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make myself clear to you; if I do not you will see that my confusion arises rather from a defective power than a defective will. I love the poets, I live in the light of their fancies. It is my best delight to wander forth on summer evenings when the air is fresh and clear, and the leaves of the tree are making music with it, and the birds are busy with their wings, fluttering themselves to rest, and a brook is murmuring along almost inaudibly, and the Sun is going quietly down; it is at this time delicious to muse over the works of our best bards.
Some time last year I had roamed in an evening like to one of those I have spoken of, and after dwelling on the fairy beauties of SPENSER, and from thence passing to the poets of my own time, and to comparing the latter with some that had gone before, I cast myself on a romantic bank by a brook side. The silence around me, save the home-returning bee with its "drowsy hum," and the moaning sound of distant cattle and the low sullen gurgling of waters, lulled me into a sleep. The light of my thoughts gilded my dreams, my vision was a proof of mental existǝnce when the bodily sense had passed away. I have a great desire to attempt giving publicity to my dream, but I before told you how limited are my powers of expression-so I must rely on your goodness in receiving this crude description or not.
Methought (this I believe is the established language of dreams) methought I was walking idly along a romantic vale which was surrounded with majestic and rugged mountains, a small stream struggled through it, and its
waves seemed the brightest crystal I had ever witnessed. I sat me down on its margin which was rocky and beautiful. As I mused a female figure rose like a silvery mist from the waters and advanced with a countenance full of light and a form of living air; her garments floated round her like waves and her hair basked on her shoulders "Like sunny beams on alabaster rocks."
There was a touch of immortality in her eyes, and indeed her visage altogether was animated with a more than earthly glory. She approached me with smiles, and told me that she was the guardian of the stream that flowed near, and that the stream itself was the true Castalian which so many rave of tho' they know it not." I turned with fresh delight to gaze on the water, its music sounded heavenly to me. I fancied that there was a pleasing dactylic motion in its waves. The Spirit said from the love I bore to her favourite SPENSER she would permit me to see (myself unseen) the annual procession of living bards to fetch water from the stream on that day. I looked her my thanks as well as I was able, it was out of my power to express them. She likewise informed me that it was customary for each poet, as he received his portion, to say in what manner he intended to use it. The voice of the Spirit was such as fancy has heard in some wild and lovely spot among the hills or lakes of this world at twilight time. I felt my soul full of music while listening to it and held my breath in the very excess of delight. Suddenly I heard the sounds of approaching footsteps and a confused mingling of voices. The Spirit touched me into invisibility, and then softly faded into sunny air herself.
In a little time I saw a motley crowd advancing confusedly to the stream. I soon perceived that they were each provided with vessels to bear away some portion of the immortal waters. They all passed at a little distance from the spot on which I was reclining, and then each walked singly and slowly from the throng, and dipped his vessel in the blue wild waves of CASTALY. As well as I can recollect I will endeavour to describe the manner and words of the most interesting of our living poets on this most interesting occasion. The air about the spot seemed brighter with their presence, and the waves danced along with a livelier delight. Pegasus might be seen coursing the winds in wild rapture on one of the neighbouring mountains, and sounds of glad and viewless beings were heard at intervals in the air, as if troops of spirits were revelling over head and rejoicing at the scene.
And first methought a lonely and melancholy figure moved slowly forth and silently filled a Grecian urn. I knew by the look of nobility and the hurried and turbulent plunge with which the vessel was dashed into the stream that the owner was Lord BYRON. He shed some tears while gazing on the water, and they seemed to make it purer and fairer. He declared that he would keep the urn by him untouched for some years, but he had scarcely spoken ere he had sprinkled forth some careless drops on the earth-he suddenly retreated.
There then advanced a polite personage very oddly clad, he had a breast-plate on and over that a Scotch plaid, and strange to say, with these silk stockings and dress
shoes. This gentleman brought an old helmet for his vessel: I guessed him to be WALTER SCOTT. His helmet did not hold enough for a very deep draught, but the water it contained took a pleasant sparkle from the warlike metal which shone thro' its shallowness. He said he had disposed of his portion on advantageous terms.
Next came T. MOORE. You might have known him by the wild lustre of his eye, and the fine freedom of his air. He gaily dipped his goblet in the tide and vowed in his high spirited manner that he would turn his share to nectar. He departed with smiles. I heard the wings play pleasantly in the air, while he was bending over the stream.
I now perceived a person advancing whom I knew to be SOUTHEY. His brow was bound by a wreath of faded laurel which had every mark of town-growth. He appeared quite bewildered and scarcely could remember his way to the inspiring stream. His voice was chaunting the praises of kings and courts as he advanced; but he dropped some little poems behind him as he passed me which were very opposite in tone to what he himself uttered. He was compelled to stoop before he could reach the water and the gold vessel which he used procured but little at last. He declared that his intention was to make sack of what he had obtained. On retiring he mounted a cream-coloured horse and set off in uneven paces for St. James's.
Then appeared ROGERS with a glass in his hand which, from the cypher engraved thereon had evidently belonged to OLIVER GOLDSMITH. He caught but a few drops and
these he meant to make the most of by mingling them with
CRABBE with a firm step and steady countenance walked steadily to the stream, and plunged a wooden bowl into it; he observed that he should make strong ale for country people of all that he took away, and after the first brewing he should charitably allow Mr. FITZGERALD to make small beer for his own use.
In a pensive attitude MONTGOMERY sauntered to the waters' brink; he there mused awhile, uttered a few somethings of half-poetry and half-prayer, dipped a little mug of Sheffield-ware in the wave and retired in tears.
With a wild yet nervous step CAMPBELL came from the throng-light visions started up in the fair distance as he moved, and the figure of Hope could be faintly discerned amidst them. She smiled on him as he advanced. He dipped his bowl in the stream with a fine bold air and expressed his intention of analizing part of the water that he procured.
Next came HUNT with a rich fanciful goblet in his hand, finely enamelled with Italian landscapes, he held the cup to his breast as he approached and his eyes sparkled with frank delight. After catching a wave, in which a sunbeam seemed freshly melted, he intimated that he should water hearts-ease and many favourite flowers with it. The sky appeared of a deep blue as he was retiring.
Lord STRANGFORD would now have advanced but the voice of the Spirit forbad him, as he did not come for the water on his own account.