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Singing of Glory, and Futurity,
“ Most musical, most melancholy "t bird ! To wander back on such unhealthful road, A melancholy bird ? Oh! idle thought! Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And ill In nature there is nothing melancholy. Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths But some night-wandering man, whose heart was Strew'd before thy advancing !
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Nor do thou, Or slow distemper, or neglected love Sage Bard ! impair the memory of that hour (And so, poor Wretch! filled all things with himself Of my communion with thy nobler mind
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale By Pity or Grief, already felt too long!
of his own sorrow), he and such as he, Nor let my words import more blame than needs. First named these notes a melancholy strain. The tumult rose and ceased : for Peace is nigh And many a poet echoes the conceit; Where Wisdom's voice has found a listening heart. Poet who hath been building up the rhyme Amid the howl of more than wintry storms, When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal hours Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell, Already on the wing.
By Sun or Moon-light, to the influxes
of shapes and sounds and shifting elements Eve following eve,
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home And of his frame forgetful! so his fame Is sweetest ! moments for their own sake hail'd Should share in Nature's immortality, And more desired, more precious for thy song,
A venerable thing! and so his song In silenco listening, like a devout child,
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature ! But 't will not be so;
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring Fair constellated Foam,* still darting off
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still, Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea,
Full of meek sympathy, must heave their sighs Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the Moon. O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
And when–O Friend ! my comforter and guide! My friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength — A different lore : we may not thus profane Thy long sustained song finally closed,
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love And thy deep voice had ceased-yet thou thyself
And joyance! "T is the merry Nightingale Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates That happy vision of beloved faces
With fast thick warble his delicious notes, Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
And I know a grove
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths A CONVERSATION POEM;
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales ; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other's song, No cloud, no relic of the sunken day
With skirmish and capricious passagings, Distinguishes the West, 20 long thin slip
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug, Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues. And one low piping sound more sweet than allCome, we will rest on this old mossy bridge ! Stirring the air with such a harmony, You see the glimmer of the stream beneath, That should you close your eyes, you might almost But hear no murmuring : it flows silently, Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes, O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed, A balmy night! and though the stars be dim, You may perchance behold them on the twigs, Yet let us think upon the vernal showers Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
and full, A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade And hark! the Nightingale begins its song, Lights up her love-torch.
• "A beautiful white cloud of foam at momentary intervals * This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superio coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and little stars to that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the of flame danced and sparkled and went out in it: and every melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The now and then light detachments of this white cloud-like foam author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge dartud off from the vessel's side, each with its own small con- of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than stellation, over the sea, and scoured out of sight like a Tartar which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps tha. troop over a wilderness."- The Friend, p. 220.
of having ridiculed his Bible.
A most gentle Maid, By its own moods interprets, everywhere Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Echo or mirror seeking of itself, Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
And makes a toy of Thought. (Even like a lady vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove)
But O! how oft, Glides through the pathways ; she knows all their How oft, at school, with most believing mind notes,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space, To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud, With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Hath heard a pause of silence ; till the Moon Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-to ser Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang With one sensation, and these wakeful Birds From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me As if some sudden gale had swept at once With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear A hundred airy harps ! And she hath watch'd Most like articulate sounds of things to come! Many a Nightingale perch'd giddily
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book :
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, How he would place his hand beside his ear, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, His little hand, the small forefinger up,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
And momentary pauses of the thought ! To make him Nature's Play-mate. He knows well My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart The evening-star; and once, when he awoke With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, In most distressful mood (some inward pain
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream), And in far other scenes ! For I was rear'd I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth fne Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelp'd by any wind. The owlet's cry
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops Have left me to that solitude, which suite
fall Abstruser musings : save that at my side
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
TO A FRIEND.
TOGETHER WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Embow'rs me from noon's sultry influence !
Your modest verse, to musing Quiet dear,
Not there the cloud-climb'd rock, sublime and vast,
ween, you wander'd—there collecting flow'rs Of sober tint, and herbs of med'cinable powers! There for the monarch-murder'd Soldier's tomb You wove th' unfinish'd wreath of saddest hues;
And to that holier chaplett added bloom,
THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN.
COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.
Dim hour! that sleep'st on pillowing clouds afar,
IV. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS POEMS
THE THREE GRAVES.
A FRAGMENT OF A SEXTON'S TALE.
[The Author has published the following humble fragment LINES TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
encouraged by the decisive recommendation of more than one
of our most celebrated living Poets. The language was inMy honor'd friend! whose verse concise, yet ear, tended to be dramatic; that is, suited to the narrator: and the Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
metre corresponds to the homeliness of the diction. It is there
fore presented as the fragment, not of a Poem, but of a com May your fame fadeless live, as “ never-sere"
mon Ballad-tale. Whether this is sufficient to justify the adop The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence tion of such a style, in any metrical composition not profess
edly ludicrous, the Author is himself in some doubt. At all * I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the lines
events, it is not presented as Poetry, and it is in no way cor
nected with the Author's judgment concerning Poetic diction, of whole omniscient and all-spreading love
Its merits, if any, are exclusively Psychological. The story Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scripture, “ Ask, and it shall be given you." and my human reason being moreover convinced of the pro
* War, a Fragment. † John the Baptist, a Poem. nriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to the Deity. Monody on John Henderson.
On the hedge elms in the narrow lane
Still swung the spikes of corn: Dear Lord! it seems but yesterday
Young Edward's marriage-morn.
Up through that wood behind the church,
There leads from Edward's door A mossy track, all over-bough'd
For half a mile or more.
And from their house-door by that track
The Bride and Bridegroom went; Sweet Mary, though she was not gay,
Seem'd cheerful and content.
But when they to the church-yard came,
I've heard poor Mary say,
Her heart it died away.
And when the vicar join'd their hands,
Her limbs did creep and freeze ; But when they pray’d, she thought she saw
Her mother on her knees.
wbich must be supposed to have been narrated in the first and second parts, is as follows.
Edward, a young farmer, meets, at the house of Ellen, her bosom friend, Mary, and commences an acquaintance, which ends in a mutual attachment. With her consent, and by the advice of their common friend Ellen, be announces his hopes and intentions to Mary's Mother, a widow-woman bordering og her fortieth year, and from constant health, the possession of a competent property, and from having had no other children but Mary and another daughter (the Father died in their infancy), retaining, for the greater part, her personal attractions and comeliness of appearance; but a woman of low education and violent temper. The answer which she at once returned to Edward's application was remarkable-"Well, Edward ! you are a handsome young fellow, and you shall have my Daughter." From this time all their wooing passed under the Mother's eye; and, in fine, she became herself enamoured of her fature Son-in-law, and practised every art, both of endearment and of calumny, to transfer his affections from her daughter to berself. (The outlines of the Tale are positive facts, and of no very distant date, though the author has purposely altered the sames and the scene of action, as well as invented the characters of the parties and the detail of the incidents.) Edward, however, though perplexed by her strange detraction from her daoghter's good qualities, yet in the innocence of his own heart still mistaking her increasing fondness for motherly affection i Ebe, at length overcome by her miserable passion, after much abuse of Mary's temper and moral tendencies, exclaimed with violent emotion--" Edward ! indeed, indeed, she is not fit for Fou-she has not a heart to love you as you deserve. It is I that love you! Marry me, Edward ! and I will this very day sette all my property on you.”—The Lover's eyes were now opened; and thus taken by surprise, whether from the effect of the horror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on bis nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and absurdity, be flung her from him and burst into a fit of laughter. Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a lood voice that approached to a scream, she prayed for a Curse both on him and on her own Child. Mary happened to be in the room directly above them, heard Edward's laugh and her Mother's blasphemous prayer, and fainted away. He, hearing the fall, ran up stairs, and taking her in his arms, carried her off to Ellen's home; and after some fruitless attempts on her part toward a reconciliation with her Mother, she was married to bim.-And here the third part of the Tale begins.
I was not led to choose this story from any partiality to trage, much less to monstrous events (though at the time that I composed the verses, somewhat more than twelve years ago, I was las averse to such subjects than at present), but from filing in it a striking proof of the possible effect on the imagidation, from an idea violently and suddenly impressed on it. I bad been reading Bryan Edwards's account of the effect of the Oh Witchcraft on the Negroes in the West Indies, and Heare's deeply interesting Anecdotes of similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my readers who have in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to), and I conceived the design of showing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the Dude in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the proZiske and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginniog.
The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these were the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, so dane, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite
THE grapes upon the vicar's wall
Were ripe as ripe could be ; And yellow leaves in gun and wind Were falling from the tree.