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Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour
The bad affright, afflict the best!'
And purple tyrants vainly groan
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design’d,
And bade to form her infant mind.
What sorrow was thou bad’st her know,
Here is a beautiful passage by AKENSIDE, written in the last year of his life :
O ye dales
Nor will I e'er forget you ; nor shall e'er
Of life, and fixed the colour of my mind
There are some noble thoughts in the celebrated Ode by Sir William Jones, the Orientalist. Here are some of the lines :
What constitutes a State ?
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Not starr’d and spangled courts,
Men who their duties know,
Prevent the long-aimed blow,
These constitute a State.
Bishop Berkeley's memorable lines, prophetic of planting the arts in the New World, are of enduring interest to us; these are the closing stanzas :
There shall be sung another golden age,
The rise of empire and of arts,
The wisest heads and noblest hearts.
Such as she bred when fresh and young,
By future poets shall be sung.
The first four acts already past,
Time's noblest offspring is the last.
This poem was written when the author was residing at Newport, Rhode Island. To prove that the prophecy has been in great measure verified, we need but refer to the record of noble names in science, history, philosophy, and song, which adorn our American annals. Among the earlier American poets were Barlow, TrumBULL, FRENEAU, and Allston, who was also a renowned painter. While residing in Europe, Allston enjoyed the friendship of Southey, Coleridge, and Lamb; as well as of Washington Irving, who expresses a reverence and affection for his pure and noble character, no less than for his genius. While referring to Irving, we cannot refrain from adding to the world's applause our humble but grateful tribute of regard, as well for the memory of his beautiful character as for his imperishable productions. His name ought undoubtedly to be classed in the category of poets, since much of his charming prose is essentially poetry. He rarely wrote in verse; but there is a little waif of his extant, which he improvised at the instance of his friend Stuart Newton, to accompany his picture of an old philosopher reading from a folio to a young beauty asleep on a chair opposite. Here it is, quaint and characteristic :
Frostie age, frostie age! vain all thy learning ;
Young heart's a reckless rover ;
Sleeping, dreams of absent lover.
Allston's principal poem is his Sylphs of the Seasons ; but his lines on Boyhood are short and sweet :
Ah, then how sweetly closed those crowded days!
That fade upon a summer's eve.
Those weary, happy days did leave?
E'en now that nameless kiss I feel.
His noble Address to England, which was first printed in Coleridge's Sibylline Leaves, 1810, commences with this stanza :
All hail, thou noble land! our fathers' native soil !
For thou with magic might
The world o’er.
The poem thus ends :
While the manners, while the arts, that mould a nation's soul,
Yet still from either beach
We are one !
Dana's principal poem, The Buccaneer, is considered a fine production : it is a tale of crime and remorse. The opening stanzas are finely descriptive :
The island lies nine leagues away; along its solitary shore,
Save where the bold, wild sea-bird makes her home,
Her shrill cry coming through the sparkling foam.
How beautiful! no ripples break the reach,