« PreviousContinue »
in my hands, your's with her's unite. By thee inspired, on India's sands, A father's blessing on your heads alight !
Full in the sun the Bramin stands;
And, while the panting tigress hies
To quench her fever in the stream, St. Pierre has found his child to-day ;
His spirit laughs in agonies, And old and young shall dance to-morrow."
Smit by the scorchings of the noontide beam.
Mark who mounts the sacred pyre, Had Louis' then before the gate dismounted,
Blooming in her bridal vest : Lost in the chase at set of sun ;
She hurls the torch ! she fans the fire ! Like Henry when he heard recounted ?
To die is to be blest : The generous deeds himself had done,
She clasps her lord to part no more, (What time the miller's maid Colette
And, sighing, sinks ! but sinks to soar. Sung, while he supped, her chansonnette)
O’ershadowing Scotia's desert coast, Then—when St. Pierre addressed his village-train,
The Sisters sail in dusky state, Then had the monarch with a sigh confessed
And, wrapt in clouds, in tempests tost, A joy by him unsought and unpossessed,
Weave the a'iry web of Fate; -Without it what are all the rest ?
While the lone shepherd, near the shipless main, To love, and to be loved again.
Sees o'er her hills advance the long-drawn funeral
Thou spak'st, and lo! a new creation glowed.
Each unhewn mass of living stone
Was clad in horrors not its own, HENCE, to the realms of Night, dire Demon, hence! And at its base the trembling nations bowed. Thy chain of adamant can bind
Giant Error, darkly grand, That little world, the human mind,
Grasped the globe with iron hand. And sink its noblest powers to impotence.
Circled with seats of bliss, the Lord of Light Wake the lion's loudest roar,
Saw prostrate worlds adore his golden heigat. Clot his shaggy mane with gore,
The statue, waking with immortal powers,9 With flashing fury bid his eye-balls shine ; Springs from its parent earth, and shakes the Meek is his savage, sullen soul, to thine !
spheres ; Thy touch, thy deadening touch has steeled the The indignant pyramid sublimely towers, breast,
And braves the efforts of a host of years. Whence, thro' her April-shower, soft Pity smiled; Sweet Music breathes her soul into the wind; Has closed the heart each godlike virtue blessed, And bright-eyed Painting stamps the image of To all the silent pleadings of his child.
the mind. At thy command he plants the dagger deep,
II. 2. At thy command exults, tho’ Nature bids him weep!
Round the rude ark old Egypt's sorcerers rise ! I. 2.
A timbrelled anthem swells the gale,
Thou dartedst thy huge head from high, . With lowings loud the captive God replies.
Clouds of incense woo thy smile,
But ah ! what myriads claim the bended knee ! 2 Ha ! what withering phantoms glare !
Go count the busy drops that swell the sea. As blows the blast with many a sudden swell, Proud land! what eye can trace thy mystic lore, At each dead pause, what shrill-toned voices yell ! Locked up in characters as dark as night ?13 The sheeted spectre, rising from the tomb, What eye those long, long labyrinths dare explore,'4 Points to the murderer's stab, and shudders by ; To which the parted soul oft wings her flight; In every grove is felt a heavier gloom,
Again to visit her cold cell of clay, That veils its genius from the vulgar eye : Charmed with perennial sweets, and smiling at The spirit of the water rides the storm,
decay ? And, thro' the mist, reveals the terrors of his form.
On yon hoar summit, mildly bright 15
With purple ether's liquid light, And holds each mountain-wave in chains,
High o'er the world, the white-robed Magi gaze The fur-clad savage, ere he guides his deer
6 The funeral rite of the Hindoos. By glistering star-light thro' the snow,
7 The Fates of the Northern Mythology. See MALLET'S Breathes softly in her wondering ear
8 An allusion to the Second Sight.
10 The bull, Apis. i Louis the Fourteenth.
11 The Crocodile. 2 Alluding to a popular story related of Henry the Fourth 12 According to an ancient proverb, it was less difficult of France; similar to ours of “ The King and Miller of in Egypt to find a god than a man. Mansfield.”
13 The Hieroglyphics. 14 The Catacombs. 3 Written in early youth.
15 • The Persians," says Herodotus, “have no temples, 4 The sacrifice of Iphigenia
altars, or statues. They sacrifice on the tops of the highest • Lucretius, I. 63.
mountains.” I. 131.
WRITTEN TO BE SPOKEN BY
On dazzling bursts of heavenly fire;
Her heavenly form, with glowing hand, Start at each blue, portentous blaze,
Benignly points to piety and peace. Each flame that fits with adverse spire.
Flushed with youth, her looks impart But say, what sounds my ear invade
Each fine feeling as it flows; From Delphi's venerable shade ?
Her voice the echo of a heart The temple rocks, the laurel waves !
Pure as the mountain-snows: “ The God! the God !” the Sibyl cries.'
Celestial transports round her play, Her figure swells ! she foams, she raves !
And softly, sweetly die away. Her figure swells to more than mortal size !
She smiles! and where is now the eloud. Streams of rapture roll along,
That blackened o’er thy baleful reign? Silver notes ascend the skies :
Grim darkness furls his leaden shroud,
Shrinking from her glance in vain.
Her touch unlocks the day-spring from above, The Sibyl speaks, the dream is o'er,
And lo! it visits man with beams of light and love. The holy harpings charm no more. In vain she checks the God's controul ; His madding spirit fills her frame, And moulds the features of her soul, Breathing a prophetic flame.
MRS. SIDDONS.4 The cavern frowns; its hundred mouths unclose !
Yes, 'tis the pulse of life! my fears were vain ; And, in the thunder's voice, the fate of empire flows! I wake, I breathe, and am myself again. III. 1.
Still in this nether world; no seraph yet ! Mona, thy Druid-rites awake the dead !
Nor walks my spirit, when the sun is set,
With troubled step to haunt the fatal board,
Where I died last—by poison or the sword ; Rites that have chained old Ocean on his bed.
Blanching each honest cheek with deeds of night, Shivered by thy piercing glance,
Done here so oft by dim and doubtful light. Pointless falls the hero's lance.
To drop all metaphor, that little bell Thy magic bids the imperial eagle fly,
Called back reality, and broke the spell. And blasts the laureate wreath of victory.
No heroine claims your tears with tragic tone; Hark, the bard's soul inspires the vocal string !
A very woman-scarce restrains her own! At every pausė dread Silence hovers o’er:
Can she, with fiction, charm the cheated mind, While murky Night sails round on raven-wing,
When to be grateful is the part assigned ? Deepening the tempest's howl, the torrent's roar;
Ah, no! she scorns the trappings of her Art; Chased by the Morn from Snowdon's awful brow, No theme but truth, no prompter but the heart ! Where late she sate and scowled on the black wave
But, Ladies, say, must I alone unmask? below.
Is here no other actress, let me ask.
Believe me, those, who best the heart dissect, III. 2.
Know every Woman studies stage-effect. Lo, steel-clad War his gorgeous standard rears ! She moulds her manners to the part she fills, The red-cross squadrons madly rage,3
As Instinct teaches, or as Humour wills; And mow thro' infancy and age;
And, as the grave or gay her talent calls, Then kiss the sacred dust and melt in tears.
Acts in the drama, till the curtain falls. Veiling from the eye of day,
First, how her little breast with triumph swells, Penance dreams her life away;
When the red coral rings its golden bells ! In cloistered solitude she sits and sighs,
To play in pantomime is then the raye, While from each shrine still, small responses rise. Along the carpet's many-coloured stage; Hear with what heart-felt beat, the midnight bell
Or lisp her merry thoughts with loud endeavour, Swings its slow summons thro' the hollow pile! Now here, now there,-in noise and mischief ever! The weak, wan votarist leaves her twilight cell,
A school-girl next, she curls her hair in papers, To walk, with taper dim, the winding aisle ; And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours ;
With choral chantings vainly to aspire [fire. Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances ; Beyond this nether sphere, on Rapture’s wing of Playful at church, and serious when she dances ; III. 3.
Tramples alike on customs and on toes, Lord of each pang the nerves can feel,
And whispers all she hears to all she knows ; Hence with the rack and reeking wheel.
Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions ! Faith lifts the soul above this little ball!
A romp ! that longest of perpetual motions ! While gleams of glory open round,
-Till tamed and tortured into foreign graces, And circling choirs of angels call,
She sports her lovely face at public places; Ca thou, with all thy terrors crowned,
And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan, Hope to obscure that latent spark,
First acts her part with that great actor, MAN. Destined to shine when suns are dark?
Too soon a flirt, approach her and she flies! Thy triumphs cease! thro' every land,
Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs ! Hark! Truth proclaims, thy triumphs cease !
Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice;
Till fading beauty hints the late advice. 1 Æn. VI. 46, &c.
Her prudence dictates what her pride disdained, 2 See Tacitus, 1. xiv. c. 29
And now she sues to slaves herself had chained! 3 This remarkable event happened at the siege and sack of Jerusalem in the last year of the eleventh century. 4 After a Tragedy, performed for her benefit, at the Matth. Paris, IV.2.
Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, April 27, 1795.
Then comes that good old character, a Wife, With all the dear, distracting cares of life;
FROM EURIPIDES. A thousand cards a day at doors to leave,
THERE is a streamlet issuing from a rock. And, in return, a thousand cards receive;
The village-girls singing wild madrigals, Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire,
Dip their white vestments in its waters clear, With nightly blaze set PORTLAND-PLACE on fire;
And hang them to the sun. There first I saw her; Snatch half a glimpse at Concert, Opera, Ball,
There on that day. Her dark and eloquent eyes A meteor, traced by none, tho’ seen by all;
'Twas heaven to look upon; and her sweet voice And, when her shattered nerves forbid to roam,
As tuneable as harp of many strings,
At once spoke joy and sadness to my soul!
Dear is that valley to the murmuring bees;
And all, who know it, come and come again. The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
The small birds build there; and, at summer-noon, Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal ;
Oft have I heard a child, gay among flowers, With modern Belles eternal warfare wages,
As in the shining grass she sate concealed,
FROM AN ITALIAN SONNET.
Love, under Friendship’s vesture white,
Laughs, his little limbs concealing ; Full oft, with energy that scorns controul,
And oft in sport, and oft in spite,
Like Pity meets the dazzled sight, At once lights up the features of the soul;
Smiles thro' his tears revealing.
But now as Rage the God appears !
He frowns, and tempests shake his frame!Herself exemplifies the truth she draws,
Frowning, or smiling, or in tears,
'Tis Love; and Love is still the same.
As thro' the hedge-row shade the violet steals, All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things! And the sweet air its modest leaf reveals; To you, unchecked, each genuine feeling flows; Her softer charms, but by their influence known, For all that life endears—to you she owes. Surprise all hearts, and mould them to her own.
Father of many a forest deep,
Opening new spheres of thought!
Wont in the night of woods to dwell,
Of human sacrifice!
Thy singed top and branches bare
Of him who came to die !
THE SAILOR. The Sailor sighs as sinks his native shore, As all its lessening turrets bluely fade; He climbs the mast to feast his eye once more, And busy fancy fondly lends her aid. Ah! now, each dear, domestic scene he knew, Recalled and cherished in a foreign clime, Charms with the magic of a moon-light view; Its colours mellowed, not impaired, by time. True as the needle, homeward points his heart, Thro' all the horrors of the stormy main ; This, the last wish that would with life depart, To meet the smile of her he loves again. When Morn first faintly draws her silver line, Or Eve's grey cloud descends to drink the wave; When sea and sky in midnight-darkness join, Still, still he sees the parting look she gave. Her gentle spirit, lightly hovering o'er, Attends his little bark from pole to pole; And, when the beating billows round him roar, Whispers sweet hope to soothe his troubled soul. Carved is her name in many a spicy grove, In many a plantain-forest, waving wide; Where dusky youths in painted plumage rove, And giant palms o'er-arch the golden tide. But lo, at last he comes with crowded sail ! Lo, o'er the cliff what eager figures bend! And hark, what mingled murmurs swell the gale! In each he hears the welcome.of a friend. —'Tis she, 'tis she herself! she waves her hand! Soon is the anchor cast, the canvas furled ; Soon thro' the whitening surge he springs to land, And clasps the maid he singled from the world.
TO TWO SISTERS.2
Well may you sit within, and, fond of grief,
Changed is that lovely countenance, which shed Light when she spoke; and kindled sweet sur
prise, As o'er her frame each warm emotion spread, Played round her lips, and sparkled in her eyes.
Those lips so pure, that moved but to persuade,
Yet has she fled the life of bliss below,
TO AN OLD OAK. TRUNK of a Giant now no more! Once did thy limbs to heaven aspire; Once, by a track untried before, Strike as resolving to explore
Realms of infernal fire.
And now in joy she dwells, in glory moves !
2 On the death of a younger sister.
1 Radice in Tartara tendit.-VIRG.
ON A TEAR.
THE BOY OF EGREMOND
Oh! that the Chemist's magic art
“ Say what remains when Hope is filed ?"
At Embsay rung the matin-bell,
There now the matin-bell is rung ;
groan. The child before thee is thy own. And she who wildly wanders there, The mother in her long despair, Shall oft remind thee, waking, sleeping, Of those who by the Wharfe were weeping; Of those who would not be consoled When red with blood the river rolled.
TO A VOICE THAT HAD BEEN LOST.2
WRITTEN IN A SICK CHAMBER.
Vane, quid affectas faciem mihi ponere, pictor ?
-Yet whither, whither didst thou fly?
Perhaps to many a desert shore,
Far happier thou ! 'twas thine to soar,
4 In the twelfth century, William Fitz-Duncan laid waste the valleys of Craven with fire and sword; and was afterwards established there by his uncle, David King of Scotland,
He was the last of the race; his son, commonly called the Boy of Egremond, dying before him in the manner here related ; when a Priory was removed from Embsay to Bolton, that it might be as near as possible to the place where the accident happened. That place is still known by the name of the Strid; and the mother's answer, as given in the first stanza, is to this day often repeated in Wharfedale.- See WHITAKER'S Hist. of Craven.
1 The law of gravitation.