Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

While others wish thee wise and fair,

A maid of spotless fame,
I'll breathe this more compendious prayer-

Mayst thou deserve thy name!

Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mix'd with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-question'd in her sleep; and some have said*

We lived, ere yet this robe of Flesh we wore.

O my sweet baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me thou art dead
(As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear),
I think that I should struggle to believe

Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve;
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick

reprieve, While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!

Thy Mother's name, a potent spell,

That bids the Virtues hie
From mystic grove and living cell

Confest to Fancy's eye ;

Meek Quietness, without offence;

Content, in homespun kirtle ;
True Love; and True Love's Innocence,

White Blossom of the Myrtle!

SONNET.

Associates of thy name, sweet Child !

These Virtues mayst thou win;
With Face as eloquently mild
Το

say, they lodge within.

TO A FRIEND WHO ASKED, HOW I FELT WHEN THE

NURSE FIRST PRESENTED MY INFANT TO ME.

So when, her tale of days all flown,

Thy Mother shall be miss'd here;
When Heaven at length shall claim its own,

And Angels snatch their Sister;

CHARLES ! my slow heart was only sad, when first

I scann'd that face of feeble infancy: For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst

All I had been, and all my child might be ! But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,

And hanging at her bosom (she the while

Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile) Then I was thrillid and melted, and most warm Impress'd a Father's kiss : and all beguiled

Of dark remembrance and presageful fear,

I seem'd to see an angel-form appear"T was even thine, beloved woman mild !

So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear, And dearer was the Mother for the Child.

Some hoary-headed Friend, perchance,

May gaze with stifled breath ;
And oft, in momentary trance,

Forget the waste of death.

Ev’n thus a lovely rose I view'd

In summer-swelling pride ;
Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude

Peep'd at the Rose's side.

It chanced, I pass'd again that way

In Autumn's latest hour,
And wond'ring saw the self-same spray

Rich with the self-same flower.

THE VIRGIN'S CRADLE-HYMN.

COPIED FROM A PRINT OF THE VIRGIN IN A CATHOLIC

VILLAGE IN GERMANY.

Ah fond deceit! the rude green bud

Alike in shape, place, name,
Had bloom'd, where bloom'd its parent stud

Another and the same !

DORMI, Jesu! Mater ridet,
Quæ tam dulcem somnum videt,

Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat

Blande, veni, somnule.

EPITAPH ON AN INFANT.

ENGLISH.
Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling
Mother sits beside thee smiling :

Sleep, my darling, tenderly !
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth :

Come, soft slumber, balmily!

Its balmy lips the Infant blest
Relaxing from its Mother's breast,
How sweet it heaves the happy sigh
Of innocent Satiety!

And such my Infant's latest sigh!
O tell, rude stone! the passer-by,
That here the pretty babe doth lie,
Death sang to sleep with Lullaby.

ON THE CHRISTENING OF A FRIEND'S CHILD.

A FRAGMENT.

This day among the faithful placed
And fed with fontal manna ;

MELANCHOLY.
O with maternal title graced
Dear Anna's dearest Anna!

STRETCH'd on a moulder'd Abbey's broadest th." * Ην που ημων η ψυχη πριν εν τωδε τω ανθρωπινω Where ruining ivies propp'd the ruins steep ειδει γενεσθαι.

Her folded arms wrapping her tatter'd pall,
Plat. in Phædon Had Melancholy mused herself to sleep.

The fern was press'd beneath her hair,

She listen'd to the tale divine, The dark-green Adder's Tongue* was there;

And closer still the Babe she press'd; And still as past the flagging sea-gale weak,

And while she cried, the Babe is mine! The long lank leaf bow'd fluttering o'er her cheek. The milk rush'd faster to her breast:

Joy rose within her, like a summer's morn; That pallid cheek was flush'd : her eager look

Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born Beam'd eloquent in slumber! Inly wrought, Imperfect sounds her moving lips forsook,

Thou Mother of the Prince of Peace, And her bent forehead work'd with troubled

Poor, simple, and of low estate! thought.

That Strife should vanish, Battle cease,
Strange was the dream-

O why should this thy soul elate ?
Sweet Music's loudest note, the Poet's story,

Did'st thou ne'er love to hear of Fame and Glory?
TELL'S BIRTH-PLACE.

And is not War a youthful King,
IMITATED FROM STOLBERG.

A stately Hero clad in mail?
Mark this holy chapel well!

Beneath his footsteps laurels spring; The Birth-place, this, of William Tell.

Him Earth's majestic monarchs hail Here, where stands God's altar dread,

Their Friend, their Play-mate! and his bold bright eye Stood his parents' marriage-bed.

Compels the maiden's love-confessing sigh Here first, an infant to her breast,

“Tell this in some more courtly scene, Him his loving mother prest;

To maids and youths in robes of state ! And kiss'd the babe, and bless'd the day,

I am a woman poor and mean, And pray'd as mothers use to pray :

And therefore is my Soul elate.

War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled, * Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give

That from the aged Father tears his Child !
The Child thy servant still to live!"
But God has destined to do more
Through him, than through an armed power. “ A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,

He kills the Sire and starves the Son ;
God gave him reverence of laws,

The Husband kills, and from her board Yet stirring blood in Freedom's cause

Steals all his Widow's toil had won; A spirit to his rocks akin,

Plunders God's world of beauty; rends away The eye of the Hawk, and the fire therein! All safety from the Night, all comfort from the Day To Nature and to Holy writ

“ Then wisely is my soul elate, Alone did God the boy commit:

That Strife should vanish, Battle cease : Where flash'd and roar'd the torrent, oft

I'm poor and of a low estate, His soul found wings, and soar'd aloft! .

The Mother of the Prince of Peace. The straining oar and chamois chase

Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn: Had form'd his limbs to strength and grace :

Peace, Peace on Earth! the Prince of Peace is born!" On wave and wind the boy would toss, Was great, nor knew how great he was ! He knew not that his chosen hand, Made strong by God, his native land Would rescue from the shameful yoke

HUMAN LIFE, Of Slavery—the which he broke!

ON THE DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY

IF dead, we cease to be ; if total gloom
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.

Swallow up life's brief flash for aye, we fare THE Shepherds went their hasty way,

As summer-gusts, of sudden birth and doom,

Whose sound and motion not alone declare,
And found the lowly stable-shed
Where the Virgin-Mother lay :

But are their whole of being! If the Breath

Be Life itself, and not its task and tent,
And now they check'd their eager tread,
For to the Babe, that at her bosom clung,

If even a soul like Milton's can know death,
A Mother's song the Virgin-Mother sung.

O Man! thou vessel, purposeless, unmeant,

Yet drone-hive strange of phantom purposes !
They told her how a glorious light,

Surplus of Nature's dread activity,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,

Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finish'd vase, Around them shone, suspending night!

Retreating slow, with meditative pause,
While, sweeter than a Mother's song,

She form'd with restless hands unconsciously! Blest Angels heralded the Savior's birth,

Blank accident! nothing's anomaly! Glory to God on high! and peace on Earth.

If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state,

Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy Hopes, thy Fears, • A botanical nubtake. The plant which the poet here de- The counter-weights !—Thy Laughter and thy Tears scribes is called the Hart's Tongue.

Mean but themselves, each fittest to create,

And to repay the other! Why rejoices

But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue! Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good ? Where'er with wilder'd steps she wander'd pale

Why cowl thy face beneath the mourner's hood, Still Edmund's image rose to blast her view, Why waste thy sighs, and thy lamenting voices, Still Edmund's voice accused her in each gale.

Image of image, Ghost of Ghostly Elf, That such a thing as thou feel'st warm or cold! With keen regret, and conscious guilt's alarms, Yet what and whence thy gain if thou withhold Amid the pomp of affluence she pined:

These costless shadows of thy shadowy self? Nor all that lured her faith from Edmund's arms Be sad! be glad! be neither! seek, or shun!

Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.
Thou hast no reason why! Thou canst have none :
Thy being's being is contradiction.

Go, Traveller! tell the tale with sorrow fraught

Some tearful maid, perchance, or blooming youth
May hold it in remembrance; and be taught

That Riches cannot pay for Love or Truth.
THE VISIT OF THE GODS.

IMITATED FROM SCHILLER.

NEVER, believe me,

KUBLA KHAN;
Appear the Immortals,
Never alone :

OR, A VISION IN A DREAM
Scarce had I welcomed the Sorrow-beguiler,
lacchus! but in came Boy Cupid the Smiler;

(The following fragment is here published at the request of : Lo! Phæbus the Glorious descends from his Throne! poet of great and deserved celebrity, and, as far as the Author's They advance, they float in, the Olympians all ! own opinions are concerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, With Divinities fills my

than on the ground of any supposed poetic merits. Terrestrial Hall!

In the summer of the year 1797, the Author, then in il health, had retired to a lonely farm-house between Porlock and Lipton,

on the Exmoor confines of Somerset and Devonshire. lo cod How shall I yield you

sequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been pre Due entertainment,

scribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in his chair at Celestial Quire ?

the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or Me rather, bright guests! with your wings of up. Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be buit, and

words of the same substance, in Purchas's “ Pilgrimage;"buoyance

stately garden thereunto ; and thus ten miles of fertile ground Bear aloft to your homes, to your banquets of joyance, were inclosed with a wall." The author continued for about That the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre !

three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, Ha! we mount! on their pinions they waft up my Soul! during which time he has the most vivid confidence that he could

not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; of

that indeed can be called composition in which all the images O give me the Nectar!

rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the O fill me the Bowl!

correspondent expressions, without any sensation, or conscious Give him the Nectar!

ness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to hare a

distinct recollection of the whole, and taking his pen, ink, and Pour out for the Poet,

paper, instantly and eagerly wrote down tbe lines that are bere Hebe! pour free!

preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by Quicken his eyes with celestial dew,

a person on business from Porlock, and detained by him above That Styx the detested no more he may view,

an hour, and on his return to his room, found, to his no small

surprise and mortification, that though he still retained some And like one of us Gods may conceit him to be!

vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, Thanks, Hebe! I quaff it! Io Pæan, I cry!

set, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and The Wine of the Immortals

images, all the rest had passed away bike the images on the Forbids me to die!

surface of a stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas!
without the after restoration of the latter.

Then all the charm
Is broken-all that phantom-world so fair

Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
ELEGY,

And each misshapes the other. Stay awhile,
Poor youth! who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes,

The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon
IMITATED FROM ONE OF AKENSIDE'S BLANK VERSE

The visions will return! And lo, he stays,
INSCRIPTIONS.

And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms

Come trembling back, unite, and now once more Near the lone pile with ivy overspread,

The pool bocomes a mirror. Fast by the rivulet's sleep-persuading sound,

Yet from the still surviving recollections in his mind, the Autho Where "sleeps the moonlight" on yon verdant bed— has frequently purposed to finish for himself what bai bers O humbly press that consecrated ground!

originally, as it were, given to him. Equipov adicy acu

but the to-morrow is yet to come. For there does Edmund rest, the learned swain!

As a contrast to this vision, I have annexed a fragment of And there his spirit most delights to rove:

very different character, describing with equal fide 5ty the

dream of pain and disease. --Note to the first Edition, 1916.) Young Edmund! famed for each harmonious strain, And the sore wounds of ill-requited love.

IN Xanadu did Kubla Khan
Like some tall tree that spreads its branches wide, A stately pleasure-dome decree;

And loads the west-wind with its soft perfume, Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
His manhood blossom'd: till the faithless pride Through caverns measureless to man.
Of fair Maulda sank him to the tomb.

Down to a sunless sea.

Since in me, round me, everywhere,
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Infolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seeth-

ing,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
Ind 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flyng up momently the sacred river.
Five miles, meandering with a mazy motion,
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

But yester-night I pray'd aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me :
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorn'd, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with lothing strangely mix'd,
On wild or hateful objects fix'd.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know,
Whether I suffer'd, or I did :
For all seem'd guilt, remorse, or woe,
My own or others', still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stilling shame.

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !

A darnsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight 't would win me,
That with music loud and long,

would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His fashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honeydew hath sed
And drank the milk of Paradise.

So two rights pass'd: the night's dismay
Sadden'd and stunn'd the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seem'd to me
Distemper's worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O’ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child ;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stain’d with sin ·
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and lothe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.

APPENDIX.

APOLOGETIC PREFACE

THE PAINS OF SLEEP.
ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
It haih not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees ;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble Trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation,
No wish conceived, no thought express'd !
Only a sense of supplication,
A sense o'er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,

TO" FIRE, FAMINE, AND SLAUGHTER.”

[See page 26) At the house of a gentleman, who by the principles and corresponding virtues of a sincere Christian consecrates a cultivated genius and the favorable accidents of birth, opulence, and splendid connexions, it was my good fortune to meet, in a dinner-party, with more men of celebrity in science or polite literature, than are commonly found collected round the same table. In the course of conversation, one of the par. ty reminded an illustrious Poet, then present, of some

verses which he had recited that morning, and which had appeared in a newspaper under the name of a

War-Eclogue, in which Fire, Famine, and Slaughter were introduced as the speakers. The gentleman so addressed replied, that he was rather surprised that none of us should have noticed or heard of the poem, and strengthens it. But the more intense and insane as it had been, at the time, a good deal talked of in the passion is, the fewer and the more fixed are the Scotland. It may be easily supposed, that my feel- correspondent forms and notions. A rooted hatred ings were at this moment not of the most comforta- an inveterate thirst of revenge, is a sort of madness, ble kind. Of all present, one only knew or suspect- and still eddies round its favorite object, and exer ed me to be the author : a man who would have cises as it were a perpetual tautology of mind in established himself in the first rank of England's thoughts and words, which admit of no adequate living Poets, if the Genius of our country had not substitutes. Like a fish in a globe of glass, it moves decreed that he should rather be the first in the first restlessly round and round the scanty circuinference, rink of its Philosophers and scientific Benefactors. which it cannot leave without losing its vital ele It appeared the general wish to hear the lines. As my ment. friend chose to remain silent, I chose to follow his There is a second character of such imaginary example, and Mr. ***** recited the Poem. This he representations as spring from a real and earnest de could do with the better grace, being known to have sire of evil to another, which we often see is real ever been not only a firm and active Anti-Jacobin and life, and might even anticipate from the nature of Anti-Gallican, but likewise a zealous admirer of Mr. the mind. The images, I mean, that a vindictve Pitt, both as a good man and a great Statesman. As man places before his imagination, will most often be a Poet exclusively, he had been amused with the taken from the realities of life : they will be images Eclogue; as a Poet, he recited it; and in a spirit, of pain and suffering which he has himself seen inwhich made it evident, that he would have read and flicted on other men, and which he can fancy him. repeated it with the same pleasure, had his own self as inflicting on the object of his hatred. I will name been attached to the imaginary object or agent. suppose that we had heard at different times tid

After the recitation, our amiable host observed, common sailors, each speaking of some one who had that in his opinion Mr. ***** had overrated the merits wronged or offended him: that the first with appaof the poetry; but had they been tenfold greater, rent violence had devoted every part of his adrera. they could not have compensated for that malignity ry's body and soul to all the horrid phantoms and of heart, which could alone have prompted senti- fantastic places that ever Quevedo dreamt of, and ments so atrocious. I perceived that my illustrious this in a rapid flow of those outré and wildly-comfriend became greatly distressed on my account; but bined execrations, which too often with our lower fortunately I was able to preserve fortitude and pres- classes serve for escape-valves to carry off the escess ence of mind enough to take up the subject without of their passions, as so much superfluous steam that exciting even a suspicion how nearly and painfully would endanger the vessel if it were retained. The it interested me.

other, on the contrary, with that sort of calmness vi What follow's, is substantially the same as I then tone which is to the ear what the paleness of anger replied, but dilated and in language less colloquial. is to the eye, shall simply say, * If I chance to be It was not my intention, I said, to justify the publi- made boatswain, as I hope I soon shall, and can but ration, whatever its author's feelings might have once get that fellow under my hand (and I shall be been at the time of composing it. That they are upon the watch for him), I'll tickle his pretty skin! calculated to call forth so severe a reprobation from I wont hurt him! oh no! I'll only cut the a good man, is not the worst feature of such poems. the liver!" I dare appeal to all present, which of the Their moral deformity is aggravated in proportion to two they would regard as the least deceptive sympthe pleasure which they are capable of affording tom of deliberate malignity ? nay, whether it would to vindictive, turbulent, and unprincipled readers. surprise them to see the first fellow, an hour or two Could it be supposed, though for a moment, that the afterward, cordially shaking hands with the very author seriously wished what he had thus wildly im- man, the fractional parts of whose body and soul he agined, even the attempt to palliate an inhumanity so had been so charitably disposing of; or even perhaps monstrous would oe an insult to the hearers. But it risking his life for him. What language Shakspeare seemed to me worthy of consideration, whether the considered characteristic of malignant disposition, we mood of mind, and the general state of sensations, see in the speech of the good-natured Gratiano, who in which a Poet produces such vivid and fantastic spoke "an infinite deal of nothing more than any images, is likely to coexist, or is even compatible, man in all Venice ;" with that gloomy and deliberate ferocity which a serious wish to realize them would presuppose. It

-Too wild, too rude and bold of voice! had been often observed, and all my experience the skipping spirit, whose thoughts and words recip tended to confirm the observation, that prospects of rocally ran away with each other ; pain and evil to others, and, in general, all deep feelings of revenge, are commonly expressed in a few

O be thou damn'd, inexorable dog'

And for thy life let justice be accused ! words, ironically tame, and mild. The mind under so direful and fiend-like an influence seems to take a and the wild fancies that follow, contrasted with Shy. morbid pleasure in contrasting the intensity of its lock's tranquil “ I stand here for law." wishes and feelings, with the slightness or levity of Or, to take a case more analogous to the present the expressions by which they are hinted; and in- subject, should we hold it either fair or charitable to deed feelings so intense and solitary, if they were believe it to have been Dante's serious wish, that all not precluded (as in almost all cases they would be) the persons mentioned by him, (many recently de by a constitutional activity of fancy and association, parted, and some even alive at the time), should acand by the specific joyousness combined with it, tually suffer the fantastic and horrible punishments. would assuredly themselves preclude such activity. to which he has sentenced them in his Hell and Passion, in its own quality, is the antagonist of ac- Purgatory? Or what shall we say of the passages tion; though in an ordinary and natural degree the in which Bishop Jeremy Taylor anticipates the state former alternates with the latter, and thereby revives of those who, vicious theinselves, have been the

to

« AnteriorContinuar »