When all men worship God as conscience wills: In softer harmony the people join,
Far other times our fathers' grandsires knew, While liquid whispers from yon orphan band A virtuous race, to godliness devote. Recall the soul from adoration's trance,
What though the skeptic's scorn hath dared to soil And fill the eye with pity's gentle tears.
The record of their fame! what though the men Again the organ-peal, loud-rolling, meets
Of worldly minds have dared to stigmatize The hallelujahs of the choir : Sublime,
The sister-cause, religion and the law, A thousand notes symphoniously ascend,
With superstition's name! yet, yet their deeds, As if the whole were one, suspended high
Their constancy in torture and in death,In air, soaring heavenward : afar they float, These on tradition's tongue still live; these shall Wafting glad tidings to the sick man's couch: On history's honest page be pictured bright Raised on his arm, he lists the cadence close, To latest times. Perhaps some bard, whose muse Yet thinks he hears it still: his heart is cheer'd; Disdains the servile strain of fashion's quire, He smiles on death ; but, ah! a wish will rise, - May celebrate their unambitious names. “Would I were now beneath that echoing roof! With them each day was holy, every hour No lukewarm accents from my lips should flow; They stood prepared to die, a people doom'd My heart would sing; and many a Sabbath-day To death ;-old men, and youths, and simple maids. My steps should thither turn; or, wandering far With them each day was holy; but that morn In solitary paths, where wild flowers blow, On which the angel said, See where the Lord There would I bless his name, who led me forth Was laid, joyous arose ; to die that day From death's dark vale, to walk amid those sweets, Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways, Who gives the bloom of health once more to glow o'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they Upon this cheek, and lights this languid eye.”
sought It is not only in the sacred fane
The upland muirs, where rivers, there but brooks, That homage should be paid to the Most High ; Dispart to different seas : Fast by such brooks There is a temple, one not made with hands- A little glen is sometimes scoop'd, a plat The vaulted firmament: Far in the woods, With green sward gay, and flowers that strangers
Amid the heathery wild, that all around “ And they brought young children to him that he Fatigues the eye ; in solitudes like these, should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much dis. | Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foild pleased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to A tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws : come unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the There, leaning on his spear, (one of the array, kingdom of God. Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever Whose gleam, in former days, had scathed the rose shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he On England's banner, and had powerless struck shall not enter therein. And he look them up in his
The infatuate monarch and his wavering host,) arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark X. 13-16.
The lyart veteran heard the word of God