« PreviousContinue »
Though foul are the drops that oft distil
On the field of warfare, blood like this,
It would not stain the purest rill
That sparkles among the bowers of bliss!
A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear,
'Tis the last libation Liberty draws
From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause!"
Moore wrote those undying lines, the Canadian Boat-Song, during his passage of the St. Lawrence, from Kingston. He pencilled the lines, nearly as they stand in his works, in the blank page of a book which happened to be in his canoe. Some thirty years afterwards, a friend showed this original draught to Moore, when he recalled his youthful days, and alluded in a touching manner to his passage down the rapids of life.
His prelude to The Loves of the Angels is very beautiful:
'Twas when the world was in its prime,
Told his first birth-days by the sun :
Rejoicing men and angels met
'Twixt man and heaven her curtain yet!
Than in these days of crime and woe,
One of Moore's fine heroic songs commences :—
As by the shore, at break of day, a vanquished chief expiring lay, Upon the sands, with broken sword, he traced his farewell to the free; And there, the last unfinished word he, dying, wrote, was-"Liberty!"
Another no less striking, we all remember it, beginning
The harp that once through Tara's halls the soul of music shed,
The following lyrics possess great beauty :—
Let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,-
Long, long be my heart with such memories filled!
Oft in the stilly night, ere slumber's chain has bound me,
The eyes that shone, now dimmed and gone,
When I remember all the friends, so linked together,
I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garland's dead,
Thus in the stilly night, ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
We should honour any poet who gives utterance to so brave a sentiment as the following:
Yes, 'tis not helm nor feather
For ask yon despot, whether
His plumed bands could bring such hands
Leave pomps to those who need 'em,
And proud he braves the gaudiest slaves
That crawl where monarchs lead 'em.
The sword may pierce the beaver,
'Tis mind alone, worth steel and stone,
The following lines illustrate Moore's exquisite taste and skill:
Oh, what a pure and sacred thing is Beauty curtained from the sight Of the gross world, illumining one only mansion with her light! Unseen by man's disturbing eye, the flower that blooms beneath the
Too deep for sunbeams, doth not lie hid in more chaste obscurity. A soul, too, more than half divine, where, through some shades of earthly feeling,
Religion's softened glories shine, like light through summer foliage stealing,
Shedding a glow of such mild hue,
As makes the very darkness there
Our national bard, BRYANT, like Wordsworth, is eminently a poet of nature, for he eloquently interprets to us her beautiful lessons. Calm and meditative are his varied productions; and while they are characterized by classic elegance and grace, they also breathe a spirit of pure and exalted philosophy. The Lines to a Waterfowl, one of his earlier poems, and one of his most justly admired, is now before us :
Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
There is a Power whose care Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,The desert and illimitable air,—
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,