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BERNARD BARTON, one of the Society of Friends, published in 1820 a volume of miscellaneous poems, which attracted notice both for their elegant simplicity, and purity of style and feeling, and because they were written by a Quaker. The staple of the whole poems,' says a critic in the Edinburgh Review, is description and meditation-description of quiet home scenery, sweetly and feelingly wrought out and meditation, overshaded with tenderness, and exalted by devotion-but all terminating in soothing and even cheerful views of the condition and prospects of mortality.' Mr Barton was employed in a banking establishment at Woodbridge, in Suffolk, and he seems to have contemplated abandoning his profession for a literary life. On this point Charles Lamb wrote to him as follows:
Throw yourself on the world, without any rational plan of support beyond what the chance employ of booksellers would afford you! Throw yourself rather, my dear sir, from the steep Tarpeian rock slap-dash headlong upon iron spikes. If you have but five consolatory minutes between the desk and the bed, make much of them, and live a century in them, rather than turn slave to the booksellers. They are Turks and Tartars when they have poor authors at their beck. Hitherto you have been at arm's length from them-come not within their grasp. I have known many authors want for bread— some repining, others enjoying the blessed security of a counting-house-all agreeing they had rather have been tailors, weavers-what not?-rather than the things they were. I have known some starved, some go mad, one dear friend literally dying in a workhouse. Oh, you know not-may you never know the miseries of subsisting by authorship!' There is some exaggeration here. We have known authors by profession who lived cheerfully and comfortably, labouring at the stated sum per sheet as regularly as the weaver at his loom, or the tailor on his board; but dignified with the consciousness of following a high and ennobling occupation, with all the mighty minds of past ages as their daily friends and companions. The bane of such a life, when actual genius is involved, is
its uncertainty and its temptations, and the almost invariable incompatibility of the poetical temperament with habits of business and steady application. Yet let us remember the examples of Shakspeare, Dryden, and Pope-all regular and constant labourers-and, in our own day, of Scott, Southey, Moore, and many others. The fault is more generally with the author than with the bookseller. In the particular case of Bernard Barton, however, Lamb counselled wisely. He has not the vigour and popular talents requisite for marketable literature; and of this he would seem to have been conscious, for he abandoned his dream of exclusive authorship. Mr Barton has since appeared before the public as author of several volumes of miscellaneous poetry, but without adding much to his reputation. He is still what Jeffrey pronounced hima man of a fine and cultivated, rather than of a bold and original mind.' His poetry is highly honourable to his taste and feelings as a man.
And thus, while I wandered on ocean's bleak shore,
Power and Gentleness, or the Cataract and the Streamlet.
Noble the mountain stream, Bursting in grandeur from its vantage-ground; Glory is in its gleam brightness-thunder in its deafening sound!
Mark, how its foamy spray, Tinged by the sunbeams with reflected dyes, Mimics the bow of day Arching in majesty the vaulted skies;
Thence, in a summer-shower,
Be clothed in forms more beautifully fair!
And livelier growth it gives-itself unseen!
It flows through flowery meads, Gladdening the herds which on its margin browse;
Its quiet beauty feeds
The alders that o'ershade it with their boughs.
Gently it murmurs by
The village churchyard: its low, plaintive tone, A dirge-like melody,
For worth and beauty modest as its own.
More gaily now it sweeps
By the small school-house in the sunshine bright; And o'er the pebbles leaps,
Like happy hearts by holiday made light.
May not its course express,
In characters which they who run may read,
Were but its still small voice allowed to plead !
What are the trophies gained
By power, alone, with all its noise and strife,
Niagara's streams might fail, And human happiness be undisturbed: But Egypt would turn pale,
Were her still Nile's o'erflowing bounty curbed!
The Solitary Tomb.
Not a leaf of the tree which stood near me was stirred,
The sky was cloudless and calm, except
In the west, where the sun was descending; And there the rich tints of the rainbow slept,
As his beams with their beauty were blending.
And the evening star, with its ray so clear,
Had lit up its lamp, and shot down from its sphere
And I stood all alone on that gentle hill,
With a landscape so lovely before me; And its spirit and tone, so serene and still, Seemed silently gathering o'er me.
Far off was the Deben, whose briny flood
How lonely and lovely their resting-place seemed!
When at morn or at eve I have wandered near,
Sometimes it has seemed like a lonely sail, A white spot on the emerald billow; Sometimes like a lamb, in a low grassy vale, Stretched in peace on its verdant pillow.
But no image of gloom, or of care, or strife, Has it ever given birth to one minute; For lamented in death, as beloved in life,
Was he who now slumbers within it.
He was one who in youth on the stormy seas Was a far and a fearless ranger;
Who, borne on the billow, and blown by the breeze, Counted lightly of death or of danger.
Yet in this rude school had his heart still kept
And here, when the bustle of youth was past,
But here he slumbers! and many there are Who love that lone tomb and revere it; And one far off who, like eve's dewy star, Though at distance, in fancy dwells near it.
BRYAN WALTER PROCTER.
BRYAN WALTER PROCTER, better known by his assumed name of Barry Cornwall, published, in 1815, a small volume of dramatic scenes of a domestic character, in order,' he says, 'to try the effect of a more natural style than that which had for a long time prevailed in our dramatic literature.' The experiment was successful; chiefly on account of the pathetic and tender scenes in Mr Procter's sketches. He has since published Marcian Colonna, The Flood of Thessaly, and other poems: also a tragedy, Mirandola, which was brought out with success at Covent Garden theatre. Mr Procter's later productions have not realised the promise of his early efforts. His professional avocations (for the poet is a barrister) may have withdrawn him from poetry, or at least prevented his studying it with that earnestness and devotion which can alone insure success. Still, Mr Procter is a graceful and accomplished writer. His poetical style seems formed on that of the Elizabethan dramatists, and some of his lyrical pieces are exquisite in sentiment and diction.
Address to the Ocean.
O thou vast Ocean! ever sounding sea!
Thou speakest in the east and in the west
It was a dreary place. The shallow brook
That there the stream grew deeper. There dark trees
And spicy cedar) clustered, and at night
They stood quite motionless, and looked, methought,
Now to thy silent presence, Night!
Is this my first song offered: oh! to thee That lookest with thy thousand eyes of lightTo thee, and thy starry nobility That float with a delicious murmuring (Though unheard here) about thy forehead blue; And as they ride along in order due, Circling the round globe in their wandering, To thee their ancient queen and mother sing. Mother of beauty! veiled queen! Feared and sought, and never seen Without a heart-imposing feeling, Whither art thou gently stealing! In thy smiling presence, I Kneel in star-struck idolatry, And turn me to thine eye (the moon), Fretting that it must change so soon: Toying with this idle rhyme, I scorn that bearded villain Time, Thy old remorseless enemy, And build my linked verse to thee. Not dull and cold and dark art thou: Who that beholds thy clearer brow, Endiademed with gentlest streaks
Of fleecy-silvered cloud, adorning Thee, fair as when the young sun 'wakes, And from his cloudy bondage breaks,
And lights upon the breast of morning, But must feel thy powers; Mightier than the storm that lours, Fairer than the virgin hours
That smile when the young Aurora scatters Her rose-leaves on the valleys low, And bids her servant breezes blow. Not Apollo, when he dies, In the wild October skies,
Red and stormy; or when he In his meridian beauty rides
Over the bosom of the waters, And turns the blue and burning tides To silver, is a peer for thee, In thy full regality.
The Sleeping Figure of Modena.
Upon a couch of silk and gold
The lady, pale as now she sleeps,
And the clouded thoughts that roll
He to whom her heart was given,
O, what is all beneath the moon
Heedless of the world she went,
An Invocation to Birds.
Come, all ye feathery people of mid air,
Who sleep 'midst rocks, or on the mountain summits
SCENE I. A Room. WENTWORTH-AMELIA. Amelia. You have determined, then, on sending Charles To India?
Amel. Poor boy! he looks so sad and pale,
Oh! do not be so harsh to the poor youth.
You promised to that father (how you kept
To a portentous splendour. I became
Went. Have you done? Woman, do you think
Amel. He is gone;
And I am here-oh! such a weary wretch.
Ch. 'Tis I.
Amel. Away. Draw down the blinds;
Ch. This rose-mean you?
It fills the room with perfume: 'tis as red,
Amel. As Aurora's blushes, or my own. I see you want a simile.
Ch. You are gay.
Too gay for earnest talk. Who has been here!
Amel. Silly boy, away;
Go gather me more flowers, violets.
Ch. Here let me place them in your hair.
The violet is for poets: they are yours.
Ch. They are far more
To me for they were yours, Amelia.
Ch. But where shall it be placed?
Amel. Why, in my hand-my hair. Look how it blushes!
To see us both so idle. Give it me.
Where? where do ladies hide their favourite flowers But in their bosoms, foolish youth. Away'Tis I must do it. Pshaw! how sad you look,
And how you tremble.
Ch. Dear Amelia.
Amel. Call me your mother, Charles.
Ch. My guardian
Amel. Ah! name him not to me. Charles, I have been
Oh! do not take it ill; but now believe How fond, and true, and faithful