Зображення сторінки
[blocks in formation]


The laurel-leaves are cool and green,
But the thorns are hot and sharp ;

She was a Phantom of Delight
Lean Hunger grins and stares between

When first she gleamed upon my sight; The poet and his harp,

A lovely Apparition, seut Though of Love's sunny sheen his woof have been, To be a moments ornament; Grim Want thrusts in the warp.

Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;

Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair; And if, beyond this darksome clime,

But all things else about her drawn Some fair star Hope may see,

From May-time's brightest, liveliest dawn; That keeps unjarred the blissful chime

A dancing Shape, an Image gay, Of its golden infancy,

To haunt, to startle, and way.lay. Where the harvest-time of faith sublime

I saw her upon nearer view, Not always is to be ;

A Spirit, yet a Woman too!

Her household motions light and free, Yet would the true soul rather choose

And steps of virgin-liberty ; A home where sorrow is,

A countenance in which did meet Than in a sated peace to lose

Sweet records, promises as sweet; Its life's supremest bliss,

A Creature not too bright or good The rainbow hues that bend profuse

For human nature's daily food; O'er cloudy spheres like this,

For transient sorrows, simple wiles,

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
The want, the sorrow, and the pain,

And now I see with eye serene
That are Love's right to cure,-
The sunshine bursting after rain,-

The very pulse of the machine ;

A Being breathing thoughtful breath, The gladness insecure,

A Traveller between life and death; That makes us fain strong hearts to gain

The reasou firm, the temperate will, To do and to endure.

Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;

A perfect Woman, nobly planned, High natures must be thunder scarred

To warn, to comfort, and command; With many a searing wrong;

And yet a Spirit still, and bright
From mother Sorrow's breasts the bari.

With something of an angel-light.
Sucks gists of deepest song;
Nor all unmarred with struggles hard
Wax the soul's sinews strong.

Who knows that truth is strong next to the Al

mighty ; she needs no policies, no stratagems, no Dear Patience, too, is born of woe,

licensings, to make her victorious! Though all the Patience, that opes the gate

winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the Wherethrough the soul of man must go

earth, so truth be in the field, we injure her to misUp to each nobler state,

doubt her strength! Let truth and falsehood grapWhose voice's flow so meek and low

ple; who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free Smooths the bent brows of Fate.

and open encounter ?-Milton.


No. 14.


THE OLD CUMBERLAND BEGGAR. His eyes are turned, and as he moves along,

They move along the ground; and, evermore,
Instead of common and habitual sight

Or fields with rural works, of hill and dale,
I saw an aged Beggar in my walk;

And the blue sky, one little span of earth
And he was seated, by the highway side,
On a low structure of rude masonry

Is all his prospect. Thus, from day to day,
Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they

Bow-bent, his eyes for ever on the ground, Who lead their horses down the steep rough road

He plies his weary journey; seeing still,

And seldom knowing that he sees, some straw, May thence remount at ease. The aged Man Some scattered leaf, or marks which, in one track, Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone

The nails of cart or chariot-wheel have left That overlays the pile; and, from a bag

Impressed on the white road,-in the same line, All white with flour, the dole of village dames, At distance still the same. Poor Traveller! He drew his scraps and fragments, one by one ; His staff trails with him; scarcely do his feet And scanned them with a fixed and serious look

Disturb the summer dust; he is so still Of idle computation. In the sun,

In look and motion, that the cottage curs, Upon the second step of that small pile,

Ere he has passed the door, will turn away, Surrounded by those wild unpeopled hills,

Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls, He sat, and ate his food in solitude :

The vacant and the busy, maids and youths, And ever, scattered from his palsied hand, And urchins newly breeched-all pass him by: That, still attempting to prevent the waste, Him even the slow-paced waggon leaves behind. Was baffled still, the crumbs in little showers Fell on the ground; and the small mountain birds, But deem not this man useless.Statesmen ye Not venturing yet to peck their destined meal, Who are so restless in your wisdom, ye Approached within the length of half his staff. Who have a broom still ready in your hands

To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud, Him from my childhood have I known; and then Heart-gwoln, while in your pride ye contemplate He was so old, he seems not older now;

Your talents, power, or wisdom, deem him not He travels on, a solitary Man,

A burthen of the earth! 'Tis Nature's law So helpless in appearance, that for him

That none, the meanest of created things, The sauntering Horseman throws not with a slack of forms created the most vile and brute, And careless hand his alms upon the ground,

The dullest or most noxious, should exist But stops,—that he may safely lodge the coin

Divorced from good-a spirit and pulse of good, Within the old Man's hat; nor quits him so,

A life and soul, to every mode of being But still, when he has given his horse the rein, Inseparably linked. Then be assured Watches the aged Beggar with a look

That least of all can aught—that ever owned Sidelong, and half-reverted. She who tends The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime The toll-gate, when in summer at her door Which man is born to-sink, howe'er depressed, She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees

So low as to be scorned without a sin; The aged Beggar coming, quits her work,

Without offence to God cast out of view; And lifts the latch for him that he may pass.

Like the dry remnant of a garden-flower The post-boy, when his rattling wheels o’ertake Whose seeds are shed, or as an implement The aged Beggar in the woody lare,

Worn out and worthless. While from door to door Shouts to him from behind; and, if thus warned This old man creeps, the villagers in him The old man does not change his course, the boy

Behold a record which together binds Turns with less noisy wheels to the roadside,

Past deeds and offices of charity, And passes gently by, without a curse

Else unremembered, and so keeps alive Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.

The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years,

And that half-wisdom half experience gives, He travels on, a solitary man ;

Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign His age has no companion. On the ground To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.

Among the farms and solitary huts,

-Such pleasure is to one kind Being known, Hamlets and thinly scattered villages,

My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week, Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds, Duly as Friday comes, though pressed herself The mild necessity of use compels

By her own wants, she from her store of meal To acts of love; and habit does the work

Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of reason; yet prepares that after joy

Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul, Returning with exhilarated heart,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,

Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in heaven.
Doth find herself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness.

Then let him pass, a blessing on his head !

And while in that vast solitude to which

Some there are, The tide of things has borne him, he appears By their good works exalted, lofty minds

To breathe and live but for himself alone, And meditative, authors of delight

Unblamed, uninjnred, let him bear about And happiness, which to the end of time

The good which the benignant law of Heaven Will live, and spread, and kindle : even such minds Has hung around him; and while life is his, In childhood, from this solitary Being,

Still let him prompt the unlettered villagers Or from like wanderer, haply have received

To tender offices and pensive thoughts. (A thing more precious far than all that books

-Then let him pass, a blessing on his head ! Or the solicitudes of love can do !)

And, long as he can wander, let him breathe 'l hat first mild touch of sympathy and thought,

The freshness of the valleys ; let his blood In which they found their kindred with the world

Struggle with frosty air and winter snows; Where want and sorrow were. The easy man And let the chartered wind that sweeps the heath Who sits at his own door,-and, like the pear

Beat his grey locks against his withered face. That overhangs his head from the green wall,

Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,

Gives the last human interest to his heart. The prosperous and unthinking, they who live

May never House, misnamed of INDUSTRY, Sheltered, and flourish in a little grove

Make him a captive! for that pent-up din, of their own kindred ;--all behold in him

Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air, A silent monitor, which on their minds

Be his the natural silence of old age ! Must needs impress a transitory thought

Let him be free of mountain solitudes; Of sell.congratulation, to the heart

And have around him, whether heard or not, Of each recalling his peculiar boons,

The pleasant melody of woodland birds. His charters and exemptions; and, perchance,

Few are his pleasures : if his eyes have now Though he to no one give the fortitude

Been doomed so long to settle upon earth And circumspection needful to preserve

That not without some effort they behold His present blessings, and to husband up

The countenance of the horizontal sun, The respite of the season, he, at least,

Rising or setting, let the light at least And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.

Find a free entrance to their languid orbs. Yet further. -Many, I believe, there are And let him, where and when he will, sit down Who live a life of virtuous decency,

Beneath the trees, or on a grassy bank Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel

Of highway side, and with the little birds No self-reproach ; who of the moral law

Share his chance-gathered meal: and, finally, Established in the land where they abide

As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
Are strict observers; and not negligent

So in the eye of Nature let him die!
In acts of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace !
---But of the poor man ask, the abject poor ;
Go, and demand of him, if there be here

A very deep meaning lies in that notion, that a In this cold abstinence from evil deeds,

man in search of buried treasure must work in utter And these inevitable charities,

silence; must speak not a word, whatever appear. Wherewith to satisfy the human soul?

ance, either terrific or delightful, may present itself. No-nan is dear to man; the poorest poor

And not less significant is the tradition that one who Long for some moments in a weary life

is on an adventurous pilgrimage to some precious When they can know and feel that they have been, talisman, through the most lonesome mountain-path, Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out or dreary desert, must walk onward without stopOf some small blessings; have been kind to such ping, nor look around him, though fearfully menacAs needed kindness, for this single cause,

ing, or sweetly enticing voices follow his footsteps, That we have all of us one human heart.

and sound in his ear.-GOETHE.

FROM “LOWELL'S CONVERSATIONS." depth in the sea; but in the ocean of baseness, the

The earliest poetry of all countries is sacred deeper we get the easier the sinking. Is for the poetry, or that in which the idea of God predomi- kindness which Milton and Burns felt for the Devil; nates and is developed. The first effort at speech I am sure that God thinks of him with pity a thouwhich man's nature makes in all tongues is, to pro- sand times to their once, and the good Origin believ. nounce the word " Father." Reverence is the ed him not incapable of salvation. foundation of all poetry. From Reverence the spirit

These simplest thoughts, feelings and expeclimbs on to love, and thence beholds all things. riences, that lie upon the very surface of life, are No matter in what Scythian fashion these first re overlooked by all but uncommon eyes. Most look cognitions of something above and beyond the soul upon them as mere weeds. Yet a weed, to him that are uttered, they contain the germs of psalms and loves it, is a flower; and there are times when we prophecies. Whether, for a while, the immortal would not part with a sprig of chickweed for a whole guest rests satisfied with a Fetish or an A pollo, it continent of lilies. No man thinks his own nature has already grasped the clew which leads unerringly miraculous, while to his neighbour it may give a to the very highest idea. For reverence is the most surfeit of wonder. Let him go where he will, he keen-eyed and exacting of all the faculties, and, if can find no heart so worth a study as his own. there be the least flaw in its idol, it will kneel no

The prime fault of modern poets is, that they are longer. From wood it rises to gold and ivory; from resolved to be peculiar. They are not content that these, to the yet simpler and more majestic marble; it should come of itself, but they must dig and bore and, planting its foot upon that, it leaps upward to for it, sinking their wells usually through the grave the infinite and invisible. When I assume reve.

of some buried originality, so that if any water rises rence, then, as the very primal essence and life of it is tainted. Read most volumes of poems, and poetry, I claim for it a nobler stirp than it has been you are reminded of a French bill of fare, where the fashion to allow it. Beyond Adam runs back its every thing is á la something else. Even a potato illustrious genealogy. It stood with Uriel in the au naturel is a godsend. When will poets learn sun, and looked down over the battlements of heaven that a grass-blade of their own raising is worth a with the angelic guards. In short, it is no other barrow-load of flowers from their neighbour's than the religious sentiment itself. That is poetry garden? which makes sorrow lovely, and joy solemn to us,

Ah, if we would but pledge ourselves to truth as and reveals to us the holiness of things. Faith casts heartily as we do to a real or imaginary mistress, herself upon her neck as upon a sister's. She shows and think life too short only because it abridged our us what glimpses we get of life's spiritual face. time of service, what a new world we should have ! What she looks on becomes miraculous, though it Most men pay their vows to her in youth, and go be but the dust of the way-side ; and miracles be- up into the bustle of life, with her kiss warm upon come but as dust for their simpleness. There is their lips, and ber blessing lying upon their hearts nothing noble without her; with her there can be like dew; but the world has lips less chary, and nothing mean. What songs the Druids sang within cheaper benedictions, and if the broken trothplight the sacred circuit of Stonehenge we can barely con

with their humble village.mistress comes over them jecture; but those forlorn stones doubtless echoed sometimes with a pang, she knows how to blandish with appeals to a higher something; and are not away remorse, and persuades them, ere old age, even now without their sanctity, since they chroni- that their young enthusiasm was a folly and an in. cle a nation's desire after God. Whether those forest

discretion. priests worshipped the strangely beautiful element I agree with you that the body is treated with of fire, or if the pilgrim Belief pitched her tent and quite too much ceremony and respect. Even relirested for a night in some ruder and bleaker creed, gion has vailed its politic hat to it, till, like Christhere we may yet trace the light footprints of Poesy, topher Sly, it is metamorphosed, in its own estimaas she led her sister onward to fairer fields, and tion, from a tinker to a duke. Men, who would, streams flowing nearer to the oracle of God.

without compunction, kick a living beggar, will yet Byron might have made a great poet. As it is, stand in awe of his poor carcass, after all that renhis poetry is the record of a struggle between his dered it truly venerable has led out of it.

We good and his baser nature, in which the latter wins. agree with the old barbarian epitaph which affirmed The fall is great in proportion to the height from that the handfull of dust had been Ninus ; as if that which one is hurled. An originally beautiful spirit which convicts us of mortality and weakness could becomes the most degraded when perverted. It at the same time endow us with our high prerogawould fain revenge itself upon that purity from tive of kingship over them. South, in one of his which it is an unhappy and restless exile, and drowns sermons, tells us of certain men whose souls are of its remorse in the drunkenness and vain bluster of no worth, but as salt to keep their bodies from pudefiance. There is a law of neutralization of forces, trifying. I fear that the soul is too often regarded which hinders bodies from sinking beyond a certain in this sutler fashion. Why should men ever be

afraid to die, but that they regard the spirit as secon-, word spoken for her ever fail of some willing and dary to that which is but its mere appendage and fruitful ear. Even under our thin crust of fashion conveniency, its symbol, its word, its means of visi- and frivolity throb the undying fires of the great bility? If the soul lose this poor mansion of hers sonl of man, the fountain and centre of all poetry, by the sudden conflagration of disease, or by the and which will one day burst forth to wither like slow decay of age, is she therefore houseless and grass-blades the vain temples and palaces which shelterless? If she cast away this soiled and tat- forms and conventionalities have heaped smothertered garment, is she therefore naked ? A child ingly upon it. Behind the blank faces of the weak looks forward to his new suit, and dons it joyfully; and thoughtless, I see, sometimes with a kind of we cling to our rags and foulness. We should wel dread, this awful and mysterious presence, as I have come Death as one who brings us tidings of the find-seen one of Allston's paintings in a ball-room overing of long-lost titles to a large family estate, and looking with its serene and steadfast eyes the but. set out gladly to take possession, though, it may be, terfly throng beneath, and seeming to gaze, from not without a natural tear for the humbler home we these narrow battlements of time, far out into the are leaving. Death always means us a kindness, infinite promise of the future, beholding there the though he has often a gruff way of offering it. Even free, erect, and perfected soul. if the soul never returned from that chartless and No sincere desire of doing good need make an unmapped country, which I do not believe, I would enemy of a single human being; for that is a capatake Sir John Davies's reason as a good one : city in which he is by nature nnfitted to shine. It “ But, as Noah's pigeon, which returned do more,

may, and must, rouse opposition ; but that philanDid show she footing found, for all the flood ; thropy has surely a flaw in it, which cannot sympa. So, when good soula, departed through death's door,

Come not again, it shows their dwelling good." thize with the oppressor equally as with the oppressThe realm of Death seems an enemy's country ed. It is the high and glorious vocation of Poesy to most men, on whose shores they are loathly driven as well to make our own daily life and toil more by stress of weather ; to the wise man it is the de- beautiful and holy to us by the divine ministerings sired port where he moors his bark gladly, as in of love, as to render us swist to convey the same some quiet haven of the Fortunate Isles ; it is the blessing to our brother. Poesy is love's chosen golden west into which his sun sinks, and, sinking, apostle, and the very almoner of God. She is the casts back a glory upon the leaden cloud-rack which the home of the outcast, and the wealth of the needy. had darkly besieged his day.

For her the hut becomes a palace, whose halls are After all, the body is a more expert dialectician guarded by the gods of Phidias, and kept peaceful than the soul, and buffets it, even to bewilderment, by the maid-mothers of Raphael. She loves better with the empty bladders of logic; but the soul can the poor wanderer whose bare feet know by heart retire. from the dust and turmoil of such conflict, to all the freezing stones of the pavement, than the the high tower of instinctive faith, and there, in delicate maiden for whose dainty soles Brussels and hushed serenity, take comfort of the sympathizing Turkey have been over-careful; and I doubt not stars. We look at death through the cheap glazed but some remembered scrap of childish song hath windows of the flesh, and believe him for the mon. often been a truer alms than all the benevolent socister which the flawed and crooked glass presents eties could give. She is the best missionary, knowhim. You say truly that we have wasted time in ing when she may knock at the door of the most trying to coax the body into a faith in what, by its curmudgeonly bearts, without being turned away very nature, it is incapable of comprehending. unheard. The omnipresence of her spirit is beautiHence, a plethoric, short-winded kind of belief, that fully and touchingly expressed in « The Poet," one can walk at an easy pace over the smooth plain, but of the divisions of a little volume of poems by Corloses breath at the first sharp uphill of life. How idle nelius Matthews. Were the whole book as simple is it to set a sensual bill of fare before the soul, in thought and diction as the most of this particular acting over again the old story of the Crane and the poem, I know few modern volumes that would equal Fox!

it. Let me read you the passage I alluded to You I know not when we shall hear pure spiritualism will see that the poor slave is not forgotten. preached by the authorized expounders of doctrine. " There sits not on the wilderness's edge, These have suffered the grain to mildew, while they

In the dusk lodges of the wintry North,

Nor couches in the rice fields slimy sedge, have been wrangling about the husks of form; and Nor on the cold, wide waters ventures forth,

Who waits not, in the pauses of his toil, the people have stood by, hangry and half-starved,

With hope that spirits in the air may singi too intent on the issue of the quarrel to be conscious Who upward turns not, at propitious times,

Breathless, his silent features listening, that they were trampling the forgotten and scattered In desert and in lodge, on marsh and main, bread of life in the mire. Thank aven, they

To feed his hungry heart and conquer pain." may still pluck ripe ears, of God's own planting and The love of the beautiful and truo, like the dewwatering, in the fields !

drop in the heart of the crystal, remains forever True poetry is never out of place, nor will a good clear and liquid in the inmost shrine of man's being,

« НазадПродовжити »