« AnteriorContinuar »
The linnnets warble, captive none, but lured By food to haunt the umbrage : all the glade Is life, is music, liberty, and love.
Why Saxon piles, or Norman, here prevail : Form they a rude, 't is yet an English whole.'
A JUMBLE OF STRUCTURES OF VARIOUS STYLES SATIRIZED.
TEMPLES. –TENTS. - PYRAMIDS. - DRUID CIRCLES, ETC.
VISIT OF THE STRANGER TO ALCANDER'S GROUNDS. - CONVER
SATION ON ART.
And is there now to Pleasure or to Use One scene devoted in the wide domain Its master has not polished ? Rumor spreads Its praises far, and many a stranger stops With curious eye to censure or admire. To all his lawns are pervious ; oft himself With courteous greeting will the critic hail, And join him in the circuit. Give we here (If Candor will with patient ear attend) The social dialogue Alcander held With one, a youth of mild yet manly mien, Who seemed to taste the beauties he surveyed.
Little, I fear me, will a stranger's eye Find here to praise, where rich Vitruvian art Has reared no temples, no triumphal arcs ; Where no Palladian bridges span the stream, But all is homebred Fancy.' For that cause, And chiefly that,' the polished youth replied, I view each part with rapture. Ornament, When foreign or fantastic, never charmed My judgment; here I tread on British ground; With British annals all I view accords. Some Yorkist, or Lancastrian baron bold, To awe his vassals, or to stem his foes, Yon massy bulwark built ; on yonder pilo, In ruin beauteous, I distinctly mark The ruthless traces of stern Henry's hand.'
• And much I praise thy choice,' the stranger
cried ; "Such chaste selection shames the common mode, Which, mingling structures of far-distant times, Far-distant regions, here, perchance, erects A fane to Freedom, where her Brutus stands In act to strike the tyrant ; there a tent, With crescent crowned, with scymitars adorned, Meet for some Bajazet ; northward we turn, And lo ! a pigmy pyramid pretends We tread the realms of Pharaoh ; quickly thence Our southern step presents us heaps of stone Ranged in a Druid circle. Thus from age To age, from clime to clime, incessant borne, Imagination flounders headlong on, Till, like fatigued Villario, soon we find We better like a field.' Nicely thy hand The childish landscape touches,' cried his host, * For Fashion ever is a wayward child ; Yet sure we might forgive her faults like these, If but in separate or in single scenes She thus with Fancy wantoned : should I lead Thy step, my friend (for our accordant tastes Prompt me to give thee that familiar name), Behind this screen of elm, thou there might'st find I too had idly played the truant's part, And broke the bounds of judgment.'
VISIT TO THE BOW KR. EFFECT OF THE STATUE.
HARMONY OF EFFECT IN BUILDINGS.
'Yet,' cried Aleander (interrupting mild The stranger's speech), “if so, yon ancient seat, Pride of my ancestors, had mocked repair, And by proportion's Greek or Roman laws That pile had been rebuilt, thou wouldst not then, I trust, have blamed, if there on Doric shafts A temple rose ; if some tall obelisk O'ertopped yon grove, or bold triumphal arch Usurped my castle's station.'— 'Spare me yet Yon solemn ruin,' the quick youth returned. No mouldering aqueduct, no yawning crypt Sepulchral, will console me for its fate.'
• I mean not that,' the master of the scene Replied ; though classic rules to modern piles Should give the just arrangement, shun we here By those to form our ruins ; much we own They please, when, by Panini's pencil drawn, Or darkly graved by Piranesi's hand, And fitly might some Tuscan garden grace ; But Time's rude mace has hero all Ronian piles Lovelled so low, that who on British ground Attempts the task, builds but a splendid lie, Which mocks historic credence. Hence the cause
• Lead me there,' Briskly the youth returned, ' for having proved Thy epic genius here, why not peruse Thy lighter ode or eclogue ?' Smiling, thence Alcander led him to the woodbine bower Which last our song described ; who, seated there, In silent transport viewed the lively scene.
I see,' his host resumed, 'my sportive art Finds pardon here ; not e'en yon classic form, Pouring his liquid treasures from his vase, Though foreign from the soil, provokes thy frown. Try we thy candor further : higher art, And more luxurious, haply too more vain, Adorns yon southern coppice.' On they pass Through a wild thicket, till the perfumed air Gave to another sense its prelude rich On what the eye should feast. But now the grove Expands ; and now the rose, the garden's queen, Amidst her blooming subjects' humbler charms, On every plot her crimson pomp displays. O paradise !’ the entering youth exclaimed, [balm, "Groves whose rich trees weep odorous gums and Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hang amiable, Hesperian fables true, If true, here only.' Thus, in Milton's phrase
1 See Rousseau's charming description of the gardens of Julie, in ouvelle Heloise, part iv., let. 11.
1 See Pope's Epistle to Lord Burlington, v. 88.
Sublime, the youth his admiration poured,
More from my soul than friendship- that be his :
CLEON AND ALCANDER. - EXPLANATION. - CLEOX DEPARTS.
Does she too faint ? Would Heaven she could ! it were a happy swoon Might soften her fixed form, more rigid now Than is her marble semblance. One stiff hand Lies leaden on her breast ; the other raised [eyes, To heaven, and half-way clenched ; steadfast her Yet viewless; and her lips, which oped to shriek, Can neither shriek nor close. So might she stand Forever : he, whose sight caused the dread change, Though now he clasps her in his anxious arm, Fails to unbend one sinew of her frame; 'Tis ice ; 't is steel. But see, Alcander wakes ; And waking, as by magic sympathy, Nerina whispers, ' All is well, my friend ; 'T was but a vision ; I may yet revive But still his arm supports me : aid him, friend, And bear me swiftly to my woodbine bower ; For there indeed I wish to breathe my last.'
• And blest art thou,' cried Cleon (in a voice Struggling with grief for utterance), blest to die Ere thou hadst questioned me, and I perforce Had told a tale which must have sent thy soul In horror from thy bosom. Now it leaves A smile of peace upon those pallid lips, That speaks its parting happy. Go, fair saint ! Go to thy palm-crowned father ! throned in bliss, And seated by his side, thou wilt not now Deplore the savage stroke that sealed his doom ; Go, hymn the Fount of Mercy, who, from ill Educing good, makes ev'n a death like his, A life surcharged with tender woes like thine, The road to joys eternal. Maid, farewell ! I leave the casket that thy virtues held To him whose breast sustains it ; more beloved, Perhaps more worthy, yet not loving more Than did thy wretched Cleon. At the word He bathed in tears the hand she dying gave, Returned it to her side, and hasty rose. Alcander, starting from his trance of grief, Cried, “Stay, I charge thee stay!' " And shall he
stay, Cleon replied, 'whose presence stabbed thy peace ? Hear this before we part : That breathless maid Was daughter to a venerable sage, Whom Boston, when with peace and safety blest, In rapture heard pour from his hallowed tongue Religion's purest dictates. 'T was my chance, In early period of our civil broils, To save his precious life : and hence the sire Did to my love his daughter's charms consign ; But, till the war should cease, if ever cease, Deferred our nuptials. Whither she was sent In search of safety, well, I trust, thou know'st ; He meant to follow ; but those ruthless flames, That spared nor friend nor foe, nor sex nor age, Involved the village, where on sickly couch He lay confined, and whither he had fed A while to sojourn. There (I see thee shrink) Was he that gave Nerina being burnt ! Burnt by thy countrymen ! to ashes burnt ! Fraternal hands and Christian lit the flame. O thou hast cause to shudder. I meanwhile With his brave son a distant warfare waged ; And him, now I have found the prize I sought, And finding lost, I hasten to rejoin ; Vengeance and glory call me.' At the word, Not fiercer does the tigress quit her cave
DEATH OF NERINA.
So saying, her cold cheek and parched brow Turned to a livid paleness ; her dim eyes Sunk in their sockets ; sharp contraction pressed Her temples, ears, and nostrils : signs well known To those that tend the dying. Both the youths Perceived the change ; and had stern Death him
self Waved his black banner visual o'er their heads, It could not more appall. With trembling step And silent, both conveyed her to the bower.
Her languid limbs there decently composed, She thus her speech resumed : “Attend my words, Brave Cleon! dear Alcander ! generous pair : For both have tender interest in this heart, Which soon shall beat no more. That I am thine By a dear father's just commands, I own, Much-honored Cleon ! take the hand he gave, And with it, 0, if I could give my heart, Thou wert its worthy owner. All I can (And that preserved with chastest fealty) Dutcous I give thee, Cleon, it is thine ; Not ev’n this dear preserver e'er could gain
They banished by their umbrage. “What if hero,' Cried the sweet soother, in a whisper soft,
Some open space were formed, where other shades, Yet all of solemn sort, cypress and bay, Funereal, pensive birch, its languid arms That droops, with waving willows deemed to weep, And shivering aspens, mixt their varied green ; What if yon trunk, shorn of its murky crest, Revealed the sacred fane?' Alcander heard The charmer ; ev'ry accent seemed his own, So much they touched his heart's sad unison.
Yes, yes,' he cried, 'why not behold it all ? That bough removed shows me the very vault Where my Nerina sleeps, and where, when Heaven In pity to my plaint the mandate seals, My dust with hers shall mingle.
To seize the binds that robbed her of her young,
• Then be it so,'
Now thou art mine entirely – Now no more Shall duty dare disturb us — Love alone But hark! he comes again — Away, vain fear ! "T was but the fluttering of thy feathered flock. True to their customed hour, behold they troop From island, grove, and lake. Arise, my love, Extend thy hand - I lift it, but it falls ; Hence, then, fond fools, and pine ! Nerina's hand Has lost the power to feed you. Hence, and die.'
Thus plaining, to his lips the icy palm He lifted, and with ardent passion kissed ; Then cried, in agony, On this dear hand, Once tremblingly alive to Love's soft touch, I hoped to seal my faith.' This thought awaked Another sad soliloquy, which they Whoe'er have loved will from their hearts supply, And they who have not will but hear and smile.
THE “LUXURY OF woe.' — TIME, THE SOOTHER. And let them smile, but let the scorners learn There is a solemn luxury in grief Which they shall never taste ; well known to those, And only those, in Solitude's deep gloom Who heave the sigh sincerely : Fancy there Waits the fit moment ; and, when Time has calmed The first o'erwhelming tempest of their woe, Piteous she steals upon the mourner's breast Her precious balm to shed : 0, it has power, Has magic power to soften and to soothe, Thus duly ministered. Alcander felt The charm, yet not till many a lingering moon Had hung upon her zenith o'er his couch, And heard his midnight wailings. Does he stray But near the fated temple, or the bower ? He feels a chilly monitor within, Who bids him pause.
Does he at distance view His grot? 't is darkened with Nerina's storm, Er'n at the blaze of noon.
THE FUNERAL CELL ; NERINA'S BUST ; GRIEF SOOTHED BY THE PRACTICE OF BENEFICENCE. - ANGELS.
Now his hinds, Called to the task, their willing axes wield ; Joyful to see, as witless of the cause, Their much-loved lord his sylvan arts resume. And next, within the centre of the gloom, A shed of twisting roots and living moss, With rushes thatched, with wattled osiers lined, He bids them raise : it seemed a hermit's cell ; Yet void of hour-glass, skull, and maple dish, Its mimic garniture : Aleander's taste Disdains to trick with emblematic toys The place where he and Melancholy mean To fix Nerina's bust, her genuine bust, The model of the marble. There he hides, Close as a miser's gold, the sculptured clay ; And but at early morn and latest eve Unlocks the simple shrine, and heaves a sigh ; Then does he turn, and through the glimmering
glade Cast a long glance upon her house of death ; Then views the bust again, and drops a tear. Is this idolatry, ye sage ones, say? Or, if ye doubt, go view the numerous train Of poor
and fatherless his care consoles ; The sight will tell thee, he that dries their tears Has unseen angels hovering o'er his head, Who leave their heaven to see him shed his own.
CONCLUSION - BRITISH FREEDOM. -TIIE PATRIOT VIRTUES
ALCANDER CHOOSES A SPOT FOR XERINA'S TOMB.- DESCRIP
TION OF THE SCENE.
Yet there are walks The lost one never trod; and there are seats Where he was never happy by her side, And these he still can sigh in. Here at length, As if by chanoe, kind Fancy brought her aid, When wandering through a grove of sable yew, Raised by his ancestors : their Sabbath-path Led through its gloom, what time too dark a stole Was o'er Religion's decent features drawn By Puritanic zeal. Long had their boughs Forgot the shears ; the spire, the holy ground
Here close we, sweet Simplicity! the tale, And with it let us yield to youthful bards That Dorian reed we but awaked to voice When Fancy prompted, and when Leisure smucu , Hopeless of general praise, and well repaid, If they of classic ear, unpalled by rhyme, Whom changeful pause can please, and numbers free, Accept our song with candor. They perchance, Led by the muse to solitude and shade, May turn that art we sing to soothing use, At this ill-omened hour, when Rapine rides In titled triumph ; when Corruption waves
Her banners broadly in the face of day,
Which fixed the rights of people, peers, and prince,
Tusser's “June's Husbandry.”
Make suer of bread-corn (of all other grain),
With whins or with furzes thy hovel renew,
Calm weather in June, Forgotten, month past,
Do now at the last.
The bushes and thorns, with the shrubs that do noy,