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Heaved by each wave, and woo'd by every wind,
Life leaves not all its softer gods behind;
Our buried youth rays never quench'd illume,
And Love's lone watchlight burns in Fancy's tomb.
Better we prize, as lighter gains depart,
That mine of wealth-the treasure of a heart;
And feel we know not, till around us sweeps,
Day after day, the darkness of the deeps-
Till the false raven that from death we bore,
Left us in peril and return'd no more,
How bless'd the olive of the welcome dove,
And what new worlds are promised us by love.
Thus, at the worst, experience is not gloom,
And golden fruits replace the purple bloom;
And oft methinks, that as we grow more wise,
We fit our souls for ends beyond the skies;
For heaven the vulgar scarcely paint aright,
As some inactive torpor of delight,
Where thought's high travail we for aye dismiss,
Lull'd in the Sybarite's indolence of bliss.
Nobler, be sure, our nature and our doom,
Each gain we make we bear beyond the tomb;
Just as our spirits may exalt us here,
Train'd to high purpose in a holier sphere;
Proceeding on from link to link, until
We serve the word, but comprehend the will;
No longer blinded to the part we play,
Benighted wanderers yearning for the day,
Each step before us blackness-life and death-
Joy-grief-the glaciers hanging on a breath;
Slaves to the Present's wheel revolving, bound,
Now whirl'd aloft, now dashed upon the ground;
Self to itself a riddle-all unknown
Whither we tend, or wherefore we should groan; But by the struggles of our mind below To guess at knowledge, train'd at last-to know. The end august ordain'd to our survey, Where once we groan'd, we glory to obey, And, lost all leaven of the earth we trod, Endue the seraph as we near the god. VOL. II.-I
Can the same joys reward or doom await
Mind's various ranks in heaven's mysterious state?
What dungeon star could fetter, cheek by jowl,
Some lord's dull spark and Shakspeare's sunlike soul?
Say, canst thou guess what mighty tasks await
The bard's free spirit at the Eternal Gate?
Reserved (how know'st thou ?), when from clay redeem'd,
To rule the worlds of which it here but dream'd;
From power to power, from light to light ascend-
Take death from genius, where can genius end?
Accept the doctrine, and no more surprise,
In fate or soul, man's stern disparities.
No more we sigh to ask why genius wears
Proud hearts away "in crosses and in cares;"
Why the same fates that Sidney's murderer raise,
Bring Milton "darkness and the evil days;"
Why Dante from La Scala's board is fed,
And Otway chokes with the unwonted bread.
No more we wonder when across the night
Some meteor spirit casts a moment's light,
And seems, as darkness closes round the sky,
Born but to blaze, to startle, and to die.
Look but to earth, and bootless we might call
Iskander's rise or bright Rienzi's fall.
When Brutus found the virtue he adored
At length a name, and perish'd on his sword,
In vain for Rome did her great Roman bleed,
The wasted drops brought forth no dragon seed.
How oft, through life, we meet with souls whose fire
But lit the shrine of one divine desire!
In vain they panted, struggled, toil'd, and wrought,
The monomaniacs of some god-like thought.
How many martyrs to mankind, whose name
Died with their dust, uncanonized by fame!
But if a stern philosopher be Fate,
That schools us harshly at life's outer gate,
Before (the dark novitiate o'er) we win
The master-science of the shrine within;
If Heaven be not the rest to our career,
But its new field, then life at once is clear-
Then solved the riddle. We in vain for earth
May toil and strive-Heaven claims us from our birth;
And every toil but nerves the soul to climb
Alp upon Alp beyond the walls of Time!
For if ev'n matter, if the meanest clod
Knows naught of waste in the vast schemes of God,
How much more wanted to the wondrous whole
Each spark of thought, each monad of the soul!
By one great nature's toil all space may gain,
And worlds attest—“ man ne'er aspires in vain!”
Never, O earth, for merely human ends,
Heaven to thine orb some rarer spirit sends.
On Plato's soul did day celestial break,
That boys through Phædo might arrive at Greek?
Was godlike Pericles but born to rule
The smooth Orbilius of a brawling school;
To curb or fawn upon the riot throng,
To build a shrine, or patronize a song?
No! here we read the first leaf of the scroll;
To guess the end, we must peruse the whole :
No! though the curtain fall, your judgment stay;
"Twas but the prologue-now begins the play!
And ere you ask what some score lives may mean,
Death, raise the curtain! Heaven, present the scene!
In youth "we babbled of green fields"--the pure
Air-where the muse might court "la belle nature,“
And ask'd, in Harold's hollow prayer, to dwell
With our lone fancies, by the flood and fell!
now, old Berkeley's true disciples grown,
Our sense and soul make all the world we own.
What boots it that yon moonlight casts its glow
O'er grave fiacres freezing in a row,
Or the long wall beside whose jealous gate
Th' unenvied sentry holds his silent state?
What matters where the outward scene may be?
Earth has no Eden which we may not see.
Waves Thought his wand, and lo, before my eyes
Heaves the soft lake, or bend the purple skies,
Or summer shines upon that quiet shade
Where Love sad altars to Remembrance made;
Where its wild course the heart to ruin ran,
And youth grew rich by usury on the man!
Let Syntax Pilgrims rove from clime to clime,
And hunt o'er earth the beauteous and sublime.
Fools! not on Jura's giant heights they grow,
Nor found, like weeds, where Leman winds below!
Where the faun laughs through vines they are not hid,
Nor mummied up in Memphian pyramid.
Dig where you will, how fruitless is your toil!
Are thoughts and dreams the minerals of the soil?
Within our souls the real landscape lies-
There rise our Alps, there smile our southern skies;
There winds the true Ilyssus, by whose stream
We cull the hyacinth and invite the dream;
Revive the legend and the truth of old,
"Live o'er each scene, and be what we behold."
The New Year's Eve! Night wanes; more near and near
Creeps o'er the breathless world the coming year!
Lo! what full incense of the hope and prayer
Ascends from earth to earth's appointed heir!
With tearless eyes we see the dark hours fling
In Time's vast vault the old discrowned king.
Hail to the Son! Alas! with prayers as vain,
Men ask'd all blessings from the Father's reign.
Still the soul's faith Hope's rising sun invites ;
We fawn on fate-the future's parasites!
For me, at least, the courtier creed is o'er,
And wise Experience whispers "Wish no more!"
Life hath no compass; through the dark we sail,
Float passive on, and leave to God the gale.
Come calm or storm, at least no power beside
Can yield the haven or appease the tide!
In a letter addressed to Lady Blessington by E. L. Bulwer, from Paris, dated January 1st, 1836, the foregoing poetical epistle was inclosed, which, though of an earlier date than several other letters of his, has been placed at the end of this correspondence, with the view of drawing more particular attention to it.
SIR HENRY BULWER, G.C.B.
Henry Bulwer, the elder brother of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, and second son of W. E. Bulwer, Esq., was born in 1803 or 1804.
Studious and reserved in early years, he entered on the active
business of life prepared by his habits to surmount obstacles, and to bring to grave subjects of inquiry sedateness of mind, solid information to all collateral branches of such subjects, and a perfect knowledge of their bearings on the researches we are engaged in.
He entered Parliament in 1830 as representative of Wilton. In 1831 and 1832 he represented Coventry, and from 1834 till 1837, Marylebone. Politics, however, did not engross all his attention.
The great works of this gentleman are The Monarchy of the Middle Classes," which appeared in 1834, and "France, Social, Literary, and Political," published in 4 vols. in 1836. In accurate statistical information, philosophical views, perspicuity in dealing with very extensive official returns and reports, and making a minute analysis of the civil and military administrations of France, no publication of modern times that treats of that country bears any comparison with the work of Henry Bulwer. With all the evident marks of genius in his productions, there are indications also of nervous irritability in his writings, and of many of the peculiarities of valetudinarianism, bordering on eccentricity, manifested in inequalities of style, occasional vagueness, and a frequent falling off in the vigor and originality of the writer. A small work of his, giving an account of his travels in Greece, " An Autumn in Greece," was published previously to the works above mentioned.
He has contributed much to reviews, magazines, and annuals, and one of his earliest anonymous productions, a "Life of Lord Byron," prefixed to the Paris edition of the poet's works in English, exhibited a great deal of tact and literary talent.
He served in the Second Life Guards; was attached to the mission at Berlin in August, 1827; to the embassy at Vienna in 1829, at the Hague in 1830, at Paris in 1832; was appointed secretary of legation at Brussels in 1835; was chargé d'affaires there in 1835 and 1836; secretary of embassy at Constantinople in 1837; at St. Petersburgh in 1838; at Paris, June, 1839; was for some time minister plenipotentiary in 1839, 1840, and 1841; was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plen