« НазадПродовжити »
painful emotions, that it is not only very possible, but sometimes a relief and a luxury, to compose.
We do not dispute that there inay have been monodies and elegies written very soon after-immediately after an afflictive bereavement; because there are men, and alas! poets too, who have very superficial and very transitory feelings, and whose imagination readily supplies them with consolation amid any of the ills of life that do not press very hard upon their personal convenience,-in the very trappings of grief, the pomp and consequence of sorrow, and the brief notoriety, or at least attention, which is conceded to the sufferer. There are cold egotists who are happier in the sympathy they awaken, than they were in the possession they are pitied for having lost. And there are those whose grief is altogether a fiction, whose sensibility is purely the sensibility of taste.
The present Writer, we feel convinced, is not of this class. He has borrowed one motto from Young, and another from Lord Byron; but we will not wrong him by imagining that his sorrow is either the theatric grief of the Night Thoughts, or the hollow sentimental pretence of the consummate actor who wrote the • Farewell. If the circumstances described are not fictitious, they must have produced in the inind of the most unimpassioned parent, all the agony which the poem describes. The only question that can arise, is, how he could love to dwell upon them. This we have attempted to answer; and the reader will have in recollection a case very much in point, in the affecting and elegant • Monument of Parental Affection,' written by an excellent clergyman as a solace under a loss that was bowing him to the grave.
But what pleasure, it may be asked, can a man feel in laying bare his heart to strangers ? Does not real sorrow shrink even from sympathy? We suppose that no person possessing the slightest portion of sensibility, ever sate down to give vent to his feelings, with the intent, at the time, to publish what he wrote. From the public as a presence, the mourner would shrink, perhaps, with morbid sensations of proud reserve, at the very time that to that same public as an abstruction he was entrusting the preservation of the fond memorial reared in secret to the object departed. There is no contradiction in this. There are moods in which one can impart more of one's inmost feelings to a stranger than to an inmate; partly, because that stranger has do opportunity of knowing more than we choose to impart of our feelings and our history; partly, too, because we do not daily live under bis eye, and are not subject, having vented our hearts, to encounter the scrutiny of the look that bespeaks a knowledge of our feelings, when we would conceal, or forget, or disown them. The poct can fancy this unknown Public bis friend, with
out being subject to its intrusion, and enjoy an imaginary sympathy which does not hurt, but rather soothes his pride. And who has not pride to be soothed, even at the moment that he seems laid in the dust?
The chief motive to publishing such works, however, we take to be, the wish to perpetuate the memorial, and to give it a chance even of surviving its author. A vain wish, doubtless, in most cases, and a delusive consolation; but in this respect, a poem and a grave-stone speak the same language, and are the efforts of the same instinct, which says of what once was ours, 6 shall not all die.'
We shall attempt no analysis of the narrative of the present poem, but merely lay before our readers a specimen.
• There is a scene, which memory in her mood
Too faithful mingles in its sun and shade:
A single alley of o'ershadowing trees;
A pathway rising through an upland field;
The cottage built fantastic like a tower,
With its encircling garden, and beyond
The hill-dale sprinkled with its whitening crags :
Beneath the branches of those trees I sate,
With two, whose features bronzed and ruddy glowed
With the warm noon-beams, while the sea-breeze raised
Their light and flexile hair : so, pleasantly,
They turn'd the classic
is closed :
The book unopen'd rests, a monument,
A sign and a memorial: he that saw
Those sunny features and those azure eyes,
Looks on them still in vision : but for him
The letter'd dead converse in vain: th' expanse
Of nature smiles in vain : there is a shroud
Upon the sun; a seal upon the book
of that serene creation : the blue hills,
And undulating billows wafting life
And fragrance, and the joyous sounds, that riog
Among the thickets and the craggy dales,
Are images of beauty that is gone :
Echoes of hope and love, and tranquil joy,
Remember'd, not possest: a scene of dreams
From which the heart is shut: from which it turns,
Lest it should open springs of bitterness :
The paradise is there, but still beyond:
There is a gulf betwixt; I may not pass
And taste the pleasance of that glorious earth,
And feel the balm of yon embracing heaven.'
• Rock of St. Vincent! I revisit thee
With other thoughts and fainter'steps ; and climb
The spiral path alone, which last I climb'd
Not unaccompanied; and pausing now
VOL. XIV. N.S. 2 Z
Midway the cliff, how desolate the change!
The landscape lies in snow: brown leafless woods
Stretch to the water's edge, contrasting dark
With the dell's whiten'd hollows: dark the stream,
Now winding at its full : a mirror'd flood
Of clearest blackness, so intensely white
Glare the frozen banks above it, and the vales
Fringed with their bare brown thickets : oh dreår scene!
How alter'd, yet how meet !-when last I stood
Upon this beetling clift, the leafy dells
Laugh'd in their greenness: hawthorns blossom'd thick,
And hazels spread their clusters, and the paths
And brakes were gemm’d with flowerets, while the birds
Chirp'd their shrill notes, confused with bleating sounds
From the sloped vallies by that river's side;
And the full current, sparkling in the sun,
Wafted some home-bound ship, its streamers spread
To the soft fanning breeze : and when I look'd
Beyond me, that fair stripling youth was seen
Lifting his half-bower'd head among the dells ;
The whilst that other rose.cheek'd boy, who track'd
His steps, was busied with the treasury
Of mosses, hare-bells, wild anemonies,
Or honeysuckle; gathering them with heart
Of love, that wander'd towards the little ones,
Dear sisters, who awaited his return,
Beneath our happy, roof. But now I look
Upon a scene of wintry dreariment,
Pale, leafless, herbless, cold : on that black stream
Black from o'erpowering white, the very barks,
And they the living beings that propel
Their sullen sluggish motion, darkling move,
As if the nether Acheron roll'd on
Its tide before me, and a ghostly fleet
Sail'd on its ebon current. Oh most strange
And most congenial picture ! death is there-
Death is before my vision: death within
My heart : but as I lift my saddening eyes,
The tops of those tall clifts are tinged with light
As it were gold : and on my left the sky
Is one clear space of azure, where the sun,
A broaden'dorb, in ruddy splendour hangs
About to drop beyond the western hills :
Making the whiten'd banks and woodlands brown
The clear black current and the darksome barks
More desolate from contrast, yet to all
Yielding a glory and sublime relief,
With mingled gorgeous imagery of light;
Though solemn still, and chasten'd by the gloom
And desolation. How the mind, effused
Out of itself, communicates the hue
Of its own subtle spirit to the forms
Of outward things, and makes the woods and streams
Respond to its discourse, and character
Their image to its passion ! I beheld
A grave of waters, deepening dark and still,
Beneath me, and, above, the tinging gleam
Of light from heaven; the resurrection's dawn
Gilding the funeral vault; and in the sun
The Christian's rest of glory; light and strength
In his decline-the earnest of his rise.' The fugitive pieces are of various merit and interest. The following verses to a young lady, combine the simple elegance of a song with the point of an epigram.
« TO A YOUNG LADY.
• Sweet Marian ! thy blushing cheek
Where health and pleasure smile :
Thy blue mild eyes, whose glances speak
A bosom pure from guile :
Thy flowing locks, thy fairy feet,
Thy manner's timid grace :
Thy virgin voice, so thrilling sweet,
So angel-fair thy face;
Not these the source of rapture prove,
Sweet Marianne, to me :
But thou resemblest her I love,
And therefore love I thee.' The most pleasing specimen of the Author's powers, however, in every respect, is the poem entitled Sabbath Musings :' the sentiment and the diction are alike elevated, and will strongly remind the reader of Coleridge.
• It is the sabbath morn. The landscape sleeps
Calm in the sun, and silent are the hills
And vallies and the blue serene of air.
The sea scarce trembles to the rippling breeze,
Bright in tranquillity. The vanish'd lark
Breaks faint the silence and disturbs it not.
Congenial is this quiet: 'tis the hush
Of nature's earliest sabbath when the glance
Of love creative beam'd upon a world
of peace and beauty, and beheld it good.
" Oh native isle beloved! by rounding waves
Bosom'd remote, and hallow'd from the world!
The spirit meek of sanctity now walks
Thy flowery meadows and thy thickets green.
I love thy pious reverence of the day:
It whispers hope ; it breathes the secret pledge
Of preservation, when earth's kingdoms fall.'
* • Hail scene of beauty! scene of sabbath calm ! Thou greenest earth, thou blue and boundless heaven ! Thou sea reposing like the stillest lake! Hail ye, that blend your silence with the soul !
• Around the unimaginable God
Moves, visible to faith, but unconfused
With these, the works and wonders of his hand :
These intercept his presence: they are his
But not himself: the veil before his throne :
The symbol and the shadow of th’ unseen.
He sojourns not in clouds, nor is the light
His essence, mingled with the common mass
Of elements, as ancient sages dream’d,
God and his creatures one. Beyond the scope
Of sense che incommunicable mind
Dwelleth ; and they that with corporeal eye,
Adoring nature's beauteous forms, discern
Intelligence in colours and in shades,
In sunlight and the glimmer of the moon;
Who deem their worship holy, when they hear
A God in empty winds and in the sounds
Of waters, they have raised an altar up
To their own idol of material things :
They in the temple of the Deity
See but the temple : in the rocks and trees,
every blade and flower, in every bird
That wings the yielding air, they find or feel
Their godhead energy, their mindless God :
The universe its cause. Away from us
This heathen's wisdom and this poet's creed :
Away from us the dim philosophy
Whose mole-eyed opties scrutinize a God
Sever'd in parts, dissected in his powers
And attributes, and with unballow'd zeal
Torn from himself: be thine alone the praise
And love and wonder, God! whose name is One:
God of the Sabbath!'