Imágenes de página

For the tired slave, Song lifts the languid oar,
And bids it aptly fall, with chime
That beautifies the fairest shore,
And mitigates the harshest clime.
Yon pilgrims see-

e-in lagging file
They move ; but soon the appointed way
A choral Ave Marie shall beguile,
And to their hope the distant shrine
Glisten with a livelier ray:
Nor friendless he, the prisoner of the mine,
Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast
Can draw, and sing his griefs to rest.

Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled
Convulsed as by a jarring din ;
And then aghast, as at the world
Of reason partially let in
By concords winding with a sway
Terrible for sense and soul !
Or, awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay.
Point not these mysteries to an Art
Lodged above the starry pole ;
Pure modulations flowing from the heart
Of divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth
With Order dwell, in endless youth?



When civic renovation

Oblivion may not cover Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste

All treasures hoarded by the miser, Time. Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration

Orphean Insight ! truth's undaunted lover, Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast

To the first leagues of tutored passion climb, Piping through cave and battlemented tower;

When Music deigned within this grosser sphere Then starts the sluggard, pleased to meet

Her subtle essence to enfold, That voice of Freedom, in its power

And voice and shell drew forth a tear Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet!

Softer than Nature's self could mould. Who, from a martial pageant, spreads

Yet strenuous was the infant Age: Incitements of a battle-day,

Art, daring because souls could feel, Thrilling the unweaponed crowd with plumieless Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage heads ?

Of rapt imagination sped her march Even She whose Lydian airs inspire

Through the realms of woe and weal : Peaceful striving, gentle play

Hell to the lyre bowed low; the upper

arch Of timid hope and innocent desire

Rejoiced that clamorous spell and magic verse Shot from the dancing Graces, as they move

Her wan disasters could disperse. Fanned by the plausive wings of Love.

[blocks in formation]

How oft along thy mazes,

The Gift to king Amphion Regent of sound, have dangerous Passions trod !

That walled a city with its melody O Thou, through whom the temple rings with praises, Was for belief no dream :—thy skill, Arion ! And blackening clouds in thunder speak of God,

Could humanise the creatures of the sea, Betray not by the cozenage of sense

Where men were monsters. A last grace he craves, Thy votaries, wooingly resigned

Leave for one chant ;-the dulcet sound To a voluptuous influence

Steals from the deck o'er willing waves, That taints the purer, better, mind ;

And listening dolphins gather round. But lead sick Fancy to a harp

Self-cast, as with a desperate course, That hath in noble tasks been tried;

'Mid that strange audience, he bestrides And, if the virtuous feel a pang too sharp,

A proud One docile as a managed horse ; Soothe it into patience,-stay

And singing, while the accordant hand The uplifted arm of Suicide ;

Sweeps his harp, the Master rides; And let some mood of thine in firm array

So shall he touch at length a friendly strand, Knit every thought the impending issue needs, And he, with his preserver, shine star-bright Ere martyr burns, or patriot bleeds!

In memory, through silent night.



As Conscience, to the centre
Of being, smites with irresistible pain
So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter
The mouldy vaults of the dull idiot's brain,

The pipe of Pan, to shepherds
Couched in the shadow of Mænalian pines,
Was passing sweet; the eyeballs of the leopards,
That in high triumph drew the Lord of vines,

How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang!
While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground
In cadence,-and Silenus swang
This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned.
To life, to life give back thine ear:
Ye who are longing to be rid
Of fable, though to truth subservient, hear
The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell
Echoed from the coffin-lid;
The convict's summons in the steeple's knell;
• The vain distress-gun,' from a leeward shore,
Repeated-heard, and heard no more!

That Ocean is a mighty harmonist;
Thy pinions, universal Air,
Ever waving to and fro,
Are delegates of harmony, and bear
Strains that support the Seasons in their round;
Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound.



For terror, joy, or pity, Vast is the compass and the swell of notes : From the babe's first cry to voice of regal city, Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats Far as the woodlands with the trill to blend Of that shy songstress, whose love-tale Might tempt an angel to descend, While hovering o'er the moonlight vale. Ye wandering Utterances, has earth no scheme, No scale of moral music--to unite Powers that survive but in the faintest dream Of memory !-0 that ye might stoop to bear Chains, such precious chains of sight As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear! O for a balance fit the truth to tell Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well!

Break forth into thanksgiving,
Ye banded instruments of wind and chords;
Unite, to magnify the Ever-living,
Your inarticulate notes with the voice of words !
Nor hushed be service from the lowing mead,
Nor mute the forest hum of noon ;
Thou too be heard, lone eagle! freed
From snowy peak and cloud, attune
Thy hungry barkings to the hymn
Of joy, that from her utmost walls
The six-days' Work, by flaming Seraphim
Transmits to Heaven! As Deep to Deep
Shouting through one valley calls,
All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep
For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured
Into the ear of God, their Lord !



By one pervading spirit
Of tones and numbers all things are controlled,
As sages taught, where faith was found to merit
Initiation in that mystery old.
The heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as still
As they themselves appear to be,
Innumerable voices fill
With everlasting harmony;
The towering headlands, crowned with mist,
Their feet among the billows, know

A Voice to Light gave Being ;
To Time, and Man his earth-born chronicler ;
A Voice shall finish doubt and dim foreseeing,
And sweep away life's visionary stir ;
The trumpet (we, intoxicate with pride,
Arm at its blast for deadly wars)
To archangelic lips applied,
The grave shall open, quench the stars.
O Silence! are Man's noisy years
No more than moments of thy life!
Is Harmony, blest queen of smiles and tears,
With her smooth tones and discords just,
Tempered into rapturous strife,
Thy destined bond-slave! No! though earth be dust
And vanish, though the heavens dissolve, her stay
Is in the Word, that shall not pass away.




What's in a Name

Brutus will start a Spirit as soon as Cæsar !


The Tale of Peter Bell, which I now introduce to your notice, and to that of the Public, has, in its Manuscript state, nearly survived its minority :-for it first saw the light in the summer of 1798. During this long interval, pains have been taken at different times to make the production less unworthy of a favourable reception ; or, rather, to fit it for filling permanently a station, however humble, in the Literature of our Country. This has, indeed, been the aim of all my endeavours in Poetry, which, you know, have been sufficiently laborious to prove that I deem the Art not lightly to be approached ; and that the attainment of excellence in it, may laudably be made the principal object of intellectual pursuit by any man, who, with reasonable consideration of circumstances, has faith in his own impulses.

The Poem of Peter Bell, as the Prologue will show, was composed under a belief that the Imagination not only does not require for its exercise the intervention of supernatural agency, but that, though such agency be excluded, the faculty may be called forth as imperiously and for kindred results of pleasure, by incidents, within the compass of poetic probability, in the humblest departments of daily life. Since that Prologue was written, you have exhibited most splendid effects of judicious daring, in the opposite and usual course. Let this acknowledgment make my peace with the lovers of the supernatural ; and I am persuaded it will be admitted, that to you, as a Master in that province of the art, the following Tale, whether from contrast or congruity, is not an unappropriate offering. Accept it, then, as a public testimony of affectionate admiration from one with whose name yours has been often coupled (to use your own words) for evil and for good; and believe me to be, with earnest wishes that life and health may be granted you to complete the many important works in wbich you are engaged, and with high respect,

Most faithfully yours,


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Off flew the Boat-away she flees,
Spurning her freight with indignation !
And I, as well as I was able,
On two poor legs, toward my stone-table
Limped on with sore vexation.

* In the dialect of the North, a hawker of earthenware is thus designated.

« AnteriorContinuar »