Imágenes de página
PDF

the last recorded words of Oliver Goldsmith. He died on the 3rd of April, 1774, in his forty-sixth year. He was laid in the churchyard of the Temple; but the spot was not marked by any inscrip- [820 tion, and is now forgotten. The coffin was followed by Burke and Reynolds. Both these great men were sincere mourners. Burke, when he heard of Goldsmith's death, had burst into a flood of tears. Reynolds had been so much moved by the news that he had flung aside his brush and palette for the day.

A short time after Goldsmith's death, a little poem appeared, which will, as [830 long as our language lasts, associate the names of his two illustrious friends with his own. It has already been mentioned that he sometimes felt keenly the sarcasm which his wild blundering talk brought upon him. He was, not long before his last illness, provoked into retaliating. He wisely betook himself to his pen; and at that weapon he proved himself a match for all his assailants together. Within [840 a small compass he drew with a singularly easy and vigorous pencil the characters of nine or ten of his intimate associates. Though this little work did not receive his last touches, it must always be regarded as a masterpiece. It is impossible, however, not to wish that four or five likenesses which have no interest for posterity were wanting to that noble gallery, and that their places were supplied [850 by sketches of Johnson and Gibbon, as happy and vivid as the sketches of Burke and Garrick.

Some of Goldsmith's friends and admirers honored him with a cenotaph in Westminster Abbey. Nollekens was the sculptor; and Johnson wrote the inscription. It is much to be lamented that Johnson did not leave to posterity a more durable and a more valuable memorial [860 of his friend. A life of Goldsmith would have been an inestimable addition to the Lives of the Poets. No man appreciated Goldsmith's writings more justly than Johnson: no man was better acquainted with Goldsmith's character and habits: and no man was more competent to delineate with truth and spirit the peculiarities of a mind in which great powers

were found in company with great [870 weaknesses. But the list of poets to whose works Johnson was requested by the booksellers to furnish prefaces ended with Lyttleton, who died in 1773. The line seems to have been drawn expressly for the purpose of excluding the person whose portrait would have most fitly closed the series. Goldsmith, however, has been fortunate in his biographers. Within a few years his life has been [880 written by Mr. Prior, by Mr. Washington Irving, and by Mr. Forster. The diligence of Mr. Prior deserves great praise; the style of Mr. Washington Irving is always pleasing; but the highest place must, in justice, be assigned to the eminently interesting work of Mr. Forster.

ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH (1819-1861)
QUA CURSUM VENTUS

As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side,

Two towers of sail at dawn of day Are scarce long leagues apart descried; 4

When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
And all the darkling hours they plied, Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
By each was cleaving, side by side:

E'en so—but why the tale reveal
Of those, whom year by year unchanged,

Brief absence joined anew to feel, n Astounded, soul from soul estranged?

At dead of night their sails were filled,
And onward each rejoicing steered—

Ah, neither blame, for neither willed, 15
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!

To veer, how vain! On, onward strain, Brave barks! In light, in darkness too, Through winds and tides one compass guides— To that, and your own selves, be true. 20

But O blithe breeze; and O great seas,
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,

On your wide plain they join again,
Together lead them home at last.

One port, methought, alike they sought, 25 One purpose hold where'er they fare,— O bounding breeze, O rushing seas! At last, at last, unite them there!

WHERE LIES THE LAND

Where lies the land to which the ship would go? Far, far ahead, is all her seamen know. And where the land she travels from? Away, Far, far behind, is all that they can say.

On sunny noons upon the deck's smooth face, 5

Linked arm in arm, how pleasant here to pace;

Or, o'er the stern reclining, watch below The foaming wake far widening as we go.

On stormy nights when wild northwesters rave, How proud a thing to fight with wind and wave! 10 The dripping sailor on the reeling mast Exults to bear, and scorns to wish it past.

Where lies the land to which the ship

would go? Far, far ahead, is all her seamen know. And where the land she travels from?

Away, is

Far, far behind, is all that they can say.

ALL IS WELL

Whate'er you dream, with doubt possessed,

Keep, keep it snug within your breast,

And lay you down and take your rest;

Forget in sleep the doubt and pain,

And when you wake, to work again. 5

The wind it blows, the vessel goes,

And where and whither, no one knows.

'Twill all be well: no need of care; Though how it will, and when, and where, We cannot see, and can't declare. 10

In spite of dreams, in spite of thought, 'Tis not in vain, and not for nought, The wind it blows, the ship it goes, Though where and whither, no one knows.

LIFE IS STRUGGLE

To wear out heart, and nerves, and brain,
And give oneself a world of pain;
Be eager, angry, fierce, and hot,
Imperious, supple—God knows what,
For what's all one to have or not; 5 O false, unwise, absurd, and vain!
For 'tis not joy, it is not gain,
It is not in itself a bliss,
Only it is precisely this
That keeps us all alive. 10

To say we truly feel the pain,
And quite are sinking with the strain;—
Entirely, simply, undeceived,
Believe, and say we ne'er believed
The object, e'en were it achieved, 15 A thing we e'er had cared to keep;
With heart and soul to hold it cheap,
And then to go and try it again;
O false, unwise, absurd, and vain!
O, 'tis not joy, and 'tis not bliss, 20 Only it is precisely this
That keeps us still alive.

ITE DOMUM SATURN, VENIT
HESPERUS

The skies have sunk, and hid the upper snow
(Home, Rose, and home, Provence and

La Palie), The rainy clouds are filing fast below, And wet will be the path, and wet shall

we. Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie. 5

Ah dear, and where is he, a year agone. Who stepped beside and cheered us on and on? My sweetheart wanders far away from me. In foreign land or on a foreign sea, Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie. 10 The lightning zigzags shoot across the sky (Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie),

And through the vale the rains go sweeping by;

Ah me, and when in shelter shall we be? Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie. 15

Cold, dreary cold, the stormy winds feel they O'er foreign lands and foreign seas that stray (Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie). And doth he e'er, I wonder, bring to mind The pleasant huts and herds he left behind? 20 And doth he sometimes in his slumbering see The feeding kine, and doth he think of me, My sweetheart wandering wheresoe'er it be? Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie.

The thunder bellows far from snow to snow 25

(Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie),

And loud and louder roars the flood below.

Heigho! but soon in shelter shall we be: Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie.

Or shall he find before his term be sped 30 Some comelier maid that he shall wish to wed? (Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie.) For weary is work, and weary day by day To have your comfort miles on miles away. Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie. 35

Or may it be that I shall find my mate, And he returning see himself too late? For work we must, and what we see, we

see, And God he knows, and what must be, must be,

When sweethearts wander far away from me. 40

Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie.

The sky behind is brightening up anew (Home, Rose, and home, Provence and La Palie), The rain is ending, and our journey too: Heigho! aha! for here at home are we:—45 In, Rose, and in, Provence and La Palie.

SAY NOT THE STRUGGLE NOUGHT AVAILETH

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,

The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 5
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,

Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain, 10 Far back, through creeks and inlets mak-
ing,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the
light, 14

In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.

MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888) SHAKESPEARE

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask—Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,
Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,5
Making the heaven of heavens his dwell-
ing-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foiled searching of mortality;

And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,

Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honored, self-secure, 10

Didst tread on earth unguessed at.— Better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure, All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow, Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.

THE FORSAKEN MERMAN

Come, dear children, let us away,
Down and away below!
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow, 5 Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray;
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!

Call her once before you go— 10 Call once yet!

In a voice that she will know:

"Margaret! Margaret!"

Children's voices should be dear

(Call once more!) to a mother's ear; 15

Children's voices, wild with pain—

Surely she will come again!

Call her once and come away;

This way, this way!

"Mother dear, we cannot stay; 20 The wild white horses foam and fret." Margaret! Margaret!

Come, dear children, come away down;
Call no more!

One last look at the white-walled town, 25
And the little gray church on the windy

shore; Then come down!

She will not come though you call all day:
Come away, come away!

Children dear, was it yesterday 30 We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell?

Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep, 35
Where the winds are all asleep;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-
ground; 40
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine:
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world for ever and aye? 45
When did music come this way?
Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once!) that she went away?
Once she sate with you and me, 50 On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea, And the youngest sate on her knee.
She combed its bright hair, and she

tended it well, When down swung the sound of a far-off

bell. She sighed, she looked up through the clear green sea; 55

She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray In the little gray church on the shore to-
day.
'Twill be Easter-time in the world, ah me!
And I lose my poor soul, Merman! here

with thee." I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the

waves; 60 Say thy prayer, and come back to the

kind sea-caves!" She smiled, she went up through the surf

in the bay. Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, were we long alone? "The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan; 65 Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;

Come!" I said; and we rose through the surf in the bay. We went up the beach, by the sandy down

Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the whitewalled town;

Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still, 70

To the little gray church on the windy hill. From the church came a murmur of folk

at their prayers, But we stood without in the cold blowing

airs. We climbed on the graves, on the stones

worn with rains, And we gazed up the aisle through the

small leaded panes. 75 She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear: "Margaret, hist! come quick, we are

here! Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone; The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan." But, ah, she gave me never a look, 80 For her eyes were sealed to the holy book! Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door. Come away, children, call no more! Come away, come down, call no more!

Down, down, down! 85 Down to the depths of the sea! She sits at her wheel in the humming

town, Singing most joyfully. Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy, For the humming street, and the child

with its toy! 90 For the priest, and the bell, and the holy

well; For the wheel where I spun, And the blessed light of the sun!" And so she sings her fill, Singing most joyfully, 95 Till the spindle drops from her hand, And the whizzing wheel stands still. She steals to the window, and looks at the sand, And over the sand at the sea; And her eyes are set in a stare; 100 And anon there breaks a sigh, And anon there drops a tear, From a sorrow-clouded eye, And a heart sorrow-laden; A long, long sigh 105 For the cold strange eyes of a little Mer- maiden And the gleam of her golden hair.

Come away, away, children;
Come, children, come down!
The hoarse wind blows colder; no Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar. 115 We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing: "Here came a mortal, no

But faithless was she!
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea."

But, children, at midnight,

When soft the winds blow, 125

When clear falls the moonlight,

When spring-tides are low;

When sweet airs come seaward

From heaths starred with broom,

And high rocks throw mildly 130

On the blanched sands a gloom;

Up the still, glistening beaches,

Up the creeks we will hie,

Over banks of bright seaweed

The ebb-tide leaves dry. 135

We will gaze, from the sand-hills,

At the white, sleeping town;

At the church on the hill-side:

And then come back down,

Singing: "There dwells a loved one, 140

But cruel is she!

She left lonely for ever

The kings of the sea."

PHILOMELA

Hark! ah, the nightingale— The tawny-throated! Hark, from that moonlit cedar what a burst!

What triumph! hark!—what pain! O wanderer from a Grecian shore, 5 Still, after many years, in distant lands,

Still nourishing in thy bewildered brain That wild, unquenched, deep-sunken, oldworld pain— Say, will it never heal?

« AnteriorContinuar »