Page images
PDF
EPUB

Here is a single specimen of the vigorous verse of EBENEZER ELLIOTT, the "poet of the poor:"

GOD said "Let there be light!" Grim darkness felt His might, and fled away:

Then startled seas, and mountains cold, shone forth, all bright in blue and gold, and cried, " "Tis day-'tis day!"

"Hail, holy light!" exclaimed the thunderous cloud that flamed o'er daisies white;

And lo! the rose, in crimson drest, leaned sweetly on the lily's breast, and, blushing, murmured-" Light!"

Then was the skylark born, then rose the embattled corn; then floods of praise

Flowed o'er the sunny hills of noon; and then, in silent night, the moon poured forth her pensive lays.

Lo! heaven's bright bow is glad! Lo! trees and flowers, all clad in glory, bloom.

LAMAN BLANCHARD'S beautiful lines, The Mother's Hope, glow with all the rich tenderness of the dainty theme :—

Is there, when the winds are singing in the happy summer-time, When the raptured air is ringing with earth's music heavenward springing,

Forest chirp, and village chime,—is there, of the sounds that float
Unsighingly, a single note, half so sweet, and clear, and wild,
As the laughter of a child?

[blocks in formation]

Organ finer, deeper, clearer, though it be a stranger's tone,
Than the winds and waters dearer, more enchanting to the hearer,
For it answereth to his own;

But of all its witching words, those are sweetest, bubbling wild
Through the laughter of a child.

There is a very touching poem by MOIR, entitled Casa Wappy, which was the self-conferred pet name of his infant son; we cite a portion of the verses :—

And hast thou sought thy heavenly home, our fond, dear boy— The realms where sorrow dare not come, where life is joy? Pure at thy death as at thy birth,

Thy spirit caught no taint from earth;

Even by its bliss we mete our death,—Casa Wappy!

Despair was in thy last farewell, as closed thine eye;
Tears of our anguish may not tell when thou didst die ;
Words may not paint our grief for thee,
Sighs are but bubbles on the sea
Of our unfathomed agony,-Casa Wappy!

Thou wert a vision of delight, to bless us given;
Beauty embodied to our sight, a type of heaven:
So dear to us thou wert, thou art
Even less thine ownself than a part

Of mine and of thy mother's heart,-Casa Wappy!

Thy bright brief day knew no decline, 'twas cloudless joy;
Sunrise and night alone were thine, beloved boy!

gay,

This morn beheld thee blithe and
That found thee prostrate in decay,

And ere a third shone-clay was clay,-Casa Wappy!

*

The nursery shows thy pictured wall, thy bat, thy bow,
Thy cloak and bonnet, club and ball; but where art thou?

A corner holds thine empty chair,

Thy playthings, idly scattered there,

But speak to us of our despair,-Casa Wappy!

Even to the last thy every word—to glad, to grieve—
Was sweet as sweetest song of bird on summer's eve:
In outward beauty undecayed,

Death o'er thy spirit cast no shade,

And like the rainbow thou didst fade,-Casa Wappy!

*

*

This favourite little lyric is by ROBERT C. SPENCER :—

Too late I stayed; forgive the crime; unheeded flew the hours; How noiseless falls the foot of Time that only treads on flowers! What eye with clear account remarks the ebbing of his glass, When all its sands are diamond sparks, that dazzle as they pass? Ah! who to sober measurement Time's happy swiftness brings, When birds of Paradise have lent their plumage for his wings?

*

Here is a sweet pastoral sketch, by WORDSWORTH; let us, in imagination, go a-nutting with the philosophic poet :

Among the woods,

And o'er the pathless rocks, I forced my way
Until, at length, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough

Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign.
Of devastation, but the hazels rose

Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung,
A virgin scene,—or beneath the trees I sate
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played:
A temper known to those who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.

*

*

*

And I saw the sparkling foam,

And, with my cheek on one of those green stones

That, fleeced with moss, beneath the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep,
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease: and, of its joys secure,

[graphic]

The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash

And merciless ravage; and the shady nook

Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,

Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up

Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past,
Even then, when from the bower I turned away
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld

The silent trees and the intruding sky.

Then, dearest maiden! move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with the gentle hand
Touch-for there is a spirit in the woods.

Wordsworth, it has been said," appealed to the universal spirit, and strove to sound sweeter strings, and deeper depths, than others had essayed to do; and sought to make poetry a melodious anthem of human life, with all its hopes, dreads, and passions." The apparent simplicity of his style is informed with an inner and subtle meaning, which pervades all he writes; and this characteristic is especially true of his Lines on Tintern Abbey, and his Ode to Immortality. Few poets were more ardent lovers of nature; he tells us as much in the following stanza :—

One impulse from a vernal wood may teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, than all the sages can.

Many of his pastoral pieces are, consequently, fresh as the morning; as Coleridge has said, "they have the dew upon them." When once asked where his library was, he pointed to the woods and streams, saying, "These are my books." So fond was he of wandering over hill and dale, by fountain or fresh shade, that De Quincey estimates his entire perambulations at about one hundred and eighty thousand miles. His calm and beautiful life, so sequestered from the noise and tumult of the town, and so replete with eloquent and sagacious teaching to the world, was extended to eighty years.

The following beautiful tribute to Woman's Worth was originally addressed to his wife, three years after marriage:—

« PreviousContinue »