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As with soft accents round her neck he clings,
And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings,
How blest to feel the beatings of his heart,
Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart;
Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove,
And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love !" This is pursued in the same strain of tenderness and beauty through all its most interesting bearings; — and then we pass to the bolder kindlings and loftier aspirations of Youth. “ Then is the Age of Admiration
Gods walk the earth, or beings more than men!
Ha! then come thronging many a wild desire,
And high imaginings and thoughts of fire !
Then from within a voice exclaims · Aspire!'
Phantoms, that upward point, before him pass,
As in the Cave athwart the Wizard's glass," &c. We cut short this tablature, however, as well as the spirited sketches of impetuous courage and devoted love that belong to the same period, to come to the joys and duties of maturer life; which, we think, are described with still more touching and characteristic beauties. The Youth passes into this more tranquil and responsible state, of course, by Marriage; and we have great satisfaction in recurring, with our uxorious poet, to his representation of that engaging ceremony, upon which his thoughts seem to dwell with so much fondness and complacency.
“ Then are they blest indeed ! and swift the hours
Till her young Sisters wreathe her hair in flowers,
Kindling her beauty — while, unseen, the least
Twitches her robe, then runs behind the rest,
Known by her laugh that will not be suppress'd,
Then before All they stand! The holy vow
And ring of gold, no fond illusions now,
Bind her as his! Across the threshold led,
And ev'ry tear kiss'd off as soon as shed,
His house she enters; there to be a light
Shining within, when all without is night!
A guardian-angel o'er his life presiding,
Doubling his pleasures and his cares dividing !
How oft her eyes read his ; her gentle mind,
To all his wishes, all his thoughts inclind;
Still subject — ever on the watch to borrow
Mirth of his mirth, and sorrow of his sorrow.".
Beautiful as this is, we think it much inferior to what follows; when Parental affection comes to complete the picture of Connubial bliss.
" And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill
Their halls with gladness. She, when all are still,
Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie
In sleep, how beautiful! He, when the sky
Gleams, and the wood sends
When, gathering round his bed, they climb to share
His kisses, and with gentle violence there
Break in upon a dream not half so fair,
Up to the hill top leads their little feet;
Or by the forest lodge; perchance to meet
The stag-herd on its march, perchance to hear
The otter rustling in the sedgy mere;
Or to the echo near the Abbot's tree,
That gave him back his words of pleasantry -
When the House stood, no merrier man than he !
And, as they wandered with a keen delight,
If but a leveret catch their quicker sight
Down a green alley, or a squirrel then
Climb the gnarled oak, and look and climb again,
If but a moth flit by, an acorn fall,
He turns their thoughts to Him who made them all.” —
“ But Man is born to suffer. On the door
Sickness has set her mark; and now no more
Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild
As of a mother singing to her child.
All now in anguish from that room retire,
Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire,
And innocence breathes contagion ! — all but one,
But she who gave it birth! - From her alone
The medicine-cup is taken. Through the night,
And through the day, that with its dreary light
Comes unregarded, she sits silent by,
Watching the changes with her anxious eye:
While they without, listening below, above,
(Who but in sorrow know how much they love ?)
From every little noise catch hope and fear,
Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear,
Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness !
That would in vain the starting tear repress." The scene, however, is not always purely domestic — though all its lasting enjoyments are of that origin, and look back to that consummation. His country requires the arm of a free man! and home and all its joys must
be left, for the patriot battle. The sanguinary and tu. multuous part is slightly touched; but the return is exquisite; nor do we know, any where, any verses more touching and full of heartfelt beauty, than some of those we are about to extract.
He goes, and Night comes as it never came !
With shrieks of horror!- and a vault of fame!
And lo! when morning mocks the desolate,
Red runs the rivulet by; and at the gate
Breathless a horse without its rider stands !
But hush!.. a shout from the victorious bands !
And oh the smiles and tears! a sire restor'd!
One wears his helm one buckles on his sword ;
One hangs the wall with laurel-leaves, and all
Spring to prepare the soldier's festival ;
While She best-lov'd, till then forsaken never,
Clings round his neck, as she would cling for ever!
"Such golden deeds lead on to golden days,
Days of domestic peace — by him who plays
On the great stage how uneventful thought;
Yet with a thousand busy projects fraught,
A thousand incidents that stir the mind
To pleasure, such as leaves no sting behind !
Such as the heart delights in — and records
Within how silently -
in more than words !
A Holiday — the frugal banquet spread
On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head
With quips and cranks — what time the wood-lark there
Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air,
What time the kingfisher sits perch'd below,
Where, silver bright, the water lilies blow:-
A Wake - the booths whit'ning the village-green,
Where Punch and Scaramouch aloft are seen ;
Sign beyond sign in close array unfurl d,
Picturing at large the wonders of the world;
And far and wide, over the vicar's pale,
Black hoods and scarlet crossing hill and dale,
All, all abroad, and music in the gale:
A Wedding-dance — a dance into the night!
On the barn floor when maiden-feet are light ;
When the young bride receives the promis'd dower,
And flowers are fung, 'herself a fairer flower :
A Morning-visit to the poor man's shed,
(Who would be rich while One was wanting bread ?)
When all are emulous to bring relief,
And tears are falling fast but not for grief:
A Walk in Spring — Gr*tt*n, like those with thee,
By the heath-side (who had not envied me?)
When the sweet limes, so full of bees in June,
Led us to meet beneath their boughs at noon ;
And thou didst say which of the Great and Wise,
Could they but hear and at thy bidding rise,
Thou wouldst call up and question." — p. 42–46.
Other cares and trials and triumphs await him.
He fights the good fight of freedom in the senate, as he had done before in the field — and with greater peril. The heavy hand of power weighs upon him, and he is arraigned of crimes against the State.
“Like Hampden struggling in his country's cause,
The first, the foremost to obey the laws,
The last to brook oppression! On he moves,
Careless of blame while his own heart approves,
Careless of ruin — ("* For the general good
'Tis not the first time I shall shed my blood ") -
On through that gate misnamed,* through which before
Went Sidney, Russel, Raleigh, Cranmer, More!
On into twilight within walls of stone,
Then to the place of trial; and alone,
Alone before his judges in array
Stands for his life ! there, on that awful day,
Counsel of friends - all human help denied
All but from her who sits the pen to guide.
Like that sweet saint who sat by Russel's side +
Under the judgment-seat ! - But guilty men
Triumph not always. To his hearth again,
Again with honour to his hearth restor’d,
Lo, in the accustom'd chair and at the board,
Thrice greeting those that most withdrew their claim
(The humblest servant calling by his name),
He reads thanksgiving in the eyes of all,
All met as at a holy festival !
On the day destin'd for his funeral !
* Traitor's Gate, in the Tower.
+ We know of nothing at once so pathetic and so sublime, as the few simple sentences here alluded to, in the account of Lord Russel's trial.
Lord Russel. May I have somebody write to help my memory?
Mr. Attorney General. Yes, a Servant.
Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall assist you in writing
any thing you please for you.
Lord Russel. My Wife is here, my Lord, to do it!
When we recollect who Russel and his wife were, and what a destiny was then impending, this one trait makes the heart swell, almost to bursting.
- PATRIOT TRIUMPH, AND RETIREMENT.
Lo, there the friend, who entering where he lay,
Breath'd in his drowsy ear Away, away!
Take thou my cloak — Nay, start not, but obey
Take it and leave me.' And the blushing Maid,
Who through the streets as through a desert stray'd;
And, when her dear, dear Father pass'd along,
Would not be held — but, bursting through the throng,
Halberd and battle-axe - kiss'd him o'er and o'er;
Then turn'd and went — then sought him as before,
Believing she should see his face no more!”—p. 48 — 50. What follows is sacred to still higher remembrances. “ And now once more where most he lov'd to be,
In his own fields — breathing tranquillity -
We hail him — not less happy, Fox, than thee!
Thee at St. Anne's, so soon of care beguild,
Playful, sincere, and artless as a child
Thee, who wouldst watch a bird's nest on the spray,
Through the green leaves exploring, day by day.
How oft from grove to grove, from seat to seat,
With thee conversing in thy lov'd retreat,
I saw the sun go down ! — Ah, then 'twas thine
Ne'er to forget some volume half divine,
Shakespeare's or Dryden's — thro' the chequer'd shade
Borne in thy hand behind thee as we stray'd;
And where we sate (and many a halt we made)
To read there with a fervour all thy own,
And in thy grand and melancholy tone,
Some splendid passage not to thee unknown,
Fit theme for long discourse. — Thy bell has tollid!
But in thy place among us we behold
One that resembles thee. The scene of closing age is not less beautiful and attractive — nor less true and exemplary.
" 'Tis the sixth hour.
The village-clock strikes from the distant tower.
The ploughman leaves the field; the traveller hears,
And to the inn spurs forward, Nature wears
Her sweetest smile; the day-star in the west
Yet hovering, and the thistle's down at rest.
“ And such, his labour done, the calm He knows,
Whose footsteps we have followed. Round him glows
An atmosphere that brightens to the last;
The light, that shines, reflected from the Past,
And from the Future too! Active in Thought
Among old books, old friends; and not unsought
By the wise stranger. In his morning-hours,
When gentle airs stir the fresh-blowing flowers,