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Instils that musing, melancholy mood,
Which charms the wise, and elevates the good ;-
Blest Memory, hail !
Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain ;
Awake but one, and, lo, what myriads rise !
Each stamps its image as the other Aies :
Each, as the varied avenues of sense
Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
Brightens or fades, yet all, with magic art,
Control the latent fibres of the heart.
There is a favourite passage from his Human Life, too good to pass over :
The lark has sung his carol in the sky,
The bees have hummed their noontide harmony ;
Still in the vale the village-bells ring round,
Still in Llewellyn-Hall the jests resound:
For now the caudle-cup is circling there,
Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their prayer,
And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.
A few short years, and then these sounds shall hail
The day again, and gladness fill the vale ;
So soon the child a youth, the youth a man,
Eager to run the race his fathers ran.
Then the huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin ;
The ale now brewed, in foods of amber shine ,
And, basking in the chimney's ample blaze,
Mid many a tale told of his boyish days,
The nurse shall cry, of all her ills beguiled,
“ 'Twas on these knees he sate so oft, and smiled.”
And soon again shall music swell the breeze ;
Soon, issuing forth, shall glitter through the trees
Vestures of nuptial white, and hymns be sung,
And violets scattered round; and old and young,
In every cottage-porch, with garlands green,
Stand still to gaze, and, gazing, bless the scene :
While, her dark eyes declining, by his side
Moves in her virgin-veil the gentle bride.
And once, alas! nor in a distant hour,
Another voice shall come from yonder tower :
When in dim chambers long black weeds are seen,
And weepings heard where only joy has been ;
When by his children borne, and from his door,
Slowly departing, to return no more,
He rests in holy earth, with them that went before !
And such is human life ; so gliding on,
It glimmers like a meteor, and is gone!
Rogers's Lines to a Butterfly are replete with grace and beauty :
Child of the sun! pursue thy rapturous Aight,
Mingling with her thou lov’st in fields of light;
And, where the flowers of Paradise unfold,
Quaff fragrant nectar from their cup, of gold.
There shall thy wings, rich as an evening sky,
Expand and shut with silent ecstasy!
Yet wert thou once a worm, a thing that crept
On the bare earth, then wrought a tomb and slept.
And such is man: soon from his cell of clay
To burst a seraph in the blaze of day.
We might cull many pearls of thought from this poet, but we have only space for the following :-
The soul of music slumbers in the shell
Till waked and kindled by the master's spell;
And feeling hearts, touch them but rightly, pour
A thousand melodies unheard before !
A guardian angel o’er his life presiding,
Doubling his pleasures, and his cares dividing.
The good are better made by ill,
As odours crushed are sweeter still.
Far from the joyless glare, the maddening strife,
And all the dull impertinence of life.
Let us turn now, with Laura A. Boies, to a sweet domestic study—that of Little Children :
There is music, there is sunshine, where the little children dwell,-
In the cottage, in the mansion, in the hut, or in the cell ;
There is music in their voices, there is sunshine in their love,
And a joy forever round them, like a glory from above.
There's a laughter-loving spirit glancing from the soft blue eyes,
Flashing through the pearly tear-drops, changing like the summer
Lurking in each roguish dimple, nestling in each ringlet fair ;
Over all the little child-face gleaming, glancing everywhere.
They all win our smiles and kisses in a thousand pleasant ways,
By the sweet, bewitching beauty of their sunny, upward gaze ;
And we cannot help but love them, when their young lips meet our
own, And the magic of their presence round about our hearts is thrown.
When they ask us curious questions in a sweet confiding way,
We can only smile in wonder, hardly knowing what to say ;
As they sit in breathless silence, waiting for our kind replies,
What a world of mystic meaning dwells within the lifted eyes !
When the soul, all faint and weary, falters in the upward way,
And the clouds around us gather, shutting out each starry ray ;
Then the merry voice of childhood seems a soft and soothing
List we to its silvery cadence, and our hearts grow glad again.
Hath this world of ours no angels? Do our dimly shaded eyes
Ne’er behold the seraph’s glory in its meek and lowly guise ?
Can we see the little children, ever beautiful and mild,
And again repeat the story-nothing but a little child ?
The same facile American pen thus daintily discourses on the Rain :
Like a gentle joy descending, to the earth a glory lending,
Comes the pleasant rain :
Fairer now the flowers are growing,
Fresher now the winds are blowing,
Gladder waves the grain :
Grove and forest, field and mountain,
Bathing in the crystal fountain,
Drinking in the inspiration, offer up a glad oblation-
All around, about, above us,
Things we love, and things that love us,
Bless the gentle rain.
Beautiful, and still, and holy, like the spirit of the lowly,
Comes the quiet rain :
'Tis a fount of joy distilling, and the lyre of earth is trilling,
Swelling to a strain :
Nature opens wide her bosom, bursting buds begin to blossom,
To her very soul 'tis stealing, all the springs of life unsealing, Singing stream and rushing river drink it in, and praise the Giver
Of the blessed rain.
We have already luxuriated over passages from the Pleasures of Imagination, and lingered lovingly amid the sweet images bodied forth by Rogers in the Pleasures of Memory : shall we now hold colloquy with Campbell, and catch some glimpses of his bright visions of Hope? He thus announces his beautiful theme :
At summer eve, when Heaven's ethereal bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sun-bright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near ?
'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
Thus, with delight, we linger to survey
The promised joys of life’s unmeasured way,
Thus, from afar, each dim-discovered scene
More pleasing seems than all the past hath been,
And every form, that Fancy can repair
From dark oblivion, glows divinely there.
With thee, sweet Hope ! resides the heavenly light,
That pours remotest rapture on the sight ;
Thine is the charm of life’s bewildered way,
That calls each slumbering passion into play.
Auspicious Hope ! in thy sweet garden grow
Wreaths for each toil, a charm for every woe.