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and this is the only spirit in which a That “bliss with mortal Man may not abide." critic can write of his contemporaries How nearly joy and sorrow are allied ! without frequent dogmatism, presump- For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow, tion, and injustice.
For us the voice of melody was mute. We shall now direct the attention -But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow of our readers to the “ White Doe of And give the timid herbage leave to shoot, Rylstone,” a poem which exhibits in Heaven's breathing influence failed not to
bestow perfection many of Wordsworth’s pe- A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit, culiar beauties, and, it may be, some of his peculiar defects. It is in itself from blossoms wild of fancies innocent.
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content a whole; and on that account we prefer beginning with it, in place of the It soothed us-it beguiled us then, to hear Lyrical Ballads,” or the subsequent And griefs whose aery motion comes not near
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell; 6 Poems” of the author, which con
The tain specimens of so many different Then, with mild Una in her sober chear,
pangs that tempt the Spirit to rebel ; styles, and still more, in place of the High over hill and low adown the dell “'Excursion," which, though a great Again we wandered, willing to partake work in itself, is but a portion of a All that she suffered for her dear Lord's sake. still greater one, and will afford sub- Then, too, this Song of mine once more ject-matter for more than one long
could please, article.
Where, anguish, strange as dreams of restThis Poem is prefaced by some
less sleep, stanzas addressed to the wife of the Is tempered and allayed by sympathies Poet, in which a touching allusion is Aloft ascending, and descending deep, made to severe domestic afflictions, Even to the inferior Kinds; whom forest trees (the death, we believe, of two children Protect from beating sunbeams, and the sweep as whom all that looked on loved,")
Of the sharp winds ;-fair Creatures !--to
whom Heaven that direfully interrupted, for a while,
A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given. the flow of imagination in his soul, but the softened memory of which This tragic Story cheared us; for it speaks blended at last, not undelightfully,
Of female patience winning firm repose ; with the mournful and tragic character And of the recompense which conscience seeks of this « tale of tears." No verses in
A bright, encouraging example shows;
Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest the language are more simply yet pro breaks, foundly affecting; and we are sure Needful amid life's ordinary woes ;that they will dispose every feeling Hence, not for them unfitted who would bless mind to come to the perusal of the A happy hour with holier happiness. Poem itself with the most kindly and
He serves the Muses erringly and ill, sympathetic emotions.
Whose aim is pleasure light and fugitive : In trellis'd shed with clustering roses gay,
0, that my mind were equal to fulfil And, Mary! oft beside our blazing fire, The comprehensive mandate which they When years of wedded life were as a day
giveWhose current answers to the heart's desire, Vain aspiration of an earnest will ! Did we together read in Spenser's Lay
Yet in this moral Strain a power may live, How Una, sad of soulmin sad attire,
Beloved Wife ! such solace to impart The gentle Una, born of heavenly birth, As it hath yielded to thy tender heart. To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the
The Poem is founded on a wild and earth.
beautiful tradition, that in former Ah, then, Beloved ! pleasing was the smart, times a White Doe, coming over the And the tear precious in compassion shed hills from what once were the deFor Her, who, pierc'd by sorrow's thrilling mesnes of Rylstone Hall, in Yorkshire, dart,
visited, every Sabbath morning, duDid meekly bear the pang
ring the time of divine service, the Meek as that emblem of her lowly heart, The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,
burial-ground and the ruined part of And faithful, loyal in her innocence,
Bolton Abbey. The Poet undertakes Like the brave Lion slain in her defence. to give a poetical character to this so
litary and mysterious creature, and Notes could we hear as of a faery shell
connect with its Sabbath visit to the Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught; Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,
holy place a tale of human passions. And all its finer inspiration caught ;
The first canto begins with an ani"Till, in the bosom of our rustic Cell,
mated and pieturesque description of We by a lamentable change were taught
the assemblage of people to divine
service in a rural chapel built within Her Son in Wharf's abysses drowned, the heart of the solemn ruins,
The noble Boy of Egremnound.
From which affiction, when God's grace When faith and hope were in their prime,
At length had in her heart found place, In great Eliza's golden time.
A pious structure, fair to see, All is silent but the voice of the priest Rose up this stately Priory! reciting the holy liturgy, and of the The Lady's work, but now laid low; river murmuring by,
To the grief of her soulthat doth come and go, When soft !--the dusky trees between,
In the beautiful form of this innocent Doe: And down the path through the open green,
Which, though seemingly doomed in its Where is no living thing to be seen ;
breast to sustain And through yon gateway, where is found, A softened remembrance of sorrow and pain, Beneath the arch with ivy bound,
Isspotless, and holy, and gentle,and bright,Free entrance to the church-yard ground; And glides o'erthe earth like an angelof light. And right across the verdant sod
An Oxford scholar, who has returned Towards the very house of God;
to his native vale, supposes, still more Comes gliding in with lovely gleam,
fancifully, that it is the shape assumed Comes gliding in serene and slow,
by the guardian Spirit of that Lord Soft and silent as a dream,
Clifford called the Shepherd Lord.
It is, thinks he, the gracious Fairy,
Who loved the Shepherd Lord to meet
In his wanderings solitary ;
Wild notes she in his heariog sang,
A song of Nature's hidden powers ;
That whistled like the wind, and rang
'Twas said that she all shapes could wear ; This radiant creature glides silently Amid the trees of some thick wood,
And oftentimes before him stood, to and fro over the sculptured tomb
In semblance of a lady fair,
A shepherd clad in homely gray,
Nor left him at his later day.
And hence, when he, with spear and shield,
Rode full of years to Flodden field,
And how the current was to flow;
The fatal end of Scotland's King,
And all that hopeless overthrow.
The Poet thus prepares our minds, Sabbath couch is thus more particu- by these beautiful little fancies and larly described.
imaginings, and by the soft and solemn It was a solitary mound;
colouring which he has thrown over Which two spears' length of level ground the scene haunted by the lovely visitDid from all other graves divide :
ant, for his own story, which we feel As if in some respect of pride;
is to be a melancholy one, suiting the Or melancholy's sickly mood,
utter solitude of the pile.
And see-they vanish, one by one,
And last, the Doe herself is gone.
In Canto II. the Poet at once rethe church-yard at the close of the turns to the source of his tale and traservice, the White Doe is seen still dition. Norton of Rylstone Hall has lying undisturbed and fearless beside engaged with Neville and Percy in the little hallowed mound, and the their rebellion against Queen Elizaconjectures of various speakers are beth, on the plea of wishing to restore given respecting the beautiful noon
the ancient religion ; and his only day apparition. Among others, daughter, Emily, who had been in An Old Man-studious to expound
structed by her deceased mother in The spectacle-hath mounted high
the reformed faith, has been compelled To days of dim antiquity ;
by him to work a banner, on which is When Lady Aäliza mourned
The sacred Cross; and figured there
The five dear wounds our Lord did bear;
ble shor ns the te
Full soon to be uplifted high,
If not in vain we have breathed the breath And float in rueful company!
Together of a purer faith All the sons of Norton join him in If hand in hand we have been led, his rebellion, except the eldest, Fran- And thou, (0 happy thought this day !) cis, who foresees its calamitous end, Not seldom foremost in the wayand ineffectually tries to dissuade his If on one thought our minds have fed, father from the rash enterprise. He if, when at home our private weal
And we have in one meaning read is dismissed with scorn and wrath Hath suffered from the shock of zeal, from his father's presence; and seek. Together we have learned to prizę ing his beloved sister, who had gone Forbearance, and self-sacrifice, to vent her sorrow in the groves round If we like combatants have fared, the Hall, he endeavours to prepare her And for this issue been prepared soul for the death of her father and all If thou art beautiful, and youth her brothers, and for the utter over
And thought endue thee with all truth throw of their ancient and illustrious
Be strong ;-be worthy of the grace house. Nothing can exceed,
in simple Of God, and fill thy destined place : and solemn earnestness, the whole of Uplifted to the purest sky
A soul, by force of sorrows high, this mournful prophecy. For example, Of undisturbed humanity !" “ O Sister, I could prophesy !
He ended,—or she heard no more ; The time is come that rings the knell He led her from the Yew-tree shade, Of all we loved, and loved so well ;
And at the Mansion's silent door, Hope nothing, if I thus may speak
He kissed the consecrated Maid; To thee a woman, and thence weak; And down the Valley he pursued, Hope nothing, I repeat; for we
Alone, the armed Multitude. Are doomed to perish utterly :
The third canto is wholly occupied Tis meet that thou with me divide
with a detail of the rising in the The thought while I am by thy side, Acknowledging a grace in this,
North, and the disarray of the rash A comfort in the dark abyss :
levy on the approach of the royal army But look not for me when I am gone,
under Dudley. Old Norton now feels And be no farther wrought upon.
that ruin is at hand. Farewell all wishes, all debate,
Back through the melancholy Host All prayers for this cause, or for that! . Went Norton, and resumed his post.
if that aid thee; but depend Alas! thought he, and have I borne Upon no help of outward friend;
This Banner raised so joyfully,
Thus to become at once the scorn
But the familiar prospect shed The Hawk forget his perch, the Hound Despondency unfelt before : Be parted from his ancient ground:
A shock of intimations vain, The blast will sweep us all away,
Blank fear, and superstitious pain, One desolation, one decay !
Fell on him, with the sudden thought And even this Creature!" which words saying Of her by whom the work was wrought :He pointed to a lovely Doe,
Oh wherefore was her countenance bright A few steps distant, feeding, straying ; With love divine and gentle light? Fair Creature, and more white than snow ! She did in passiveness obey, “ Even she will to her peaceful woods But her Faith leaned another way, Return, and to her murmuring floods, I'll tears she wept, I saw them fal], And be in heart and soul the same
I overheard her as she spake She was before she hither came,
Sad words to that mute Animal, Ere she had learned to love us all,
The White Doe, in the hawthorn brake ; Herself beloved in Rylstone Hall."
She steeped, but not for Jesu's sake, The canto ends with some fervent This Cross in tears :-by her, and One entreaties and prayers that she will Unworthier far, we are undonecherish no earthly họpe, but look to
Her Brother was it who assailed Heaven alone for support, in the or
Her tender spirit and prevailed. phan and brotherless state in which In the cold grave hath long been laid,
Her other parent, too, whose head she will soon be placed.
From reason's earliest dawn beguiled"
To reach the well-spring of this woe!
In this melancholy mood, Francis, And cirque and crescent framed by wall who unarmed had followed the multi. Of close-clipt foliage green and tali, tude, implores his infatuated father to Converging walks, and fountains gay, abandon the hopeless enterprise, but And terraces in trim array,
yon cypress spiring high, is repulsed with anger and disdain,
With pine and cedar spreading wide
Their darksome boughs on either side,
But where at this still hour is she,
The consecrated Emily?
Even while I speak, behold the Maid
To open moonshine, where the Doe
By the Shepherd, is passed by
With an inattentive eye.
--Nor more regard doth she bestow
Upon the uncomplaining Doe!
Yet the meek Creature was not free,
Erewhile, from some perplexity :
For thrice hath she approached, this day,
The thought-bewildered Emily ;
Endeavouring, in her gentle way,
Some smile or look of love to gain,
Encouragement to sport or play ;
Attempts which by the unhappy Maid
Have all been slighted or gainsaid.
-O welcome to the viewless breeze!
'Tis fraught with acceptable feeling,
Ere she hath reached yon rustic Shed
Hung with late-flowering woodbine spread
Along the walls and overhead,
The fragrance of the breathing flowers
Revives a memory of those hours
When here, in this remote Alcove,
Like odours, sweet as if the same)
A fondly anxious Mother strove
To teach her salutary fears
And mysteries above her years.
Yes, she is soothed :-an Image faint
And yet not faint a presence bright.
Returns to her ;-'tis that bless'd Saint
Who with mild looks and language mild
Instructed here her darling Child,
While yet a prattler on the knee,
To worship in simplicity
The invisible God, and take for guide
The faith reformed and purified.
'Tis gone the Vision, and the sense
Of that beguiling influence !
“ But oh! thou Angel from above,
Thou Spirit of maternal love,
That stood'st before my eyes, more clear
Than Ghosts are fabled to appear
Sent upon embassies of fear;
As thou thy presence hast to me
Vouchsafed-in radiant ministry
s poste borne
Descend on Francis :-through the air Me did a reverend pity move
And privilege of ancient love,
In this state of mind she beholds an Me did these move, and I made bold, old gray-haired man approaching her, And entrance gained to that strong-hold. and in the agony of her distress con
Your father gave me cordial greeting; jures him to seek the insurgent powers Within him, instantly returned....
But to his purposes, that burned now besieging Barnard Castle, and to
He was commanding and entreating, bring her some tidings of those for
We need not stop, my Son! whose sake she is so disconsolate.
“ But I will end what is begun; In the fifth canto, Emily has seated “ 'Tis matter which I do not fear herself, in her sorrow, beneath the “ To intrust to any living ear.” shadow of a tower on Rylstone Fell, And so to Francis he renewed awaiting there the return of the aged His words, more calmly thus pursued. messenger. This tower, now sad and Might this our enterprise have sped, silent,
Change wide and deep the Land had seen, Had often heard the sound of glee
“ A renovation from the dead, When there the youthful Nortons met,
“ A spring-tide of immortal green:
The darksome Altars would have blazed To practise games and archery :
“ Like stars when clouds are rolled away; How proud and happy they! the crowd Of Lookers-on how pleased and proud !
“ Salvation to all eyes that gazed, And from the heat of the noontide sun,
“ Once more the Rood had been upraised From showers, or when the prize was won,
“ To spread its arms, and stand for aye.
6. Then, then, had I survived to see They to the Watch-tower did repair,
“ New life in Bolton Priory ; Commodious Pleasure-house! and there Would mirth run round, with generous fare;
“ The voice restored, the eye of truth And the stern old Lord of Rylstone Hall,
“ Re-opened that inspired my youth ;
“ Had seen her in her pomp arrayed ; He was the proudest of them all !
“ This Banner (for such vow I made) At last the old man comes, and in
“ Should on the consecrated breast forms her of the end of the sad tra
“ Of that same Temple have found rest : gedy,--the execution of her father and “ I would myself have hung it high, all his eight sons.
Francis alone sur “ Glad offering of glad victory! vives.
“ A shadow of such thought remains “ Your noble Brother hath been spared, 6. To chear this sad and pensive time; To take his life they have not dared. " A solemn fancy yet sustains On hini and on his high endeavour
“ One feeble Being-bids me climb The light of praise shall shine for ever! “ Even to the last one effort more Nor did he (such Heaven's will) in vain “ To attest my Faith, if not restore. His solitary course maintain ;
“ Hear then,” said he, “ while I impart, Not vainly struggled in the might
“ My Son, the last wish of
heart. Of duty seeing with clear sight;
" The Banner strive thou to regain ; He was their comfort to the last,
“ And, if the endeavour be not vain, Their joy till every pang was past.
“ Bear it to whom if not to thee “ I witnessed when to York they came “ Shall I this lonely thought consign ?--What, Lady, if their feet were tied ! “ Bear it to Bolton Priory, They might deserve a good Man's blame ; “ And lay it on Saint Mary's shrine, But, marks of infamy and shame,
“ To wither in the sun and breeze These were their triumph, these their pride. “ 'Mid those decaying Sanctities. “ Lo, Francis comes,” the people cried, “ There let at least the gift be laid, “ A Prisoner once, but now set free! 66 The testimony there displayed ; “ 'Tis well, for he the worst defied
“ Bold proof that with no selfish aim, “ For sake of natural Piety ;
“ But for lost Faith and Christ's dear name, “ He rose not in this quarrel, he
“ I helmeted a brow, though white, “ His Father and his Brothers wooed, “ And took a place in all men's sight; “ Both for their own and Country's good, “ Yea offered up this beauteous Brood, “ To rest in peace-he did divide,
“This fair unrivalled Brotherhood, “ He parted from them ; but at their side " And turned away from thee, my Son ! “ Now walks in unanimity
“ And left---but be the rest unsaid, “ Then peace to cruelty and scorn, “ The name untouched, the tear unshed, 6. While to the prison they are borne, “ My wish is known and I have done : “ Peace, peace to all indignity!”
“ Now promise, grant this one request, “ And so in Prison were they laid “ This dying prayer, and be thou blest !" Oh hear me, hear me, gentle Maid !
“ Then Francis answered ferventiy, For I am come with power to bless,
“ If God so will, the same shall be.” To scatter gleams through your distress Immediately, this solemn word Of a redeeining happiness.
Thus scarcely given, a noise was heard,