« PreviousContinue »
That still on God their anchor hope may hold ;
From him by no dispairefull tempest torn ;
* Sidney Psalms, pp. 143, 144. I have lately met with a description of the last and most dreadful of the plagues of Egypt so sublimely alluded to in this psalm, namely, the destruction of the first-born, which, as possessing very singular merit, and being at the same time little known, I am desirous of bringing forward in this place. It is contained in a little volume entitled "Rural Pictures and Miscellaneous Pieces," printed in 1825, and written by a young man of the name of SLATTER, resident at Oxford, and who, it is somewhat remarkable, pursues the same humble occupation by which Bloomfield supported himself whilst composing his Farmer's Boy. I am induced to hope, indeed, that the spirit of poetry which this specimen will be found to exhibit cannot but incline my readers to refer to the pages whence it is taken, and where I can promise them they will meet with many things claiming in a like degree their notice and approbation.
THE DESTROYING ANGEL.
Where ancient Nile majestic rolls
His undulating wave,
The ashes of the brave;
Once in the flight and transient prime
Of days long passed away;
When youth adorned the brow of time,
Unconscious of decay;
Not only, in short, in these, but in a multitude of other passages, may we discover similar anticipations of what are deemed the beauties or novelties
When midnight stealing o'er the ground,
Midst shadows rising dim,
Had hushed, in envy of the sound,
Led on by death, with all his train,
That sweeps o'er Afric's sultry plain,
On heaven's destructive mission bent,
His breath invaded every tent,
In rosy sleep, by all its charms
The babe that in its mother's arms
Before the lightning of his eye
Nor stayed to breathe a parting sigh,
Full many a hoary-headed man
Leaned on his staff to weep,
Each tear expressive, as it ran,
Of sorrow wild and deep.
of modern versification. With what exquisite skill, for instance, with what a felicitous structure of
His white hairs waving to the wind,
All withered and forlorn,
With weary eye, and burdened mind,
But where the captive tribes reposed,
The sign the minister of death
So where the sons of God abide,
Though darkness reigns around;
With them the joys of heaven reside,
With the exception of a slight inaccuracy as to rhyme, occurring in the first stanza, this poem must be pronounced, I think, not only polished and correct, but throughout beautiful and highly impressive. A similar character will apply to the greater part of Mr. Slatter's poetry; and, as the specimen I have just now given is taken from the miscellaneous department of his volume, I will, with the view of doing further justice to his talents, select another from one of his "Rural Pictures," a series which forms the greater portion of the work.
rythm, and with what an admirable turn upon the words, do the following verses from the sixty-second
THE STRANGER MINSTREL.
ON HEARING A ROBIN SING IN A COUNTRY CHURCH DURING DIVINE SERVICE.
Beneath the mouldering roof, at early spring,
For scatter'd crums, like sunbeams through the gloom,
* Psalm lxxxiv. 3.
and the hundred and nineteenth psalms, come be
fore us, though modulated so far back as in the days of Elizabeth!
From the old ruin's mutilated wall,
A simple strain that held my heart in thrall.
To be in this unusual visit traced,
Clear as the morning beam, and not misplaced?
And wings the storm that spares thy lowly nest?
Which swells to heaven, but leaves the heart behind!
I surely shall not be considered as too sanguine, if I express a confident trust, that poetry like this, and froin such a source, will not be suffered to experience the chilling disappointment of neglect.