« НазадПродовжити »
tenderness and affectionateness of the or less creatures of dependence. We Redeemer's character, which they had require sympathy, and we derive a often contemplated together, was now pleasure from being understood and a source, not merely of reliance, but of appreciated. Herein lies one of the positive happiness to her--the sweetness peouliar trials of which genius is susof her couch."
ceptible; for by its very nature it is On Sunday, April 26th, she dictated in most instances beyond ordinary com. her last poem to her brother. It was prehension, and consequently it is unthe “ Sabbath Sonnet." Throughout recognised, and of course meets with her illness, she enjoyed the watchful but little sympathy. Thus the “lonecare of her brother and sister-in-law, liness amid a crowd,” becomes doubly and was tenderly and faithfully attended true. by her servant, Anna Creer, a young
Filled with high aspirations after all woman of singular intelligence and that is great and beautiful, the soul of warm-heartedness. On the evening of genius is continually doomed to deep Saturday, May the 16th, 1835, the and bitter disappointment in this world bright and gentle spirit of Felicia of ours. Living in a realm of wonder Hemans passed peacefully away from and of strange mystery, the mind thus an earthly slumber to that divine rest endowed is liable, in an extraordinary which “ God giveth His beloved." A degree, to the assailant questionings of simple tablet was erected to her me- doubt, and the reasonings of a false phimory, inscribed with some lines from a losophy. What marvel, then, if it somedirge of her own composition:- times go astray? And the method by
which such minds have been too often Calm on the bosom of thy God, Fair spirit! rest thee now!
treated acts by no means as a remedy. E'en while with us thy footsteps trode, Oh, world! how many high spirits bave His seal was on thy brow.
been crushed, how many deep true Dust to its narrow house beneath, Soul to its place on high !
hearts have been broken by thy cold They that have seen thy look in death,
scorn, by thy proud indifference! BetNo more may fear to die.
ter, far better it were to meet them on Having thustaken an imperfect glance their ways of wandering, with words of over the life-history of this sweet singer, love and of tender entreaty, and thus and most aimable woman, let us pro- gently to guide them into the "paths of ceed with a brief but comprehensive peace" and of blessedness, to enchant survey of the writings on which rest the them by a vision of beauty, fairer than foundation of her literary fame. We their brightest dreams, and to fill their will endeavour to trace the connection thirsting spirits with all the joy. between her life and her poetry, which breathing harmonies of the truth eternal. we believe will be found to be attuned Many are the dark histories unveiled in perfect harmony; the one forming, as by the chronicles of genius. We have it were, a kind of complement to the the sud record of a Chattertonother, the story of her existence, inter
The marvellous boy, preting the burden of her song.
The sleepless soul who perished in his pride. Seldom have genius and Christianity And a Byron, like another Onin, wanbeen more beautifully and intimately dering over land and sea, seeking rest, allied than in the case of Felicia Hemans. and finding none. And a Keats, * true Religion with her was not merely a prophet of the beautiful,” bending, bename, but a thing of life and reality. neath the weight of ungenerous criticism, Hence it is the sweet and gentle like a surcharged lily, to his Roman grave. undertone which runs through all her Here, too, is the ** star-eyed” Alastor, poetry; the rich perfume in which her with his fair locks disparted Greek-wise most tender and refined sentiment is over his pale forehead, shipwrecked amid ever embalmed; the voice that mingles the billows of a cold despair. with the music of her every outburst of
Lucretius nobler than his mood, feeling; the fair soft light in fine which
Who cast his plummet down the broad rests on each page of her writings. The De universe, and said, "No God!" gift of genius is oftimes one fatal to its Such stories make us sad. We look possessor. Such persons are not un upon these highly-gifted souls with an frequently erratic stars. Nor is this a admiration mingled with much tremmatter of surprise, for their position is bling. We reflect on what they might one of peculiar trial. We are all more | have þeen, compared, alas! with what
they were, and are. How great and Such are the words of one who lived good, how truly angelic, bad their noble amid the dazzle of the world's applause, powers been rightly directed! For there and who felt how false, and how vain is something so bright and beautiful, so the glitter after the fading of the flowers, star-like in genius, that we must love it. and the quenching of the festal lights. It flashes with such a regal majesty, that it Not that we entirely coincide with her; not merely asks for our homage-it com- for we think that the joy of genius is as mands it. It is so unearthly, too, in its deep and intense as its sorrow. It is character, like some " lonely light from evident, however, that Mrs. Hemans heaven's shore," and in very truth, it is felt painfully at times the unsatisfying a mournful thing when its fair radiance nature of literary fame. She sang, men is dimmed and darkened by the clouds listened and admired. Another sweet of this lower world. In proportion, singer amid the green boughs and the therefore, to our sorrow, on observing pleasant hills that was all. There was genius misguided, and falling short of the loud acclaim, but other response its lofty mission, is our joy on beholding was there none; and so she “lays her it in alliance with all that is fair, and lonely dreams aside,” or what is better “ lovely, and of good report."
still, she “lifts them unto heaven." In Mrs. Hemans we are presented with the almost ideal of feminine cha
Oh! ask not, hope not thou too much
Of sympathy below: racter. We should imagine, judging Few are the hearts whence one same touch
Bids the sweet fountains flow. merely from the tone of her writings,
Few, and by still conflicting powers, that in all the relations of life she was Forbidden here to meet; most graceful and loveable; gentle in
Such ties would make this life of ours,
Too fair for aught so fleet. manners and fair in person, with perchance a shade of sadness on her brow. It may be that thy brother's eye
Sees not as thine, which turns Constant in her friendships and tenderly
In such deep reverence to the sky, affectionate. Intellectually, not over Where the rich sunset burns ! profound, but still on all subjects think
It may be that the breath of spring
Born amidst violets lone, ing calmly and well. A woman of deep A rapture o'er thy soul can bring, feeling, tremulously susceptible, thirst
A dream to his unknown. ing for a love and a sympathy which may The tune that speaks of other times never be found on earth. And such we A sorrowful delight!
The melody of distant chimes, have been told she was in reality
The sound of waves by night;
The wind that with so many a tone,
Some chord within can thrill-
These may have language all thine own,
To him a mystery still.
And steadfast love of years;
The kindly, that from childhood grew, “What is poetry, and what is a poeti The faithful to thy tears ! cal career? The first is to have an
If there be one that o'er the dead
Hath in thy grief borne past, organization of extreme sensibility
Or watched through sickness by thy bed, which the second exposes bare-headed Call his a kindred heart. to the rudest weather. The original
s Perhaps few writers who have written impulse is irresistible—all professions are engrossing when once begun, and
so much as Mrs. Hemans, have uniacting with perpetual stimulus, no
formly written so well; yet it might thing takes more complete possession
have been better for her fame had she of its follower than literature. But
of left fewer long pieces. She does not never can success repay its cost. The
possess that lofty power of thought, that work appears-it lives in the light of
intense concentration of ideas, that popular 'applause; but truly might the
striking and passionate depth of expreswriter exclaim :
sion, which is requisite to sustain the
attention through a long succession of It is my youth, it is my bloom, it is my glad free
fee pages. Her genius is not dramatic. heart I cast away for thee; for thee, ill-fated as thou 'Hence her more ambitious productions art.
are those which are least known. AlIf this be true even of one sex, how though it contains many fine passages, much more true of the other? Ah! few persons are intimately acquainted Fame to a woman is but a royal mourn-' with her “ Forest Sanctuary," and still ing in purple for happiness!"
fewer with her “ Vespers of Palermo,"
one s dresta nob]
and the “ Siege of Valentia." It is in of restless radiance, but the still, un. her charming relation of striking inci- troubled shining of the star. Consedents and in her shorter lyrics that Mrs. quently her muse is invariably of a Hemans particularly excels. Her poetry deliciously soothing character. She is is ever elegant, true and tender in sen- unsurpassed in graceful and felicitous timent, perfect in harmony, and some expression, and in true and tender sen. what mournful in tone. It is the aspira-timent, especially where she has refertion after a higher and holier sphere;ence to the domestic affections. Take the soul weary and dissatisfied with as an example, the “ First Grief,” or earth; the exile sighing for its home;
THE GRAVES OF A HOUSEHOLD. and the heartfelt longing for the love
They grew in beauty side by side, and the truth divine. In common with
They fill'd one home with glee; all high souls Mrs. Hemans often gives Their graves are severed far and wide
By mount, and stream, and sea. utterance to feelings similar to those which prompted Margaret Davidson to The same fond mother bent at night
O'er each fair sleeping brow; exclaim :
She had each folded flower in sight
Where are those dreamers now?
One midst the forests of the West,
By a dark stream is laid; the deep thirst for some true fountain of
The Indian knows his place of
Far in the cedar shade. affection, which may be said to form the key-note of her poetry. Her music is a The sea, the blue lone sea hath one.
He lies where pearls lie deep ; soft bird-like melody; low and plaintive,
He was the loved of all, yet none sometimes rising into strains of ge
O'er his low bed may weep. nerous enthusiasm; and as the zephyr
One sleeps where Southern vines are amid the forest greenery, it ever breathes if not of gladness, of all that is fair and
Above the noble slain ;
He wrapt his colours round his breast, free. The "vision and the faculty di
On a blood-red field of Spain. vine" appear seldom to have oppressed Mrs. Hemans as with a woe and a bur
And one-o'er her the myrtle showers
Its leaves, by soft winds fann'd; den, and a strange joy, which must She faded midst Italian flowers, break forth in a wail of impassioned
The last of that bright band. music or in a gush of wild exultation.
And parted thus they rest who play'd The realm of poetic enchantment in
Beneath the same green tree; which she delighted to wander was en
Whose voices mingled as they pray'd
Around one parent knee ! wreathed with a kind of dreamy beauty, like one of Turner's landscapes; it was
They that with smiles lit up the hall.
And cheered with song the hearth : the home of all sweet and tender Alas! for Love! if thou wert all, remembrances; of high and noble And nought beyond, oh earth! hopes; of warm patriotism and of un Few poets have more beautifully dying love. A land moreover filled to adapted their style of versification to overflowing with the whispers of se- the sentiment they wish to convey, than raphic song; those “lays of Paradise," | Felicia Hemans. Her “ Song of the o'er which as they vibrate amid his Battle of Morgarten,” and that sublime spirit chords, the poet vainly weeps, in | little lyric, “The Trumpet," seem to bis inability to interpret them morering like some martial music; and fully.
solemn and touching as the thought The serene repose of Mrs. Hemans' they express, is the flow of the following world of thought was seldom disturbed stanzas from the “ Hour of Death :"by the voice of the “rushing winds of inspiration.” Her poems, therefore, and flowers to wither at the north’ wind's breath,
Leaves have their time to fall, seldom bear the impress of intense ex- And stars to set--but all citement, of strong and fervent impulses; | T
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, o
thine own, o Death: they are more the expression of habitual Day is for mortal care, states of mind and feeling; hence they' Eve for glad meetings round the joyous hearth, have been charged with exhibiting a
Night for the dreams of sleep, the voice of .
prayer; tinge of monotony. Theirs is not the But all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth. fall of a mountain torrent, but the silvery | The banquet hath its hour, murmuring of a rill amid the light and Its feverish hour of mirth, and song, and wine; shade, the hills and the meadows. The There comes a day for grief's o'erwhelming
power, light of genius with her was not a flash A time for softer tears--but all are thine.
Youth and the opening rose,
of “Gertrude, or Fidelity till Death,” May look like things too glorious for decay, And smile at thee: but thou art not of those
is strongly told. That wait the ripen bloom to seize their prey. Beautiful and touching are the last
lines composed by Mrs. Hemans, the Leaves have their time to fall, And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath, “ Sabbath Sonnet," written a few days And stars to set-but all
before her decease, a fitting finale to her Thou hast all seasons for thine own, o Death!
| literary labours :And, as strikingly illustrative of our
How many blessed groups this hour are bending previous observations, we would point Through England's primrose meadow-paths their to the “ Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers,"
Towards spire and tower, midst shadowing elms What a picture is contained in the first
ascending two verses. The sea, and the storm, Whence the sweet chimes proclaim the hallow'd
day. and the wild, dark night!
The halls from old heroic ages gray
Pour their fair children forth; and hamlets low The breaking waves dashed high,
With whose thick orohard blooms the soft winds On a stern and rock-bound coast,
play, And the woods against a stormy sky,
Send out their inmates in a happy flow,
Like a freed vernal stream. I may not tread
With them those pathways-to the feverish bed And the heavy night hung dark
Of sickness bound; yet, O my God! I bless The hills and waters o'er;
Thy mercy, that with Sabbath peace hath filled When a band of exiles moored their bark.
My chastened heart, and all its throbbings still'd On the wild New England shore.
To one deep calm of lowliest thankfulness ! Not as the conqueror comes, .
Sweet and touching is the spirit of They the true-hearted came; Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
cheerful resignation breathing through And the trumpet that sings of fame. the above. The idea presented in the And truly beautiful are the stanzas fol
commencement of the sonnet is as fair lowing. The deep hush, the whispers,
and truthful, as the conclusion is redoas it were, of the first two lines, and
lent of the serenest repose. then the shout and the exultant music:
We experience a sensation of pure
and unmixed delight in the contemplaNot as the flying come,
tion of genius, where, as in the case of In silence and in fear;
Mrs. Hemans, the service of song is They shook the depths of the desert gloom, With their hymns of lofty cheer.
united to solemn and entire consecration
of soul to the best interests of time and Amidst the storm they sang,
eternity. Poetry should ever have a And the stars heard, and the sea : And the sounding voice of the dim woods definite purpose. It should be a thing rang,
not merely to gladden our idle hours, To the anthem of the free!
though that is well; but, further, it The ocean eagle soared,
should be devoted to higher ends, and From his nest by the white wave's foam ;
to all great and holy uses. This is not And the rocking pines of the forest roared, This was their welcome home!
the place for us to dilate upon the poet's
work and mission. We would, however, It is such noble strains as these, and have him to remember that the power as the “ Treasures of the Deep,” the and the gift divine were not bestowed “ Voice of Spring," the “Spirit's Re- upon him to be wasted merely on the turn,” the “Better Land," and many things of earth. It is through genius others, which must ever haunt our me that the spirit of inspiration speaks; and mories, like some beloved melody, and assuredly, the “light that never was on which the world “will not willingly let sea nor shore,” is not wont to be kindled die." There are some nice portraits in in vain ; and woe be to those who disthe “Records of Woman,” the work in regard the warning voice within, and which, according to the authoress her- who permit that celestial radiance to self, “ she had put her heart and indi- gild the roses of earth alone, instead of vidual feeling more than in anything ascending to its native heaven. else she had written.” The noble story |
M. J. E.
THE NEW AMERICAN PRESIDENT.
The situation of the United States is republican propagandism, not only carone of growing importance. Their po- ried on by words, but also, if need be, litical influence is growing as rapidly as by the sword, seems to be a fixed idea of their material prosperity and strength. the Americans. They not only sell to Europe their cot- General Franklin Pierce has been ton and their tobacco, but have also begun elected president of the United States, to export their ideas. The citizens of the purposely to give a greater force to the United States are coming to act more and tendencies of these ideas. He is the more each day upon the mind of Eng. representative of the party which most lishmen, just as the English act upon violently desires their triumph. The the minds of the people of the Continent. question presents itself, therefore, If we reproach them with their excesses "What are the character and antece and injustice, they retort upon us by dents of this man?” and it will be adpointing to the abuses which have been mitted to be a question both of interest engendered by our own more ancient and importance. Is be a man more civilization. Thus, for example, if we sensible than passionate, or more vehein England hold public meetings, and ment than firm? Is he weak or strongdraw up addresses in condemnation of minded, and will he resist or yield to the iniquitous system of slavery, they the pressure which will certainly be draw up others protesting against the thrown upon him, by that large and imunfortunate condition in which the portant section of his party forming Irish nation has now been placed for that portion of the American public ages, and, pointing triumphantly to the which is the most extreme in its opinmiseries which for centuries have been ions, and the most violent in its disaccummulating in the old world, pro- position? Which will he care most claim themselves the patrons of the for, the public good, or his own popupeoples of the future, and the models larity? According to his biographer
, which must be followed by all the na- Nathaniel Hawthorn, the great novelist, tions of the earth.
these questions all admit of a most fa: If we pass from the influence which vourable solution; and, in truth, modeis exercised by the Americans over our ration, good common sense, a complete selves, as a brother people, to the consi- absence of vanity, together with firmderation of what has been the nature ness of character, and something very of their connection with the states of opposite to the impetuosity with which the European Continent, we shall find some members of his party advocate everywhere the trace of their towering their exalted patriotic ideas and exambition. Austria has been insulted, treme political opinions, are qualities Russia snubbed, and Spain threatened by which we cannot deny to Franklin them; and these menaces cannot possibly Pierce. There is plenty of room, therebe looked upon as any thing but forerun- fore, to hope that his advent to power ners of conflicts of far greater importance. will not prove to have been that of The doctrine of President Monroe re- republican excess, and patriotic intemspecting the legitimacy and necessity of perance. excluding in future all the powers of General Pierce was born in 1804, Europe from setting foot in the New at Hillsborough, in the state of New World, is now more in favour amongst Hampshire, which was also the natal the Americans than ever. The speech State of Daniel Webster, and which has lately pronounced before the senate by produced several other most eminent General Cass, given birth to by the mere statesmen. His father, Benjamin Pierce, rumour of the occupation of the Penin- came originally from Massachussets, sula of Sawana by the French, bears and, like his son, bore the title of abundant witness to the great disquie-| General. He was strongly attached to tude with which the citizens of the the democratic party, and un-like the United States survey the slightest at- present General Pierce, a democratic de tempt made by Europeans to gain a foot-condition, as the French would word it; įng on their Continent. An universal that is to say, a member of the industrial