Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

MacKay's heroic tribute to Valour and Virtue is excellent :

Who shall be fairest? who shall be rarest ?

Who shall be first in the songs that we sing?
She who is kindest when fortune is blindest,

Bearing through winter the blossoms of spring :
Charm of our gladness, friend of our sadness,

Angel of life, when its pleasures take wing !
She shall be fairest, she shall be rarest,

She shall be first in the songs that we sing !
Who shall be nearest, noblest, and dearest,

Named but with honour and pride evermore?
He, the undaunted, whose banner is planted

On glory's high ramparts and battlements hoar ;
Fearless of danger, to falsehood a stranger,

Looking not back when there's duty before !
He shall be nearest, he shall be dearest,

He shall be first in our hearts evermore!

Much of Mackay's healthful verse is freighted with excellent counsel ; for instance, the following :

What might be done if men were wise

What glorious deeds, my suffering brother,
Would they unite in love and right,

And cease their scorn for one another !
Oppression's heart might be imbued

With kindling drops of loving-kindness,
And knowledge pour, from shore to shore,

Light on the eyes of mental blindness.
All slavery, warfare, lies, and wrongs,

All vice and crime, might die together,
And wine and corn, to each man born,
Be free as warmth in sunny weather.

20 :

305

The meanest wretch that ever trod,

The deepest sunk in guilt and sorrow,
Might stand erect in self-respect,

And share the teeming world to-morrow.
What might be done? This might be done,

And more than this, my suffering brother-
More than the tongue e'er said or sung,

If men were wise and loved each other.

men

vere W

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

PENDLETON Cooke, another of our American bards, thus chants his love-lay :

I loved thee long and dearly, Florence Vane !
My life's bright dream and early hath come again ;
I renew, in my fond vision, my heart's dear pain,
My hope and thy derision, Florence Vane.
The ruin lone and hoary, the ruin old,
Where thou didst mark my story, at even told, -
That spot—the hues Elysian of sky and plain-
I treasure in my vision, Florence Vane.
Thou wast lovelier than the roses in their prime ;
Thy voice excelled the closes of sweetest rhyme ;
Thy heart was as a river without a main.
Would I had loved thee never, Florence Vane !

But fairest, coldest wonder! Thy glorious clay
Lieth the green sod under—alas the day!
And it boots not to remember thy disdain-
To quicken love's pale ember, Florence Vane.

The lilies of the valley by young graves weep,
The pansies love to dally where maidens sleep ;
May their bloom, in beauty vying, never wane
Where thine earthly part is lying, Florence Vane !

A Scottish bard, David VEDDER, is the author of those sublime lines which Dr. Chalmers was so fond of rehearsing to his theological pupils :Talk not of temples—there is one built without hands, to mankind

given : Its lamps are the meridian sun, and all the stars of heaven. Its walls are the cerulean sky, its floor the earth, serene and fair ; The dome is vast immensity—all Nature worships there! The Alps arrayed in stainless snow, the Andean ranges yet untrod, At sunrise and at sunset, glow like altar-fires to God! A thousand fierce volcanoes blaze, as if with hallowed victims rare ; And thunder lifts its voice in praise—all Nature worships there!

an

The cedar and the mountain pine, the willow on the fountain's brim,
The tulip and the eglantine, in reverence bend to Him;
The song-birds pour their sweetest lays, from tower, and tree, and

middle air ;
The rushing river murmurs praise—all Nature worships there!

One of N. P. Willis's masterpieces is his Parrhasius, yet the subject is not one that ministers pleasure to the reader. His Melanie must be perused entire in order to its due appreciation. The poem on Idleness is a fine illustration of poetic skill; but we must content ourselves with his little cabinet picture of a Child Tired of Play :

« Tired of play! Tired of play!”
What hast thou done this livelong day?
The birds are silent, and so is the bee ;
The sun is creeping up steeple and tree;
The doves have down to the sheltering eaves,
And the nests are dark with the drooping leaves ;
Twilight gathers, and day is done-
How hast thou spent it, restless one?

“ Playing ?” But what hast thou done beside,
To tell thy mother at eventide ?
What promise of morn is left unbroken, -
What kind word to thy playmate spoken,-
Whom hast thou pitied, and whom forgiven,-
How with thy faults has duty striven?
What hast thou learned by field and hill,
By greenwood path, and singing rill?
There will come an eve to a longer day,
That will find thee tired—but not with play!

Very beautiful are his lines, commencing

My mother's voice! how often creep its accents on my lonely

hours ! Like healing sent on wings of sleep, or dew to the unconscious

Aowers. I can forget her melting prayer while leaping pulses madly fly, But in the still, unbroken air, her gentle tones come stealing by.

And years, and sin, and folly fee,

And leave me at my mother's knee. The evening hours, the birds, the fowers, the starlight, moonlight,

all that's meet For heaven, in this lost world of ours,—remind me of her teachings

sweet. My heart is harder, and perhaps my thoughtlessness hath drunk up

tears ; And there's a mildew in the lapse of a few swift and checkered years—

But Nature's book is, even yet,
With all a mother's lessons writ.
*

His lines on Dawn are very choice--dewy and fragrant :

Throw up the window. 'Tis a morn for life
In its most subtle luxury. The air
Is like a breathing from a rarer world ;

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors]

And the south wind is like a gentle friend,
Parting the hair so softly on my brow.
It has come over gardens, and the Aowers
That kissed it are betrayed: for as it parts,
With its invisible fingers, my loose hair,

« AnteriorContinuar »