Page images
PDF
EPUB

And now a parting word is due from him
Who, in the classic fields of ITALY,
(If haply thou hast borne with him so long,)
Through many a grove by many a fount has led thee,
By many a temple half as old as Time;
Where all was still awakening them that slept,
And conjuring up where all was desolate,
Where kings were mouldering in their funeral urns,
And oft and long the vulture flapped his wing-
Triumphs and masques.

Nature denied him much, But gave

him at his birth what most he values ;
A passionate love for music, sculpture, painting,
For poetry, the language of the gods,
For all things here, or grand or beautiful,
A setting sun, a lake among the mountains,
The light of an ingenuous countenance,
And what transcends them all, a noble action.

Nature denied him much, but gave
And ever, ever grateful should he be,

him more;

Though from his cheek, ere yet the down was there,
Health fled; for in his heaviest hours would come
Gleams such as come not now; nor failed he then,
(Then and through life his happiest privilege)
Full oft to wander where the Muses haunt,
Smit with the love of song.

'Tis now long since ;
And now, while yet 'tis day, would he withdraw,
Who, when in youth he strung his lyre, addressed
A former generation. Many an eye,
Bright as the brightest now, is closed in night,
And many a voice, how eloquent, is mute,
That, when he came, disdained not to receive
His lays with favour.

1839.

[graphic]

ADDITIONAL NOTES.

Page 2, line 13.
'Tis not a tale that every hour brings with it.

“ Lines of eleven syllables occur almost in every page of Milton ; but though they are not unpleasing, they ought not to be admitted into heroic poetry; since the narrow limits of our language allow us no other distinction of epic and tragic measures.” JOHNSON.

It is remarkable that He used them most at last. In the Paradise Regained they occur oftener than in the Paradise Lost in the proportion of ten to one; and let it be remembered that they supply us with another close, another cadence ; that they add, as it were, a string to the instrument; and, by enabling the Poet to relax at pleasure, to rise and fall with his subject, contribute what is most wanted, compass, variety.

Shakespeare seems to have delighted in them, and in some of his soliloquies has used them four and five times in succession ; an example I have not followed in mine. As in the following instance, where the subject is solemn beyond all others.

To be, or not to be, &c.
They come nearest to the flow of an unstudied

eloquence, and should therefore be used in the drama ; but why exclusively? Horace, as we learn from himself, admitted the Musa Pedestris in bis happiest hours, in those when he was most at his ease; and we cannot regret her visits. To her we are indebted for more than half he has left us; nor was she ever at his elbow in greater dishabille, than when he wrote the celebrated Journey to Brundusium.

Page 4, line 10.
That winds beside the mirror of all beauty,

There is no describing in words; but the following lines were written on the spot, and may serve perhaps to recall to some of my readers what they have seen in this enchanting country.

I love to watch in silence till the Sun
Sets; and Mont Blanc, arrayed in crimson and gold,
Flings bis broad shadow half across the Lake;
That shadow, though it comes through pathless tracts
Of Ether, and o'er Alp and desert drear,
Only less bright, less glorious than himself.
But, while we gaze, 'tis gone! And now he shines
Like burnished silver; all, below, the Night's.

Such moments are most precious. Yet there are
Others, that follow fast, more precious still;
When once again he changes, once again
Clothing himself in grandeur all his own;
When, like a Ghost, shadowless, colourless,

« PreviousContinue »