Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

such critics as James Montgomery, Dr. Nathan Drake, Southey, and Sir Egerton Brydges. The author's amiable disposition and benevolence per. vade the whole of his compositions. There is an artless simplicity, a vir. tuous rectitude of sentiment, an exquisite sensibility to the beautiful, which cannot fail to gratify every one who respects moral excellence, and loves the delightful scenes of country lise.

The “Farmer's Boy'' is divided into four books, named from the four seasons. The following is an account of Giles (as the “ Farmer's Boy" is called) going out to his early morning work, and a description of

a

WOOD-SCENERY.

-When at daybreak summon'd from his bed,
Light as the lark that caroll'd o'er his head,
His sandy way, deep-worn by hasty showers,
O'erarch'd with oaks that form'd fantastic bowers,
Waving alost their tow'ring branches proud,
In borrow'd tinges from the eastern cloud,
(Whence inspiration, pure as ever flow'd,
And genuine transport, in his bosom glow'd,)
His own shrill matin join'd the various notes
Or nature's music from a thousand throats :
The blackbird strove with emulation sweet,
And Echo answer'd from her close retreat;
The sporting white throat, on some twig's end borne,
Pour'd hymns to Freedom and the rising morn;
Stopt in her song, perchance, the starting thrush,
Shook a white shower from the black-thorn bush,
Where dew-drops thick as early blossoms hung,
And trembled as the minstrel sweetly sung.

Spring, 1. 129.

MILKING.

Forth comes the maid, and like the morning smiles;
The mistress too, and followed close by Giles.
A friendly tripod forms their humble seat,
With pails bright scour'd, and delicately sweet;
Where shadowing elms obstruct the morning ray,
Begins their work, begins the simple lay;
Tlie full-charg'd udder yields its willing streams,
While Mary sings some lover's amorous dreams;
And crouching Giles beneath a neighboring tree
Tugs o'er bis pail, and chants with equal glee;
Whose hat with tatter'd brim, of nap so bare,
From the cow's side purloins a coat of hair,
A mottled ensign of his harmless trade,
An unambitious, peaceable cockade.

Spring, 1. 191. LAMBS AT PLAY.

Say, ye that know, ye who have felt and seen
Spring's morning smiles, and soul-enliv'ning green,
Say, did you give the thrilling transport way?
Did your eye brighten, when young lambs at play
Leap'd o'er your path with animated pride,
Or graz'd in merry clusters by your side?
Ye who can smile, to wisdom no disgrace,
At the arch meaning of a kitten's face;
If spotless innocence, and infant mirth,
Excites to praise, or gives reflection birth;
In shades like these pursue your favorite joy,
'Midst Nature's revels, sports that never cloy ;
A few begin a short but vigorous race,
And indolence abash'd soon flies the place;
Thus challeng'd forth, see thither, one by one,
From every side assembling playmates run;
A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd, impatient of delay.
Like the fond dove, from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, " Come, let us try our speed;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
The green turf trembling as they bound along;
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every molehill is a bed of thyme;
There panting stop; yet scarcely can refrain;
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again;
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scatt'ring the wildbrier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try,
Like the torn flower the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen rose! sad emblem of their doom ;
Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom!
Though unoffending innocence may plead,
Though frantic ewes may mourn the savage deed,
Their shepherd comes, a messenger of blood,
And drives them bleating from their sports and food.

Spring, 1. 309. Giles, having fatigued himself by his endeavors to frighten a host of sparrows from the wheat-ears, retires to repose beneath the friendly shelter of some pro cting boughs, and, while with head upon the groun he is gazing upon the heavens, he suddenly hears

THE SKYLARK.

Just starting from the corn she cheerly sings,
And trusts with conscious pride her downy wings;

Still louder breathes, and in the face of day
Mounts up, and calls on Giles to mark her way.
Close to his eyes his hat he instant bends,
And forms a friendly telescope, that lends
Just aid enough to dull the glaring light,
And place the wand'ring bird before his sight;
Yet oft beneath a cloud she sweeps along,
Lost for a while, yet pours her varied song.
He views the spot, and as the cloud moves by,
Again she stretches up the clear blue sky;
Her form, her motion, undistinguish'd quite,
Save when she wheels direct from shade to light :
The flutt'ring songstress a mere speck became,
Like fancy's floating bubbles in a dream:
He sees her yet, but, yielding to repose,
Unwittingly his jaded eyelids close.
Delicious sleep! From sleep who could forbear,
With no more guilt than Giles, and no more care ?
Peace o'er his slumbers waves her guardian wing,
Nor conscience once disturbs him with a sting;
He wakes refresh'd from every trivial pain,
And takes his pole and brushes round again.'

Summer, 1. 63. In painting the characteristics and caprices of insanity, Cowper has touched every heart in his well-known picture of “Crazy Kate."

But may not Bloomfield claim equal praise for his beautiful and affecting story of

[ocr errors]

• « The most beautiful part in the description of this bird, and which is at once curiously faithtul and expressively harmonious, I have copied in Italics. Milton and Thomson have boih introduced the flight of the skylark, the first with his accustomed spirit and sublimity; but probably no poet has surpassed, either in fancy or expression, the following prose narrative of Dr. Goldsmith, in his · History of ihe Earth and Animated Nature': Nothing,' observes he, can be more pleasing than to see the lark warbling upon the wing, raising its note as it soars, until it seems lost in the immense heights above us; the note continuing, the bird itself unseen ; to see it then descending with a swell as it comes from the clouds, yet sinking by degrees as it approaches its nest, the spot where all its affections are centred—the spot that has prompted all this joy.' This description of the descent of the bird, and of the pleasures of its little nest, is conceived in a strain of the most exquisite delicacy and feeling.”

Dr. Drake.
-A tatter'd apron hides,
Worn as a cloak, and hardly hides a gown
More tatter'd still; and both but ill conceal
A bosom heav'd with never-ceasing sighs.
She begs an idle pin of all she meets,
And hoards them in her sleeve ; but needful food,
Though press'd with hunger oft, or comelier clothes,
Though pinch'd with cold, asks never.-Kate is craz’d.

9

THE DISTRACTED FEMALE.1

–Naught her rayless melancholy cheers,
Or soothes her breast, or stops her streaming tears.
Her matted locks unornamented flow,
Clasping her knees, and waving to and fro;
Her head bow'd down, her faded cheek to hide;
A piteous mourner by the path way side.
Some tufted molehill through the livelong day
She calls her throne; there weeps her life away:
And oft the gaily-passing stranger stays
His well-tim'd step, and takes a silent gaze,
Till sympathetic drops unbidden start,
And pangs quick springing muster round his heart ;
And soft he treads with other gazers round,
And fain would catch her sorrow's plaintive sound:
One word alone is all that strikes the ear,
One short, pathetic, simple word—“O dear !"
A thousand times repeated to the wind,
That wafts the sigh, but leaves the pang behind !
Forever of the proffer'd parley shy,
She hears th' unwelcome foot advancing nigh;
Nor quite unconscious of her wretched plight,
Gives one sad look, and hurries out of sight.-

Fair promis’d sunbeams of terrestrial bliss,
Health's gallant hopesand are ye sunk to this?
For in life's road, though thorns abundant grow,
There still are joys poor Poll can never know;
Joys which the gay companions of her prime
Sip, as they drift along the stream of time;
At eve to hear beside their tranquil home
The listed latch, that speaks the lover come:
That love matur’d, next playful on the knee

the velvet lip of infancy;
To stay the tottering step, the features trace;
Inestimable sweets of social peace!
0 Thou ! who bidst the vernal juices rise,
Thou, on whose blasts autumnal foliage flies!
Let Peace ne'er leave me, nor my heart grow cold,
Whilst life and sanity are mine to hold.?

To press

!"It presents as finished a specimen of versification as can be extracted from the pages of our most polished poels; and its pathos is such as to require no comment of mine."

Drake's Literary Hours, vol. ii. p. 467. 9" From the review we have now taken of the Farmer's Boy,' it will be evident, I think, that, owing to its harmony and sweetness of versification, its benevolence of sentiment, and originality of imagery, it is entitled to rank very high in the class of descriptive and pastoral poetry, and that, most probably, it will descend to posterity with a character and with encomia similar to what has been the endeavor of these essays to attach to it."

Dr. Drake.

THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.

Come, friend, I'll turn thee up again:

Companion of the lonely hour! Spring thirty times bath fed with rain And clothed with leaves my humble bower,

Since thou hast stood

In frame of wood,
On chest or window by my side:

At every birth still thou wert near,

Still spoke thine admonitions clear-
And, when my husband died.
I've often watch'd thy streaming sand,

And seen the growing mountain rise,
And often found life's hopes to stand
On props as weak in wisdom's eyes :

Its conic crown

Still sliding down,
Again heap'd up, then down again;

The sand above more hollow grew,

Like days and years still filtering through, And mingling joy and pain. While thus I spin and sometimes sing

(For now and then my heart will glow), Thou measurest Time's expanding wing; By thee the noontide hour I know:

Though silent thou,

Still shalt thou flow,
And jog along thy destined way:

But when I glean the sultry fields,

When earth her yellow harvest yields,
Thou gettist a holiday.
Steady as truth, on either end

Thy daily task performing well,
Thou'rt meditation's constant friend,
And strik'st the heart without a bell:

Come, lovely May!

Thy lengthen'd day
Shall gild once more my native plain;

Curl inward here, sweet woodbine flower:

“Companion of the lonely hour, I'll turn thee up again."

« AnteriorContinuar »