Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

No tree or shrub has been planted near it, but the daisies, faithful to their buried lover, crowd his smail mound with a galaxy of their innocent stars, more prosperous than those under which he lived.” 1

It is the prerogative of the poet to extract, by the alembic of his mind, beautiful thoughts and images from the minute and common, as well as the more rare and august aspects of nature. Few things win the poet's love and admiration so deeply as her rich garniture of flowers; for instance, hear Keats's exquisite lines :

A thing of beauty is a joy forever-
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing !
Therefore, on every morrow are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth.

His most renowned poem is the Eve of St. Agnes : here are a few stanzas :

St. Agnes' eve—ah! bitter chill it was !

The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,

And silent was the flock in woolly fold;

Numb were the Beadman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,

Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seemed taking fight for heaven without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.

Full on the casement shone the wintry moon,

And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon :

'J. R. Lowell.

Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,

And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
And on her hair a glory, like a saint ;

She seemed a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings for heaven.

A casement high and triple-arched it was,

All garlanded with carven imageries
Of fruits, and Aowers, and bunches of knot-grass,

And diamonded with panes of quaint device,

Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
As are the tiger-moth's deep damask'd wings;

And in the midst, ’mong thousand heraldries,
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.

Now let us turn to the pictorial pages of one of our most picturesque poets, WHITTIER, whose “ lyre has been struck to many a stirring note for freedom and human progress.” We have the highest authority for ascribing to his muse the attributes of “ lyric fervour and intensity combined with a tender and graceful fancy.”

Our American bard is a true worshipper of Nature, as we see from the following fine passage :

The ocean looketh up to heaven, as ’twere a living thing ;
The homage of its waves is given in ceaseless worshipping.
They kneel upon the sloping sand, as bends the human knee,
A beautiful and tireless band, the priesthood of the sea !
They pour the glittering treasures out, which in the deep have birth,
And chant their awful hymns about the watching hills of earth.
The green earth sends its incense up from every mountain-shrine,
From every lower and dewy cup that greeteth the sunshine.
The mists are lifted from the rills, like the white wing of prayer ;
They lean above the ancient hills, as doing homage there.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]

The forest-tops are lowly cast o'er breezy hill and glen,
As if a prayerful spirit passed on nature as on men.
The clouds weep o'er the fallen world, e’en as repentant love,
Ere, to the blessed breeze unfurled, they fade in light above.
The sky is as a temple’s arch, the blue and wavy air
Is glorious with the spirit-march of messengers at prayer.
The gentle moon, the kindling sun, the many stars are given,
As shrines to burn earth's incense on, the altar-fires of Heaven !

As the key-note of Whittier's poetry, we might take his own quaint and beautiful lines :

I love the old melodious lays

Which softly melt the ages through,
The songs of Spenser's golden days,

Arcadia Sidney's silver phrase,
Sprinkling o’er the noon of Time with freshest morning dew.

Whittier's style is characterized by its pure, strong Saxon : it is said that he engenders his stirring and beautiful thoughts while walking abroad, and subsequently commits them to paper. One of his graver pieces, The Reward, commences thus :

Who, looking backward from his manhood's prime,
Secs not the spectre of his misspent time;

« AnteriorContinuar »