Imágenes de páginas

a connected series of poems in imitation of Herbert's " TEMPLE,” and in some editions annexed to it.

O how my mind

Is gravellid!

Not a thought,
That I can find,

But's ravell'd

All to nought!
Short ends of threds,

And narrow shreds

Of lists ;
Knot's snarled ruffs,
Loose broken tufts

Of twists;
Are my torn meditations ragged cloathing,
Which wound, and woven shape a sute for nothing :
One while I think, and then I am in pain
To think how to unthink that thought again!

Immediately after these burlesque passages I cannot proceed to the extracts promised, without changing the ludicrous tone of feeling by the interposition of the three following stanzas of Herbert's.


Sweet day so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky:
The dew shall weep thy fall to night,

For thou must dye !

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye:
Thy root is ever in its grave,

And thou must dye !

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A nest, where sweets compacted lie:
My musick shews, ye have your closes,

And all must dye!



Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us ; then schoolmasters
Deliver us to laws; they send us bound

To rules of reason, holy messengers,
Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,

Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,

Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in, Bibles laid open, millions of surprizes ; Blessings before hand, ties of gratefulness,

The sound of glory ringing in our ears :

Without, our shame; within our consciences;
Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears!

Yet all these fences, and their whole array
One cunning BOSOM-SIN blows quite away.


Dear friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad :
And in my faintings, I presume, your love
Will more comply than help. A Lord I had,
And have, of whom some grounds, which may improve,
I hold for two lives, and both lives in me.

To him I brought a dish of fruit one day
And in the middle placed my HEART. But he

(I sigh to say)
Lookt on a servant who did know his eye,
Better than you knew me, or (which is one)
Than I myself. The servant instantly,
Quitting the fruit, seiz'd on my heart alone,
And threw it in a font, wherein did fall
A stream of blood, which issued from the side
Of a great rock: I well remember all,
And have good cause: there it was dipt and dy'd,
And washt, and wrung ! the very wringing yet
Enforceth tears. Your heart was foul, I fear.
Indeed 'tis true. I did and do commit
Many a fault, more than my lease will bear;
Yet still ask'd pardon, and was not denyd.

you shall hear. After my heart was well, And clean and fair, as I one eventide,

(I sigh to tell) Walkt by myself abroad, I saw a large And spacious furnace flaming, and thereon A boiling caldron, round about whose verge Was in great letters set AFFLICTION. The greatness shew'd the owner. So I went To fetch a sacrifice out of my fold, Thinking with that, which I did thus present, To warm his love, which, I did fear, grew cold. But as my heart did tender it, the man Who was to take it from me, slipt his hand, And threw my heart into the scalding pan; My heart that brought it (do you understand ?) The offerer's heart. Your heart was hurd, I fear. Indeed 'tis true. I found a callous matter Began to spread and to expatiate these: But with a richer drug than scalding water I bath'd it often, ev'n with holy blood, Which at a board, while many drank bare wine, A friend did steal into my cup for good,

[ocr errors]

Ev'n taken inwardly, and most divine
To supple hardnesses. But at the length
Out of the caldron getting, soon I fled
Unto my house, where to repair the strength
Which I had lost, I hasted to my bed ;
But when I thought to sleep out all these faults,

(I sigh to speak)
I found that some had stuff'd the bed with thoughts,
I would say thorns. Dear, could my heart not break,
When with my pleasures even my rest was gone ?
Full well I understood who had been there :
For I had given the key to none but one:
It must be he. Your heart was dull, I fear.
Indeed a slack and sleepy state of mind
Did oft possess me; so that when I pray'd,
Though my lips went, my heart did stay behind.
But all my scores were by another paid,
Who took my guilt upon him. Truly, friend;
For ought I hear, your master shows to you
More favour than you wot of. Mark the end !
The font did only what was old renew :
The caldron suppled what was grown too hard :

The thorns did quicken what was grown too dull :
AU did but strive to mend what you had marr’d.
Wherefore be cheer'd, and praise him to the full
Each day, each hour, each moment of the week,
Who fain would have you be new, tender, quick!


The former subject continuedThe neutral style,

or that common to Prose and Poetry, exemplified by specimens from Chaucer, Herbert, fc.

I have no fear in declaring my conviction, that the excellence defined and exemplified in the preceding Chapter is not the characteristic excellence of Mr. Wordsworth's style; because I can add with equal sincerity, that it is precluded by higher powers. The praise of uniform adherence to genuine, logical English is undoubtedly bis ; nay, laying the main emphasis on the word uniform I will dare add that, of all contemporary poets, it is his alone. For in a less absolute sense of the word, I should certainly include Mr. Bowles, LORD Byron, and, as to all his later writings, MR. SOUTHEY, the exceptions in their works being so few and unimportant. But of the specific excellence described in the quotation from Garve, I appear to find more, and more undoubted specimens in the works of others; for instance, among the minor poems of Mr. Thomas Moore, and of our illustrious Laureate. To me it will always remain a singular and noticeable fact; that a theory which would establish this

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »