« AnteriorContinuar »
Come as of yore upon me, and can melt
And for the remnant which may be to come My heart with recognition of their looks;
I am content; and for the past I feel And even at moments I could think I see
Not thankless,- for within the crowded surn Some living thing to love--but none like thee.
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal :
And for the present, I would not benumb Here are the Alpine landscapes which create
My feelings further.-Nor shall I conceal A fund for contemplation ;-to admire
That with all this I still can look around, Is a brief feeling of a trivial date;
And worship Niture with a thought profound. But something worthier do such scenes inspire. Here to be lonely is not desolate,
For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart For much I view which I could most desire,
I know myself secure, as thou in inine; And, above all, a lake I can behold
We were and are-I am, even as thou artLovelier, not dearer, than our own of old.
Beings who ne'er each other can resign;
It is the same, together or apart, Oh that thou wert but with me but I grow
From life's commencement to its slow decline The fool of my own wishes, and forget
We are entwined: let death come slow or fant. The solitude which I have vaunted so
The tie which bound the first endures the last!
1. I did remind thee of our own dear Lake,
OU'R life is twofold: Sleep hath its own world, By the old Hall which may be inine no more.
A boundary between the things misnamed! Leman's is fair ; but think not I forsake
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world, The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore:
And a wide realm of wild reality. Sad havoc Time must with my memory make,
And drearns in their development have breath. Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before ;
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy; Though, like all things which I have loved, they are They take a weight from off our waking toils,
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts, Resign'd for ever, or divided far.
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
They pass like spirits of the past,--they speak To iningle with the quiet of her sky,
Like sibyls of the future; they have powerTo see her gentle face without a mask,
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain : And never gaze on it with apathy.
They make us what we were not-what they will, She was my early friend, and now shall be
And shake us with the vision that's gone liy, My sister-till I look again on thee.
The dread of vanish'd shadows-are they so?
Is not the past all shadow!-What are they? I can reduce all feelings but this one;
Creations of the mind ?- The mind can make And that I would not ;-for at length I see
Substance, and people planets of its own Such scenes as those wherein my life begun.
With beings brighter than have been, and give The earliest-even the only paths for me
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh. Had I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun,
I would recall a vision which I dream'd I had been better than I now can be ;
Perchance in sleep; for in itself a thought, The passions which have torn me would have slept
A slumbering thought, is capable of years, I had not suffer'd, and thou hadst not wept.
And curdles a long life into one hour.
I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Green, and of mild declivity, the last Surely I once beheld a nobler aim.
As 'twere the care of a long ridge of such,
Save that tliere was no sea to lave its base,
But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and cornfields, and the abodies of men And for the future, this world's future may.
Scatter'd at intervals, and wreathing sinoke From me demand but little of my care ;
Arising from such rústic roofs ;-the hill
Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem
These two, a maiden and a youth, were there Of life which might have fill'd a centiiry,
Gazing--the one on all that was beneath, Before its fourth in time had pass'd me hy.
Fair as herself--but the boy gazed on her ;
And both were young, and one was beautiful : And mounting on his steed he went his way;
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye
The Boy was sprung to manhood; in the wilds There was but one beloved face on earth,
Of fiery climes he made himself a home, And that was shining on him; he had look'd
And his soul drank their sunbeams: he was girt Upon it till it could not pass away;
With strange and dusky aspect; he was not He had no breath, no being, but in hers;
Himself like what he had been; on the sest She was his voice; he did not speak to her,
And on the shore he was a wanderer;
Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
Reposing from the noontide suitriness,
Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade Which terminated all : upon a tone,
Of ruin'd walls that had survived the names A touch of hers, luis blood would ebb and flow,
Of those who reard them; by his sleeping sidie And his cheek change tempestuously-his heart
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds Unknowing of its cause of agony.
Were fasten'd near a fountain ; and a man, But she in these fond feelings had no share :
Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while, Her sighs were not for him ; to her he was
While many of his tribe slumber'd around; Even as a brother-but no more; 'twas much, And they were canopied by the blue sky, For brotherless she was, save in the name
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
The lady of his love was wed with One
Who did not love her better :--in her home, Another; even now she loved another,
A thousand leagues from his,-her native home, And on the summit of that hill she stood
She dwelt, begirt with growing Infancy, Looking afar if yet her lover's steed
Daughters and sons of Beauty,--but behold! Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.
Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears. There was an ancient mansion, and before
What could her grief be-she had all she loved ; Its walls there was a steed caparison'd:
And he who had so loved her was not there Within an antique Oratory stood
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish, The Boy of whom I spake ;-he was alone,
Or ill-repress'd affliction, her pure thoughts. And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon
What could her grief be?-she had loved him not, He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved ; Words which I could not guess of; then he lean'd Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as 'twere Upon her mind-a spectre of the past. With a convulsion-then arose again,
11. And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear What he had written, but he shed no tears,
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
The Wanderer was return'd.-1 saw him stand Into a kind of quiet: as he paused,
Before an altar-with a gentle bride; The Lady of his love re-enter'd there;
Her face was fair, but was not that which made She was serene and smiling then, and yet
The starlight of his Boyhood. As he stood She knew she was by him beloved,-she knew, Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came For quickly comes such knowledge, that his heart The self-same aspect, and the quivering shock Was darken'd with her shadow, and she saw
That in the antique Oratory shook That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
His bosom in its solitude; and thenHe rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
As in that hour-a moment o'er his face He took her hand, a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced, and then it faded as it came, Was traced, and then it faded, as it came ;
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke He dropp'd the hand he held, and with slow steps The fitting vows, but heard not his own words, Retired, but not as bidding her adieu,
And all things reeld around him; he could see For they did part with mutual siniles; he pass'd Not that which was,nor that which should have beenFrom out the massy gate of that old Hall,
But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall,
And the remember'd chambers, and the place, Methought that joy and health alone could be
Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here!
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils
While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils.
It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumb'd, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore,
I am too well avenged but 'twas my right!
Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent They had not their own lustre, but the look
To be the Nemesis who should requiteWhich is not of the earth; she was become
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instruinent. The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Mercy is for the merciful !-if thou Were combinations of disjointed things;
Hast been of such, 'twill be accorded now. And forms impalpable and unperceived
Thy nights are banish'd from the realms of sleep of others' sight familiar were to hers.
Yes! they may fatter thee, but thou shalt feel And this the world calls frenzy: but the wise
A hollow agony which will not heal, Have a far deeper madness, and the glance
For thou art pillow'd on a curse too deep; Of melancholy is a fearful gift ;
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap What is it but the telescope of truth?
The bitter harvest in a woe as real ! Which strips the distance of its fantasies,
I have had many foes, but none like thee; And brings life near in utter nakedness,
For 'gainst the rest myself I could defend, Making the cold reality too real !
And be avenged, or turn them into friend;
But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread—in thy own weakness shielded, A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
And in my love, which hath but too much yielded, The Wanderer was alone as heretofore,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not spare ; The beings which surrounded him were gone,
And thus upon the world-trust in thy truth, Or were at war with him; he was a mark
And the wild fame of my ungovern'd youthFor blight and desolation, coinpass'd round
On things that were not, and on things that are With Hatred and Contention ; Pain was inix'd
Even upon such a basis hast thou built In all which was served up to him, until,
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt ! Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord, He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
And hew'd down with an unsuspected sword, But were a kind of nutriment; he lived
Fame, peace, and hope-and all the better life Through that which had been death to many men, which, but for this cold treason of thy heart. And made him friends of mountains : with the stars Might still have risen from out the grave of strife, And the quick Spirit of the Universe
And found a nobler duty than to part. He held his dialogues; and they did teach
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice, To him the magic of their mysteries ;
Trafficking with them in a purpose cold, To him the book of Night was opend wide,
For present anger, and for future goldAnd voices froin the deep abyss reveald
And buying other's grief at any price. A marvel and a secret. -Be it so.
And thus once enter'd into crooked ways,
The early truth, which was thy proper praise, My dream is past; it had no further change.
Did not still walk beside thee-but at times,
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes,
Deceit, averments incompatible,
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits-the significant eye
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired end-
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near; I would not do by thee as thou last done!
ENGLISH BARDS AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS :
• I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew!
. Such shameless bards we have ; and yet 'tis true,
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
ALL my friends, learned and unlearned, have urged me not to publish this Satire with my naine. If I were to be turned from the career of my humour by quibbles quick, and paper bullets of the brain,' I should have complied with their counsel; but I am not to be terrified by abuse, or bullied by reviewers, with or without arms. I can safely say that I have attacked none personally, who did not commence on the offensive. An author's works are public property: he who purchases may judge, and publish his opinion if he pleases; and the authors I have endeavoured to commemorate may do by me as I have done by them: I dare say they will succeed better in condemning my scribblings than in mending their own, But my object is not to prove that I can write well, but, if possible, to make others write better.
As the poem has met with far more success than I expected, I have endeavoured in this edition to make some additions and alterations, to render it more worthy of public perusal.
In the First Edition of this Satire, published anonymously, fourteen lines on the subject of Bowles's Pope were written by, and inserted at the request of, an ingenions friend of mine, who has now in the press a volume of poetry. In the present edition they are erased, and some of my own substituted in their stead ; my only reason for this being that which I conceive would operate with any other person in the same manner,-a determination not to publish with my name any production which was not entirely and exclusively my own composition.
With regard to the real talents of many of the poetical persons whose performances are mentioned or alluded to in the following pages, it is presumed by the author that there can be little difference of opinion in the public at large; though, like other sectaries, each has his separate tabernacle of proselytes, by whom his abilities are overrated, his faults overlooked, and his metrical canons received without scruple and without consideration. Bu the unquestionable possession of considerable genius by several of the writers here censured, renders their mental prostitution more to be regretted. Jinbecility may be pitied, or, at worst, laughed at and forgotten; perverted powers demand the most decided reprehension. No one can wish more than the author, that some known and able writer had undertaken their exposure ; but Mr. Gifford has devoted himself to Massinger, and in the absence of the regular physician, a country practitioner may, in cases of absolute necessity, be allowed to prescribe his nostrum to prevent the extension of so deplorable an epidemic, provided there be no quackery in his treatment of the malady. A caustic is here offered, as it is to be feared nothing short of actual cautery can recover the numerous patients afflicted with the present prevalent and distressing rabies for rhyming.
As to the Edinburgh Reviewers, it would indeed require a Hercules to crush the Hydra ; but if the author succeeds in merely 'bruising one of the heads of the serpent,' though his own hand should suffer in the encounter, he will be amply satisfied. .