Imágenes de página

She dwelt, begirt with growing infancy,
Daughters and sons of beauty,—but, behold!
Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
What could her grief be?—she had all she loved ;
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repress'd affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not,
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved;
Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd
Upon her mind,-a spectre of the past.

A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The wanderer was return'd. I saw him stand Before an altar, with a gentle bride: Her face was fair,—but was not that which made The starlight of his boyhood! as he stood Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock That in the antique oratory shook His bosom in its solitude; and then, As in that hour, a moment o'er his face The tablet of unutterable thoughts Was traced,-and then it faded as it came; And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke The fitting vows-but heard not his own words; And all things reeld around him! he could see Not that which was, nor that which should have been; But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall, And the remember'd chambers, and the place, The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade,

All things pertaining to that place and hour,
And her who was his destiny came back,
And thrust themselves between him and the light:
What business had they there at such a time?

A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The lady of his love, -oh! she was changed As by the sickness of the soul : her mind Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes,They had not their own lustre, but the look Which is not of the earth: she was become The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Were combinations of disjointed things; And forms-impalpable and unperceived Of others’ sight-familiar were to hers, And this the world calls frenzy! but the wise Have a far deeper madness; and the glance Of melancholy is a fearful gift: What is it but the telescope of truth? Which strips the distance of its phantasies, And brings life near in utter nakedness, Making the cold reality too real !

A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The wanderer was alone as heretofore; The beings that surrounded him were gone, Or were at war with him! he was a mark For blight and desolation,-compass'd round With hatred and contention: pain was mix'd In all which was served up to him, until, Like to the Pontic monarch of old days, , He fed on poisons, and they had no power,But were a kind of nutriment: he lived Through that which had been death to many men,

And made him friends of mountains! with the stars
And the quick spirit of the universe
He held his dialogues; and they did teach
To him the magic of their mysteries:
To him the book of night was open’d wide,
And voices from the deep abyss reveal'd
A marvel and a secret,--Be it so.

My dream was past: it had no further change. It was of a strange order, that the doom Of these two creatures should be thus traced out Almost like a reality: the one To end in madness, both in misery!


FAREWELL! if ever fondest prayer

For others' weal avail'd on high,
Mine will not all be lost in air-

But waft thy name beyond the sky.
'Twere vain to speak, to weep, to sigh:

Oh! more than tears of blood can tell,
When wrung from guilt's expiring eye,

Are in that word-Farewell! Farewell!

not by,

These lips are mute, these eyes are dry;

But in my breast, and in my brain,
Awake the



The thought that ne'er shall sleep again.
My soul nor deigns, nor dares complain,

Though grief and passion there rebel;
I only know we loved in vain,-
I only feel-Farewell! Farewell!

ROBERT SOUTHEY was born in Bristol, on the 12th of August, 1774. Having given early tokens of that genius which has since placed his name foremost among British Worthies, his friends resolved that the advantages of a liberal education should be added to those which Nature had bestowed upon him, and sent him in 1788, to Westminster School. In 1792, he was entered at Baliol College, Oxford. During his residence in the University, he became infected with Jacobinical principles: but if some of his earlier productions contributed to disseminate pernicious doctrines, he has amply compensated mankind by the labours of a long life in the cause of Virtue. In 1796, his first great poem, “ Joan of Arc," appeared; and his fame was completely established, when, in 1801, the romance of “ Thalaba” issued from the press. He has since been continually before the world; and there is scarcely a branch of literature to which he has not contributed,—a list of his publications would fill this page. In 1813, Southey accepted the office of Poet Laureat, on the death of Pye,-and for nearly the first time, during at least a century, the office, instead of conferring received dignity.

Southey is tall and handsome, with a clear and noble forehead; an aquiline nose; a profusion of hair; and uncommonly bright eyes: his voice is musical, full of gentleness and persuasion, and his smile is as winning as it is sweet. His hair, once a curling and glossy black, curls still, but is white as snow; and his step has lost some of its elasticity,—but his eyes are as bright, and his smile as winning, as ever. He is rarely seen in the great world. His distaste of the turmoils of life induced him to decline the offer of a seat in the House of Commons, to which he had been elected ;apart from the hustle and feverish excitement of a city, he pursues his gentle and useful course from year to year:

“And to his mountains and his forest rude

Chaunts in sweet melody his classic song." He has led the life of a scholar with as much steadiness of purpose and devotion, as if he had bound himself to his books by a religious vow. His works are sufficient to form a library; they are proofs of his amazing industry, not less than his vast and comprehensive

learning. His wonderful genius may excite our admiration; but the extent of his “profitable labour” is, indeed, prodigious. There is nothing like it we believe in the history of the human mind. His character is as unspotted as that of any public man-living or dead. The world is aware that he has had some enemies: no one ever deserved them less. His friends are numerous, devoted, and firm. No one ever earned them better, or merited them more :

“ We soon live down

Evil or good report, if undeserved." His political opponents have tendered evidence to the estimable character of both his head and heart. One of the harshest arraigners of what he calls the inconsistency of Dr. Southey—as if that were inconsistency which induces to leave a path after it is known to be the wrong one-states, that “in all the relations and charities of private life, he is correct, exemplary, generous, just.” He is one of the leading critics of the age; and, although there is abun. dant proof of his generous zeal in aiding young talent, there was never attached to him the suspicion of depressing it. The career of Southey is the best answer to the absurd, but too generally received opinion, that a critic is of necessity acrimonious or unjust.

Of late years, the prose of Southey has been preferred to his poetry. It rarely happens that there is a preference without a disparagement. No Poet in the present or the past century, has written three such poems as Thalaba, Kehama, and Roderic. Others have more excelled in DELINEATING what they find before them in life; but none have given such proofs of extraordinary power in CREATING. He has been called diffuse, because there is a spaciousness and amplitude about his poetry-as if concentration was the highest quality of a writer. He lays all his thoughts before us; but they never rush forth tumultuously. He excels in unity of design and congruity of character; and never did Poet more adequately express heroic fortitude, and generous affections. He has not, however, limited his pen to grand paintings of epic character. Among his shorter productions will be found some light and graceful sketches, full of beauty and feeling, and not the less valuable because they invariably aim at promoting virtue.

« AnteriorContinuar »