« AnteriorContinuar »
She too essay'd to deck the waste
Where love had grown, which love had graced
With false adornments-flowers, not fruit-
Fast-fading flowers, that strike not root,-
With pleasures alien to her breast,
That bloom but briefly at the best;
The world's sad substitutes for joys
To minds that lose their equipoise.
On Como's lake the evening star
Is trembling as before;
An azure flood, a golden bar,
There as they were before they are,
But she that loved them-she is far,
Far from her native shore.
No more is seen her slender boat
Upon the star-lit lake afloat,
With oar or sail at large to rove,
Or tether'd in its wooded cove
Mid gentle waves that sport around,
And rock it with a gurgling sound.
Keel up, it rots upon the strand,
Its gunwale sunken in the sand,
Where suns and tempests warp'd and shrank
Each shatter'd rib and riven plank.
Never again that land-wreck'd craft
Shall feel the billow boom abaft;
Never, when springs the freshening gale,
Take life again from oar or sail :
Nor shall the freight that once it bore
Again be seen on lake or shore.
A foreign land is now her choice,
A foreign sky above her,
And unfamiliar is each voice
Of those that say they love her.
A prince's palace is her home,
And marble floor and gilded dome,
Where festive myriads nightly meet,
Quick echoes of her steps repeat.
And she is gay at time, and light
From her makes many faces bright;
And circling flatterers hem her in
Assiduous each a word to win,
And smooth as mirrors each the while
Reflects and multiplies her smile.
But fitful were her smiles, nor long
She cast them to that courtly throng;
And should the sound of music fall
Upon her ear in that high hall,
The smile was gone, the eye that shone
So brightly, would be dimm'd anon,
And objectless would then appear
As stretch'd to check the starting tear.
The chords within responsive rung,
For music spoke her native tongue.
And then the gay and glittering crowd
Is heard not, laugh they e'er so loud;
Nor then is seen the simpering row
Of flatterers, bend they e'er so low;
For there before her when she stands,
The mountains rise, the lake expands;
Around the terraced summit twines
The leafy coronal of vines;
Within the watery mirror deep
Nature's calm converse lies asleep;
Above she sees the sky's blue glow,
The forest's varied green below,
And far its vaulted vistas through
A distant grove of darker hue,
Where, mounting high from clumps of oak,
Curls lightly up the thin gray smoke;
And o'er the boughs that over-bower
The crag, a castle's turrets tower—
An eastern casement mantled o'er
With ivy flashes back the gleam
Of sunrise-it was there of yore
She sate to see that sunrise pour
Its splendour round-she sees no more,
For tears disperse the dream.
Thus seized and speechless had she stood,
Surveying mountain, lake, and wood,
When to her ear came that demand,
Had she forgot her native land?
'Twas but a voice within replied
She had forgotten all beside.
For words are weak and most to seek
When wanted fifty-fold,
And then if silence will not speak,
Or trembling lip and changing cheek,
There's nothing told.
But could she have reveal'd to him
Who question'd thus, the vision bright, That ere his words were said grew dim
And vanish'd from her sight,
Easy the answer were to know
And plain to understand,—
That mind and memory both must fail,
And life itself must slacken sail,
And thought its functions must forego,
And fancy lose its latest glow,
Could pictured be less bright and fair
To her whose home and heart are there
That land the loveliest that eye can see
The stranger ne'er forgets, then how should she?
FROM PHILIP VAN ARTEVELDE.
REPOSE OF THE HEART.
THE heart of man, walk it which way it will, Sequester'd or frequented, smooth or rough, Down the deep valley amongst tinkling flocks, Or mid the clang of trumpets and the march Of clattering ordnance, still must have its halt, Its hour of truce, its instant of repose, Its inn of rest; and craving still must seek The food of its affections-still must slake Its constant thirst of what is fresh and pure, And pleasant to behold.
APPROACH OF MORNING.
THE gibbous moon was in a wan decline, And all was silent as a sick man's chamber. Mixing its small beginnings with the dregs Of the pale moonshine and a few faint stars, The cold uncomfortable daylight dawn'd; And the white tents, topping a low ground-fog, Show'd like a fleet becalm'd.
ARTEVELDE'S LOVE FOR Adriana.
To bring a cloud upon the summer day
Of one so happy and so beautiful,-
It is a hard condition. For myself,
I know not that the circumstance of life
In all its changes can so far afflict me,
As makes anticipation much worth while.
But she is younger,-of a sex beside
Whose spirits are to ours as flame to fire,
More sudden and more perishable too;
So that the gust wherewith the one is kindled
Extinguishes the other. Oh, she is fair!
As fair as heaven to look upon! as fair
As ever vision of the virgin blest
That weary pilgrim, resting at the fount
Beneath the palm, and dreaming to the tune
Of flowing waters, duped his soul withal.
It was permitted in my pilgrimage,
To rest beside the fount beneath the tree,
Beholding there no vision, but a maid
Whose form was light and graceful as the palm,
Whose heart was pure and jocund as the fount,
And spread a freshness and a verdure round.
This was permitted in my pilgrimage,
And loth I am to take my staff again.
Say that I fall not in this enterprise-
Still must my life be full of hazardous turns,
And they that house with me must ever live
In imminent peril of some evil fate.
-Make fast the doors; heap wood upon the fire;
Draw in your stools and pass the goblet round,
And be the prattling voice of children heard.
Now let us make good cheer-but what is this?
Do I not see, or do I dream I see
A form that midmost in the circle sits
Half visible, his face deform'd with scars,
And foul with blood?-Oh yes, I know it-there
Sits DANGER with his feet upon the hearth.
(Pauses for some time, and then resumes in a livelier tone.)
Still for myself, I fear not but that I,
Taking what comes, leaving what leave I must,
Could make a sturdy struggle through the world.
But for the maid, the choice were better far
To win her dear heart back again if lost,
And stake it upon some less dangerous cast.
THAN Lord de Vaux there's no man sooner sees Whatever at a glance is visible;
What is not, he can never see at all.
Quick-witted is he, versatile, seizing points,
But never solving questions: vain he is-
It is his pride to see things on all sides,
Which best to do he sets them on their corners.
Present before him arguments by scores
Bearing diversely on the affair in hand,
He'll see them all successively, distinctly,
Yet never two of them can see together;
Or gather, blend, and balance what he sees
To make up one account; a mind it is
Accessible to reason's subtlest rays,
And many enter there, but none converge;
It is an army with no general,
An arch without a key-stone. Then the other,
Good Martin Blondel-Vatre-he is rich
In nothing else but difficulties and doubts.
You shall be told the evil of your scheme,
But not the scheme that's better. He forgets
That policy, expecting not clear gain,
Deals ever in alternatives. He's wise
In negatives, is skilful at erasures,
Expert in stepping backwards, an adept
At auguring eclipses. But admit
His apprehensions, and demand, what then?
And you shall find you've turn'd the blank leaf
REPENTANCE AND IMPROVEMENT.
HE that lacks time to mourn, lacks time to mend.
Eternity mourns that. 'Tis an ill cure
For life's worst ills, to have no time to feel them.
Where sorrow's held intrusive and turn'd out,
There wisdom will not enter, nor true power,
Nor aught that dignifies humanity.
Yet such the barrenness of busy life!
From shelf to shelf ambition clambers up,
To reach the naked'st pinnacle of all,
Whilst magnanimity, absolved from toil,
Reposes self-included at the base.
Of many thousand such that die betimes,
Whose story is a fragment known to few.
Then comes the man who has the luck to live,
And he's a prodigy. Compute the chances,
And deem there's ne'er one in dangerous times
Who wins the race of glory, but than him
A thousand men more gloriously endow'd
Have fallen upon the course; a thousand others
Have had their fortunes founder'd by a chance,
Whilst lighter barks push'd past them; to whom add
A smaller tally, of the singular few,
Who, gifted with predominating powers,
Bear yet a temperate will and keep the peace.
The world knows nothing of its greatest men.
ARTEVELDE'S CHARACTER OF HIS WIFE. SHE was a creature framed by love divine For mortal love to muse a life away In pondering her perfections; so unmoved Amidst the world's contentions, if they touch'd No vital chord nor troubled what she loved, Philosophy might look her in the face, And like a hermit stooping to the well That yields him sweet refreshment, might therein See but his own serenity reflected With a more heavenly tenderness of hue! Yet whilst the world's ambitious empty cares, Its small disquietudes and insect stings, Disturb'd her never, she was one made up Of feminine affections, and her life Was one full stream of love from fount to sea.
ARTEVELDE'S VISION OF HIS WIFE, THE
NIGHT BEFORE HIS DEATH.
TOUCHING this eye-creation;
What is it to surprise us?.....
Man's grosser attributes can generate
What is not, and has never been at all;
What should forbid his fancy to restore
A being pass'd away? The wonder lies
In the mind merely of the wondering man.
Treading the steps of common life with eyes
Of curious inquisition, some will stare
At each discovery of nature's ways,
As it were new to find that God contrives.
The contrary were marvellous to me,
And till I find it I shall marvel not.
Or all is wonderful, or nothing is.
As for this creature of my eyes—........
It was the image of my wife!...
Dejected I had been before: that sight
Inspired a deeper sadness, but no fear.
Nor had it struck that sadness to my soul
But for the dismal cheer the thing put on,
And the unsightly points of circumstance
That sullied its appearance and departure.....
In white, as when I saw her last, laid out
After her death; suspended in the air
She seem'd, and o'er her breast her arms were cross'd;
Her feet were drawn together pointing downwards,
And rigid was her form and motionless.
From near her heart, as if the source were there,
A stain of blood went wavering to her feet.
So she remain'd inflexible as stone
And I as fixedly regarded her.
Then suddenly, and in a line oblique,
Thy figure darted past her, whereupon,
Though rigid still and straight, she downward
And as she pierced the river with her feet
Descending steadily, the streak of blood
Peel'd off upon the water, which, as she vanish'd,
Appear'd all blood, and swell'd and welter'd sore,
And midmost in the eddy and the whirl
My own face saw I, which was pale and calm
As death could make it then the vision pass'd,
And I perceived the river and the bridge,
The mottled sky and horizontal moon,
The distant camp, and all things as they were.
CHARACTER OF ARTEVELDE, BY THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY.
-DIRE rebel though he was,
Yet with a noble nature and great gifts
Was he endow'd: courage, discretion, wit,
An equal temper and an ample soul,
Rock-bound and fortified against assaults
Of transitory passion, but below
Built on a surging subterranean fire
That stirr'd and lifted him to high attempts
So prompt and capable, and yet so calm,
He nothing lack'd in sovereignty but the right;
Nothing in soldiership except good fortune.
Wherefore with honour lay him in his grave,
And thereby shall increase of honour come
Unto their arms who vanish'd one so wise,
So valiant, so renown'd!
FAMINE IN A besieged ciTY.
I PAID a visit first to Ukenheim,
The man who whilom saved our father's life,
When certain Clementists and ribald folk
Assail'd him at Malines. He came last night,
And said he knew not if we owed him aught,
But if we did, a peck of oatmeal now
Would pay the debt, and save more lives than one.
I went. It seem'd a wealthy man's abode;
The costly drapery and good house-gear
Had, in an ordinary time, betoken'd
That with the occupant the world went well.
By a low couch, curtain'd with cloth of frieze,
Sat Ukenheim, a famine-stricken man,
With either bony fist upon his knees,
And his long back upright. His eyes were fix'd,
And moved not, though some gentle words I spake:
Until a little urchin of a child
That call'd him father, crept to where he sat
And pluck'd him by the sleeve, and with its small
And skinny finger pointed: then he rose,
And with a low obeisance, and a smile
That look'd like watery moonlight on his face,
So weak and pale a smile, he bade me welcome.
I told him that a lading of wheat flour
Was on its way, whereat, to my surprise,
His countenance fell, and he had almost wept....
He pluck'd aside the curtain of the couch,
And there two children's bodies lay composed.
They seem'd like twins of some ten years of age,
And they had died so nearly both together
He scarce could say which first: and being dead,
He put them, for some fanciful affection,
Each with its arm about the other's neck,
So that a fairer sight I had not seen
Than those two children, with their little faces
So thin and wan, so calm, and sad, and sweet.
I look'd upon them long, and for awhile
I wish'd myself their sister, and to lie
With them in death, as they did with each other:
I thought that there was nothing in the world
I could have loved so much; and then I wept;
And when he saw I wept, his own tears fell,
And he was sorely shaken and convulsed,
Through weakness of his frame and his great grief.
. He thank'd me much for what I said was sent;
But I knew well his thanks were for my tears.
He look'd again upon the children's couch,
And said, low down, they wanted nothing now.
So, to turn off his eyes,
I drew the small survivor of the three
Before him, and he snatch'd it up, and soon
Seem'd quite forgetful and absorb'd. With that
I stole away.
THE VOICE OF THE WIND.
THE wind, when first he rose and went abroad Through the vast region, felt himself at fault, Wanting a voice; and suddenly to earth Descended with a wafture and a swoop, Where, wandering volatile from kind to kind, He wooed the several trees to give him one. First he besought the ash; the voice she lent
Fitfully with a free and lashing change
Flung here and there its sad uncertainties:
The aspen next; a fluttered frivolous twitter
Was her sole tribute: from the willow came,
So long as dainty summer dress'd her out,
A whispering sweetness, but her winter note
Was hissing, dry, and reedy: lastly the pine
Did he solicit, and from her he drew
A voice so constant, soft, and lowly deep,
That there he rested, welcoming in her
A mild memorial of the ocean cave
Where he was born.
DUNSTAN'S ACCOUNT OF HIS TEMPTATIONS.
I BUT denounce
Loves on a throne, and pleasures out of place.
I am not old; not twenty years have fled
Since I was young as thou; and in my youth
I was not by those pleasures unapproach'd
Which youth converses with.....
When Satan first
Attempted me, 'twas in a woman's shape;
Such shape as may have erst misled mankind,
When Greece or Rome uprear'd with Pagan rites
Temples to Venus, pictured there or carved
With rounded, polish'd, and exuberant grace,
And mien whose dimpled changefulness betray'd,
Through jocund hues, the seriousness of passion.
I was attempted thus, and Satan sang
With female pipe and melodies that thrill'd
The soften'd soul, of mild voluptuous ease
And tender sports that chased the kindling hours
In odorous gardens or on terraces,
To music of the fountains and the birds,
Or else in skirting groves by sunshine smitten,
Or warm winds kiss'd, whilst we from shine to shade
Roved unregarded. Yes, 'twas Satan sang,
Because 'twas sung to me, whom God had call'd
To other pastime and severer joys.
But were it not for this, God's strict behest
Enjoin'd upon me,-had I not been vow'd
To holiest service rigorously required,
I should have own'd it for an angel's voice,
Nor ever could an earthly crown, or toys
And childishness of vain ambition, gauds
And tinsels of the world, have lured my heart
Into the tangle of those mortal cares
That gather round a throne. What call is thine
From God or man? What voice within bids thee
Such pleasures to forego, such cares confront?
CALMNESS AND RETROSPECTION.
A SACRED and judicial calmness holds Its mirror to my soul; at once disclosed, The picture of the past presents itself Minute yet vivid, such as it is seen In his last moments by a drowning man. Look at this skeleton of a once green leaf: Time and the elements conspired its fall; The worm hath eaten out the tenderer parts, And left this curious anatomy Distinct of structure-made so by decay. So, at this moment, lies my life before me,In all its intricacies, all its errorsAnd can I be unjust?
A SOLILOQUY OF LEOLF.
HERE again I stand,
Again and on the solitary shore
Old ocean plays as on an instrument,
Making that ancient music, when not known?
That ancient music, only not so old
As He who parted ocean from dry land,
And saw that it was good. Upon mine ear,
As in the season of susceptive youth,
The mellow murmur falls-but finds the sense
Dull'd by distemper; shall I say-by time?
Enough in action has my life been spent
Through the past decade, to rebate the edge
Of early sensibility. The sun
Rides high, and on the thoroughfares of life
I find myself a man in middle age,
Busy and hard to please. The sun shall soo
Dip westerly, but oh! how little like
Are life's two twilights! Would the last were first,
And the first last! that so we might be soothed
Upon the thoroughfares of busy life
Beneath the noonday sun, with hope of joy
Fresh as the morn,—with hope of breaking lights,
Illuminated mists and spangled lawns,
And woodland orisons and unfolding flowers,
As things in expectation. Weak of faith!
Is not the course of earthly outlook, thus
Reversed from Hope, an argument to Hope-
That she was licensed to the heart of man
For other than for earthly contemplations,
In that observatory domiciled
For survey of the stars?
THIS life, and all that it contains, to him
Is but a tissue of illuminous dreams
Fill'd with book-wisdom, pictured thought and love
That on its own creations spends itself.
All things he understands, and nothing does.
Profusely eloquent in copious praise
Of action, he will talk to you as one
Whose wisdom lay in dealings and transactions;
Yet so much action as might tie his shoe
Cannot his will command; himself alone
By his own wisdom not a jot the gainer.
Of silence, and the hundred thousand things
"Tis better not to mention, he will speak,
And still most wisely.
DUNSTAN ON THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER.
WHY did I quit the cloister? I have fought The battles of Jehovah; I have braved The perfidies of courts, the wrath of kings, Desertion, treachery,—and I murmur'd not,— The fall from puissance, the shame of flight, The secret knife, the public proclamation,And how am I rewarded? God had raised New enemies against me,-from without The furious Northman,-from within, far worse, Heart-sickness and a subjugating grief. She was my friend-I had but her-no more, No other upon earth-and as for heaven,
I am as they that seek a sign, to whom
No sign is given. My mother! Oh, my mother!
THOMAS K. HERVEY was born near Paisley, in Scotland, and received his early education in Manchester. I believe he has since resided most of the time in London, where his attention has been principally devoted to literature. He is the author of The Poetical Sketch Book, The Book of Christmas, The Devil's Progress, Illustrations of Modern
Sculpture, Australia, The English Helicon, and numerous contributions to the annuals and literary magazines. Some of his pieces are very pleasing and harmonious. The best of them are "poems of the affections," descriptive of domestic incidents and feelings, upon which he writes with taste, simplicity, and tenderness.
He stood beside a cottage lone,
And listen'd to a lute,
One summer eve, when the breeze was gone, And the nightingale was mute.
The moon was watching on the hill,
The stream was staid, and the maples still,
To hear a lover's suit,
That-half a vow, and half a prayer-
Spoke less of hope than of despair;
And rose into the calm, soft air,
As he had heard-O, wo! O, wo!-
The flutes of angels, long ago!
By every hope that earthward clings,
By faith that mounts on angel-wings,
By dreams that make night-shadows bright,
And truths that turn our day to night,
By childhood's smile, and manhood's tear,
By pleasure's day, and sorrow's year,
By all the strains that fancy sings,
And pangs that time so surely brings,-
For joy or grief, for hope or fear,
For all hereafter as for here,
In peace or strife, in storm or shine,
My soul is wedded unto thine!"
And for its soft and sole reply,
A murmur, and a sweet, low sigh,
But not a spoken word;
And yet they made the waters start
Into his eyes who heard,
For they told of a most loving heart,
In a voice like that of a bird ;-
Of a heart that loved, though it loved in vain;
A grieving, and yet not a pain,
A love that took an early root,
And had an early doom,
Like trees that never grow to fruit,
And early shed their bloom,-
Of vanish'd hopes and happy smiles,
All lost for evermore;
Like ships, that sail'd for sunny isles,
But never came to shore!
CLEOPATRA EMBARKING ON THE CYDNUS.
FLUTES in the sunny air,
And harps in the porphyry halls!
And a low, deep hum, like a people's prayer, With its heart-breathed swells and falls! And an echo, like the desert's call,
Flung back to the shouting shores! And the river's ripple, heard through all, As it plays with the silver oars!—
The sky is a gleam of gold,
And the amber breezes float,
Like thoughts to be dream'd of, but never told, Around the dancing boat!
She has stepp'd on the burning sand
And the thousand tongues are mute, And the Syrian strikes, with a trembling hand, The strings of his gilded lute!
And the Ethiop's heart throbs loud and high, Beneath his white symar,
And the Lybian kneels, as he meets her eye, Like the flash of an Eastern star!
The gales may not be heard,
Yet the silken streamers quiver,
And the vessel shoots, like a bright-plumed bird, Away, down the golden river!
Away by the lofty mount,
And away by the lonely shore,
And away by the gushing of many a fount,
Where fountains gush no more!-
Oh! for some warning vision there,
Some voice that should have spoken
Of climes to be laid waste and bare,
And glad young spirits broken!
Of waters dried away,
And hope and beauty blasted!
-That scenes so fair and hearts so gay
Should be so early wasted!
A dream of other days
That land is a desert now,
And grief grew up, to dim the blaze
Upon that royal brow!
The whirlwind's burning wing hath cast
Blight on the marble plain,