Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

And armed with living spear for mortal fight;

A cunning forager That spreads no waste; a social builder; one In whom all busy offices unite With all fine functions that afford delightSafe through the winter storm in quiet dwells !

V.

Though all that feeds on nether air,
Howe'er magnificent or fair,
Grows but to perish, and entrust
Its ruins to their kindred dust;
Yet, by the Almighty's ever-during care,
Her procreant vigils Nature keeps
Amid the unfathomable deeps ;
And saves the peopled fields of earth
From dread of emptiness or dearth.
Thus, in their stations, lifting tow’rd the sky
The foliaged head in cloud-like majesty,
The shadow-casting race of trees survive:
Thus, in the train of Spring, arrive
Sweet flowers;—what living eye hath viewed
Their myriads ?-endlessly renewed,
Wherever strikes the sun's glad ray;
Where'er the subtle waters stray ;
Wherever sportive zephyrs bend
Their course, or genial showers descend !
Mortals, rejoice! the very Angels quit
Their mansions unsusceptible of change,
Amid your pleasant bowers to sit,
And through your sweet vicissitudes to range !"

And is She brought within the power
Of vision ?-o'er this tempting flower
Hovering until the petals stay
Her flight, and take its voice away!
Observe each wing !-a tiny van!
The structure of her laden thigh,
How fragile! yet of ancestry
Mysteriously remote and high ;
High as the imperial front of man;
The roseate bloom on woman's cheek;
The soaring eagle's curvèd beak;
The white plumes of the floating swan;
Old as the tiger's paw, the lion's mane
Ere shaken by that mood of stern disdain
At which the desert trembles.-Humming Bee !
Thy sting was needless then, perchance unknown,
The seeds of malice were not sown ;
All creatures met in peace, from fierceness free,
And no pride blended with their dignity.

- Tears had not broken from their source;
Nor Anguish strayed from her Tartarean den;
The golden years maintained a course
Not undiversified though smooth and even ;
We were not mocked with glimpse and shadow then,
Bright Seraphs mixed familiarly with men;
And earth and stars composed a universal heaven !

1817

IV.

XLVI.

DEVOTIONAL INCITEMENTS.

0, nursed at happy distance from the cares

Of a too-anxious world, mild pastoral Muse! |

That, to the sparkling crown Urania wears, | And to her sister Clio's laurel wreath,

Prefer'st a garland culled from purple heath,
Or blooming thicket moist with morning dews;
Was such bright Spectacle vouchsafed to me?
And was it granted to the simple ear
Of thy contented Votary
Such melody to hear !
Hin rather suits it, side by side with thee,
Wrapped in a fit of pleasing indolence,
While thy tired lute hangs on the hawthorn-tree,
To lie and listen-till o'er-drowsèd sense
Sinks, hardly conscious of the influence-
To the soft murmur of the vagrant Bee.
--A slender sound ! yet hoary Time
Doth to the Soul exalt it with the chime
Of all his years ;-a company
Of ages coming, ages gone;
(Nations from before them sweeping,
Regions in destruction steeping,)
But every awful note in unison
With that faint utterance, which tells
Of treasure sucked from buds and bells,
For the pure keeping of those waxen cells;
Where She-a statist prudent to confer
Upon the common weal; a warrior bold,
Radiant all over with unburnished gold,

• Not to the earth confined, Ascend to heaven.'

WHERE will they stop, those breathing Powers,
The Spirits of the new-born flowers ?
They wander with the breeze, they wind
Where'er the streams a passage find ;
Up from their native ground they rise
In mute aërial harmonies ;
From humble violet-modest thyme-
Exhaled, the essential odours climb,
As if no space below the sky
Their subtle flight could satisfy :
Heaven will not tax our thoughts with pride
If like ambition be their guide.

N

Roused by this kindliest of May-showers, The spirit-quickener of the flowers, That with moist virtue softly cleaves The buds, and freshens the young leaves, The birds pour forth their souls in notes Of rapture from a thousand throatsHere checked by too impetuous haste, While there the music runs to waste, With bounty more and more enlarged, Till the whole air is overcharged ; Give ear, 0 Man! to their appeal And thirst for no inferior zeal, Thou, who canst think, as well as feel.

Where birds and brooks from leafy dells
Chime forth unwearied canticles,
And vapours magnify and spread
The glory of the sun's bright head-
Still constant in her worship, still
Conforming to the eternal Will,
Whether men sow or reap the fields,
Divine monition Nature yields,
That not by bread alone we live,
Or what a hand of flesh can give ;
That every day should leave some part
Free for a sabbath of the heart :
So shall the seventh be truly blest,
From morn to eve, with hallowed rest.

1832.

XLVII.

THE CUCKOO-CLOCK.

Mount from the earth ; aspire ! aspire ! So pleads the town's cathedral quire, In strains that from their solemn height Sink, to attain a loftier flight ; While incense from the altar breathes Rich fragrance in embodied wreaths ; Or, flung from swinging censer, shrouds The taper-lights, and curls in clouds Around angelic Forms, the still Creation of the painter's skill, That on the service wait concealed One moment, and the next revealed. --Cast off your bonds, awake, arise, And for no transient ecstasies ! What else can mean the visual plea Of still or moving imageryThe iterated summons loud, Not wasted on the attendant crowd, Nor wholly lost upon the throng Hurrying the busy streets along?

Wouldst thou be taught, when sleep has taken

flight, By a sure voice that can most sweetly tell, How far-off yet a glimpse of morning light, And if to lure the truant back be well, Forbear to covet a Repeater's stroke, That, answering to thy touch, will sound the hour; Better provide thee with a Cuckoo-clock For service hung behind thy chamber-door ; And in due time the soft spontaneous shock, The double note, as if with living power, Will to composure lead-or make thee blithe as

bird in bower.

[ocr errors]

Alas! the sanctities combined By art to unsensualise the mind, Decay and languish ; or, as creeds And humours change, are spurned like weeds : The priests are from their altars thrust ; Temples are levelled with the dust; And solemn rites and awful forms Founder amid fanatic storms. Yet evermore, through years renewed In undisturbed vicissitude Of seasons balancing their flight On the swift wings of day and night, Kind Nature keeps a heavenly door Wide open for the scattered Poor. Where flower-breathed incense to the skies Is wafted in mute harmonies ; And ground fresh-cloven by the plough Is fragrant with a humbler vow;

List, Cuckoo-Cuckoo !—oft tho' tempests howl,
Or nipping frost remind thee trees are bare,
How cattle pine, and droop the shivering fowl,
Thy spirits will seem to feed on balmy air :
I speak with knowledge,-by that Voice beguiled,
Thou wilt salute old memories as they throng
Into thy heart ; and fancies, running wild
Through fresh green fields, and budding groves

among,
Will make thee happy, happy as a child ;
Of sunshine wilt thou think, and flowers, and song,
And breathe as in a world where nothing can go

wrong.

And know that, even for him who shuns the day
And nightly tosses on a bed of pain ;
Whose joys, from all but memory swept away,
Must come unhoped for, if they come again ;

XLVIII.

Know-that, for him whose waking thoughts, severe Poising your splendours high above the heads As his distress is sharp, would scorn my theme, Of worshippers kneeling to their up-risen God? The mimic notes, striking upon his ear

Whence, whence, ye Clouds ! this eagerness of In sleep, and intermingling with his dream,

speed ? Could from sad regions send him to a dear Speak, silent creatures. They are gone, are fled, Delightful land of verdure, shower and gleam, Buried together in yon gloomy mass To mock the wandering Voice beside some haunted | That loads the middle heaven ; and clear and bright stream.

And vacant doth the region which they thronged

Appear; a calm descent of sky conducting O bounty without measure ! while the grace Down to the unapproachable abyss, Of Heaven doth in such wise, from humblest Down to that hidden gulf from which they rose springs,

To vanish-fleet as days and months and years, Pour pleasure forth, and solaces that trace Fleet as the generations of mankind, A mazy course along familiar things,

Power, glory, empire, as the world itself,
Well may our hearts have faith that blessings come, The lingering world, when time hath ceased to be.
Streaming from founts above the starry sky, But the winds roar, shaking the rooted trees,
With angels when their own untroubled home And see! a bright precursor to a train
They leave, and speed on nightly embassy Perchance as numerous, overpeers the rock
To visit earthly chambers,—and for whom? That sullenly refuses to partake
Yea, both for souls who God's forbearance try, Of the wild impulse. From a fount of life
And those that seek his help, and for his mercy sigh. Invisible, the long procession moves

Luminous or gloomy, welcome to the vale
Which they are entering, welcome to mine eye
That sees them, to my soul that owns in them,
And in the bosom of the firmament
O'er which they move, wherein they are contained,

A type of her capacious self and all
TO THE CLOUDS.

Her restless progeny.
ARMY of Clouds ! ye winged Host in troops

A humble walk Ascending from behind the motionless brow Here is my body doomed to tread, this path, Of that tall rock, as from a hidden world,

A little hoary line and faintly traced, whither with such eagerness of speed ?

Work, shall we call it, of the shepherd's foot What seek ye, or what shun ye? of the gale Or of his flock !--joint vestige of them both. Companions, fear ye to be left behind,

I pace it unrepining, for my thoughts Dr racing o'er your blue ethereal field

Admit no bondage and my words have wings. 'ontend ye with each other of the sea

Where is the Orphean lyre, or Druid harp, hildren, thus post ye over vale and height To accompany the verse! The mountain blast 'o sink upon your mother's lap—and rest ? Shall be our hand of music; he shall sweep 'r were ye rightlier hailed, when first mine eyes The rocks, and quivering trees, and billowy lake, Feheld in your impetuous march the likeness And search the fibres of the caves, and they fa wide army pressing on to meet

Shall answer, for our song is of the Clouds r overtake some unknown enemy?

And the wind loves them; and the gentle galesut your smooth motions suit a peaceful aim ;

Which by their aid re-clothe the naked lawn ad Fancy, not less aptly pleased, compares With annual verdure, and revive the woods, our squadrons to an endless flight of birds And moisten the parched lips of thirsty flowers rial, upon due migration bound

Love them; and every idle breeze of air milder climes; or rather do ye urge

Bends to the favourite burthen. Moon and stars caravan your hasty pilgrimage

Keep their most solemn vigils when the Clouds pause at last on more aspiring heights Watch also, shifting peaceably their place an these, and utter your devotion there Like bands of ministering Spirits, or when they lie, th thunderous voice? Or are ye jubilant, As if some Protean art the change had wrought, I would ye, tracking your proud lord the Sun, In listless quiet o'er the ethereal deep present at his setting; or the pomp

Scattered, a Cyclades of various shapes Persian mornings would ye fill, and stand And all degrees of beauty. Oye Lightnings !

Ye are their perilous offspring; and the Sun-
Source inexhaustible of life and joy,
And type of man's far-darting reason, therefore
In old time worshipped as the god of verse,
A blazing intellectual deity-
Loves his own glory in their looks, and showers
Upon that unsubstantial brotherhood
Visions with all but beatific light
Enriched--too transient were they not renewed
From age to age, and did not, while we gaze
In silent rapture, credulous desire
Nourish the hope that memory lacks not power
To keep the treasure unimpaired. Vain thought!
Yet why repine, created as we are
For joy and rest, albeit to find them only
Lodged in the bosom of eternal things?

A sense of seemingly presumptuous wrong Gave the first impulse to the Poet's song; But, of his scorn repenting soon, he drew A juster judgment from a calmer view; And, with a spirit freed from discontent, Thankfully took an effort that was meant Not with God's bounty, Nature's love, to vie, Or made with hope to please that inward eye Which ever strives in vain itself to satisfy, But to recal the truth by some faint trace Of power ethereal and celestial grace, That in the living Creature find on earth a place.

[blocks in formation]

The Mother-her thou must have seen,

In spirit, ere she came
To dwell these rifted rocks between,

Or found on earth a name;
An image, too, of that sweet Boy,

Thy inspirations give
Of playfulness, and love, and joy,

Predestined here to live.

As no unworthy Partner in their flight
Through seas of ether, where the ruffling sway
Of nether air's rude billows is unknown;
Whom Sylphs, if e'er for casual pastime they
Through India's spicy regions wing their way,
Might bow to as their Lord. What character,
O sovereign Nature! I appeal to thee,
Of all thy feathered progeny
Is so unearthly, and what shape so fair!
So richly decked in variegated down,
Green, sable, shining yellow, shadowy brown,
Tints softly with each other blended,
Hues doubtfully begun and ended;
Or intershooting, and to sight
Lost and recovered, as the rays of light
Glance on the conscious plumes touched here and

there?
Full surely, when with such proud gifts of life
Began the pencil's strife,
O’erweening Art was caught as in a snare.

Downcast, or shooting glances far,

How beautiful his eyes,
That blend the nature of the star

With that of summer skies !
I speak as if of sense beguiled;

Uncounted months are gone, Yet am I with the Jewish Child,

That exquisite Saint John.

I see the dark brown curls, the brow,

The smooth transparent skin, Refined, as with intent to show

The holiness within ;

The grace of parting Infancy

By blushes yet untamed;
Age faithful to the mother's knee,

Nor of her arms ashamed.

Two lovely Sisters, still and sweet

As flowers, stand side by side ;
Their soul-subduing looks might cheat

The Christian of his pride :
Such beauty hath the Eternal poured

Upon them not forlorn,
Though of a lineage once abhorred,

Nor yet redeemed from scorn.

Strict passage, through which sighs are brought,
And whispers for the heart, their slave;
And shrieks, that revel in abuse
Of shivering flesh; and warbled air,
Whose piercing sweetness can unloose
The chains of frenzy, or entice a smile
Into the ambush of despair;
Hosannas pealing down the long-drawn aisle,
And requiems answered by the pulse that beats
Devoutly, in life's last retreats!

II.

Mysterious safeguard, that, in spite

Of poverty and wrong,
Doth here preserve a living light,

From Hebrew fountains sprung ;
That gives this ragged group to cast

Around the dell a gleam Of Palestine, of glory past,

And proud Jerusalem !

The headlong streams and fountains
Serve Thee, invisible Spirit, with untired powers
Cheering the wakeful tent on Syrian mountains,
They lull perchance ten thousand thousand flowers.
That roar, the prowling lion's Here I am,
How fearful to the desert wide!
That bleat, how tender! of the dam
Calling a straggler to her side.
Shout, cuckoo !-let the vernal soul
Go with thee to the frozen zone;
Toll from thy loftiest perch, lone bell-bird, toll!
At the still hour to Mercy dear,
Mercy from her twilight throne
Listening to nun's faint throb of holy fear,
To sailor's prayer breathed from a darkening sea,
Or widow's cottage-lullaby.

1828.

LI.

ON THE POWER OF SOUND.

[ocr errors]

ARGUMENT. | The Ear addressed, as occupied by a spiritual functionary,

Ye Voices, and ye Shadows in communion with sounds, individual, or combined in And Images of voice—to hound and horn studied harmony.-Sources and effects of those sounds

From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows to the close of 6th Stanza). — The power of music,

Flung back, and, in the sky's blue caves, rebornwhence proceeding, exemplified in the idiot.-Origin of music, and its effect in early ages—how produced (to the

On with your pastime! till the church-tower bells middle of 10th Stanza).-The mind recalled to sounds A greeting give of measured glee; acting casually and severally.-Wish uttered (11th And milder echoes from their cells Stanzs) that these could be united into a scheme or

Repeat the bridal symphony. system for moral interests and intellectual contemplatio.-(Stanza 12th). The Pythagorean theory of Then, or far earlier, let us rove numbers and music, with their supposed power over the

Where mists are breaking up or gone, motions of the universeimaginations consonant with And from aloft look down into a cove zuch a theory.-Wish expressed (in 11th Stanza) realised,

Besprinkled with a careless quire, in some degree, by the representation of all sounds under the form of thanksgiving to the Creator.—(Last Stanza)

Happy milk-maids, one by one the destruction of earth and the planetary system-the Scattering a ditty each to her desire, survival of audible harmony, and its support in the A liquid concert matchless by nice Art, Divine Nature, as revealed in Holy Writ.

A stream as if from one full heart.

1.

IV.

Tay functions are ethereal,
As if within thee dwelt a glancing mind,
Organ of vision! And a Spirit aërial
Informs the cell of Hearing, dark and blind;
Intricate labyrinth, more dread for thought
To enter than oracular cave;

Blest be the song that brightens
The blind man's gloom, exalts the veteran's mirth ;
Unscorned the peasant's whistling breath, that

lightens
His duteous toil of furrowing the green earth.

« AnteriorContinuar »