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But they heaved the billow before the prow,
And they dashed the surge against her side,
And they struck her keel with jerk and blow,

Till the gunwale bent to the rocking tide.
She wimpled about in the pale moonbeam,
Like a feather that floats on a wind-tossed stream;
And momently athwart her track

The quarl upreared his island back,
And the fluttering scallop behind would float,
And spatter the water about the boat;
But he bailed her out with his colen-bell,

And he kept her trimmed with a wary tread,
While on every side like lightning fell
The heavy strokes of his bootle-blade."

The fay, notwithstanding these obstacles, pursues his onward course, till he comes to where the column of moonshine lay on the waters-beneath the surface he espies a brown-backed sturgeon, swimming slowly along, surrounded by a crowd of water sprites. He follows after in his little boat, until he sees him point his head upward, as if to make a leap into the air. The fairy drops his paddle, and holds his colen goblet, ready to catch the drop as it falls. The sturgeon, with a sweep of his tail, shoots above the blue waves, and plunges again into their depths, leaving in his passage through the air, a silvery arch of bright water drops. The fairy darts his bark under the moony rainbow,

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He turns, and behold the waves are at peace, and the track over which he passes is smooth as a mirror. The sea nymphs sport around him-smiling and singing, they gently urge his muscle bark to the sandy shore. He leaps upon the land, and the sprites, nodding their heads, and kissing their hands in token of adieu, drop into the crystal waters.

The fay reposes an instant on the shore, but the night is far spent, and half of his task remains to be performed. But two little hours are left. He speeds to the elfin court, and begins his preparations for the second expedition-

"He puts his acorn helmet on,

It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down;
The corselet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee's golden vest;

His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies;
His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen,
Studs of gold on a ground of green;
And the quivering lance which he brandished bright,
Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.
Swift he bestrode his fire-fly steed;
He bared his blade of the bent-grass blue;
He drove his spurs of the cockle seed,

And away like a glance of thought he flew,
To skim the heavens and follow far
The fiery trail of the rocket-star."

The culprit fay springs into the vaulted firmament, upon his fire-fly courser, flinging at every leap a glittering spark behind him. "He flies like a feather in the blast," till he passes the driving clouds--a heavy mist is thrown around him--he shivers with cold, but urges his fiery steed onward through the tempest. The fierce eyes of the spirits of air gleam savagely upon him their furious yells scream on his startled ear; his wings hang dripping by his side, and the thistle down plume droops from his crest; the lightning flashes and the thunder roars around him. He draws his keen blade from its scabbard, and dashes among the howling spectres-he conquers, and the land of clouds lies beneath him: upward still he speeds, in the clear moonlight; he reaches the stream of the milky way, and checks the flight of his courser, to watch for the shooting star. "Sudden along the snowy tide," a bright company of the sylphs of heaven surround the adventurous fay-dancing and warbling, they lead him through amber clouds and starry plains, to the palace of their queen. The culprit enters

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The beautiful queen raises her eyes to the enraptured fay-they sparkle with gladness, for never before has the form of an earthly ouphe been seen in her bower. Long and ardently she

gazes upon him, while he tells her, in sweet accents, the story of his love and sufferings-her bosom heaves sadly, the tear starts into her eye, and she speaks to him in the voice of passionate love.

"Sweet spirit of earth! return n more to thy woodland homeabide with me in this region of light and glory-we will lie within the fleecy drift, and hang upon the arched rainbow-the gems of the sky shall glitter on thy brow, and thou shalt bathe in the pure streams of ether; we will repose within the circle of the Pleiades, or rest on the starry belt of Orion, and my sylphs shall sing to thee, songs, that will disperse the misty dews of evening-thou shalt pillow softly on my breast, while the heavenly breathings float around. Blest with the spirits of air, thou wilt forget the fairy joys of thine earthly home."

The elfin's heart beats fitfully, as he listens to the lovely queen--but dearer, and lovelier far, is the image of his earthly maid, and deeply is it stamped upon his soul. He thinks upon her meek and gentle eyes, and the flush of her rosy cheeknever again may he lie in the sweet sunshine of her smilebut to see her in the visions of evening, or clasp her in his waking dreams, is worth all' else that heaven and earth contain.

"Lady," he cries, "I have this night sworn, by my knightly faith, to expiate the sin which is charged upon me; my honour is scarcely freed from stain, and I may not again tarnish its purity. Farewell-I must haste to the task which is before me."

The queen sighs deeply and mournfully, and her eyes are filled with tears. She leads the fay to her palace gate, and calls the attendant sylphs to bring the sable car. She surrounds him with charms, to protect him from the fiends of air; then tying his fire-fly steed before the cloudy car, she presses his hand, and bids him speed to the northern sky

"For by its wane and wavering light,

There was a star would fall to-night"

Afar north, on the wings of the rushing blast, he shoots along the clouds are left behind him, and he flies past the flickering stars, with the quickness of lightning-he reaches the northern plain-then checks his courser, and waits the falling of the rocket light

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As swift as the glance of the arrowy lance
That the storm-spirit flings from high,
The star-shot flew o'er the welkin blue,
As it fell from the sheeted sky.
As swift as the wind in its trail behind
The elfin gallops along,

The fiends of the cloud are bellowing loud,
But the sylphid charm is strong;
He gallops unhurt in the shower of fire,

While the cloud-fiends fly from the blaze;
He watches each flake till its sparks expire,
And rides in the light of its rays.

But he drove his steed to the lightning's speed,
And caught a glimmering spark:

Then wheeled around to the fairy ground,
And sped through the midnight dark."

And now, ye ouphes and goblins-imps and sprites-elves and starry fays-ye that love the mellow light of the chaste moon, hither speed; welcome the wanderer to his woodland home, with songs and merry dancings-wind ye around in a joyous. ring, and let the hills echo to the sounds of gladness,

"But hark! from tower on tree-top high,
The sentry elf his call has made,
A streak is in the eastern sky,
Shapes of moonlight! flit and fade!
The hill-tops gleam in morning's spring,
The skylark shakes his dappled wing,
The day-glimpse glimmers on the lawn,
The cock has crowed and the fays are gone."

We have thus given an analysis of the "Culprit Fay," and though any prosaic paraphrase would fail in justly conveying the peculiar beauties of the poem, it will, at least, exhibit the richness of fancy, the admirable refinement of style and vigour of expression, which characterise the writings of the departed bard.

The inference which we derive from a rapid, though not careless view of the subject, is that the lyric poetry of America will not materially suffer by a comparison with that of foreign cotemporary authors. True, this is not the highest praise that could be bestowed upon the poetical literature of a nation; yet, when we consider the infancy of our own, it is grateful to our hopes for the future to be able to say even thus much. As yet, the constitution of society prevents the adequate encouragement of a more exalted style of composition. A high state of intellectual cultivation, sufficiently extensive to give a character to society at large, is requisite for the promotion of the higher branches of poetry. In other countries, the epochs most distinguished for literary excellence, were also most prolific in the production of great poets.

VOL. XIX. No. 37.

16

In the reign of James the First, the literature of England had attained an elevated condition, and in no other single generation has that nation been marked by the existence of so many illustrious poets. Shakspeare was in the zenith of his fame. Massinger, who approached Shakspeare in dignity more closely than any writer of the age-Beaumont and Fletcher, who surpassed every living author in their delineations of female character-Marston, Shirley, Webster, Ford, Brome, and other dramatic writers of scarcely inferior meritSpenser, whose melodious numbers have been the model of so. many modern poems-Drayton, Beaumont the elder, Fairfax the translator of Tasso, the learned and metaphysical Ben Jonson, and the immortal John Milton, dignified this favoured

era.

The peculiar condition of the literature of that day destroyed, in a great measure, a taste for simplicity in poetry. When this is once destroyed in a nation, it is very difficult to restore it; and from the reign of James until the commencement of the civil wars, the philosophical abstractions of Jonson, Donne, Cowley, and others, monopolised the favour of the public.

We have already said, and repeat it here, that when the faculty of abstract reflection and a vivid imagination are eminently combined, the individual who possesses them has within him the elements of intellectual poetry; when these are not united, it were vain, and worse than vain, to attempt this exalted style of composition. Shakspeare possessed this union in a greater degree than any other poet of England, and the result of the combination is observed in the deathless productions of his inspired pen. Jonson had no imagination-no perception of the sublime or the beautiful-and as a conse quence, his writings are filled with far-fetched imagery, and characterised by a learned profundity, which render many of them incomprehensible, not only to general readers, but to all readers.

What is it, then, that causes unintelligible poetry to find favour with the people? It is this-A vivid fancy and a musical ear are pleased with any poetry that is lofty in its tone, and melodious in its numbers. It may be destitute of sense or meaning when calmly and critically analysed, but its high-wrought language and majesty of sound suggest ideas and images in the minds of those who are predisposed by natural constitution to indulge in the exercise of imagination. We have pored over the gloomy poetry of the "Revolt of Islam," without comprehending, or hoping to comprehend, a tithe of its meaning, (if, indeed, a tithe of it has any meaning) but there is a wild sublimity which runs throughout the poem, eminently calculated to excite the fancy to energy and action. There are many passages,

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