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A Newdigate Prize Poem, recited at the Theatre, Oxford, June, 1823, by T. S. Salmon.
We give this poem as a specimen of that classic elegance, refined taste, and correct imagination, which our modern schools of poetry affect to despise; but nothing is more natural than to affect indifference for every thing that is placed beyond our reach. The author of the Fox and the Grapes" was not ignorant of this truth.---ED.
Wrapt in the veil of time's unbroken gloom,
No pillar'd lines, with sculptured foliage crown'd,
A trembling shadow on the plain below.
Here oft, when evening sheds her twilight ray,
And gilds with fainter beam departing day,
With breathless gaze, and cheek with terror pale,
How at deep midnight, by the moon's chill glance,
While on each whispering breeze that murmurs by,
Rise from thy haunt, dread genius of the clime,
"Tis thine to burst the mantling clouds of age,
DESCRIPTION OF A MISSIONARY.
From the AUSTRALASIA, a Poem which obtained the Chancellor's Medal, at the Cambridge Commencement, 1823, by Winthrop Mackworth Praed, of Trinity College.
THIS description appears to us to be the best passage in the " Australasia." It wants, however, that "weighty bullion" which alone gives life and energy to English verse, though it has none of the tinsel of the romantic school. Stonehenge is evidently before it in strength and dignity. The second line, however, is exquisitely beautiful and picturesque. Many have beheld "the calm wind wandering o'er" the "silver hair" of age to whom the circumstance never suggested a poetic image or association of any description; yet, the moment it is thus described, we are sensible of an impression which the real circumstance itself would have never excited. Whence is this effect? Evidently from the power of association to which the mere observer pays no attention. The wind is here endowed with life. It wanders through the hair of the old man, as if to cool him gently, or as if in love with his venerable and silver locks. This is attributing knowledge and life to the wind. Besides, the quality of calmness attributed to it is admirably contrasted with the piety and age of the old man, over whose hair it delights to wander. All inanimate objects become poetic the moment we endow them with those attributes which are the peculiar and distinctive inheritance of man. There are, indeed, few qualities in nature which may not be attributed to man, whence he has been properly called the little world; but some of these qualities are peculiar to himself, while he possesses the rest in common with being in general. Whenever those qualities which are peculiarly his own, are transferred to inani
mate objects, they are immediately translated into the poetic world, and become objects, not only of a different, but of a more exalted species than they were before.---ED.
With furrowed brow, and cheek serenely fair,
Yes, he hath triumphed, while his lips relate
And bids the soul drink deep of wisdom there,
In speechless awe the wonder-stricken throng
Like their own forest-leaves, confused and numberless.
In the glad dawning of a kinder light,
THE UNKNOWN GRAVE.
WHOEVER is the writer of the "Unknown Grave," it possesses a merit to which it is difficult to do adequate justice, whether we consider the sentiments, the poetry, or the moral. Perhaps he is neither Byron, Campbell, Scott, nor Moore; but however highly we respect these names, we imagine they could not easily improve the following lines, without disturbing the harmony and repose that reign throughout. We do not mean by this to say, that the author could produce "Don Juan," "the Pleasures of Hope, "Marmion,' or "the Loves of the Angels;" but we mean to say, that we should not feel ourselves justified in supposing him incapable of them, though we are well aware that excellence may be attained in a short production by him who is unequal to a work of greater magnitude. We would object to the epithet " gloweth,"
"A moral lesson gloweth here;"