Page images

Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound
Of the invisible breath that swayed at once

All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed
His spirit with the thought of boundless power
And inaccessible majesty. Ah, why
Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect
God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore

Only among the crowd, and under roofs
That our frail hands have raised? Let me, at least,
Here, in the shadow of this aged wood,
Offer one hymn-thrice happy, if it find
Acceptance in His ear.


"The name of LEIGH HUNT," says Smiles, "is associated in our minds with all manner of kindness, love, beauty, and gentleness. He has given us a fresh insight into nature, made the flowers seem gayer, the earth greener, the skies more bright, and all things more full of happiness and blessing." He has given us some fine poems. Here is one about the Flowers, with a touch of the quaintness of the elder poets:

We are the sweet flowers, born of sunny showers,

(Think, whene'er you see us, what our beauty saith); Utterance mute and bright, of some unknown delight,

We fill the air with pleasure by our simple breath :
All who see us, love us-we befit all places;
Unto sorrow we give smiles,-and to graces, graces.
Mark our ways, how noiseless all, and sweetly voiceless,

Though the March winds pipe to make our passage clear;
Not a whisper tells where our small seed dwells,

Nor is known the moment green when our tips appear. We thread the earth in silence, in silence build our bowers,— And leaf by leaf in silence show, till we laugh a-top, sweet flowers!

Take also the following, as examples of his style :

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said-
"What writest thou?" The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,

Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou; "Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed-
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.



May, thou month of rosy beauty,
Month when pleasure is a duty;
Month of bees and month of flowers,
Month of blossom-laden bowers;
May, thy very name is sweet!
I no sooner write the word,
Than it seems as though it heard,
And looks up and laughs at me,
Like a sweet face, rosily;
Like an actual colour bright,
Flushing from the paper's white.

If the rains that do us wrong
Come to keep the winter long,
And deny us thy sweet looks,
I can love thee, sweet, in books:
Love thee in the poet's pages,
Where they keep thee green for ages;
May's in Milton, May's in Prior,
May's in Chaucer, Thomson, Dyer ;
May's in all the Italian books;

She has old and modern nooks,
Where she sleeps with nymphs and elves,
In happy places they call shelves,
With a drapery thick with blooms,
And will rise and dress your rooms.
Come, ye rains, then, if you will,
May's at home, and with me still;
But come, rather, thou, good weather,
And find us in the fields together!

One evening Leigh Hunt was the bearer of some good news to Carlyle, when the wife of the latter, who was also present, was so delighted, that she impulsively sprang from her chair and kissed the poet. The following morning he sent to her a bouquet of flowers, with these lines:

Jenny kissed me when we met, jumping from the chair she sat in; Time, you thief! who love to get sweets into your book,—put that in:

Say I'm weary-say I'm sad-say that health and wealth have missed me,

Say I'm growing old—but add, Jenny kissed me!

AMELIA WELBY, of Kentucky, is the author of the following sweet lines:

[ocr errors]

Sweet warblers of the sunny hours, forever on the wing,

I love them as I love the flowers, the sunlight, and the Spring.
They come like pleasant memories in Summer's joyous time,
And sing their gushing melodies as I would sing a rhyme.
In the green and quiet places, where the golden sunlight falls,
We sit with smiling faces to list their silver calls.

And when their holy anthems come pealing through the air,
Our hearts leap forth to meet them with a blessing and a prayer.

[blocks in formation]

Like shadowy spirits seen at eve, among the tombs they glide, Where sweet pale forms, for which we grieve, lie sleeping side by side.

They break with song the solemn hush where peace reclines her head,

And link their lays with mournful thoughts that cluster round the dead.

Another poetess, MRS. NICHOLLS, of Cincinnati, thus beautifully moralizes on Indian Summer :

It is the Indian Summer-time, the days of mist, and haze, and glory,

And on the leaves, in hues sublime, the Autumn paints poor Summer's story:

“She died in beauty," sing the hours, "and left on earth a glorious shadow ;"

"She died in beauty, like her flowers," is painted on each wood and meadow;

She perished like bright human hopes, that blaze awhile upon life's altar ;

And o'er her green and sunny slopes the plaintive winds her dirges


It is the Indian Summer-time! the crimson leaves like coals are gleaming,

The brightest tints of every clime are o'er our Western forests streaming;

How bright the hours! yet o'er their close the moments sigh in mournful duty,

And redder light around them glows, like hectic on the cheek of beauty!

MADAME BOTTA's fine lines, On a Library, will form a fitting peroration to our Fourth Evening with the Minstrels :

Speak low-tread softly through these halls,-here Genius lives enshrined!

Here reign, in silent majesty, the monarchs of the mind!
A mighty spirit-host they come from every age and clime;
Above the buried wrecks of years, they breast the tide of Time,
And in their presence-chamber here they hold their regal state,
And round them throng a noble train, the gifted and the great.
O, child of earth! when round thy path the storms of life arise,
And when thy brothers pass thee by with stern, unloving eyes,
Here shall the poets chant for thee their sweetest, holiest lays,
And prophets wait to guide thy steps in wisdom's pleasant ways.
Come, with these God-anointed kings be thou companion here,
And in the mighty realm of mind thou shalt go forth a peer.


« PreviousContinue »