Page images
PDF
EPUB

O thou all-eloquent, whose mighty mind,
Streams from the depth of ages on mankind,
Streams like the day-who, angel-like, hast shed
Thy full effulgence on the hoary head,
Speaking in Cato's venerable voice,
"Look up, and faint not-faint not, but rejoice!"
From thy Elysium guide him. Age has now
Stamped with its signet that ingenuous brow:
And, 'mid his old hereditary trees,

Trees he has climbed so oft, he sits and sees
His children's children playing round his knees:
Then happiest, youngest, when the quoit is flung,
When side by side the archers' bows are strung;
His to prescribe the place, adjudge the prize,
Envying no more the young their energies
Than they an old man when his words are wise;
His a delight how pure-without alloy;
Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their joy!
Now in their turn assisting, they repay
The anxious cares of many and many a day;
And now by those he loves relieved, restored,
His very wants and weaknesses afford
A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks,
Leaning on them, how oft he stops and talks,
While they look up! Their questions, their replies,
Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise,
Gladdening his spirit: and, his theme the past,
How eloquent he is! His thoughts flow fast;
And, while his heart (oh can the heart grow old?
False are the tales that in the World are told !)
Swells in his voice, he knows not where to end;
Like one discoursing of an absent friend.

But there are moments which he calls his own.
Then, never less alone than when alone,
Those that he loved so long and sees no more,
Loved and still loves-not dead-but gone before,
He gathers round him; and revives at will
Scenes in his life-that breathe enchantment still-
That come not now at dreary intervals—
But where a light as from the Blessed falls,
A light such guests bring ever-pure and holy-
Lapping the soul in sweetest melancholy !

-Ah then less willing (nor the choice condemn) To live with others than to think on them!

And now behold him up the hill ascending, Memory and Hope like evening-stars attending; Sustained, excited, till his course is run, By deeds of virtue done or to be done. When on his couch he sinks at length to rest, Those by his counsel saved, his power redressed, Those by the World shunned ever as unblest, At whom the rich man's dog growls from the gate, But whom he sought out, sitting desolate, Come and stand round-the widow with her child, As when she first forgot her tears and smiled! They, who watch by him, see not; but he sees, Sees and exults-Were ever dreams like these? They, who watch by him, hear not; but he hears, And Earth recedes, and Heaven itself appears!

"Tis past! That hand we grasped, alas, in vain! Nor shall we look upon his face again! But to his closing eyes, for all were there, Nothing was wanting; and, through many a year We shall remember with a fond delight The words so precious which we heard to-night; His parting, though awhile our sorrow flows, Like setting suns or music at the close!

Then was the drama ended. Not till then, So full of chance and change the lives of men,

Could we pronounce him happy. Then secure
From pain, from grief, and all that we endure,
He slept in peace say rather soared to Heaven,
Upborne from Earth by Him to whom 'tis given
In his right hand to hold the golden key
That opes the portals of Eternity.

-When by a good man's grave I muse alone,
Methinks an Angel sits upon the stone;
Like those of old, on that thrice-hallowed night,
Who sate and watched in raiment heavenly bright;
And, with a voice inspiring joy not fear,
Says, pointing upward, " Know, He is not here! "

But now 'tis time to go; the day is spent ; And stars are kindling in the firmament, To us how silent-though like ours perchance Busy and full of life and circumstance; Where some the paths of Wealth and Power pursue, Of Pleasure some, of Happiness a few ; And, as the sun goes round-a sun not oursWhile from her lap another Nature showers Gifts of her own, some from the crowd retire, Think on themselves, within, without inquire; At distance dwell on all that passes there, All that their world reveals of good and fair; And, as they wander, picturing things, like me, Not as they are but as they ought to be, Trace out the Journey through their little Day, And fondly dream an idle hour away.

NOTES.

Page 10, col. 2, line 6.

Stand still to gaze,

See the Iliad, 1. xviii. v. 496.

Page 11, col. 1. line 37.

Our pathway leads but to a precipice; See BOSSUET, Sermon sur la Résurrection.

Page 11, col. 1, line 48.

Wefly; no resting for the foot we find ';

"I have considered," says Solomon, "all the works that are under the sun; and behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit." But who believes it, till death tells it us? It is death alone that can suddenly make man to know himself. He tells the proud and insolent, that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant. He takes the account of the rich man, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, acknowledge it. and makes them see therein their deformity; and they

O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the word have flattered, thou only hast cast out and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet.-RALEIGH.

Page 11, col. 1, line 56.

Now, seraph-winged, among the stars we soar; Inconceivable are the limits to our progress in Science. "A point that yesterday was invisible, is our goal to-day, and will be our starting-post to-morrow."

Page 11, col. 1, line 62.

Through the dim curtains of Futurity.

Fancy can hardly forbear to conjecture with what temper Milton surveyed the silent progress of his work, and marked

his reputation stealing its way in a kind of subterraneous current through fear and silence. I cannot but conceive him calm and confident, little disappointed, not at all dejected, relying on his own merit with steady consciousness, and waiting, without impatience, the vicissitudes of opinion, and the impartiality of a future generation.-JOHNSON. After line 62, in the MS.

O'er place and time we triumph; on we go,
Ranging at will the realms above, below;
Yet, ah, how little of ourselves we know!
And why the heart beats on, or how the brain
Says to the foot, "Now move, now rest again."
From age to age we search and search in vain.

[blocks in formation]

These ideas, whence are they derived; or as Plato would have expressed himself, where were they acquired? There could not be a better argument for his doctrine of a preexistent state.

L'homme ne sait à quel rang se mettre. Il est visiblement égaré et sent en lui des restes d'un état heureux, dont il est déchu, et qu'il ne peut retrouver. Ille cherche partout avec inquiétude et sans succès dans des ténèbres impénétrables. -Sa misère se conclut de sa grandeur, et sa grandeur se conclut de sa misère.-PASCAL.

Page 11, col. 2, line 23.

But soon 'lis past

This light, which is so heavenly in its lustre, and which is everywhere and on everything when we look round us on our arrival here; which, while it lasts, never leaves us, rejoicing us by night as well as by day, and lighting up our very dreams; yet when it fades, fades so fast, and, when it goes, goes out for ever,-we may address it in the words of the Poet, words which we might apply so often in this transitory life:

Too soon your value from your loss we learn!
Epistles in Verse, ii.

Page 11, col. 2, line 25.

like the stone

That sheds awhile a lustre all its own,

See" Observations on a diamond that shines in the dark." -BOYLE'S WORKS, I. 789.

Page 11, col. 2, line 40.

Schooled and trained up to Wisdom from his birth; Cicero, in his Essay De Senectute, has drawn his images from the better walks of life; and Shakspeare, in his Seven Ages, has done so too. But Shakspeare treats his subject satirically; Cicero as a Philosopher. In the venerable portrait of Cato we discover no traces of "the lean and slippered Pantaloon."

Every object has a bright and a dark side; and I have endeavoured to look at things as Cicero has done. By some, however, I may be thought to have followed too much my own dream of happiness; and in such a dream indeed I have often passed a solitary hour. It was Castle-building once; now it is no longer so. But whoever would try to realise it, would not perhaps repent of his endeavour.

Page 11, col. 2, line 42.

The day arrives, the moment wished and feared; A Persian Poet has left us a beautiful thought on this subject, which the reader, if he has not met with it, will be glad to know, and, if he has, to remember.

Thee on thy Mother's knees, a new-born child,
In tears we saw when all around thee smiled.
So live, that, sinking in thy last long sleep,
Smiles may be thine, when all around thee weep.

For my version I am in a great measure indebted to Sir William Jones.

Page 12, col. 1, line 23. "These are MY Jewels!"

The anecdote here alluded to, is related by Valerius Maximus, Lib. iv. c. 4.

Page 12, col. 1, line 25.

"Suffer these litle ones to come to me!"

In our early Youth, while yet we live only among those we love, we love without restraint, and our hearts overflow in every look, word, and action. But when we enter the world and are repulsed by strangers, forgotten by friends, we grow more and more timid in our approaches even to those we love best.

How delightful to us then are the little caresses of children! All sincerity, all affection, they fly into our arms; and then, and then only, do we feel our first confidence, our first pleasure.

[blocks in formation]

Among us, and wherever birth and possessions give rank and authority, the young and the profligate are seen continually above the old and the worthy: there Age can never find its due respect. But among many of the ancient nations it was otherwise; and they reaped the benefit of it. Rien ne maintient plus les mœurs, qu'une extrême subordination des jeunes gens envers les vieillards. Les uns et les autres seront contenus, ceux-là par le respect qu'ils auront pour les vieillards, et ceux-ci par le respect qu'ils auront pour eux-mêmes.-MONTESQUIEU.

Page 12, col. 1, line 39.

Like Her most gentle, most unfortunate, Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the Household, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me; "I wist, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure which I find in Plato."-ROGER ASCHAM.

[ocr errors]

Page 12, col. 1, line 44.

Then is the Age of Admiration

Dante in his old age was pointed out to Petrarch when a boy; and Dryden to Pope.

Who does not wish that Dante and Dryden could have known the value of the homage that was paid them, and foreseen the greatness of their young admirers?

Page 12, col. 1, line 67.

Scenes such as MILTON sought, but sought in vain: He had arrived at Naples, and was preparing to visit Sicily and Greece, when, hearing of the troubles in England, he thought it proper to hasten home.

Page 12, col. 1, line 68.

And MILTON's self,

I began thus far to assent. . . to an inward prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and intent study, (which I take to be my portion in this life) joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let it die.-MILTON.

Page 12, col. 2, line 46.

'twas at matin-time

Love and devotion are said to be nearly allied. Boccaccio fell in love at Naples in the church of St. Lorenzo; as Petrarch had done at Avignon in the church of St. Clair.

Page 13, col. 1, line 2.

Lovely before, oh, say how lovely now!

Is it not true, that the young not only appear to be, but really are, most beautiful in the presence of those they love? It calls forth all their beauty.

Page 13, col. f, lines 46, 47.

And feeling hearts-touch them but rightly-pour
A thousand melodies unheard before!

Xenophon has left us a delightful instance of conjugal affection.

The King of Armenia not fulfilling his promise, Cyrus entered the country, and, having taken him and all his family prisoners, ordered them instantly before him. Armenian, said he, you are free; for you are now sensible of your error. And what will you give me, if I restore your wife to you?-All that I am able.-What, if I restore your children?-All that I am able.-And you, Tigranes, said he, turning to the Son, What would you do, to save your wife from servitude? Now Tigranes was but lately married, and had a great love for his wife. Cyrus, he replied, to save her from servitude, I would willingly lay down my life.

Let each have his own again, said Cyrus; and when he was departed, one spoke of his clemency; and another of his valour; and another of his beauty and the graces of his person. Upon which Tigranes asked his wife, if she thought him handsome. Really, said she, I did not look at him. At whom then did you look?-At him who said he would lay down his life for me.-Cyropædia, L. III.

Page 13, col. 2, line 42.

Through the night,

Hers the mournful privilege, "adsidere valetudini, fovere deficientem, satiari vultu, complexu."-TACITUS.

Page 13, col. 2, line 44.

She sits silent by,

We may have many friends in life; but we can only have one mother; "a discovery," says Gray, "which I nover made till it was too late."

The child is no sooner born than he clings to his mother; nor, while she lives, is her image absent from him in the

hour of his distress. Sir John Moore, when he fell from his horse in the battle of Corunna, faltered out with his dying breath some message to his mother; and who can forget the last words of Conradin, when, in his fifteenth year, he was led forth to die at Naples, "O my mother! how great will be your grief, when you hear of it!"

Page 13, col. 2, line 69. 'dust to dust'

How exquisite are those lines of Tasso!

Le crespe chiome d' or puro lucente, E' l lampeggiar d'ell angelico riso, Che solean far in terrà un paradiso, Poca polvere son, che nulla sente.

Page 14, col. 1, line 9.

He goes, and Night comes as it never came! These circumstances, as well as some others that follow, are happily, as far as they regard England, of an ancient date. To us the miseries inflicted by a foreign invader are now known only by description. Many generations have passed away since our countrywomen saw the smoke of an enemy's camp.

But the same passions are always at work everywhere, and their effects are always nearly the same; though the circumstances that attend them are infinitely various.

Page 14, col. 1, lines 27, 28.

Such as the heart delights in—and records
Within how silently-

Si tout cela consistoit en faits, en actions, en paroles, on pourroit le décrire et le rendre en quelque façon: mais comment dire ce qui n'étoit ni dit, ni fait, ni pensé même, mais goûté, mais senti. Le vrai bonheur ne se décrit pas.ROUSSEAU.

Page 14, col. 1, line 67.

That House with many a funeral-garland hung

A custom in some of our country churches.

Page 14, col. 2, line 22.

Soon through the gadding vine, &c.

An English breakfast; which may well excite in others what in Rousseau continued through life, un goût vif pour les déjeûnés. C'est le tems de la journée où nous sommes le plus tranquilles, où nous causons le plus à notre aise.

The luxuries here mentioned, familiar to us as they now are, were almost unknown before the Revolution.

Page 14, col. 2, line 50.

With honest dignity,

He, who resolves to rise in the world by Politics or Religion, can degrade his mind to any degree, when he sets about it. Overcome the first scruple, and the work is done. "You hesitate," said one who spoke from experience. "Put on the mask, young man ; and in a very little while you will not know it from your own face."

Page 14, col. 2, line 52.

Like HAMPDEN struggling in his Country's cause, Zeuxis is said to have drawn his Helen from an assemblage of the most beautiful women; and many a Writer of Fiction, in forming a life to his mind, has recourse to the brightest moments in the lives of others.

I may be suspected of having done so here, and of having designed, as it were, from living models; but, by making an allusion now and then to those who have really lived, I thought I should give something of interest to the picture, as well as better illustrate my meaning.

Page 14, col. 2, lines 54, 55.

Careless of blame while his own heart approves,

Careless of ruin—

"By the Mass!" said the Duke of Norfolk to Sir Thomas More, "By the Mass! master More, it is perilous striving with princes; the anger of a prince is death."-" Is that all, my lord? then the difference between you and me is but this that I shall die to-day, and you to-morrow.”— ROPER'S Life.

Page 14, col. 2, line 57.

On thro' that gate misnamed,

Traitor's Gate, the water-gate in the Tower of London.

Page 14, col. 2, line 60.

Then to the place of trial;

This very slight sketch of Civil Dissension is taken from our own annals; but, for an obvious reason, not from those of our own Age.

The persons, here immediately alluded to, lived more than a hundred years ago, in a reign which Blackstone has justly represented as wicked, sanguinary, and turbulent; but such times have always afforded the most signal instances of heroic courage and ardent affection.

Great reverses, like theirs, lay open the human heart. They occur indeed but seldom; yet all men are liable to them; all, when they occur to others, make them more or less their own; and, were we to describe our condition to an inhabitant of some other planet, could we omit what forms so striking a circumstance in human life?

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

A prisoner, prosecuted for high treason, may now make his defence by counsel. In the reign of William the Third the law was altered; and it was in rising to urge the necessity of an alteration, that Lord Shaftesbury, with such admirable quickness, took advantage of the embarrassment that seized him. "If I," said he, "who rise only to give my opinion of this bill, am so confounded that I cannot say what I intended, what must be the condition of that man, who, without any assistance, is pleading for his life?"

Page 14, col. 2, lines 65, 66.

Like that sweet saint who sale by RUSSELL's side
Under the judgment-seat.

Lord Russell. May I have somebody to write, to assist my memory?

Mr. Attorney General. Yes, a Servant.

Lord Chief Justice. Any of your Servants shall assist you in writing anything you please for you.

Lord Russell. My Wife is here, my Lord, to do it.— STATE TRIALS, II.

Page 15, col. 1, line 6.

Thrice greeting those who most withdraw their claim, See the Alcestis of Euripides, v. 194.

Page 15, col. 1, line 10.

Lo, there the Friend,

Such as Russell found in Cavendish; and such as many have found.

Page 15, col. 1, line 16.

And, when her dear, dear Father passed along, An allusion to the last interview of Sir Thomas More and his daughter Margaret. "Dear Meg," said he, when afterwards with a coal he wrote to bid her farewell, "I never liked your manner towards me better; for I like when daughterly love and dear charity have no leisure to look to worldly courtesy."-ROPER'S Life.

Page 15, col. 1, line 29.

Her glory now, as ever her delight! Epaminondas, after his victory at Leuctra, rejoiced most of all at the pleasure which it would give his father and mother; and who would not have envied them their feelings?

Cornelia was called at Rome the Mother-in-law of Scipio. "When," said she to her sons, "shall I be called the Mother of the Gracchi?"

Page 15, col. 1, line 62.

And such, his labour done, the calm He knows, At illa quanti sunt, animum tanquam emeritis stipendiis libidinis, ambitionis, contentionis, inimicitiarum, cupiditatum omnium, secum esse, secumque (ut dicitur) vivere ?-CIC. De Senectute.

Page 15, col. 2, line 3.

Watches his bees at hiving-time;

Hinc ubi jam emissum caveis ad sidera cœli Nare per æstatem liquidam suspexeris agmen, Contemplator.-VIRG.

Page 15, col. 2, line 21.

Immoveable-for ever there to freeze!

She was under all her sails, and looked less like a ship incrusted with ice than ice in the fashion of a ship.-See the Voyage of Captain Thomas James, in 1631.

Page 15, col. 2, line 41.

Lo! on his back a Son brings in his Sire,

An act of filial piety represented on the coins of Catana, a Greek city, some remains of which are still to be seen at the foot of Mount Etna. The story is told of two brothers, who in this manner saved both their parents. The place from which they escaped, was long called the field of the pious; and public games were annually held there to commemorate the event.

Page 15, col. 2, line 45.

From harp or organ!

What a pleasing picture of domestic life is given to us by Bishop Berkeley in his letters! "The more we have of good instruments the better: for all my children, not excepting my little daughter, learn to play, and are preparing to fill my house with harmony against all events; that, if we have worse times, we may have better spirits."

Page 15, col. 2, lines 53, 54.

And with assurance sweet her soul revive In child-birth

See the Alcestis of Euripides, v. 328.

Page 15, col. 2, line 57.

Who lives not for another.

How often, says an excellent writer, do we err in our estimate of happiness! When I hear of a man who has noble parks, splendid palaces, and every luxury in life, I always inquire whom he has to love; and, if I find he has nobody or does not love those he has-in the midst of all his grandeur I pronounce him a being in deep adversity

Page 16, col. 1, line 1.

O thou all-eloquent, whose mighty mind Cicero. It is remarkable that, among the comforts of Old Age, he has not mentioned those arising from the society of women and children. Perhaps the husband of Terentia and "the father of Marcus felt something on the subject, of which he was willing to spare himself the recollection."

C 2

Page 16, col. 2, line 14.

And stars are kindling in the firmament,

An old writer breaks off in a very lively manner at a later hour of the night. "But the Hyades run low in the heavens, and to keep our eyes open any longer were to act our Antipodes. The Huntsmen are up in America, and they are already past their first sleep in Persia."

Before I conclude, I would say something in favour of the old-fashioned triplet, which I have here ventured to use so often. Dryden seems to have delighted in it, and in many of his poems has used it much oftener than I have done, as

for instance in the Hind and Panther1, and in Theodore and Honoria, where he introduces it three, four, and even five times in succession.

If I have erred any where in the structure of my verse from a desire to follow yet earlier and higher examples, I rely on the forgiveness of those in whose ear the music of our old versification is still sounding?.

1 Pope used to mention this poem as the most correct specimen of Dryden's versification. It was indeed written when he had completely formed his manner, and may be supposed to exhibit, negligence excepted, his deliberate

and ultimate scheme of metre.-JOHNSON.

With regard to trissyllables, as their accent is very rarely on the last, they cannot properly be any rhymes at all yet nevertheless I highly commend those, who have judiciously and sparingly introduced them, as such.-GRAY.

[blocks in formation]

sighing after the new and the rare; and reminds us, in her works, of the Scholar of Apelles, who, not being able to paint his Helen beautiful, deter mined to make her fine.

EVERY reader turns with pleasure to those passages of Horace, and Pope, and Boileau, which describe how they lived and where they dwelt; and which, being interspersed among their satirical writings, derive a secret and irresistible grace from the contrast, and are admirable examples of Situation-Its few Apartments-Furnished with Casts what in Painting is termed repose.

We have admittance to Horace at all hours. We enjoy the company and conversation at his table; and his like Plato's, suppers, " non solum in præsentia, sed etiam postero die jucundæ sunt." But, when we look round as we sit there, we find ourselves in a Sabine farm, and not in a Roman villa. His windows have every charm of prospect; but his furniture might have descended from Cincinnatus; and gems, and pictures, and old marbles, are mentioned by him more than once with a seeming indifference.

His English Imitator thought and felt, perhaps, more correctly on the subject; and embellished his garden and grotto with great industry and success. But to these alone he solicits our notice. On the ornaments of his house he is silent; and he appears to have reserved all the minuter touches of his pencil for the library, the chapel, and the banqueting-room of Timon. "Le savoir de notre siècle," says Rousseau," tend beaucoup plus à détruire qu'à édifier. On censure d'un ton de maître; pour proposer, il en faut prendre un autre."

It is the design of this Epistle to illustrate the virtue of True Taste; and to show how little she requires to secure, not only the comforts, but even the elegancies of life. True Taste is an excellent Economist. She confines her choice to few objects, and delights in producing great effects by small means: while False Taste is for ever

[ocr errors]

An Invitation-The approach to a Villa described-Its

from the Antique, &c.-The Dining-room-The LibraryA Cold-bath-A Winter-walk-A Summer-walk-The Invitation renewed-Conclusion.

WHEN, with a REAUMUR's skill, thy curious mind
Has classed the insect-tribes of human-kind,
Each with its busy hum, or gilded wing,
Its subtle web-work, or its venomed sting;
Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours,
Point out the green lane rough with fern and flowers;
The sheltered gate that opens to my field,
And the white front thro' mingling elms revealed.
In vain, alas! a village-friend invites
To simple comforts, and domestic rites,
When the gay months of Carnival resume
Their annual round of glitter and perfume;
When London hails thee to its splendid mart,
Its hives of sweets, and cabinets of art;
And, lo, majestic as thy manly song,
Flows the full tide of human life along.

Still must my partial pencil love to dwell
On the home-prospects of my hermit-cell;
The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green,
Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen;
And the brown path-way, that, with careless flow,
Sinks, and is lost among the trees below.
Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive)
Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live.
Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass
Browsing the hedge by fits the panniered ass;
The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight,

« PreviousContinue »