Зображення сторінки

the fete now to be given had long excited the hopes of the fairest among the fair of our fashionable circles. Being upon a very select principle, it was a matter of no small difficulty to obtain a card of invitation to the festival ; and if report may be believed, the distribution of those passports to the fairy scene was made almost an affair of state.

The reader must imagine the banquet table, bearing all the luxuries of the season, arranged beneath a long awning; the hour of assembling to be the early part of the evening, just as the sun is setting; and the whole London world, or what is called such, to be pouring in to the grounds belonging to Boyle farm, all the metropolitan places of amusement being for that evening abandoned ; and even Parliament left to the minor orators, the first-rate prosers being summoned to prose elsewhere. While our heroine, Ianthe, is giving the last finish to her appearance, by arranging her curls in the most fascinating style, her youngest sister, not yet out, is heard singing to the accompaniment of a harp, a song of encouragement, one of the most sprightly and beautiful, as to the music, in the whole collection. The words, however, being evidently adapted to the music, are of a more common-place description than one would expect from Moore. At length, the hour arrives : the festive board is crowded with a living mass of plumes and flowers,' and the sparkling champagne goes round. By the way, the tongue of scandal has whispered, that this said champagne was indulged in rather freely by more than one of the unmarried beauties who were present on that occasion; but, let that pass. Although it was understood that there was to be no masquerade, being, undoubtedly, that species of entertainment, at which, Mr. Moore truly observes, the only thing disguised is the real character of English wit and humour, yet it was arranged that those of the guests who chose might appear in fancy dresses. There were, in consequence, a vast variety of Sultanas, Rebeccas, Sapphos, Roxalanas, and Circassian slaves, among the ladies, and among the men, the usual show of friars of every hue, Caciques, Turks, Greeks, and brigands. Ianthe shines out at once as the cynosure of the evening, in the character of Psyche.

• But where is she—the nymph, whom late

We left before her glass delaying,
Like Eve, when by the lake she sate,

In the clear wave her charms surveying.
And saw in that first glassy mirror

The first fair face that lured to error.
" Where is she," ask'st thou ?-watch all looks

As cent'ring to one point they bear,
Like sun-flowers, by the sides of brooks,

Turn’d to the sun-and she is there.
Ev’n in disguise, oh never doubt
By her own light you'd track her out:

As when the morn, close shawld in fog,
Steals as she thinks, through heaven incog.,
Though hid herself, some side-long ray
At every step, detects her way.
• But not in dark disguise to-night
Hath our young heroine veil'd her light;
For see, she walks the earth, Love's own,

His wedded bride by holiest vow
Pledy'd in Olympus, and made known

To mortals by the type which now
Hangs glittering on her snowy brow-
That butterfly, mysterious trinket,
Which means the soul (tho' few would think it)
And sparkling thus on brow so white,
Tells us we've Psyche here to-night!
• But hark! some song hath caught her ears,

And, lo, how pleas'd, as though she'd ne'er
Heard the Grand Opera of the spheres,

Her goddess-ship approves the air,
And to a mere terrestrial strain,
Inspired by nought but pink champagne,

Her butterfly as gaily nods
As though she sate with all her train,

At some great Concert of the Gods,
With Phæbus, leader-Jove, director,
And half the audience drunk with nectar.
• From a male group the carol came-

A few gay youths, whom round the board
The last-tried flask's superior fame

Had lured, to taste the tide it poured ;
And one, who, from his youth and lyre,
Seemed grandson to the Teian sire,
Thus gaily sung, while, to his lay,
Less, and, still less, like dying day,

The flask's rich radiance ebbed away.'—pp. 23—25.

that follows is perfectly Moorish in its style. It begins Some mortals there may be,' and we would recommend the reader to try the music of it too, which we think (speaking from experience) he will find lively, and expressive of a playful hilarity. The evening advances :

• Now nearly fled was sunset's light,

Leaving but so much of its beam
As gave to objects late so bright,

The colouring of a shadowy dream;
And th was still where day had set

A flush that spoke him loth to die-
A last link of his glory yet,

Binding together earth and sky.
Oh why is it that twilight best
Becomes even brows the loveliest?


That dimness, with its softening touch

Can bring out grace unfelt before,
And charms we ne'er can see too much,

When seen but half enchant the more !
Why is it, but, that every joy
In fulness finds its worst alloy,
And half a bliss, but hop'd or guess'd,
Is sweeter than the whole possess'd ;-
That Beauty, dimly shone upon,

A creature all ideal grows;
And there's no light from moon or sun

Like that imagination throws;-
Why is it but that Fancy shrinks

Even from a bright reality,
And turning inly, feels and thinks.

Far heavenlier things than e'er will be.
Such was th' effect of twilight's hour

On the fair groups that round and round,
From glade to grot, from bank to bower,

Now wander'd through this fairy ground,
And thus did fancy (and champagne)

Work on the sight their dazzling spells,
Till nymphs that look'd at noon-day, plain,

Now brighten'd, in the gloom, to belles;
And the brief interval of time,

'Twixt after dinner and before,
To dowagers brought back their prime,

And shed a halo round two-score.
• Meanwhile, new pastimes for the eye,

The ear, the fancy, quick succeed;
And now along the waters fly

Light gondoles, of Venetian breed,
With knights, and dames, who calm reclin'd

Lisp out love-sonnets as they glide,
Astonishing old Thames to find,

Such doings on his moral tide.
So bright was still that tranquil river,
With the last beam from daylight's quiver,
That many a group, in turn, were seen
Embarking on its wave serene;
And ’mong the rest in chorus gay,
A band of mariners from th' isles
Of sunny Greece, all song and smiles,
As smooth they floated to the play

Of their oars' cadence, sung this lay.'—pp. 33–35. Here is poetry of the true order : it bears the stamp of currency upon every line. There is much energy and beauty also in the trio which follows, but as we cannot copy the music, which is an essential part of its merit, we must be content with the charming description of its effect which the poet has given.

* Like pleasant thoughts that o'er the mind

A minute come and go again,
Ev'n so, by snatches, in the wind,

Was caught and lost that choral strain,
Now full, now faint upon


As the bark floated far or near,
At length, when lost, the closing note

Had down the waters died along,
Forth from another fairy boat,

Freighted with music, came this song.'-p. 45.
The song is poetry itself.


• Smoothly flowing through verdant vales,

Gentle river, thy current runs,
Shelter'd safe from winter gales,

Shaded cool from summer suns.
Thus our youth's sweet moments glide,

Fenc'd with flowery shelter round;
No rude tempest wakes the tide,

All its path is fairy ground.


But, fair river, the day will come,

When, woo'd by whisp'ring groves in vain,
Thou'lt leave those banks, thy shaded home,

To mingle with the stormy main.
And thou, sweet youth, too soon wilt pass

Into the world's unsheltered sea,
Where, once thy wave hath mix'd alas,

All hope of peace is lost for thee.- p. 46. The poet next directs our attention to the gay saloon, where, beneath a “zodiac” of lights and flowers, such as is often seen in the Russian ball-rooms, the quadrille parties are formed and engaged in the 'mazy rites' of the dance, to the sound of the most brilliant strains of the opera metamorphosed for the occasion. The quadrilles over, while the partners are walking arm in arm, according to the rule therein provided, talking soft nothings to each other, two exquisites of the n.ale and female gender suddenly make their appearance, dressed in the most eccentric fashion. every body stares and examines these monsters with the most refined curiosity. Some think that the gentleman's waist was too large, others that the lady's bonnet was not quite broad or high enough, as they doubted whether she could walk, without being impeded, through the church door. However, it was universally agreed that they were first-rate specimens of their kind. The poet assigns then a waltzing duet, in which they complain of faithlessness on either side: it is a capital parody on Horace's ode, “Donec gratus eram tibi,” &c. We should be delighted to see this duet well per

Of course,


formed; that is to say, well acted, as well as skilfully sung. It would be in itself an exquisite comedy. While we may imagine the company to be entertained by this duet, a thousand hands are employed in illuminating the garden and grounds, and converting them into a fairy region. Among the most enchanting of the recesses of the shrubberies, was one that lay on the verge of a small lake. Hither, a dark-eyed nymph, one of Leonardo da Vinci's beauties, retired from the gayer scenes, and taking up her lute, gave a pathetic musical expression to the following words:

Bring hither, bring thy lute, while day is dying,

Here will I lay me, and list to thy song;
Should tones of other days mix with its sighing,

Tones of a light heart, now banished so long,
Chase them away,- they bring but pain,
And let thy theme be woe again.
Sing on, thou mouruful lute—day is fast going,

Soon will its light from thy chords die away;
One little gleam in the west is still glowing,

When that hath vanish'd farewell to thy lay!
Mark, how it fades !--see-it is filed !

Now, sweet lute, be thou, too, dead !'- p. 64. To this succeeds, in another part of the gardens, a trio, by the group that had sung their chorus on the river. Their theme was Grecian, and their poetry is worthy of Sappho, when she poured forth those burning lines, so justly praised by Longinus, beginning

“Oh happy as the Gods is he,

Who gazes at this hour on thee!" This energetic song is, as it were, answered by the beauty of the lake, in a light Italian air, to which the following charming verses are married,

Oh where art thou dreaming,

On land, or on sea?
In my lattice is gleaming

The watch-light for thee;
And this fond heart is glowing

To welome thee home,
And the night is fast going,

But thou art not come :
Thou com'st not, -No, thou com'st not!
"Tis the time when night-flowers

Should wake from their rest;
'Tis the hour of all hours,

When the lute murmurs best.
But the flowers are half sleeping

Till thy glance they see,
And the hush'd lute is keeping

Its music for thee.
Yet thou com'st not,-No, thou com’st not?'-p. 76.

« НазадПродовжити »